Results 1 to 12 of 12

Thread: New Mac recommendations?

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Oct 2002
    Location
    Boston, MA USA
    Posts
    34

    Default New Mac recommendations?

    I'm in the market for a new Mac (currently have a G5 still running 10.5.8...) and debating with my husband over iMac vs. Mini vs. MacPro
    Obviously, there is a huge cost difference, but the question is how much Mac do I actually need... and is it reasonable or ridiculous to think that a computer could actually be functional for 5-10 years? I think not ridiculous, my husband thinks that is insane and that most people upgrade every few years (4-5 years)

    Looking at a fully loaded iMac with 3.5 GHz quad core i7 versus Mini with 2.6 GHz quad core i7 or MacPro with 3.7GHz quad core Xeon.

    The things I mostly need to run are iPhoto/Aperture and Photoshop. Occasionally iMovie.

    And then I'll have to figure out what to do with my old G5... which I recently put a new second hard drive into just for my iPhoto library!
    Thanks for advice!

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Feb 2001
    Location
    on the landline, Mr. Smith
    Posts
    7,787

    Default

    Howdy -

    Hmmmm.......check the born on date on your G5. That ought to end the discussion about how long you can use a Mac.

    Having said that, things keep changing constantly, and there is some logic in assuming that about 5 years is a good life, because of the the things likely but over the horizon.....that cannot be predicted. OS 11, a breakthrough in CPU or GPU, 3D......4K monitors.....who knows?

    If you are mostly worried about lowest total cost of ownership, I like buying a mid-level machine, keep it about 3-4 years, and then sell it for something like 50-60% of the cost of new. For example: buy a new mid tier iMac for about $1500, run it for 3+ years, and sell it for about $800.

    Rinse + repeat.

    In this model I always have a reasonable machine, at a reasonable cost amortized out to less than 300 bucks a year.

    You can fiddle with this, and run to 4-5 years, and have a bigger out of pocket, but also have a 4-5 year old machine to deal with. And while cost per year likely goes down, you have to factor in risk that a BIG new something could degrade used value nearly over night, plus the likelihood of a problem like a failing HD, goes up as you hold onto a machine.

    Basically, like cars, you have to decide if buy and hold, and risk large out of pocket and the hassle of mechanical problems......or lease and and manage monthly costs.

    As for which model, really depends on what you need/want to do. The iMacs and Minis are usually more than enough for most regular to mid level power users these days, if you can shove them full of RAM and plug in enough storage.

    mini: Is saddled with a lower performance lap top HD, and no real space to do much about it. Flip side: with Thunderbolt, you can have nearly as much (and as fast) storage as you want. Your wallet is the biggest factor. And with TB being bootable.....one could invest in fast, big TB storage and barely even use the internal HD. That leaves RAM and no dedicated GPU......only really need for gaming, 3D, architectural stuff, etc.

    iMac: similar, but you get a decent GPU (still not a heavy lifter compared to drafting or gaming rig), and a good/great display. Watch out for the 21" iMacs, as the RAM is nearly impossible to get to.....so you have to buy it with enough for it's entire life. The 27" iMac has a door that will let you access/ugrade RAM. And TB makes them (and all new Macs) potential storage monsters.

    Mac Pro: A true monster, not unlike your G5 was in its day. I could imagine that the world of software, drivers, and OSes could pass it by before it became out dated due to lack of raw horse power. If more crunching makes the work get done faster or life truly better, hard to argue against a Pro.

    The G5: Make it into a garden bench or an end table.
    "Imagine if every Thursday your shoes exploded if you tied them the usual way. This happens to us all the time with computers, and nobody thinks of complaining." -- Jef Raskin

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Feb 2001
    Location
    on the landline, Mr. Smith
    Posts
    7,787

    Default

    Forgot to add that one benefit of external storage is being modular. Imagine that new G5 HD was external. You could simply plug it into a new machine when it is time for a refresh.

    You could make your G5 a headless network file server.......but it is too big, makes too much heat and noise to be cost effective. I would see/donate it if it were me. You can pull that new HD out if you want too.....
    "Imagine if every Thursday your shoes exploded if you tied them the usual way. This happens to us all the time with computers, and nobody thinks of complaining." -- Jef Raskin

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Aug 2001
    Location
    Grangeville, ID USA
    Posts
    9,132

    Default

    I have always been a tower guy. Kind of like the show Home Improvement, can never have too much ‘More Power’. It is easy for me to tell you what you would see with a new MacPro since I have one and enjoy it.

    How long will it last - many years. We are seeing hardware changing a lot less than back in the good ol G5 days. Then the specs would improve by leaps and bounds seemingly overnight. Now, not so much and the quality is there to use a Mac for a long time.

