To cheap or to expensive?

Discussion in 'Buying Tips and Advice' started by iSamurai, Mar 6, 2010.

  1. iSamurai macrumors 65816

    iSamurai

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    ɹǝpun uʍop 'ǝuɐqsı&#
    #1
    I'm just curious to know how people thinks about if it's better to buy a cheap, low-end computer and then replace it every 1-2 years (and sell the old one) or get a good, high-end computer and use it for 3-4 years?
     
  2. Hellhammer Moderator

    Hellhammer

    Staff Member

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    #2
    If you don't need the power of high-end computer, then buying low-end is better and replacing it when needed.
     
  3. velocityg4 macrumors 68040

    velocityg4

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    #3
    For most people a low end computer should last at least four years. Unless you are talking about the rock bottom models with a single core celeron and 2GB RAM.

    Any of the dual cores with 4GB RAM should have a great lifespan unless some major shift happens in peoples use. As Office, Web Browsing, HD playback and e-mail do not stress these systems.

    Heck I consider myself a fairly demanding user and I rarely if ever hit 100% CPU on my 2.5Ghz Pentium Dual Core with 4GB RAM. My limitations are the speed of my hard drive and my Video card as the Radeon 4850 does not handle new titles at 1920x1200 at max detail settings. Though the gaming aspect puts me in the vast minority.

    Edit: I built a mid range (sub $1000) computer for my father about 3 1/2 years ago. With a $50 RAM upgrade and Windows 7 it should go another 3 years.
    It currently has a Radeon X1600Pro, Core 2 Duo 1.86Ghz, 2GB RAM and dual 160GB HD's in RAID 0 with an external backup.
     
  4. 92jlee macrumors 6502

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    #4


    I had a mac mini 1.66 for 4 years before I bought an iMac, The jump is amazing, the mini was still working ( I sold it recently) but it was painfully slow. Id say spend the money you can and keep it for as long as you possibly can - Ill be using this iMac for more than four, if not 6 years.. It will do everything I need in that ammount of time.

    I have a 11 year old G4 which acts as my file server (apart from the 128 drive limit, that you can solve by partitioning) computers last a long time if you treat them well - the only problem I have with my imac is that I cant use it as an external monitor like the new ones.

    Spend as much as you possibly can.
     
  5. racer1441 macrumors 68000

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    Jul 3, 2009
    #5
    I buy a high end and replace it every update, about 6 months or so.
     
  6. JYork23 macrumors member

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    Connecticut
    #6
    That's just bragging...and that's not helpful.
     
  7. Hmac macrumors 68020

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    Midwest USA
    #7
    My preference has always been high-end every 2-3 years. It's not cost-efficient, just personal preference and it's worth the money to me to do it that way.
     
  8. TRAG macrumors 6502

    TRAG

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    Louisiana, USA
    #8
    That is unhelpful. But not to gloat, I generally do the same, although not every 6 months. That's too soon and not why I do it. I only do it for great features and improvements.

    I originally bought a low-end 15.4" Penryn MBP. 3 months later, unibodies were released. Now I only got the MBP because I never liked the black and white MB's plastic enclosure. Naively, I waited until March '09 to sell and upgrade to a unibody 13.3" MB because after nearly a year of toting the 15.4" MBP around campus, I wanted a smaller Mac. And so I got it. Again, a few months later, 13.3" MBP were released. The reasons I sold and upgraded that time was for far better reasons than the first: the better display with it's higher color gamut, SD card slot (I'm a photographer), ability to expand my RAM to 8 GB if I so choose, FireWire 800, and the inevitable faster process. I am certain happy with my MBP now.

    I do not plan on upgrading it until I am nearly out of college in about 3 years or Apple implements something totally new that I might need a use of. But I cannot think of anything they could do besides bump up the processors.
     
  9. flyfish29 macrumors 68020

    flyfish29

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    New HAMpshire
    #9
    In the past I have bought the high end "consumer" version so middle of the road.

