Windows user wondering which mac to buy.

Discussion in 'Buying Tips and Advice' started by Zedsdead185, Sep 14, 2006.

  1. Zedsdead185 macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Sep 14, 2006
    Location:
    UK
    #1
    Hi, as the title shows I am currently a windows xp user wishing to buy an applemac of some sort. but the problem is, i don't know which one.:confused: Having never had any experience with an apple mac (unless you include my video ipod), I am stumped on which will suit my needs the best.
    At the moments its between a 20 inch iMac or a 2Ghz MacBook.

    I'd be using it for 2d imaging in photoshop using my intuos3 wacom graphics pad, For my ipod and itunes, the majority of the iLife package for the web and possibly a bit of gaming.
    The imac interested me because it would be a bit more powerful, and the macbook because it was portable and i could use it when i go to uni/college in a years time.
    Please, could anyone give me some suggestions?
     
  2. iBookG4user macrumors 604

    iBookG4user

    Joined:
    Jun 27, 2006
    Location:
    Seattle, WA
    #2
    what kind of gaming? Because the macbook has integrated graphics which is bad for gaming.
     
  3. Queso macrumors G4

    Joined:
    Mar 4, 2006
    #3
    Only the cheapest 17" iMac has integrated graphics. The 20" has a built in X1600 card.

    If I were you I'd go for the iMac. Although not as portable as a MacBook, the Core2Duo processor, X1600 graphics card, larger hard disk, greater maximum RAM limit and dual-layer DVD burner give it more power for your needs. However, be aware that the Mac version of Photoshop is not yet Universal Binary, so running it on any Intel Mac must be done via the Rosetta code-translator. Although this is automatic, it does result in a considerable slowdown in performance (roughly 50%). Adobe are stating sometime in 2007 for the next Photoshop version, which will run at native speed on Intel Macs.
     
  4. Zedsdead185 thread starter macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Sep 14, 2006
    Location:
    UK
    #4
    Yeah, I've heard about this photoshop binary thing. I'll probably wait til after christmas closer to the release date of cs3 before buying a mac. Then again, i may wait a bit longer for leopard to come out as well.
    As for the gaming, I was only thinking of old stuff powered through bootcamp, such as age of empires and stuff. Nothing really new anyway. I was also told maxing out the ram improves the graphics capability on the macbook due to its integrated gpu. Would this help?
     
  5. dmw007 macrumors G4

    dmw007

    Joined:
    May 26, 2005
    Location:
    Working for MI-6
    #5
    More RAM would help the MacBook to a point- but it will still be stuck using integrated graphics. :eek:


    For your needs, I think that you would be happier with a 20" iMac Zedsdead185. :)
     
  6. miles01110 macrumors Core

    miles01110

    Joined:
    Jul 24, 2006
    Location:
    The Ivory Tower (I'm not coming down)
    #6
    Yeah, go for the iMac. You'll love it. I used my lamp-style iMac for 2 years in college and didn't miss the portability at all....it was actually kind of nice to be able to get away from a computer...
     
  7. Zedsdead185 thread starter macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Sep 14, 2006
    Location:
    UK
    #7
    thanks for the help. I must admit, at first i was thinking of the macbook, but now i've been completely swayed towards the 20" iMac. If I was to get a 20" iMac would it be worth the extra dough to upgrade it from 2.16Ghz to 2.33Ghz , and 1Gb to 2Gb. Or is it good enough as it is?
     
  8. Queso macrumors G4

    Joined:
    Mar 4, 2006
    #8
    I wouldn't worry about the extra bit of processor speed, but definitely get plenty of RAM. OSX really flies if you give it the memory to work in.
     
  9. nplima macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Apr 26, 2006
    Location:
    UK
    #9
    Hi,


    If you're looking for a lot of computing and only a bit of gaming, why don't you go to Ebay, find a used Mac with a G4 or G5 processor (so you run your Adobe software the way it was meant to) and then add a proper games console to your living room?

