Another "My First Mac" post...

Discussion in 'iMac' started by smilinmonki666, Jan 20, 2008.

  1. smilinmonki666 macrumors regular

    Jan 20, 2008
    I'm almost ready to buy my first iMac and I'm trying to figure out if its worth spending the extra money.

    I've been a Windows user since I was 15'ish with Win'98, before that a novice user with the Amiga workbench and for the past year I've been using and teaching my self Linux and playing around on my dads iMac.

    My main attraction to a Mac is that its based around Unix, so its reliable, secure and doesn't attract spyware and the alike. I will only use it for a Home movie editing, home financing, my large music library (iTunes), web design, emails, web surfing and the odd bit of gaming. I'm happy with the way everthing is laid out on the Mac OS and its functionabilty but I'm stuck with a choice.

    This is whether or not to go for an iMac with the 2.4GHz, 20" screen and 4Gb Ram and an external HDD for my media library; this way everything is clean and tidy in two boxes...

    or to go for a a Mac Pro. Although its more expensive; I like the option to upgrade as I can afford and need it... I mean, I'm not creating massive HD Movies but will buying a HD Camcorder in the next year or so, plus an SLR Camera. So do I get a two 2.8GHz quad core processor Mac Pro and two HDD's one at 320GB and another at 1TB, both intergrated and faster than an external drive on the iMac and then as time goes by upgrade the graphics card, the Ram and add more drives as I go?

    But then, is it worth the extra money? Obviously, yes its going to be faster but for what I want it for, is there much point. I'm trying to be sensible though, I don't want to spend money I don't really need too. But, eventually when me and my girlfriend get a house, it will be networked with an apple TV in the living room and kitchen and then we'll both have a Mac Book each so there will be a network and if Microsoft allow for the play back of the Apple Lossless music on the xBox 360 then that will be another client streaming music.

    Any help is appreciated, I'm very struck on the Mac Pro option but feel that I am buying something I don't need...

  2. fluidedge macrumors 65816


    Nov 1, 2007
    well, i'd go for the imac personally. 2.4Ghz and 320GB HDD and buy a terabyte external.

    Whatever you do though, do not buy RAM from Apple - get it from crucial or there are other places even cheaper if you can find them.
  3. Cuban///M3 macrumors newbie

    Sep 13, 2007
    I have a lot of music and pictures so I the 500gb. It already at 100gb left so if you dont like to deal with external harddrives dont get the 320gb especially with all the extensive work that needs to be done on the iMac to replace the harddrive
  4. xXriderXx7 macrumors 6502a


    Jul 6, 2007
    Lake Elsinore, California
    I think for your needs, a Mac Pro would be overkill.

    An iMac is fully capable of all the things you described you would be doing. The only real reason you might go to the Mac Pro, is the ability to upgrade. But really, and iMac is perfect. 4GB of RAM is plenty, and the supplied video card is also sufficient.

    Go with the iMac, at the cost of the ability to upgrade, you get an extremely beautiful machine with a monitor included.
  5. smilinmonki666 thread starter macrumors regular

    Jan 20, 2008
    Thank you for your help peeps, I thought that would be everyones answer's. My other questions would be security. I'm a bit of an overkill on this subject. I will eventually be running my network on a BT Home Hub, due to the BT Vision needing it, then an Mini Mac running Linux and IPCop hooked up to the Home Hub, then the Apple Time Capsule as my wireless router, like I said, seems alot but you can never be too sure with security. Even our Ministry of Defence and government can't get that right just yet!? :rolleyes: Any other suggestions would be welcome.

    I'm looking for a Finance program like Microsoft Money really. Any suggestions there?

  6. fluidedge macrumors 65816


    Nov 1, 2007
    there is a good 'MSmoney' type app called 'cha ching' or something in the $49 bundle offered at the top of this page. The MacHeistII package has this and many other good apps (a password one too if you are obsessed with security!) and helps out this site financially!
  7. caeneal macrumors member

    Aug 20, 2007

    One comment about upgrading: Think about the life of the product, and not just the up-front cost.

    I have an imac G5 that I purchased 4 years ago. The hard-drive is full, and a 260GB external drive is also full. The 64MB VRAM video-card is unable to even cope well with World of Warcraft, much less anything newer. And the future isn't all that bright for the system.

    Now, 4 years is good for the life of a computer, but with an upgradeable hard-drive, and a new video-card, I could milk another 2 years, maybe.

    I'm about to get a new "main" system myself (I also have a portable), and I'm asking myself the same question as you: imac or mac pro? And I've come to the conclusion that I need to either commit to upgrading my imac every 3 years, or go with a mac pro and hopefully make a 5-6 year investment.

    For me, given the way that my storage needs are expanding exponentially, I'm going with the system with 4 drive-bays. This doesn't mean you should: and I could still be convinced to get the cheapest imac now and get the cheapest imac in 2012...but I think I'll see how long a mac pro will last.
  8. smilinmonki666 thread starter macrumors regular

    Jan 20, 2008
    I see what you mean, and they are the exact issues I've been having. My main issue is that the iMac is just a glorified laptop in a sense. & being a pc user, upgradability is a nice touch. But its whether I would upgrade, I mean its a unix system so it shouldn't slow down as compared to my pc which I have to format every other month, even though its behind 2 firewalls; 1 being the home hub and the other being Norton...

