will it ever be the right time to buy?

Discussion in 'General Mac Discussion' started by cait-sith, Apr 7, 2004.

  1. cait-sith macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Apr 6, 2004
    Location:
    canada
    #1
    i'm a PC user that's looking into buying a mac. i really like the idea of being able to finally have a nice interface to a unix backend. (don't get me started on cde and the various free offerings out there for xwindows right now) i am getting a degree in computer sciences, so i will be using my computer to develop software (moderate-scale, nothing massive), browse the net, burn cds, etc. basically an all around workstation that has to cope with c++/java/jsp development.

    this being said, i have two questions.

    firstly, i'm not rich, so i don't want to spend a lot of money. i'm looking at getting a 1ghz combo emac and bumping it to 1GB ram. is this a good idea, or do these machines "suck"? i've seen mixed reviews, some people saying it's the computer they buy for grandma. i'm not doing photoshop stuff or playing games. will this be good enough? or do you have to spend > 2$K CAD to get a useful mac? i'm afraid of spending a good portion of my money on something already too slow for the software it runs.

    secondly, when i went to go look at hardware, the sales clerk was telling me "wait until after the 18th, they're going to announce hardware changes, we're hoping they'll bump the emac up to 1.25ghz and go ddr ram." i don't want to wait longer and longer to buy the mac, as you all know the "new computer urge" is hard to resist. what would your advice be on this?

    help a newbie out. i'm used to ignoring tech updates because they add 500$ to the price! :mad:
     
  2. cait-sith thread starter macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Apr 6, 2004
    Location:
    canada
    #2
    actually i should admit i have a IIcx and an LCIII sitting in my basement with system 6.0.8 on them. but they were bought more for art than function.
     
  3. mislabeledstar macrumors regular

    Joined:
    May 12, 2003
    Location:
    Los Angeles
    #3
    well, the longer you wait the faster the computer will be........ so it comes down to what you need and how fast you need it.

    as for the e-mac itself, i've never heard too many good reviews of the thing........ i would look into an imac over the e-mac.
     
  4. blue&whiteman macrumors 65816

    blue&whiteman

    Joined:
    Nov 30, 2003
    #4
    the emac is fine for mild to moderate use. you hear of designers on a budget sometimes buying an emac and maxing the ram. they seem to get by fine. the emac will do everything fairly well other than play graphic intense games or render 3D animation and final cut pro editing (its more an imovie kind of machine). for things like everyday use (web/email etc.), photoshop, itunes and all the staple osx stuff it will be fine even if it is just a 1ghz. I say wait a bit longer though. a 25% speed boost would be nice if the new ones will be 1.25. apple hardly ever raises the cost on a new model. they lower it if anything. you can be sure the new base emac will be the same price as the current one.

    the main people that seem to be unhappy with an emac are the ones who buy it thinking its much more of a machine than it is. their expectations are too high and they in turn don't like it. I get by fine with a G4/500 cpu but I can't play many games. fine by me :)

    good luck and enjoy it if you buy one. report back here how you like it.
     
  5. blue&whiteman macrumors 65816

    blue&whiteman

    Joined:
    Nov 30, 2003
    #5
    an imac offers little more than an emac does and he is on a budget. sure the imac has the same graphics chip as a base G5 but on the imac it only runs at agp4x, not 8x like the G5. you're pretty much only paying more for an lcd. an lcd is something to stay away from when money is tight.

    the innards of both machines are quite similar.

    I just looked at the apple site and noticed that the base 15" imac only has a 32mb geforce 4. that card at best is only slightly faster than the 32mb radeon 7500 in the emac. you must go up to the 17" imac to get the 5200 64mb chip.

    so its 800 for an emac. 1300 for a 15" imac and 1800 for a 17"

    I doubt on a budget he wants to spend 500 - 1000 for just for an lcd and slightly better video.
     
