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sleuth
Premium
join:2001-08-30
West Des Moines, IA

[Beginner] Which Apple Mac to get?

Hey guys,

Would love some suggestions outside those blue shirt salesman at the Apple store.

I'm deciding between the Mac Mini, Macbook and iMac. I received a Macbook for free from my cousin a few years back and I love it. I was a loyal PC builder and user prior, but this thing is so user friendly. No viruses really, easy to maintain, no blue screen of death, and so little maintenance required. That being said, I think I'm prepared to make my first purchase. Which one tho!?

I used to be an avid gamer, but I find myself with less time these days. I have a 9 month old, I'm in 2 golf leagues, and play golf 4x per week regularly. Weekends are spent with my wife and kid at the zoo or other summer festivities. Alas, my wife decided to buy me D3 because I would always talk about it. Like oh my god, it's finally coming out! I played D2 religiously.

That being said, which would you all recommend for a regular user? I will not being doing anything heavy other than D2. I don't do graphics design, and I don't run Adobo Photoshop software (but this may be in my future with all the pics I have been taking of my child). What I do use is the MS Office Suite, email and web - again regular user stuff. I am looking to take programming classes in the future to enhance my current skills (.Net, SAS/SQL) - will Mac be okay for that?

I love the screen on the iMac. That thing is crisp and clean. Mac Mini has my attention due to the price point. I have a decent 21" widescreen Acer monitor I could hook that up to.

I like transporting my Macbook, but I find myself using it more and more at my desk. My kid loves to slap stuff. Smash smash smash! So I no longer take it with me around the house.

Suggestions/opinions please. Thanks.



bobrk
You kids get offa my lawn
Premium
join:2000-02-02
San Jose, CA

Since you already have a monitor, the mini is a no brainer. I just got one and love it. Pick up an Apple Keyboard and Trackpad to go with it.



haroldo

join:2004-01-16
united state
kudos:1
reply to sleuth

Mobility (to me) is the key. Having a laptop means you can use it while watching television or anywhere else in the house. If it's a desktop, you might only use it when you are at the desk, but if it's anywhere or everywhere, you're more likely to get more utilization out of it. I can't tell you how many times I pick up the laptop during the movie and check IMDB to see what other movies an actor or actress was in. During ball games, I check out statistic, etc. I use the computer as a TV Guide. If it were in a fixed location, I'd not perform these actions.
Simply put, a portable device expands the usefulness muti-multi-fold.

You can hide it from junior to protect it.

IMHO



sleuth
Premium
join:2001-08-30
West Des Moines, IA

said by haroldo:

Mobility (to me) is the key. Having a laptop means you can use it while watching television or anywhere else in the house. If it's a desktop, you might only use it when you are at the desk, but if it's anywhere or everywhere, you're more likely to get more utilization out of it. I can't tell you how many times I pick up the laptop during the movie and check IMDB to see what other movies an actor or actress was in. During ball games, I check out statistic, etc. I use the computer as a TV Guide. If it were in a fixed location, I'd not perform these actions.
Simply put, a portable device expands the usefulness muti-multi-fold.

IMHO

I should add, I work from home. So the laptop would sit next to me 8 hours of my workday.

I agree mobility is huge. Though, with my child always slapping my keyboard it makes it very difficult and why I no longer take it with me to the couch. I just use my smartphone now for those items you mentioned.


Octavean
Premium,MVM
join:2001-03-31
New York, NY
kudos:1
reply to sleuth

I won a ~$1000 prize package from Microsoft during their look for the logo sweepstakes. Part of that package included a Logitech diNovo Edge keyboard:

Logitech diNovo Edge Bluetooth Wireless Keyboard w/ TouchDisc Touch Pad & PerfectStroke Key System! $174.99

Back then it was selling for over ~$200 if I recall correctly. A very, very, very nice keyboard I might add.

Anyway, my son slapped it off my desk and popped off a couple of keys so I know what you’re talking about,…..

