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Switcher Hangout The place for switchers to discuss their new machines, and how to work with OS X. General support can be had here for newbie stuff, like "How do I restart my new iMac?" :)

Potential new Mac owner


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propita

 
Member Since: Apr 27, 2010
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My Husband and I are thinking about switching to Mac later this year. We have two Dell laptops and they've been pretty good, but "Hubby" is liking Mac more and more. Hubby was advised to "just get a faster computer," but he says why bother getting something that's faster but still not as good as it could be? I don't have a problem with switching over, except for the learning curve. I'm likely the one to be using it more, anyway.

We don't play games or do videos or anything. It's pretty much word processing and online (research, browsing, shopping, tooling around killing time, etc). At the Apple Store, we saw that photos and videos and music weren't that hard to at least begin to mess with, so we might branch out a bit as we get used to it.

Hubby wants a larger monitor, he says his eyes are getting old. He also is looking at replacing one of the Dell laptops. And he likes the idea of the iPad, more to mess around with than anything else. He knows this is gonna cost around, what $4000-$5000? More if he gets an iPod or iPhone. We're planning ahead to be able to get what we want/need.

So what I need is advice. What do we really "need" for the use we're expecting? And as we're people who don't play games on computer or online, what else can we do with a Mac?

Thanks!
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toMACsh

 
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I have an Mac Mini and a budget monitor, plus a USB keyboard. Unless you really splurge on the keyboard and monitor, that will be the least expensive route, assuming your internet connects through hardware you already have. The Mini is more than enough to handle my word processing, spreadsheeting, and internet use.

Advantage to the Mini over an iMac, to me, is that if you have to replace the monitor, you can keep the CPU, and vice versa. With the iMac, if the monitor goes bad, you have to toss the whole thing and pay for the replacement. I got a 4-year warranty with my monitor. If it fails in that time, I'll be able to apply the original retail price to the purchase of the replacement.

You can use iPhoto to organize your digital collection, and iCal is a great way to augment your deteriorating memory. (It is for me, anyway!)
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EndlessMac

 
Member Since: Jan 18, 2010
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Quote:
Originally Posted by propita View Post
He knows this is gonna cost around, what $4000-$5000?
Wow you guys are really rounding up the price estimates aren't you unless you want a Mac Pro. For your needs you don't really need the fastest Mac. A Mac Mini will fit your needs. Get the faster Mac Mini and it should last you for awhile. You will need a mouse, keyboard, and monitor though for a Mac Mini.

You don't need to get an Apple external monitor so you will save money if you went with a different brand. Just make sure it has the right connections for the Mac Mini. This should leave you with more than enough money to get the other things you want.

As for the learning curve, Macs aren't that hard to use. Most of it is pretty similar to Windows since Windows likes to copy Mac but does a poor job of it. There are differences and you can always ask for help on this forum and there are also many video tutorials on the internet that will teach you how to use Macs. If you are pretty comfortable with using computers then it shouldn't be hard learning the differences.
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the8thark

 
Member Since: Jan 27, 2007
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I would recommend a imac for people without a spare screen lying around (because imac + cheap screen = price of imac). They are brilliant machines and the best value money computer there is in my opinion. And they are in the price range of $1200-$2000 for standard configurations. And in some benchmark tests the i7 top of the range imac out performed some of the configurations for the current Mac Pro.

In my opinion the Mac Pro is meant for big business. And for the rest of us the imac or Mac Mini can do everything you need. So I would really consider this point.

So my advice? Take a walk into your local Apple Store/reseller and have a talk to the staff there. And have a play on a Mac to see. For what you want to do the lowest spec 21.5 inch imac will fit your needs perfectly. And that is $1199. And the screen is just bright and vibrant. But that's why I said to hit the Apple Store so you can see the screens in action so you can see if the 21.5 inch is enough or if you want the 27 inch (starting at $1699).
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Mac23

 
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No way for your needs, should you spend $4 or $5,000.

As others have said, go for the low end iMac. Since you guys aren't going to be heavy users (even if you work with photos/movies, that's not really heavy usage) the lower end models would work GREAT for you.

As for the iPad, it depends on the model you get.

If you're not worried bout taking it everywhere with internet connection, the wi-fi only models are pretty cheap. Starting at $499 for the 16GB Wi-Fi model and going up in price as the hard drive space gets bigger.

The 3G models coming out soon are going to be an extra $100 I think for each respective model.
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chas_m

 
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Welcome!

While the Mac mini suggestion you got was a good one (I have one and I love it), I think I'm going to lean towards suggesting an iMac for you instead. My reasoning here is that the iMac will come not just with its own screen, but with an INCREDIBLY HIGH QUALITY screen, the likes of which you are not likely to buy on your own (as screens of that quality are quite expensive).

It also comes with a webcam and mic built in, which you will hopefully find is absolutely *delightful* for talking with friends and relatives using either/or iChat or Skype. Plus, the iMac is an incredibly beautiful machine to look at, particularly in a home environment. There's a 21.5" model, and a stunning 27" model.

The iPad is highly recommended as well ... you can check our iPad thread to read what actual owners have to say. What's remarkable about it is that normally, people come to forums like this mainly to report and solve PROBLEMS or get advice about how to do something. We've had NONE of that from the dozen or so iPad owners who've reported in ... they've all had glowing things to say about them.

