Mac Daniel's Advice

The Best New Mac

- 2000.09.27

Q: What is the best new Mac I can get?

A: The answer is . . . it depends. It depends on what you want to do with a new Mac. The first question you have to ask is whether you want a desktop machine or a portable. Portability has its perks, but it certainly restricts your expansion capabilities, the comfort you have when typing, and the number of available ports, as well as screen size.

Desktops

If you are interested in design and other creative tasks, you will need more horsepower than if you use your computer only for, say, Web surfing, email and word processing. Same thing for game lovers.

If you look for a Mac that will live on for several years, expandability and maximum upgrade possibilities are very important. All the above-mentioned needs would require a Power Mac G4. Do you need multiprocessing? Yes, if you want to take full advantage of Mac OS X and have a big speed boost when all mainstream Macintosh software is ready for the technology.

What if you just want something simple? Look for the iMac. It is inexpensive, especially the indigo model at US$799, and it gives you an elegant all-in-one solution. Of course, it requires sacrificing the PCI slots, the great upgrades and expansion. If you have no plans to revolutionize the world from your desk, though, this is the right choice. It will connect you to the Net, let you type documents, do your finances, etc. With its DV, DV+, and DV SE variations, you can get still more power without going for the most expensive Macs out there.

Too many people look at the G4 as the only computer they would buy, but they forget that their needs Power Mac G4 Cubeare not as demanding as they think. An iMac can do the trick for most Mac users.

The Cube? Well... frankly, it does very little to differentiate itself from the others. It is between a full G4 tower and an iMac in several categories. It offers some expansion and upgrade possibilities. The Cube provides more than the iMac but a little less than the G4. If you want style, it will probably fulfill all your desires, but otherwise, it would be a lot of money for what you get.

Portables

To decide which portable you could want is very easy. Just ask yourself if you want the equivalent of a desktop or if you just need something to bring with you. The PowerBook is a desktop replacement. It has great expansion options, including the ability to handle a second monitor when you are at home or at the office. It offers a bigger display; the iBook offers only 12.1 inch.

The iBook, though, is great for people who need a portable but do not need all the power of a PowerBook. With lower specs and a lower price, it is a nice machine for basic tasks such as word processing and other less demanding work.

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