so many macs...so many choices! (under $500)

Discussion in 'Buying Tips and Advice' started by philipt42, Jan 17, 2010.

  1. philipt42 macrumors 6502

    philipt42

    Joined:
    Jun 26, 2009
    Location:
    RI
    #1
    So, my (semi) trusty iBook g4 gave out, and I need a new computer

    Here are my uses for the computer:
    1. School. Writing reports w/iWork, maybe editing the occasional video/presentation.
    2. entertainment - web browsing, 6500 song plus iTunes library, watching videos.
    3. Music production. Using logic pro preferably 9. 2-6 simultaneous channels at the same time. (hey, it worked on my 933mhz iBook!)
    4. Video games. Not that important, but it would be nice to Age of Empires III

    I am considering
    1. iBook g4 at least 1ghz. Not very enthusiastic about this because my last one had the infamous bad video card.
    2. Powerbook g4. (or g5!:)) Don't know much about them
    3. iMac. at least g5.
    4. Macbook. (not pro) preferably dual core
    5. Mac mini. preferably intel, or late ppc
    6. Powermac. dual core

    I need at least 100gbs of space, and a firewire port (or two)
    Kinda leaning towards the powermac, but VERY open to any suggestions. I don't care about snow leopard, ppc is fine.
    Again, my budget is below $500, hopefully $400. (US)
     
  2. flopticalcube macrumors G4

    flopticalcube

    Joined:
    Sep 7, 2006
    Location:
    In the velcro closure of America's Hat
    #2
    Best bet would be a MacBook, IMO. They are all dual core. $500 is a lot to pay for a PPC machine unless its a Powermac.
     
  3. RudyGrow macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Dec 12, 2009
    #3
    Macbook on eBay. They go easy for 500 bucks with maybe a ding or two. I got my Macbook Pro 13 inch with a small nick on the top for 1,000 flat with snow leopard and all the accessories. Best investment ever.
     
  4. mgridgaway macrumors 6502

    mgridgaway

    Joined:
    Feb 25, 2006
    #4
    I believe you can get refurbed Mac Mini's for a bit under $500. Great little machines.
     
  5. eddiehaskell macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Jan 25, 2008
    #5
    Personally, I'd save a little more and get a new 2.26 ghz mini ($580 w/no tax on Amazon). But hey, if you're on a budget you're on a budget. :)
     
  6. brendu macrumors 68020

    Joined:
    Apr 23, 2009
    Location:
    USA
    #6
    go for that powerbook g5 you listed ;)

    no but really the mini is the best mac you can get for the money
     
  7. SkyBell macrumors 604

    SkyBell

    Joined:
    Sep 7, 2006
    Location:
    Texas, unfortunately.
    #7
    I know it's not on your list, but you should look into eMacs. For some reason, they're dirt cheap compared to an iMac/PowerMac/mini of equal specs, and they're built like tanks. I got my 1.42 GHz eMac for $200 shipped. Try and find another Mac for that price. It's not easy. :p

    For your needs:

    1. Check
    2. Check
    3. Never tried it, but like you said, if your iBook can do it. :p
    4. Well, mine does Halo easy. Not sure how taxing other games are.

    It has 3 USB ports, 2 FW ports and can take 2 GB of RAM. I've been very satisfied with mine, especially for the price I got it. :) Just my humble opinion. ;)
     
  8. benlee macrumors 65816

    benlee

    Joined:
    Mar 4, 2007
    #8
    My vote would be for a Mini. If you go refurbished you could get a new computer with a 1 year warranty and relatively current technologies without the need to do any upgrades.

    It would meet all your needs and then some.
     
  9. Badger^2 macrumors 68000

    Badger^2

    Joined:
    Oct 29, 2009
    Location:
    Sacramento
    #9
    I agree, Powerbook G5! mine runs great!

    [​IMG]

    With that budget, have you considered a nice PC?
     
  10. Hrududu macrumors 68020

    Hrududu

    Joined:
    Jul 25, 2008
    Location:
    Central US
    #10
    White MacBooks are pretty cheap these days. A decent 2.0GHz+ model can be had for right around $500 if you don't mind taking the time to look. If you really don't need the laptop, then go for a dual core 2.3GHz Powermac. They've got PCIe slots, lots of FireWire, faster RAM than the older models, no liquid cooling, and a 1.15GHz system bus. The extra hard drive bay can come in handy too when you find a cheap SATA HD on craigslist down the road. Like I said, it all depends on how long you can wait and search for a replacement. G5's like that are all over eBay these days and even the quad core models can be had for around $700. A DC 2.3GHz system should be easily had for $500 or less depending on specs. Good luck in your hunt.
     
  11. opeter macrumors 65816

    opeter

    Joined:
    Aug 5, 2007
    Location:
    Slovenia, EU
    #11
    Stay away from old PPC technology in 2010! Buy a refurbished or used intel Mac mini 2 GHz.
     