I wasn’t happy about it but what can you do? I was able to reconnect the keys and no real harm was done.

Look, it already sounds to me like you have mobility with your MacBook. Unless your Macbook is so old that it needs replacing is there really a reason to continue with the mobility theme with a new Mac Book Pro or Mac Book Air,…?

If you don’t have or don’t want a centralized office or work space then you wouldn’t have a place to put the Mac Mini or iMac.

I guess its an issue of how you intend to work with the given products or how you have to work with them. In that respect only you know what is best for your needs.



sleuth
Premium
join:2001-08-30
West Des Moines, IA

said by Octavean:

Look, it already sounds to me like you have mobility with your MacBook. Unless your Macbook is so old that it needs replacing is there really a reason to continue with the mobility theme with a new Mac Book Pro or Mac Book Air,…?

If you don’t have or don’t want a centralized office or work space then you wouldn’t have a place to put the Mac Mini or iMac.

I guess its an issue of how you intend to work with the given products or how you have to work with them. In that respect only you know what is best for your needs.

Fair enough.

My wife would take my Macbook. Doesn't mean I still wouldn't be able to use it and whatnot. I believe it's a Macbook 2.1. It works perfectly for basic needs, no problem.

I'm looking for something up to date, that will play D3 since my wife bought it for me, as well as any future software I may purchase. Such as Adobe Photoshop, and anything necessary when I take any future programming classes. My biggest concern is SAS/SQL and whatnot compatible with the Mac as well as Windows? I guess I don't know that answer for sure.

I do have an at home office/workspace. So the desktop solution isn't a big deal to me. It's nice to get away from the family anyway

The biggest reason for portability for me now is that my family lives in Chicago. I bring my Macbook on those long weekends, but I can live without if I were to get the iMac or Mac Mini.

I guess the issue I'm juggling with is the price vs. specs vs. needs.

Will the Mac Mini be capable of all of the above at $700? For what you're obtaining with the iMac it seems to be considerably priced better than the Macbook Pro. I don't necessarily need a laptop or desktop, but again I think my point is that I wouldn't mind either.

On a side note, I don't see an option to buy the iMac i7 at the Apple store. Not out yet?


Thinkdiff
Premium,MVM
join:2001-08-07
Bronx, NY
kudos:11

If you are looking to play games, you should really consider the iMac or the Macbook Pro 15" (you didn't specify which one you were looking at). The Macbook Pro 13" and Mac Mini only have Intel HD graphics, and while they've improved it greatly and it is sufficient for the vast majority of people, a dedicate graphics card will still perform better. The higher price range of the MBP15 may sway your decision towards the iMac.

The $799 Mac Mini does have a dedicate card, but it's the older generation Mobile Radeon series. The iMac and MBP15 both have the 6700M-series card.

Here's an example of the 6630M (in the $799 Mac Mini) vs Intel HD 3000:
»compare-processors.com/intel-hd-···0m/1110/

The 6700-series is even better.
--
University of Southern California - Fight On!



sleuth
Premium
join:2001-08-30
West Des Moines, IA

said by Thinkdiff:

If you are looking to play games, you should really consider the iMac or the Macbook Pro 15" (you didn't specify which one you were looking at). The Macbook Pro 13" and Mac Mini only have Intel HD graphics, and while they've improved it greatly and it is sufficient for the vast majority of people, a dedicate graphics card will still perform better. The higher price range of the MBP15 may sway your decision towards the iMac.

The $799 Mac Mini does have a dedicate card, but it's the older generation Mobile Radeon series. The iMac and MBP15 both have the 6700M-series card.

Here's an example of the 6630M (in the $799 Mac Mini) vs Intel HD 3000:
»compare-processors.com/intel-hd-···0m/1110/

The 6700-series is even better.

Sorry you're right.

That was the Mac Mini I was considering, which is the 6630M card. I saw the system specs for the game and it looks quite hardware heavy. Looking at those numbers it'll be close if the Mini can run the game smoothly.

