Considering buying an Imac /17" screen any advice/tips for a PC user?

Discussion in 'Buying Tips, Advice and Discussion (archive)' started by Thomas Davie, Jan 20, 2004.

  1. Thomas Davie macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Jan 20, 2004
    #1
    Hi all. First off, a bit of background. I've been using computers since about 1975, and IBM pC's since 1981, only switching briefly to the Ma cin 1993, when in a 2 yr period, I ended up with an LC2, LC475, Powerbook 150 and a Mac Plus I somehow scrounged. I basically used the Powerbook to take class notes in a last year of a philosophy degree (this was something I wanted to do, not something that would put food on the table, I actually work as an Animal Sciences tech). After graduation in May/95, I actually sold all my Macs and started using PC's again; going through a P60, and currently using a P4, Celeron 400, AMD 2400+ notebook and a Performa 5260 (I justa ccuired that a week ago, I had swapped an extra 802.11g wireless card for it).

    Anyways, I find myself in the position of wanting to waste some more money (er, rather than using it to feed the underpriveleged or something I mean, not that buying a Mac is wasting it), and have about $5000 Cdn to spend. I'm looking at buying another desktop, because I just do not need two notebooks, and so it comes down to either an eMac, iMac or G5.

    Desktop space is severely limited, and I admit to being rawn towards the Imac because of it's unique shape and lcd screen. I've got a couple of questions;

    1) If I max the ram out to 1 gb, how well will virtual PC perform? Not for playing games, but for general word processing, surfing the net, ripping CD's, etc?

    2) I'll be plugging the iMac into a router that sits next to it (and is comtrolled by my P4), I assume this is an automatic process and the iMac can just grab the IP address from the router?

    3) I've got the option of buying an airport extreme base station and having the iMac control that. Would the iMac just plug into the ethernet port on the back of the base station? I assume yes. Reason I'm considering the Airport base station is that I've been told by Apple employees that the antennas available really increase the range; is this true? I'm trying to get increased range for my laptop and this may be the way to go. Also, I'm unsure whether purchasing another Airport base station will allow me to get repeater capability (thus increasing my notebook roaming range). The only downside I can see to this is that I would then have to purchase a wireless card for my P4, since it is currently plugged into my SMC router (it's got 4 lan ports on it).


    Any and all advice, hints, tips or words of warning gladly accepted. Why am I buying a Mac again after ~9 years.....well, I justfeel that it is time to get avvquainted with them again :)

    thanks

    Tom
     
  2. edesignuk Moderator emeritus

    edesignuk

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    Mar 25, 2002
    Location:
    London, England
    #2
    Re: Considering buying an Imac /17" screen any advice/tips for a PC user?

    Why would you want to do any of that when you can do it from within OS X? MUCH, MUCH, MUCH faster. VPC is terribly s-l-o-w...
    That shouldn't be a problem at all. I think OS X is set to DHCP my deafult when you install it so it should grab one right away.
     
  3. Thomas Davie thread starter macrumors 6502

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    Jan 20, 2004
    #3
    Re: Re: Considering buying an Imac /17" screen any advice/tips for a PC user?

    I happen to be curious, and probably would end up buying Virtual PC just as something to look at. I believe you when you say that it can be done much faster inside of OS X, but that (OS X ) is something I've never used. As I've said, after 8+ years on the dark side, I'm starting to swing back, but have a considerable investment in software on the other side :)

    Tom
     
  4. Le Big Mac macrumors 68020

    Le Big Mac

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    Jan 7, 2003
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    Washington, DC
    #4
    Re: Re: Considering buying an Imac /17" screen any advice/tips for a PC user?

    I'm not sure there's a default, but you plug in the ethernet cable and you go to set the network settings, and choose DHCP. Done. I've had no problem using PC-based routers on my iMac.

    BTW, you might want to wait a couple of weeks on the purchase, since there are some rumors that new/revised iMacs will be released shortly.
     
