O Knowledgeable Fellows: please help me in my journey to pick a college Mac.

Discussion in 'Buying Tips, Advice and Discussion (archive)' started by amhranaiochta, Jun 15, 2005.

  1. amhranaiochta macrumors newbie

    Jun 15, 2005
    Hi. I'm Kitty, and I shall be attending college next year. As a present, my parents are willing to buy me a new computer. Apple, of course---was raised on it, anything else'd be too foreign to deal with.

    I'm trying to figure out what machine would suit my needs best for the cheapest amount. I'm also failing miserably, so if you folks could...help nudge me in the right direction and tell me your reasons for nudging me in said direction...that'd be lovely.

    And now, for Roman numerals!

    i. I use Photoshop CS (to create huge, many-layered, extremely complex creations) & Dreamweaver MX frequently on my iBook. Also use book-length PDFs frequently. Little iBook does not appreciate this and drags its feet, resulting in Very Slow Progress. Thus, I want a computer that can handle memory-hogging programs like the aforementioned. I think this means...the computer I get needs lots of...RAM, is it? What amount do you recommend? How much is too much? Is there a specific computer particularly partial to running memory-intensive programs?

    ii. I tend to be a scholarly packrat. So I know I need lots of space in the form of gigs. Although I doubt I could fill up 160 gigs of space...I might fill up, say, 140 fairly fast. ...how much does a packed computer's performance get effected? Should I get many more gigs than I could possibly use in the name of keeping my computer happy and zippy-dee-day-long-day?

    iii. I'm going to get the Dell 24" monitor, so the computer I get shouldn't have a monitor. So I'm looking at a PowerMac. Is there another potential model I'm completely missing that I should consider? If not, which PowerMac would you recommend? If my notion of getting a Dell 24" falls through, would a 20" iMac suit my needs?

    A computer over $2000 is out of my leagueishy.

    And I leave for school on the 12th of August. I'll probably order it a week before, in an attempt to save as much money as possible. Any objections to my little plan [size=-3](of walking down the square?!)
    ? Any possible additions to the Mac family in the coming months that'd be especially appropriate to my needs I should keep my eyes out for?

    Any notions of how I could...save money, in any of this? ^^

    Oh! And speak slowly and avoid big words. I'm a dummy when it comes to technical junk I'm ignorant of. Which encompasses most of technology. In particular, Macs. Which is a round-about way of saying I probably have very little idea what you're saying unless you pretend you're speaking to a complete ignoramus. Which, in truth, you are. Sorta. Typing, if you want to hold onto the technicalities motif. You boof, you.


    Thanks! (for reading this entire thing, even if you shan't respond. ;) )

  2. Sutekidane macrumors 6502a


    Jan 26, 2005
    1. about 512mb of ram should really be the minimum you should have, 1gb would be ideal or more. You can't really have too much ram.
    2. 160gb is a great amount of hard drive space for most people.
    3. I highly recommend the high end 17" or 20" iMac G5. It would definitely be suitable for your needs, if not more-so.

    if you go to an Apple store, with proof of school attendance, you may be eligible to get a good education discount on almost anything in the store.

    Good luck with your decision.
  3. wordmunger macrumors 603


    Sep 3, 2003
    North Carolina
    Is the $2k budget with or without the monitor? Because a 24-incher is going to take out half your budget right away.

    Meanwhile you could get a 21-inch CRT monitor, which many people believe is better for graphic design anyway, for under $400. Then you could get a dual 2.0 Mac for about $1800 with the .edu discount. Add 2 512 MB memory chips and you're in business. Total cost would be about $2300 before tax.

    Any cheaper than that and you're looking at refurbs.

    Another way to go would be the 20-inch iMac. At $1699 with the .edu discount, you could afford to max out the RAM with 2 GB, for $240 from Crucial. Then you'd be all set, and under budget. Probably not quite as good a computer for graphic design, but it would do everything you mentioned in your original post.
  4. mad jew Moderator emeritus

    mad jew

    Apr 3, 2004
    Adelaide, Australia
  5. saturnino3 macrumors member

    Apr 24, 2005
    Oakland, CA
    Yet another vote for the iMac G5 with 1GB of RAM.
  6. Willy S macrumors 6502

    May 8, 2005
    The eMac has a CRT that is probably more accurate for graphics work?
  7. wordmunger macrumors 603


    Sep 3, 2003
    North Carolina
    If the monitor is not part of your budget, then for $2K, you really should be looking at powermacs. Given what you're describing, this computer is much more likely to last you through college than the iMac. I also dispute the idea that 1GB is enough. For massive Photoshop projects, esp. if you've got Dreamweaver going at the same time, you're going to be much happier with 1.5 or 2 GB.

    Regarding the HD, it's best not to get too close to the total size of your HD. I'd say try to keep at least 25 percent free. So if you can swing it, 250 GB would probably be better than 160.

Share This Page