Thinking of buying an Intel iMac

Discussion in 'Buying Tips and Advice' started by redneon, Apr 27, 2006.

  1. redneon macrumors member

    Apr 27, 2006

    I went to the Apple store in my local shopping centre (Sheffield, UK) yesterday to have a look at the new Intel iMacs. As a result, I'm thinking about getting one :)

    I've been doing a bit of reading but a lot of it is very subjective and I'm hoping that I can get an unbiased objective opinion on some things from the people on this forum. I'm sure a lot of these questions are asked a lot and coming from a Linux background I'm expecting quite a few RTFMs etc. but I'd appreciate any help.

    1) Does Rosetta do a decent job at emulating PPC? Considering how bad PearPC was I'm a little worried as the speed of PPC software on the Intel Macs? I'm especially bothered about the PPC games (I play a lot of WoW) but I could just use Bootcamp for those.

    2) I'm planning to get the 20" iMac. What upgrades would you suggest getting? I can upgrade the memory at any time but would 512mb be enough? It certainly isn't on Wintel PCs nowadays! Also, is it worth getting the 256mb ATI card? I'm also thinking of going for the wireless keyboard and mouse.

    3) What is the performance like on the ATI card? Does it support the latest vertex shaders or anything?

    4) How well does XP run using Bootcamp? Can it run ALL Windows software? I'll be using Bootcamp to run Windows games, I reckon.

    5) I hear that Apple have a fairly short release schedule? Would I be best off waiting for the new iMacs maybe or perhaps 10.5?

    6) Can OS X run BSD and Linux software? As I said before, I'm primarily a Linux user so this would be a nice additive. Especially if I could run X applications.

    7) How elegant is Cocoa and Objective C? I'm a developer (primarily games) and one of the reasons I want to get a Mac is because it's an environment I haven't programmed in before.

    8) What are the best websites to read about news and community stuff about Macs? Currently I read Slashdot, The Register and OSNews quite a bit.

    Sorry for the long list of questions, I just want to make sure it's a worthy purchase. Now it's your job to convert me ;)

    Thanks a lot,

  2. PatrickF macrumors 6502

    Feb 16, 2006
    I have a MBP so I won't be able to answer some of your questions, but I'll do my best.

    I've had no problem with Rosetta at all. It's a bit of a RAM hog but all the apps I've tried have run just fine. Even Call of Duty runs perfectly fine under Rosetta.

    I would recommend at least 1GB of RAM although that's usually cheaper bought directly from Crucial. I opted for the 128MB graphics card and don't have any problems.

    It's well known that the X1600 is very underclocked but it still performs well. I'm able to play Battlefield 2 on Windows perfectly fine.

    It runs just great. Feels a little strange at first but it does run perfectly. All hardware I've tried works and so far all of the software just works. Not all of the hardware built in to the MBP/iMac will work yet though (iSight, etc.)

    The new iMacs have just been released so I'd say it'll be a while before they release new revisions. 10.5 should be out later this year/early next year.

    Yes and that's what I love. Look into DarwinPorts and Fink. You also get X11 with OS X, although you'll have to install that separately (comes on the DVD).

    Hope that helps you some way.
  3. hvfsl macrumors 68000


    Jul 9, 2001
    London, UK
    I will just point out that a few Mac OS games have been ported to OS X Intel now, including WOW.
  4. yoak macrumors 65816


    Oct 4, 2004
    Oslo, Norway
    I have the 20". I´m very pleased with it´s performance. I opted for the 256 graphic card, just because you can´t do it later.
    I also ordered mine with 1gig of RAM, as it wasn´t much cheaper to get 3rd party.
    This way you have a 1gig stick and can add another from 3rd party later.
    If you get the standard from Apple you either lare only able to max out the machin at 1,5 gig of RAM, or you have a 512 stick you need to replace.
    I haven´t played any games yet so I can´t help you there.
    I say get it now:)
  5. student_trap macrumors 68000


    Mar 14, 2005
    'Ol Smokey, UK
    1. for most apps, rosetta runs unnoticable, with pro apps, there will be a difference, however the pro apps are all slowly changing over to universal anyway so i wouldn't worry about it.

