The Ultimate Mac Buyers FAQ

Discussion in 'Buying Tips and Advice' started by ieani, Aug 22, 2006.

  1. ieani macrumors 6502a

    ieani

    Joined:
    Jan 3, 2006
    Location:
    the states for now
    #1
    The goal is simple: eliminate the countless repeat threads.

    The idea is simple: post questions with answers in this thread and I will add them to top(if I even can indefinitely, if not, hopefully someone will) or alternatively you can PM them to me. Macs will be divided by processor and then by type and then my process. Better answers can replace poorer answers at my disgression or that of a large mob that wishes so. I have hopes that this will function as a large filter for this board, alleviating clutter. Its ambitious and being a simple user rather than a mod I have no motivation to do this beyond a mild case of OCD(self-diagnosed and inaccurate) and slight current boredom. I begin with an example I saw in a recently posted thread(or a thread I recently posted in...not sure which). If this is a stupid idea let the thread die.


    To use this thread: type  + F or for windows users type cntrl + f and then type in what it is you are looking for as in, "graphics"



    Intel Macs

    Macbook

    Graphics


    Q: I want to play WOW, can I do this on a macbook?

    A: "As you should know, the MacBook gives you an integrated graphics card, which shares memory with the RAM. Apple says it'll use 64MB, but then it may use more, when it comes to graphic intensive applications. So my main point here is that you're not really getting just 64MB of graphics memory, because the graphics system can use more RAM if it needs to.

    Now, after clarifying this, you should then read this article:
    http://www.macworld.com/2006/06/firs...ames/index.php

    If you've read it, all the better.

    My own conclusions from the article are as such:
    1. The MacBook will run games fine. 3D games should do fine too, given that you have enough RAM inside.
    2. Get 2GB of RAM on the cheap. Forget about getting it from Apple, for they're too expensive. Post another thread asking where to get cheap RAM. I've heard of Canada RAM if you're in the land of maple leafs like me, and other online stores that have some cheap RAM that's compatible.
    3. What is WoW classified as? A "latest" game? Or a less "new" game? If it is not one of the "latest" 3D games, I'm pretty confident that with enough RAM, you should be able to run it well on a MacBook." --- ericmjl

    Battery

    Q: I've got my Macbook but I have not turned it on yet. Should I charge it first? Or would turning it on and using it unplugged/plugged not affect the battery life?

    A: "Step 1 of the Apple instructions says to plug in the machine. I don't think it's a big deal, but I always run my portable plugged in for the initial setup. You don't need to fully charge it up before turning it on though...just calibrate the battery soon and regularly thereafter. That's really all you need to do in order to keep your battery healthy and make sure you're getting accurate data from it." ----WildCowboy


    Processor


    Q:Should I get a macbook with 1.83GHz or 2.0Ghz?

    A: "i read somewhere that you won't notice a performance gain in CPUs unless there is a 10% difference in speed. For example, you would definately notice the bang with the 2.66GHz mac pro over the 2.0GHz model, but the difference between the 2.66 and the 3.0 won't be as big.

    I've used both the 2.0 and the 1.83GHz MacBooks, and the 2.0 is only a little bit faster, and I could only notice it when pushing the CPU. I think it got 3-4 fps faster in Handbrake than mine.

    If you don't mind having an external DVD burner, it might be a better option, because the external ones can burn 4 times faster than the internal one." ---- Scarlet Fever

    "The conventional wisdom, I believe, is to buy the best computer you can afford, as they become out of date so quickly. Your decision should be: can I really afford the extra $150? If yes, go for it. If no, do without." ---- Gee

    "I'd go for it, you never know when you'll need to burn a DVD. Especially if you work with large amounts of files, or large files for school, you may have to put them on a DVD to provide them to a group member or professor. Also, DVDs are wonderful for backing up your personal files, so thats another reason." ---- MikeNemat

    Screen

    Q: Is matte or glossy better?

    A: "Glossy presents a brighter, sharper image.

    Matte is more true-to-life color.

    If color is important, get matte. If you want things to look nicer on your screen (but not necessarily other screens) get glossy. Glossy tends to attract more dust, but that might be just because it is easier to notice.

    And a word of warning: no doubt many users will post that 'the glare on the glossy is a BIG negative.' I have a glossy screen, and use it in high-light environments on a daily basis (including outside) and the glare is not bad enough to make me think twice about getting the glossy over the matte. I really like the glossy screen." ---- miles01110


    Macbook Pro

    Security

    Q: How can I keep my Macbook Pro secure?

