PeeCee user looking for advice

Discussion in 'General Mac Discussion' started by Pin-Fisher, Jul 14, 2002.

  1. Pin-Fisher macrumors member

    Joined:
    Jul 11, 2002
    Location:
    Marlton NJ
    #1
    Please note my newbie status prior to making fun of me too much :)

    Anyway......After alot of prodding from some of my co workers I have been looking at and thinking about getting a Mac. I would like to bother you well informed mac type people with a few questions if you don't mind. BTW - Quite a few of my other Pee Cee friends seem to have the same questions so a mass conversion might be possible.

    1. Upgrading video cards for PCs seems to be a yearly occurance if you want to run the latest games. As a matter of fact I just shelled out $400 for a GForce4 4600 Ti 128. (The drivers must suck, my sysytem was pretty dam stable prior to installation) Anyway ....Is this a common occurance in the Mac world?

    2. Ram....whats the deal. I plan to get one with at least 512mb anyway..but have they improved / added virtual memery yet?? Is 512 enough?

    3. I do app development at work. C++ , VB , Runtime Rev are a few enviros I work in. A few of my co workers are Mac people and would like to use some of the apps I write on the Mac. Its mostly database stuff... How's ODBC handled on the Mac?

    4. It seems like Apple is playing the faster processor game just like Insmell and AMD...Is this the norm and how should that effect my Mac buying decision. Is waiting for a G5 that important?

    5. I really really love the look of iMac. I would love to see some faces when they walk into my office and see a shiny new iMac on my desk. I love the USB / Firewire aspect(reminds me of my C64 days , which BTW is about 3 feet from me as I type ) The guys at work suggest I go for the tower config instead of the iMac for upgradability aspect. Any input?



    Thanks in advance for your responses. After MWNY I will probably make the plunge but I am still a little gunshy so any input positive and negative is well appreciated...

    PF
     
  2. job macrumors 68040

    job

    Joined:
    Jan 25, 2002
    Location:
    in transit
    #2
    Re: PeeCee user looking for advice

    Depending on what Mac model you buy, the graphics area is pretty well equipped. On the tower line, the top two versions usually come with one of the faster graphics cards on the market (presently they have the GeForce 4MX, this will probably be updated whenever newer towers are released.) The "consumer" line (at the moment) is equipped with the GeForce 2, although this may change soon too. On the towers, you can also choose different cards as a built - to option. To be able to run games I don't really think you need to purchase a new graphics card for the Mac every year. I'm playing Warcraft 3 and Return to Castle Wolfenstein on my 6 year old Ati Rage 128 at very decent speeds (the card has 8MB!) Pretty much, if you buy a Mac you can plan on playing games at very decent speeds/quality for several years to come.

    In Mac OS X protected virtual memory was added. Virtual memory has always been part of the Mac OS, however in Mac OS X it is protected, so if one application crashes, it won't take down you whole system. The OS and any other apps you have running will continue to run fine. 512 MB is more than enough RAM to run OS X and any other programs you are thinking about running.

    Sorry, I don't know much about that. Maybe someone else in the forum knows.

    If you have the money go for the tower. The lack of upgradability on the iMac will probably come back to haunt you down the road, especially if you want to install a new graphics card. Also, the G4 chip in the towers also have a L3 cache which boosts performance.

    Hope this helps

    hitman
     
  3. gbojim macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Jan 30, 2002
    #3
    Re: PeeCee user looking for advice

    You can develop using C++ on the Mac and cross compile to PC if you want to. Code Warrior from MetroWorks is the best for this IMO. You cannot develop in VB on the Mac, but there is a product called RealBasic which is very close to VB. You can definitely compile RB code to Mac or PC. I have not really written anything in VB since I started using RB. The learning curve was about a day. I'm not familiar with Runtime Rev. The Mac has ODBC drivers included with OS X. If you really need to develop in VB, you can load Vis Studio under a product called Virtual PC that allows you to install a Windows OS and MS apps. If you are not working on huge projects - speed should be no problem.

    For doing the app development you are talking about, the G4 is no problem at all. If you are hardcore into games, someone else will have to comment.

    Hope this helps
     
  4. AlphaTech macrumors 601

    AlphaTech

    Joined:
    Oct 4, 2001
    Location:
    Natick, MA
    #4
    Mac video cards in the towers can be changed as often as you want to. I have not had any system slowdowns happen when using ATI video cards, you really should consider them instead of ones from nVidia. Installing video cards in the towers is much easier then installing them into peecee's. For one thing, the enclosure on the Mac, where the logic board is on the panel that swings down, is toolless. You open it up, and can get right to the memory slots, PCI and AGP slots, as well as the hard drive bays.

    There are ways to program in C++ on the Mac. Worse case, you could pick up VPC and use your programming software inside that.

    As for virtual memory, OS 9.x and OS X handle it quite well. OS 9.x, unlike windblows, allows you to set the virtual memory to any amount, or completely disable it if you choose. OS X uses more of a unix type of memory management, which means it is very stable.

    512MB of memory should be sufficient for most applications, but if you start to get into the very intensive stuff you will want to add more. I always suggest getting the most you can in a single chip. After that, you still have at least two memory slots open, to get you to the 1.5GB max (at least that is until Apple changes the max.).

    With you being concerned about the video card, and being able to update it, I would also suggest getting a tower instead of a consumer level system. With the tower, you CAN install a new video card, as well as up to four PCI cards at any time you want. You don't get that with the consumer level. With the iMac, all you can do is add USB and FireWire devices. The tower also has Gigabit ethernet, where the iMac/eMac only has 10/100Mb ethernet (currently).

    Depending on your budget, I'd suggest getting the mid-level tower. It has the L3 cache as well as a faster processor. The current low end tower doesn't have the L3 cache. I hope that Apple offers more video card options in the BTO part of the store soon. It would be very nice to have the ATI Radeon 8500 card there.
     
  5. Pin-Fisher thread starter macrumors member

    Joined:
    Jul 11, 2002
    Location:
    Marlton NJ
    #5
    Thanks for the great responses guys. I knew I came to the right place....
     
  6. King Cobra macrumors 603

    Joined:
    Mar 2, 2002
    #6
    Isn't Fisher's attachment a little strong? I know we have fun dissing m$, but that seems to mean a little more than a Mac/peecee war.

    If you can convert your whole wardrobe of peecee users, I think you should get a free mug! :cool:
     
  7. billiam0878 macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Mar 15, 2002
    Location:
    Winter Park, FL
    #7
    Agreed, especially if they join us here at MR :)

    In regards to graphic cards I have had gotten along fine with my little 8 MB ATI. I don't know if Macs are just more efficient, but my previous Wintel laptop -which also had an 8 MB card- really stuttered on any graphically intense games.

    Bill
     
  8. job macrumors 68040

    job

    Joined:
    Jan 25, 2002
    Location:
    in transit
    #8
    Yeah, I know what you mean. My friend and I tested and compared UT framerates (we had the same Ati 8MB GPU) at different settings. My iMac was able to achieve far better frame rates than his Wintel box. He and I both had the same amount of RAM (256) and the same Mhz (400).
     

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