advice on making "the switch"?

Discussion in 'Buying Tips, Advice and Discussion (archive)' started by sleeping in, Jan 21, 2004.

  1. sleeping in macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Jan 21, 2004
    Location:
    UK
    #1
    hello all,

    having coped for too long with too little ram and too slow a processor (and unwilling to upgrade these for reasons such as - a new monitor would also be nice - windows is actually kind of sucky), i have decided that now is time for a new machine, and would like to make the switch from a pc to a mac... well, now is as good a time as any, and why am i even a windows user anyway? i can't answer that, so yes - time for a change :)

    however i have no idea what to go for, so i turn myself over to you, dear macusers...

    some things:

    my current pc use is mostly entertainment. the pc is my stereo, my main communication tool. i am studying for a degree in literature so here my only need is a sound word processing facility. i am heavily into digital photography, and also plan to soon begin shooting video as well, so hard drive capacity is of high importance.

    any advice is much appreciated...

    i should state i do not really want a laptop, i think the amount of time i spend online and using the pc in general would mean a laptop wouldnt be very "comfortable"...
    i am on a budget of sorts, but also prepared to wait and save more if necessary to get the best options for myself...
    i do find myself drawn to the iMac (both its aesthetic appeal and price tag suit me nicely - but dont want to go with it solely for those reasons)
    and lastly, i'm in the UK :)

    thanks in advance!
     
  2. edesignuk Moderator emeritus

    edesignuk

    Joined:
    Mar 25, 2002
    Location:
    London, England
    #2
    I wouldn't get an iMac, they are overpriced and under spec'd IMO. A G5 of one sort or another is your best bet, especially as you mention digital photograpghy & video. I can't advise further on what one would be best without knowing anything about your budget.
     
  3. sleeping in thread starter macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Jan 21, 2004
    Location:
    UK
    #3
    thanks for the reply

    when looking at the imac i was thinking of adding more RAM to make it 512... or 1GB if i'm feeling adventurous... and certainly opting for the 160GB HD

    this would bring the total to £1400
    the absolute most i'd like to spend would be approx £1600

    (so i was thinking mini ipod with the remainder ;) )
     
  4. johnnyjibbs macrumors 68030

    johnnyjibbs

    Joined:
    Sep 18, 2003
    Location:
    London, UK
    #4
    I wouldn't bother with the G5 - that budget would only get you a 1.6 and you'd still need a screen.

    iMacs are nice but a little pricey IMO. The 17" is a nice machine though, and you do get a superdrive (DVD-RW).

    Upgrade the HD with Apple but don't get the RAM there - they charge an arm and a leg. Go to crucial.com/uk and check out the 512MB module there (around £70 for PB12", probably less for a desktop). It's really easy to add the RAM yourself.

    If you go for a laptop, I reccommend the 12" PowerBook (I'm biased) - I have one and it's a really nice machine. However, the iBook will be completely fine for what you want to do and is very good value compared to PC laptops with similar features.

    I reccommend Word for word processing - you can get the student edition of MS Office for £116 from Apple using the education store (use this to get discount on the computer as well). All the features of the PC version are in there and it looks prettier. Excel and PowerPoint may also come in useful from time to time.

    Good luck with your switch. I bet it won't be long before you playing with movie-making and stuff as well! Once you see what you can do with iDVD...
     
  5. Pseudonym macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Jan 21, 2004
    Location:
    Old Blighty
    #5
    I've got a 17" iMac (800mHz) with 512mb. It does the job for me. I have around 200 albums ripped into iTunes so I have always have music. I've also used it for some basic video editing without any hassle.

    I'm a PhD student so also type lots:). Office for Mac is OK or the far cheaper Mellel is good and stable too.

    I hear what edesignuk is saying - a G5 processor would be better, but I've had no hasle with the G4. Anyway, they're always rumours flying around about a G5 iMac!

    Oh, and make sure you get a student discount - worth loads. take your NUS card to any Apple dealer or take the education link from the Apple Store website.

