Switcher needs lots of help

Discussion in 'Macintosh Computers' started by daysleeper33, Jan 27, 2005.

  1. daysleeper33 macrumors newbie

    Jan 27, 2005
    Hi everyone,

    I have been a PC user for years and have always noticed macs from afar and wondered what they would be like. This summer I got to work on one with the new (to me) OS X something and really enjoy the new interface and look over the old 9 something. Ever since then I have been nothing but impressed with some of macs programs such as imove idvd and such, in fact the entire Ilife software package is pulling me towards buying one of these macs among other things.

    I'm a high end amateur photographer who lives in Photoshop CS and do make use of my digital slrs raw files rather frequently. I do batch processing about once a week of about say 50 or so images.
    I have recently started doing some documentaries and have really enjoyed it and would like to use a mac to create these because it just seems easier on mac then pc. For my price range video editing is just for fun not professional in any way so I can't afford the higher end programs such as Premier or Final Cut I just want to enjoy myself with my documentaries about friends and history. I digress, I will never play computer games because I see them as a waste of time and something that could potential crash my computer, anyways I'm a card player not a video gamer.

    So in summary
    I need something that can
    Do lots of work in Photoshop
    Do video editing
    Burn DVDs for those videos

    Here is the computer i currently have
    Notebook Emachine
    AMD Athlon™ XP-M 2400+ / 1.8GHz
    512MB DDR Ram
    40GB Hard Drive
    ATI Mobility RADEON IGP 320M Video
    CD-RW / DVD-ROM Combo Drive

    My major gripe is to small a hard drive, not enough ram and no dvd burner.

    So this is where I'm coming from, although I have now decided I don't like using a notebook and would much rather have a desktop pc, largely because the emachine overheats constantly and is being repaired for that right now.

    I need a complete system with a monitor and mouse and such, as you may have guessed I'm a college student and I do love ebay.

    So far I have found these things out
    The mac mini seems cute, but I'm afriad It will overheat with as much as I run my programs, I also wonder if there is a premium I'm paying for the small size. Is g4 1.2 or 1.4fast?
    How does this compare to one of the older dual processor g4s like the 533 or the 7 or 8 somethings (Im very very new to mac cut me slack.)

    Should I instead try and get low end g5?
    Is there a chart or graph of all the mac processors in real world applications such as Photoshop?

    I also have these other questions

    It seems that apple has different specs on the processors as the speeds change for example sometime the "frontside bus, or l2 cache is bigger as you increase the speeds even in the same product line" in real world application is this a big thing?

    It just seems to me no matter how hard I try the macs seem more expensive then pcs pound for pound. However I'm tired of ****** emachine comptuers that fry (my second one, I know shame on me for going back)

    LCD Monitors are nice but not necessary I would much rather have a larger monitor that is more accurate on color or has a finer dot pitch or something.

    With all this information in mind could someone please help me pick a computer?

    A few last things
    Should I wait for the new emac is it with a g5 or is this simply a rumor?

    I would like to spend between 800-1100 I really can't afford any more.

    Thanks for everything, I hope I will enjoy owning a mac as much as most of you people do onthis forum.

    Thanks again,

  2. ravenvii macrumors 604


    Mar 17, 2004
    Melenkurion Skyweir
    That $800-1100, price range, does that include the display? If yes, then I suggest the Mac mini 1.25 GHz, add in a 512 MB stick. It'll be $650ish. Then that leaves you about $400 to buy a nice LCD. Don't buy from Apple, buy it from Dell, Samsung, Viewsonic, etc. This setup will blow your eMachine away.

    And with the mini, you're not paying premium for the size. It is the cheapest Mac. While it may not be the "most bang for the buck" (I'd say the iMac G5 is), but since the iMacs are out of your price range, well, the mini is definitely your best bet.
  3. Chip NoVaMac macrumors G3

    Chip NoVaMac

    Dec 25, 2003
    Northern Virginia
    The iLife package that comes with the Mac should be enough till you are ready for a more full featured program

    IMO any of the current Macs (yes, even the lowly G4's) should do well. I am using a PB 12" with 1.2gb RAM, and it is a fine machine.

    The short and simple answer is that any entry level Mac will work for you. If you want portability, then by all means get a iBook or Powerbook. They can run hot, but not to the point of failure. The eMachine you mention is built to be very budget minded. And many people did not have many good things to say about them in general for the long haul.

    Now with Apple, we can only expect the Mac mini to last as long as any of their other offerings.

