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CappyAA
Jan 15, 2008, 06:02 AM
So I decided to go the route of the Mac. I am on my computer pretty much all the time, so I wanted to make it an enjoyable experience. I use it for everything from playing poker to gaming to using photoshop and much more. Anyways, I decided to go all out and buy the 24" 2.8 GHz machine with the following options:

2 GB RAM
1 TB Hard Drive
Wireless Mouse
Wireless Keyboard
iWork
Final Cut Express
Logic Express
.Mac 1 year subscription
AppleCare Protection Plan

I just had a few questions for you all:

1. I am definitely going to max out on my RAM but I'm obviously not paying the amount Apple charges for the extra. So how much RAM do I need to fill up? And where/what should I buy?

2. I'm debating getting an external drive instead of the TB hard drive. I dont know much about this, but can I get one now to transfer all my files from my current PC over to the Mac?

3. Is iWork worth it, or should I just go with Office '08 instead? Or both? I'd guess there probably isn't a need for both.

4. Final Cut Express and Logic Express just seem like fun programs. I'd just be using Final Cut Express to edit home movies and stuff like that. I'd be using Logic Express for recording music. Is it worth it to get this stuff, or would I be fine with just iMovie/GarageBand?

5. Is the .Mac subscription worth it?

6. Is the AppleCare Protection Plan worth it?

7. I'll have to run some Windows programs on the Mac. Would you recommend VMWare Fusion or Parallels?

Sorry for the abundance of questions, but I just want to be sure I am making all my decisions fully informed.

Thanks in advance,
Cappy



Bardsley
Jan 15, 2008, 06:24 AM
Cool, sounds like a great machine. I'm looking to buy an iMac soon too. Here's some advice:

1. Is the minimum 2gb with 2 1GB cards? If so, I might hold off on buying more RAM for a little while. Definitely don't get it from Apple, but you may find that 2GB is enough at first. Eventually swap one for a 2GB module, to take it up to 3, but I wouldn't be surprised if you didn't notice the difference. If you don't know what your RAM requirements are, wait until you know that you need more (this holds true with other stuff as well in my opinion).

2. It's been a while since I've done direct transfer from a PC. It depends on how the drive is formatted whether you can transfer easily like that. An external Hard Drive is useful for backups, so it's not a bad idea. 1TB sounds nice, and I don't know of any drawbacks other than price. I'd be interested to hear what other say.

3. If you don't know of features that you need in Office that you can't get in iWork, I would fully recommend iWork. I've used it for a year and got rid of Office and I'm completely happy, though that's just my experience. You certainly don't need both.

4. I don't know about FCE, but I think garageband is probably more "fun" than Logic Express, and I say that as a Logic Studio user. Again, as with the advice on RAM, I'd advise sticking with the iLife software until you encounter limitations that force you to upgrade. Learning to make do with limited power is a good skill to acquire, and I know of plenty of great demos recorded in Garageband. It's more intuitive than Logic also.

5. I don't think .Mac is worth it, and I have it. I'm loathe to give up an email address I've had since 2000 with no spam, and synching between computers is useful. If you don't need the synching, most other features aren't that useful. Web gallery is much less useful than flickr, for example, and a .mac email is probably worse than gmail.

6. I think apple care is worth it.

7. I've only used bootcamp, which works well and if you want to play PC games is your only completely solid possibility (and it's free), though it does mean rebooting. I don't know which is better out of fusion and parallels.

Have fun!

samh004
Jan 15, 2008, 06:26 AM
So I decided to go the route of the Mac. I am on my computer pretty much all the time, so I wanted to make it an enjoyable experience. I use it for everything from playing poker to gaming to using photoshop and much more. Anyways, I decided to go all out and buy the 24" 2.8 GHz machine with the following options:

2 GB RAM
1 TB Hard Drive
Wireless Mouse
Wireless Keyboard
iWork
Final Cut Express
Logic Express
.Mac 1 year subscription
AppleCare Protection Plan

Wait till after the keynote in a few hours, something else equally useful could be released after all. But the iMac you have chosen will surely be a good choice.

I just had a few questions for you all:

1. I am definitely going to max out on my RAM but I'm obviously not paying the amount Apple charges for the extra. So how much RAM do I need to fill up? And where/what should I buy?

Currently it's 4GB made up of two 2GB modules. There was some talk in the forums of 8GB using two 4GB modules, but the price was prohibitive and I didn't see any proof it actually worked.

2. I'm debating getting an external drive instead of the TB hard drive. I dont know much about this, but can I get one now to transfer all my files from my current PC over to the Mac?

An external drive would be useful, for backups in the future and also storing extra files, however macs like to use HFS+ as their file system, and windows computers like NTFS. Neither will work well with the other unless you spend extra to make them work. FAT works well between both of them but there's a limit isn't there, I can't recall what that is.

3. Is iWork worth it, or should I just go with Office '08 instead? Or both? I'd guess there probably isn't a need for both.

I haven't used either of them much, but I have both. Before Office 2008 I'd of said definitely go with iWork as it's an Intel native application, but Office 2008 is native too now and seems to be quite good value. If your dealing more often with Word and Excel files, go with Office 2008, otherwise you could get by with iWork and I think it's cheaper too ?

