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help, i need some mac advice!

My lovely flat-screen G5 iMac is dying, boo. It's about five years old and getting obsolete and very creaky. Basically, I want the same thing, but I'm freaked out about buying something just before the 'latest thing' comes out, making my computer almost instantly out-of-date. (That happened last time, I didn't do my research well enough. Reading computer magazines makes me go cross-eyed.)

So I hear there's this new OS X Snow Leopard coming out, but no specific launch date. Is it worth waiting around for that? (Anyone know when it might be?) And is there some trick I can use, so my next upgrade won't cost so much? My friend just bought a Mac Mini and I'm wondering if that's the way forward. I'd still need to buy a screen this time, but at least that way, I'd only have to replace the hard drive, not the whole thing. But I love the sleek design and compactness of the iMac, and initially, it would cost about the same as buying a Mac Mini and new screen. I don't have room in my work space for one of those tower hard drives, as nice as they are.

If you've bought a new Mac in the last few months, which model did you buy? Are you happy with it?


( 19 comments — Leave a comment )
May. 9th, 2009 08:36 am (UTC)
the problem is that you may put yourself in the position of waiting for the next 'big thing' in perpetuity...

It's not really about having the best, (and although it's nice to hit that optimal 'bang for buck' there have also been hardware problems develop for'early adoptors') it's about having equipment that can do what you ask of it (& with Mac's have a certain aesthetic). I would just go with what you'll be happiest working with - be it the all in one, or the modular Mini.

written from a tangerine DV 450 (quite ooollldddddd imac)
May. 9th, 2009 08:51 am (UTC)
Oh, I used to have that tangerine version! :-D

I'm sure you're right about the waiting thing. I just wonder if the new system's coming out in the next month or two, if it's worth waiting just for that. Hmm. But you're right, initial glitches are a big problem, too. (Of course, if my iMac goes totally kaput in the next week or so, I won't have much choice.)

Thanks for the advice! :-)
May. 9th, 2009 08:55 am (UTC)
What's the mac actually doing? It may be a software 'fault' rather than something physical...

Do you have an external drive with everyting backed up?
May. 9th, 2009 09:03 am (UTC)
Yeah, I'm going to wipe my hard drive and start again, it very well could be a software thing. I'm dreading this, last time it took nearly a whole day to reload everything, with all the drivers and such. And no guarantee it'll work. Blegh.

Eventually I'd like a new computer, but hopefully I can make this one creak along for a few more months. Right now I have to start it up about five times before it stops crashing, and if it sleeps for more than ten minutes or so, it switches itself off when I try to un-sleep it. Reload time.
May. 9th, 2009 09:15 am (UTC)
have you done a check & repair of permissions? This sounds like it could be a problem with permissions...

Applications > Utilities > Disk Utility
Select 'First Aid' tab
Select the drive on the left hand column & then click on the 'Verify Disk permissions' & 'Check disk permissions' in turn

Might be worth doing this more than once.

There are also utilities that you can get that cah runa otomated helth things.. I'm on jaguar & I use an older version Onyx
May. 9th, 2009 09:52 am (UTC)
Ooo, I'll try that. Thanks so much!
May. 9th, 2009 04:10 pm (UTC)
Aw, I was all excited because, after I did that a few times, when I shut down and started up, there weren't any problems and I thought it was fixed. But when I shut down and left it for a few hours, the same thing happened again at start-up, complete with the flashing thin horizontal lines across the screen. Boo. :-(

Thanks for the tip, though! I'll try fixing the permissions a few more times and see if it helps.
May. 9th, 2009 09:19 am (UTC)
Hmmm. How about buying a nice big screen and a Macbook plus spare keyboard? The book won't take up too much space. There are some lovely screens out there that aren't made by Apple, so you'd save a few quid (LG can be good)

To find out about new releases my friend who worked in the apple store used to consult this site... http://www.macrumors.com/
May. 9th, 2009 09:53 am (UTC)
Thanks, Joe! I could use my old keyboard, that's not a bad idea. Then I'd have a laptop as well. Hmm.
May. 9th, 2009 12:04 pm (UTC)
That's the set up my girlfriend uses (with an external drive for back up) She's a freelance designer and it suits her needs. She was originally going to get a mini but our friend in the apple store talked her out of it.