    Hope this help a bit.
  4. mcmav37 macrumors 6502

    Dec 30, 2004
    Ann Arbor, MI
    For you, I would say the eMac or Mac mini would be great. No one can say for sure if or when the eMac will get a G5--some say it will be discontinued soon. I would say try to go to an Apple store, if possible, and see the eMac and determine if that screen is good enough for you. Unfortunately, at this point, you are not going to get any G5 in your price range.

    If you find some cheap monitor that you really like, though, then go with the Mac mini. Either one will be able to handle what you want to do. No matter what you do, make sure you buy either through Apple's education store or a 3rd party retailer who will offer either free RAM upgrade or something else (as well as no tax and often cheap/free shipping). For example, buy an eMac at macmall.com and get upgraded to 512 MB of RAM for free. This will be enough for you... although you still may want more.

    As for software, I have seen others saying that you can call Adobe and send back a windows version of their software in exchange for a Mac version, so think about that. Also, iLife will be great for you. If, and when, you outgrow iMovie, keep in mind that you can get Final Cut Express, with tons of additional features, for half price on the education store. Just for future reference.
  5. dontmatter macrumors 6502a

    if you don't need small, and you really do "live in photoshop", then I have to say, save up the extra bucks, get your edu discount, and get a single processor powermac. OK, maybe I'm just saying this because it isn't my money, but photoshop requires some major power-and yeah, it runs remarkably well on my powerbook, it would drive me insane if I did much of that. You get loads of power, and loads and loads of expandability with that, for not that much more than what you put as your price range. Of course, I know it's out, but save up a bit, you can wait. Should get a nice update in that time, and maybe a price reduction.

    It'll last you years. Really, far longer than you want it to.

    Just my two cents.
  6. GodBless macrumors 65816


    Jan 22, 2005
    I'd say go for the Mac mini. Best bargain I'd say. Especially for your price range.

    If you can try to go for the iMac. I'd try to avoid the eMac if I were you. It's not worth it in my opinion.
  7. mduser63 macrumors 68040


    Nov 9, 2004
    Salt Lake City, UT
    I'd also recommend the Mac mini, or if you can go just a little bit higher in price, get an iMac. The 17" 1.6 GHz model is only $1199 with the educational discount (which you will get as a college student). Of course, that's only with a combo drive, so you'd have to pay extra for a Superdrive, but you'd end up with a really nice machine with a G5 processor.
  8. crees! macrumors 68000


    Jun 14, 2003
    I currently have a 1.25Ghz Powerbook. I use Photoshop a lot on it. I've also used Premiere and Final Cut. For PS it's great, I have no complaints. Video editing is good too but if you're a real power user I would suggest a low end Powermac if you can afford it. If not, go for the 1.42 Mini and at least 512 RAM, optimally a gig. You might be spending a little more than you want but you'll be happy with what you choose, guaranteed. I switched just over 1 year ago and will never turn back.
  9. jadam macrumors 6502a


    Jan 23, 2002
    You would probably love the iMac, or the ibook. Im a college student too, and I know I definetly love my ibook, but I really really wish I had one of the newer ibooks right about now. Get an ibook or powerbook with superdrive, you wont regreit it! Just make sure to stock up on ram, note DO NOT BUY POWERBOOK RAM FROM APPLE, they rip you off like crazy because they have not changed their laptop ram prices in over a year, case in point, go to the ibook 14" and the powerbook 12", to upgrade to 768mb RAM costs twice as much on the powerbook as the ibook. Yes I know the powerbook uses DDR333 and the ibook DDR266, but it is definetly not a 2x price difference.
  10. Lacero macrumors 604


    Jan 20, 2005
    Photoshop was born on the Mac. Photoshop also feels solid on Macs for some reason. The cursor doesn't twitch or stutter like it does in Windows.
  11. HeWhoSpitsFire macrumors member


    Aug 13, 2004
    Daysleeper and a fellow Ian,

    I've been using Photoshop on a mac for about 12 years now (I'm only 25, where the hell does the time go!), and currently use CS on my little old G4 867Mhz Quicksilver.

    This machine as with most macs eats up photoshop like a madman, granted I could go faster with a G5, but I'm not playing many games, just work.

    Granted mine cost a grip more than $1000 when I bought (what was that '99 :eek: ) but works as follows:

    G4 867 "Quicksilver
    1.12 GB of memory
    Total of 180 GB disk space (1 X 60, 1 X 120)
    Radeon 9800 Pro
    (OLD PCI) Nexus 128
    Two Sun Microsystem 24 inch CRTs
    and one Viewsonic G773 (yes that is three monitors, not enough desk)
    Plus misc. doohickeys and addons.

