Hello from the new guy

Discussion in 'Buying Tips and Advice' started by KevKaos, Sep 3, 2006.

  1. KevKaos macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Sep 1, 2006
    Location:
    Baltimore, Maryland USA
    #1
    Don't really have a question, but I would surely accept any hellpful insights you folks may have. I am new to this site, but I belong to two others sites (different topics) that use the same format. I am a PC owner and have been for a number of years but I am very serious about switching to Mac in the near future. I used to work on old Apple SE' and Apple II's many years ago at work and though I aways loved them, I just couldn't afford them back then. Now, I am basically fed up with Windows and generic PCs. I got my hands on the beta release of Windows Vista and decided that I would try it out. Problem is that I couldn't load it on my laptop or my main PC because of an incompatible disk drive controller. This has happened to me before with a different Dell machine. Couldn't load Linux for the same reason. Anyway, you get the idea. Like I said, I am just plain fed up. The other problem I have is that I have a one year old Panasonic Digital video camera, but I can't seem to get the video off of the camera cleanly because of not having firewire or USB 2.0. Added the USB 2.0, but it is rather dodgy so it makes it not even worth bothering with. The main things I do on my computers these days are, working in the forums like this, video conferencing with my kids who got moved 600 miles away from me, digital photo printing and minor photo manipulation, rip my own CD's and burning backup CD's or putting MP3's on my MP3 player. A couple things that I REALLY want to do with my next computer are: Use Rosetta Stone software to help learn Spanish, and start doing some fairly lightweight editing of my digital video tapes and put them on DVD's. I will still have my old PC for the rare times that I might want to play around with a PC game, but I don't do that much. My existing system has a Dell 17" flat panel (it's baically a Samsung) that accepts DVI input. I will probably use that with my next syetem. I went to the local Apple store and met with a very helpful rep. We talked about these things and this is what he recommends. Wondering what you folks think.

    Mac mini 1.66 Intel Dual Core
    Internal Super drive
    2GB RAM
    Keyboard and Mouse
    AppleCare (for the extended warranty)
    maybe Procare
    Remote possibility of .Mac but what I have read doesn't make it sound worth the cost.
     
  2. EricNau Moderator emeritus

    EricNau

    Joined:
    Apr 27, 2005
    Location:
    San Francisco, CA
    #2
    Hi :)


    Spend an extra $150 to $250 and you can get:

    - 17" iMac 1.83 GHz Intel Core Duo
    - 1 GB RAM (or 2 GB, but you can upgrade later)
    - 160 GB HDD
    - SuperDrive
    - AppleCare

    You won't be sorry (especially if you want to do any video editing). Also, I would save $100 and skip on ProCare.
     
  3. mduser63 macrumors 68040

    mduser63

    Joined:
    Nov 9, 2004
    Location:
    Salt Lake City, UT
    #3
    The mini is a good choice, but also make sure you take a look at the iMacs. I'm not saying the iMac is necessarily a better choice, but you should know your options. I don't think I'd get Procare either, but it's up to you of course. For what you've mentioned, I think either system should do fine.

    Besides the slightly faster CPU, the iMac does have a bigger, faster hard drive, a more powerful video card, more ports, and of course a built-in screen. It's also more expensive...

    I sort of think 2 GB of RAM is overkill for you. 1 GB should be fine. Additionally, Apple charges too much for their upgrade to 2 GB, but the upgrade to 1 GB is pretty reasonably priced. I'd say get 1GB from Apple, then if you ever want to upgrade, just do it yourself later on.
     
  4. KevKaos thread starter macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Sep 1, 2006
    Location:
    Baltimore, Maryland USA
    #4
    WOW. So far both of you have had really interesting input and opinions. I think I will go look at the cost of the iMac again.
     
  5. Xander562 macrumors 68000

    Xander562

    Joined:
    Apr 2, 2006
    #5
    and if THATs too much, consider the Educational stores (if you qualify) and i've never heard bad things from the refurbished store, they offer GREAt discounts, the only downside i've heard of, was that you dont get the cool Apple Box. (it's just a basic brown one)
     
  6. EricNau Moderator emeritus

    EricNau

    Joined:
    Apr 27, 2005
    Location:
    San Francisco, CA
    #6
    If you are willing to spend that much for a Mac mini, I really recommend the iMac for just a little more. Don't get me wrong, the mini is a good computer, but after a certain point, the iMac becomes the better deal.
     
