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TN94z

New desktop

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In the past, I have had a Macbook and really liked it.  Now we are thinking about getting a new desktop and I would really like to go with Apple there as well.  I have looked at them in Best Buy but it has been a while.  What would be the best desktop to go with but not spending top dollar?  I work for AT&T; and I believe we get a small discount as well.  I am not a BIG mac user so a little nudge in the right direction would be greatly appreciated.

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Originally Posted by TN94z

In the past, I have had a Macbook and really liked it.  Now we are thinking about getting a new desktop and I would really like to go with Apple there as well.  I have looked at them in Best Buy but it has been a while.  What would be the best desktop to go with but not spending top dollar?  I work for AT&T; and I believe we get a small discount as well.  I am not a BIG mac user so a little nudge in the right direction would be greatly appreciated.


There are a lot of ways you can go.

For example a lot of people are buying laptops (MacBook Air, Mac Mini) and enjoying the heck out of them, even if they use them in the same place fairly often.

We use a Mac Mini - wonderfully priced, particularly if you have a display that works well (even if you need a small adapter) - at our building downtown. They're very capable machines for the size.

And if you want to get the full kit (i.e. computer, display) and you're definitely not moving it around much, the iMac is still at the top of its game.

This guide is helpful and indicates that the Mac Mini is a good buy now, but if you're in the market for an iMac, it may be worth waiting a month or two if you care about buying updated models right when they're released.

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That's the thing is that with Apple, you are gonna pay top dollar no matter what you get.  You will always be able to get a Windows computer cheaper than an Apple with the same specs.  However, that's not to say that a Mac isn't worth it.  My iMac (which I'm typing this on right now) is the best computer I've ever owned.  I bought it about 4 years ago now and overall it's great (although I've upgraded the ram [easy to do] and had to change a failed hdd last year [not as easy]).  On top of that, they are beautiful machines which I don't think I've ever said about anything any other computer manufacturer makes.

If you're not looking to spend a lot of money but still want a Mac, then the Mac Mini is the way to go considering they start at $599, although you will need to get a display with that so figure on another $150 to $200 if you don't already have one.  Still, for $800 after the cost of a decent monitor you'll get a great experience and an operating system that is more user friendly than Windows (although, personally, I do like Windows as well).  By comparison, the cheapest iMac is $1199 (it should be noted though that the specs on the cheapest iMac though line up with the $799 version of the Mac Mini).

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Originally Posted by tristanhilton85

That's the thing is that with Apple, you are gonna pay top dollar no matter what you get.  You will always be able to get a Windows computer cheaper than an Apple with the same specs.  However, that's not to say that a Mac isn't worth it.  My iMac (which I'm typing this on right now) is the best computer I've ever owned.  I bought it about 4 years ago now and overall it's great (although I've upgraded the ram [easy to do] and had to change a failed hdd last year [not as easy]).  On top of that, they are beautiful machines which I don't think I've ever said about anything any other computer manufacturer makes.


That used to be true, but the gap has narrowed considerably and in many cases the Mac is actually the better buy.

I haven't checked in awhile, but even when Macs cost more, the ROI and maintenance and whatnot made the Mac a better buy by a wide margin. Quality of components and build quality matters, too. There's nothing like the MacBook Air, for example, and even the base model MacBook Pro is a tank.

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I think what kind of display you want (or have) is a big part of it. If you've already go a Dell or HP (or Apple) or whatever display, the Mini is your best bet. You can get up to a 2.7 GHz i7 processor with 4 GB RAM for $800, which is a crazy fast. If you don't have a display you like, you're down to either the Mini, and buying an Apple Thunderbolt Display (27 inches is all they offer) for $1000 or an much cheaper (but also lower quality/not as nice looking) display from Dell/Sony/HP/whoever. Or, you could get an iMac, which is available in either 21.5 or 27 inches. There's no apples to apples (haha) comparison between the two because there is no 2.7 GHz i7 iMac with a 27-inch screen, so it's really your choice whether you want to buy the computer and monitor separate or together. That way whenever you want to replace the computer, you still have an amazing monitor. Then again, the iMac will probably have a higher resale value than the Mini sans monitor if that matters to you.
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When I said not top dollar, I meant in the Apple line period...excluding windows.  I am going to go with Apple regardless.

What about getting the mini and then catching a TV on sale at Christmas with a monitor connection?  I ask because, as everyone knows, you can get a good sized tv very cheap that time of the year.  I still have a 50" wall mounted plasma in my living room that I got for less than 600.00.

The iMac is what I looked at in Best Buy.  Of course we really liked the big monitor.  Man was it clear!!  I may be leaning toward the mini though.  I had never really read about them that much. They would be well qualified for our use.  My wife will use it for school and I would basically use it for pictures, videos, and golf software.  We will probably go that direction, unless she wants a laptop.  But we have pretty much decided against the laptop for our next one.

