PDA

View Full Version : Buying my first MAC...


Cohiba
Jun 15, 2004, 01:59 PM
Greetings,

I'm looking to purchase my first MAC. I've been a PC user since the early 80's and I'm finally making the move! The question is, I dont know a ton about MAC's so I was hoping you all could lend some assistance (thanks in advance!).

I'll be using the MAC for basic type stuff; email, word processor, spreadsheet's, music and games. I want someting that will have expandability (RAM, HD etc...) so that I can keep it for 4- 6 yrs (is that realistic?). Also, I want to go higher end in terms of game graphics / performance, so I wont have to worry about future games not running well.

Thanks again!

Cohiba

thirteen1031
Jun 15, 2004, 02:15 PM
4-6 years is totally realistic for a Mac. Given what you're after--expandablity and able to hand high-end graphics for years, it sounds like a G5 is what you're after. They're the next level up the evolutionary ladder. That is, in 4 years, Apple will be all G5's.

The important question is: do you want a computer that is a desktop or portable? If desktop, then G5. If portable...ah. 15" powerbook.

Now one thing you should do is wait till the end of the month/beginning of July. Apple will be bringing out not only new G5's but also G5 iMacs, which also might appeal to you. iMacs are not the powerhouses G5's are, but they're compact in size and come with a built-in screen--so you don't have to spend extra to buy one. A G5 iMac would have the power of a lower-end G5 tower but save you on space and price (Theoretically. We won't know till Apple reveals them).

As for getting used to Mac's OS, I'd recommend checking out this book:
http://www.oreilly.com/catalog/macxmmpanther/

Macs are amazing machines. I think you'll be happy with the switch.

radhak
Jun 15, 2004, 02:16 PM
Greetings,

I'm looking to purchase my first MAC. I've been a PC user since the early 80's and I'm finally making the move! The question is, I dont know a ton about MAC's so I was hoping you all could lend some assistance (thanks in advance!).

I'll be using the MAC for basic type stuff; email, word processor, spreadsheet's, music and games. I want someting that will have expandability (RAM, HD etc...) so that I can keep it for 4- 6 yrs (is that realistic?). Also, I want to go higher end in terms of game graphics / performance, so I wont have to worry about future games not running well.

Thanks again!

Cohiba
shhh, before anybody else comes onto you like a ton of bricks, it is Mac, not MAC (which is an acronym) ;)

for the basic needs, go eMac : cheap and good. and don't worry too much about the 4-years-later. you are surely going to be buying whatever's latest then.

Awimoway
Jun 15, 2004, 02:33 PM
4-6 years is totally realistic for a Mac. Given what you're after--expandablity and able to hand high-end graphics for years, it sounds like a G5 is what you're after. They're the next level up the evolutionary ladder. That is, in 4 years, Apple will be all G5's.

The important question is: do you want a computer that is a desktop or portable? If desktop, then G5. If portable...ah. 15" powerbook.

Now one thing you should do is wait till the end of the month/beginning of July. Apple will be bringing out not only new G5's but also G5 iMacs, which also might appeal to you. iMacs are not the powerhouses G5's are, but they're compact in size and come with a built-in screen--so you don't have to spend extra to buy one. A G5 iMac would have the power of a lower-end G5 tower but save you on space and price (Theoretically. We won't know till Apple reveals them).

As for getting used to Mac's OS, I'd recommend checking out this book:
http://www.oreilly.com/catalog/macxmmpanther/

Macs are amazing machines. I think you'll be happy with the switch.

Apple will not be bringing out new G5 PowerMacs in July, which is what it sounds like you want if expandability is so important. New PowerMacs were released this month (so it's a good time to buy), and Apple made it clear that there won't be any more updates to that line for some time.