    It's kind of pointless to buy a 2x faster CPU to run at 50% speed due to emulation, isn't it? :)

    NL

    [Powermac G4 running Ubuntu 6.06
    [Powerbook G4 running OS X Panther
    [Nintendo Gamecube running.... Pikmin :D
     
  10. miles01110 macrumors Core

    miles01110

    Joined:
    Jul 24, 2006
    Location:
    The Ivory Tower (I'm not coming down)
    #10
    Because UB apps and games are coming out at an ever-increasing rate these days.

    I wouldn't bother upgrading the processor speed, but I would definitely order some RAM off of newegg or something to stick in as soon as I got it. Like....even before your iMac arrives at your house (assuming you are having it shipped). For my MBP I got a 1 GB stick for a total of 1.5 GB- OS X runs very fast on it.
     
  11. dmw007 macrumors G4

    dmw007

    Joined:
    May 26, 2005
    Location:
    Working for MI-6
    #11

    Definitely go for the 2GB of RAM, the 2.33GHz Core 2 Duo processor upgrade is not as important as the RAM. Personally, I would go for it- but you should be fine with the stock 2.16GHz Core 2 Duo. :)


    Also, you can upgrade the VRAM on the ATI X1600 up to 256MB for $68- this will help make the iMac a tad speedier for playing games. :)
     
  12. Queso macrumors G4

    Joined:
    Mar 4, 2006
    #12
    But the Rosetta performance hit won't be permanent. So when Photoshop comes out in UB version, instant doubling of speed :)
     
  13. dmw007 macrumors G4

    dmw007

    Joined:
    May 26, 2005
    Location:
    Working for MI-6
    #13
    How sweet that will be! :D
     
  14. Jiddick ExRex macrumors 65816

    Jiddick ExRex

    Joined:
    May 14, 2006
    Location:
    Roskilde, DK
    #14
    How much difference in performance does it really have upgrading from 128 to 256 VRAM? Games and non-games? I do use a loooooooot of apps when I work, but that really doesn't affect VRAM does it?
     
  15. Fotograffiti macrumors member

    Joined:
    Aug 13, 2006
    Location:
    Wisconsin
    #15
    I would defintely go for the 20" iMac. You wouldn't need to spend the extra on the small bit of extra processor power as it is pretty expensive, but the RAM is a good idea to go ahead and boost to 2 GB. Make sure and upgrade the graphics as well for an extra $75. It is well worth the money for the extra VRAM.
     
  16. ckeck macrumors 6502a

    ckeck

    Joined:
    Jul 29, 2005
    Location:
    Texas
    #16
    I would personally go with the Macbook, because you simply can't beat the utter portability of the machine. You may not have any particular needs for a portable device, but after you use one out and about a few times, you will wonder how you did without it.

    And to run older games like Age of Empires and MANY others...the graphics card on the iMac won't make any different then the built-in video card in the Macbook. Just upgrade to at least 1GB of RAM.

    For compairson, I can run Age of Empires on an old Windows 95 machine using a cheap ass Trident powered PCI video card...which I did long ago...the integrated graphics card is SIGNIFICANTLY more powerful. This goes for most games of that era, and many beyond.

    The only thing that would concern me is the screen size when editing pictures, but the screen size of a Macbook really isn't bad. Besides, you always have the option of saving a few more $$ and just getting a MBP.

    And the last time I checked, Photoshop was a bit slower being translated through Rosetta, but not 50%...did I miss something or was this figure "made up"?
     
  17. Fotograffiti macrumors member

    Joined:
    Aug 13, 2006
    Location:
    Wisconsin
    #17
    Running alot of apps won't really be where you'll see an advantage of having more VRAM. If you decide to play games though it would be nice to have. I can play F.E.A.R. on the windows side of my iMac on about medium settings with 128 MB VRAM but it would run much better with 256MB. I would have definitely gotten the extra myself but when I went to buy one my local Apple dealer only had one with 128 and I was determined to get one that day. *L* I am perfectly happy with the performance of mine but given the chance to go back and spend an extra $75. for the upgrade, I definitely would. Also between the 2 machines (iMac and Macbook) the iMac seems to have had a lot fewer issues and complaints. Maybe the kinks are getting worked out of the Macbooks but the iMac has been more stable and problem free since launch. (and you are a lot less likely to get an iMac stolen or lost)
     
  18. ckeck macrumors 6502a

    ckeck

    Joined:
    Jul 29, 2005
    Location:
    Texas
    #18
    2D applications...99.9% of the time, no.
     