  5. Thomas Davie thread starter macrumors 6502

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    Jan 20, 2004
    #5
    Re: Re: Re: Considering buying an Imac /17" screen any advice/tips for a PC user?

    Thanks for the heads up. I've only started to research this purchase, and am spending time looking up good Mac links and just reading as much as I can.

    Tom
     
  6. virividox macrumors 601

    virividox

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    Manila - Nottingham - Philadelphia - Santa Barbar
    #6
    they also announced new virtual pc version, that is g5 compatible and hopefully speed boosts, so maybe you should wait on that.

    as for the router, yeah its auto dhcp aquired, my network at home is controled by a pc and i plug in my macs and plug em out all the time without a problem.
     
  7. James Craner macrumors 68000

    James Craner

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    Sep 13, 2002
    Location:
    Bristol, UK
    #7
    Re: Considering buying an Imac /17" screen any advice/tips for a PC user?

    I switched about a year and a half ago. I was worried that I needed the security of a PC blanket and purchased a copy of virtual PC when I got my first Mac, a Duel 1 Ghz Powermac. I have not really used it much at all, I have two young daughters who had some edutainment software and it has worked quite well for that. The main problem with virtual pc is the graphics card emulation is quite basic. Screen updates are quite slow. As you have a P4 400 MHz I would stick to that, Virtual PC performance would be about the same.

    Word Processing on the Mac would be taken care by Appleworks which comes with new iMacs. If you have the budget, buy Microsoft Office for Mac, which is file compatible with Windows. However I would see if Appleworks meets your needs first.

    Surfing the net, Apple OS X comes with Safari, once you have used that, you will not want to go back to Internet Explorer.

    Ripping CD's is serviced quite well by iTunes, you can burn CD's in OS X, but for copying cd's you would need Roxio's Toast which I would almost suggest is an essential purchase.

    I can't comment of the airport's range compared to other wireless systems, but if you do go for an airport then make sure you buy the version that can take an external antenna as Apple sell two versions.

    Their is an excellent pdf document on Apples website called designing Airport Networks, which should tell you how to set up your network. The link is
    http://www.apple.com/airport/
    look on the right hand side under more information.
     
  8. Edot macrumors 6502

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    NJ
    #8
    Why Toast??

    :confused: Do you mean using two drive bays and copying disks? Because if you want to copy a disc, music or data you don't need Toast. Disk Utility and the Finder or iTunes will do the trick. Toast is a very nice app, but not essential to copying cds or dvds. If you have two drives for the computer and do a lot of cd copying then it would be a recommended purchase.
     
  9. James Craner macrumors 68000

    James Craner

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    #9
    Re: Why Toast??

    I could just about to be proved wrong here, but I don't believe it is possible to make backup copies of commercial CD's music or data using Disk Utility. I have got young children who have a habbit of wrecking CD's, so I use Toast to create a backup disk just in case, before I give them the disk.
     
  10. Edot macrumors 6502

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    #10
    Re: Re: Why Toast??

    In Panther you just insert the disc. Open Disk Utility. Select the disk in the left column, and click New Image in the toolbar. Now set the format to CD/DVD master, name it and click save. Then insert your blank disk. If the image is now shown in the left column of Disk utility then select it and click burn. (If it is not shown for some reason then double click the actual image to mount it and then return to disk utility).

    If you are running Jaguar the imaging buttons and such are found in the menus, but it is the same process. I am pretty sure this is what Toast does also, maybe a little more user friendly, but not essential.

    For music use iTunes to rip the disk using the aiff or wav setting for importing. Then insert a blank disc and select the songs and click burn. I have not used disk utility to burn audio copies, but you may be able to do the above and have a working audio cd. Anyone tried this?
     
  11. Fukui macrumors 68000

    Fukui

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    Jul 19, 2002
    #11
    If I were you, and were looking for the best experience I would wait until the next G5 or a faster iMac...20 inches widescreen LCD, nice!
     