However, for your basic needs a G5 PowerMac would be overkill. An eMac if you want to go cheap, an iMac if you want a classier option. You can update RAM on both. Hard drives… you'd have to add an external one if you ever wanted to update it, but since all Macs come with Firewire connections, this isn't a big deal—it'll be plenty fast. As a switcher myself, I can tell you that the whole expandability thing is really exaggerated in the PC world — we're always so proud of the fact that it's there if we need it, but most of us rarely use it. So, PowerMac excepted, Apple put design ahead of expandability.

I know you said performance was important, but your list is not a high performance task list except for games. And you do know, don't you, that Macs have kind of been left behind where gaming is concerned? The choices are much fewer and are rarely high performance games. Any contemporary processor will be fine for the games that are currently out there, though they may not be enough for games three years from now. My 2-year-old low-end PowerMac's processor speed is nearing the cutoff for new game compatibility now.

For gaming, the most important thing is to get a good video card. But you can only get a built-to-order vid card option for the PowerMac.

iMacs are due for a major update, perhaps putting a G5 under the chassis. If you decide to get one, you may want to wait and see what Apple releases in the next month or so.

Good luck. No question is a dumb question. I think you'll be very happy with your Mac. The biggest hurdle is being willing to change, and you've already crossed that threshold.

jxyama
Jun 15, 2004, 02:35 PM
Also, I want to go higher end in terms of game graphics / performance, so I wont have to worry about future games not running well.

i don't think this is even the case for PCs. depends obviously on your definition of games "not running well," but gaming is what generally pushes the computer technology. so PC or Mac, your hardware will quickly fall behind in terms of gaming.

DGFan
Jun 15, 2004, 02:44 PM
I guess you need to decide how important games are. Everything in your list can be done more than capably with an eMac. Except games. Oh, you can play games on it (and most will play well), but the current games won't run with max settings and future games will definitely suffer. To get a real gaming rig you would have to look at a PowerMac.

Everything else seems to fit the eMac though. I wouldn't worry about expandability. Everything can be added externally if you *really* need it. For instance, I use an external Firewire HD on my laptop and I can't see why that wouldn't work on an eMac.

JesseJames
Jun 15, 2004, 02:49 PM
Man, now that I think about it. This is an awesome time to jump onto the Apple bandwagon. It's just gonna get better and better.
Buy one of those Peachpit Press books, the 'Visual Quickstart' books on the Mac and OS X. It's a great start.
Regardless, you'll be up and running in no time.

neonart
Jun 15, 2004, 03:35 PM
Get a DP 1.8 G5- The old refurbs are a good deal at $1799 with 160GB HD, 512MB of RAM, R9600, and a full 1 yr warranty.

Of course if you can splurge get the Big Boy Dual 2.5 and you'll be set for years!

I know plenty of people who still run what used to be the hot setups in '99 (i.e. G4 400-450-500). Macs have plenty of life!

Chip NoVaMac
Jun 15, 2004, 04:31 PM
If gaming is an interest let me suggest going with a game box, these are cheaper in most cases to upgrade to the next gen than trying to second guess the computer needs.

that being said that the new iMac G5's that are supposed to be released next week might give you a system that you can use for many years to come.

rueyeet
Jun 15, 2004, 04:45 PM
Now one thing you should do is wait till the end of the month/beginning of July. Apple will be bringing out not only new G5's but also G5 iMacs, which also might appeal to you. Rumors in the Apple world are nothing if not unreliable, but it IS probably worth waiting at least until Steve Jobs' keynote at WWDC (June 28th) in case there's any really noteworthy hardware waiting to be released.

I'll second the idea that Macs are still not the gaming platform of choice. Macs aren't built with games in mind, and most games are ported to the Mac well after being available for the PC.

Expandability concerns depend on what you're expecting to have to expand. More memory is easy in all Macs, but I think only PowerMacs and PowerBooks are designed to let the user replace the hard drive. And only PowerMacs allow video card upgrades or extra drives and such. Anything else is intended to be added externally, though Apple supplies plenty of ports.

