Almost ready to buy new iMac

Discussion in 'Buying Tips and Advice' started by vincent49, Jul 30, 2006.

  1. vincent49 macrumors newbie

    Feb 2, 2006
    I've been looking at an iMac, and I thought to post my thoughts and get feedback before I take the plunge. Well I'm here, an inch away from buying an iMac! But, of course, I've got some last questions.

    (BTW this is all for the 20" iMac Intel Duo)

    1) I understand from what I've heard that Boot Camp runs Windows very well (to the extent that it's like you're using a PC entirely). That means I can play any XP-compatible game I'd like, right? I hope so because I couldn't give them all up. Also, is the X1600 a good graphics card? Is there any benchmarks so I can compare it to other cards?

    2) I'm a student so I qualify for the student discount. However, is there any deals (minus the free iPod one) that I can grab? Is it safe to get a used Apple from someone on Craigslist or something? Or should I stick with a new Apple-shipped iMac?

    3) 512 MB of RAM probably won't cut it for me, so I'll add (most likely) a 1GB 667 DDR2 SDRAM stick of some third party (Kingston, Corsair, whatever). Is this okay? Will it cause any sort of slowdown in comparison to Apple RAM? Because I don't want to shell out $270 for more RAM from Apple. <_<

    4) Will my iMac work with my wired router? I have a DI-604 ver. C and it connects through Ethernet. I don't think there's any drivers for it, but you can access it through the browser.

    5) Is it worth upgrading the graphics card for $68 to the 256MB version? I play some games like Splinter Cell and stuff, and work with Photoshop.

    6) Is it possible to buy the iMac in a tax-free city like Portland (I think) with an out of state student discount? I dont live in Oregon
    Thanks so much for any responses! :-D
  2. Aperture macrumors 68000


    Mar 19, 2006

    1. Not sure about the graphics card, but you can run any application that would natively run on Windows XP via BootCamp. Keep in mind that you will have to buy a full resale copy of XP. Media Center won't work.

    2. Like any computer on Craigslist, you're at risk for a scam and sticking with Apple is probably the better bet. If you're looking for a deal, check out eBay or Apple Refurbs. The only thing with Refurbs is that you can't get the nano.

    3. You may be surprised at how 512 may seem but if you upgrade, there is no difference between Apple & 3rd Party RAM. Keep in mind there were some cases that Apple refused to service the computer because it had 3rd party RAM, so keep the original stick too in case you ever send it in for service.

    4. Yes, your Router will work great. You will need to configure it through System Preferences.

    5. For Photoshop, no. If you are going to be really hard core gaming, you might want to look into that but you probably won't need it. I have a mac mini w/ 512 RAM and Photoshop runs at a great speed. IMHO.

    If you have any further questions, feel free to ask.

    Enjoy your iMac, Kevin

    EDIT: Just saw your 6th question. Go to Scroll down. Look right to hit "education discounts". Wait a moment for the page to load and you'll see a big live chat button for education pre sales questions.;) Or did you mean getting it from a reseller, are you talking about PowerMax? They're in Oregon and often have great deals.
  3. vincent49 thread starter macrumors newbie

    Feb 2, 2006
  4. MovieCutter macrumors 68040


    May 3, 2005
    Washington, DC
    I'm running Battle for Middle Earth 1 and 2, Age of Empires 3, Halo, Call of Duty, and Oblivion very well with my 20" Intel iMac, fwiw.
  5. vincent49 thread starter macrumors newbie

    Feb 2, 2006
    Alright thanks for the info! Knowing I can run Oblivion is good news! BTW with card? 128 or 256?
  6. sulhaq macrumors regular


    Jul 29, 2006
    1. Yes. Bootcamp runs windows very well. I've been using it to mostly play Guild Wars on my Macbook, and even with the Integrated Graphics its out-performing my HP with 128 MBs of ATI goodness by far. I also ran WoW just for the heck of it and it also ran superb. Then I tried FFXI and the results weren't as smooth. I believe that is mostly because of the Integrated Graphics. I personally know people that have been playing FFXI on their iMacs with no problems whatsoever. These are just the games I know of though, I have no idea if any games that require a lot of CPU juice run well or not like DOOM 3 etc. However as far as I see it, it runs pretty smooth on my macbook. As always, there is a risk involved when installing windows using bootcamp. They provite instructions but I think you need at least some basic computer knowledge to get out of tricky situations. I know some people that completely broke down their systems and had to get the hard drive replaced because of this.