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Originally Posted by TN94z

What about getting the mini and then catching a TV on sale at Christmas with a monitor connection?  I ask because, as everyone knows, you can get a good sized tv very cheap that time of the year.  I still have a 50" wall mounted plasma in my living room that I got for less than 600.00.

That could work, but you'd have to be sitting far enough away for the size to make sense. Even the 27" displays are pretty big - you'll want to be sitting back from it a bit more than you might be used to. :-)

Originally Posted by TN94z

The iMac is what I looked at in Best Buy.  Of course we really liked the big monitor.  Man was it clear!!  I may be leaning toward the mini though.  I had never really read about them that much. They would be well qualified for our use.  My wife will use it for school and I would basically use it for pictures, videos, and golf software.  We will probably go that direction, unless she wants a laptop.  But we have pretty much decided against the laptop for our next one.

Note that the new models don't have the optical drive. You can buy a USB one that works well, but it's another $79. And the keyboard. You might want to reconsider the iMacs. ;-)

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Originally Posted by iacas

That could work, but you'd have to be sitting far enough away for the size to make sense. Even the 27" displays are pretty big - you'll want to be sitting back from it a bit more than you might be used to. :-)

Note that the new models don't have the optical drive. You can buy a USB one that works well, but it's another $79. And the keyboard. You might want to reconsider the iMacs. ;-)



Yeah, it wouldn't be the 50" model by any means.  It would be closer to the original 27".  The iMacs aren't out of the equation at all.  I need to check on our pricing and somewhat compare the two and see what I come up with.

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Originally Posted by tristanhilton85

That's the thing is that with Apple, you are gonna pay top dollar no matter what you get.  You will always be able to get a Windows computer cheaper than an Apple with the same specs.  However, that's not to say that a Mac isn't worth it.  My iMac (which I'm typing this on right now) is the best computer I've ever owned.  I bought it about 4 years ago now and overall it's great (although I've upgraded the ram [easy to do] and had to change a failed hdd last year [not as easy]).  On top of that, they are beautiful machines which I don't think I've ever said about anything any other computer manufacturer makes.

If you're not looking to spend a lot of money but still want a Mac, then the Mac Mini is the way to go considering they start at $599, although you will need to get a display with that so figure on another $150 to $200 if you don't already have one.  Still, for $800 after the cost of a decent monitor you'll get a great experience and an operating system that is more user friendly than Windows (although, personally, I do like Windows as well).  By comparison, the cheapest iMac is $1199 (it should be noted though that the specs on the cheapest iMac though line up with the $799 version of the Mac Mini).

The Macbook Air and Macbook Pro, the entry level models the Wintel consortiums are having a heck of a time competing with Apple pricewise. Tim Cook really did a job in integrating the manufacturing process.

If you just want a machine, sure, you can get something really cheap and get started, but if you want something approaching the higher end, the tables have turned and Apple is the better value. Also, none of the tablet competitors can outprice Apple.

I bought a used Mini for $400 about 4 years ago and attached it to a 42" flat screen. I love it. Boots in 30 seconds with 1gb of memory and it serves as a HTPC very well. I live in an apartment, so I can use a mouse as a remote. One thing about the Mini is that it is really easy to carry around, not that that was what it was made for, but I made no problems bringing it to other places to play movies.

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I've been a Mac guy since 1990. For personal and business use, I've likely bought over 100 Macs. My daughter teaches people how to use their Apple products at one of their flagship stores. My Apple knowledge is fair and my Apple bias is great.

What do you want to do with the desktop? How is what you wish to do different than what you wish to do with the Macbook?

If you want something that sits on a desk, the iMacs are super. Fast, simple, fewer cords, wireless keyboards and mice... Be careful about the 27" as it is big and you may not want that much on your desk. On a narrow desk it feel too close for some.

We have a Macbook at home because my wife wants a very small look and footprint. No additional monitor. Nice to be able to grab it, sit on the couch and surf. I could not do that with a desktop. I use a 27" iMac on my desk at work ever since my Macbook went home. I now use the additional monitor that I was using with the Macbook with my iMac. Two screens and lots of space.

We use a Mini for as one of our servers at the office. Fast, simple, but you need to already have everything like keyboards... My brother-in-law has his Mini hooked up to his TV and uses it for movies and who knows what else. With a wireless keyboard, he can sit on the couch and run his Moni without anyone even needed to see it.

If I needed to reclaim the family Macbook for an employee (very possible), I'd consider an iPad for home. I think everything we've used our home computer for in the last six months could have been done on an iPad. And once iCloud is running smoothly, and I know we won't need a computer to sync everything, the pressure to move to an iPad will become great in our house.

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Originally Posted by rustyredcab

I've been a Mac guy since 1990. For personal and business use, I've likely bought over 100 Macs. My daughter teaches people how to use their Apple products at one of their flagship stores. My Apple knowledge is fair and my Apple bias is great.