Comparatively I was looking at the 15" Macbook Pro with 6750M, quad-core i7 at $1800 vs. the iMac with 6750M or 6770M and quad-core i5 at $1200/$1500 respectively.
I'm looking at the site and it seems to indicate the i7 is available for the iMac but I cannot buy it? I'm not really interested in the 27.5". It's huge and great, but it's a little too big and not sure it would fit my desktop with the 22" beside it.


Thinkdiff
Premium,MVM
join:2001-08-07
Bronx, NY
kudos:11

Build-to-order configurations aren't always available in store, but they should be able to order it for you (or you can just order it online).
--
University of Southern California - Fight On!



elwoodblues
Elwood Blues
Premium
join:2006-08-30
Somewhere in
kudos:2
Reviews:
·VMedia
reply to Octavean

said by Octavean:

I won a ~$1000 prize package from Microsoft during their look for the logo sweepstakes. Part of that package included a Logitech diNovo Edge keyboard:

Sorry but that's a toy, this is a real keyboard. You can get them in USB nowdays too.



--
No, I didn't. Honest... I ran out of gas. I... I had a flat tire. I didn't have enough money for cab fare. My tux didn't come back from the cleaners. An old friend came in from out of town. Someone stole my car. There was an earthquake.......


Octavean
Premium,MVM
join:2001-03-31
New York, NY
kudos:1

said by elwoodblues:

said by Octavean:

I won a ~$1000 prize package from Microsoft during their look for the logo sweepstakes. Part of that package included a Logitech diNovo Edge keyboard:

Sorry but that's a toy, this is a real keyboard. You can get them in USB nowdays too.

[att=1]

Yeah,….

I have a couple of those in the closet somewhere. I don’t much like them, I’ve been meaning to toss them out. Thanks for the reminder,….

Or did I throw them out already,…?


akhbhaat

join:2001-02-22
Arlington, VA
reply to elwoodblues

That looks like a Model M. Buckling spring...honestly, if there's any company that deserves the "it just works" moniker, it's actually IBM. And it will work for years and years and years...

Used to have one a while back. My mother got a hold of it and it disappeared during one of their moves.

I want.


Kearnstd
Space Elf
Premium
join:2002-01-22
Mullica Hill, NJ
kudos:1
reply to sleuth

since you mention gaming well D3, I would suggest the iMac. simply put it is more machine and you do have a Laptop already.
--
[65 Arcanist]Filan(High Elf) Zone: Broadband Reports


rmmoody

join:2001-02-15
Leawood, KS
reply to sleuth

I don't know if your budget will permit this however, in addition to the iMac or Mac Mini, you might consider an iPad for your portable needs. I just picked up my first one. I have found it to be very capable for basic email, browsing etc. It's MUCH easier to use while relaxing on the sofa or whatever away from my desk. Just my two cents.



Metatron2008
Premium
join:2008-09-02
united state

I have an imac 27" (2009 model, i5, 8 gigs ram), a modified macbook (last model, 8 gigs ram, superdrive replaced with 128 gig ssd, regular drive to become an ssd soon), and macbook air... If it's just gonna sit inside get the imac. I love my imac, the screen is nearly perfect, and you actually get a pretty decent deal on an imac when you combine the price of a pc and a ips screen...

The macbooks aren't nearly as good of a deal, although they do have the excellent trackpad..

The mac minis may be cheap, but the components are something you could put together for far cheaper.



lordpuffer
RIP lil
Premium
join:2004-09-19
Rio Rancho, NM
kudos:1
Reviews:
·CableOne
reply to sleuth

I have 2 iMacs. Love both of them.

If money is a big factor, then since you already have a decent monitor, get the Mini. If not, go for an iMac. You'll be happy you did. However, since there's talk that the iMacs are going to be refreshed very soon, I would try and wait.

