Recently the hard drive on my late 2006 Imac failed. I am now trying to decide what to replace it with and can’t settle on a comfortable solution.
I am a print designer who works on catalogs and photobooks and also does some web design. Until it died, the Imac was adequate. Though it had only 1GB of ram and a 250GB hard drive I was running CS3 comfortably on the machine. I had about 100GB of data that I accessed regularly from an external drive and was using about 175GB of the machine’s internal hard drive.
I’m hesitant to spend $1299 on a new Imac because money is a bit tight and I have some reservations about working on a glossy screen. I was immediately attracted to buying the basic Mac Mini for $599 and a monitor, which I figured would cost me about $200, saving me around $500. I see that the Mini has a dual-core processor (same as my old Imac) and 4gb of memory (4x that of my old machine). This would be a step up, but will it be adequate working on modern browsers and new CS software 3-4 years down the line? Additionally, I’m rather clueless about monitor technology and, after some research, it seems I may have to factor more into my budget than $200 for one good enough to display accurate colors and render typography well.
If processing power and memory would be an issue, I could increase the memory of the basic Mini to 8GB for around $60 with aftermarket ram or buy the Mini with a quad-processor and 4GB of ram for $799. Add the $200 (or more) for a monitor and I’m creeping closer to the cost of the new Imac. I’ve all but completely ruled out the purchase of a Macbook Pro (which I desire for it’s portability) because the basic model is comparable to the basic Mini in terms of processing power and $600 more. I’m also considering buying a used machine where I could get a more power for less money.
Any thoughts that may help me come to a decision would be much appreciated.