Switching to Mac...need help.

Discussion in 'Buying Tips and Advice' started by jasonmcclain, Jan 20, 2012.

  1. jasonmcclain macrumors newbie

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    #1
    I'm finally making the plunge into Mac, and need some advice on what to get. I currently use Windows laptops, so its been a while since I've owned a desktop. My question is this:

    I have an iPad 2 and iPhone 4. What Mac should I get?

    Should I get a Macbook or iMac?

    I'm looking to stay around $2,500

    My thoughts are MBA with monitor. iMac, or MBP.

    Any and all thoughts are great!

    Thanks!

    Jason
     
  2. simsaladimbamba

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  3. Alaerian Guest

    Alaerian

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    #3
    Hard to make a suggestion without knowing what your common activities are.
     
  4. jasonmcclain thread starter macrumors newbie

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    #4
    well

    My common activities are just that...the most common ones. Web browsing, email, movies, music, etc.

    However, I do want to start doing more things, like possible working with photo and movie editing, etc.

    I just want to get something that's going to do what I what, and not have to worry about whether my Mac can do it.

    Not only that, but I'm just not sure what I'm going to get into once I get the Mac...all I've heard is how much easier they are to use and that you can do all kinds of stuff.
     
  5. Alaerian Guest

    Alaerian

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    #5
    \How important is portability? Are you confined to a desk? Do you travel?
     
  6. jasonmcclain thread starter macrumors newbie

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    #6
    I don't think portability matters a whole lot. That was one of the reasons I bought the iPad 2. I mean, it would be nice to take it on the road (I do most of my traveling with a work PC) but I doubt I'd do any heavy stuff like photo or movie editing in a hotel room...

    What couldn't I do on an iPad 2 that I could on any other Mac?

    If you haven't figured out by now, I'm a complete Mac newbie and have no clue what I'm getting into. :)
     
  7. Alaerian Guest

    Alaerian

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    #7
    If portability isn't a big deal, I'd grab a base MacMini. Be forewarned - they do not come with a monitor, mouse, or keyboard. You'll need to supply those on your own. Assuming you already have those pieces, that would be the best way to start. It's a smaller investment and still a rock solid machine.
     
  8. thekev macrumors 604

    thekev

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    #8
    I actually like this idea. Yes they're similar to a net top aesthetic, but they're not using atom cpus like some of the really cheap PC ones. They're using laptop cpus. They seem to run a bit hot. I'm not sure i'd place it on top of a desk with any kind of fine finishing without something to raise it up a bit because of this. If graphics cards matter at all, the middle model has discrete graphics, but they aren't amazing. I would ensure they meet your needs before buying. The imac runs on mobile graphics too. It's kind of a weak point on Macs in general, but everyone who uses them is used to that. If you want a laptop, I like the macbook pro, but the Air is pretty cool too if it meets your needs.

    I hate the imac. You can't even replace the hard drive yourself, and Apple charges quite a lot to do so.
     
  9. jasonmcclain thread starter macrumors newbie

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    #9
    thekev...what is your opinion on the air and buying the 27" display? I realize i have the ipad for mobile stuff...I"m just not sold on the mac mini being enough for me. I've thought about buying a mini and using it to replace my windows home server box...
     
  10. Alaerian, Jan 20, 2012
    Last edited: Jan 20, 2012

    Alaerian Guest

    Alaerian

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    #10
    If the Mini isn't enough, why on earth would you think the Air would be? Also, what exactly are you doing that you don't think it will be "enough?"
     
  11. jasonmcclain thread starter macrumors newbie

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    #11
    I've read that the mini's aren't that good graphics wise. Is that no longer true?
     
  12. simsaladimbamba

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    #12
    The 2011 Mac mini and 2011 MBA both use the same integrated graphics processor (IGP), only the 2011 Mac mini can be upgraded to a dedicated GPU via the Apple Online Store or any other online or offline retailer, which has that model in its chain.
    Look at www.apple.com/mac for the specs of all current Macs.
     
  13. Alaerian Guest

    Alaerian

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    #13
    Again, what exactly are you doing that you don't think it will be "enough?"
     
  14. Consultant macrumors G5

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    #14
    If you want something high end and want to move it, then get MacBook Pro. If you think iPad 2 is fine when you are out of the house, then get iMac.

    I carry around a MBP 17", iPad 2 around every day. They serve different purposes.
     
  15. DrewJM macrumors newbie

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    #15
    I would suggest you get the baseline iMac.

    I graduated from the MacMini (G4-original) over the summer and I couldn't recommend it more. I have the 21.5 baseline model. I do a lot audio editing, photo editing with Photoshop, iMovie, iPhoto, surf the web and watch videos. It handles everything perfectly with absolutely no problem. I haven't added RAM yet either (which I plan to).

    Of course you can max out specs if you want. But coming from where you are and especially never using a Mac, there's no reason to. It is truly powerful enough for everything you'd want to do and then some.

    Yes, the mini is cheaper and may suite you fine, but the iMac is so easy. Sure, there are top notch monitors out there, but the iMac screen looks fantastic. The speakers that are built in are very impressive (see a previous post of mine). Built in webcam and mic are nice and the quality is very good. Everything works together, the way it was meant to. It will go perfectly with your portable iPad and phone.

