Advice request: which Mac should I buy?

Started Apr 17, 2010 | Discussions thread
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Mark B UK
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Advice request: which Mac should I buy?
Apr 17, 2010

I would appreciate some advice for those who are knowledgeable about the current Mac line-up about which new Mac I should buy.

Currently I have an old (c. 7-8yrs) PowerPC tower. Unfortunately I'm not tech-savvy enough to be able to say what model it is. I use it to run Aperture, which I use to process and organise RAW files. Trouble is, I now have a Panasonic GH-1 and need to upgrade to Aperture 3 to get compatibility with that camera's output, and I need an Intel-based Mac to run it.

I've considered MacBooks, MacBook Pros and Mac Minis (in all cases with a good third party large monitor) and the iMac. I appreciate that each of these also comes with different processor speed, RAM and hard drive options; there's also the question of which monitor to get.

Here are my questions:

1. Whichever Mac I choose, I want a big hard drive. Ideally 1TB, but I might consider 500MB at a real push. I see there's a Mac Mini server version with 2x 500MB. Can it be used as an everyday Mac, and is it a genuine 1TB of capacity across two drives or is it a 500MB computer with a second drive for back-up purposes (I plan on buying a Time Capsule for this)?

2. Which processor is comfortably fast enough for my purposes, without being ridiculously over the top? I want to be able to process RAW files in Aperture 3, including retouching, batch processing, uploading to the web and printing to an Epson R1800 printer. The slowest option on the Mini seems to be 2.26GHz, the fastest 2.66, while the iMac runs from 2.66 to 3.33. I'm also confused that the most expensive iMac is the quad-core one and that has a slower processor (2.8 with TurboBoost) than a cheaper one (3.33). Which is best choice for me?

3. How much RAM do you think I should have?

4. The Apple UK store shows different iMacs than are referred to on the TechSpec page: the fastest processors are 3.06 and 2.66GHz respectively, not 3.33 and 2.8. Which is correct, or is the online store still selling old models?

5. A while ago there were rumours of faults with monitors on 27in iMacs. Is this for both versions or only one (dual or quad-core)? And is there a definitive view as to whether the problem has been overcome?

6. Generally, which model and spec of Mac do you think would be best for my needs?

All help much appreciated :-).

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