Which Mac for my needs

Discussion in 'Buying Tips and Advice' started by Robdogg3058, Aug 1, 2013.

  1. Robdogg3058 macrumors newbie

    Aug 1, 2013
    Hi All

    Sorry for yet another 'Which mac?' thread but this forum is really helpful andf I am hoping you can help me out.

    I am getting ready to make a new purchase for myself as my wife seems to have stolen my old 2009 MacBook and is in no danger of giving it back to me any time soon. I am looking to replace my desktop Windows PC. I am hoping their will be some release dates soon for the new machines.

    My Needs:
    1. 90% of the time it will be sat on my desk (I need internet access and Office applications for my uni work while I am on holiday)
    2. I use my computer for Photoshop, Lightroom for photography hobby, internet, Netflix/lovefilm, movies, Games (just football manager), running a VM for my IT training labs, learning C#/web design/SQL.

    I already have a DGM IPS-2701WPH 27" LED Widescreen Monitor which has HDMI, Dual Link DVI-D, Display Port, and VGA inputs. It can also display 2560 x 1440 res. I use this monitor as a second PC monitor as well as for my XBOX.

    I also have a 24" monitor that has VGA/DVI and will output 1920x1200. This is only used on my computer.

    My thinking:
    I was thinking of getting a laptop (13" Air/13" or 15" MBP) and connecting it to both monitors. Can all three of these laptops work with 2 external monitors? If so I would be able to have three screens (inc laptop) and when using XBOX swap the 27" over.

    I often still browse the internet while watching a film or in between games on the XBOX.

    When doing my Uni work I find it useful to have many documents and web browsers open at the same time so three screens would be ideal real estate.

    Storage wise I am going to use my old MacBook to store my iTunes library and use iTunes Match to stream it to my new machine and iPad and apple TV.

    I will be getting a 256GB SSD in which ever laptop I get which should be plenty for my photo's and documents etc. I have plenty of external usb drives if I need to use them.

    The question is which processor and RAM specs will be suitable for my needs?

    The other option is to get a Mac mini (buy 1 new monitor)/imac (use as third screen). Then use my old MacBook/ipad for when I am away like I do now. Can you run 3 screens off a mini or 2 extra screens off an imac?

    Many Thanks
  2. will waters macrumors regular

    Jul 19, 2011
    Great Britain
    My view:

    No you will not be able to use the mac mini with 3 screens, you can only do this with the retina mac book pro and the imac, as these are the only ones with powerful enough GPU's and enough ports to handle multiple monitors

    Unless you need a Laptop, then do not get one, the power from a mac mini will be a lot better, since it is designed for continuos everyday use, whereas a laptop is not

    Also if you were to get a mac mini, you could have the SSD in the mac mini and then a cheap HDD plugged into it for holding all music, and backups etc

    For when on Holiday just use your iPad, then pages etc

    You will save yourself a lot of money, and can still use old monitors etc if you go with the mini, my choice for you would be the mid-range model, best to go with the fusion drive, if not then the Retina MBP will be good for you, whatever you choose though, weight for the new models to come out!

    Message me if you have any other problems

  3. DrakkenWar macrumors 6502


    Nov 7, 2010
    San Antonio,Texas
    I second the mini..

    Being that you already have a macbook that serves most of your needs, I do not see the use in getting another one. From what you have said it, will be pretty much a desktop for the most part anyway.

    I would lean towards an iMac if not for the gear you already have. You can easily push 2 24" LCD's with any mini on the market right now and get plenty of screen room (That is what I have going with my 2011 and it's great!). As far as what you want out of your computer? A mini will kick the teeth out of it all for a price that will not break the bank. I also think to get the most bang for your buck you have the most expansion options going the mini route. But that could just be my preference.

    Like Will said, weigh your options, don't be in a rush. I took a good 9 months of my own research, forum trolling here and a few other places before I settled on my mini. I don't regret it, it's a fantastic little work horse that is honestly a joy to use.

    Good luck either way.
  4. Robdogg3058 thread starter macrumors newbie

    Aug 1, 2013

    Thanks for the quick responses. I think a desktop is the way to go as the MacBook has a few years left in it yet and I can get a keyboard cover for my ipad for trips away. Am I right in thinking that I won't need a usb SuperDrive as I can share the DVD drive from my MacBook for the rare chance I need it?

    I think an iMac is probably going to fit my needs better as I get the third screen. With regards to cables, I need one to display port and one to dvi. Do I need an adapter or are there straight through cables available?

    With an iMac I would also get speakers, webcam, and a wireless keyboard and trackpad. With regards to processor and RAM, would a quad core i5 be enough for what I use or would I need an i7?

    Also is 8gb ram enough as if I get the 21.5" iMac I have to update it when I buy it, if I can stretch to a 27" I suppose I can see how it goes with 8 and upgrade it myself if need be.

    I hope they announce the new models soon. I will be using my education discount but there is a £70 app store voucher if i order soon. Is there an annual conference in the fall where they normally announce things like WWDC?

  5. stiligFox macrumors 65816


    Apr 24, 2009
    If the DisplayPort is a Mini DisplayPort, then it will plug directly into a ThunderBolt port, however if not you'll need an adapter. The DVI will need an adapter itself, but they aren't very expensive -- I think I paid $30 for the official Apple one, but you can get official and non official ones cheaper online.

    If you get the 21.5", I would bump up that RAM as high as you can afford, unless you feel you'll be comfortable ungluing the screen in the future to upgrade it yourself. If you get the 27", get the lowest possible, and then get some RAM from a 3rd party like OWC as it will be much cheaper than what Apple charges for the upgrade. But either way, I'd stay no less that 16GB.

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