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View Full Version : PC user with Mac questions, eMac vs PowerMac


dubbz
Sep 3, 2003, 03:07 PM
I'm a PC user that want to try something different, after having used the same ol' x86/MS systems for several years. I've been researching the various Mac systems, and liked what I've seen. I even mentioned my interest in buying a Mac to some friends of mine. They thought I'd lost my sanity. :D

I'm currently considering two options.


The 1GHz eMac w/Combo drive, 128MB RAM, Radeon 7500 for ~1,250$USD
The 1.25GHz PowerMac G4 w/Combo drive, 256MB RAM, Radeon 9000 for ~1,544$USD


(Prices from Apple Store Norway, converted from NOK til $USD with XE.com)

With either system I'll start with the smallest memory configuration (and in the case of the PowerMac, with the smallest harddrive), then upgrade if needed and as I get the funds required. I'm assuming that adding additional RAM or a secondary harddrive won't be problem (for the PM), using standard parts. Like adding my existing Western Digital 120GB SE ATA100 drive to the PowerMac.

I have some questions about the systems:

1. How much noise does the eMac and the PowerMac produce? At least compared to each other. What parts cause the most noise? Fans? Harddrive? It might end up in a living room so this could be of some importance.

2. Is it possible to use a normal LCD display with DVI and whould there be any issues with this, or do I have to get an Apple display? How about using a CRT?

3. How much difference does adding a second CPU add to system speed and responsivness? How does it affect performance when using and switching between several programs? I like to have several apps open, switching between them as needed. Often encoding MP3/OGG's or similar while doing lots of other stuff. My XP taskbar is usually very, very, crowded.

I'll be using it mostly for web surfing, listening to music, watching movies, some programming, web development, perhaps some graphics (2d).. Usually all at once :D. Assuming there's affordable programs out there. Photoshop is definitely not in my price class.. I already have a PC (which I'll be keeping), Xbox and a GameCube so it won't be used much for games.

4. How responsive/fast is MacOS X when it comes to the UI and system in general. I currently have a AMD Athlon XP 2600+ w/512MB RAM and a GeForce4 Ti4200 running Windows XP, and the system feel fairly fast. How whould the eMac or PowerMac w/MacOS X compare to this using the systems I put in the beginning of this post? And since I've read that adding RAM helps alot, how much is optimal? (I'd still like to know how fast/slow it whould be with the default configuration) Unfortunatly I have no chance to test out a Mac myself..

5. How good is localization support in MacOS X? If I choose a localized version whould there be delay in patches and upgrades for my choicen language or problems running english applications?

6. Any rumors of price drops on either systems in the next two months?


/All I can think of now. Hoping for some good replies. :)

Dont Hurt Me
Sep 3, 2003, 03:16 PM
emac is a great buy, But ---if you can get a powermac that is allways a better choice because it can grow with you in so many ways. upgradability is where its at. edit plan on more memory.

WannabeSQ
Sep 3, 2003, 05:09 PM
Originally posted by dubbz
I'm a PC user that want to try something different, after having used the same ol' x86/MS systems for several years. I've been researching the various Mac systems, and liked what I've seen. I even mentioned my interest in buying a Mac to some friends of mine. They thought I'd lost my sanity. :D

I'm currently considering two options.


The 1GHz eMac w/Combo drive, 128MB RAM, Radeon 7500 for ~1,250$USD
The 1.25GHz PowerMac G4 w/Combo drive, 256MB RAM, Radeon 9000 for ~1,544$USD


(Prices from Apple Store Norway, converted from NOK til $USD with XE.com)

With either system I'll start with the smallest memory configuration (and in the case of the PowerMac, with the smallest harddrive), then upgrade if needed and as I get the funds required. I'm assuming that adding additional RAM or a secondary harddrive won't be problem (for the PM), using standard parts. Like adding my existing Western Digital 120GB SE ATA100 drive to the PowerMac.