»imac.macrumors.com/
--
"Panama Red Is Back In Town" - The New Riders of the Purple Sage



Teasip

join:2001-05-14
Plano, TX
reply to sleuth

I've stuck with my ol' black MacBook and have replaced the HD with the Crucial M4 256MB SSD. For my old man eyes it would be nice to have an iMac but I don't want to buy something for which I can't easily replace core parts (HD), thus the MacBook carries on. I'm still running Snow Leopard and since it doesn't handle 64-bit programs I've held off on upgrading other core software that I use. I also can't run Quicken for Mac on a new system either (old '06 verison). The only thing that my "child" slaps is my wallet for college expenses, though to her credit she's declined an upgrade to a MacBook Pro .



TamaraB
Question The Current Paradigm
Premium
join:2000-11-08
Da Bronx
Reviews:
·Optimum Online
·Clearwire Wireless
reply to sleuth

After reading through this thread, I want to add my two cents.

I just bought this 27" iMac: 3.4GHz CPU, 16GB RAM, 256GB SSD, Radeon 2GB video, Pegasus 4TB RAID.

The screen is fabulous, the machine screams. The two games I have StarCraftII and Doom3 play super fast on full graphics modes on.

Final Cut edits huge video files off the raid as fast as I have ever seen. I don't have any Adobe stuff, but from what I understand the entire Adobe suite is available for Mac.

My first Mac, a MacBook Air which I bought 8 months ago to replace my Linux box, sold me on this OSX; it's familiar BSD unix under the hood, with a fully-functional GUI. Sweet!

So, for me, an iMac would serve you well!!

Bob
--
"Remember, remember the fifth of November.
Gunpowder, Treason and Plot.
I see no reason why Gunpowder Treason
Should ever be forgot."

"People should not be afraid of their governments. Governments should be afraid of their people"



Octavean
Premium,MVM
join:2001-03-31
New York, NY
kudos:1
reply to sleuth

I wouldn’t want anything less then a 27” iMac personally but I don’t want to project my wants on anyone’s needs. So I don’t want to be an undue influence there. It makes sense that there will be an upcoming refresh using the Intel Ivy Bridge platform soon.

I agree that an iPad can be a great portable solution for some tasks. Sometime I use “Splashtop Remote” from my iPad to control / access OS X and Windows systems.



dennismurphy
Put me on hold? I'll put YOU on hold
Premium
join:2002-11-19
Parsippany, NJ
kudos:3
Reviews:
·Verizon FiOS
reply to akhbhaat

said by akhbhaat:

That looks like a Model M. Buckling spring...honestly, if there's any company that deserves the "it just works" moniker, it's actually IBM. And it will work for years and years and years...

Used to have one a while back. My mother got a hold of it and it disappeared during one of their moves.

I want.

I just bought a new one this week. It's insanely awesome. Makes me realize just how much I missed it!! I feel right at home and my typing is getting back to speed and accuracy. I'm just over 110wpm now which is way down from where I used to be before I Appleized myself - I need to relearn to trust my keyboard.

»pckeyboard.com/page/category/SpacesaverM


missy

join:2007-12-28
Tampa, FL
reply to sleuth

I would suggest the iMac since you mentioned gaming and Photoshop. I would also suggest purchasing through the Apple Store, since you can configure options that way, such as the size of your hard drive, your graphics card and your processor. If you get the 27" screen, you'll get a better graphics card, and a better processor.

Also, Apple is on the verge of announcing a new iMac, with WWDC 2012 just around the corner (June 11). Now it is possible that they may not release the new iMac at that time, but if not, it will not be long before they will release a new model, given how long it has been since their last update.

The Mac mini and the MacBook Pro simply can't compare in terms of graphics cards, RAM and chip speed to the iMac. I'd say a Mac Pro but they are out of price range these days, although they would not have been ten years ago, plus no one realistically knows the future of that line, although it isn't looking good.



rjackal
Premium
join:2002-07-09
Plymouth, MI
reply to dennismurphy

said by dennismurphy:

said by akhbhaat:

That looks like a Model M. Buckling spring...honestly, if there's any company that deserves the "it just works" moniker, it's actually IBM. And it will work for years and years and years...

