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Need some advice from Mac Users

by ajurina / February 23, 2006 11:53 PM PST

I am in the process of planning my next desktop computer purchase. While I've always owned a Windows PC and work on one, I am learning towards possibly getting a Mac for home use. There are two reasons I'm thinking of getting a Mac: I am extremely new to video editing and would like something that would make it easy to edit my home movies. I also want something that would be easy for my non-technical wife to use (I am a software developer). What sort of Mac's do you recommend I get. I'm looking for the best bang for the buck, since I'm short on cash.


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all macs
by Veronica Belmont / February 24, 2006 12:02 AM PST

Come with iMovie, which is a very simple and user-friendly editing application for video. She'd probably be quite comfortable with it!


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Any other thoughts?
by ajurina / February 24, 2006 12:12 AM PST
In reply to: all macs

Thanks Veronica,

Although I'm pretty sure that I'd be doing the video editing. My wife would probably be more interested in iPhoto. I have thought about getting an affordable Mini with maybe a boost in RAM, but a friend recommended that I avoid the mini if I intend to do video editing at all. In any case, I wouldn't be buying anything until all of the Macs (including the Mini) are on the Intel platform. Would you agree with avoiding a Mini?


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Mac Mini would probably be ok for iMovie ..
by barret55 / February 24, 2006 12:21 AM PST
In reply to: Any other thoughts?

.. but if you see yourself getting more professional at it, you may want to look at a desktop machine, and perhaps think about getting Final Cut Pro in the future. Apple doesn't yet have FCP available for Intel Macs yet, but have said that it will be available in March. It's farily expensive, but if it's something you'll want to do on a more professional level, it's definitely something to consider down the road.

Otherwise, if all you're going to be doing is creating and editing home movies, the Mini and iMovie will most likely be enough for your needs.


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So, if I go with a Mini...
by ajurina / February 24, 2006 12:49 AM PST

here are the tasks I'd be doing mostly:

editing home movies, pictures, as well as some possible work with garage mostly the iLife suite. Is there any case where I wouldn't want the mini? I don't plan on doing any hard-core video editing beyond the home movie stuff. What kind of specs and accessories do you recommend, if I go with a Mini?

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I'd go with the faster processor ..
by barret55 / February 24, 2006 1:03 AM PST

.. but don't bump up the memory. One thing Apple is known for is charging an arm and a leg to upgrade memory. You can go to a trusted third party (i.e. Crucial memory) and get an upgrade for much less than what you'd pay to Apple. The Mini is really easy to open and it's a snap to upgrade the memory. The only thing you have to get over is that you feel like you're breaking the thing trying to open it. It makes such god-awful cracking sounds.


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But wouldn't I void the warranty...
by ajurina / February 24, 2006 2:00 AM PST

..If I crack open the case? I've seen demos online of people doing this, and I can't help to wonder if its worth the risk over saving 50 bucks or so for memory.

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I'd call Apple about that.
by barret55 / February 24, 2006 2:03 AM PST

From what I've seen and heard, it shouldn't void your warranty. I've been wanting to do this to my wife's Mini too, but haven't because I had been wondering the same thing. Most of the other Apple computers you can open them up and upgrade the memory without being in violation of the warranty, so I wouldn't see why the Mini would be any different.

Perhaps if anyone else here knows the answer, they could post whether or not it's okie dokie. Veronica? Do you know?


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Don't even think of it!
by MacHugger / February 24, 2006 2:25 AM PST

Ajurina, I would highly recommend the 17 inch iMac if you are going to make a leap into the Mac world for doing video editing.

The Mac mini MIGHT get you by working with non-intensive video editing but bear in mind, this is a SERIOUSLY entry level computer and the graphics card and processor in this thing will be weak. If you enjoy what you do and take it further, your efforts will be hobbled.

The new iMac has the 1.83 GHz Intel Core Duo and Apple has promised that its applications will all be running Universal Binary code if not now, then shortly. Bear in mind, the Mac Mini has a G4 not a G5 and the step up to the iMac will give you performance that is several times faster.

Plus, when you consider everything that the iMac comes with that the Mini doesn't, the price difference is no longer so big. The mini has no monitor or even keyboard and mouse. If you start working with video, you will likely want to be able to burn DVDs and the iMac comes with a Superdrive burner, the mini can only READ DVDs.