    A: "You can buy an alarmed like this one: http://us.kensington.com/html/6311.html And/Or you might also consider a program like Undercover: http://www.orbicule.com/
    ...it uses your isight to take pictures of the theif as well as transmits IP information to the database when you report your computer stolen. It's a less visible way of protecting your investment." ----miles01110


    Screen

    Q: Is matte or glossy better?

    A: "Glossy presents a brighter, sharper image.

    Matte is more true-to-life color.

    If color is important, get matte. If you want things to look nicer on your screen (but not necessarily other screens) get glossy. Glossy tends to attract more dust, but that might be just because it is easier to notice.

    And a word of warning: no doubt many users will post that 'the glare on the glossy is a BIG negative.' I have a glossy screen, and use it in high-light environments on a daily basis (including outside) and the glare is not bad enough to make me think twice about getting the glossy over the matte. I really like the glossy screen." ---- miles01110

    Mac Pro

    Video Editing

    Q: Do I need a Mac Pro for video editing in college or would a macbook/macbook pro work?

    A: "I am a Digital Filmmaker/Video Artist, and i also went to college. My PowerBook(G4 at 1.67Ghz) got me through fine. I think you will be fine with the MacBook Pro as it's much more powerful than my PowerBook, it's portable, which will prove to be invaluable. Just get a good sized, fast external harddrive, FireWire 400 (unfortunately the 15" MacBook Pro doesn't come with FireWire 800 any longer) and use that as a scratch disk." ---- fatsoforgotso

    G5 Macs

    General Mac

    Q: What external HDD should I buy?

    A: "If you want one pre-built these are probably the best for the price: http://eshop.macsales.com/Search/Search.cfm?Criteria=+OWC+Mercury+Elite-AL+&Manufacturer=&x=0&y=0 but another good name to look out for is Iomega. However, they are pricey. You could also buy an internal hard drive and then an external case. The best internal drive would be a Seagate. Make sure it is IDE and 7200RPM with at least an 8MB Cache. Then cases are subjective. OWC(macsales.com) sells cases Id recommend or you could look around www.newegg.com or www.tigerdirect.com. With an external case read reviews and make sure they do not run hot. Its is best to buy one with a fan. If you live in europe you could get an Icy Box case which is fanless but actually works, unlike most fanless cases. Here is an excellent guide for firewire capable drives: http://www.macworld.com/2005/09/reviews/fwharddrivesdesktop/" ---- ieani

    A: "1. It is cheaper and still very easy to buy a HD and an enclosure separately.
    2. Segate offers the longest (5 year) warranty and is seen by most as the best option.
    3. Dont bother with anything smaller than 150gb as it is not cost effective.
    4. USB is fine for strict backup drives. FW400 is preferred for constant data access like games, photos, songs, videos, and even an OS. FW800 has not been proven to be significantly faster than FW400.
    5. Make sure to match drive and enclosure types (ide&ide, sata&sata, pata&pata)
    6. Enclosure chipset does matter but you will pay for it. MacSales.com sells enclosures with the Oxford chipset starting at $60. Enclosures with 'slower' chipsets can be found as low as $20.
    7. Look at Newegg.com, Outpost.com, CircuitCity.com, and others for Seagate drive deals.
    8. Avoid TigerDirect.com rebates." ---- slackersonly

    Q: Where is the best place to buy RAM?

    A: The following is a list of sites recommended by members:
    http://www.macsales.com/
    http://www.newegg.com
    http://www.crucial.com
    http://www.1800memory.com
    CanadaRAM
    http://www.datamem.com
     
  2. nate13 macrumors 6502

    nate13

    Joined:
    Feb 16, 2004
    Location:
    Fargo, ND
    #2
    nice faq! if this grows, you might see it as a sticky! (every man's dream, ya know)
    you might wanna put some universal/ rosetta stuff in there... but i have no experience yet so :(
     
  3. extraextra macrumors 68000

    extraextra

    Joined:
    Jun 29, 2006
    Location:
    California
    #3
    You should add something about waiting for Merom/what the difference between Merom + Yonah is in there. :p
     
  4. ieani thread starter macrumors 6502a

    ieani

    Joined:
    Jan 3, 2006
    Location:
    the states for now
    #4
    I will. Im adding to it a little at a time as I have time. Of course, you could also do some research and post your findings. ;)
     
  5. meanpeoplesuck macrumors member

    Joined:
    Aug 14, 2006
    #5
    Nice, I suggest additions relating to over heating, random shut downs, and noisey fans
     
  6. extraextra macrumors 68000

    extraextra

    Joined:
    Jun 29, 2006
    Location:
    California
    #6
    I can try to do it later on today if no one else does.
     
