Buying a Macintosh
Purchasing a Macintosh computer is much easier than purchasing a standard PC. Macs are only produced by one company, Apple. While many of the brand name concerns are gone when purchasing a Macintosh, there are still some decisions to be made. These points should help you make the best decision.
When purchasing your new Macintosh, consider:
Hard Drive space. A good rule of thumb when purchasing a hard drive is to purchase 1.5 to 2 times the space you believe you will need. In the mid-nineties, many people thought that a 6GB hard drive was all that they would ever need. Then portable music formats cam along and that 6GB drive was no longer even close to big enough. If you think that you might need a 60GB drive, look for something closer to 120GB.
Processor speed. Macintosh computers move slower than their PC counterparts in terms of clock speed. This would seem to make the computer slower overall. To catch up on this debate, read the articles from Mac world and decide for yourself.
System RAM. Before deciding how much RAM to purchase with your computer, keep in mind that it is the easiest thing to upgrade in the future. If you are looking for a computer for a little less money, RAM is one place where you can save. Purchase what you think you will need and then plan on upgrading it in 12-18 months. If you plan on doing system-intensive processes, RAM is a great way to boost performance. As a general rule, 1GB is the default installation, and will suffice for most users.
Monitor. Macintosh monitors are expensive. They look very nice. They perform very well. But they cost considerably more than third-party vendors. If you have to have the Apple look and brand name, your decision has already been made. If you are willing to have a plain monitor you can save $150+. Also keep in mind that it would be possible to use an old monitor you already have with a new desktop Mac. Apple provides the adapters with a new purchase, allowing you to connect older monitors to their new machines.
Graphics card. Because Apple usually only offers four or five main configurations in their computers, video configurations are not as flexible as PC machines. Apple uses nVidia and ATI products exclusively. Our suggestion is to consider a graphics upgrade from Apple for your new Macintosh because purchasing third party Macintosh-ready video cards can be expensive.
If you are looking into an Apple notebook computer, consider:
MacBook vs. MacBook Pro. The MacBook is Apple's lower priced (and lower powered) portable computer. The MacBook Pro is offered as a portable with the same power as a desktop. When deciding which solution to go with, consider if the extra power of the MacBook Pro is really needed.
System RAM. Do not purchase a computer with less than 512MB of RAM. Most systems come with 1GB out of the box, but for those who buy refurbished this may be an issue.
Media drive. Apple offers notebook computers with options for CD/DVD reading and burning. Be sure to look at the options presented, as what is offered can impact the price.