    The reasons to get a MacPro over others are many, if they are your reasons. Biggest being the most performance and configuration options and possibly the longest lifespan because it starts out with the highest performance.

    The reasons to not get one: higher cost. Because it has the most options you also have to buy more stuff to hook to it to use those options.

    I like my 2013 MacPro. I did not boost a lot of options on it. And I used adapters so my oldish Apple Cinema Displays would hook up. Biggest change rom the old MacPro is now I have more external drives attached. I hooked up my data drives using USB 3 Burlys and that worked well (for a change) The MacBookPro, Mini and iMac have despicably bad USB 3 buses that frankly aren’t good enough to connect your external drive to. THunderbolt is more costly to hook up to, but is the much more reliable and less frustrating method.

    You will be immediately amazed by whatever you choose. They are all futuristic compared to the G5. I hope you have fun tossing ideas around.

    Rick
    molṑn labe'
    "I am a mortal enemy to arbitrary government and unlimited power. I am naturally very jealous for the rights and liberties of my country, and the least encroachment of those invaluable privileges is apt to make my blood boil."
--Ben Franklin

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jan 2002
    Location
    NW Montana
    Posts
    8,197

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by ricks
    You will be immediately amazed by whatever you choose. They are all futuristic compared to the G5. I hope you have fun tossing ideas around.
    Can't argue that point. Big step up.

    I've had a few iMac's now and really love them. I have a 2 bay Burly connected via an adapter TB to FW it's all backup and one clean unused operating system for trouble shooting needs if needed. I'm just a mid level user and don't demand to much power. But I'm working on my computer every day all day.

    It's also easy enough to pickup and take with you if need now and then daily probably not. But yes get as much RAM as you can in the beginning as some iMac's do not let you add or have a user serviceable RAM.

    Like Rick and Unc said it really depends on your needs and type of applications or programs you'll use.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jan 2006
    Location
    Boise
    Posts
    991

    Default

    Keep in mind that if you are using older software, it may not work with the newest OS. The transition from PPC to intel required rosetta for those older programs to work., like say AppleWorks and rosetta is gone.

    UncleMac broke it all down nicely. If you have a nice monitor you have the option of getting a Mini w/ 256GB flash drive and max out the RAM for $1300. Like Ricks said the MacPro is very nice, no question. The Apple referbished page has some very nice 27" iMacs, Maxed out RAM and w/ 1TB SSD. Haven't seen that many list in some time now. I've only had refurbished Macs for years now and have never been disappointed with them. 27" screen is great too.

    My view is you should get the most computer you can afford. My current iMac was the top of the line at the time and I haven't even thought about wanting something better or faster. Nope, I'm very pleased with it. In another 5-10 years I will reevaluate.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Oct 2002
    Location
    Boston, MA USA
    Posts
    34

    Default

    Thanks for ALL the advice! This is all so helpful! I will have to re-read to make sure I understand everything.
    So, I actually do have a 27" Dell monitor that I love, which is why it seemed a bit of a waste to go the iMac route, but when I was comparing, it seemed like the Mini's didn't have as fast processor, so I was confused as to why that was or if it would really make that much difference.
    I think the only memory-hog apps that I use are Aperture and Photoshop.

    I was comparing a high end iMac to the lowest end MacPro and that's where I couldn't make the decision. If I have a budget of about $3K, is it better to go for a low end MacPro or a high end iMac - knowing that I then have an extra "useless" monitor, though I am pretty sure I could just use it as a secondary monitor for my work laptop.

    I didn't know there was a "born on" date on Macs - how neat! I will have to go check mine out. My G5 has pre-Intel processors... though it definitely was seemingly "top of the line" when I got it in 2003... 10 years is a bit of a long time now.

    One more question - how hard will it be to transfer all my "stuff" from my old G5 onto a new Mac? Obviously it's been so long (I had a G3 tower before my G5) and I feel like I remember it being fairly painful to transfer over all my files, photos etc. Maybe I'll have to figure out a way to just leave my photos on the new HD I have where I just copied them all over...

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Jan 2002
    Location
    NW Montana
    Posts
    8,197

    Default

    One more question - how hard will it be to transfer all my "stuff" from my old G5 onto a new Mac? Obviously it's been so long (I had a G3 tower before my G5) and I feel like I remember it being fairly painful to transfer over all my files, photos etc. Maybe I'll have to figure out a way to just leave my photos on the new HD I have where I just copied them all over...
    Actually that has become much easier IMO There are a few ways import your old user/s, clone and put on new drive.