The Mac's usable life is excellent. I've got the latest Mac OS installed on one of those colorful, "toilet-seat" iBooks from years ago, while the best my old ThinkPad from the same time period can do is Windows ME. *shudder*

Other than that....from what I've seen of Longhorn, Windows is only going to get harder to deal with. And OS X and the Mac just keep getting better. It's a good time to jump ship!

King Cobra
Jun 15, 2004, 05:03 PM
before anybody else comes onto you like a ton of bricks, it is Mac, not MAC (which is an acronym)
Now can I throw some bricks?? http://www.thetechpub.com/phpBB2/images/smiles/icon_eek.gif


email, word processor, spreadsheet's, music and games. I want someting that will have expandability (RAM, HD etc...) so that I can keep it for 4- 6 yrs (is that realistic?). Also, I want to go higher end in terms of game graphics / performance, so I wont have to worry about future games not running well.
Sounds like an older (1GHz) Aluminum Powerbook, or any DDR-RAM-based G4 PowerMac, will be fine. See if you can get one for cheap, like, less than $1000.

Hell, I've had my 0.5GHz G4 Cube for almost 3 solid years now, and I do a bit of audio/image-editing on my free time, and a little video-editing. For the most part, the 0.5GHz G4 works for me. My 466MHz G3 iBook on the other hand...

kerpow
Jun 15, 2004, 05:04 PM
I'll planning on switching soon myself. But I think gaming should be the least of your worries. The next gen. of gaming will be wireless handhelds.

Cohiba
Jun 17, 2004, 12:48 PM
WOW - great feedback. I really appreciate all your help on my new Mac :) I'm visiting a Mac store in cambridge to get a feel, I think I'm leaning towards the G5.

Heres another ? With Mac world coming here to boston in july, will I be able to purchase one there at a discount, or is this wishful thinking?

Thanks again, I'm really looking forward to dumping windows and enjoying my Mac!!

neonart
Jun 17, 2004, 05:03 PM
Heres another ? With Mac world coming here to boston in july, will I be able to purchase one there at a discount, or is this wishful thinking?

Answer: B

-----------------------
Solution:

1) Wait for WWDC. 2) Buy accordingly. 3) Enjoy.

thirteen1031
Jun 17, 2004, 06:55 PM
With Mac world coming here to boston in july, will I be able to purchase one there at a discount, or is this wishful thinking?

Heh. Yeah. Alas, that's one downside of Macs, discounts are rare. You can get an educational discount or you can get a refurbished computer at a discount, or buy a used, discounted computer. But it's rare that Apple Stores discount just 'cause. Sometimes there are specials, but these are usually announced in advance--a new product party, like when Panther was released. In that instance, everything was discounted 10% IF you bought Panther.

Cohiba
Jun 18, 2004, 01:14 PM
G5
Dual 1.8
160 GB HD
ATI Radeon 9800xt w/256 MB

Awimoway
Jun 19, 2004, 12:43 AM
G5
Dual 1.8
160 GB HD
ATI Radeon 9800xt w/256 MB

Like a rocket ship to the moon! Enjoy. :)

Cohiba
Jun 21, 2004, 07:44 AM
Well, I'll be a new member to the Mac family this weekend! I'm going with the G5, dual 1.8, 160 GB HD, Radeon 9800 w/256mb.

My last question, should I upgrade to 1 GB RAM, and if so should I buy the upgrade from the Mac store, or is there a good place on the web where I should buy it?

Thanks again!

neonart
Jun 21, 2004, 07:54 AM
Well, I'll be a new member to the Mac family this weekend! I'm going with the G5, dual 1.8, 160 GB HD, Radeon 9800 w/256mb.

My last question, should I upgrade to 1 GB RAM, and if so should I buy the upgrade from the Mac store, or is there a good place on the web where I should buy it?

Thanks again!

Definitely get more RAM!