    My experience has been that I have been able to use that computer for 4-5 years comfortably. My problem this last time was that I went 6 years and had difficulty and some issues moving data over from very old software versions. I also was quickly running out of hard drive space and that has made it very difficult to transfer files, backup to DVD some files, etc.

    My future plans are as follows: Buy mid-range again, but replace every two years. This makes sense in this way.

    So I bought a MacBook Pro 15" for $1,600 range last fall. If I sell it for $8-900 in less than 2 years and upgrade at that point to another $1600ish computer. If I keep up that pattern then after the initial two years ($800 per year) I am in a sense paying $400 a year for the computer to use....which is what I would do if I was upgrading every 4 years as before.

    I also don't end up having as much difficulty transferring files and have (for the most part) the newest version of hardware.

    The only thing that will put a wrench in my plan is when my son and daughter need a newer computer than my old iMac 17" lampshade!!!
     
  10. talmy macrumors 601

    talmy

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    Oregon
    #10
    I always buy quality. That doesn't mean the fastest system, but one with a good display that's easy on the eyes, a mouse and keyboard that are easy to use and don't cause mistakes, quiet operation, sturdy construction.

    Until I started buying Macs I had bought Dells from their Small Business site. I use an HP workstation at work, and on PCs I use 20 year old Northgate Omnikey keyboards which weigh a ton and were one of the best keyboards ever made. Unfortunately they won't work on Macs because there's no "Windows" key = Command key.
     
  11. flyfish29 macrumors 68020

    flyfish29

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    #11
    I agree with buying quality- but I assume based on the OP's signature he/she was going to buy an Apple product......which for the most part are quality.
     
  12. Kirbdog macrumors regular

    Kirbdog

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    Whistler, British Columbia, Canada
    #12
    I replace my machines every other year. Generally I buy refurbished and upgrade HDD and RAM, I feel I save a fair bit of money being one revision behind the newest offerings (especially with laptops). I was on the same program with my desktop until the Quad core iMacs came out, the performance upgrade was to much to pass on. I went with a new BTO i7 that I should get 3 years out of.

    I think it is more of a personal preference based on what you need your machine to do. But I also found that upgrading every other year I did not lose much on the resale.
     
  13. racer1441 macrumors 68000

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    #13
    The OP was looking for an opinion and I gave exactly what I do. Works for me, should work for the OP.

    It's not bragging if it's true.
     
  14. JYork23 macrumors member

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    Connecticut
    #14
    The bottom line is that you should buy the highest end that you can afford since it doesn't make sense to chuck and re-buy often. Why waste the money buying over and over again "every six months?" That money certainly can go to better use somewhere else.

    The best part (for me) about having made the switch to Mac is that even the "low-end" gear remains viable for much much longer. For example, I'm sitting at a late 2006 iMac which I finished cutting a 1/2 hr TV show in 1080i last month. There is no way a Windows-based machine that I would have purchased around that time would have been able to handle the task. But now that this particular workflow is coming more common for me, I'd rather not suffer the extreme render times that I incurred before. So I'm back in the market for another Mac. Although I could afford to go Mac Pro now, I simply can't justify the price difference so I'll be picking up a new i7.

    However, if I was in a better financial situation back in '06, I would have gone Mac Pro. I would be able to better upgrade it. And it would continue to be viable for this increased workload. I wouldn't be in the market for a new Mac today.

    Bottom line, it's up to your individual situation as to if you want to pay more upfront for something you can keep longer or get the best you can knowing that you'll be in the market again in a few years.

    ...unless you're a spoiled rich kid with a penchant for making YouTube videos of setting Mac's on fire in hopes that it wins you friends.
     
  15. marksandvig macrumors regular

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    May 21, 2006
    #15
    I bought my 2.0ghz MacBook (first gen- '06) with the original Core Duo almost four years ago and have been waiting to upgrade for awhile. My Apple Care ran out last July and luckily I was able to get a couple of things fixed before it was up. Well I always plan on having the money available to purchase a new machine right around the time the warranty is up, however I just don't feel the need to upgrade right now. I just feel like the specs offered now are not that much better than the 3.5 year old mac in my hands. My disc drive went out a few weeks ago, and it's got a few other small problems, but hopefully it will last until a worthwhile revision.
     