Anyhow, if you were just getting a Mac to surf the web or do e-mail or write or something, heck yeah, the Mini is a great product. But if you are planning on working with video, don't even THINK about going with anything less than an iMac. You can do payment plans through Apple if you don't have quite enough cash up front to make the leap. It's just the performance difference for what ends up being a few hundred more dollars more makes the iMac a no-brainer.

-Kevin S.

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Mini vs. iMac
by ajurina / February 24, 2006 2:43 AM PST

Another friend of mine (a Mac owner) advised me in the same thing. He said to get an iMac if I planned any video editing. I don't plan on buying soon, so even if i got a Mini, it wouldn't be until they came out with Intel chips.

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Plan it
by MacHugger / February 24, 2006 3:04 AM PST
In reply to: Mini vs. iMac

If you have time to plan for this purchase, all the better! That means you can do your research, pick a target and be financially ready when it's time.

I was thinking about this more after my last post...

I've been using Macs for 20 years and SO many times, I've seen others (and myself in the early days) purchase a machine that just barely does what is needed. It usually only takes the next upgrade from Adobe to bring everything screeching to a halt. Software almost never gets MORE efficient.

The new Intel chips carry potential. The old G4 is spent. What would you really rather have - a machine that already blazes and continues to get faster as software gets optimized, or a spent processor that's as good as it's ever going to get on day 1 and go downhill from there?

Easy choice Happy

-Kevin S.

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I concur
by rtemp / February 24, 2006 3:23 AM PST
In reply to: Plan it

Kevin, you make just the right points on this discussion.

I, too recommend looking at the iMac (and most likely, more RAM). It will give you the most bang for your buck in this situation.


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by Veronica Belmont / February 24, 2006 3:14 AM PST
In reply to: Mini vs. iMac

I think you would be better off with one of the new iMacs. The Mini is really too entry-level. Good if you plan on making a media center out of it, but that's about it.

FCP is a great program, but it is expensive (and much too much for your needs). The iLife suite should cover everything you need, including making DVDs and home videos. iPhoto is a fantastic application for organizing pictures. And they all work so well together!

I'm not just saying this because I'm an Apple fan, either. I do a lot of work on a PC, and I always miss how seamlessly everything works together on my Macs.

However, I suggest upgrading the RAM to 1GB. It's $100 more, but it will be worth it. I've never installed extra RAM on an iMac... it's very easy with my G5, but they're built differently.

Hope this helps!

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Good Advice on RAM
by MacHugger / February 24, 2006 3:22 AM PST
In reply to: agree

I nearly always buy my RAM from an external source such as (they have a great RAM configurator to ensure you get the right kind) but on the iMac RAM, I agree with Veronica. Just pay a bit more to have it installed by Apple. The iMac is a different beast than the desktop machines. Everything is crammed in that little form factor and unless you are really confident with what you are doing, it's probably better to have Apple or Macwarehouse (or wherever you buy it) do it.

-Kevin S.

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It shouldn't be that hard to do it yourself
by rtemp / February 24, 2006 3:37 AM PST
In reply to: Good Advice on RAM

I haven't opened up an iMac G5 (definitely not a Core Duo), but looking through a pdf on Apple's site, it looks to be pretty simple.
(find one for memory relplacement)

However, I'm usually lazy so I would have the seller put it in for me.


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by MacHugger / February 24, 2006 4:04 AM PST

Yeah, it depends on your comfort level. There's not a Mac made that I wouldn't hesitate to go in myself but iMacs, Minis, Cubes, Laptops - anytime they make these things super small or thin, it's a bit more involved to get to it. In some cases (like laptops), I've had to remove other bits and parts to get to one of the RAM slots.

But you and I are comfortable inside machines, Ryan. A lot of people aren't (like every other Mac using friend I have :-))

-Kevin S.

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Very true Kevin.
by barret55 / February 24, 2006 4:09 AM PST
In reply to: SkillZ

Popping open your computer is not for the feint of heart (especially when it comes to the Mini and that loud cruching sound). For most people, it's usually best to have Apple or some third party person do it. But for those of us who love to take things apart and see how they work (like me), it's wiser to save the money, and do it yourself.


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by rtemp / February 24, 2006 4:28 AM PST
In reply to: SkillZ

I sometimes forget to look at things from another perspective.
This has suddenly reminded me of when I completely disassembled an old tangerine iBook last fall and put it back together again. I even had screws left over! I'm so efficent! Happy


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Having parts left over is ALWAYS a good thing.
by barret55 / February 24, 2006 4:48 AM PST
In reply to: Yeah

Just means you have parts left over to replace any that may break in the future. Happy


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