Before I spend over a grand on a 20" iMac

Discussion in 'Buying Tips and Advice' started by ginner, Jan 29, 2006.

  1. ginner macrumors member

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    Jan 6, 2004
    Location:
    Yorkshire, England
    #1
    They're fudging gorgeous aren't they! I've not owned a mac before but I spent about an hour and a half playing with one in the Meadowhall Apple Store and annoying (but they're well trained so didn't complain) the employees with questions. Very impressed with Front Row and the preinstalled software. It all seemed to run better than my (admittedly breaking) Sony Vaio laptop and that was just the default 512Mb RAM. I'm planning on getting one from the online store with my education discount and maxing it out (with the exception of the hard drive as the extra capacity wouldn't be worth nearly £200 to me). Just wondering a few things; what are the inbuilt speakers like? I'm planning on getting the wireless keyboard and mouse to eliminate the cluttered look but that'll be somewhat spoilt if I have to attatch external speakers. Is it possible if I buy an Airport Express to stream all the sounds, not just iTunes, to my stereo wirelessly? Also, are there any thoughts on when a wireless Mighty Mouse will be available? Right clicks would aid my transition but I don't want to use a USB port just for a mouse.

    Finally can anyone give me advice on software, native if possible, to convert divx and xvid files for playback on ipod? I know you guys are keen to point out that the mac has no viruses but is it still advisable to use a firewall? If so which are worthwhile?

    Other than that, just try and put me off buying the thing; I want to but my girlfriend will kill me!

    Cheers,

    Andy
     
  2. Gee macrumors 65816

    Joined:
    Feb 27, 2004
    Location:
    London, UK
    #2
    I'm not sure it is. There was talk of a hack or something when it first came out - maybe someone else knows about this. However, for system sounds, I'm sure the inbuilt speakers will be fine. And the first time you set up an express to make the music come from your stereo, it'll make you laugh like a kid. Honest.

    I just used the freeware iSquint, which I think does what you want. Check www.versiontracker.com for lots of free software - there's bound to be something that'll work. Mactheripper is good for ripping DVDs, and handbrake is also useful (all free)

    The built in firewall that comes with your Mac will be fine. It's pretty solid, and switched on by default.
     
  3. XIII macrumors 68040

    XIII

    Joined:
    Aug 15, 2004
    Location:
    England
    #3
    Yep, they're beautiful machines. It will run very nicely compared with your Vaio, although they probably have more RAM.

    AirTunes can be used with a third party app to play back all system sounds... called airfoil I think. Again, I think system sounds will be fine on the inbuilt speakers, but if you are willing to buy airTunes and airFoil (I think thats what its called), it would work very nicely. There is talk of the iMacs inbuilt speakers being very good for what they are - inbuilt speakers - but they wouldn't hold a light to a nice set of speakers/hifi.

    Wireless mighty mouse could be anytime, the only thing we know is that it will eventually happen. At the moment though, I wouldn't hold your breath - just a gut feeling.

    Sure. I would recommend MoviePod. It is very easy to download it, queue up a list of files, and then hit go.. it will convert divx, xvid, wmv, pretty much anything, into beautiful iPod ready files. There is also a one click button to get them all in iTunes. Highly recommended.

    If you have a router, turn on the firewall, and that will be enough. If not, then go into system preferences, and turn on OS X's built in firewall - it will do everything you need, no need to worry about running useful anti virus apps and firewalls at this stage.

    Its a very nice computer, I've just ordered a 20", and I'm sure you'd love it/ :D

    Does that help? :)
     
  4. ginner thread starter macrumors member

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    Jan 6, 2004
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    Yorkshire, England
    #4
    No *sobs* but everything else was right on the money.

    Cheers guys :D
     
  5. XIII macrumors 68040

    XIII

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    Aug 15, 2004
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    England
    #5
    Maybe this £23 off voucher will help you make up your mind... :p Or if that doesn't work, maybe this £20 off one. :)
     
  6. mkrishnan Moderator emeritus

    mkrishnan

    Joined:
    Jan 9, 2004
    Location:
    Grand Rapids, MI, USA
    #6
    Yeah, I tend to agree. Apple is strange like this. There's no obvious reason this mouse couldn't be wireless. But it would not surprise me if the wireless version never gets released. It wouldn't even surprise me if Apple quietly discontinued the Mighty Mouse and went back to life with one button. They're just strange that way. Product lifecycles, outside the core products (iMac, iBook, PB, and PM) are very difficult to predict. In the software world, Apple will frequently lose interest in a neat product they develop, and let it turn into abandonware.