    2. good idea, i just picked these up and they are excellent, the mouse has only one button and no scroll wheel though if that bothers doesn't bother me

    5. apple release new macs every 6-9 months, and the last update was in january.

    8. your posting on the best one!
  6. ImNoSuperMan macrumors 65816


    Dec 1, 2005
    Well PatrickF has answered most of your questions and I wud be convinced if I were you. As far as waiting for newer iMacs or OS10.5 is concerned, I dont think this will be any time soon. Apple has yet to show even a demo of Leopard to developers. They are supposed to show a demo in WWDC. So I dont really expect leopard in this year. iMacs will also not see a major Rev any time soon.

    So IMO you are safe to buy the iMac now. I`d have bought it. But I need a portable and waiting for MacBooks. Please Apple atleast anounce it. I dont mind waiting another 2 months if I know what I`ll be getting. Atleast if I dont like the new MB then I might just buy a refurb MBP today.
  7. yoak macrumors 65816


    Oct 4, 2004
    Oslo, Norway
    I also have the wireless keyboard and mouse, they work really well. (I have heard that the mouse might not be very precise if you are working in illustrater etc.)
    To me, it just adds to the beauty of the system; One power cord out of the back of the iMac, that´s it.
  8. redneon thread starter macrumors member

    Apr 27, 2006
    Great. Thanks for the help. I think I'll end up getting a wired keyboard and mouse, though as I really want the two buttons and wheel for when I'm using Windows software.

    Are there any pieces of software that I should get immediately to make the whole experience more enjoyable?
  9. crazycat macrumors 65816


    Dec 5, 2005
    I dont like the apple mouse and keyboard very much, i would recomend you buy from another vendor such as Logitech.
  10. AviationFan macrumors 6502a


    Jan 12, 2006
    Cedar Rapids, IA
    Different people have different opinions about what is elegant and what is not. I find Cocoa and Objective C very elegant and powerful, but I haven't used it to create any games. You may want to ask this question over in the "Programming" forum to get some better responses.

    - Martin
  11. mac000 macrumors 6502a

    Sep 6, 2005
    I know the graphics card is underclocked in the MBP to give battery life, AND the intel iMac has the same card... QUESTION IS, the card in the imac ISNT underclocked, CORRECT?
  12. balamw Moderator


    Staff Member

    Aug 16, 2005
    New England
    FWIW I bought my 17" with wired mouse & keyboard, but also picked up an Apple wireless keyboard, which turned out to be $10 cheaper than the all wireless version, but I get two keyboards. I am also using Logitech mouse from the PC the iMac replaced.

  13. redneon thread starter macrumors member

    Apr 27, 2006
    Ok, I'm going to get a 20" iMac with 1GB RAM and stick with the wired keyboard and mouse.

    I still have one decision to make, though? Should I go for the 128mb or 256mb ATI? Is 256mb really going to make that much of a difference? I know graphics cards have been pretty stuck at 128mb for a while and I did have a Radeon 9600 256mb card for my PC which was utterly terrible. If I got for a higher VRAM card will there be any difference in performance? If not, I just have to battle with my conscience as to whether it's worth the extra £50.

    I know that currently, 128mb is fine. It's the future I'm bothered about :)
  14. PatrickF macrumors 6502

    Feb 16, 2006
    The X1600 in the iMac is said to be underclocked just as with the MBP. The reason probably being that the iMac is essentially a laptop and they underclocked it to reduce heat. That's my guess anyway.

    There's a thread over in the Windows forum
  15. PatrickF macrumors 6502

    Feb 16, 2006
    I opted for the 128MB version on my MBP and don't have any issues with it. For £50 more though you might want to opt for the 256MB one just for the future. You know you'll probably kick yourself if you don't.
  16. mac000 macrumors 6502a

    Sep 6, 2005
    wow that makes no sense for the iMac, but oh well ya know

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