  7. mkrishnan Moderator emeritus

    mkrishnan

    Joined:
    Jan 9, 2004
    Location:
    Grand Rapids, MI, USA
    #7
    I don't have particular advice beyond (aside from using paragraphs! :eek: ;) :D ) what was said, but welcome and good luck! :)

    I think actually that the all-in-one with no cables and no junk is part of the charm of the Apple experience. But the Mini with the Dell hardware will also be a very nice experience.

    The only thing I'd say regarding the RAM is that, as pointed out, Apple RAM tends to be priced above market value. BUT.... RAM is harder to install in the Mini than most Macs. You sound like you'd be comfortable with it from what you describe. So go for it. But otherwise, 2GB might be overkill, but RAM is always a good future-proofing investment.

    And finally I'm sure you'll enjoy the fact that getting Vista to run on Mac hardware is easier than it is on a lot of Wintel hardware. :D

    Welcome again! :)
     
  8. tristan macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Jul 19, 2003
    Location:
    high-rise in beautiful bethesda
    #8
    The value of your used 17" Dell is under $100, so I don't know if I would let using that impact your decision. Your best options are (IMO):

    Mac Mini Core Duo + 19" or 20" external LCD
    17" or 20" iMac

    A refurb iMac G5 might be a good value too
     
  9. FFTT macrumors 68030

    FFTT

    Joined:
    Apr 17, 2004
    Location:
    A Stoned Throw From Ground Zero
    #9
    If you're serious about video editing, you'll want the extra horsepower, video performance and storage of the iMac.

    Buy your extra RAM from Datamem.com, macsales .com or Crucial.
    All three are reliable trusted vendors of lifetime Apple guaranteed RAM. at prices far lower than Apple. Installing you own RAM is very easy.

    Hold off for 2 weeks to see what happens after Apple's next Paris Expo.

    The rumor buzz is that iMacs may upgrade to better performing Core Duo 2 processors.

    If so you'll have a choice between upgrading or selecting a current model
    at a good savings.

    If you are eligable for the Apple education discounts, be sure to price your system with that in mind.

    Otherwise, you can save on a great system buying the latest current model
    as a refurb.

    This would get you into a 20" Core Duo iMac for $1399
    or the 17" Core Duo iMac for $1099.00

    If Apple does release an iMac update, the refurb prices will go even lower
    or you can save buying a new current system on closeout.

    We should know much more about updates somewhere between this Tueday the 5th and September 16th.
     
  10. KevKaos thread starter macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Sep 1, 2006
    Location:
    Baltimore, Maryland USA
    #10
    Sorry about the lack of paragraphs. Guess I sorta got onto a roll there. :eek:

    Here's my PC RAM horror story: Had 512MB and wanted to go up to 1GB. Ordered the extra SIMM from Dell, so I knew it would be the right one. Put it in and rebooted. System will only recognize 768MB. Called Tech Support and get some guy in India. No offense intended. He says that I have to return the system to it original configuration. I ask if he means just the RAM, he tells me "No, everything." I tell him that I can't do that because I had replace the video card. Long story, but he could not help me. (Another reason I want to move away from PC's) From what I hear, I should not have this sort of problem from Apple. I hope that is true.

    I priced out an iMac with 1GB Ram instead of 2GB. I thought it was interesting that Apple is offering the RAM upgrade for the same price whether you choose 2 X 512MB or 1 X 1 GB. I opted for the 1 SIMM.

    I bumped up the hard disk to 250MB for $70 which I thought was a pretty decent price. I could always shave that $70 off if I had to, because the iMac has double the disk space over the mini and I do have an external USB 120GB hard disk that I can reuse.

    I really wasn't sure about the iWork '06 software. I had it on but took it off once I looked into it a bit more. I originally thought it was the software that was giving me all the basic Apple software. I left it off since it looks like i can buy it for about the same price later if I need it? Does that sound correct?

    I didn't go with a modem since I have not used a modem in something like 10 years.

    I included AppleCare. Three years extended warranty for about $150 seems like a no brainer. Thoughts?