    There are different methods I'll let others give some better detailed input. I think a brand new Mac can read your old hard drive but not boot the old system.

    I use SuperDuper and a backup/clone method or setup a "new user" on new computer and import your old data using the FW would be fastest. Might need to boot the G5 into TDM if it does. I have to run NOW.. sorry, but will return tomorrow and clarify this if no one else has.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Jan 2006
    Location
    Boise
    Posts
    991

    Default

    The basic Mac Pro comes standard with only 256GB storage. It's SSD which is very fast compared to SATA hard drives. I can't recommend getting only 256GBs of storage. I started with that and have had to upgrade. That changes the price by up to $800. How much storage is in your G5? You can't add another drive to the newest model of Mac Pro. You would have to have an external drive connected via Thunderbolt. This is where MacGurus can help.

    Now you can check the refurbished page for older Mac Pros that can have added drives. That might be an option for you. If you have peripherals that utilize FireWire, that would also be a plus for the refurbished models of Mac Pro.

    The top of the line iMac (on the refurbished page) is in your price range and has more storage, and it's SSD, which is very fast. I might be drooling just a bit now.

    As for moving data from your old Mac. When you go to your Preferences look for Startup Disk and you will see Target Mode. When you select that your Mac will behave like a big external hard drive. You can then use Migration Assistant to move all your data onto your new Mac. With the newest Macs there is no longer any FireWire it's all Thunderbolt or USB3. But you can get a Thunderbolt to FireWire adaptor and transfer the information to you new Mac, also using Migration Assistant.

    I agree with you about the Mini. The only way to get enough storage is to get it with a 1TB Fusion drive. They are just a less expensive route. Damien has one with SSD drive and that would be a great way to go but Apple doesn't offer that option.

    So many choices, fortunately not too many. Have fun!

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Oct 2002
    Location
    Boston, MA USA
    Posts
    34

    Default

    Wow - seems like things have gotten much easier - migration assistant eh? NICE.

    And I completely forgot about refurbished! I've never bought refurbished before - mostly because I've always been a student and had access to educational discount... but great idea! I will check those out.
    I still have to read about the different HD choices - I didn't realize there were so many choices! And yes, I'm thinking I should probably get more HD space to start with since my G5 had maybe 250GB?? before I got the extra 1TB internal drive...
    And I was wrong! I thought I got my G5 in 2003, but actually it was 2004 - looking up the serial number to see when my Mac was born! Very neat. So July 2004 - which means my computer will be 10 years old soon! That's a pretty good life... I guess I should be getting a new one. Though I really like my G5 - it would make a good nightstand!

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Jan 2002
    Location
    NW Montana
    Posts
    8,197

    Default

    And I completely forgot about refurbished! I've never bought refurbished before - mostly because I've always been a student and had access to educational discount... but great idea! I will check those out.
    It's a great deal and I've done most mine that way. You get a full new warranty and everything I've bought or seen others buy looks brand new. A great way to save about 15 percent.

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Jul 2003
    Posts
    1,818

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by yeungfeng View Post
    I agree with you about the Mini. The only way to get enough storage is to get it with a 1TB Fusion drive. They are just a less expensive route. Damien has one with SSD drive and that would be a great way to go but Apple doesn't offer that option.
    Not the only way with the Mini. You need to consider also the Mini with OS X Server (aka the Mini Server). Those come from the factory (stock or build to order) with two internal HDs. So you won't have to take it apart like Damien.

    Standard config is with two 1 TB HDs.

    There is an option upgrade to an 256 SSD for USD 200, which I assume means 1 256GB SSD and 1 1TB HD. I say assume because the configuration options aren't that clear on that. With the previous version it was clear that you were configuring 1 SSD and 1 regular HD.

    There is the option for two SSDs although if one is looking for satisfactory internal storage (for a photographer), that probably isn't optimal.

    With Mavericks and Mountain Lion before, "Server" is just an application that also dumps some addition tools on top of a standard OS X install. OS X Server really isn't a significantly different OS compared to the client OS X, as it was with say Snow Leopard. In fact you could not even launch the "Server" app in on a Mini server to keep it from setting the server things up.

    For a no fuss (no breaking the warranty a la Damien) Mini with more internal storage, the Mini with OS X Server is the way to go in my opinion.

    I have a previous generation Mini Server with two 500 GB HDs (1 or 2 versions back). SSDs were a really expensive BTO option back then, and I got a good discount on the stock model. Back then Server had different CPU options not available on the non-Server models, but that's no longer true.

    I'm happy with it. Until recently I only missed USB3 with my version, but I've since cured that with a CalDigit thunderbolt dock.

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •