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View Full Version : mac mini, or a decent dell laptop?


.Hack
2005-02-19, 01:02
ok, I know ya'll might be biased here, but I really need an honest opinion. Ok, we just got small card in the mail from dell giving us an offer on a $632 dell inspirion... but on the other hand, I could get a mac mini, but I don't have the money for a monitor (and i don't have an extra one to use here at home... :( ). So what would ya'll do? Go for the dell laptop, and wait to get a mac? Or should I just go for the mac? My reasons for hesitating are that I think it might be best to hold out on the mac until I become a senior or leave for college, the dell could suffice for a while... I dunno, what would ya'll do? (Luca, you might be able to help :D )

Paul
2005-02-19, 01:08
what are you planning on doing with the computer.

usurp
2005-02-19, 01:11
the question is more like Mac or Windows and to that I would say Mac for sure.

.Hack
2005-02-19, 01:12
It'd mostly be for school work (i.e. reasearch papers, presentations, etc...), instant messaging, and internet surfing. Nothing heavy... but I've really been wanting my own computer for a long time, and a mac would be great (I REALLY have been wanting a mac), but I can totally see how it wouldn't suit my needs until college (I wanna persue a career in graphics design). So I'm just kinda torn on my decision.

Brad
2005-02-19, 07:31
Papers, IM, and web surfing? You sound like the perfect candidate for a new Mac.

How old are you? How many more years do you have until college? You could always pick one up now, eBay it later, and grab a newer one just before college.

wuf
2005-02-19, 10:17
i would go ahead and get the mac too......you don't have to buy a pricey apple cinema display to use with a mini.....you CAN find cheap monitors out there......CRT's are bigger, bulkier and heavier than flatscreens, but you can find them pretty cheap.......

my 2 cents....

-wuf

p-trick
2005-02-19, 10:52
I wouldn't go with Dell unless you're prepared to go the Linux-way...

Mac is just the best way to get a unix-based system.

.Hack
2005-02-19, 13:53
I want clear up a possible misunderstanding really quick! I know the mac mini wouldn't suffice for a graphics design job (right!?). My plan would either to be, get the dell and then buy a powerbook for college, or buy a mini and then buy a powerbook for college. The mini would be my first mac but if I was to buy a cheap monitor, it'd probably be around oh, say $700 (if that's wrong, correct me). And the only reason I'm even considering this dell laptop is b/c it's so cheap ($632) compared to some other deals we've been looking at recently... I'm only a freshman (I know that thinking of college at this age might seem cheesy, but I'm a spaz like that lol) and I know that I couldn't use a powerbook now, and the mac mini would be great. It'd just cost a bit more than the laptop... Am I making any sense lol, I feel like I'm rambling! Anyways, any more suggestions?

Paul
2005-02-19, 14:11
wait... this is a $650 dell LAPTOP?!
save your money.

Quagmire
2005-02-19, 14:16
Save Money and get eMac. Comes with moniter, kb, and mouse. Only thing you need to add is 256 MB of more ram and ae if you have wireless.

ast3r3x
2005-02-19, 14:17
Just a note in high school I used my powerbook the last two years I was there, and my 'powerpoints' with Keynote were UN-BEATABLE.

Having such a good looking presentation often helps the grade.

If you get a mini, you'd have to get RAM and a monitor.

.Hack
2005-02-19, 14:35
Just a note in high school I used my powerbook the last two years I was there, and my 'powerpoints' with Keynote were UN-BEATABLE.

Having such a good looking presentation often helps the grade.

If you get a mini, you'd have to get RAM and a monitor.

Well the powerbook will have to be bought w/ my own money (parentals rule) but they're willing to buy me this dell, but I haven't even told them about the mini yet... So the reason I'm not going to get a powerbook is b/c it's WAY outta my price range at the moment :err: . And the whole RAM and monitor part is what I'm worried about, I don't want my parents to be all "well then it will be more expensive, yada yada yada..."

HHogan
2005-02-19, 15:02
Why not buy a used PB with Applecare still on it ?

Brad
2005-02-19, 15:07
I want clear up a possible misunderstanding really quick! I know the mac mini wouldn't suffice for a graphics design job (right!?).
Why do you say that? If my almost five-year-old desktop G4 can handle Photoshop, et al. just fine, so should the Mac mini (if not better).

The Mac mini is not a bad computer. :) Sure, it's underpowered next to the G5 towers, but those G5s are workhorse beasts!

I'm only a freshman (I know that thinking of college at this age might seem cheesy, but I'm a spaz like that lol) and I know that I couldn't use a powerbook nowHey! There's nothing wrong with looking ahead; that's a good thing! Most kids your age can't see past next Tuesday or at least don't see the relative importance of anything past next Tuesday.