You can buy from Crucial.com and get really good RAM at a much lower price. You can also look on macseek.com where several vendors post their lowest prices. Many have prices lower than Crucial, but you should call the vendor to make sure the RAM will be G5 compatible without a doubt.

jsw
Jun 21, 2004, 08:09 AM
Many have prices lower than Crucial, but you should call the vendor to make sure the RAM will be G5 compatible without a doubt.

Let me add emphasis to that as well. Make sure the RAM is G5 compatible, not just similar. G5s are fussy. Any reputable dealer - including Crucial and 18004Memory - will be able to tell you.

tristan
Jun 21, 2004, 09:27 AM
Congratulations! The dual 1.8 G5 sounds like an excellent choice.

Yes, definitely get more RAM. My opinion of OSX RAM requirements:

256megs is too low
512megs is OK
768megs is nice
1 gig is money

Yep, that's the dark side of OSX - it's a rampire.

Tristan

whooleytoo
Jun 21, 2004, 12:05 PM
The G5 is your only option if you're looking to the future - far more upgrade options that with the other Macs. For gaming, you'll need an upgradable graphics card, and the G5 is the only Mac where this is possible.

Also, as others have stated, RAM directly from Apple is expensive, buy from a reputable store like crucial.com. Also, Apple's monitors - while nice, and widescreen - are a little pricey. If you want to save some money, you might want to consider looking elsewhere for a monitor with DVI.

Chip NoVaMac
Jun 21, 2004, 02:13 PM
Definitely get more RAM!

You can buy from Crucial.com and get really good RAM at a much lower price. You can also look on macseek.com where several vendors post their lowest prices. Many have prices lower than Crucial, but you should call the vendor to make sure the RAM will be G5 compatible without a doubt.

Also Other World Computing is top rate for memory and hard drives.

flyfish29
Jun 21, 2004, 03:13 PM
for the basic needs, go eMac : cheap and good. and don't worry too much about the 4-years-later. you are surely going to be buying whatever's latest then.

Two things: This statement might not be far from the truth in that you might be better off planning on getting a great mac not with plenty of HD and RAM to grow with for three+ years and instead of "upgrading" HD, RAM, etc save your cash, sell your then "old" mac and upgrading to a new mac. See, Macs really hold their value...much more than PC's. I have kept all my macs for four years, sold them for quite a bit and then upgraded to the new one instead of pouring money into a three+ year old mac to suit my new needs.

I also wonder about the gaming. There are a limited number of games available for the Mac and most all require a pretty high end mac. There is no way to know in two years if the one you buy today (unless it is a G5) would run games then- course this is true on any computer or gaming machine- but something you want to keep in mind.)

What kind of gaming are you talking about?

DJY
Jun 22, 2004, 06:19 AM
well day one of my switch!
Still a bit tentative...
but WOW looks very sexy!!!

Will take me ages to sort out getting my data over from my PC to my new Powerbook - but I'll let you know how I go.

Currently using my iPOD as a external HDD to move data - as my ADSL modem / router for some reason won't let me see both machines. Both are online - but networking hiccups - means it might be faster just to use my 40GB G3 iPOD for a few main data dumps!

Oh yeah then have to search all the forums again for easiest way to get data out of Outlook (soon I will be rid of Microsoft!!! WOOHOO)

Cohiba
Jun 23, 2004, 08:14 AM
"I have kept all my macs for four years, sold them for quite a bit and then upgraded to the new one instead of pouring money into a three+ year old mac to suit my new needs."

This seems like a solid strategy, but what I'm trying to accomplish is to keep 1 rig, so I can upgrade key components (graphics card, RAM etc...) and I wont have to go thru the hassle of porting data from my old to the new... is this feasible???

"I also wonder about the gaming. There are a limited number of games available for the Mac and most all require a pretty high end mac. There is no way to know in two years if the one you buy today (unless it is a G5) would run games then- course this is true on any computer or gaming machine- but something you want to keep in mind.)"

"What kind of gaming are you talking about?"

I'm not a crazy "gamer" currently the only games I play are Americas Army, and civilazation, and would like to upgrade to a good flight sim.