  19. FFTT macrumors 68030

    FFTT

    Joined:
    Apr 17, 2004
    Location:
    A Stoned Throw From Ground Zero
    #19
    I just asked my graphics pro advisor.

    The extra 256MB VRAM won't make that much difference for your Wacom tablet, but will boost performance considerably in Photoshop.
    Rendering large files takes VRAM.
    Since games are getting more and more GPU dependant the 256MB upgrade is
    just future proofing your system a bit more.

    I also agree that 2 GB RAM is the minimum if you're running any Adobe Pro apps.
    Apple's price for the additional RAM is not that far off from street price, so
    I'd go ahead and order it included.

    If you or a family member qualify for the education of government sales discounts, that will save you enough to upgrade a bit.

    A MacBook would be fine for light work and presentations, but you'll want the performance of a desktop if you're using Photoshop on a regular basis.
     
  20. Am3822 macrumors 6502

    Am3822

    Joined:
    Aug 16, 2006
    Location:
    Groningen, The Netherlands
    #20
    FFTT,

    How noticeable is the difference when not dealing with graphical applications? I won't be using any adobe products, but I will be doing a fair amount of scientific plotting (matlab/mathematica) in 2d and 3d.
     
  21. FFTT macrumors 68030

    FFTT

    Joined:
    Apr 17, 2004
    Location:
    A Stoned Throw From Ground Zero
    #21
    If you are rendering large graphics content, it's a good idea to upgrade the VRAM.

    The upgrade is so reasonable and you can't change your mind later, unless you buy
    the 24"
     
  22. Am3822 macrumors 6502

    Am3822

    Joined:
    Aug 16, 2006
    Location:
    Groningen, The Netherlands
    #22
    I think I should've mentioned that I am after the mbp, rather than the imac (meaning that once I've made my choice, I cannot upgrade). I won't be doing any significant graphical rendering other than the odd surface plot.

    At present I'm thinking that it would be better to have more ram than more vram. Supposing that I will go for the 128 option, how will this affect the performance of the system itself (expose etc.)?
     
  23. FFTT macrumors 68030

    FFTT

    Joined:
    Apr 17, 2004
    Location:
    A Stoned Throw From Ground Zero
    #23
    If you are buying extra RAM for a MacBook Pro, you're better off at Datamen.com or OWC. (macsales.com)

    Apple charges a tremendous price for their notebook RAM upgrades.

    That savings should give you more than enough room for the 256MB VRAM upgrade.
     
  24. Boxer macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Jun 28, 2006
    Location:
    Overland Park Kansas
    #24
    I think no matter what choice you make you will be happy with it. I switched a month ago and it was the best thing I have done yet. I went with the MBP maxed out. It would depend on your budget. These machines vary in price tremendously. I would say if you dont need mobility then the iMac might be a good start. Its a great computer, compact, powerfull, and it looks amazing. If you travel or need it to me mobile then I would go with the MBP.

    If price is not a factor. Then its easy. Get the Mac Pro.

    What ever you chose I say the most important decision is RAM. You need lots of it. And dont buy it from Apple. Buy it from somewhere online like Newegg, or Datamem.
     
  25. roland.g macrumors 603

    roland.g

    Joined:
    Apr 11, 2005
    Location:
    One mile up and soaring
    #25
    Hey, FFTT and dmw007 thanks for all your advice in my thread. I decided to get the 20" Core 2 Duo. Knowing that I plan on selling it next spring, do you think it is worth it to get the 2GB RAM as far as resale goes. It's an extra $158. Normally I go for more RAM, just thought I might stick with the stock 1GB since I plan on selling it. Just didn't know if it will be more or less attractive on eBay with the extra RAM and will I get a good portion of that $$ back.
     

Share This Page