What do you want to do with the desktop? How is what you wish to do different than what you wish to do with the Macbook?

If you want something that sits on a desk, the iMacs are super. Fast, simple, fewer cords, wireless keyboards and mice... Be careful about the 27" as it is big and you may not want that much on your desk. On a narrow desk it feel too close for some.

We have a Macbook at home because my wife wants a very small look and footprint. No additional monitor. Nice to be able to grab it, sit on the couch and surf. I could not do that with a desktop. I use a 27" iMac on my desk at work ever since my Macbook went home. I now use the additional monitor that I was using with the Macbook with my iMac. Two screens and lots of space.

We use a Mini for as one of our servers at the office. Fast, simple, but you need to already have everything like keyboards... My brother-in-law has his Mini hooked up to his TV and uses it for movies and who knows what else. With a wireless keyboard, he can sit on the couch and run his Moni without anyone even needed to see it.

If I needed to reclaim the family Macbook for an employee (very possible), I'd consider an iPad for home. I think everything we've used our home computer for in the last six months could have been done on an iPad. And once iCloud is running smoothly, and I know we won't need a computer to sync everything, the pressure to move to an iPad will become great in our house.

The desktop will be used for average every day things.  My wife's school, video and picture editing, analyzer software, etc....As far as difference in use, there really won't be any.  I just want it in our computer room and not brought out into the living room where my step son can go crazy on it.  But that can be solved by allowing him control over the current Windows Vista having piece of crap laptop.

But, I like the idea of incorporating the mini with my home theater and it being hidden.

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As others have said, watch the value proposition for a mini once you add in the keyboard, mouse, video cables, any adapters... And also remember that if you use your TV as a monitor, you can not watch TV while your wife uses the computer for school.

Sounds like you have an abundance of good options.

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Originally Posted by TN94z

But, I like the idea of incorporating the mini with my home theater and it being hidden.

Analyzr on your TV looks really good, btw.

Ooh, that reminds me of a feature to add to http://analyzrgolf.com/feature_compare/ .

I'm guessing you may end up with an iMac. They hold their value pretty well, too - you can sell it in a few years.

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Okay, it looks like this is the price I can get an iMac for:

2.7i5

4GB RAM

1TB Serial ATA

AMD Radeon 512MB GDDR5

Magic Mouse

Wireless Keyboard

27" Thunderbolt

3 year Apple Protection Plan

1746 shipped

Mini:

2.7i7

4GB RAM

500GB Serial ATA

Magic Mouse

Wireless Keyboard

Mini Display Port to VGA

AppleCare

1129 shipped + monitor/tv...250 maybe.

1379.00

I would get faster processor speed in the mini but sacrifice HD space. I talked with my wife last night and we wouldn't want to hook it up to the tv in the living room just from a student's standpoint.  But we could move it back and forth depending on what we are using it for at the time.  So, it looks like I can get the iMac for roughly 350.00 more.  Obviously this is the pricing as of right now.  If I choose to go with an iMac, I would probably wait a little bit until the new models are released.

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Originally Posted by TN94z

Okay, it looks like this is the price I can get an iMac for:

2.7i5

4GB RAM

1TB Serial ATA

AMD Radeon 512MB GDDR5

Magic Mouse

Wireless Keyboard

27" Thunderbolt

3 year Apple Protection Plan

1746 shipped

Mini:

2.7i7

4GB RAM

500GB Serial ATA

Magic Mouse

Wireless Keyboard

Mini Display Port to VGA

AppleCare

1129 shipped + monitor/tv...250 maybe.

1379.00

I would get faster processor speed in the mini but sacrifice HD space. I talked with my wife last night and we wouldn't want to hook it up to the tv in the living room just from a student's standpoint.  But we could move it back and forth depending on what we are using it for at the time.  So, it looks like I can get the iMac for roughly 350.00 more.  Obviously this is the pricing as of right now.  If I choose to go with an iMac, I would probably wait a little bit until the new models are released.

The iMac can be hooked up to the TV too. You'd just need a Thunderbolt -> HDMI adapter.

Also, you probably don't want the VGA on the Mini if you go that route. Probably want more of an HDMI adapter or a DV adapter or something. VGA isn't capable of the higher resolutions, is it?

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Originally Posted by iacas

The iMac can be hooked up to the TV too. You'd just need a Thunderbolt -> HDMI adapter.

Also, you probably don't want the VGA on the Mini if you go that route. Probably want more of an HDMI adapter or a DV adapter or something. VGA isn't capable of the higher resolutions, is it?


You are right.  I think I chose that one by mistake.  They had an HDMI-HDMI as an option.  The more I read, I am leaning towards the iMac.  So it will probably be a little while before I make a purchase.  Thanks for all of the suggestions though.

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