  12. Darth.Titan macrumors 68030

    Darth.Titan

    Joined:
    Oct 31, 2007
    Location:
    Austin, TX
    #12
    I agree with opeter. Buying any variety of PowerPC Mac would be a waste of money at this stage of the game. From now on there will be no new operating systems released for PPC and you can expect to see the end of Leopard updates by the end of this year. New software titles are also becoming Intel-only with greater frequency.

    You'd do well to shop for a used MacBook or a Mini refurb, or save a bit more to increase your budget. Don't throw your money away on obsolete tech.
     
  13. philipt42 thread starter macrumors 6502

    philipt42

    Joined:
    Jun 26, 2009
    Location:
    RI
    #13
    I'm not sure yet, but now I have a good argument for basically all! Thanks.
    Rest assured, I eliminated the iBook. I'm leaning towards the powermac g5, because this is computer to hold me over until I save up enough money to get what I'm hoping will be a gaud macbook pro.

    Badger^2 - Sorry, no pcs. I'm done with them.:cool:
     
  14. brendu macrumors 68020

    Joined:
    Apr 23, 2009
    Location:
    USA
    #14
    If your going to do PPC that eMac idea is actually pretty smart. I used to have one and they are great...
     
  15. J&JPolangin macrumors 68030

    Joined:
    Jul 5, 2008
    Location:
    Thule GL @ the TOW
    #15
    ...right now in the USA refurb store there's a 2.0Ghz whitebook with the 9400m GPU for only $699 and full apple warranty... That's what I'd be getting = it will be much better in the long run and the 2.1Ghz whitebook that's $20 cheaper has the intel GMA so that's not worth the very small savings...
     
  16. AC773 macrumors member

    AC773

    Joined:
    Feb 28, 2006
    #16
    I would try your local craigslist as well. You can bargain with people and get some good deals; just be really sure the machine is as described.
     
  17. Habitus macrumors 6502a

    Habitus

    Joined:
    Feb 26, 2009
    Location:
    Where ever my life takes me...
    #17

    I'd say that $500 is pretty steep for any pre intel Mac. I'd go for a PowerMac, though.

    Best of luck,

    Habitus :apple:
     
  18. Silencio macrumors 68020

    Silencio

    Joined:
    Jul 18, 2002
    Location:
    NYC
    #18
    For $500, it would be foolish to buy a PowerMac G5 instead of a Mac mini. The little mini will run all the current software and run it much faster than the G5 ever did.

    The only glaring advantages the G5 towers have over the mini would be a) internal storage, b) ability to run older OSes and even Classic if you need it.

    I would not consider an eMac at this stage in the game. I'm sure there are used Intel iMacs available for reasonably cheap (not eMac cheap, of course).
     
  19. brendu macrumors 68020

    Joined:
    Apr 23, 2009
    Location:
    USA
    #20
  20. Paul B macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Sep 13, 2007
    #21
    I'm surprised you don't put more emphasis on getting a laptop since you're still in school.

    +1 vote for an older Macbook.
     
  21. pukifloyd macrumors 6502a

    pukifloyd

    Joined:
    Jun 25, 2008
    Location:
    Scottsdale
    #22
    +1 for a refurb Mac Mini or a MacBook from eBay...stay away from power pcs!
     
  22. js81 macrumors 65816

    js81

    Joined:
    Dec 31, 2008
    Location:
    KY
    #23
    Mini or Macbook. Avoid all the others. I've see refurb Minis for $399 (the GMA950 graphics model) - get the newer Mini with 9400M if you can. Just my 2 cents...
     
  23. stainlessliquid macrumors 68000

    Joined:
    Sep 22, 2006
    #24
    Spend the $500 on a Core 2 Duo machine or spend as little as possible on a crappy PPC machine that does what you need.

    If you dont want to spend the money on an Intel then dont waste your money on an expensive PPC. If your goal is to get something better later then maybe you should get the cheapest one you can find and just deal with it until you get the computer you really want. Whatever you do dont get an expensive PPC computer like a Powermac, they cost around the same as a Mini but the Mini runs circles around it, its throwing your money away.
     
  24. philipt42 thread starter macrumors 6502

    philipt42

    Joined:
    Jun 26, 2009
    Location:
    RI
    #25
    Has anyone done direct comparisons between the intel mini and the power mac?
    Assuming I run the software that was out at the time the g5 was made, (meaning Tiger, not Leopard) it would beat the mini hands down it seems. Even if I do run Leopard, I've always heard apple's OS's get faster even on old machines as each version comes out.
    Thoughts?

    (Don't think I'm not taking into consideration the advice on these pages; I just want every question answered, because $500 is a lot for me)
     

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