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  1. #1


    Member Since
    Jun 16, 2009
    Posts
    2
    Help with first Mac purchase (iMac or mini)
    Hi everyone. I'm looking at buying my first Mac. I'm pretty certain that I'm going to get an iMac, but still tossing around the idea of a mini. Anyway, I'm trying to decide which to get. Since it is my first Mac I'll be learning as I go. My main use for the machine will be typical home/office stuff, picture editing with Photoshop Elements, and video editing with iMovie or something similar, and running a virtual machine or 2. I also wanted to keep the price somewhat reasonable. So my choices are...
    • Last year 24" iMac. Club Mac has it for $1199 ($1099/AR). I'll upgrade to 4GB of RAM afterwords.
    • Current generation refrub 24" iMac with the GT120 video card for $1549.
    • Or entry level current generation mini for $599 and upgrade to 4GB RAM after I get it.


    I'm leaning towards previous generation iMac because it seems to be a great value. But it's not using the newer video card, and the RAM expansion is limited to 4GB. I don't know if that will really be an issue since this will be my first Mac. It's also not OpenCL compatible, but again I'm not sure if that will be much of an issue.

    As for the mini, I've heard that the performance of the new mini is pretty impressive. My co-worker bought one and plays WOW on it and he's impressed by it. Does anyone know how it compares with the previous generation iMac? I'd still need to buy a keyboard, mouse and monitor, or a KVM switch. This combo would still come in cheaper than the previous generation iMac, but not by too much. Not sure if the amount I'd save is equal in performance.

    The only reason I'm, considering the current version of iMac is because it's using the newer technology. For the most part it is out of my price range. But, I could make it work if I need to. Just have to give up Starbucks for a few months... But I've also started tossing around the the idea of the entry level 24" iMac, but that is down on the list.

    So any advice that people can give would be greatly appreciated. Thanks to everyone.

  2. #2

    Lifeisabeach's Avatar
    Member Since
    Sep 30, 2007
    Location
    The Republic of Neptune
    Posts
    7,755
    If you are planning to run a virtual machine "or 2", then go with the option that provides the greater RAM expansion option. That alone will likely outweigh everything else.

    Please verify and include the exact model/year of your Mac and OS X version number (available from "About This Mac", then "More Info" on the Apple menu).
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  3. #3

    eddielee's Avatar
    Member Since
    Sep 19, 2008
    Location
    Nottingham, UK
    Posts
    302
    Specs:
    20" iM ac,13.3" Aluminium Unibody Macbook, iPhone 4
    I'd go with something that supports open CL, won't make a difference now, but will in September when snow leopard comes out. I have the old mini and its amazing, but the new one is even better, graphics as the same as on my macbook, which plays WOW amazingly on full settings.

    If you can push to if I'd go for the new one, see if you know any one who attends college or university they get 10% - 13% discount which might make a new one more affordable.

    But I personally would save for longer to get a new one, the benefits are subtle, but worth it.
    Thanks, Eddie
    Software Engineering Student, NTU

  4. #4

    vansmith's Avatar
    Member Since
    Oct 19, 2008
    Location
    Toronto
    Posts
    19,782
    Specs:
    2012 13" MBP (2.5 i5, 8GB)
    Quote Originally Posted by devin_c_co View Post
    I'm leaning towards previous generation iMac because it seems to be a great value. But it's not using the newer video card, and the RAM expansion is limited to 4GB. I don't know if that will really be an issue since this will be my first Mac.
    4GB of RAM will be plenty for what you want to do. I am an avid VM user and 4GB has proven to be more than enough. Just don't run more than one VM at a time (I tried to run 3 once to see what would happen and that is the only time I can remember where I had to hold down the power button to turn off the Mac).

    Not many people have more than 4GB (some do but usually do for a reason).
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  5. #5


    Member Since
    Jun 16, 2009
    Posts
    2
    Purchasing first Mac and need advice (iMac or Mini)
    Hi everyone. New member here and I'm looking at buying my first Mac. I'm pretty certain that I'm going to get an iMac, but still tossing around the idea of a mini. Anyway, I'm trying to decide which model of iMac or mini to get. Since it is my first Mac I'll be learning as I go. My main use for the machine will be typical home/office stuff, picture editing with Photoshop Elements, and video editing with iMovie or something similar, & a couple of virtual machines using parallels or vmware. I won't be doing any gaming on the machine. I also wanted to keep the price somewhat reasonable. So my choices are...

    • * Previous Generation (2008) 24" iMac, Either new from B&H or if that becomes unavailable then a refurb from the Apple store. Cost is $1199. I'll upgrade to 4GB of RAM when I get it.
      * Current generation refrubed 24" iMac with the GT 120 video card for $1549.
      * Or entry level current generation mini for $599 and upgrade to 4GB RAM after I get it. Possibly upgrade the HDD to a 329=0GB 7200RPM or 500Gb 5400RPM drive.


    I'm leaning towards previous generation iMac because it seems to be a great value. But it's not using the newer video card, and the RAM expansion is limited to 4GB. I don't know if that will really be an issue since this will be my first Mac.

    I've also heard that the performance of the new mini is pretty impressive. Does anyone know how it compares with the previous generation iMac? I'd still need to buy a keyboard, mouse and monitor. This combo would still come in cheaper than the previous generation iMac, but only by about $100.

    The only reason I'm, considering the current version of iMac is because it's using the "newer" technology and is OpenCL compatible. But for the things I would be doing, I'm not sure if I'd really see the performance increase of OpenCL when Snow Leopard is released. Also, the ability to go to 8GB of RAM (when RAM prices drop) is attractive as well.

    So any advice that people can give would be greatly appreciated. Thanks to everyone.

  6. #6

    Stretch's Avatar
    Member Since
    Jan 13, 2007
    Location
    Central New York
    Posts
    4,773
    Specs:
    15in i7 MacBook Pro, 8GB RAM, 120GB SSD, 500GB HD
    I'd go with either iMac. As for RAM, you won't need 8GB of RAM. You'll probably be fine with 2GBs, 4GB if you really need it.

    The Mac Mini I see as a computer for 3 things, a starter computer, server or media center. Not as a full computer because the iMac is a much better deal.
    Blog and Photo Gallery: http://philolin.me/

    Currently running OS X 10.10

  7. #7

    D3v1L80Y's Avatar
    Member Since
    Feb 02, 2004
    Location
    PA
    Posts
    12,456
    Specs:
    MacBook
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