Need help deciding on which Mac to purchase

Discussion in 'Mac Basics and Help' started by Mipeha, Sep 28, 2007.

  1. Mipeha macrumors newbie

    Sep 27, 2007
    Brønderslev, Denmark
    I am looking for advice on which machine to buy, as I am considering doing a 'half-switch' to the Mac platform.

    My situation is that in my work we only use Windows machines as all the software we develope and support (my job) is Microsoft based. And so my employer has 'given' me a power-full Dell XPS m1710 laptop for my at home workstation (actually it is a perk, but we need to call it a home workstation for tax purposes).

    Having previously owned three Macs within a six-eight months period last year (G4 Quicksilver 800Mhz, iBook 1,42ghz and Mac Mini 1,42Ghz), not at the same time mind you, I have some experience with the platform. Unfortunately my relationship with these three machines came at a time in my life when the family's situation wasn't optimal and we needed all the time and money that we could muster - even the smallest amount of money was needed, so the machine kept leaving the house as quickly as I could bring them home.

    But a seed had been planted. Having tried Mac, felt Mac and breathed Mac for only that very short period of time, I find myself again and again wanting to own another and this time make the 'relationship' work. And luckily the 'family situation' has been solved, so now I feel it is the time for my Mac-affair to resurface.

    After this very long introduction, let me get to the point of this post.

    I need advice on the best Mac for me. And I think you guys on the Macrumors forum are perfectly suited to assist me. Let me try and explain what I need and what I don't need, and let's take it from there.


    • to manage my music collection and the family's two-three iPods (iTunes, basically)
    • websurfing and online text-editing (Google docs, google calendar)
    • picture handling (the family photos need to be organized and printed if necessary)
    • document scanning (not a lot, but the need arises from time to time)
    • remote access to Windows PCs
    • the machine to be able to run Leopard some time in the future
    • the machine to be usable for app. 1-1½ years in the future.
    • capable of running a various range of emulators (old 8-bit computers and MAME)
    • I am not completely inept with all things computers, so I don't mind if it is possible to change hard drive, rams or other such things in the machine. It is not an ultimate demand, but nice to have.

    Don't need:

    • new intel machine. Don't need a super-powerful intel core 2 duo Mac. In fact I like the idea of a PowerPc-based Mac in the house. It seems more 'mac' to me. Sorry if this sounds silly, it's just how I feel. Given the finances available I am looking a buying second-hand. I have the very powerful XPS PC for processor-heavy jobs such as video-editing.

    Well that is it, really.

    Basically I am looking for a good machine to learn my way 'round the Mac side of things.
  2. Lovesong macrumors 65816


    Sep 15, 2006
    Stuck beween a rock and a hard place
    I guess a number of the questions coming your way from the rest of us here would be :

    -How much are you looking to spent?
    -How many of those photos do you have?
    -While we understand the fact that you feel that PPC is more "mac", why are you against Intel machines?

    The fact is that Intel chips really revolutionized the Mac platform. I have a Dual 2.5 PowerMac with 5 gigs of RAM, and the second fastst graphics card that they made for my model (the X800 XT), and I then bought a MacBook Pro with the Core2Duo chip, and 2 gigs of RAM. The MacBook I have runs a certain piece of software that my coworker and I wrote at about 3.5 times faster than my PowerMac. It's not a digression, it's a move forward. The machine you seem to need is an iMac. An all-in one wonder that you plug in, and it does what it's supposed to. Our lab just got our Santa Rosa 24" iMac today, and it it stellar. If you're looking to go used check out a Core2Duo iMac (Merom), that will likely smoke a G5 machine (I've gotten into some arguments here about an iMac C2D vs. a G5 Quad, and I still think that the Intel leap was that great). The XPS you have will seem slow in comparison with any iMac Core2Duo and up. It will allow you the flexibility of an expansive, powerful machine, without breaking the bank, and you will not need to use your completely not inept skills for anything, other than updating the software sometimes.
  3. Mipeha thread starter macrumors newbie

    Sep 27, 2007
    Brønderslev, Denmark

    Thanks for the reply.

    I am not as such against the Intel shift. It is simply as question of money and cost. I have been looked round the various sites available to me here in Denmark and if I am to get a somewhat useful Mac at a price that is affordable to me without ruining the family budget, the Intel machines are out of the question.

    Of course there is always the question of the state of a second hand machine. Can it function for 1-1½ without me having to use a lot of money on repairs and such.

    As for the XPS being slower than the newest Macs, I am aware of this fact. But the power of the XPS is enough for me at the moment. So the power of the machine is not a big issue. But the more I get for my money, the better, right?

