What should I buy?

in General Discussion edited January 2014
Hello everyone. I'm a newbie here.

I'm seriously considering a Mac, and have been doing research, but not sure what is best for my needs (MS Office, internet/email, music/video/photo editing).

iMacs look awesome, but obsolescence seems inevitable since they can't be upgraded, right?

Are Power Macs worth the extra investment, since they can be upgraded (RAM, CPU)?

And since I'm not in a hurry per se, should I wait for the updates potentially coming to the Mac lineup this year? I know many people get caught up in this issue of when to buy, but I pose the question because I understand that many products are (over)due for updates.

I apologize for this posting being very open-ended, but I could use some advice from the experts!


  • Reply 1 of 9
    paulpaul Posts: 5,278member
    you can upgrade the ram on any computer apple sells...

    and any computer apple sells will be able to fulfill your current needs and probably most of your needs in the future...

    upgrading the CPU is NOT supported on ANY of apple's products, but the idea is that you will do it when the warranty expired anyway... besides it isn't the best way to spend your money anyway... you are better off selling the older computer and getting a new one...

    You should get a handle on how much you are willing to spend and whether or not you want a built-in display that you can't upgrade... the 20" iMac has a beautiful display but 2 or 3 years down the road you won't be able to use it with any other computer so keep that in mind...

    you should also decide if you want a laptop or not... because having a mobile computer is something that once you have, you can't live without...
  • Reply 2 of 9

    Originally posted by StotheD

    iMacs look awesome, but obsolescence seems inevitable since they can't be upgraded, right?

    The hard drive and RAM are upgradable. Also, don't forget that it has several USB and FireWire connectors for external additions.

    On a personal note, this is something that really bothers me. People talk about how it's such a bad thing that the iMacs are limited in their upgradability. Why single-out the iMac like this?

    Notebook computer sales are higher today than ever and are still on the rise. Apple is now selling more PowerBooks alone than all of its towers (G4s and G5s combined). What about them? Why don't as many people complain about upgradability and consider it as such a negative factor in purchasing a notebook?

    Besides that, CPU upgrades are almost prohibitively expensive for Macs. A decent CPU upgrade will cost you many hundreds of dollars, sometimes upwards of a grand. At that point you'd be wiser to spend another few hundred and get a whole new computer. CPU upgrades can't even been considered for the G5 yet. No one is making them. Who knows when or if they'll ever become available?

    I don't mean for this rant to be directed at you, StotheD, but just to all "upgrade skeptics" in general.

    People need to look at the iMac like it's just a heavy notebook tied to your desk. That's essentially what it is!

    Anyhow, back to your original question.

    I think the iMac would be perfect for your needs. Buying a G5 tower would really be overkill unless you mean that you edit video and audio professionally and will be dealing with a dozen tracks at once.

    Should you wait? Waiting is always a good idea if you can. The iMac hasn't been updated in a very long time and should be getting a pretty good bump in the next couple of months.
  • Reply 3 of 9
    lainlain Posts: 140member

    Originally posted by Brad

    Why single-out the iMac like this?

    Cos they are so bloody expensive.
  • Reply 4 of 9
    just don't buy the ram from apple-it's way too friggin' expensive!
  • Reply 5 of 9
    progmacprogmac Posts: 1,850member
    could you be more specific about your AV needs? if you are planning on doing serious home studio stuff, you would need the powermac for adding audio cards and such. same with video. but, it sounds like you are doing more casual a/v editing, and if that is the case, go with an iMac. the iMac is perfect for editing video from a single DV camera or audio for casual recordings (ie, unless you have thousands of dollars invested in other A/V equipment, the imac will suit your A/V needs)

    internet, etc, can be done on a mac from 5 years ago, so i wouldn't worry about that when choosing a computer, the current line will far more than suit your needs.

    the dual powermacs are also good if you do lots of photoshop/illustrator work. i'm not talking editing an image, adding filters, doing "photoshop contest" creative work, but rather churning, serious churning. rasterizing poster-sized PDFs or other vector stuff (or a ton of average size pdfs), manipulating extremely complex vector based stuff, etc. also, serious and frequent video rendering. i work with a lot of this stuff and it is true that the computer cannot be fast enough. i spend a lot of time twiddling my thumbs at work on a G5 even...HOWEVER, at home i have a 1GHZ eMac and it is twice as fast as i need it to be for surfing/mp3 playing, casual photoshopping, digital audio/video, etc.

    i don't see any real reason for you to get a tower. most mac users don't need them and don't have them. if you play a LOT of games, you would want to be able to upgrade your video cards. again, any of the current line is great for a casual gamer like myself (sim city, civ 3, quake, etc)

    furthermore, i have upgraded hard drives, optical drives and processors in old imacs and powerbooks. if you are a little tech-savvy you can easily upgrade these "unupgradeable" machines yourself...people usually do this when the warranty runs out...well, you won't need an upgrade until then anyways

    i'm not into waiting for new releases. the current iMac line will suit you fine for years to come. do consider refurbished gear in the "special deals" section on apple's site
  • Reply 6 of 9
    You should buy a pint for all of your hardworking mods and admins. It'll pay off if you plan on sticking around here
  • Reply 7 of 9
    I certainly appreciate everyone's advice. And per LoCash's request...this round of beers is on me!
  • Reply 8 of 9
    I heard that there will be an update to the Powermac G5 in March or April. If that happens, will the prices of the current powermac g5's go down? I am specifically looking at the Pwermac G5 1.8 single processor machine.

    I am looking to buy, but if there will be a steep discount, I will wait a few months.

    Thanks for the info

  • Reply 9 of 9
    lucaluca Posts: 3,833member
    Yeah, whenever new stuff comes out, the old stuff drops in price. You won't see a big price drop on the dual processor ones, but a single 1.8 should be fairly cheap once new PowerMacs come out. You can look for a used one, or see if any place has refurbished ones available.
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