Help me decide with new setup - PC vs Mac

I’m thinking about replacing my current setup with something new. At the moment I am using Lenovo Y700 (i5-6300HQ, Nvidia GTX960m, 16GB DDR4 2133 MHz). Unfortunately, the laptop is old and slowly stops working smoothly for my activities.
I use the computer mainly to handle Photoshop projects - files with a lot of layers, a lot of effects, a lot of intelligent objects (usually scaled from much higher resolutions - if it affects the performance because I am not sure about that), usually formats around FHD (“social media formats”) but sometimes larger ones (A3 format at 300dpi for printing) and for projects in Illustrator - here the matter is simpler - uncomplicated designs consisting only of vectors, without unnecessary explosions haha. I use these programs interchangeably, often having both programs running and jumping from one window to another. I usually have several projects opened in Photoshop and Illustrator. In the future, after buying a new computer, I would like to try AfterEffects and start creating simple, uncomplicated texts or 3D objects. Of course, all this is accompanied by the presence of a browser in the background (sometimes many tabs turned on), a movie, Spotify or Discord.
I am currently working on a 24-inch FHD monitor plus a 15-inch laptop screen, but after replacing the computer, I will want to buy a new 27-inch monitor (3840 x 2160) and use it with the old 24-inch one.

I have about $1000 to spend.
I was thinking about a Mac Mini M2 16/256 - I can find a used unit for about that price. But how about PC built from used parts? Would it perform better than Mac? I think like PC is more future-proof because I can upgrade just one part (CPU or add more RAM etc) but also I can sell Mac, add some money and buy newer model (overall more complicated).
Which option will be more the best for me? Had anyone used PC and Mac at similar price and can compare their performance?
Thank you very much!!

In terms of performance, you could find either with a similar performance for a similar price. The Macs have a 5k screen as standard but if you’re looking at a Mac mini you could buy a different screen (this would be extra so allow for that in your budget). The software runs the same on both.

Future proofing either of these goes a different way. Upgrade parts of a built to spec PC and you will have to navigate compatibility issues. The Mac you can buy an external SSD drive and add RAM on most models (not the M2 Mini though) but rather that selling it to buy another, do a trade-in deal on your next model.

It often comes down to a preference for the OS. FWIW there are still fewer games available for the Mac, although you can run PC games under an emulator.

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I aim more at buing Mac Mini version and I realize I need to buy monitor for that but I’m ready for that and don’t include it in the budget

I also don’t play games so it is no problem to have MacOS rather than Windows.

If you are talking about similar performance at this price then I would rather be inclined to buy Mac mini m2 16/256 due to its smaller size and quieter operation

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If you buy a mac Mini, you also need to buy a keyboard. The only thing that comes in the box is the CPU and a power cord. You may want to include any number of splitters and adapters. I have a mini at home and have found the monitor I have works best only on HDMI. If I use the SVG to USB3 adapter, the monitor flickers.

I think I’ll go with HDMI and some sort of thunderbolt adapter for 2nd monitor (maybe DisplayPort > Thunderbolt or HDMI > Thunderbolt). Then any SDD hard drive adapter via thunderbolt (M2 and SATA3 2.5" > thunderbolt) and mouse, keyboard, graphic tablet via additional USB hub connected by USB input in Mac Mini

My 2 cents.

  1. The first option. Clean it. See if the performance issue is not due to dust on the radiators and memory.
  2. See if the HDD is mechanical. Changing it to an SSD is a great improvement. (But the 2.5", the ones that look like a memory sim are slow)
  3. But you are limited to 16Gb Ram.

But let us skip those options.

  1. See how much you need a GPU. Not every process in Photoshop needs it. Photoshop graphics processor (GPU) card FAQ

  2. A lot of Mini Macs, have only 8Gb (check that). Personally, for the same price, I think you can get several times more memory, a bigger SSD, a better processor, and a decent GPU. I do not really know the specific processor, because the Apple webpage is really limited in the info.

  3. One problem with building your own PC is that you need to do some homework (even if you do not assemble it yourself), comparing CPU models’ performance vs. price. Using websites with benchmarks: cpu benchmark - Google Search and then GPU ones. But it can be really interesting (and you could say, fun).

  4. According to some web pages, Intel processors work better than AMD for Ps. It seems that not much improvement will be appreciated with more than 8 processor cores.

  5. One problem could be your productivity changing OS. Although the internal of the application will be the same, overall could make you slower white you adapt.

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by “looks like a memory sim” do you mean, nvme m.2 ssd’s like this?


If so, you are demonstrably incorrect. The m.2, if you have a spot for it, is always the better choice for read/write speed over the 2.5in SATA SSD’s. NVME m.2 can often read/write well over 2500 MB/s while modern SATA SSD’s usually top out around 600 MB/s.

Not all systems, especially older ones, will have a slot for it though, and the SATA SSD is still a very worthwhile upgrade from a platter drive.

Deciding between Mac and PC can be quite challenging. Ultimately, it boils down to personal preference. I have experience using both Windows and macOS for my web development work, and I find myself leaning towards Mac primarily due to its superior security features.

just gotta look in the right place. You do have to upgrade the ram from 8 gigs to at least 16 but 32 is better and if you can afford more, go for it. But given the choice of an upgraded mac mini or a decent Mac Studio, I’d probably go with the Studio, especially if doing any kind of animation.

Mac mini specs

Mac studio specs

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