    That being said, I love both of my Macs. :) An iMac Core Duo or G5 is going to seem snappy, but you're going to want the additional RAM to which you alluded. I would recommend though, since you're talking about speed vis-à-vis your VAIO, that you try to take your head back a step from direct speed experience and just try to soak in the OS. It's a little different, and how you feel about the speed of some things might change after you've used OS X for a while.
     
  7. harveypooka macrumors 65816

    Joined:
    Feb 24, 2004
    #7
    I had a pair of JBL creature speakers but decided to go for some THX MX5021 (same price a year ago as the creatures) and they kick ass. They are VERY loud and have a really nice all round sound. Everyone that has heard them has been impressed. I think you can get them for £80 or so and I'd recommend them for sure.
     
  8. BakedBeans macrumors 68040

    BakedBeans

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    #8
    Seriously the in built speakers are pretty great, perfect sound (comp sounds and itunes no worries) tr them, youll be impressed
     
  9. harveypooka macrumors 65816

    Joined:
    Feb 24, 2004
    #9
    If you want good sound you want a separate pair of speakers. The built in ones lack bass and...well, good sound in my opinion. I always remember the old CRT iMac's - Apple described the speakers as "Sonic" and "bassy". Er, no. They were crap!
     
  10. mkrishnan Moderator emeritus

    mkrishnan

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    Jan 9, 2004
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    Grand Rapids, MI, USA
    #10
    I think the airtunes + internal speakers idea is good, unless you have a small room. Floorstanding speakers or good bookshelf speakers are going to trounce any computer speaker system....
     
  11. BakedBeans macrumors 68040

    BakedBeans

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    #11
    They are more than ample for system sounds and listening - they sound pretty good in my opinion.
     
  12. funkychunkz macrumors 6502a

    funkychunkz

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    Jun 1, 2005
    Location:
    Ottawa, Canada
    #12
    The part about not wanting to use up a USB port- Mice only need 1.1, would it really be that terrible to use up one of the ones on the keyboard?
     
  13. AP_piano295 macrumors 65816

    Joined:
    Mar 9, 2005
    #13
    Another option would be to buy speakers that look amazing (creatures, or harmon soundsticks) However the speakers in the imac sound very good.
     
  14. eva01 macrumors 601

    eva01

    Joined:
    Feb 22, 2005
    Location:
    Gah! Plymouth
    #14
    Just so you know if you do buy the hack for AirTunes to use all sounds, video and sound will be off by about 3 seconds.

    That is due to the airport hardware. You would then need to use VLC and change a setting to make the video and sound match up
     
  15. cwedl macrumors 65816

    cwedl

    Joined:
    Jun 5, 2003
    #15

    Firstly They are lovely and I can't wait to get one in about a years time.

    If I were you, I certainly wouldn't max out the RAM from apple, it would cost too much! on the plus side if you allowed apple to max it out for you it's covered under their warranty, but crucial would be better, besides if you don't thing you could do it yourself their are amazing step by step instructions on apples website showing you how to do it.

    iSquint for divx - iPod is the best - I've been using it since 0.2 not 1.1.2 I think, this man updates it every day or so! Its user interface has been updated and it looks and works great.

    Firewall? Its up to you, I use apples default one, it works well! Obviously on my PC I have invested in a good firewall and anti-virus solution.

    Girlfriend! - Just don't tell her, I'm sure she wouldn't notice it, if she does say you've had it for ages!:D
     
  16. FFTT macrumors 68030

    FFTT

    Joined:
    Apr 17, 2004
    Location:
    A Stoned Throw From Ground Zero
    #16
    I would consider M-Audio BX5A powered monitors as an good alternative to
    the typical computer speaker systems.

    For a basic user firewall with alerts, I'd use Little Snitch for starters, then consider Intego NetBarrier or IPNetSentry with a router.
     
  17. ginner thread starter macrumors member

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    Jan 6, 2004
    Location:
    Yorkshire, England
    #17
    Ordered. Eep!

    *wonders when it will arrive*

    Probably best I answer the door first every knock until it's here. What's the chances I can hide it under my jumper and rush upstairs before she notices it?
     
  18. ginner thread starter macrumors member

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    Jan 6, 2004
    Location:
    Yorkshire, England
    #18
    It's here!

    It's blinking massive. It's lovely though; I've already started spring cleaning the Windows laptop to give to the girlfriend.

    However, I'm suddenly a computer retard again. Many questions if you're feeling kind and generous.

    Closing programs: I know about Apple+Q to close a program, or Ctrl+clicking the dock but is there any way to make the cross at the top of a window actually close a program down rather than leave it running?

    Installing: Can someone tell me for sure how to install programs from dmg files; I ain't sure I'm doing it right. I've setup an admin account and a standard account to autologin to which possibly complicates things.