4. Final Cut Express and Logic Express just seem like fun programs. I'd just be using Final Cut Express to edit home movies and stuff like that. I'd be using Logic Express for recording music. Is it worth it to get this stuff, or would I be fine with just iMovie/GarageBand?

I'm not familiar with either, but you could try the included ones first and see if they satisfy your needs before making a decision. I don't think there's a discount to buy them with the computer is there ?

5. Is the .Mac subscription worth it?

I think so but I have two macs I like to keep in sync and I use it for my e-mail and webspace. If you already have a good e-mail provider like Gmail, or a good webspace provider, then perhaps it's not exactly what your looking for. You can get a free trial for 2 months and see if it suits you or not.

6. Is the AppleCare Protection Plan worth it?

I used to think so, but lately haven't gone with it. You can buy it within the first year of ownership, so if after a year you think it might be worth it, you can buy it then.

7. I'll have to run some Windows programs on the Mac. Would you recommend VMWare Fusion or Parallels?

Not tried either but I'm sure someone here will know more than me.

Sorry for the abundance of questions, but I just want to be sure I am making all my decisions fully informed.

Thanks in advance,
Cappy

No worries, better to ask.

superleccy
Jan 15, 2008, 06:42 AM
In general - at least hang until later today!

1. Yes, get the minumum RAM from Apple then max it out using a 3rd party supplier. For us to help you find the best supplier, you need to tell us where in the world you are. Or, just search the forum.

2. If it was me, I'd max-out on the internal hard drive, especially if you're into sound recording and video editing, that 1TB will get eaten up quicker than you think. By all means get an external drive too (approx twice the size of your main HD), but use that for Time Machine. Then you can always get another external HD in the future if you need to.

3. Up to you. Your Mac should come with a trials of iWork and Office (but probably the "old" version of Office since the new version was only released this week). Try them both out before spending any cash.

4. FCE and LE are pretty meaty programs to get your head around. Garageband is pretty powerful, and if you don't like iMovie '08, then you can download iMovie '06 for free (yes legally) from Apple which is actually a lot more powerful than iMovie '08. You can upgrade to FCE or LE (or even the Pro versions; in particular Logic Studio 8 is very keenly priced for what you get) later if you feel the need.

5. Personally I'd say not, but each to their own. But again, you get a free trial with your iMac.

6. You get 12 months to decide after buying your iMac.

7. Dunno - personally I'd try and find OS X alternatives before resorting to tarnishing my Mac with Windows, but if you've godda do it then you've godda do it...

Final tip: don't start the trials (Office / iWork / .mac) until you are good and ready to explore the features, else you'll find 30 days expires before you've had a chance to make your mind up - and you'll be busy playing with the rest of your Mac too!!!

Good Luck... sounds like you'll have a great machine.

craig1410
Jan 15, 2008, 07:28 AM
1. I am definitely going to max out on my RAM but I'm obviously not paying the amount Apple charges for the extra. So how much RAM do I need to fill up? And where/what should I buy?

I'd recommend that you buy a 2.4GHz machine with 1GB of RAM and a 500GB HDD. Then choose the 2.8GHz BTO option and buy 4GB (2x2GB) of RAM from someone like Crucial.com. That way you will max out your RAM and avoid having to throw away (or sell) 2x1GB DIMMS. I also think that the 1TB drive is too expensive and you'd be better off having an extra or larger external drive instead.


2. I'm debating getting an external drive instead of the TB hard drive. I dont know much about this, but can I get one now to transfer all my files from my current PC over to the Mac?

An external drive is a good idea for both general storage and for Time Machine. I'd probably go with two separate drives for this myself. Make sure they are connected using the firewire interface, ideally with a USB2 interface as well for connecting to your PC.


3. Is iWork worth it, or should I just go with Office '08 instead? Or both? I'd guess there probably isn't a need for both.

Don't forget NeoOffice - it is essentially OpenOffice.org for the Mac. I use this most of the time. I also use the iWork trial software and I quite like it. I might even buy a copy and use that instead of NeoOFfice in future.



4. Final Cut Express and Logic Express just seem like fun programs. I'd just be using Final Cut Express to edit home movies and stuff like that. I'd be using Logic Express for recording music. Is it worth it to get this stuff, or would I be fine with just iMovie/GarageBand?

Can't help you with these...


5. Is the .Mac subscription worth it?

I concluded that it is not but it might be if you need to synchronise multiple Mac's like one of the other poster's. Watch out for any .Mac news later today.


6. Is the AppleCare Protection Plan worth it?

I intend to buy it but not until near the end of my 12 month warranty. I don't need telephone support and I'd rather not pay for AC until I need to. Just make sure you set an iCal reminder to buy it before 12 months is up...


7. I'll have to run some Windows programs on the Mac. Would you recommend VMWare Fusion or Parallels?

VMWare Fusion seems to be flavour of the month at present and this is what I have bought. Very good value at only 48 British Pounds.


Sorry for the abundance of questions, but I just want to be sure I am making all my decisions fully informed.

Thanks in advance,
Cappy

Hope this helped a bit,
Craig.
:)