    Hope that helps.
     
  6. sleeping in thread starter macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Jan 21, 2004
    Location:
    UK
    #6
    thank you both! :)

    and wait wait - education store? *blank face* why am i unable to find this on the apple site?

    i think that leaves me pretty much convinced (though i'll take a second look at laptops), and the imac is so so pretty... thanks also for the heads up regarding RAM, i must admit to being somewhat ignorant of pricing regarding anything other than hard drives, i was also concerned at the thought of the inside of an imac (hence thinking purchase at the same time) but i'll get the standard for now...

    i've read a lot of threads on this site before registering about the g5 imac rumours, but i dont want to exceed my budget or wait really, and i have coped with some awful machines in my time so i think the novelty of the current imac will be quite lasting! :)
     
  7. sleeping in thread starter macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Jan 21, 2004
    Location:
    UK
    #7
    oops - found it :)
     
  8. johnnyjibbs macrumors 68030

    johnnyjibbs

    Joined:
    Sep 18, 2003
    Location:
    London, UK
    #8
    That education store will become your new best friend. You get around 10% discount or more. iLife '04 (won't apply to you), for example, is £29 instead of £39.
     
  9. pdrayton macrumors member

    Joined:
    Jan 15, 2004
    Location:
    Boston, MA
    #9
    I don't think the iMac is overpriced or under-spec'd. But, looking at the specs, there are many similarities to the 12" 1GHz PB (which I have). I'm not sure that will work well enough for the heavy digital photography work you plan to do.

    Perhaps some feedback on the graphic support differences is what you need. In particular, the differences one can expect between the iMac 17"/20" and the G5. A significant and noticeable difference bettween the two should point you to the G5. There are pretty big differences in processors, too... find out what these differences will mean to you as you do heavy digital photographic work on these Macs.

    I do agree with the above poster that the G5 would fit your needs very well. It's just that since you find the iMac to be so appealing you should make sure it will make your computing experience easy and fun.

    Having switched recently from Windows to Mac I have to say that I don't think any Macs are overpriced, nor priced more than comparable Wintel machines. If you make sure the Mac you buy meets your needs then you'll find you're getting a great value.

    There is another big plus to the G5... you'd need an Apple Display, and that means future upgrades to your computer won't necessitate paying for a another display. Long-term you might spend less than if you got an iMac now.
     
  10. johnnyjibbs macrumors 68030

    johnnyjibbs

    Joined:
    Sep 18, 2003
    Location:
    London, UK
    #10
    It would be good if the iMac's screen was detachable. However, this would mean that people could mix and match them and Apple wouldn't want that. The problem, particulalry with the 20", is that you can't take that screen with you when you upgrade your computer.

    However, my 12" PB (1GHz) ploughs through any task I give it so I doubt you really have to worry that much about processing power. While G5s are nice, they are pricey and are not necessary for us mere consumers. Dual G5s are primarily designed for 3D graphics and animation designers, professional video editors and the like. Mind you, my single G4 copes very well with Final Cut Express.
     
  11. Lincoln macrumors regular

    Lincoln

    Joined:
    Sep 22, 2003
    Location:
    UK
    #11
    Get 512MB Ram

    On the RAM front you need to be aware that there are two memory slots on the imac.

    One of them is "user-accessible" one is not, so it would probably be worth getting the imac with 512MB but as 1 DIMM (i.e. fitted in that slot). This would enable you to add more memory later yourself but from a cheaper supplier such as Crucial.

    All the best with your decision!
     
  12. pdrayton macrumors member

    Joined:
    Jan 15, 2004
    Location:
    Boston, MA
    #12
    I noticed the iMac has the same graphics support as my 12" PB, and I have no problems doing anything. I love my 12" PB! But, since I don't do the digital photography you do, I wasn't sure my experience would be that useful.

