Mac for Wife

marshac

American Hero
Joined
Mar 25, 2003
Messages
2,543
I grew up with Macs beginning with a Mac SE- when I went away to college, I switched to PCs since I could no longer afford to buy Apple- in fact, the computer I bought while I was in high school was a refurb Motorola Starmax clone.

Fast forward to the present day, and we seem to be accumulating more and more Apple junk, and my wife's computer is beyond old now. She mainly uses the computer for facebook, although has been known to play TF2. So what would you guys recommend? I really like the form factor of the mac mini, but I'm still in disbelief that they're still sporting a Core2 CPU after the refresh. How does that 320M GPU compare in terms of a desktop equivalent?
 

StryderxX

[H]ard|Gawd
Joined
Jun 22, 2006
Messages
1,337
I grew up with Macs beginning with a Mac SE- when I went away to college, I switched to PCs since I could no longer afford to buy Apple- in fact, the computer I bought while I was in high school was a refurb Motorola Starmax clone.

Fast forward to the present day, and we seem to be accumulating more and more Apple junk, and my wife's computer is beyond old now. She mainly uses the computer for facebook, although has been known to play TF2. So what would you guys recommend? I really like the form factor of the mac mini, but I'm still in disbelief that they're still sporting a Core2 CPU after the refresh. How does that 320M GPU compare in terms of a desktop equivalent?

After reading your post the first thought that popped into my head is that your wife is the perfect candidate for a 21.5" iMac with a 3.06GHZ Core i3. The base model is $1199 with some decent specs (4GB DDR3, ATI 4670 GPU, 500GB HD etc). If you go the Mac Mini route you still have to get a display and as you mentioned the hardware is not current generation. You can also get her a Macbook but what you gain in portability you lose in hardware horsepower. It basically comes down to your actual budget but the new line of iMacs look impressive and seem to fit your needs well.
 

phide

Fully [H]
Joined
Jun 11, 2004
Messages
16,693
Yeah, the 4670 in the iMac is decent. Or what I'd at least call passable — enough so for TF2. And, considering that the display in the iMac is of considerable quality (nothing as good under $1000) and you get a keyboard and mouse with it, it's a significantly better value than the mini.

The mini is just too poor a value to really consider as a primary desktop in comparison to the iMac.
 

C7J0yc3

[H]ard|Gawd
Joined
Dec 27, 2009
Messages
1,353
For TF2 until Apple / Valve / ATi / nVidia all get together in a huddle and get OpenCL drivers and code and a platform that all run as smoothly together on OS X as they do in Linux / Windows I would pass on Steam for Mac and bootcamp. I have a 08 unibody macbook (see sig for specs) and can play TF2 just fine in Bootcamp (Win 7 x64). Using Medium/High graphics settings 2x AA, 4x AF, HDR, Motion Blur, native res, and 90* view field. Using "show net_graph 1" in the steam console get a pretty steady 40FPS all source games using the above settings. The SAME setup in OS X gets about 30-35 depending on the game. Now my Macbook is using the 9400M which only has 16 pixel pipelines compared to the 48 of the 320M of the new generation macs. So with that in mind you should be able to get around 60FPS using my settings in Windows and around 50FPS in OS X and you could even crank up the settings and still have the game be playable. The 4670 will not offer that much performance over the 320m and the i3 vs Core 2 Duo battle is a question of essentially L2 vs L3 cache. For a game like TF processor doesn't even come into play as long as you have a 2Ghz Core 2 w/ 2MB of L2 cache.

Personally what I would do is Look at how much a Mac Mini + 4GB of RAM + a good 21 or 22 inch monitor would cost and then compare it to the cost of the 21 inch iMac i3. Unless she is going to become a hard core gamer, and play Starcraft 2, Battlefield 2 Bad Company, or Grand Theft Auto IV she will most likely not be able to tell the difference between the Mini and the iMac.

And just to say it one more time. If you are gaming, do it in windows until apple / nvidia / ati release updates for their drivers.
 

450

Fully [H]
Joined
Feb 19, 2007
Messages
20,978
The mini is just too poor a value to really consider as a primary desktop in comparison to the iMac.

+1. This is coming from someone (me) that has bought 2 mini's. The mini sort of made sense when it was $500-600 at most. But $700+tax is too much.
 
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