  16. cleondann macrumors newbie

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    Mar 4, 2010
    #16
    I use to buy a quality product .. Coz i love things that i bought and if i have to replace it in few days then it's really tough for me. :apple:
     
  17. Alvi macrumors 65816

    Alvi

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    Mars
    #17
    I don't trust apple anymore for long term investments, i lived with a high end iMac that brokedown after 3 years and a few months it broke my heart

    So now i want to spend less than 1400$ on a Mac, get apple care, and that ensures me that i can trash my Mac after 3 years without getting broken hearted, if the mac i'll get lasts more than 4-5 years they'll gain my trust again
     
  18. mgridgaway macrumors 6502

    mgridgaway

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    Feb 25, 2006
    #18
    I bought my current iMac a little over 2 years ago and I see no need to upgrade for the foreseeable future. It does everything I want (which is pretty basic stuff at this point... and maybe some encoding every now and then) and it does it fast. Realistic, I'd like to get 2 more years out of it, and at that point I'll probably decide if it's time to upgrade or not.

    Buying a computer every other year seems like a real waste of money. Technology just doesn't get much better that quickly. 3 years is the earliest I would ever consider upgrading, and even that would have to mean some amazing new processor.
     
  19. flyfish29 macrumors 68020

    flyfish29

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    New HAMpshire
    #19
    Yeah, and every Toyota runs perfectly!!:rolleyes:

    EVERY company has flawed products...some more than others. Apple has more now that they every had (in my opinion) but statistically it probably is much better than most companies. Consumer Reports still lists Apple as of one of the best computer/electronic companies for reliability.
     
  20. MacVibe macrumors regular

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    Dec 21, 2009
    #20
    Well, I come from the "should have had an update by now" threads, so I think the answer to your post is that your only mac option right now is low end and expensive. So if price is a factor, and you must have a mac, you should look used or refurbished. Currently the i5 and i7 chips are mid and high end and they are not available in macs, so very, very sad.:(
     
  21. JYork23 macrumors member

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    Jan 16, 2008
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    Connecticut
    #21
    Huh? They must have missed seeing the 27" iMac i5 and the iMac i7 in the Apple Online Store. Just ordered my i7 yesterday.
     
  22. smartalic34 macrumors 6502a

    smartalic34

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    May 16, 2006
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    USA
    #22
    I prefer to get higher end and upgrade less often. I have a 15" MBP that is approaching 4 years old, and I can foresee myself using it another 3-4 years, at least. For web browsing, word processing, and occasional light gaming (Half Life 2, Call of Duty 4), the Core Duo processor and ATI Radeon X1600 are just fine. When this machine goes, I'll get another MBP
     
  23. student_trap macrumors 68000

    student_trap

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    'Ol Smokey, UK
    #23
    I actually do it both ways in my 2 system set-up

    Buy one very expensive mac pro that lasts for a long while, and supplement it with cheap laptops

    I find it works for me.

    For most people I would always advise against the most expensive machine, or at least paying for any small upgrades for top money. I don't think that buying the best that you can afford is always the best advice. I could afford to buy a pro rather than a consumer laptop, but there just isn't any point, and it enables me to upgrade when I want, rather than when it is strictly financially advisable
     
  24. JYork23 macrumors member

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    Connecticut
    #24
    Another option if you're looking to go high end is to lease. They typically want you to be spending at least $5k, but can be talked into it if you're in the $4k range.
     
  25. yojitani macrumors 68000

    yojitani

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    #25
    I try to buy something that I know I can sell in a few years and still get at least half the funds I need to buy a new computer. Frankly, I've had enough of buying cheap for everything. I can't begin to tell you how much money I've wasted buying cheap stuff.
     

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