Basic iMac...

Discussion in 'Buying Tips and Advice' started by GoKyu, Feb 21, 2007.

  1. GoKyu macrumors 65816


    Feb 15, 2007
    New Orleans
    Hi all, thanks for all the replies to my initial "first time Mac buyer" thread - I got a lot of great replies and lots of really good info to help me narrow down what I want to be a Mac Pro.

    Now that my mom knows I'm planning to buy one, she's thinking of getting one as well - she's tired of all the spyware and anti-virus software always asking her to make decisions when it comes to updating the software (she thinks she shouldn't have to even think about doing I do it for her.)

    So with Macs essentially virus-free (what about spyware though?), I think she'd be happy with a basic iMac. Being a member of the NAPP, I can get a small discount buying through the Apple store, and I had a few questions for you all:

    My mom's computer habits are very basic - she literally does the occasional word processing, a pretty good amount of web browsing, and email, and that's literally about all she uses her computer for.

    With these habits in mind, do you think 512 megs of RAM would be enough for her, or would 1 gig (which is what I recommended) basically assure that she'd never need to upgrade her memory again? Would 512 megs make the system run sluggishly, even though she only has open maybe 2 apps at any one time? (She likes Firefox on the PC, so that's what I'd reinstall for her on the mac so she'd have something she's familiar with using.)

    Also, I added the AppleCare to her fictitious order (for an additional $149) - what do you all think of Apple's extended warranty service? (I'm considering getting this for my Mac Pro as well, so I'd like to hear opinions about this myself...)

    With the Applecare and 1 gig upgrade, it still all comes out to about $1,159, which is much more expensive than an equivalent PC, but I'm thinking this system would probably last her for 5-8 years pretty easily, so that's not really a bad price. (The base price with no options comes out to $939, so I figure the extra bit really is a good value.)

    Thanks again for all the great replies so far - I really hope to buy my new Mac sometime in the next 4-6 months (especially if the price drops a bit after that new Mac Pro comes out), and she would probably buy one not much longer after I get mine.

  2. Erasmus macrumors 68030


    Jun 22, 2006
    Hiding from Omnius in Australia
    If you're gonna wait 4-6 months, wait until Juneish, for Santa Rosa. Possibility that Apple will put a better CPU in, but for your Mum, that's a bit redundant it seems.

    The 512 would probably be fine, but 1 GB would be preferrable, and would enable your Mum to do some more intensive stuff in the future. It's not very expensive, so I would say just put in a gig.

    Spyware and viruses are similar, as in programs that load on your computer without you knowing. OSX will not allow you to install programs on your computer without you realising it. It will tell you if you are about to install an application, and if the application has the potential to do bad things to your computer, ie. has access to system stuff, or will install bits in your system folder, OSX will ask for your password. If you open a document that wants to be opened in an application that has never been run before on your computer, OSX will tell you.

    Then there is the fact that I would almost say that no spyware exists for OSX, but instead I will settle with saying you will never have a virus, or spyware if you buy a mac.

    Applecare is always good, especially as it is so cheap. It will give you three years of on-site hardware repairs, and three years of free telephone help. Hopefully you will never need it, but just in case you do, it's really good to have. The cost of a new component and its installation after the default warranty of 1 year runs out will be much much more than the cost of Applecare.

    I believe if you don't buy it, after a year, when the default warranty expires, you have the option of purchasing Applecare, which is something to think about if you want to keep initial costs down.

    Also, make sure you wait to get Leopard. And try to convince your Mum to use Safari, because it is far more stable, and faster. Apparently Firefox has some memory leaks, which can cause your computer to slow down a lot while Firefox is running, and has been running for a while.

    I'm sure everyone here hopes you and your mum both get Apple computers. Good luck!
  3. 4JNA macrumors 68000


    Feb 8, 2006
    looking for trash files

    with that in mind, go grab the 17 1.83 CD with the GMA950 graphics from the refurb store quick while they are still listed. $799, add the $149 for applecare, or shop around on ebay and get the same thing for less than $100, and add more memory yourself at a later date if mom starts seeing beachballs. 512mb is fine for one program at a time. 1gb if mom gets used to having more programs open at once...

    with the use you listed, even a base model mini would work really well, and then you could get a really nice big monitor. the whole package would be about the same price. either will make mom a happy lady! best of luck.
  4. Super Macho Man macrumors 6502a

    Super Macho Man

    Jul 24, 2006
    Hollywood, CA
    512MB is probably not enough, even just for single-tasking. New Mac users are notorious for not understanding how opening/closing apps works (i.e. just because you closed the window doesn't mean you closed the app) and leaving 8 apps open as a result and then thinking "Wow Macs are so slow" when they've got 8 apps running in 512MB of RAM.

    No point in waiting for Leopard if all the computer is going to be used for is web browsing & word processing.

    Firefox or Safari should work fine. Firefox has been shown to be faster in rendering complex javascript pages, and it supports HTTP pipelining, but honestly, on a new iMac, the performance difference should be nearly undetectable. Camino is another option (a simpler version of Firefox).

    Viruses and spyware do not, AFAIK, exist on the Mac. I have never heard of either one in following OS X fairly closely since 2001.

    As far as the price goes, you have to figure total cost. How much is your time worth? How much would you ordinarily charge per hour keeping your mom's antivirus/antispyware software up to date, reinstalling after the system gets hosed, troubleshooting when the driver for mom's new scanner doesn't install properly, trying to understand Rashi the Indian tech support guy, etc. All sorts of things can go wrong with Macs as well, but the chances are lower, and Apple's support is consistently highly ranked. Also, the iMac is a very reliable machine with a low fault rate.
  5. Zwhaler macrumors 604


    Jun 10, 2006
    Definately get the RAM to 1GB, even a basic user shouldn't have to put up with 512... and if she is a basic user don't bother to wait. Just get it now so she can enjoy it already, unless she is a power user the next update (which will happen who knows when) don't really benefit her much.
  6. EricNau Moderator emeritus


    Apr 27, 2005
    San Francisco, CA
  7. djstarrock macrumors 6502a


    Nov 23, 2006
    UK, Scotland, Glasgow
    Yea, I would recommend getting your mom a refurbished iMac from apple you can get them really cheap and sometimes they have surprises. (ram usually)
  8. GoKyu thread starter macrumors 65816


    Feb 15, 2007
    New Orleans
    Thanks for all of the great replies so far :)

    Looks like I was pretty much correct with my first suggestion to her - 1 gig RAM and add the Applecare warranty...

    The reason she won't be getting it "right now" is that she needs to save up the money for it (as do I need to save up for mine...and mine's gonna cost at least double...hehe)

    I'll look into that Mac mini + monitor idea, but I think the easiest thing for her would be "everything built into the monitor" :)

    Thanks again!


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