Possible switcher looking for entry level mac

Discussion in 'Buying Tips and Advice' started by etherstar, May 11, 2008.

  1. etherstar macrumors newbie

    Jun 11, 2007
    After a long time as a PC user and new iPod touch owner, I am considering switching to Mac. I need some advice on buying an entry level machine to see if I could really be happy with a Mac before dropping a lot of cash down on more robust system.

    Here's a little background on my computing use. I do most of the normal things that every computer owner does (word processing, internet usage, digital media, etc). My hobbies that go beyond normal usage include gaming, software development (independent games), music/graphic creation. I currently have a powerful PC which I built that handles the gaming and software development well, but not so much with the music/graphics/media creation stuff.

    I would basically like to spend as little money as possible but still get a taste of what its like to use a Mac under normal performance circumstances. I have no preference regarding desktops or laptops.

    What would you recommend to me considering my situation? Thanks in advance.
  2. robbieduncan Moderator emeritus


    Jul 24, 2002
    Second hand Intel based Mini from eBay? I'd personally stay away from older PowerPC based machines as they are not really representative of modern Mac performance.
  3. psychofreak Retired


    May 16, 2006
    I recommend the lowest-end Macbook. The Mini is just not worth it, and the Macbook is a nice complement to a desktop.
  4. NAG macrumors 68030


    Aug 6, 2003
    Yeah, if you are keeping your pc for gaming I'd recommend a macbook. They're nice machines and it will compliment your desktop machine.
  5. etherstar thread starter macrumors newbie

    Jun 11, 2007
    Thanks for the replies so far. Would you folks suggest trying to get one second hand from ebay, refurb, or buy new?
  6. Jayrod macrumors regular

    Jul 18, 2006
    I would suggest refurb. I purchased a refurbished MacBook about a year ago, and I have no complaints whatsoever. The refurbs and what you'll find on ebay are pretty similar in price, but I trust Apple a whole lot more to deliver a clean product rather than some ebay seller.
  7. theBB macrumors 68020


    Jan 3, 2006
    Unless you are buying a model that is more than 2 years old, it is better to use the refurb store from Apple. The auctions at eBay end up being the same price as (or very close to) the refurb store once the shipping charges are included. The refurb store does not carry very old models, so that would force you into eBay.
  8. NAG macrumors 68030


    Aug 6, 2003
    Yeah, I'd go refurb from Apple than ebay if you're looking to save some money.
  9. dylangurl21 macrumors regular

    Sep 16, 2005
    The refurbs are great. They are tested by apple, unlike the brand new hardware. Be sure to watch the store for a bit and look at price fluctuations...as they sometimes change.
  10. Srestrepo macrumors member

    Jun 12, 2007
    Mac Pro would suit your needs. 32 GB of memory, 4 Tb of memory, and etc.... that will wipe you your windows pc. Just kidding, a refurb would be most logical, I agree with the people above.
  11. stainlessliquid macrumors 68000

    Sep 22, 2006
    The best entry level mac is a hackintosh. Give OSx86 a try on your PC, if you like OS X then get a mac that suits your needs. None of that test-computer crap where you end up wasting money.
  12. Goldenbear macrumors regular

    Jun 30, 2007
    Los Angeles
    So, he's already got a monitor and keyboard, doesn't care between laptop and desktop, and wants to spend as little money as possible... Seems like the Mac Mini fits the bill perfectly. Am I missing something?:rolleyes:

    Get a Mini, see if you like the MacOS. If you don't like it, just sell the Mini. They seem to keep their price pretty well, so you won't lose much.
  13. WannaGoMac macrumors 68000

    Feb 11, 2007
    I agree. Try out OS X on your hackintosh before making the $$ leap to Mac.
  14. sukanas macrumors 6502a


    Nov 15, 2007

    i agree if you wanna spend 132432 hours trying to find the right kernels/kext/etc matcing your computer and giving yourself a headache in just trying to get the sound work. and etc...