    Uninstalling: I tried a program called Growl, couldn't get it to work as I wanted it to and so got rid of it. I think. Do I just remove the files from the Applications folder? How do I know I got everything?

    Uno: I saw this recommended on the forum and tried to install it but still have all kinds of visual styles to windows rather than the unified look it promised. Any ideas what I'm doing wrong?

    Adobe Reader: Is there any benefit to installing Adobe Reader rather than using Preview?

    Recommendations: I'm a bit ignorant of the programs I should look for and would appreciate any recommendations. So far I've found Adium, Transmission and iSquint. What do you think of these? What else might I need? I the wake of yesterday's news, a virus checker? :p
     
  19. mkrishnan Moderator emeritus

    mkrishnan

    Joined:
    Jan 9, 2004
    Location:
    Grand Rapids, MI, USA
    #19
    Hi! :) Congrats on your lovely purchase. :D

    Installing: When you download the disk image with Safari, it should mount and appear as a white icon on the desktop, plus a window in Finder. In the window will typically be an icon for the application. You drag this icon to your Applications directory. You can do this any way you want. For instance, drag it to the hard drive on the desktop, and hold it there for a moment, and the hard drive will spring open, and then you can drop it on the applications folder listed within. Then a window pops up copying the file over. When this window disappears, you drag the white disk image icon on the desktop to the trashcan in the dock.

    Uninstalling: Applications install things in basically three places: The applications folder, the Library folder in your home directory, and the Library folder at the root level. You can get apps like Growl to go hunting, but the best bet is just to delete the app file from the apps folder and live with the rest. For most apps, this is really just preference files. And unlike in some editions of Windows, it is pretty unlikely that their continued presence in the library folder will mess things up.

    Adobe Reader: The only things I can think of are that Acrobat Reader has a highlighter function, and it is probably better at filling out forms. But I don't have it and never have used the Mac version.

    Recommendations: I love Adium. I don't know the other two you listed.
     
  20. Eraserhead macrumors G4

    Eraserhead

    Joined:
    Nov 3, 2005
    Location:
    UK
    #20
    a virus checker is personal preference... its not that important for the Mac yet, I wouldn't use a PC without one though, I use Virus Barrier X (from www.intego.com) for the peace of mind (you can get it on Edu discount for £35) its a pretty good piece of software (for a virus scanner ;) ) and it doesn't slow down your computer at all...
     
  21. williamw macrumors member

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    Nov 2, 2005
    Location:
    Victoria, BC, Canada
    #21
    I love transmission, defilently the best apple Bittorrent Client!:)
     
  22. jacobj macrumors 65816

    jacobj

    Joined:
    Apr 22, 2003
    Location:
    Jersey
    #22
    As XIII said, Airfoil does the job, but you have to be aware that this won't work for watching DVDs. This is not a Mac thing, simply that the syncing between picture and sound will be off and therefore bloody annoying.. In fact this applies to all videos.
     
  23. QCassidy352 macrumors G3

    QCassidy352

    Joined:
    Mar 20, 2003
    Location:
    Bay Area
    #23
    congrats! My 2 cents: use adium (over ichat, for so many reasons) and preview (over acrobat because it's so much faster)
     
  24. frenetic macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Feb 11, 2004
    Location:
    Amsterdam
    #24
    Re: closing programs. Apple is quite inconsistent when it comes to this. Some apps will quit when you close through the red cross (iPhoto, System Preferences), others don't (activity monitor, iTunes). The logic behind it - I guess - is that those apps that are not "locked to" the current window (e.g. the iTunes window shows you what is playing but does interfere with the playing itself) continue to be doing whatever they are doing. System Preferences, on the other hand, is "just" about what you see - no need to keep on playing, no need to continue monitoring activity. Admittedly, it is somewhat arbitrary, and there is no way to customize it. One bit of advice: a. learn to use shortcuts (like the command + F), or, alternatively, just keep as much apps open as your amount of RAM affords: it's faster to open files, etc... They do not use any processing power when they are in the background (if you go and look in activity monitor you will see that iTunes or Safari or whatever good app uses, when in the background, 0% CPU resources.

    Re: uninstalling. If your app came with an installer there is usually an uninstaller provided - if not check versiontracker.com for an app called desinstaller. If your app did not come with an installer it suffices to just drag the app to the trash - the only things which remains is the preference file which is a. very small and b. does not interfere with any of your other apps or the system (this is not the Windows registry, it really are just preference files)

    Glad to have you onboard and hope that you enjoy the iMac!
     
  25. Seasought macrumors 65816

    Seasought

    Joined:
    Nov 3, 2005
    #25
    Just wanted to post my congrats to you as well.

    Welcome to the community, enjoy the ride!
     

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