What should I buy?

Discussion in 'Buying Tips and Advice' started by RobaLonches, Jan 31, 2012.

  1. RobaLonches macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Jan 31, 2012
    Location:
    Los Angeles, CA
    #1
    Good evening readers!

    I'm a graphic design/photography major at my school and I need some help/advice on picking a new computer.

    First thing I need to get out of the way is the fact that I am on a tight budget. Being a full time student at a CSU really does burn a hole in my pocket (can't imagine those at private institutions). At any rate, I've done enough research to round my search down to 2 options. First option, the 2.3Ghz Mac Mini. I chose this one out of all the options available because it's affordable, and so is RAM. Getting that already quick i5 processor even quicker by upgrading the RAM to 8GBs is no problem for me.

    The second choice was the base iMac all in one that has a 2.5Ghz Quad with the Radeon Graphics.

    I will be working in most of Adobe's Creative Suite software (Photoshop, Illustrator, InDesign, Light Room). I would be substituting Sony Vegas for Final Cut Studio. No gaming what so ever. I have an Xbox 360, and PS3 so I refuse to game on the Mac.

    I don't need portability either which is why I'm not even looking at Macbook Pros however I don't exactly need the desktop either.

    I'm choosing a Mac over a Windows because I need reliability. I love windows but sometimes my system crashes in the middle of a project and then I need to restart all over again. I can't have that.

    Soooo...? Advice please? Go! :D :D :D :D :D :apple:

    And before I forget, thank you all who take the time to read and reply. I really do appreciate it :)
     
  2. miles01110 macrumors Core

    miles01110

    Joined:
    Jul 24, 2006
    Location:
    The Ivory Tower (I'm not coming down)
    #2
    Machines running Windows 7 are no more or less reliable in terms of crashes than OS X. :rolleyes:

    Do you have software licenses already? If you already have Windows licenses it doesn't make any sense to switch to OS X.
     
  3. Winni macrumors 68030

    Winni

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    Oct 15, 2008
    Location:
    Germany.
    #3
    I don't know what you people do with your PCs, but my Windows machines haven't been crashing on me in more than one and a half decades. And I make my living in IT and use computers are real work horses.

    I use Windows Servers and Windows workstation, Linux servers and OS X machines on a daily basis and in my professional experience this whole "OS X is more reliable than Windows" talk is just marketing bollocks without any foundation in the real world.

    I understand personal preferences and see why people prefer USING software for OS X over software for Windows, but when we're talking about the performance and robustness of the underlying operating system, then the pecking order is awfully simple: Linux > Windows > OS X. Yes, OS X comes in last and Linux beats Windows. And again: I was talking about robustness and performance, not about user interface and graphics design, which are the only two compartments where OS X clearly beats the competition.

    That being said, for what you want to use your computer, the iMac is the better choice because you will get much more bang for the buck. Mac Minis are beautiful little machines and I like them a lot, but compared to an iMac, they are completely overpriced and do not perform as well. (Slower hard disks, dual core CPUs vs Quad Core CPUs, worse graphics chips, less RAM.)
     
  4. RobaLonches thread starter macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Jan 31, 2012
    Location:
    Los Angeles, CA
    #4
    Reply, for lack of a better title..

    Miles, I don't have software licences yet. I use most of the software at school since we're allowed to use it while we're there. My current PC is 4 years old and runs on a dual core processor with 2gbs of RAM. I know from experience how to upgrade RAM which is why I was considering a Mini.

    Winni, I get that being in IT is your profession and I'm obviously no one to belittle that.I just made my statement based on personal experience. So you think iMac? Even ifI upgrade to 8GBs of RAM, will not game, watch movies, or listen to music?

    ----------

    I forgot to mention I currently run a Pentium. :D:D:D:D:D

    ----------

    I forgot to mention I currently run a Pentium. :D:D:D:D:D
     
  5. will waters macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Jul 19, 2011
    Location:
    Great Britain
    #5
    MAc mini

    Hi
    The mac mini will do you, as long as you upgrade the ram. If you are on a tight budget!

    Will
     
  6. Xcallibur macrumors 6502a

    Xcallibur

    Joined:
    Jul 24, 2011
    Location:
    Manchester
    #6
    I agree that the performance of Linux is vastly superior to it counterparts, however its robustness has to be questioned sometimes, not all features of Linux OS's (in my experience) have worked perfectly. Admittedly Linux based OS's get better by the day, but some features are not as robust as you have made out.
     