  12. Chappers macrumors 68020

    Chappers

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    #12
    With $5000 I'm guessing you could buy quite alot of stuff including software, but virtual PC wouldn't be on my shopping list (had it once, used it twice and filed it away somewhere nobody would see it).
     
  13. bannedagain macrumors member

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    Jan 20, 2004
    Location:
    Adelaide, South Australia
    #13
    With close to $5000CAD, you would be better off buying a Twin 1.8 G5 and using a screen that you no doubt have lying around somewhere.

    The G4's were dated when they were released, and with a sluggish FSB of 167MHz, why bother. When the iMac goes G5 the G4 ones are going to become a dime a dozen. Get a computer with a forseeable future, not one which ran into a brick wall a few years back.
     
  14. Thomas Davie thread starter macrumors 6502

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    Jan 20, 2004
    #14
    Interesting comments; thank you

    1. I looked up the PDF file on setting up an Airport wireless network. It appears capable of doing exactly what I want; that is wireless distribution by using one or more Airport basestations as relays or remotes.

    2. Re; a new iMac; maybe this is the 1/26/04 date referred to in the modified iPod commercial, and as I'm not rushing out to buy tomorrow, it can't hurt to wait.

    3. Virtual PC Ok, I get the point, it's pokey. And since I've already got 3 real PC's networked, I'll drop it.

    4. I actually have no spare screens lying around save for a 14 " crt, and I'm not going to use that on a new Mac :)

    5. I'd never thought about the idea of a G5 being put inside of an iMac body. Wouldn't that be something, and of course I would jump at that.

    thanks for all the comments, much appreciated..

    Tom
     
  15. whooleytoo macrumors 603

    whooleytoo

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    #15
    Just to disagree with everyone here ( :D ), I think the speed of VPC is fine for most non-gaming tasks, though I'm not sure about the disk-intensive nature of CD ripping.

    On the iMac front, the rumours have it that the PowerMacs will be pushed to Dual 2.0 (or 2.2), 2.4 and 2.6, and a brand new G5 iMac, probably 1.8 or 2.0, will be announced on or around the 24th. The PowerMacs are pretty likely, and given the 20th anniversary, I'd be astonished if Steve didn't have something up his sleeve.
     
  16. Sun Baked macrumors G5

    Sun Baked

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    May 19, 2002
    #16
    1.) Painful, better to get XP Pro and log into the PC. http://www.microsoft.com/mac/otherproducts/otherproducts.aspx?pid=remotedesktopclient

    2.) DHCP is easiest.

    3.) A base station is expensive if you only need $10US Ethernet hub, or are willing to spend a bit more for a switch.

    ---

    As far as settling for a Apple All-in-One or going for a G4/G5 Tower -- just look back at how often you upgraded memory, video, HDs, etc.

    If you're not an upgrader and don't mind using the machine as-is, a iMac or a eMac are good deals.

    If you're someone that's always looking to upgrade, a PowerMac may fit your style better.

    If you're a big game player that needs high FPS, the CRTs may be a bit better.
     
  17. wordmunger macrumors 603

    wordmunger

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    #17
    Looks like you're getting good advice here, but I have just one thing to add--I wouldn't recommend an airport extreme base station. I have one, and while you could get increased range with an antenna, the airport extreme has documented problems dropping the connection from DSL and cable modems. I have to reset the airport at least once a day to regain my connection. There are other products that do the job just as well, for less money, such as Linksys wireless hubs. (Though I can't vouch for whether or not these have the exact same problems). If you do go with airport extreme, they can serve as repeaters, but all your base stations must be airport extreme.
     
  18. mkaake macrumors 65816

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    mi
    #18
    wow, for a second i thought that was donthurtme...

    ;)

    matt
     
  19. BlueMars macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Dec 2, 2003
    #19
    I have been in a holding pattern for a while, now, waiting to see what the next revision of the iMac will bring. If it brings a G5 - I’m in!

