Which one: Mini Mac, Macbook (Pro or normal), or iMac

Discussion in 'Buying Tips and Advice' started by huskerguy77, Jun 11, 2009.

  1. huskerguy77 macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Jun 11, 2009
    #1
    Hello,

    I recently have decided that I would like to purchase an Apple computer for the first time. I've used them quite a bit, and have always been somewhat interested. However, I plan on keeping my PC to use for my main work and games.

    I kind of want to get a Apple to have fun with and mess around. I am begining to learn Objective-C so that I can make iPhone applications, which looks very fun. This is the key reason I'm purchasing a Mac. However, Mac's have always had superior multimedia software (iMovie, Garageband, etc) which also interests me. However, if I have a good experience with my Mac, I may begin to use it for more purposes.

    So, I want a Mac that:
    -Allows me to work with XCode without lag
    -Isn't to slow
    -Not to expensive
    -Durable (something that would work well for 4-5 years proboly)
    -Nothing to large (which is why I don't want a Macpro)

    I plan on purchasing it from Best Buy because I have a friend who gets the employee discount.

    I've sort of narrowed it down to the two Mini Macs. They're small, but do they perform well, or should I shell out more ca$h. Or should I get a Macbook?

    I really need some guidance.

    Thanks
     
  2. rgarjr macrumors 603

    rgarjr

    Joined:
    Apr 2, 2009
    Location:
    Southern Cal
    #2
    It really just depends if you want portability with your Mac. Macbooks are fun cuz you can take them everywhere (Starbucks, Bookstores, Etc).
     
  3. Hellhammer Moderator

    Hellhammer

    Staff Member

    Joined:
    Dec 10, 2008
    Location:
    Finland
    #3
    I would go for MBP + external 3rd party display. Portability is always a nice little extra and you don't need so much power. Base 13" MBP with 4GB of RAM (upgrade by yourself) + nice 24" monitor for 200$
     
  4. TRAG macrumors 6502

    TRAG

    Joined:
    Jan 6, 2009
    Location:
    Louisiana, USA
    #4
    I totally agree. A 13.3" MBP would be enough to do what you need. It's portable and has the option to hook up to an external monitor. LOOK FIRST though! :eek: If you feel like you can't find a monitor that will suit you or just don't like, an iMac is a great way to go. 20" or 24", they both look awesome. Superb design, great power, great display, and costs the same as a baseline 13.3" MBP (20") or higher end 13.3" MBP (24"). That depends on if you need the portability. But honestly, I weren't a college student I would sooo be all over an iMac by now. :D
     
  5. windywoo macrumors 6502a

    windywoo

    Joined:
    May 24, 2009
    #5
    Hackintosh your PC and save a crapload of money. It may look complex, but for the amount of money it would save you isn't it worth getting your hands a little dirty?
     
  6. huskerguy77 thread starter macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Jun 11, 2009
    #6
    THanks for the help.

    Now I'm really debating between 13.3" MBP and the $700 Mini Mac. The Mini Mac has recieved 5 star reviews, and is very cheap (how often can you buy a good computer for less than $1000). However, the MBP does have protability, which would be very very nice.

    It's a tough decision
     
  7. macrumorsMaster macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    May 20, 2008
    #7
    If you don't mind refurb, the mb has been showing up @ $750.
     
  8. Enigmafan420 macrumors 6502a

    Enigmafan420

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    Apr 18, 2008
    Location:
    Puget Sound, U.S.A.
    #8
    I am really loving the new Mac Mini-Very fast. I upped the memory to 4 GB and just received my 500 GB 7200 RPM HD yesterday. This thing will have great performance in a six inch square.

    IMO, Mac Mini is underrated, even by most Mac users.
     
  9. huskerguy77 thread starter macrumors newbie

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    Jun 11, 2009
    #9

    Yes, I may end up going with the Mac Mini because its price seems to good to be true. I guess that I may be willing to sacrifice portability.
     
  10. Chupa Chupa macrumors G5

    Chupa Chupa

    Joined:
    Jul 16, 2002
    #10
    The mini is essentially a White MB in a desktop form factor. So if you don't need the portability the low end model is a lot nicer than some "power users" will admit.

    However, I don't know what kind of discount you are getting, but MicroCenter still has the previous generation MB (2Ghz C2D/NVidia graphics) for $799 after rebate. Just something to consider if you do want portability.

    The only real "catch" to either of these that the 2Ghz C2D is, as you probably know, a fairly old chip in chip years. With the rest of the Mac line headed towards 3Ghz a lot of software will probably follow. Apple has a history of designing its own software to favor its fastest machines. So these machines may not have a long shelf life. Still, with your discount it probably won't be a huge consideration since you won't have a lot invested.
     
  11. huskerguy77 thread starter macrumors newbie

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    Jun 11, 2009
    #11
    Well, I have 5% off store cost, and a few other member things, so I'm hoping to get it for $600.

    I've had some bad experiences with macs also, and these ussually were when they were slow. I hated the iBook and sturggled with the first generation Macbook. Speed is important to me.
     
  12. phatlipboardz macrumors member

    Joined:
    Jun 3, 2009
    #12
    I too am now in a similar dilemma. I had planned on waiting until after the WWDC just to see what changes were going to happen, so I wasn't and still not in a rush.