    Seems like the iMac may do just fine for you. And, Lincoln has given you very helpful tips about RAM. Follow his advice :)

    Aslo, if you think an "iMac-to-go" could be helpful, then compare the iMac to PowerBooks. I've never owned a desktop... I only know the convenience of taking everything with me.
     
  13. dbauer macrumors member

    Joined:
    Dec 24, 2003
    Location:
    Cleveland, OH
    #13
    As a recent switcher (or swinger if you will, since I support the Windoze in my job), I can tell that any Mac is a good mac. The first advice I have to everyone I brag about is to hit the Apple retail store. You'll be able to touch everything and compare what you like and don't like. The second this is to remember that although there are different types of Macs, they all run the same software and that to me was the big selling point. Its what makes the purchase price so easy to take. I plunked down big change for the 17" iMac (only 3 weeks before the 20" came out, darn it) and not only do I use it for storing thousands of photos, edit all my movies, store 200 CD's and satisfy my wifes goal of having a computer that actually works all the time, I use it in my rec room as my DVD player. With the widescreen, my DVD's look fantastic and the screen is just big enough for sitting 8-10 feet away.
    One thing to note, either get the biggest hard drive you can or plan on an external hard drive to store DV movies. 1 hour of DV = 10 gig of your hard drive space.
    Of course it would have been nice to have a G5 but the 1.25Ghz G4 is speedy enough to handle the things I do. The powerbook would be convienent but the 17" screen model is way more than I was willing to spend.
    One last thing, take the advice about getting the 512mb RAM installed internally, you will void the warrenty if you do it yourself.
     
  14. rueyeet macrumors 65816

    rueyeet

    Joined:
    Jun 10, 2003
    Location:
    MD
    #14
    The 12" PB is a great portable, true, but may be a little short on screen space for digital photography and video editing.

    If you're into digital photography and expect to be into the video thing to the degree that Photoshop and Final Cut will be your best friends, and you're going to be working on a truly pro-sumer level, you might want to look into the G5.

    If iPhoto, iMovie, and iDVD look like they'll do for you, you'll be fine with an iMac. In fact an iMac will probably do fine for a bit of Photoshop and Final Cut too.

    I second the recommendation to get RAM from Crucial, not Apple; and I don't actually think installing your own memory voids warranties on the current iMacs.

    I also second the recommendation to get down to your local Apple Store, or Comp USA/Best Buy at worst if an Apple store isn't available, and try things out in person where there's friendly helpful people to answer your questions. Store Macs also sometimes have apps like Photoshop or Final Cut or whatever installed for you to see how responsive they are on the machine you're looking at.

    Then, once you know what you want, get it through the educational store if you can. :) Good luck, and have fun!
     
  15. johnnyjibbs macrumors 68030

    johnnyjibbs

    Joined:
    Sep 18, 2003
    Location:
    London, UK
    #15
    Yes, the screen size is not to everyone's tastes but then I think the original poster was looking into the 15" iMac (the only one that's under £1500), in which case it's the same screen resolution.

    Unfortunately it's difficult to get a hand-on approach to Macs in the UK as most shops have never heard of Macs :D :(. John Lewis is the only store I've come across that stocks anything decent (including G5s and a 20" iMac). You only get them in biggish towns and cities.

    I used Photoshop Elements on my 800x600 PC before now and our desktop PC only runs at 1024x768 at home now (I tried it at high res but the family didn't like it, and I find that res fits everything on anyway). Final Cut Express fills my 12" PowerBook's screen to the full, but it's still workable. I guess it depends on personal preference. I don't think you get that many more pixels on the larger displays (when I say this I mean 15 or 17").
     
  16. pdrayton macrumors member

    Joined:
    Jan 15, 2004
    Location:
    Boston, MA
    #16
    Actually, I think the reference to voiding warranties was regarding the 1 RAM chip that comes pre-installed and is permanent... either 256 or 512. Get the 512 so you have maximum expandability in the future. You can't fiddle with that one chip without voiding the warranty.

    The empty slot you can do whatever you want.
     

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