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LameBolus
Jun 19, 2003, 08:37 PM
Hi All,

I've been considering purchasing an 17" iMac for the last few weeks. I need help on how a Mac will work with what I want to do.

1: Wireless Router. I am thinking about going with either a Linksys or a D-Link. Need to connect the following items to the Net; Windows Laptop (2), Mac, PS2. Reasons for not going with Airport Extreme: I figure having all of the same equipement will be better than mixing and matching wireless gear. I will connect the Mac directly to the router. Laptops will have wireless cards. PS2 will use a wireless bridge. I don't know if Apple makes a wireless bridge, but I couldn't find one. So, is there any reason to go with Airport Extreme over the other ones? I know some knuckleheads from work that are able to get their routers working, so how hard could it be? I've done some searches but would like some opions on my specific set up. Also, file sharing between Win and Mac is not really needed.

2: Like I said, I like the iMac and have sound card questions. Listening to some songs in the Apple store, the pro speakers sound OK at best. I would really like to upgrade the speakers. I will most likely go with some Klipschs. How do you upgrade the speakers? Is there a line out or is some sort of USB connection? What if you want to do Dolby Digital? Can you upgrade the sound card? If no, how would you go about getting surround sound?

3: Does anybody purchase .Mac or the Apple Care Plan? I am on the fence about .Mac. I like the idea of creating a home page but don't know if the $70 is worth it. Has anyone that purchased .Mac feel that they got their money's worth? Is the virus scan decent? What else has anybody used in .Mac that you find useful?

Of course, all of this might be moot depending on what happens at WWDC.

Thanks in advance,
Lame - selfishly hoping for a 970 iMac.

patrick0brien
Jun 19, 2003, 11:04 PM
Originally posted by LameBolus
Hi All,

I've been considering purchasing an 17" iMac for the last few weeks. I need help on how a Mac will work with what I want to do.

-LameBolus

Ok. <rubbing hands together> here we go.

1: Wireless Router.
If you aren't looking to move outside of your comfort zone, and to save a penny, I'd stick with the Linksys. Good solid hardware. Though I'm sure an AirPort would work just as well, and it's ready for the future as it is Wireless G.

Oh, I hope you have a plain-jane hub.

2: Like I said, I like the iMac and have sound card questions. Listening to some songs in the Apple store, the pro speakers sound OK at best. I would really like to upgrade the speakers. I will most likely go with some Klipschs. How do you upgrade the speakers? Is there a line out or is some sort of USB connection? What if you want to do Dolby Digital? Can you upgrade the sound card? If no, how would you go about getting surround sound?
Hmm. The surround sound is a good question. I know there is an answer, but not what that answer is. As for hardware sound quality, you'll be just fine with the iMac out-of-box - no need to upgrade for that. I recently heard a 15" iMac driving a pair of $4,500 Martin Logan speakers. In the words of Butthead "huhuhuhuhuhuhuhuhuhuhuhhhhhhh".

USB audio? I prefer the Harmon/Kardon Soudsticks, but that's just me.

3: Does anybody purchase .Mac or the Apple Care Plan? ]
I have both. Applcare is just a good idea. I made the mistake a couple of years ago to not get Applecare and I payed for it. Never again. Call me superstitious.

...don't know if the $70 is worth it. Has anyone that purchased .Mac feel that they got their money's worth?
Yes. I do. The free software, the email account with the excellent server-side SPAM filtering. It's more than worth the $8.25/Mo.

Is the virus scan decent?
Yes, but you don't need one. But it's good to know it's there for a safety blanket.

What else has anybody used in .Mac that you find useful?
Two words: the iDisk!

I'm constantly amazed how handy it is.