    I'd recommend it to everyone. From mom, dad, girlfriend to any semi pro. It's a great value and an extremely pleasant experience.
     
  16. James Craner macrumors 68000

    James Craner

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    #16
    If you don't need portability, because you have an iPad, and you want a machine with a decent graphics card, then it sounds like the iMac would be your best bet. However unless you need one urgently I would hang on for a couple of months as they are due for an update soon.
     
  17. NorCalLights macrumors 6502a

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    #17
    By ALL MEANS you should buy the $799 Mac Mini (that's the one with the dedicated graphics card). If you have room in your budget, you can customize it with an i7 processor (for $100), and if you really want to have a screaming machine, you can select a 256GB Solid State Drive (for $600).

    With all these options (and including a 27" apple display) you're looking at just under $2500 for a really great machine, and much more value for your money than a Macbook Air.
     
  18. thekev macrumors 604

    thekev

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    #18
    I'm not a massive fan of Apple branded displays because too many generations have had weird issues that would cause their retirement prior to an actual backlight failure. A couple things to note, the mini has faster cpus than the Air. The imac has some of the fastest available if you buy the top option, but again I'm not a huge fan of it for a number of reasons. If you do by some chance look at the imac option, check third party retailers and the refurb store. You can save quite a lot on the 27".

    I'm somewhat confused here. Is it just that the Air is a cool machine (because it is) so you want one? If graphics are a concern, you don't want the Air. You might mention what your needs are like in terms of graphics though. Do you use OpenGL heavy applications? Are you using it for gaming? Intel's integrated gpus suck both at a hardware "AND" driver level. That's why I don't suggest them if your needs are great in this regard. If it's photoshop or an Adobe application, OpenGL in those doesn't run very well anyway. If you require OpenCL for any reason, it's not supported by the integrated gpus (at least not this generation). I believe it's supported on the models with discrete graphics.
     
  19. Jnardis macrumors 6502a

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    #19
    Performance and graphics are by for the most important things when buying a computer, but IMO there's nothing like walking into a room with a 27 inch iMac. I have one in my living room and almost every person who sees it comments on it. I really can't see myself buying the imac and sticking it in my home office where nobody goes. I also have an ipad, MBA and i tend to use the iMac the most.
     
  20. jasonmcclain thread starter macrumors newbie

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    Any graphics related uses I'll be doing would be for RPG type stuff.

    I guess I'm just a little confused...I hadn't even thought of a mini because of what I had read in earlier models. But its sounding like it could be a decent machine.

    To be honest, I really don't know what I'm going to be doing on it. I just don't want to get a machine that when I want to do something, whether its play a game, edit a movie of my son's games, or just check email, it's not performing like its supposed to...kinda like my pc is now.

    ----------

    drew...what you describe sounds exactly what I envision myself doing with this machine.

    My question then would be, if needed, could I do any of that stuff on the iPad if I'm away from home, even if its just to do something quick and basic until I get home and really edit on the iMac?
     
  21. DrewJM macrumors newbie

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    #21
    You should go for the iMac (see my post). What you are describing is exactly what I wanted out of my purchase. Six months of using it so far, never let down, it's grand.

    Send me a message if you have any specific questions.
     
  22. Alaerian Guest

    Alaerian

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    #22
    I'd still vote for a Mac Mini. You aren't going to be doing anything that's even remotely taxing for a Mini. Since you're new to OSX, I wouldn't plunk down any serious money on an iMac until you're sure it's an investment that you'd be happy and comfortable with. For now, pick up a Mac Mini and see how you fare. If, after some time, you've grown comfortable enough that you'd like some additional "oomph," perhaps then you might consider moving to an iMac and giving the Mac Mini to a family member.
     
  23. James Craner macrumors 68000

    James Craner

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    #23
  24. Alaerian Guest

    Alaerian

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    Good try, but you forgot some pretty important details.

    The iMac on the top of that chart is the maxed out 27" iMac with the 3.4GHz i7 processor upgrade. That's a $2200 machine with no other options, pre-tax. The base 21" iMac with a 2.5GHz i5 won't be near that. However, it also won't be near a $2200 price tag - it's a cool $1000 less. The base Mac Mini (which I still recommend to the OP) starts at $600. That's a much better initial investment than blowing over $2200 on a machine he's not even sure he'll like.

    Find a chart comparing the base 21" iMac and the Mac Mini.
     
  25. jasonmcclain thread starter macrumors newbie

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    #25
    You guys are providing invaluable information to help me make an informed decision. I really appreciate everything you guys are providing.

    I should clarify that I have used Mac before...just ages ago. And a friend of mine just purchased a MB Pro...which I've used a couple times...and love it.

    I don't think there's any doubt I'll enjoy and welcome this purchase...its just a matter of how deep do I want to jump in.

    I want to be able to do whatever I want whenever...the idea of not being able to self upgrade is worrisome...

    But it seems like the mini has made huge strides to where it once was.
     

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