  7. js81 macrumors 65816

    js81

    Joined:
    Dec 31, 2008
    Location:
    KY
    #7
    If things are on such a tight budget (and believe me, I KNOW a tight budget), why don't you just upgrade your current PC? My primary computer (the MBP in my sig is mostly my wife's, even though its provided by my work lol) is a 5+ year old HP DC5750 (business model). It has an Athlon 64 X2 processor and 6GB of RAM with Windows 7... and it does absolutely everything I need just fine. Am I suggesting that something that old (like I assume you have?) will be perfect for the Adobe suite and Vegas? No. But if money's a real concern, a RAM upgrade in your current machine (many support 8GB of RAM) would be the best bang for your buck until things are better.

    My advice - if the money ain't there and you can make due, WAIT. From exeperience, friend...
     
  8. js81 macrumors 65816

    js81

    Joined:
    Dec 31, 2008
    Location:
    KY
    #8
    By the way, I think the root problem of this is one (or both) of these two things:

    1) VISTA. Yuck...
    2) 2GB of RAM. You don't have nearly enough RAM to be doing what you're doing (assuming you're doing the photo/video editing on that machine)

    Is it a laptop or desktop?
     
  9. talmy macrumors 601

    talmy

    Joined:
    Oct 26, 2009
    Location:
    Oregon
    #9
    I've got to chime in with agreement of buying a PC since you are accustomed to it and only object to your current system crashing.

    The "trick" with a PC is to by a commercial quality system. Look at an HP or Dell workstation. I'm currently using an HP Z400 at work and the previous one I had I used for 4 years with only one crash in all that time. For personal use and at a previous employer I used Dell Precision Workstations and Optiplex line of computers. These won't save you any money over the Mac, but will be just as reliable, if not more so -- You generally get error correcting (ECC) memory, a Xeon (server/workstation grade) processor, and server quality hard drives that can be configured RAID 1 if you wish. Don't buy the $500 special at the Big Box store.
     
  10. RobaLonches thread starter macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Jan 31, 2012
    Location:
    Los Angeles, CA
    #10
    js81, The reason why I don't want to upgrade my current PC is because it is a laptop, and I am a little scared to mess around with the internals. A desktop is easy to open the side and upgrade but I've never upgraded a laptop before. As I would assume the Mac Mini is. My current laptop is not as old as 5+ years but it is a lot less powered then your PC. I only have a Pentium Core processor with 2GBs of RAM and a 300GB HDD running Vista :(. I do in fact also have experience with the Mac platform. I use them at school all the time. As an art student I'm also starting to realize that PC users are actually the black sheep of the heard and are also the ones who suffer the most. Money for me is a little tight, but not THAT tight which I am grateful for. I just need to make sure I know where my money is going and right now, it's going into tuition, books, and art supplies. Thank you for your suggestion!

    ----------

    My problem with this is that being a college student who shops at big name retail locations like Best Buy, or the Apple Store, I wouldn't know where to get a sort of commercial quality system. To be honest I rather not go searching into the wild for it either. Thank for the suggestion though.
     
  11. js81 macrumors 65816

    js81

    Joined:
    Dec 31, 2008
    Location:
    KY
    #11
    Believe it or not, most laptops are even easier to upgrade the RAM on than most desktops... simply power down, flip it over, remove a screw or two (on a cover that is usually labeled) and install. And a Pentium Dual Core (I assume that's what you meant?) isn't a bad chip at all - its basically a Core 2 Duo with a bit less cache - and probably noticeable more powerful than my Athlon 64. Don't believe it? Head over to cpubenchmark.net and enter your CPU's model number - I have an Athlon 64 X2 4800+. More than likely, though, you're biggest hardware culprit is a pokey 5400rpm hard drive. Down side is that most laptops only support one drive and 7200rpm drives aren't THAT much faster.

    If you have the money, go for it - personally, I would recommend the Mini with DUAL monitors. And try it with 4GB RAM first; it may be more than enough. Just check Activity Monitor for your usage.
     
  12. lolwut89, Feb 1, 2012
    Last edited: Feb 1, 2012

    lolwut89 macrumors member

    Joined:
    Jan 13, 2012
    #12
    False. Desktops, all you do is remove the side panel which in most cases does not require any screws and all you do is latch the memory card into the memory banks.