Of course, all of this might be moot depending on what happens at WWDC.
Actually, the 970 will probably not hit the iMac until the 980 hits the PowerMacs and XStations a year from now. Go for it! We'll be here for you questions.

nagromme
Jun 20, 2003, 04:03 AM
You can't upgrade the sound card in a Mac. You have three connections available for audio:

1. USB for digital audio (like SoundSticks and iSub)

2. Amplified Pro Speakers jack (and someone makes a little brick that plugs in to add other brands of non-powered speakers)

3. Conventional audio-out jack--for headphones or your choice of powered speakers, or to connect to your stereo

BTW, the G5 tower specs were just leaked, and it looks like the have digital fiber optic audio and surround sound standard. Wait for Monday to see what they cost!

.mac is a good deal if you need ALL that stuff--the webmail is slick, and iDisk is cool--but I think most people don't need it all. There are free options for web hosting and email if you don't mind ads. And viruses are pretty much a non-issue on Mac at the moment.

AppleCare you can decide on any time BEFORE your year runs out. No hurry. Conventional wisdom is that it's worth it for portables mainly, but it's a personal judgement. I avoid extended warranties, but was very happy with AppleCare service on my PowerBook.

Enjoy your Mac--that iMac's a REALLY nice machine and display--and stop back here for help/answers!

RandomDeadHead
Jun 20, 2003, 06:00 AM
3: Does anybody purchase .Mac or the Apple Care Plan?

I can't speak for anyone else but, I am a advicate of apple care. I purchased an fp iMac with apple care in april of last year. Two weeks ago the neck on it decided to go limp. I took it to the Apple store in Durham, NC to have the whole neck replaced. Just got it back thursday, and found out that if not for Apple Care, I would have had to pay $650.00us.

I have also bought Apple care for our Macs at the office, ever since they started offering it.

You can never have too much protection you know.

jkojima
Jun 20, 2003, 01:07 PM
You CAN upgrade iMac sound to surround, but you don't replace the internal sound card...

M-Audio offers a product called the Sonica Theatre. It is a USB sound module that offers up to 7.1 digital suround.

http://www.m-audio.com/products/consumer/index.php

As for wireless networking: I have experience with both Linksys and D-Link 802.11b units (not the faster g spec) and I found the Linksys to be slightly easier to manage - though both aren't really that difficult to configure.

AppleCare... I personally did not purchase it, but that's because when I bought my PowerBook the enrollment cost added nearly 20% to the price of the notebook!

Peace of mind may be more important than price though. So far I've had no hardware issues, but knock on wood...

LameBolus
Jun 21, 2003, 07:22 AM
Patrick, nagromme, RandomDeadHead, jkojima,

Thanks for your help.

One more question. What do you all recommend for reading and research for an apple newbie? I stumbled across this website but, given the nature of the site, don't know if it best for a newbie. So, are there any other good sites? I look at MacSurfer every few days.

Which books do you recommend? I plan on purchasing the Missing Manual to OSX. Any others good books/manuals?

OK, that was more than one question.


jkojima,
I did check out the Sonica Theater. Looks like it will fill my needs nicely.

Thanks,
Lame

Dont Hurt Me
Jun 21, 2003, 07:43 AM
good luck whatever you do, i would also suggest macworld magazine and MacAddict( my favorite) or their web sites. lots of good info in those mags.

patrick0brien
Jun 21, 2003, 12:48 PM
I stumbled across this website but, given the nature of the site, don't know if it best for a newbie.
It's up to you, but my personal view is you'd be hard pressed to top these discussion boards for info. It just takes a second to get your feet wet.

So, are there any other good sites? I look at MacSurfer every few days.
www.macsonly.com
www.slashdot.org
www.spymac.com
www.thinksecret.com
www.macosrumors.com

Which books do you recommend? I plan on purchasing the Missing Manual to OSX. Any others good books/manuals?
Sure there are, but Missing Manual is probably the only thing you need.

iJon
Jun 21, 2003, 02:07 PM
.mac is very worth it. its such a great little utility. applecare is another good idea. ill tell you right now, besides ram, there it not a part in that ocmputer that is cheaper than applecare, go for it.

iJon