    OK, now it is time for my stupid question. What do you do about speakers for a Mac? Mini or iMac. With my Dell computers, I have always bought higher end speaker systems and sound cards. I don't even see speakers discussed. Am I missing something here? I figure there is probably some really basic answer that everyone other than me already knows and I think I am about to feel really stupid.

    Oh yeah, after all that, and the fact that the iMac gets me the really sweet Apple widescreen monitor and pretty much the same exact (upgraded) video card I have in my current Dell, the price was only about $120 more than the mini with 2GB. Thank you all for the great suggestions.

    Can someone point me toward the refurbs that were mentioned. I haven't been able to find them and wanted to at least take a peek. BTW, I am a US Govt employee, so I was shopping the prices on the fed employee price list. Not as good a price as the educators, but not bad overall.
     
  11. FFTT macrumors 68030

    FFTT

    Joined:
    Apr 17, 2004
    Location:
    A Stoned Throw From Ground Zero
    #11
    You'll find the refurbs on the main Store page, left lower column under Special Deals/ Refurbished Mac or click the RED TAG sales link.

    If you want exact factory replacement RAM DIMMS, go to OWC macsales.com and order their factory original Samsung RAM.

    You'll be able to add a full 1 GB stick for the Price Apple charges to add 512 MB

    If you can swing the difference, I'd go ahead and get the 20" iMac refurb
    which includes a 250 GB HD and the faster 2.0 GHz Core Duo processor.

    You may also end up with what is affectionately known as refurb candy.
    Free upgrades at no cost, like extra RAM, larger HD's or upgraded VRAM.

    For audio, I'd go to the local Guitar Center and check out their active near field
    studio monitors.

    They usually have iMacs there running ProTools, Cubase and Logic Express and they can demo each set of monitors in their pro sound room.
     
  12. arn macrumors god

    arn

    Staff Member

    Joined:
    Apr 9, 2001
    #12
    I think the best suggestion at this stage is to wait until after September 12th.

    http://www.macrumors.com/pages/2006/09/20060901123538.shtml

    There are serious rumors that the iMac will be updated on September 12th. You won't be able to exchange one you order now if they are updated.

    arn
     
  13. EricNau Moderator emeritus

    EricNau

    Joined:
    Apr 27, 2005
    Location:
    San Francisco, CA
    #13
    Yes, go for the 1 DIMM (not SIMM ;) ) 1 GB stick - it allows for easier and cheaper RAM upgrades later. :) If you are just getting 1 GB for now, it's much easier to BTO it from Apple (and about the same price as buying it elsewhere and installing it yourself).

    You can deal with iWork later (the price don't change).

    Definitely get AppleCare, but as I said before, ProCare is a waste of money (IMO).

    The iMac has good built-in speakers, I was surprised at the quality. The mini also has a built in speaker (if you could call it that); it's not very good.
     
  14. FFTT macrumors 68030

    FFTT

    Joined:
    Apr 17, 2004
    Location:
    A Stoned Throw From Ground Zero
    #14
    Absolutely!

    The best time to buy is when you know the details of the newest update, the former model's specs and refurb pricing.
     
  15. KevKaos thread starter macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Sep 1, 2006
    Location:
    Baltimore, Maryland USA
    #15
    Again, I say WOW. You folks are fantastic. I'd like to thank each and every one of you for all this great information. The Apple rep I spoke to was a great help, but we had a limited amount of time.

    I have no problem with waiting for a bit. Of course I can use that time to continue researching and learning. I will surely be announcing what I finally end up with. I wish I could order this week, but I will probably have to wait a bit longer. I am sooooo ready to pry myself away from a Windows PC. Now that I am looking at an iMac, and knowing that I can run still runs Windows if I have to, I can probably retire my old PC somewhat and turn it into a DVR experiment.

    Thanks again everyone.
     
  16. FFTT macrumors 68030

    FFTT

    Joined:
    Apr 17, 2004
    Location:
    A Stoned Throw From Ground Zero
    #16
    It's good to see that you are taking the time to research this properly.

    You are also fortunate to have pretty good timing exploring your options
    right before an update.

    No one but Apple really knows what we'll see, but a cumulative educated guess
    says we'll be seeing Merom processors in something........