  6. cait-sith thread starter macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Apr 6, 2004
    Location:
    canada
    #6
    i don't mind a crt at all, so the lcd is a non-issue. currently i'm working a co-op position for school and will be out of work for the next 4 months resuming my courses. i have a bit of money saved up but i have to worry about car payments, tuition etc.

    i've seen rumours that the ibook will get a speed bump such that the low end will be 933mhz. i guess it could be considered smart to spend the extra cash and get something i can use at school and just plug into kb/mouse/vga at home to use like a desktop. but money is tight. :(

    right now i'm limited to a 500mhz NEC laptop (shudder), so maybe i don't need another laptop. i dunno. so long as it's not annoyingly slow to use the development tools, i don't mind. just don't want to get ripped off. my gf has a black g3 powerbook, it's pretty slow in some respects when it comes to osx, but then again it's an old laptop and she's running 10.1 (can't seem to get the 10.1.1 upgrade to work, the sys drive is greyed out. grr.)
     
  7. blue&whiteman macrumors 65816

    blue&whiteman

    Joined:
    Nov 30, 2003
    #7
    I wanted to add that for what you want to do with the emac you wouldn't even need to max the ram right away. just buy an extra 512 at the start and run 640 MB at first. thats more than enough for you. osx will run nice on 640 with about 5 or 6 apps open at a time. later down the road you can add another 512 stick and sell off the old 128. lets hope the new emacs come with at least 256 on both models then with 512 you would have 768 total.

    just an idea to help you save another 100 or more on the purchase.
     
  8. cait-sith thread starter macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Apr 6, 2004
    Location:
    canada
    #8
    i have the ability to score some cheapo sdram (about 512M) from my dad, who's got some left over from his switch to an intel machine that uses ddr.

    which raises an interesting point, if they do go to DDR in the next month, i'll have to (gasp) pay for 512M of DDR.

    is DDR that much better?
     
  9. blue&whiteman macrumors 65816

    blue&whiteman

    Joined:
    Nov 30, 2003
    #9
    not too much better. nothing with a double max. speed is ever really double.

    an example would be with my video card in my 66mhz pci slot. it really only performs 20-30% better than if in one of my 33mhz slots. not double or even close but its still better.

    on a beefy powermac the ddr would help a lot but not an emac. just wait and see what the new one takes.
     
  10. 7on macrumors 601

    7on

    Joined:
    Nov 9, 2003
    Location:
    Dress Rosa
    #10
    you can always look into a second hand Sawtooth. Those run 400Mhz And run pretty much anything you throw at it. It will be a tad slow, I guess, but I guess I'm just a patient man. My campus's viscom lab runs dual 450 Mystics and until last month the professor taught off a Prismo (the campus upgraded it to a revB 12" recently).

    honestly though, you'll be happy with any mac that runs a G4 or fast G3.
     
  11. cait-sith thread starter macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Apr 6, 2004
    Location:
    canada
    #11
    I've narrowed my decision to either an eMac with the ram bumped up to 768M, or an iBook with kb/mouse/vga if they manage to bump up the low end model to 933mhz and max ram to 1G. Recommendations? I know it's like an extra 500$CAD for the iBook configuration, but maybe it's worth the extra investment.

    Also, anyone know how fast the drive is in either machine? I called Apple to ask, and they "don't know, but it's fast enough to take full advantage of the computer." They got kinda mad when I insisted they tell me. Go figure. I hope they are not 4800RPM drives.
     
  12. ghostee macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Feb 25, 2004
    Location:
    Villa Park, IL
    #12
    I do believe the drive in the iBooks is 4200.

    The 12" iBook model runs fine with the 256mb ram for casual tasks (surfing, burning, ripping). Not sure how it would hold up to compiling and coding as I don't do that. When I got mine I originally planned to plug in a kb/mouse/vga but started liking the lcd and kb on the iBook so much that I only plug in my mouse, and sometimes I don't even do that. Keep in mind that if you do want to plug in an external monitor to an iBook the resolution will only be 1024x768.
     

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