Need help making 2 purchase decisions

Discussion in 'Buying Tips and Advice' started by newmacmom, Dec 28, 2006.

  1. newmacmom macrumors member

    Dec 28, 2006
    for two macs. I am new to mac so bear with me! One is for my dd who is only 8. The main things she would "need" it for is for learning games, her iPod, and maybe even some creative projects (she says she wants to make short movies of herself--not sure if iMovie would be too advanced or what). I am envisioning having good parental security and putting it in her room with wireless printing. Since we already have a good monitor and keyboard, I was thinking mac mini for her. Questions about that:
    (1) Would 512mb be enough for her purposes? Or should I upgrade to 1gb RAM?
    (2) What is the minimum sized processor I should consider (if I consider used)?
    (3) If I want Leopard installed in her system (looks like good parental security), what do I need to make sure is on the mini?

    The second mac would be for me. I want it for the basic computer stuff, but also for video and photo editing (with a Sony Cybershot and a Canon Elura). I am new to movie editing...only have done a little on the pc before it kept freezing up on me, and I quit. I was thinking about getting an iMac with FCE preinstalled (because I can get a good discount on it preinstalled), 24" monitor, 2 GB RAM. I am unsure of what processor would be adequate or video card (I keep hearing the faster processors are not really that much faster, but then some who do video editing says it does make a difference). I am at least waiting until the new iLife comes out...not sure I can hold out until Leopard. Any thoughts or advice on this one? I have been researching it forever because any time I am about to plunk this kind of dough down, I want to make sure of my purchase!
  2. ghostee macrumors 6502

    Feb 25, 2004
    Villa Park, IL
    1. It would be enough, but considering how ram hungry OSX is, I'd suggest starting off with a gig.
    2. Any of the Intel minis would be good, obviously the duos will be better than the solos.
    3. A newer mini will have no problem running Leopard.

    If you plan on playing games, definately upgrade the video card. Either processor would be fine for your use, and whether your willing to spend $250 to go from 2.16 to 2.33 is up to you. Personally, I wouldn't, but I am a bit frugal at times. :D
  3. JKitterman macrumors member

    Oct 10, 2006
    The second one for you, I would say only get the iMac if you believe you will never want to upgrade to over the 2Gb you plan on getting it with. To put the 3Gb max in the iMac, you will spend the same to put 4Gb in the Mac Pro currently. Also, I don't see any advantage to Leopard's 64 bit features on the iMac series currently because of the ram limitation.
  4. Ugg macrumors 68000


    Apr 7, 2003
    I'd definitely get an Intel Mini, the G4s won't be as expandable in the future. A core Duo would be best. I wouldn't get a superdrive as your iMac will have one and she can send the data over your network if she needs to burn one of her movies.

    iMovie is fairly easy to use so I think she'd do well with it.

    A gig of Memory is going to be better in the long run.

    The 2.33 ghz processor isn't going to be noticably faster than the 2.16. If you do a lot of video editing, it might be worth it but if you're doing short family movies, etc, it's probably not. The money you save on that would buy you more ram and pay for part of FCE.

    I'm trying to hold off on buying a Mac Mini until Leopard comes out, I just can't justify the $129 increase in cost but then I've already got a PowerBook, so....

    I did buy iLife 06 and am glad I did as the improvements in iPhoto alone made it worth it.
  5. ChrisA macrumors G4

    Jan 5, 2006
    Redondo Beach, California
    I have an 8 Year old also. an old G4 Mini would be fine. It's more usable with 1Gb installed but works with 512MB. She might be able to use iMovie with some supervision. My daughter has fingered out some of iPhoto. Monies are conceptually harder. But kids get older quickly. The G4 handles iLife well enough. It flies on any Intel All Minis (even the 1.25Ghz G4) are new enough to run tiger and leopard

    I would suggest buying the machine for the 8 year old first. Use it yourself Try out iPhoto, iMovie and Adobe Elements and then buy the second computer.

    As for your plan to use FCE. Beware that FCE has a good sized learning curve. You will not be able to use it "out of the box". The user manual is over 1,100 pages and the UM for the bundled apps runs another 400 or so.

    The way to decide between iMove and FCE is if you are doing "true editing" as in hollywood films where they use many tricks and rules to fool the viewer into thinking he is seeing the action happen or if you are just assembling footable into a kind of moving slde show - Almost all home video is the second kind. You can pretty much use iMovie out of the box but FCE will require weeks of study to become fluent.