Used to have one a while back. My mother got a hold of it and it disappeared during one of their moves.

I want.

I just bought a new one this week. It's insanely awesome. Makes me realize just how much I missed it!! I feel right at home and my typing is getting back to speed and accuracy. I'm just over 110wpm now which is way down from where I used to be before I Appleized myself - I need to relearn to trust my keyboard.

»pckeyboard.com/page/category/SpacesaverM

Uglier than homemade sin, but yes, I miss my old IBM Model M keyboard too! Mine was attached to an IBM PS/2 286. Prince of Persia, Leisure Suit Larry.. aww yeah!


Ctrl Alt Del
Premium
join:2002-02-18
kudos:1
reply to sleuth

Getting the right Mac boils down to how much hardware you want to buy. I would start at the $799 Mac mini with the AMD Radeon 6630 and maybe work your way up to the $1199 21.5 inch iMac.

But as for games, you actually have some options now. Valve's Steam platform has come to the Mac. You can get almost all of Valve's games on the Mac (Half Life, Portal, Team Fortress 2, Counter Strike) as well as some third party Mac compatible games in Steam. And, once you buy a game in Steam, you can run it on either platform. So if you buy Portal 2 on your Mac, you can download and install it on both your Mac and Windows PC without paying extra (only caveat is you can only sign onto Steam in one place at a time, so you can't run both at the same time).
--
less talk, more music



TamaraB
Question The Current Paradigm
Premium
join:2000-11-08
Da Bronx
Reviews:
·Optimum Online
·Clearwire Wireless
reply to Metatron2008

said by Metatron2008:

I have an imac 27" (2009 model, i5, 8 gigs ram), a modified macbook (last model, 8 gigs ram, superdrive replaced with 128 gig ssd, regular drive to become an ssd soon), and macbook air... If it's just gonna sit inside get the imac. I love my imac, the screen is nearly perfect, and you actually get a pretty decent deal on an imac when you combine the price of a pc and a ips screen...

I have a similar setup. A new 27-inch iMac 3.4GHz Quad-Core i7 16GB ram 256GB SSD, HD 6970M 2GB video, and a set of Bowers and Wilkins amplified speakers. It serves as my TV, Stereo, game machine, and general purpose computer for video editing and programming work. I use my 13" Macbook Air a lot around the house and on the road, but now, when I use it, my first thought is "what a tiny screen". The 27" screen on the iMac is so big and clear, I can sit on the couch feet away, and watch TV with no trouble.

I have all of my movies and music ripped to a Pegasus 4TB thunderbolt conected raid. So, this is a stereo, TV, computer, game console, and media storage setup all in almost one device. The iMac made it possible. Highly recommended as an "all-in-one" computer and home entertainment system.

Bob

--
"Remember, remember the fifth of November.
Gunpowder, Treason and Plot.
I see no reason why Gunpowder Treason
Should ever be forgot."

"People should not be afraid of their governments. Governments should be afraid of their people"



lordpuffer
RIP lil
Premium
join:2004-09-19
Rio Rancho, NM
kudos:1
Reviews:
·CableOne

Bob....A suggestion. If you can, I would put this in between your iMac and your Bowers and Wilkins Speakers (although I'm not exactly sure what is amplifying them now):

»www.m-audio.com/products/en_us/F···tra.html

If you are interested, you can find it on Newegg or Amazon for less. It will blow you away. I have one with Bose Music Monitors.
--
"Panama Red Is Back In Town" - The New Riders of the Purple Sage



TamaraB
Question The Current Paradigm
Premium
join:2000-11-08
Da Bronx
Reviews:
·Optimum Online
·Clearwire Wireless

Looks great, but it wouldn't fit my setup. I have the Bowers & Wilkins MM-1 Speakers. They connect to iMac via USB. They have their own built-in amp. They sound rather awesome. You wouldn't think speakers so small could boom so loud and clear.

Bob