    Here's the ouch part, new the machine itself was well into the $2500, plus the obvious upgrades. My point is, this machine is 6.5 years (or more) old, and is still kicking, strongly I might add. And also runs Final Cut Express, Photoshop loaded to the brim, as well as many others. Oh yeah, it's got a DVD-RW (Pioneer DVR-103, slow, but effective).

    And don't forget to buy a four button mouse, you'll thank me for it later.

    So in short (not so much) it's worth every penny.
  12. Les Kern macrumors 68040

    Les Kern

    Apr 26, 2002
    You should seriously consider an eMac. New. One with a SuperDrive has a nice edu price. Check with your school tech person and ask them if there is an eMac sale going on. Recently they had 1.0 GHz with superdrives in 10-packs for 699.00. Without it was 499.00. Pop in some ram, good to go. I have 100 of them, and it's a solid performer... albeit darned heavy.
  13. Benj macrumors regular

    Oct 9, 2004
    Laptops are dire for photo work, unless you have a desktop at home as well. The screens are just not good enough. Especially the iBook 14 (I used to try and use one for Capture One and Photoshop).
  14. daysleeper33 thread starter macrumors newbie

    Jan 27, 2005
    Thanks for the interest


    So let me get this straight, just to summarize.

    1. No one thinks it makes any sense to use ebay for mac stuff because I get an education discount that I should use.

    2.Don't buy ram from apple, I hear that alot, my only concern is is it very difficult to install ram on a mac, I have done it on my pc and found it to be very easy, but I have never opened a mac. If I had a warranty and installed my own ram would it void said warranty?

    3. So no one believes the mini mac will overheat, did the G4 cube ever do that? You see I'm used to things that look to good to be true being that.

    4. How big a difference is the g5 and g4 it only appears to be a few hundred mega hertz, 1.25 and 1.6. Is there more to the story?

    Thanks for the help,

    Any recommendations on a good LCD monitor or Glass Monitor for the Mini if I go that route?
  15. jsw Moderator emeritus


    Mar 16, 2004
    Andover, MA
    True. You can get a nice eMac for $900 or less, a mini for $575 (1.25 GHz with at least a 512MB upgrade). Why get something old? The apps on the new ones are worth any slight cost increase.

    The only Mac desktop that RAM is at all hard to add to is the mini - the rest are cake.
    The mini won't overheat. Played with one for hours and it remained cool. The fans are quiet, and most of the time it's almost silent. Really.

    Today, you won't see much. As Tiger and future OSs make more use of the G5's 64-bit architecture, you'll see more of a difference. However, the G4 will work just fine for you for the next few years. People still get along nicely with G3s.

    Dells are (oddly) recommended often around here as far as cheap LCDs go. CRTs? You could probably pick a decent one up locally for $100-$200, depending on size.

    Edit: if you're going to buy a monitor, I'd seriously look into the eMac (as others have mentioned). It's heavy, but it'll do what you need, and the disk is faster than the mini's, the RAM is easier to get to, etc.
  16. Bear macrumors G3

    Jul 23, 2002
    Sol III - Terra
    When going through ebay, you cannot custom configure the machine. Just because it's on ebay doesn't necessarily mean it's a good deal. Also, you may not get a receipt that can be used for proof of purchase for warranty repair. These are just some of the risks of buying from ebay. In the end, you'll probably get a better overall deal using your discount, especially since you'll be able to custom configure the machine.

    You would only void the warranty if you damaged the machine. Also, are you looking at going to 512MB or 1GB? 512MB from Apple will be about the same (or less) than getting third party memory. And since you need to keep the original Apple memory for warranty repairs, you can't get money from selling it. As for the 1GB, it depends on how much it costs from Apple with your discount versus how much others are selling it for. Also, to some people a $50 to $75 difference is not enough to go through the hassle of third party memory.

    The biggest difference is pretty much how much ram you'll be able to put in the machines. The G5 will also have an advantage of memory access speed due to the faster bus. It depends on what applications you are using. You could also spend the extra for the 1.42GHz Mini (since have the price is the larger harddrive, it's not that big of a jump in money).
  17. Aleks DD macrumors newbie

    Jan 28, 2005
    Overheat? Never. Once I rendered a 3D Animation with my Cube which took 11 days and it worked without any problems :)
  18. Chip NoVaMac macrumors G3

    Chip NoVaMac

    Dec 25, 2003
    Northern Virginia
    There are many photo pros doing their work on the road with the PB 12" and 15", and never heard any complaints from them about the screens really. Sure nothing beats having a 20" display to work with, but the color accuracy of the PB screens is pretty darn good IMO.
  19. Chip NoVaMac macrumors G3

    Chip NoVaMac

    Dec 25, 2003
    Northern Virginia
    Spot on advice from you and Bear.