    Also, if you're on a tight budget why are you considering getting a Mac? You will most likely have to buy all the adobe CS programs again. A suite costs what like $800? The master collection costs something like $1800 right?

    I don't know about you, but I don't even have the patience for even simple video conversions. Let me tell you, having a quad core is nice. I would list it as a requirement rather than a luxury. You will be able to do things much faster. I know that the dual core i5s that Apple has shows up as "quad cores" due to hyper threading, but the performance is not the same. A true quad core CPU will always outperform a dual core with hyper threading.

    I don't know what you do on your computer. What are its specs? Windows 7 based computers are rock solid in the stability department. In fact I really haven't had a problem since XP.
     
  13. Lisa89 macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Jan 30, 2012
    #13
    If your budget is tight, i would upgrade your old computer as much as possible. Apple = absolutely NOT budget, you pay for the brand & design. My boyfriend just assembled a brand new windows pc for one third of the price of my new mac. With the same (or even better) specifications.
    Then, when something crashes, you can easily replace the part which is broken. With mac, unless you go mac pro, you don't open your appliance to but just take it back to the shop (= time!) Unless it's a harddrive or ram problem, you can't just 'fix' it.

    I have a core2duo with 2 gig of ram, and my mac crashes too when opening a few programs. That has nothing to do with windows or mac, just because your computer specifications are not so good anymore. It's more of a hardware problem.

    I use mac because i like the feeling of owning a mac: the design, portability of the MBP, the nice screen, snow leopard and the easy-to-use interface... and pay the price for that. I wish i could be happy with a windows 7, so much cheaper. But.. i'm not :D
     
  14. js81 macrumors 65816

    js81

    Joined:
    Dec 31, 2008
    Location:
    KY
    #14
    Since when are screwdrivers so hard to operate? Did I miss something? :p

    In all seriousness, I disagree - my desktop is in the floor with a million-and-one cables connected to it (keyboard, mouse, external HD, ethernet, audio, card reader, hard drive dock, usb hub, printer, speakers, etc.); if I want to get to it, I more than likely will have to disconnect at least some of those. Laptops are dead-simple: turn it off, flip it over, remove a screw or two, insert memory, reverse. Done in 5 minutes or less. I've been doing this for a long time now; I'd rather work on a typical laptop than a typical desktop.
     
  15. GermanyChris macrumors 601

    GermanyChris

    Joined:
    Jul 3, 2011
    Location:
    Here
    #15
    I think your going about this backward..

    Look at the account a go well I have x dollars

    then look at the various computers for x dollars..

    then go to your geek friend and say what can you build for x dollars..

    then pick..

    If you want a mac then buy one but don't start talking about budgets and such..
     
  16. talmy macrumors 601

    talmy

    Joined:
    Oct 26, 2009
    Location:
    Oregon
    #16
    That is a problem because you won't find the best Windows PCs at Best Buy. But you don't have to search far.
    HP Workstations
    Dell Workstations

    The trick is you just claim to be a business. They won't refuse a sale. BTW these models have a much higher resale than your typical consumer Windows box, so there really is no premium to buy them.
     
  17. Medic278, Feb 2, 2012
    Last edited: Feb 2, 2012

    Medic278 macrumors 6502a

    Medic278

    Joined:
    Feb 1, 2012
    Location:
    New York
    #17
    IF your dead set on a desktop then spend the extra cash and get the iMac it is a better machine and more suited to your needs. However I cannot echo enough that notebooks especially a MacBook Pro will serve you needs just fine and its portable you could always go pro and pick up a relatively cheap external display and it can substitute a desktop. But it all comes down to your budget and what you can afford. Also Apple certified refurb is great way to go for someone budget tight! Talmy is also 100% BestBuy sells pretty and flashy computers that look nice and all but they don't have the internals to back it up. The computers that you will buy at best buy and there are very few exceptions, are designed to appeal to an impulse buyer that just wants something that is cheap and looks flashy. If you want a real computer you are going to have to invest a little into them, Macs aren't cheap but they are fantastic machines. While I am new to mac in the last 3 months I have completely transitioned. In early november I bought a 17" top of the line vaio and then in late November my desktop decided to die, and I bought and iMac and now a few days ago I sold the Vaio and took a huge hit and bought the MacBook Pro. So my recommendation to you would be to look at all your options and don't discount a good notebook they are just as functional as any desktop and in some cases more so. Again wish I new this before but Apple certified refurb is great way to save a few hundred dollars.
     

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