All-in-One: Bad Longterm Choice?

RJP31484

macrumors regular
Apr 19, 2005
184
0
Philadelphia, PA
bobert1985 said:
Okay, I made the decision to buy myself a desktop machine, since when on campus I can just check out a laptop if and when I need it. I get more computer power choice this way. However, when discussing the issue with my mom, she advised me not to get an all-in-one machine, like the eMac or iMac, because if the monitor or some part goes bad, you can't replace it, and if you can, it would be way too expensive. She suggested I get a low-end PowerMac G5 instead (not the Mac Mini--I need the better video and faster other stuff). Is this thinking wrong? If the monitor or what else did go bad in an all-in-one machine, does it become a paper weight? Does repairing cost waaay too much?
Essentially, yes, If the screen goes bad in an all-in-one it is totalled. However, modern-day screens do not just "go bad" very easily. You should be able to fully expect the screen to last the life of the machine regardless of the amount of use. There are other components that would wear out sooner, and even if everything else was peachy, the machine would be grossly obselete by the time the lamp did burn out.

Additionally, the screen-spanning hack is a pretty stable and seamless hack. Even if a screen did poop out on you, you could still use an external monitor. Even though it does split your vRAM in half, if the built-in screen is out of order it should give the poer to the external one.
 

CanadaRAM

macrumors G5
Hmmm.. Mom is essentially correct, there is added risk with an all in one. But, the iMac G5 is an incredibly good value for the computing power and the screen. You'll pay lots more to rig a G5 tower with a comparable screen.
If you are planning to buy 3 years worth of Applecare, it doesn't matter as much because it's only at day 1096 that you have to start worrying.

However: If Mom is paying (or helping pay) the difference in cost, go for the G5 tower for sure. You can also make the choice whether you go with an Apple monitor or another brand.
 

Eluon

macrumors regular
Apr 14, 2005
216
0
Spring, Texas
Good Question

Mom is right because you can upgrade the Power Mac G5... but I have an iMac G5 and I love it. I wouldn't have any other system because I go to college as well and it sure is a nice space saver. I use it for video editing and do heavy amounts of photoshop work too. It is great!

I also got apple care so I won't have to worry about any problems with it - I'll just send it in.

If expandability is what you want, go for the power mac. If you want a great college computer with tons of power and great looks, go for the iMac.
 

solvs

macrumors 603
Jun 25, 2002
5,684
1
LaLaLand, CA
The screens usually don't go bad before the computer itself does, or just gets too slow or too old. The main reason to go for an all-in-one is price. They're easier for some people too, and cleaner as far as wiring is concerned. But if you can afford a PowerMac and a nice screen, and you have the room, it's going to be your best option. More RAM, hard drives, upgradable video card, etc. If you aren't ever going to upgrade those things and need to get a monitor anyway, the i/eMacs are your best options.

I thought about the iMac myself, but I'd rather have a lowend PowerMac. Money's in hand Apple. Any day now.
 

MacHarne

macrumors 6502
Mar 3, 2005
321
0
Virginia, U.S.A.
In my mind, an iMac is an ample machine for the few years of college. "Long-term", to me, brings to mind people overclocking their Cubes and maxing out every feature they can - a kind of tireless courage to remain with their original hardware. The current iMac should be a fantastic investment in lasting four or five years.
RJP31484 said:
You should be able to fully expect the screen to last the life of the machine regardless of the amount of use.
And I totally agree. LCD manufacturing has become much more reliable in recent years and Apple is certainly no exception. The only reason I would recommend going with a PowerMac is if you A.) already have a nice LCD or B.) could truly benefit from the performance increase. Had I the money for a desktop right now, a 20" iMac G5 would be my choice.
 

joecool85

macrumors 65816
Mar 9, 2005
1,355
1
Maine
Just because I like the PowerMac more than the iMac (and I'm getting one) I will say get the PM. Seriously, unless you need the mindblowing power of the PM, don't bother, get the iMac. It is a really capable machine, I've use many of them and love them. Quite frankly I would have bought one if it wasn't for the fact I already have a nice screen and I want upgradeability(sp?) in the future.
 

AstrosFan

macrumors 6502
Jul 26, 2005
334
0
Another vote for the iMac.
I think right now, it's one of the best bang-for-your-buck machines that Apple puts out there.
Beautiful screen and nice form factor.
Get the 20" and add 1GB of third-party RAM (numerous threads around on what type) at some point in the future.

Good luck!
 

iGary

Guest
May 26, 2004
19,581
2
Randy's House
bobert1985 said:
Well, I tend to use my computers until I am forced for an upgrade. Before I got my generic Windows 98 Celeron 400mhz 328mb ram computer around 1999 (which I am using right now), I had an old 486 Packard Bell, which was well used at its time. So I might end up going farther than 4-5 years with my next machine.