I still say get the Mac. :)

Well the powerbook will have to be bought w/ my own money (parentals rule) but they're willing to buy me this dell, but I haven't even told them about the mini yet... So the reason I'm not going to get a powerbook is b/c it's WAY outta my price range at the moment
If you really want a notebook, have you considered the iBooks? The Mac mini is basically the iBook without a screen, keyboard, and battery. Sure, it's going to cost you a lot more, but that's the price for portability.

If even the iBook is out of your price range, I'd still say get the Mac mini. You won't be using a notebook much in high school unless you're attending a really cutting edge high school anyway. Wireless internet? Not likely. Online lecture notes? Not likely. Unless you're faster and more proficient at typing than writing, the notebook would be pretty pointless in class.

Ryan
2005-02-19, 16:56
I'm a high school freshman also, so maybe the route I took might suit you.

I got a refurbished 12" Powerbook from Apple. Sure, it wasn't the fastest, but I would rather have the Superdrive and wireless than and extra 150Mhz. Right now, Apple has a 1Ghz iBook G4 refurb on their website for $800. They have a 1.25Ghz eMac refurb for $650. Or even a refurb eMac with a Superdrive and 80 gig HDD for $700.

Check that out. They have some good deals.

stoo
2005-02-19, 20:38
Unless you're faster and more proficient at typing than writing, the notebook would be pretty pointless in class.

Plus the RATTLOR effect would be quite irritating. :)

Zodiac
2005-02-19, 22:22
Get the mini. I predict that several problems will happen with the laptop.

Macs are better in a way that cannot even be expressed unless you have your own. :)

FallenFromTheTree
2005-02-20, 02:39
I would recommend either a Mac mini with a 17"WS monitor or an iBook.
(check the Apple Store RED TAG sales)

Either one will hold you quite well til you're ready for college.

ALDER259
2005-02-20, 11:42
I say go with the mini.

judeobscure
2005-02-20, 21:12
On the floor next to me lie 3 dead Dell's all purchased within the past 7 years. This past September the last of the Dell's died. I was all set to buy another when I caught sight of a grape iMac at a tag sale. The price was right, and so was the timing so I bought the iMac. The iMac is far from lightning fast but it is reliable and I expect that the new Mac mini I am using now will be just as reliable. Dell? What the hell was I thinking?!

Kyros
2005-02-25, 17:34
Cheap pc laptops look good on paper, but the quality is sickening.

Photoshopping should be fine on the mini. No really intensive work, but I can do a lot more than you would expect with photoshop on my 450 mHz cube. The mini is 3 times as fast, so I'm sure it will be quite impressive. If you can afford it, a cheap external 7200 RPM firewire drive would also get around the slow HD problem, but that's a problem the Dell would also have.

curiousuburb
2005-02-25, 18:08
Don't just count the box cost, consider the software each machine ships with...

The Mini has iLife and a trial version of Office for 30 days, but iWork is only $79.
It has an actual graphics chip with 32MB of VRAM for limited gaming if you want.
If you save and go for the superdrive version, you have all you need to make DVDs.

The Dell probably doesn't ship with anything comparable in terms of iLife,
likely has no FireWire, no DVI-out, no DVD burning option, shared system RAM for graphics (no GPU)...
but you do get instant availability to more than 71,000 viruses with the Dell... bundled at times.

Mac over Win for OS stability/security, anytime... the Dell is a fool's bargain.

A cheap 17" CRT can be found for your Mini for under a Benjamin, (better WS Flat monitor later)
but OS X's productivity and peace of mind can't be bought for the Dell at any price.

Wraven
2005-02-25, 22:57
.Hack,
I second curiousuburb's points. My Mac mini is a sweet machine (now that I added a SuperDrive to it). Photoshop SHOULD run fine on it, because I have used the Hell out of iMovie and iDVD the last 3 days since I got it back from getting it upgraded, and it has handled those programs like a champ (again, hard drive being the limiting factor, but you can always get a fast FireWire drive). Make sure to upgrade to 1GB of RAM - trust me on this.

admactanium
2005-02-26, 04:35
I want clear up a possible misunderstanding really quick! I know the mac mini wouldn't suffice for a graphics design job (right!?).
so many people seem to underestimate the power of these machines because they're the "bottom of the line." i've done so many graphics projects on my old 1Ghz Ti powerbook i can't even count them all.

i've retouched all the images in a many-multi-million dollar multi-page wall street journal insert on that powerbook. i've also edited movies and done after effects visuals for corporate videos.

i probably can't even figure the multiple of times i've earned on that powerbook compared to its purchase price. probably something close to 20x.

torifile
2005-02-26, 11:15
What decent dell laptop can you get for $600? The one you get offered doesn't qualify. There are no decent laptops cheaper than the iBook.