    Also with eBay you really don't know the people selling it. And you are often left high and dry with DOA units. You have to go back to Apple with it, if it has a warranty.

    On the Dell monitors. I had wanted the 2005FPW widescreen. Reviews on it were pretty darn good. At the Holidays Dell had the price with coupons down to $550-600. The had shipped me a 2001FP instead. Got them to give me a total of $125 off for my troubles in credit and gift certificates.

    Not disappointed in the least with it. A friend with one of the new Apple 20" monitors, was impressed as well. Though he prefers the brushed metal look of his with his PM G5.
  20. slu macrumors 68000


    Sep 15, 2004
    How about a referb iMac G5? Looking at the Apple Store right now I see this:

    iMac G5 1.8GHz/ 256MB/ 80GB/ SuperDrive/ 56K/ 17-inch
    Your price: $1,299.00

    This is a great deal and perfect for what you need.
  21. Eevee macrumors 6502a


    Aug 10, 2004
    New Haven, CT
    For what you're doing, I would save some more money and go with the iMac G5 or the PowerMac G5 (single) w/ at least 1 gig memory. I know it's much, but you'll love the performance and it'll last a long time. I'm not a big fan of the mini (but that's just me).

    If you want an Apple display, MacConnection has the original Apple 17" Studio Display LCD for $594.00!


    True, it's not the new 20" LCD, but, it's quite nice to work on.

    Let us know what you decide!
  22. Makosuke macrumors 603

    Aug 15, 2001
    The Cool Part of CA, USA
    eBay is a risky proposition, but I wouldn't rule out used--for what you've described, the best fit would be an iMac G5 (fast, easy to upgrade later, decent screen), a bottom of the line G5 tower (fast, very upgradable, pick a monitor you like), or a used formerly high-end G4 tower (inexpensive, but still decent for speed and lots of room to uprgade RAM, HD, and screen). Try places like Apple's refurbished specials (they can have some GREAT deals), SmallDog, or MegaMacs for reputable used/refurb machines.

    Like JSW said, easy as cake on everything but the Mini.

    The Mini isn't going to overheat, but it still may not be the computer you want. The price is right, the G4 in it will hold up to an older tower (it'll be noticably faster than the dual 533 you mentioned, which I used to own), but the RAM is limited if you end up wanting to do more, and more importantly the laptop-style hard drive will be noticably slower than the drives in the iMac or a deskop when working with photos. An external Firewire drive will improve the situation, but you're still likely to see a speed improvement with an iMac, eMac, or any tower (plus you can easily upgrade the drive later by yourself).

    There is a lot more to the story, but either one will probably get the job done for you. Any G5 will be noticably faster, but not necessarily enough to be worth the extra money if you otherwise like the look of a computer with a G4.

    Last, although Dell monitors are popular, I prefer ViewSonic when quality counts--Dell's are decent and inexpensive, but in my experience anyway ViewSonic seems to have better overall quality.
  23. Makosuke macrumors 603

    Aug 15, 2001
    The Cool Part of CA, USA
    I forgot to mention: If you want good real-world speed tests of just about every Mac available, go to http://barefeats.com
  24. zelmo macrumors 603


    Jul 3, 2004
    Mac since 7.5
    A Mac Mini with the EDU discount is $733, which includes 1.25GHz/512MB RAM/80GB hdd/SuperDrive/wired keyboard and mouse. Add another $136 if you want to go Bluetooth with that keyboard/mouse, as well as tossing in an Airport card for 802.11b/g wireless. Now you're up to a cool $869, and you still need a monitor.

    If you go with an eMac, you can do pretty well for $966, which will get you the same 1.25GHz G4/ 512MB Ram/ 80GB hdd/SuperDrive, along with a 17" CRT. You could add wireless card, Bluetooth module, and upgrade to the BT key/mouse for another $160, which gets you to $1,126.

    If space is the big concern, I'd go for the 3 lb. mini and find a $250 LCD to go with it.
    If not, the 55 lb. eMac might be a better deal, if only because it has 2 slots for memory as opposed to the single slot in the mini, and they are easier to access.

    I'd suggest you just go for the 17" iMac G5 1.8GHz, but by the time you add RAM and BT/wireless, you are far out of your listed price range.

    I have an 800MHz G4 iMac with 512RAM, and it runs Photoshop and all the iLife app's fine. You won't be sorry no matter what. Get to an Apple Store and check out your options. Good luck, and don't forget to stop back to tell us how it goes.

Share This Page