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Computer Advice

post #1 of 13
Thread Starter 
I know this is NOT clothing related, but I figure many styleforum denizens are computer-savvy and budget-conscious, and so might be able to help me out. I'm considering getting a new "mini-mac". This is the $500 mac box out there right now. I haven't had a home computer for years. I essentially need it as an iPod management/net browsing/word processor (no games, no vid editing). I have a USB keyboard/mouse, but no monitor. So, is the mac-mini a good idea? What's a good value flat screen monitor, pref. with digital input, or a good place to shop for said monitor? I doubt this will get much attention buried in general chat, but it's worth a try... Thanks.
post #2 of 13
Based on your listed needs, there's no reason you couldn't use a PC for the same tasks... dan
post #3 of 13
Plus, Apple will cost more than a comparable PC computer, such as a Dell. Jon.
post #4 of 13
Thread Starter 
Thanks guys. The essential tension here is that I have low end $$, but don't want to settle for a low end computer. I've held off because the PCs (dell etc.) that are $500-$600 seem weak. The new mini-mac is $499, but it doesn't have a monitor. The toss-up is, do I spend $700 on a mini-mac (which is not a performance machine) and a separate low end monitor, or $700 on a low end PC that comes with a low end monitor - save up for another couple months, you'll say... I've been saving and this is where I am Also, it seems when you order a dell or whatever for $600, you end up spending $1k. It would be better if I could buy a new box at a bricks and mortar store, so I can control more what I buy - and not pay $100 shipping I could spend on software, or just send to j.
post #5 of 13
My advice to you, like anyone I talk to about buying a computer, is to go to Costco (or whatever it's called where you are) and buy one there. Their return policy is insane - my friends and I used to call it 'the Costco Library of Stuff' because you can buy something, use it for a few months and then bring it back for a full refund, no (serious) questions asked. I try not to do that too much, because I have become an honorable, upstanding citizen in my old age, but it's still there. I actually just bought a digital camera there today, and since you can't possibly try them out there (all display models have no batteries) I won't feel bad if I decide to return it. Anyway, go there, get a PC in your price range, use it for a while, and you will quickly figure out what your priorities are. If you are sure you won't want to do anything else in the future, a Mac may be fine for you, but (I won't get into an argument on this) in the long term they are pretty limiting and specialized, IMO. I had more to say, but I have to run.
post #6 of 13
Yes you could buy a PC for the same price, or slightly cheaper. But you'll make up for the costs in the user friendliness, beautiful interface, and the good chance you will never get a virus or spyware ever again. PCs are like BMW 7 series cars, they may look cool and be popular - but you gotta keep taking them in and fixing the problems every month.
post #7 of 13
...and Macs are like a Toyota Prius. Its all good, cute, and cuddly until you need to say... give a ride to four friends...or get away from the crime scene in a fast and/or inconspicuous car...or find aftermarket parts, so you aren't FORCED to buy a fan belt that costs you $500 Not to be drawn into a PC/Mac flame war, just being fair and offering the alternative analogy.
post #8 of 13
One data point, I used a Mac for four years of college and then for a large extent through my first two years of work, both PC network environments. I stayed on top of problems by learning how to do my own technical service, which was never much to deal with anyway. Networking, no problem once you get set up initially. It took a couple of hours, but is much easier with OS X. Software has never been an issue for me. There are games out there but not as many as for the PC. Most business software is available for both. If you're into more obscure fields that require imaging like geology or microbiology then most of your software is going to be Mac only, as with the more traditional graphic arts/music fields. From what you say your requirements are, I'd say go for it. You'll find that your computer might finally become a transparent tool in your daily life instead of another annoyance. Mine hasn't crashed in three years, and I put it through a lot of crap. Oh, check out pricewatch for monitors and any other computer parts you might need. It is a repository for price information on every component you can imagine. Another good resource for deals on Macs and accessories is DealMac. Hope this helps. Tom
post #9 of 13
My vote is with the Mac crowd. Can't go wrong, really.
post #10 of 13
Thread Starter 
Geez, why can't everyone just agree so I can make my decision based exclusively on styleforum response? Seriously, thanks for the input. I've been shopping around, and weighing the options. I can certainly get a solid PC for the $750 I'll end up spending if I get the mac mini and a monitor. The benefits of a PC for me would be: ease of messing with settings and upgradability. This is somewhat offset by the fact that I've never actually bothered upgrading hardware at home, and wouldn't be qualified to do so on either platform. The benefits of the mac would be: ease of use, familiarity (I had an iMac), seamlessness with my iPod, and, uh, it looks cool. It occurs to me, though, that everything else being equal, I'd go with the mac. I may go with the mac, and either this monitor, from Princeton, or this one, from Sony. Any thoughts on the necessity of bluetooth?
post #11 of 13
Bluetooth isn't going to hurt you, but it shouldn't make or break your decision. You can certainly upgrade a PowerPC or other Macintosh incarnations, but truth be told, you probably won't want to. While PC software outgrows the hardware quickly, Macs have the uncanny ability to still function nicely even after years of aging. I know guys who use 3 year old PowerBooks and don't even notice its shortcomings using standard applications like FireFox/IE, MS Office, etc. I am definitely a sucker for "looking cool," though, and I think Macs fit the bill. Being proud of your Apple product is the only way to effectively be a hip nerd. If you were to get a PC, I would suggest building your own, unless you really are new to computers. A couple years of basic troubleshooting windows experience and some nerdy friends can help you to build a $2000 PC for under $1k. On your monitor choices, I think both of them will do fine, but I've always trusted Sony to deliver very high quality products, so that would be my preferred pick. Name brand is important to me when considering monitors of any type, TV included.
post #12 of 13
Any thoughts on the necessity of bluetooth?
i'd go with bluetooth if only to use the wireless apple keyboard and mouse. since you already have your own, though, i'm not so sure.
post #13 of 13
Bluetooth is cool, but a USB bluetooth thingy is only about $15-20 bucks. Get it later if you decide you want it. BTW, its security is a joke, so don't leave your Bluetooth phone enabled, or use Bluetooth to transfer anything important.
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