I think an iPad makes an ideal "lounge" sort of "digital assistant" rather than another "computer" per se. I think you'll find yourselves both using it more than you realise!

Best of all, unless you're talking about non-US dollars, I can't see any way any of your choices could add up to $4-5000. More like half that (not counting tax).

Best wishes for your new "baby," whatever it turns out to be!
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toMACsh

 
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Quote:
imac + cheap screen = price of imac
lowest price iMac = $1200

highest price Mini = $800
cheap monitor = $150
That's only $950 so far.
mouse & keyboard = $50 or so
Total system = $1000

Not equal, but close I suppose. My cheap monitor does a fine job. If you're not doing things commercially with your images, you probably don't need a super high quality monitor. But obviously, it's your call. What's it gonna be?? Inquiring minds want to know...
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sau124

 
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Since you are used to the laptops; I would recommend getting a 15" MBP just stock and getting a dock and external monitor. Should be right around $2500 (with a decent monitor and extended protection) plus you always have the option of moving around with it.

Quote:
up there with the bEst of the bEst....
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MYmacROX

 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sau124 View Post
Since you are used to the laptops; I would recommend getting a 15" MBP just stock and getting a dock and external monitor. Should be right around $2500 (with a decent monitor and extended protection) plus you always have the option of moving around with it.
Good suggestion, but you'll be paying more for portability. If that isn't something you really "need", then consider the iMac. If $$$ is a concern, look at the refurbished section of the online store. LINK

16GB iPhone 5, 64GB Wi-Fi only iPad 1st Gen.

Reminder: Please include your Mac's specs. This will make it much easier for the other members to assist you.
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TBW

 
Member Since: Apr 27, 2010
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Hi!

If you are planning on using you computer at home I would personally go for the iMac. It has a beautiful design, it does not waste space on your desktop/table or leave you with unnecessary wires everywhere.

It is cheaper than a laptop and has a great screen/good processor.

I got myself a MacBook pro because I`m travelling and also because I use my computer from the couch while my wife is watching her favourite tv-shows..
If portability wasn`t a matter - I would go for the iMac!

We are also looking at the iPad for the daily e-mail/web-surfing at home..
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Archangele

 
Member Since: Apr 28, 2010
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Hi,

You can test drive Macs at the Apple stores and Best Buy. But, I would either buy from Apple via their 800 number or an Apple store. Apple does have discounts for both education and if you work for certain corporations. I got $100 off my Imac because of where my wife worked. I ordered a 27" Imac. The one that normally costs $1699. I tried it first at Best Buy and was amazed at what it could do. The screen is big and very clear and sharp. When I added up what it would cost to duplicate the performance in a Windoozzze machine, I came out about the same as the Imac. The Apple website has a number you can call where you can actually talk to a real sales person right here in the USA. You might want to just give them a call and tell them what you will use the computers for and they can offer you some suggestions.
Oh, the people at Best Buy told me that their Imacs don't come with restore discs. Don't know if they were leading me on or if that was true. When I ordered direct form Apple I asked about this and the Apple rep told me that they ship their computers with all the discs necessary to restore the system if you totally screw it up. Anyway, I felt more comfortable ordering direct form Apple.
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bobtomay

 
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That's just BB's stock answer now, because most of the manufacturer's making the cheapie Win machines they're carrying do not come with restore discs. You have to create them yourself from an image on the drive.

All new Macs do indeed come with the restore discs. It will be a two disc set. One with OS X and one with the current version of iLife and other miscellaneous apps.

I'd rather order from Apple also.

I cannot be held responsible for the things that come out of my mouth.
In the Windows world, most everything folks don't understand is called a virus.
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propita

 
Member Since: Apr 27, 2010
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Sounds like I'm in the right place for advice.

The $4000-5000 was a combined price, for the computer, laptop, ipad--and software and accessories. We prefer "worst case scenario" estimates. If Hubby wants it and we can afford it without going into debt, fine by me. We're not rich, but careful, and decided it's time to enjoy life a bit--to the extent we can afford it, that is.

Hubby wants the big monitor. He says his eyes are tired of small screens and he is otherwise kinda picky about image quality. He was looking at the 27" imac, but I'll bring up the mini-mac + large monitor.

He wants to pair it with a laptop, and again, not the smallest one. I'm not sure how much we need that; our Dells are working okay right now.

And he's looking at an ipad and/or ipod. We need to research the overlap of these, but he likes the idea of the ipad. I think again for his eyes. I'm nearsighted as anything, so small images don't usually bother me, but they do bother him.

We want to play with this stuff--too many cds on the shelf we can't easily listen to, talk with Mom, edit photos. And we really liked apple's setup to do all of this. Much better than PC.

I'll direct him to this website. Not like he has much time right now, but he'll be here sometime.

Thanks again all! I'll keep reading.
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EndlessMac

 
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If he wants a laptop then you can kill two birds with one stone because you can hookup a large external monitor to Apple laptops. There are people who do this because they don't want the added expense in having both a desktop and laptop so this way you can get both in one. Getting one computer will save you a lot of money.
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