Potential Switcher needing Info!

Discussion in 'Buying Tips, Advice and Discussion (archive)' started by ScottN, Oct 21, 2004.

  1. ScottN macrumors newbie

    Oct 17, 2004
    London, England

    I've always been a Windows user but am wanting to switch over to Macs as they're just so much cooler!

    However, the PM with display is a bit out of my reach so I'm thinking of buying the new G5 20" iMac and either adding in a 1GB RAM stick or even 2 1GB RAM sticks (and getting rid of the 256Mb one that comes with the machine).

    Is this going to be able to do what I want to do?

    I'm mainly in to using Photoshop and I'd also like to do some fairly decent DV editing in Final Cut Express.

    Will the iMac be able to handle this well?

    I'm currently using a 1GHz P3 laptop with 512MB RAM which is fine for PS but DV editing is appalling.

    Will I notice a huge improvement using the iMac? What is the ideal RAM to install? Is 2GB overkill or the best bet?

    Also, I've read some threads about using an external hard drive for the DV work. Is that a lot better than using the internal 250GB drive?

    Many thanks in advance!
  2. Palad1 macrumors 6502a


    Feb 24, 2004
    London, UK
  3. blueknight macrumors newbie

    Oct 18, 2004
    iMac sounds good

    The iMac G5 is a solid machine by all accounts and is perfectly capable of doing what you want. I've done an amount of digital video editing and Photoshop work on a trusty old G4 400Mhz and if that could cope (albeit slowly) then the iMac will work a treat. The screen is very nice and you'll appreciate the real-estate. Graphics card is no slouch either, you'll not be able to upgrade it but I doubt you'll need to unless you go pro. RAM is essential for what you describe, 2GB might sound like overkill but if you can afford it you won't regret it. Its probably lack of ram that is contributing to the slowness of you P3 set-up. As for hard-drives, in an ideal world you'd have a raid cluster sitting under you desk, but you don't have that kind of cash to spare I'm assuming! So the internal will serve for now, but you can always buy a 160Gb external Firewire 800 drive from Lacie or similar for a very modest sum these days.

    hope that helps!
  4. ScottN thread starter macrumors newbie

    Oct 17, 2004
    London, England

    Thanks very much for your comments.

    Another thing that has made be want to swing from Windows to Macs is the great community spirit Mac owners seem to have!

    Re RAM upgrades, will I be able to buy one stick of 1GB RAM to go alongside the existing 256MB or do I need to 'match' the RAM components?

    I'm keen not to pay Apple prices for memory upgrades when you can pick up a 1GB stick for £120-£150.

    Thanks again,
  5. jsw Moderator emeritus


    Mar 16, 2004
    Andover, MA
    I'm pretty sure that there is a minimal speed advantage to matching the RAM, but I wouldn't worry about it. If you're going to 2GB, it's not an issue - just get 2 matching sticks - but if you want to stay at 1.25GB for a while, I don't think you'll be hurt too badly if you buy a second 1GB stick down the road.

    I personally think the iMac is a great choice for you. And an internal drive is better speed-wise than any external, but external drives are nice for backup purposes (i.e., you'll be happy with either choice for your DV work).

    One possible consideration for you if you want more upgradeability is to get the newly announced 1.8GHz single processor PowerMac - essentially the same guts as the iMac, but more upgradeable. If you get it, please, please spend the minor additional amount to go up to the 9600XT card - it's probably maybe another £35 or so. However, you can't beat the iMac for its combination of ability, small size, etc.

    Good luck with your choices!
  6. wordmunger macrumors 603


    Sep 3, 2003
    North Carolina
    One thing you might consider, given that you're thinking about going to a full two GB of RAM, is buying the single 1.8 GHz tower. Since it has four DIMM slots, you can buy much cheaper memory: four 512 MB DIMMs run about $400 US, versus over $900 for 2 1 GB DIMMs. For that difference in price, plus the $400 difference in CPU price, you can almost afford a 20-inch cinema display.

    OTOH, my wife has the 20-incher, and it's one sweet machine. Really, you can't lose either way.
  7. bryanc macrumors 6502

    Feb 12, 2003
    Fredericton, NB Canada

    Any of the new iMacs will handle what you're talking about with aplomb. However, as has already been suggested, the new low-end PowerMac 1.8GHz is quite a bargain, and has better expandability (although, it is worth noting that essentially all components of the new iMac, with the exception of the GPU, are user replaceable).

    So really, what it comes down to is whether you want to keep using your existing monitor, and have a PC-like setup (CPU under you desk somewhere, and a rats-nest of cables linking the box to your monitor, keyboard, mouse, camera, scanner, printer, etc.) with a much better OS, or if you want to wipe the slate clean, and put a work of art on your desk and have it serve all purposes elegantly.

    For me, this would be a tough call if I had a decent monitor (I don't really mind a lot of cables). However, my current PC has a POS 15" monitor, so as soon as I can afford it, I'll be going with a new iMac.


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