Please advise on very first Mac purchase

Discussion in 'Buying Tips and Advice' started by jijoya, Oct 11, 2011.

  1. jijoya macrumors newbie

    Oct 9, 2011
    Hello everyone,

    I'm a long time Windows user who eventually lost her (ample) patience and switched to Ubuntu Linux some years ago. I've been really happy with it and had never considered looking back or sideways. The thing is, I got ambushed with an iPad 2 this summer. To cut a long story short, it was the first present I'd got in my life that actually brought about... changes. After Steve Job's death upset me to the point I'm still staying away from the Tech News section in Flipboard to avoid reminders, I've concluded I'm infatuated, and would like to try the Mac experience as well.

    When deciding how I want to go about it, I pretended money is not an issue and concluded that ideally I'd leave the store with a desktop, a Macbook Air and an Apple TV. However, I'm located in the EU, in a country where there's no Apple Store, just authorized resellers so prices are somewhat brutal. That means I'd be going one machine at a time.

    Apple TV is not an issue but I'd like to wait until summer 2012 hoping there'll be a Gen 3. (I'll test that theory when my HDMI adapter arrives but it looks like using the mirroring function of a jailbroken iPad running XBMC should serve my needs well enough in the meantime.)

    What I'd like advice on is a) should I get an iMac or a Mac mini + Cinema Display and b) should I save up for the 2011 MBA (tempted by the extreme portability of 11') or buy a used, 2008, 13' MBA for $750 right now. I just found an ad on what few Apple forums we have in Bulgaria.

    On a): My current, almost 4 year old PC has a 2.40GHz Quad-Core CPU and 6GB of RAM. I'll be using the Mac for prepress (LARGE files) and image editing with Adobe CS5, plus some 3D rendering (mostly in Poser).

    I do like the sound of the 3.4GHz Quad-Core Intel Core i7 iMac and plan to up the RAM to at least 8GB (from Crucial) and opt for a SSD no matter what I end up buying, but if you feel that's overkill and the 2.0 GHz Quad-Core i7 Mac mini server will do, please let me know.

    On b): I also do movie translation work and will mostly be using the MBA as a glorified typewriter and video viewer when I'm on the move or sleeping over (currently I use a Toshiba laptop I detest lugging around and will be ecstatic to get rid of). I'll also be lending the MBA to my grandma to watch TV series on the (flash driven) likes of YouTube.

    With that in mind, do you think the original MacBook Air (13') which is available to me now (used) for $750 will be fine? (It's flash and overheating I'm worried about.) The package will contain:

    Apple MacBook Air "Core 2 Duo" 1.6 13" (Original), 2GB RAM
    Customized with a 64GB SSD in addition to the 80GB HDD
    Tucano bag

    Would you say that's enough of a bargain to jump on now as opposed to getting a 2011 or 2012 MBA after I've bought a desktop?
  2. simsaladimbamba

    Nov 28, 2010
    If you mean the 2008 MBA, then don't get it, especially for 750€, you can get a current and much faster 11" MBA for just 249USD more.
    Btw, if you are talking about the 2008 or 2009 MBA, then know, that even though it came with an HDD or SSD, that replacing the HDD with an SSD will not let you have the HDD inside the MBA, like your post "suggests".

    As for the iMac, I would go for the 27" iMac due to its screen size, but you may not need the i7, the i5 should suffice. But as you can get 8GB of RAM for 40USD, you can have up to 12GB of RAM right now. And as you work with big files, and the application you work with is hopefully 64-bit, you can take advantage of that.
  3. talmy macrumors 601


    Oct 26, 2009
    The original MacBook Air was sluggish and suffered from overheating. The new ones are far better!