    I think when I can afford it once I've completed my course & got a decent job in IT, then I will get a high end machine & spoil myself. ;oP until then, its now having to choose between the top 20" or the top 24" iMac. So I think I can put up with an iMac for a few years.
  9. brop52 macrumors 68000


    Feb 26, 2007
    Get the 2.4 GHz 20" iMac. It has strong specs for the price and will be good for a while. Just get the 500 GB HDD and buy your own RAM. Go on OWC and send your 1 GB chip for a rebate if you'd like.

    Plus, if you are worrying about taking it apart you shouldn't as once your applecare is up just crack open the case and upgrade the HDD. Either that or don't get applecare at all and do it after your year is up.
  10. smilinmonki666 thread starter macrumors regular

    Jan 20, 2008
    thank you again. Can I just ask why everyone is so against the RAM that comes with the iMac? Is it not very good or can you just get better RAM that's noticable?
  11. brop52 macrumors 68000


    Feb 26, 2007
    It's not necessarily quality as most of them you buy are often the same chip (depends who made the chip apple uses in your computer). It is more about saving hundreds of dollars on the overpriced apple BTO RAM. I have 2 GB RAM so 1 is from apple and 1 is from OWC or crucial. I forgot which I bought from. Both are good. OWC just gives you a small rebate if you send in your RAM to them when buying more RAM.
  12. smilinmonki666 thread starter macrumors regular

    Jan 20, 2008
    Ok, so I've been thinking more about this. Here's the 2 spec's i've been looking at:

    # 2.8GHz Intel Core 2 Extreme
    # 2GB 667MHz DDR2 SDRAM - 2x1GB
    # 500GB Serial ATA Drive
    # SuperDrive 8x (DVD±R DL/DVD±RW/CD-RW)
    # Apple Wireless Mighty Mouse
    # Wireless keyboard (English) + Mac OS X (English)
    # ATI Radeon HD 2600 PRO with 256MB memory
    # 24-inch glossy widescreen LCD
    # AirPort Extreme
    # Bluetooth 2.0 + EDR

    Price: £1,492.99


    * Two 2.8GHz Quad-Core Intel Xeon
    * 2GB (2x1GB)
    * ATI Radeon HD 2600 XT 256MB GDDR3
    * 320GB 7200-rpm Serial ATA 3Gb/s
    * One 16x SuperDrive
    * AirPort Extreme Card (Wi-Fi)
    * Apple Wireless Mighty Mouse
    * Apple Wireless Keyboard & Mac OS
    * Apple Cinema HD Display (23" flat panel)
    * Five USB ports
    * Two FireWire 400 ports
    * Two FireWire 800 ports

    Price: £2,411.99

    A price difference of nealry £1,000. There's reasons I'm going looking between the 2 different spec's on 2 different machines, but not sure if i'm looking at it in the right way.

    The 1st reason is that I alot of storage space. Photo's/ films/ music & other stuff. But I'm not sure what would be better. I know that the iMac has a FW800 port on the back & i could use a FW800 HDD & daisy chain them as I add storage. But, with my experience on my dad's iMac, it seems to take longer to load a large library, granted he does have some 30,000 songs on there but I'm thinking with the MacPro I can add 3 additinal HDD as & when needed, starting off with the HDD's I already have then as higher TB HDD's become available I can add them as I need them. This way, loading times should be better with the bigger bandwidth with internal drives???

    The second reason is upgradability. On the MacPro, I have the option to upgrade to 32Gb (8x4Gb) RAM/ The graphics card(s)/ optical drive(s) and the processor if I need to? I can also upgrade monitors if need be or add another monitor?

    The only thing is, is it worth the extra £1,00. All I use it for is video editing, add music, converting video/ audio formats, photo editing, a bit of Web Design & daily task's such as web browsing/ email and documentation? I know I will be more than happy with the iMac but my problem is also that the iMac use's laptop parts from what I can tell so it worries me a little as I do prefer desktop machines more than laptops to do most of the things I need to do, or are the iMacs configured to act like a desktop & not a laptop?

    Any advice, hints or tips are much needed. I'm not buying straight away, but trying to be clever & not wanting to make a choice without my research only to regret it later down the road.


  13. Spievy macrumors regular

    Dec 24, 2002
    I am probably going to get flack for this but..

    Why have you not considered a Mac Mini.

    1: You probably already have a monitor (from your PC)
    2: 2.0GHZ c2d is $799 us (cheaper refurbished)
    3. Load it with RAM (non-apple) an get an external FireWire 1TB HD
    4: when you and you girlfriend get a house use the Mac Mini as the media center instead of an Apple TV (much more possibilities w/macmini)
    5: get a imac or mac pro when you use your mac mini as your media center.
    6: this mac mini set up will be around $1000 US

    The bad news is the video card. But you are looking at smaller exposure (cash) upfront and you would be thinking of the future.:)
  14. czachorski macrumors 6502a


    Sep 24, 2007
    Smili, I was in exactly the same boat as you 5 years ago when I switched, and I went with the PowerMac then, not the iMac. The iMac in 2002 just did not measure up to the dual processor expandability of the PowerMac and the price difference was not bad. I just upgraded last fall, and went with the iMac. A lot has changed in 5 years. The price difference has grown, and the iMac capabilities have grown. The iMac handles full HD video editing with no problems - performing all the rendering in real time. It is fast and the only thing I can ever see upgrading is more HD space, which I plan to do externally with the FW800.