    The three top contenders for updates are the iMac, the mini and the MacBook Pro
    in no particular order.

    I would really like to see all 32 bit Core Duo 1's replaced with 64 bit Core Duo 2's, but that may just be wishful thinking until later.

    It's going to be a long 2 weeks.
     
  17. DwightSchrute macrumors member

    Joined:
    Jul 22, 2006
    #17
    Did you have 2 X 256MB sticks and take one out and replace it with a 512MB stick? That's the best reason I can come up with as to why that happened.

    As for the Mac I agree with everyone else to get an iMac after they update them sometime this month.
     
  18. KevKaos thread starter macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Sep 1, 2006
    Location:
    Baltimore, Maryland USA
    #18
    I wish it was that easy. There was one 512MB stick and one empty slot. The new one was an identical 512MB stick. Weird is it? I didn't sweat it to much, at least it helped a bit.
     
  19. mkrishnan Moderator emeritus

    mkrishnan

    Joined:
    Jan 9, 2004
    Location:
    Grand Rapids, MI, USA
    #19
    I think you can use pretty much anything that works on Windows -- at least the 2 or 2.1's. I think most of the USB speakers should work just fine... I'm not as sure as the 5.1's and so on. I think there have been threads on this issue before but it's never been salient to me. :(

    You might look at this, also: Griffin 5.1 system. It looks like it just came out. Griffin is a great brand in Mac-specific products.
     
  20. miles01110 macrumors Core

    miles01110

    Joined:
    Jul 24, 2006
    Location:
    The Ivory Tower (I'm not coming down)
    #20
    I'd go for the Intel iMac and find a RAM upgrade for ~$70 on newegg or something. The iMac ahs a built in iSight webcam so you can do that pretty easily...plus it's great for simple video editing. You can get it with a Superdrive to burn DVDs.
     
  21. KevKaos thread starter macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Sep 1, 2006
    Location:
    Baltimore, Maryland USA
    #21
    OK folks, I have one more stupid question. I am a bit unclear as to what software applications come as standard on an iMac. I keep reading about iLife '06, but I can't tell if that comes with the system or if you have to purchase it on its own. Remember, I have been a PC user for a long time, and with Windows, you don't get to much 'for free".
     
  22. GFLPraxis macrumors 604

    GFLPraxis

    Joined:
    Mar 17, 2004
    #22
    iLife '06 is included with all new Macs, it is only sold seperately for older Macs.

    The iMac also comes with:
    # Microsoft Office 2004 for Mac Test Drive, iWork (30-day trial), Quicken 2006 for Macintosh, Big Bang Board Games, Comic Life, Omni Outliner, and Apple Hardware Test
    # Front Row
    # Photo Booth
     
  23. KevKaos thread starter macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Sep 1, 2006
    Location:
    Baltimore, Maryland USA
    #23
    Thanks for the clarification. This just keeps getting better and better.
     
  24. Doug3847 macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Sep 4, 2006
    Location:
    Canada
    #24
    Also if you need an office program openoffice is great and so is neo office. Both are freeware!!
     
  25. FFTT macrumors 68030

    FFTT

    Joined:
    Apr 17, 2004
    Location:
    A Stoned Throw From Ground Zero
    #25
    I had to go to my backup drive to find just the basics.

    Address Book
    Apple Script
    Art Directors Toolkit
    Automator
    Calculator
    Chess
    Dashboard
    Dictionary
    DVD Player
    Font Book
    GarageBand ( iLife'06 )
    GraphicConverter
    iCal
    iChat
    iDVD (iLIfe'06 )
    Image Capture
    iMovie HD (iLife '06)
    Internet Connect
    iPhoto (iLife '06)
    iSync
    iTunes
    iWeb (iLife '06 )
    Mail
    OmniGraffle
    Omni Outliner
    Preview
    QuickBooks
    QuickTime Player
    Safari
    Sherlock
    Spotlight
    Stickies
    System Preferences
    SYSTEM WIDE SPELL CHECKER!
    Text Edit ( very handy text editor )
    A whole bunch of Utilities
    Zinio
    Developer Tools

    iWork DEMO
    MS OFFICE DEMO

    Then you go to Version Tracker and MacUpdate for all the OTHER free application
    goodness.
     

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