    The iMac is a much better deal than a Mac mini plus Cinema Display. IMHO the mini only makes sense if you already have a monitor, keyboard, and mouse from another computer that you want to use.
  4. ditzy macrumors 68000


    Sep 28, 2007
    I would go for the iMac. The mini isn't good value for money if you need to buy a display.
    I would save up for a new MBA, they didn't really come into their own until the last generation.
  5. wrinkster22 macrumors 68030


    Jun 11, 2011
    The mac mini is expensive to get the display
    The ATV is not really necessary if you video mirror. You don't need to jailbreak.
    The iMac is good value.
    The first MBA is not very good :)
  6. jijoya thread starter macrumors newbie

    Oct 9, 2011
    Thank you all, that was very helpful. A new MBA and an iMac it is.

    Best news I've had this week - I'm now even more impatient to test it.

    Um... *looks away* I already have - first thing I did after I unboxed the iPad. XBMC was quite the exciting find and led me on to the discovery of Apple TV's existence. Before I knew of it, I was prepping to shell out serious money for something like Popcorn hour. Thank heaven for small favors.
  7. r0k macrumors 68040


    Mar 3, 2008
    Is there some particular feature you unlocked by jailbreaking or did you simply do it for curiosity? If so, I suggest you go back to normal iOS so you can take advantage of the OTA update capability that is (finally) coming with iOS 5. Of course it will be "a while" before reliable jb shows up for iOS 5 and there is the added risk that an OTA update could cause problems for a jailbroken iOS 5 device so I'm really suggesting that if you don't have a need to be jb'd and you don't expect to need it in the future, then you should consider going back.

    BTW, I agree that the older MBA is not a good choice unless you get some heck of a deal on it. If you're using Linux now, OS X will feel like home. The terminal is there when you want it, but you really never need it. My transition to OS X started with Linux and OS X have lived up to my expectations in every way.
  8. jijoya thread starter macrumors newbie

    Oct 9, 2011
    The features I set out to unlock were a) being able to fit more icons on the screen and making folders within folders (I'm a pathological sorter and collector), and b) un-hiding the file system. I freaked when I realized I don't actually have one on the iPad :D

    I do admit that at the end of the day I only use the file system viewer when cleaning up but it was one of my 2 reasons to go for it. Some Cydia tweeks I discovered later added to the list of JB features I'm used to now, but initially it was just a) and b). (I didn't even know you're supposed to also be able to download cracked apps. I know now, and I've done it but in my defense, I've paid for everything I decided to actually keep. If Apple start renting out apps I'm pretty sure I won't be the only one giving up Installous.)

    My plan is to upgrade to iOS 5 as soon as I have the comfort of knowing a reliable JB for it has been released, then try to get used to iOS 5 as is, and not resort to jailbreaking the device. We'll see if it will work.

    There's another original MBA being sold now for $350, but the hinge cover (along with one of the hinges) is broken.


    The tutorial on the dangers you need to expose the display to to replace those scared me, so I'm opting out of it. If you feel it's a good deal though let me know.
  9. r0k macrumors 68040


    Mar 3, 2008
    I'm as frustrated as anybody about the lack of a filesystem on iOS. Ultimately, I think it will require pressure on both the jailbreak and the competitive fronts to get Apple to cave on this one. And it might turn out that iOS 5 offers a way around this limitation. I would like a filesystem so that I'm not carrying around eight copies of a 400 meg pdf file just so I can view it in 8 different viewers. But if that filesystem involved me downloading the thing every time I wanted to view it, I could live with it in some circumstances. I already use dropbox and iDisk in this way to some extent. If iOS 5 made this more transparent then the only problem I'd have is I don't want to be forced to use the network every time. It would be a bit of a tradeoff. If I was near wifi, I'd not mind one bit about having to use a "virtual" solution for a filesystem. If I really needed something with me away from wifi, I suppose I could pick one of those 8 apps and let it keep a local copy. But honestly I'm wasting way too much of my time worrying about a workaround to a limitation that doesn't make sense on a device that is as close as iPad is to being a real computer.

    I would steer clear of any "broken" Macbook Airs. The idea of working on one of those myself does not appeal to me one bit. If you want to get an idea what you'd be faced with, head over to ifixit and watch one of their teardown videos.

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