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MacMall - Your #1 Apple Superstore
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iMac Resource Center
About the Apple iMac
iMac Hardware Upgrades
iMac Software Upgrades
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About the Apple MacBook
MacBook Hardware Upgrades
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MacBook Pro Resource Center
About the Apple MacBook Pro
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About the Apple MacBook Air
MacBook Air Hardware Upgrades
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Mac mini Resource Center
About the Mac mini
Mac mini Hardware Upgrades
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About the Mac Pro
Mac Pro Hardware Upgrades
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Buyer’s Guide for Mac Notebooks
Buyer’s Guide for Mac Desktops
Mac Notebook Service Plan Guide
Mac Desktop Service Plan Guide
 

Buyer's Guide for Mac Desktops

So you’ve decided to take the big leap. You’ve decided to switch from a PC to a Mac. By now you already know that you can never go wrong with a Mac desktop. With its exceptional performance, unique style and easy-to-use applications, it’s really easy to get hooked.

The current line boasts three distinct yet equally remarkable machines: the Mac mini, iMac, and Mac Pro. Read on to figure out which of the three desktops suit your needs the most, so you can start immersing yourself in the Mac experience.

Speed and Power

The computer’s performance is largely dependent on the speed of the processor and the size of the memory. These two components dictate the pace at which the computer processes data and performs tasks. Mac desktops are available in different configurations to suit a broad range of users with varying performance requirements.

If you are an advanced user, whether a hardcore gamer, multimedia enthusiast or both, power and expandability are crucial. The Mac Pro delivers on both fronts, with its Intel Xeon Nehalem processors, so it is the clear-cut choice. For users whose demands are less taxing, the iMac and Mac mini are the apropos choices. The iMac offers quad-core Intel i7 processors that available up to 2.8GHz and supports up to 8GB of RAM, while the Mac mini has Intel Core 2 Duo processors with speeds that reach up 2.66GHz and supports up to 4GB of RAM.

Multimedia

Mac desktops are built to be the center of your digital life. They are equipped with cutting-edge graphics, the latest wireless technology, and a host of creative, simple-to-use applications, so whether be it work or play, Mac has all your bases covered.

When it comes to graphics capabilities, the Mac Pro is definitely king of the hill. It is equipped with the NVIDIA GeForce GT 120 with 512MB of GDDR3 memory. You can also choose to upgrade to the ATI Redeon HD 4870 with 512MB of GGDR5 for a more mind-blowing visual experience.

The iMac, while paling in comparison with the Mac Pro in terms of graphics capabilities, offers the most complete multimedia package amongst the three. Due to its all-in-one design, it is the only one available with a display screen (which comes in 21.5-inch and 27-inch glossy widescreen models), a webcam, microphone, and speakers right out of the box.

You will have no problem integrating any of the Mac desktops with your TV and other home entertainment devices. But because of its tiny footprint and available DVI/VGA output, the Mac mini is the most suitable companion to your home entertainment system.

Accessing and Storing Data

You will find two types of drives on Mac desktops: a hard drive for storing data, and an optical drive for accessing and burning data on CDs and DVDs.

The Mac mini comes with ample storage of up to 500GB. If that is a little too cramped to your liking, the iMac and the Mac Pro can offer terabyte capacities at 7200-rpm. All three are equipped with Superdrive with double-layer support to read and burn CDs and DVDs. The Mac Pro is outfitted with an open optical drive bay to accommodate an extra Superdrive.

Size and Design

Apple has always blazed the design trail – never settling for the banal and constantly pushing the envelope of form and style. But it is not all about aesthetics; each element of design enhances the computer’s utility inside and out.

If you want a unit that takes up minimal space, you have two options: the Mac mini and the iMac. The former has a small form factor and designed with Zen-like simplicity. It weighs a mere 2.9 pounds, making it light enough to transport anywhere in your home. Meanwhile, the iMac saves you space with its svelte all-in-one construction. The display screen and CPU are integrated into a single unit, liberating your desk from clutter and the ghastly tangle of wires.

The Mac Pro, on the other hand, is anything but small. It stands 20.1 inches high and weighs over 40 pounds at the standard configuration. From the outside, it looks imposing in its sleek, aluminum, industrial frame; yet, the genius of its architecture lies inside – Apple has structured the interior to make DIY hardware upgrades quick and hassle-free.

Cost

This all depends on what your needs are as a user. Starting at $599, the Mac mini is the most affordable way to get into the Mac experience. Its minute dimensions and built-in wireless connectivity allow you to move it conveniently anywhere in your living space. It is not on par with its bolder siblings performance-wise, but you would be hard-pressed to find anything as good in the small-form-factor category as the Mac mini.

The iMac starts at $1199 and is ready to go out of the box. Its captivating all-in-one design and solid overall performance make it an incredibly enticing package for mainstream PC users looking to switch to a Mac desktop.

More demanding users who require a high performance machine are going to have to pay more for that privilege, which at the starting price of $2499 is what you can expect from the Mac Pro, plus a considerable amount of hardware expansion options.
 

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