We've got a perfectly good PowerMac G5, 1.8Ghz, running Leopard - 10.5.8. We also have a Buffalo Air Station N300 with USB (2.0?) external hard drive connection. Since a project requires using Intel processor dependent Dragon software, we're going to have do something about an upgrade. We've been kind of spoiled by a having a problem free computer that's done everything we've wanted for over 7 years and still shows no sign of doing otherwise. So, we'd kind of like to pick up something that stands a chance of lasting as long as we do. :-) No cell or smart phones, netbooks, or tablets. Just a vintage Inspiron 3800 laptop and our trusty PPC G5. Out of the loop is an understatement here. Its embarassing to admit how clueless we've become when it comes to figuring out what to buy.
We've learned that "under buying" is a really bad way to go. But, we're retired and need to buy as dollar smart as possible. Picking up a Mac Mini looks to be the best cost effective choice, but we'd like help with a few considerations. Equivalents in laptops or an iMac all appear to jump to way higher price points. And, if we can keep costs down on our primary system, we're hoping to splurge on an iPad.
1.) A 5400 RPM hard drive seems kind of slow. Or, maybe not really a problem? However, if we can work around the speed issue by using CD/DVD and file sharing with our PowerMac or router attached external hard drives, it wouldn't be an issue. That'd also mean that we wouldn't need to consider getting a solid state or fusion drive upgrade. But then would we have to run server software or just make the MacMini a client on a home network?
2.) We figure that quad-core is way better than dual-core and it looks like, for $200 more than an i5 processor, an i7 processor with an extra 500GB of storage, would cover us for pretty much whatever we'd want to do, even if the graphics capability isn't stellar. We're not all that sure where we'd find the basic i5 dual core Mac Mini lacking, excepting that the Dragon info at the Nuance site hints pretty strongly that a quad core processor is more than helpful. Refurbished isn't a dirty word around here, either.
3.) It does look like picking up additional memory from Apple is way more expensive than it needs to be. So sticking with the standard 4GB of memory should be okay. And, if not, we can upgrade later.
4.) Haven't upgraded our Microsoft Office 2004 for Mac since we bought the computer. Maybe a good time to convert it Pages, Numbers, etc? Or look for open source options?
Any and all help, comments, etc. will be truly appreciated. And don't worry about "talking down" to us here. That might be pretty hard to do...