  7. debrey macrumors member

    Joined:
    May 4, 2006
    Location:
    Chicago
    #7
    Nice.

    You put a discussion of which screen type in the Macbook section, but those have to be glossy, right?

    You might want to have more generic section titles. For example, you could have a section that applies to all Macs. Then a section that applies to all intel macs. And then a section that applies to all notebooks, etc. That way you wouldn't end up repeating things.

    -- David
     
  8. slackersonly macrumors 6502a

    slackersonly

    Joined:
    Apr 13, 2006
    #8
    great idea. thanks for the time you have/will put into this.
    some ideas from very popular posts

    1) Do I need more than 512mb ram? Where is best place to buy?
    2) What is the best external hard drive?
    3) iMac or MacBook?
    4) Are refurbs ok?
    5) Is AppleCare worth it.
    6) iWork vs Office
    7) BootCamp vs. Parallels
     
  9. wordmunger macrumors 603

    wordmunger

    Joined:
    Sep 3, 2003
    Location:
    North Carolina
    #9
    Why not add this to the guides section? That's what the guides are supposed to be for, after all.
     
  10. Demon Hunter macrumors 68020

    Joined:
    Mar 30, 2004
    #10
    FireWire 800 is a beast compared to the FireWire 400 standard. What are you talking about?
     
  11. gadgetgirl85 macrumors 68040

    gadgetgirl85

    Joined:
    Mar 24, 2006
  12. MovieCutter macrumors 68040

    MovieCutter

    Joined:
    May 3, 2005
    Location:
    Washington, DC
  13. djkny macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Sep 30, 2003
    #13
    Others ...

    You forgot the common, obsessive-compulsive-disorder-indicative question: Should I buy now or wait?

    There's also the "Best of" questions ...

    1) What's the best bag/sleeve for my MacBook/MacBook Pro?
    2) What's the best color printer for under $150?
    3) What's the best bluetooth mouse? (that thread just popped up again)
    4) What' s the best 2.0/2.1/5.1 speakers for my computer?
    5) What's the best computer stand for my MB to keep it cool (iCurve)
    6) What's the best way to clean my MBP LCD?
    7) What's the best deal on (fill in the blank)?
    8) What's the best B/W printer?
    9) What's the best HD (portable and desktop) for my Mac?
    10) What's the best digital camera under $300?
    11) What's the best iPod nano case?

    on and on and on ... repetition=insanity.
     
  14. xfiftyfour macrumors 68030

    xfiftyfour

    Joined:
    Apr 14, 2006
    Location:
    Clemson, SC
    #14
    okay NOW do I have permission to ridicule newbies if they ask duplicate questions?

    ;)

    Thanks for the thread ieani- it's been very much needed!!
     
  15. extraextra macrumors 68000

    extraextra

    Joined:
    Jun 29, 2006
    Location:
    California
    #15
    You forgot "What's the best router?" :p
     
  16. slackersonly macrumors 6502a

    slackersonly

    Joined:
    Apr 13, 2006
    #16
    Under ideal conditions, and so few of us live and work in a lab environment, fw800 can come close to the projected double through-put of the fw400. Under current hard drive rpm speeds, I was under the impression that the difference can be small.
     
  17. ironic23 macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Feb 8, 2006
    #17
    this is an awesome thread. can we have something like this as a wiki?
     
  18. wordmunger macrumors 603

    wordmunger

    Joined:
    Sep 3, 2003
    Location:
    North Carolina
    #18
    Sure. I'll get right on it. :rolleyes:
     
  19. ieani thread starter macrumors 6502a

    ieani

    Joined:
    Jan 3, 2006
    Location:
    the states for now
    #19
    Looks like this idea will live. Thanks for all the comments, suggestions and words of gratuity. I will work on this considerably tonight and tomorrow. It should start becoming more comprehensive by this time tom. then. But contribution by others would expediate the process.

    MODS!!!
    Is there anyway you could allow for more text? I maxed it out in just the beginnings. I will continue to edit in a word document until appropraite changes can be made. Thank you!
     
  20. FFTT macrumors 68030

    FFTT

    Joined:
    Apr 17, 2004
    Location:
    A Stoned Throw From Ground Zero
    #20
    How about a Q & A on connecting and networking your Mac to P/C servers?

    People ask me this all the time.
     

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