    Before WWDC, I thought about picking up a refurb mini and bumping the HD/RAM myself. I was also going to add a refurb (or new), white macbook and basically have two machines for under 2 grand.

    I have a MSI wind that is very portable and fun to use, but I run a business (medical consulting). Most of the time the wind is what I need, but it does feel like more of a toy. Looking at the 10" screen can get a bit tiresome as well, but I do take this thing everywhere I go. I was running OS X on it, so I'm familiar with how great Leopard is. I took it off because the tweaking got annoying and running a business involves "reliable" equipment, but it was fun mess around with. Time is money though.

    So, it seems like I'm at a new crossroads here of just getting the mini first, and seeing how this new MBP line plays out and possibly picking this up to replace the "toy" and just having a desktop and portable solution like I have now.

    I have a macally enclosure with a 1TB WD black firewire/usb, so I've got some room to spread out. I back up my desktop to this and do cloud backups that sync my wind and desktop with the SpiderOak app. If I got the MBP first, I may just decide to use that as my desktop solution and obviously my portable for when I am out seeing patients and teaching classes. I would be nice to not have to sync two machines and an external HD, but I've been doing it.

    I have dual LCD monitors that I can run with the mini, or if I just went with the MBP I would just take one of the LCDs and either put in the kitchen with the wind as a knock around/fun machine or just keep it attached to my ailing (1.5 yr old) dell and just use it for the occasional windows need.

    The choices definitely got harder.
     
  13. Hellhammer Moderator

    Hellhammer

    Staff Member

    Joined:
    Dec 10, 2008
    Location:
    Finland
    #13
    Mini is very fast and powerful for most people. Unless you're a gamer or professional editor, Mini will handle your tasks. And as enigmafan said, it's underrated. Mini is also the most portable desktop, you can easily take it with you if you can hook it to monitor at your friend.
     
  14. hornshwangler macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Dec 30, 2007
    Location:
    Colorado
    #14
    Go with the base mini for $599 and do the DIY upgrades to the HD and RAM from OWC (Other World Computing). A 500 gb 7200 rpm HD and 4 gb of RAM for about $240 plus you'll have an additional external HD with the DIY enclosure and the apple drive you removed from the mini. the mini is hands down the best value / deal from apple today, IMO.

    Dan
     
  15. huskerguy77 thread starter macrumors newbie

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    Jun 11, 2009
    #15
    What is DIY?
     
  16. J&JPolangin macrumors 68030

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    Thule GL @ the TOW
    #16
    DIY = do it yourself
     
  17. 2bearnest macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    May 27, 2009
    #17
    Just bought an iMac

    Even though there were no updates to the iMac at this years keynote I purchased one. 24-inch : 2.93GHz upgrade to ATI graphics.
     
  18. tempusfugit macrumors 65816

    Joined:
    May 21, 2009
    Location:
    Chicago
    #18

    mbp has a screen, and a mouse, and a keyboard (nuilt in) the mini has none of these. If you wan't apple keyboard and mouse thats another $100 or so I believe. (160 for bluetooth)

    dont overlook the fact that the mbp has more processing power, mine has more ram and a bigger HD than the cheaper mini.

    I have mine hooked up to an external display and external wireless keyboard/mouse, and it makes a darn fine work station. plenty of power to go around.
     
  19. phatlipboardz macrumors member

    Joined:
    Jun 3, 2009
    #19
    With these new MBPs the decision just got a bit harder. For me (my personal business needs), these MBPs' minor bump in specs and drop in price are great.

    I think if I pick up the MBP, I might not get the mini, however I already have dual monitors, keyboard, mouse and a great external HD set up that would make the mini (even with some tweaks) about half the price of a MBP (DIY tweaking).

    I have a netbook that I don't worry too much about when I'm out and about (quite a bit), and it's a little bit of a pain, but I do sync everything at least daily and perform cloud backups/syncing. Having more than one machine has it's advantages, but then I have sync everything not to mention I have two machines to maintain and have extended warranties for (my preference).

    I think the mini is a great price point for what you get (refurb even more so), but then again does one just go with a decent MBP as a desktop replacement and portable option? In my case I would have one machine that would do it all for me, but of course if it craps out on me then my back up is this netbook I'm typing on and an ailing desktop (at least until apple could make repairs, if this is ever the case).

    I research the hell out of this stuff and even when I think I've answered my own question, I end up back at the "drawing board."
     
  20. Enigmafan420 macrumors 6502a

    Enigmafan420

    Joined:
    Apr 18, 2008
    Location:
    Puget Sound, U.S.A.
    #20
    True points about the keyboard and mouse-but most people already have these.

    I also have the 2.4 GHZ 13 inch alum macbook. Was the latest version till the other day :)

    It is a fine machine, but I find that I use my Mini for day to day computing (love my 22 inch monitor!) and my hackintosh dell mini 9 for a portable now, so the 13" MB is gathering much dust right now :(
     
  21. TRAG macrumors 6502

    TRAG

    Joined:
    Jan 6, 2009
    Location:
    Louisiana, USA
    #21
    That was on my mind of what you're doing. I am planning on getting a Mac mini for an HT setup and a 24" LED display for my MacBook. But that can also be used with a new mini. So I'm guessing I might use the mini more. :confused:
     

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