need help finding a mac desktop for productivity (on a budget)

Discussion in 'Buying Tips and Advice' started by Ih8vista, Dec 23, 2008.

  1. Ih8vista macrumors newbie

    Dec 23, 2008
    Hi there!

    I am new here and new to mac as well. i have some experience using them in college, but nothing very long term.

    my problem is that i have a fairly new laptop that i use a LOT! every day, all day. of course it has vista as well. it is constantly hanging up. It is a toshiba satellite A215; 1.9 Turion 64X2, 200GB HDD, ATI 1200X GFX and ****4**** GB of RAM! i was hoping this would be enough hardware for smooth operation, but i am wrong. I am giving up and switching to Mac.

    I am limited with a budget of US800. I am looking at:
    PowerMac G5 1.8 dual
    " 2.0 Dual
    iMac g5 20" 1.8 Single
    Mac mini

    perhaps considering a G4 MDD or notebook if the price is right and the hardware will work for what i need.

    I need to get something that will be very stable and reliable for lots of ordinary tasks such as email, spreadsheets, word processing, photo sorting and viewing, iTunes, watchign DVDs, etc, etc.
    i will only be doing more intense tasks such as photoshop/aperture/video editing about 15-25% of the time. it also needs to run very well for this.

    i am looking for something that will be a usable computer for up to 4 years. I am a cheapskate and I will also be going to grad school in a year or two. i can't afford (time and money) to muck around with changing computers again after this!

    my concerns with the G5 (and mini i guess) are upgrading the RAM--most of the G5s i have found in my price range apparently only take about 4GB. I think this should be OK, but I do not know much about theses systems. I know the mini will not take more than 2, so maybe not so viable... i like that i can upgrade the HDD in the PowerMac as well as video card. i occasionally work with storing very large files so i can use the space.

    so, in a nutshell it has to be:
    powerful (within reason for what i do/budget constraints)
    upgradeable (GFX/RAM/HDD)
    under 800$
    reliable (can't have it melting!!)
    good looking (PowerMacs are pretty!!)

    BTW, I have a 23" LCD that is NOT being used right now, buying something other than iMac will allow me to use it, rather than trying to sell it (less headaches). I also have WiFi, so airport support is great, even for a desktop, so i will not have to move my router.

    I have been checking prices mostly at dvwarehouse and macofalltrades. if anyone knows any place better, i'm all ears!

    Thanks a ton!!!

    what's my best bet?
  2. pianodude123 macrumors 6502a


    Mar 1, 2005
    in the internet
    If you don't need the machine right away, I would say definitely go with an Intel processor because its good for the future...

    Maybe wait until MW2009 for a Mac Mini?
  3. Ih8vista thread starter macrumors newbie

    Dec 23, 2008
    oh, i probably should give a timeframe!!!

    I need to get something in either Feb. or March. I can only spend another couple of months like this without getting an ulcer.

    that and I am do to go on a major photography trip in Feb and April, so I need something to manage the files for at least the second trip...

    hope i am proving enough info for y'all.

  4. SnowLeopard2008 macrumors 604


    Jul 4, 2008
    Silicon Valley
    I'm sorry, but there's not much you can choose from if you do heavy stuff like aperture, photoshop, AND video editing. Granted, my MacBook (the older polycarbonates) can do that to a certain degree. But even those cost about $900 refurbished.
  5. edgew8 macrumors regular


    Dec 8, 2008
    LOL Vista. If it where me I would find a optimized version of Vista via torrent or see if XP can be installed if there are no driver issues with that toshiba

    as far as Macs are concerned I would go with a dual g5 or dual MDD. duals are good with photoshop work and are "fast enough" imo, just make sure you get one with a good GFX card or have money in your budget for one
  6. mgridgaway macrumors 6502


    Feb 25, 2006
    Have you ever considered just installing XP on your laptop? It's still a very stable OS, and has been for a while. It may not be all that pretty, but if you're really a cheapskate and in a pinch, it's far less expensive than buying a mac.

    Otherwise, I would see what's announced at Macworld in January. A new Mini might be nice, but the lack of a Dedicated Video Card might be a hindrance. Still, I can't recommend you buy any PPC system. They're 99% all going to be obsolete in relative terms when Snow Leopard comes out unless Apple decides to let them into the party.

    If you're doing graphic intensive work, there really is no substitute for a Mac Pro. I would suggest that if the Mini doesn't come with a dedicated graphics card that you look for a used or refurbished Intel Pro.
  7. Ih8vista thread starter macrumors newbie

    Dec 23, 2008
    in regards to getting something Intel now, that pretty much leaves only thje Mac Mini and the Macbook 13". Either are probably OK, but not very upgradeable--especially considering how much storage space I need.

    about the toshiba: i have tried to talk to some people about installing XP on this thing--there are TONS of issues with drivers as this exact pile of hardware has never been sold with, except some places in Western Europe. I've talked to two guys, both pretty knoweldgeable and already had one failed attempt. THAT is a no-go.

    the only optimized version of Vista is the one that goes into the trash bin. I loved XP, even on my crumby Acer aspire wiht 1.8Sempron, 512MB, it still ran much better than this one...

    in terms of performance--could any of these systems--particularly the PMAC G5 1,8/2,0 be any WORSE than what i have now?

    perhaps I was a little optimistic about what i need the unit for. I RARELY do anything with video, save for viewing DVDs. with most of the photos i take, I try my best to co all of the fiddling with the camera, so as not to piss away too much time sitting in front of the computer ;). What i really really need is somehting that is reliable and stable. with the ability to have lots and lots of internal drive space.

    snow leopard: i have heard various inconsistent things about whether or not this supports PPC hardware. really though, do I NEED it? i'm sure that even tiger would be leagues ahead of what i have now.

    i guess since MW is in Jan, i can wait until then... maybe the mini will get a little better...
  8. SnowLeopard2008 macrumors 604


    Jul 4, 2008
    Silicon Valley
    Reply/Comments in bold

  9. LordOfTheMacs macrumors member

    Nov 22, 2008
    New Jersey
    Happy holidays,
    I use a 1.8 ghz imac G5 and it is great for surfing, email, itunes and garageband. I don;t do graphics stuff on mine, but it would probably work well
    considering it is more than fast enough for my needs. I have the 17 with no isight, so I would get a 20 for graphics, so I could see my work, These go on eBay for under $500, so it's a steal. The ajustable screen is sooooo cool!:D:apple:As for the Mini:don't . If your are going to get a NEW mac for your needs, get a macbook pro, Mac Pro or high end iMac. MDD powermacs are pretty, expandable and can be had for well , well within your budget.
    Some have dual processors and you ca buy more ram or a processor upgrade with your extra $$$$$$$$$$$. Not every mac has to be an Intel.

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