    FCE is great if you need to color match between shots or if you pull off the sound and cut if separately on a set of audio tracks. If you shoot with multiple cameras runningthen you need FCE.

    Any Intel Mac will do what you want. Your still images are JPG and you are only doing SD video so you are not going to be in need of a Mac Pro unless you just want one.

    One more thing: If you have both a photographer and an 8 year old in the house, figure some way so the 8 year old does not run off to many $2.00 per page full color glossly prints Buy two printers. one that use cheap ink and one that prints photos.
  6. emptyCup macrumors 65816


    Jan 5, 2005
    I like ChrisA's suggestion that you buy your daughter's machine first so that you can both become comfortable with it. Also, unless you have some editing experience, iMovie is the place to start. It is easier to learn new skills with simpler tools.

    As for the machine, the bottom of the line mini with 1 GB RAM is fine as long as you do not upgrade it beyond the memory. Once you start adding a larger HD, etc. you need to give some serious thought to the bottom of the line iMac (the one with the integrated graphics). Its all in one design means less parts to be fiddled with, it comes with a screen with built in iSight and has a much larger and faster HD. Think ahead to how she may use this machine when she is a little older. Also there is some advantage to having similar machines. Nothing makes an 8 year old giggle like Photobooth, but it is not so funny when she has to use your machine to use it because her machine doesn't do it. Just some ideas here. Best wishes.
  7. adk macrumors 68000


    Nov 11, 2005
    Stuck in the middle with you
    For the Mini, anything core duo or better will make a great machine for years. I would consider 1GB of ram to be the realistic minimum. I have 1GB in my machine and I usually come close to using it all up with a few megs to spare.

    For the 24" iMac, the stock video card will be *adequate* currently. I'd recommend upgrading it if you are at all serious about editing. If it's more of a pastime/hobby the stock card should work fine. A little more than 1GB of ram might help you out a ton too.

    hope this helps, welcome to MR.
  8. newmacmom thread starter macrumors member

    Dec 28, 2006

    I like the idea of getting hers first, too. I may end up doing that anyway, but then it will have to be mine for a while since she would need my current monitor, keyboard, and mouse, and I can't be without a computer without serious withdrawal issues!

    I was thinking that if I do end up needing more (as in Mac Pro more), I could always give her the iMac as a hand-me-down in future years. I just don't want to spend that kind of money unless I need to right now (still recovering from Christmas!). I noticed most of the refurbs have the minimal RAM--is that easy to switch? I remember in the store they talked about the number of slots you have, etc. for expansion. And do I void the warranty if I add the RAM in a refurb? Can you ask the Apple store to add RAM to a refurb?

    Is there anything Leopard "will need" that a Mac Mini may not have?
  9. Chundles macrumors G4


    Jul 4, 2005
    No, Leopard will run like lightning over the surface of a golf club held aloft at the top of the swing - very bloody fast - on any current mini. Just give it 1GB RAM to make sure Rosetta has some breathing space for the few little niggling PPC apps floating around.

    RAM is easy to install on anything but the mini - for that if you're not confident you should get a proper Mac technician to do the install.
  10. Jht macrumors member

    Dec 25, 2006
    Manchesterish, England
    I'm new to mac and don't know a great deal, but I got an intel duo mini for xmas :D from the refurb store with 512 ram. And so far its been fine for me, I've been running warcraft and itunes without any hiccups and with a playable fps of about 18-20. The most use its had so far has been limewire, iweb, itunes and firefox open at once and it ran fine like that, i haven't had to use rosetta yet, but mine runs fine with 512, hope it helped :D
  11. trainguy77 macrumors 68040

    Nov 13, 2003
    However, you may still be loosing performance because of ram, the best way to check is to go into activity monitor, then the system memory tab where it says page ins/page outs look at the second number(the outs) if this is more then 0 then it could use more RAM. If this number is pretty high ratio compared to the first then RAM would help more then if its just a small number compared to the first.
  12. newmacmom thread starter macrumors member

    Dec 28, 2006
    changed my mind on the mini

    for my daughter when I realized that one thing I would use the iMac for is creating presentations a la Keynote. At work, though, everything is PC so I would need a laptop to hook into the projector. So now I am thinking I should get her a Macbook, hooked up to the already existing screen and keyboard, that I could "borrow" on occasion.

    I just hope there is a ton of refurbs available on 1/08!

Share This Page