    About the pictures. Our son is 1½ year now and I have about 4 gigs of pictures so far. And that is without having a digital camera myself (!?). The wife and I are looking into getting one of these digital photo wonders in a couple of weeks time, so expect the amount of pictures to increase rapidly after that. There will of course also be digital home-videos to be stored and handled.

    I don't really have a fixed amount that I am willing to spend on the machine. The way I see it, I am more in need of storage-space than processing power, and I don't need a new Intel machine to get storage, I can get that with a second hand G4 or G5, right?
  4. Mipeha thread starter macrumors newbie

    Sep 27, 2007
    Brønderslev, Denmark

    Just noticed that there is actually a separate forum for this kind of questions, Buying Tips, Advice and Discussion. I am very sorry that I missed that and posted in the wrong forum.

    If it is possible for the moderators to move the thread, please do so. I do not want to step on anybodies toes the first time I post here.
  5. emptyCup macrumors 65816


    Jan 5, 2005
    It is the OS which makes a Mac a Mac, however Intel is the Future of Apple hardware. There is no point in buying old technology. Plus, even though you have a PC that suits your needs, it doesn't hurt to have a single machine that can run OSX and Windows (even if it is just for emergencies).

    While I am sure your current machine is powerful enough, what software do you use for video editing? This is one area where OSX outshines Windows. You might find you want to take advantage of this. Best wishes
  6. AlexisV macrumors 68000


    Mar 12, 2007
    Manchester, UK
    Try and find an old G5 iMac if you don't want Intel.

    Unfortunately for you they do hold their value though, so it would be more cost effective to find an Intel.
  7. amac4me macrumors 65816


    Apr 26, 2005
    I would suggest an iMac ... to save some money why not consider a refurbished model (comes with 1yr warranty)

    Good luck with your decision
  8. Mipeha thread starter macrumors newbie

    Sep 27, 2007
    Brønderslev, Denmark
    That's what I was thinking. Unfortunately refurbished models aren't as easy to come by in Denmark.

    I have been looking and asking round about an iMac G5 and I am stil waiting for prices to come in.

    But thanks for your input, it is much appreciated.
  9. Not-a-cliche macrumors regular

    Sep 24, 2007
    You could get an iMac Core Duo on eBay. They are cheaper than the newer ones and are still Intel.
  10. mahonmeister macrumors 6502

    Jun 9, 2006
    Redlands, CA
    I strongly recommend an Intel Mac. Lets say you have Netflix, there is a great feature where you can watch movies instantly, but only on a PC. Using Parallels of VMware Fusion will solve this problem, but only on an Intel Mac. Connecting to an Xbox 360? Casual gaming? Setting up a new router with Windows only software? Have a device that is Windows only? There are so many other examples like this where having a PPC Mac would unnecessarily limit your capabilities. I realize you have a Dell for the Windows stuff, buy why should you have to constantly switch machines?

    If you don't need power, get a Core Solo (1.5GHz) Mac mini, keyboard, mouse, and a cheap monitor. Otherwise Get a Core Duo mini or Core Duo iMac.

    Once mobile Penryn processors come out (should be in time for Mac World in January), I think you may be interested in swapping that m1710 for a MacBook Pro. I would suggest getting the MBP now but then you would miss out on Leopard. Mac laptops are great, the desktops aren't as good imo. Is there a reason you need two machines? Why not consolidate them and save some money?

    I use a PowerBook and really wish I had an Intel Mac. You can get the full Mac experience and have the connivence of running Windows for your work if you go Intel.

    What ever you buy, I hope you really enjoy it.:)
  11. adk macrumors 68000


    Nov 11, 2005
    Stuck in the middle with you
    If you don't mind a Big tower computer I'd suggest looking into one of the later PowerMac G4s, probably one of the MDD models. The processor won't be super fast, but you seem to be more in need of lots of storage and RAM, both easily (and affordably) added in a powermac.

    And don't listen to all of these silly kids singing the praises of Intel, I like my PPC very much thank you, especially playing Oregon Trail for OS9!
  12. OllyW Moderator


    Staff Member

    Oct 11, 2005
    The Black Country, England
    If you get a MDD, don't forget the earplugs :D
  13. mahonmeister macrumors 6502

    Jun 9, 2006
    Redlands, CA
    Whatever old man!:p

    My whole family is rockin' out on PPC Macs; they are good machines. I just think it is silly to buy a PPC these days when a better Intel Mac can be had for cheap, if you get it used.

    Why worry about software & hardware compatibility?

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