    nothing against the pervious poster but i STRONGLY would go against making a hackinstosh. i made one on my dell and i thought it would be easy... believe me, i had no life for a week just trying to get the dell to boot up and have the sound/internet/video working... although that part is nice.. (im not gonna lie) the kernel panics u get is just unbelievable...

    i would get kernel panics from trying to install CS3 and importing things from migration utility...

    not worth it. go with the mac mini.
    i also would go w/ the mac mini cause if you get a macbook/imac, you're getting the fanboy (mac is so coolz cuz of photoboooth) experience of a mac whereas the mac mini, you would actually find the real experience in the OS itself..

    nothing against imacs or macbooks
    love both of those too
  15. stainlessliquid macrumors 68000

    Sep 22, 2006
    Some setups are easier than others, depending on the machine he has it could be nothing more than putting in the disc and installing with everything working perfect. If its a core2duo then the chances of his working perfectly without doing a thing to it is high.

    Either way I think the money you would save by just doing something in your free time is more valuable. Not a lot of people have an enormous disposable income to blow $600 on a trial. I would rather waste a few hours trying to get OSx86 to work or not try OSX at all than gamble away hundreds of dollars.
  16. TJones macrumors regular

    Feb 11, 2008
    I would recommend a lower end or middle Macbook. Makes for a nice side by side when you're gaming on your PC and you can lug it around to the back yard / living room to read mail.

    If you end up not liking the way OS X works then you can always install Windows XP or Vista on it and at least walk away with a very good laptop. That's basically the decision I made when I switched and the only regret I have was not going whole hog and getting a Macbook Pro :)
  17. teflon macrumors 6502a


    May 28, 2007
    I'd say macbook too because the mac minis are quite behind technologically wise. It's two steps behind the macbook - when the macbooks updated to Santa Rosa, then Penryn, mac minis simply went to C2D. It's still on napa, and the integrated graphics is much better in the macbook.
    Also, since you're still using your PC for gaming and software development, there's no free monitors or keyboards (unless you have multiple right now). So it makes sense to get a laptop.
    Macs retain their values pretty well, so if you change your mind 6 months down the road, you won't lose out too much.
  18. eXan macrumors 601


    Jan 10, 2005
    Mid-range iMac.

    I guess if you don't care about wether its a laptop or desktop, you dont need a laptop so why get one? One usually trades off something for being portable.

    The mid-range iMac is a very nice choice... it will probably be slower in games than your monster gaming PC, but it still has decent gaming performance. Also, it will do everything besides games at the highest level :)
  19. WannaGoMac macrumors 68000

    Feb 11, 2007
    Well, if you have equipment that's compatible, it's not that bad. Just takes planning. You went the hard route and just took a computer you had laying around...

    Build one from parts listed as working, it's not a big deal anymore....

    But a mini is cheap too, overpriced, but not a lot money still..

    Edit: One other thing, I was suggesting the Hackintosh as a way to try out the OS X with your existing hardware. It may not be working 100% on your hardware, but in most cases it works well enough for it to give you some time to play around in the OS.
  20. Dustman macrumors 65816


    Apr 17, 2007
    Another vote for Hackintosh.. Atleast until Apple actually BUILDS an Entry level Mac. (Mid-tower)
  21. sukanas macrumors 6502a


    Nov 15, 2007
    well this my personal opinion (no attack on anyone really)

    to me the mac experience is not having to worry about NVInject or getting a Firewire card making sure everything works. the mac experience is not having to always check up on osx86 to see if the next update (10.5.3) will crash your computer

    the mac experience to me is
    pop in cd, then relax :)

    note: i do plan to make a hackintosh for fun in the future though, nothing against the hackintosh iteslf

    and yeah, as of now, the mac mini is definitely out of date so a low end macbook would be your best choice

    i just really wish macs would be cheaper so people like you (and me of course) could actually afford one and really experience the OS

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