I think your best bet is to talk to the folks in the store. They'll enjoy advising you as it makes a change from selling ipods and phones all day.
(Deleted comment)
May. 9th, 2009 04:12 pm (UTC)
Thanks so much for that, it's really helpful! Yes, I'm really trying to decide if I go that route, it'd be great to have a laptop as part of the package.
May. 9th, 2009 10:31 am (UTC)
I had a macbook pro for years and got fed up with it because even though it was tiny, it took a lot of deskspace in combination with a second screen, and when I worked on it somewhere else I got a cricked neck. I really really wanted a proper work-station set up somewhere instead pretty soon... I really recommend having a web-book for mobility and a really ergonomic home work station for work. (Well, maybe that's just me.) I found my web-book could even deal with having to work with images in emergencies (roughs and not-too-large flat-coloured stuff).

Before buying my mini I asked around a bit and other illustrators mostly shrieked in despair at the suggestion of buying a mini mac, they said the only real thing was the pro. At the very least the imac (everyone seemed to agree that was a sensible choice, the imac).
But then two people I really rather trust with these things said "Just get the one you like, they are all better than what you have now."

So anyway, it seems to me that the imac is well respected all around... I only didn't buy one because I am very fond of my screen. (And because I really like the idea of just having a pretty little box.) And you can't really upgrade the mini any better than the imac if anything new and exciting happens...
Get the one you like, I say! :)
May. 9th, 2009 10:37 am (UTC)
Thanks so much, Viv! I wonder, why are they all so down on the mini? I think I'm pretty much doing the same things as you with it, no big-time animation rendering needed or anything, just the occasional very large graphic file.

My dream combo would be an iMac all-in-one AND a laptop to take places, but that's getting pretty pricey!
(Deleted comment)
May. 9th, 2009 04:12 pm (UTC)
Thanks! Yeah, the iMac is so, so slick. :-)
May. 9th, 2009 02:46 pm (UTC)
mac rumours link
apparently the most recent release of an imac was in march of this year so this is a good time to buy one.
here's a link to that effect:

i think viviane is right. get what you want.

i wouldn't worry that much about snow leopard either. someone else above mentioned that early adopters of programs can have problems. it's probably a fantastic os (possible early bugs aside) but it won't completely change your life or make you a better illustrator overnight.
May. 9th, 2009 04:14 pm (UTC)
Re: mac rumours link
Ooh, that iMac release thing is interesting. Thanks for that, Dan!
May. 9th, 2009 06:12 pm (UTC)
mac madness
Hey Sarah

we are in the same position, so I will get Dan to mail you. ~Yes there was a lovely new imac just released and I think the new OS is meant to be coming out around June time. Our old G4 (!) is really struggling now so we are waiting for the new OS then will splash out on the whole new caboodle. We've considered the mac mini or the macbook, but it's just not the same...

Of course if you are going to wait for the latest new thing you could be there for ever, but then again if you are going to spend a load of money then surely it's best to wait a month or two to get the best you can at the time. These things move so fast. And as for problems mac is usually so much better than the evil microsoft!

Also Dan will know better but I think a good thing to do is to find a tame teacher to buy it for you...they get an educational discount or something (Dan can get the higher educational discount but he's not sure if he can get two with that...he'll look in to it if you like!).

happy shopping and yours waiting in excitement for a brand new mac!

May. 9th, 2009 06:14 pm (UTC)
release date
Dan just told me the Mac developers conference is on June 8th, so if the new OS is not released there it will be a big surprise to everyone.
May. 14th, 2009 10:13 am (UTC)
I bought a new iMac middle of last year. My old G4 flat screen angle poise iMac that I loved just went and, well, dies on me. It still works but the screen is blank and wont wake up. Its there to use an external mounted disc it ever needed. New iMac... Totally rocks. Its an awesome machine and i would thoroughly recommend one. If you can catch the wave of the new ones an a few weeks then hang on for that. And as always, you get exceptionally good after sales service with Mac. When I bought mine I had the choice of wired or bluetooth keyboard and mouse. Go bluetooth. That littel Mac blue tooth keyboard is the best I have ever used. Sooooo slick. :-) and there is this great app where you get a little white remote thing that gives you access to full screen high res movie trailers that are ongoingly updated. A great way to spend a couple of hours ;-)
Get one, splash out, have fun... you deserve it :-)

( 19 comments — Leave a comment )


Sarah McIntyre

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