    Additionally, the Mac Pro is more expensive than you are representing with the up-front costs. Upgrades for the Mac Pro for things like RAM and the internal HDs are a lot more expensive. Add in a graphics card cost if 3-4 years, plus the initial difference in cost of £1,000, and my bet is that if you got an iMac now and another brand new one in 4 years, it would be less costly than an Mac Pro now with upgrades. Not to mention, the re-sale value of the iMac in 4 years. A £1,400 iMac a 4 years old will probably still sell for £200 - £400.

    If it is about cost, I believe that the total cost of ownership is actually not that different, if not actually cheaper on the iMac.

    If it is about performance, an iMac will smoke and meet all of the needs you have described and more, for years to come.

    When I faced the same exact decision last October, I went through almost these exact thought processes - you are asking the right questions. In the end, I opted for the iMac and have been thrilled. Not to mention, it has a gorgeous screen and a beautiful form factor.

    Good luck!
  15. smilinmonki666 thread starter macrumors regular

    Jan 20, 2008
    I was thinking of that last year, & it would work out cheaper, but my monitor is small with a res of only 1280x1024 & I always have a lot of apps open at one time. Although it would be a good idea for a "now" machine, I'm not sure about it. The :apple:TV seems a better idea as it will do what its needed for.
  16. smilinmonki666 thread starter macrumors regular

    Jan 20, 2008
    I really am thinking & swayed towards the iMac 2.8Ghz machine as my dads is the 2.16Ghz with 1Gb RAM & works well.

    Its nice to know that someone else in the same boat as me. So cheers for help guys.
  17. czachorski macrumors 6502a


    Sep 24, 2007
    If you order the 2.4 Ghz 24" config, it come with 1 GB of RAM, and then upgrade the processor to 2.8 Ghz, you can grab a 4GB kit of OWC ram for around $100. That will save you the most on Apple RAM, and is a pretty nice way to end up with a smokin fast iMac.

    The 24" screen is amazing. It is so nice for HD video editing, or working with photos to have plenty of room to spread out on the 1900 x 1200 res.
  18. smilinmonki666 thread starter macrumors regular

    Jan 20, 2008
    I'm thinking to just go & use the 4Gb RAM from, just for the ease as I really can't be bothered to take my iMac apart & put new RAM inside the machine. i've seen guides but it just seems too much hassle???
  19. Tallest Skil macrumors P6

    Tallest Skil

    Aug 13, 2006
    1 Geostationary Tower Plaza
    You can't be bothered to unscrew one screw? You'd be willing to pay $900 extra just to not have to pick up a screwdriver?
  20. brop52 macrumors 68000


    Feb 26, 2007
    Buy the RAM separately. Find some college student off the street or someone you are related to to put the things in and give them 5 bucks. It will take 5 minutes from start to finish maximum.
  21. memo90061 macrumors 6502

    Jan 2, 2008
    Los Angeles, CA
    i still dont have a mac computer but im really tempted to buy an imac now but i decided im going to wait til may to see if a new one comes out. if a new imac doesnt come out by may ill buy the imac in may. ive been reading a lot about the imac here on these forums and i cant wait to buy one myself :D i will also be using it for web design, music, and pictures.

    im thinking about getting the 20" with 1gb and 500 hard drive. i dont know if i should get 750 because i download a lot of music videos in dvd quality so each is 200mb. i plan on upgrading from 1gb to 4gb of ram from why buy 4gb of ram from apple for 850 dollars when i could get it for 100 dollars!

    thats my plan :D
  22. jap652 macrumors newbie

    Sep 30, 2006
    BT's Home hub has a major security flaw as it uses WEP for its router's encryption!
  23. puckhead193 macrumors G3


    May 25, 2004
    i wish apple made a mac pro mini- same power with only 2 HDDs slots and 1 super drive and maybe half the amount of RAM fully loaded
    edit - and of course shrink the case
  24. catfish743 macrumors 6502


    Sep 12, 2007
    I would buy the iMac. That's what I did and i plan on buying a macbook soon for portability. I think the iMac beats the mac pro in speed and power hands down if you want it to. But do you what you think will satisfy your needs.
  25. skwij macrumors 6502

    Apr 10, 2006
    Belleville, ON, Canada
    Ditto, upgrade the processor on the lower-spec machine, and go with aftermarket RAM. Saves a bundle!

    And also, installing RAM on these is dead easy. A tiny screwdriver, a cloth to lay the monitor face down onto (for protection) and literally 3 minutes of your time. Definately worth it.

    No, I don't have one, but I've done RAM upgrades on 2 of them and each time it was dead easy.

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