    2. The only deals I know of are the free iPod (I took this), a free printer with mac, or I believe a rebate, it's either 30 or 50 dollars.

    3. Upgrading my macbook with 2gb third party ram costs $160 and takes all of 5 minutes with no problems. On the Pro its even easier. However, I don't have any knowledge if doing the same on an iMac is just as easy. So yes, it can be done but I don't know if the procedure is the same or more complicated. But in theory yes it should work either way.

    4. Check the box your router came in. If you don't have the box then check the website. I don't know from the top of my head if this particular router works with macs but if it does it will say it on the box as well as on their website.

    5. 128 MB is generally enough, that's just me talking, If you're not pressed for money then go ahead and do it. I personally have no experience on how much of an impact another 128 MBs does since I haven't had it ever.

    6. Apple usually has all their store locations listed on their website. So you can check if it's available there I guess. Nothing else comes to mind :p

    Now, After you're done reading all that mumbo jumbo read this carefully. DO NOT BUY AN iMAC!!!!!! It's less than 10 days to WWDC and a revision to iMacs is most likely coming in the near future with the new Core 2 Duo processors, also Apple might drop ATI support and go with another graphics company since ATI got bought by some other company don't remember name. So, wait until after WWDC at least please.
  7. emptyCup macrumors 65816


    Jan 5, 2005
    I've posted this before so I am not going to hunt up the link but, according to Bare Feats, the 256MB VRAM only speeds up graphics by 3-5%. It's a good idea if you want to attach a large second monitor. You will do better upping the regular RAM. As for Photoshop, that will be helped most by the Universal version that should be released next year. Many say that it runs acceptably now under Rosetta.

    Best wishes.
  8. savar macrumors 68000


    Jun 6, 2003
    District of Columbia
    Which "graphics" in particular are you referring too? It seems to me that more RAM would provide much improved performance if you were constantly requiring more than 128 MB of texture storage ... such as a game with lots of high-res textures or having a ton of windows open at the same time.
  9. vincent49 thread starter macrumors newbie

    Feb 2, 2006
    Yeah I won't buy it before the conference. :)

    I was referring mostly to games like Oblivion, Splinter Cell, etc.
  10. puckhead193 macrumors G3


    May 25, 2004
    I too want an imac and i can't wait any longer..well i hate anticipation
  11. emptyCup macrumors 65816


    Jan 5, 2005
    The article was referring to fps, I believe, which is what most of the gamers I know care about. I am a casual gamer and have no trouble with the games I play. You may very well be correct, although I am not in a position to know how often the situation you describe occurs. Having more video RAM will surely help if you leave "a ton of windows open" or are driving two monitors.

    It certainly can't hurt to have more VRAM, especially since it can not be added later. The point of the review I quoted was that it does not help as much as people think. People who feel they could benefit from more VRAM, and who can afford it, should get it. My feeling is that people who do not know whether they need it would probably benefit more by investing in regular RAM.
  12. vincent49 thread starter macrumors newbie

    Feb 2, 2006
  13. MovieCutter macrumors 68040


    May 3, 2005
    Washington, DC
  14. plinden macrumors 68040


    Apr 8, 2004
    Amazon have a $100 rebate and CompUSA $85 off the 20" iMac.
  15. Huskers31 macrumors newbie

    Jun 22, 2006
    If you go to one of the two Apple Stores in Oregon in person and buy it, then you don't have to pay sales tax. Ordering online from a particular Apple store is the same as ordering from the online Apple store itself. You get charged sales tax for wherever the shipping address is located if Apple has any business presence in that state. If your location has sales tax, expect to be paying for it. However, you can purchase from another retailer located in a different state than yours, and as long as your state does not appear underneath the 'about us' address of the retailer, you should be safe...

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