    (By the way - a dual 1.8 G5, with 512MB SDRAM and Applecare, is over $4100 in Canada with our sales tax. And that’s with no screen, nor any upgrades to the basic system, nor even a Provincial sales tax added in. So the iMac does become an affordable (!!?) option up here.)

    You mentioned the 17 inch model - if there is a local Apple distributor who has iMacs on display, you really should see if you can find one of the 20” iMac models set up. The iMac with the 20” screen is DAZZLING! You might prefer to go 20” after seeing one.

    As for RAM, you might want to go with 512 MB of Apple RAM on the fixed internal slot, and then add 512 MB of 3rd party RAM to the second slot to bring it up to 1 GB. Much less costly that way.

    I have my wife’s 6 month new 2.4 GHz Dell PC sitting right here, next to my 4 year old iMac. I use the computer a lot (word processing, photoshop, etc). So where do I spend all my time? On the old iMac. Pather is pretty, and it’s cool. Mac’s are fun.
     
  20. Thomas Davie thread starter macrumors 6502

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    Jan 20, 2004
    #20
    I work at the University of Manitoba; there is an Apple authroized dealer at the 'Computers on Campus'. They priced out the internal ram for me, and would add it in at a cost of only $20 if I purchase the system there. While I figure I'm perfectly capable of doing this myself, I'm told it would void the warranty. But yes, I plan on upgrading the internal ram at time of purchase, Things might change depending on what type of new iMac is or is not announced,

    As for all in one as opposed to expandable? Well, I can see adding extra hard drives, and thats about it, so I would definitely be happy with a G5 iMac.

    Yeah, the 20 inch screen would be pretty sweet (but this always happens to me when I'm researching a new computer purchase....feature creep I mean).

    For all of the games I've bought over the years, I'm only playing 2 at the moment; Civilization 3, and Steel Panthers: World at War. About the only game I plan on buying in the next year is 'Rome" Total War; when it is released. So I'm not a hard core gamer. Definitely no fps or 3d stuff; strictly 2d, turn based strategy.

    Tom

    ( as an aside, my notebook has a 64mb shared radeon 7200, Celeron 400 has an integrated 8mb something or other and my P4 has an ATI AIW 8500 w/128mb......the only thing I could see wanting on the Mac is a tv tuner/video recorder capability and I'm assuming that could be done via a USB add on)
     
  21. Sun Baked macrumors G5

    Sun Baked

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    May 19, 2002
    #21
    >Thomas

    Doesn't sound like a iMac would be too bad a deal for you.

    They're great machines if you don't mind living within their boundries.

    And for quite a few giving up expandibility for a great screen is well worth it.
     
  22. James Craner macrumors 68000

    James Craner

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    Bristol, UK
    #22
    Re: Re: Re: Why Toast??

    I agree that you can use iTunes to create music CD's, I said so in my original post. But I still stand by my statement that you can't use the disk utility to do this. Using Toast is so much easier than changing the ripping format to AIFF format, importing the disk, then creating a playlist and then burning to a blank CD. You just have to click one button in Toast and change the disk when prompted. I don't know why Apple don't supply a better facility for copying disks.
     
  23. bannedagain macrumors member

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    Jan 20, 2004
    Location:
    Adelaide, South Australia
    #23
    How am I suppose to respond to that comment?

    Ok if a Twin 1.8 G5 costs $4100CAD, pick up a good CRT for $4-500, upgrade the graphics card for $80 or so and spend the rest on RAM.
     
  24. mkaake macrumors 65816

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    mi
    #24
    chuckle and move on :)

    the dual 1.8 (or whatever it'll be soon) is a great way to go for that money - you get tons of power, but don't spend *all* of your money before you get your machine properly spec'd. i'd hate to spend 3000 (us $) on a new g5 and then run out of money to put in ram ;)

    matt
     
  25. Thomas Davie thread starter macrumors 6502

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    Jan 20, 2004
    #25
    Spending 4500 Cdn would leave me with no money to put in ram. We're talking about 14% in added taxes where I live :)

    Tom
     

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