.Hack
2005-02-26, 11:54
What decent dell laptop can you get for $600? The one you get offered doesn't qualify. There are no decent laptops cheaper than the iBook.

I'd say that this dell is decent, I'm a windows user, and although I'm not a huge fan of windows, I can tolerate it. We already have a dell, and it has performed quite well. That's why I call it decent... but compared to the iBook, dell has a loooong way to go!

torifile
2005-02-26, 12:33
I'd say that this dell is decent, I'm a windows user, and although I'm not a huge fan of windows, I can tolerate it. We already have a dell, and it has performed quite well. That's why I call it decent... but compared to the iBook, dell has a loooong way to go!
How much does it weigh? VRAM? HD size? Battery life? Available ports? Wireless?

No bargain basement PC laptop could be considered decent, IMHO. Forget the fact that it uses windows.

Luca
2005-02-26, 13:09
This is turning from a purchasing advice thread to a petty debate on the meaning of the word "decent." Torifile is saying that "decent" is a synonym for "good," while .Hack must think that "decent" means "good enough." There's a big difference.

ASZ993
2005-02-26, 13:34
How much does it weigh? VRAM? HD size? Battery life? Available ports? Wireless?

No bargain basement PC laptop could be considered decent, IMHO. Forget the fact that it uses windows.

I looked on Dell's website: There is no wireless, uses shared VRAM, has only USB, VGA, modem, and Ethernet ports


2.2Ghz Celeron
15" XGA screen
256 MB RAM
40GB HD
CD burner/DVD-ROM combo drive
WordPerfect software and Money


You really wouldn't want the Dell laptop, now that we have some specifics.
What's your budget for this machine, .Hack?

torifile
2005-02-26, 17:03
This is turning from a purchasing advice thread to a petty debate on the meaning of the word "decent." Torifile is saying that "decent" is a synonym for "good," while .Hack must think that "decent" means "good enough." There's a big difference.
It's not petty at all. If I were to give advice to someone, I'd want them to be sure what they were getting was worth getting. It's not just about getting a "decent" price.

Luca
2005-02-26, 17:28
It certainly fulfills the requirement for a low price. You can't expect a great notebook computer if you're only spending $600 (or $550 if you buy from the small business store). You're certainly not getting a very capable machine. The only advantages it has over an iBook would be the video output, audio input, PC card slots, and of course the price. That's it, the rest is (obviously) heavily in favor of the iBook.

So we can agree that the $550 Dell notebook is not a great machine. On the other hand, there's no disputing that it is an extremely low price to pay for a notebook.

.Hack
2005-02-26, 17:56
i'm probably going to just put linux on that dell if i get it, i mean, I don't need anything big for what I'm wanting to do

ASZ993
2005-02-26, 22:12
I have heard bad things about Dells and Linux...

If you really are willing to spend about $200 more, I happened to come across an $849 1.2Ghz 12" iBook with a Combo drive and a AirPort Extreme card. But, it still has 256 MB RAM.

Skip Dell and Linux, get an iBook, eMac, or Mac mini.

.Hack
2005-02-27, 19:59
wow! I just checked out NewEgg.com and found some awesome deals on notebooks! I might just forget the whole Dell thing altogether... Oh yes, and an update. The parentals said that they'll buy me a powerbook for college as a senior gift, so it looks like I'll just have to settle for a pc notebook for now (but I'm just grateful for a computer nonetheless). Thanks for all the help ya'll! :)

Jay
2005-02-27, 21:57
I've been using my 12" Powerbook in high school the last two years and love it. I plan to get myself a G5 and monitor this summer before college, as long as AAPL stock keeps going up I should be able to afford top of the line.

In your case I would forget the Dell, it's not going to be worth it. If you went with an iBook or PBook now you could probably use it in high school where the dell I wouldn't risk it. From the windows laptops I've seen they make tons of noise and it's not really fair to teachers to make that kind of noise. The loudest thing on my Powerbook is the CD drive and I haven't been able to warm it up enough in one period to kick the fan on so it's as quiet as pen and paper. If the best Mac you can get is the mini buy a good monitor, then when you get a good computer for college, desktop or laptop, you already have a display. Especially good for the powerbooks because you can run two monitors. If you do buy a laptop get what ever warrantee you can on it, go for the 3 years of AppleCare or what ever Dell has to offer. They tend to break much more frequently than Desktops.