Mom is helping pay, thankfully, but only for the laser printer and taxes. I pay for the rest and only have $2000 myself. In fact, I'll probably have to use my current 17in. CRT monitor for a little while, until I can afford a good ol' cheap LCD. This is if I go the PowerMac route. (Couldn't I get a super nice CRT for cheap that could take advantage of the video card? :confused: )



In addition to the basics (writing papers and stories, email, Internet, voice recording, building a website of sorts, downloading and listening to music, etc.), I would also do my extensive project of digitizing all the family photos and videos for preservation and eventual export to DVD.

I still like the PowerMac because I can upgrade the video card and just about most other things. However, I question that I would ever change anything besides the harddrive and ram, since I am not a gamer and don't change my video card monthly. Also, I would have to buy a microphone (voice recording is a must), better speakers, monitor, etc. Yeah, that iMac is starting to look better and better. Shame you can't keep extending that warranty forever! ;)

$2,000 budget?

Get the iMac, no question.
 

Chaszmyr

macrumors 601
Aug 9, 2002
4,267
85
You have to ask yourself what is important to you. A low-end PowerMac is definitely a more powerful machine and probably a better investment than an iMac. However, what do you want more? More power is always nice to have, but so is a 20'' LCD screen on an iMac. If I were you, I'd probably get a 20'' iMac, and remember you're probably going to want 1gb of RAM no matter what you get. Don't be sold by the "PowerMac is upgradeable" bit, because the only thing you would ever be likely to upgrade is the RAM, and the iMac can hold plenty of RAM for you. G5 PowerMacs do not have upgradeable processors, video cards are very expensive to upgrade and you're on a budget, and anything you would put into a PCI slot has an external equivalent.
 

iGary

Guest
May 26, 2004
19,581
2
Randy's House
• 1GB DDR400 SDRAM (PC3200) - 2x512
• Dual 2GHz PowerPC G5
• 250GB Serial ATA - 7200rpm
• ATI Radeon 9650 w/256MB DDR SDRAM
• 16x SuperDrive double-layer (DVD+R DL/DVD±RW/CD-RW)
• Apple Keyboard & Apple Mouse - U.S. English
• Mac OS X - U.S. English

I bet you can talk your mom into a loan for a display from Dell.
 

jaysmith

macrumors regular
Aug 13, 2005
157
0
also troubled

i'm in the exact same situation, either a low end pm(1.6/1.8/dual 1.8) and 2 apple studio displays (fairly cheap, no exact price yet)

or

Imac 2.0ghz, 17"/20", if i get the 20 i'd sell my 17" lg flat panel.

i'd love a 17" imac, but i'm quite superficial and couldn't have some random monitor with a different resolution sitting next to a pretty imac. they do seem great for the price (plus a free ipod mini), but a powermac will give that extra bit. plus if i get 2 studio displays for around $6-700cdn, and a lowend powermac for around 16-1800cdn, it will be roughly around the price of an imac. i don't know. powermacs look better. i'm using an ibook as a desktop so anything will be an improvement.
 

solvs

macrumors 603
Jun 25, 2002
5,684
1
LaLaLand, CA
If you qualify for the education discount, I'd buy a nice 20" iMac with a printer or printer/scanner that qualifies for the $100 rebate. Use the savings to buy some extra third party RAM, AppleCare, and a video-out cable to run dual displays with the hack. All of which can be purchased later if cost is still an issue. That will do everything you need it to for quite some time, and the video card is pretty nice as is.

Or go with a refurbished PowerMac. Either way. Sometimes they sell the refurbs at the Apple Stores. I've seen dual 2's for $1799.
 

skubish

macrumors 68030
Feb 2, 2005
2,663
0
Ann Arbor, Michigan
I though everything in the iMac is user replaceable? Screen, logic board, drives and memory. Just get Applecare and you should be set with the iMac but your mom is right you will probably have more longevity and flexibility with a PowerMac.

That being said the iMac is such a good deal right now I think I would go for that.
 

chipz

macrumors member
May 4, 2005
49
0
Voorhees, NJ
All-in-One: Bad Longterm Choice?

The iMac is a great computer! I have a rev A 17: iMac with the 80 GB HD and 512 MB RAM and I love it. I've had it since last November and it has done everything I ask of it. I also believe that the LCD screen is user replaceable.
 

lopresmb

macrumors 6502
Apr 29, 2005
289
0
couple of thoughts

1) get applecare - its definantly worth the investment, an will ensure you don't have a paperweight for at least three years.

2) Yes, upgrading the powermac is a viable excuse for getting one. But remember this, mac upgrade parts are a rare commodity years down the road, with the exception of RAM and Hard Drive, its really pricey. I've looked at upgrading an old powermac with a new processor and video card - and its more economical just to get a new one. Yeah the ability to upgrade is nice, but unless you plan on majoring or working in something that requires upgrades on a reg. basis, upgrading a PM is expensive.

--my reccomend - get the iMac, and then get a new machine in 5 years, when you would really want to "upgrade" the powermac.


EDIT : the only problem I can thinkof is the fact that when the life of the computer is worn out, you will have a really nice 17" or 20" monitor that you won't be able to use anymore. (I don't know about anyone else, but If I buy a 20" monitor I'd like to be able to use it till it dies.....)
 
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