I have some questions about the systems:

1. How much noise does the eMac and the PowerMac produce? At least compared to each other. What parts cause the most noise? Fans? Harddrive? It might end up in a living room so this could be of some importance.

2. Is it possible to use a normal LCD display with DVI and whould there be any issues with this, or do I have to get an Apple display? How about using a CRT?

3. How much difference does adding a second CPU add to system speed and responsivness? How does it affect performance when using and switching between several programs? I like to have several apps open, switching between them as needed. Often encoding MP3/OGG's or similar while doing lots of other stuff. My XP taskbar is usually very, very, crowded.

I'll be using it mostly for web surfing, listening to music, watching movies, some programming, web development, perhaps some graphics (2d).. Usually all at once :D. Assuming there's affordable programs out there. Photoshop is definitely not in my price class.. I already have a PC (which I'll be keeping), Xbox and a GameCube so it won't be used much for games.

4. How responsive/fast is MacOS X when it comes to the UI and system in general. I currently have a AMD Athlon XP 2600+ w/512MB RAM and a GeForce4 Ti4200 running Windows XP, and the system feel fairly fast. How whould the eMac or PowerMac w/MacOS X compare to this using the systems I put in the beginning of this post? And since I've read that adding RAM helps alot, how much is optimal? (I'd still like to know how fast/slow it whould be with the default configuration) Unfortunatly I have no chance to test out a Mac myself..

5. How good is localization support in MacOS X? If I choose a localized version whould there be delay in patches and upgrades for my choicen language or problems running english applications?

6. Any rumors of price drops on either systems in the next two months?


/All I can think of now. Hoping for some good replies. :)

Well, thats quite a lot of questions. Ill try to answer the ones I know.

1. I have an older powermac, which other people say is fairly quiet, but I haven't heard an eMac in a normal environment, just inside of busy apple stores. Either one shouldn't be any more noizy than a regular PC. I would imagine the eMac to be quieter, as it probably has a smaller power supply, but I have no real world experience.

2. Yes, any normal "PC" monitor will work fine. The powermac has an ADC (apple proprietary) and a DVI port, and comes with a DVI-VGA adapter. Should you want to use 2 analog CRTs you need to get a (fairly expensive) ADC-VGA adapter, but it will work.

3. I only have a single processor Mac, but you mentioned that you use many programs at once, and encode MP3s while working, so the second processor will work perfectly for what you need the system for, even if the software isn't optimized to use both CPUs, the OS is so it can simply "allocate" one CPU to one particular program, leaving the other one to run your other applications. All Macs come with iPhoto, which is a great utility for archiving, cataloging, and light editing like brightness/contrast, and red eye reduction, cropping etc. There is always Photoshop LE which is around $100 that does almost all of the full version does, but designed for non professionals.

4. Either of the systems you mentioned, and probably the dual also will be slower than your Athlon, but I would imagine the responsiveness of each should be comporable, especially on the Dual G4. Either should be fine for what you want to use it for.

5. no idea, sorry

6. The G4 is already being sold at a discount, as the last Mac that still boots OS9 (well, the iBook does too) so I don't see the powermac dropping, but the eMac might, check the buyers guide on this site for more info on when updates might get expected.

My opinion is, if you have the money for the G4, get it. And if you have the money for adding the second processor, it will be worth it in the end. You can't add the second processor on later, as they are on a single daughter card, which are different for single and dual cpu models. There is the possibility of processor upgrades for these MDD macs, as every powermac G4 previously has upgrade options. They even have dual 1.4ghz upgrades for the very first Power Mac G4 model! Also, you mentioned adding a hard drive, with the eMac you would need to use it externally in a firewire case. The Powermac has a dedicated IDE channel ready for a HD, with room inside for 4 total, and you will have the option of firewire drives at a later date should the need arise. There are also more RAM slots in the Powermac, and they are easier to access. Have fun with whatever you choose!