Build a Mac? and other newb questions

Razorhog

macrumors 65816
Original poster
Sep 16, 2006
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Arkansas
I'm enjoying my "test run" of an iBook G4 that I borrowed from work. I've just barely scratched the surface of OS X, but so far I like it. I have some questions and concerns about buying a mac.
If I were to buy an iMac, can I upgrade the ram myself? I'm leery of the fact that it is an "all in one" computer...sounds basically like a laptop without a keyboard. I would of course buy the apple warranty, but when that runs out would I be able to crack it open and troubleshoot?
What I'd really like to do is build a Mac. Is that possible now that they are using intel chips? It wouldn't look as nice, but it would save money and I'd get to use OS X.
Thanks :)
 

yankeefan24

macrumors 65816
Dec 24, 2005
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NYC
You can change the RAM. You could open it up. You could not build your own due to licensing restrictions.
 

skubish

macrumors 68030
Feb 2, 2005
2,663
0
Ann Arbor, Michigan
Razorhog said:
I'm enjoying my "test run" of an iBook G4 that I borrowed from work. I've just barely scratched the surface of OS X, but so far I like it. I have some questions and concerns about buying a mac.
If I were to buy an iMac, can I upgrade the ram myself? I'm leery of the fact that it is an "all in one" computer...sounds basically like a laptop without a keyboard. I would of course buy the apple warranty, but when that runs out would I be able to crack it open and troubleshoot?
What I'd really like to do is build a Mac. Is that possible now that they are using intel chips? It wouldn't look as nice, but it would save money and I'd get to use OS X.
Thanks :)
It is not possible to build a Mac.
OSX requires EFI (extensible firmware interface) not BIOS to boot. I don't know of motherboards out that support EFI since Winxp or VISTA do not support EFI.

As already noted, there are also licensing issues too.
 

Razorhog

macrumors 65816
Original poster
Sep 16, 2006
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Arkansas
Ok...so building one is off list. Now I just need to decide on which one to buy, which will in turn determine how long I need to save up money.
I want to: surf the web, digital pics, iTunes/iPod, occasional game (I like FPS like Doom3 and Half-life 2), word processing.
Would a Mac mini suffice or do I need to step up to the iMac? Man that 24" looks sexy...
 

steamboat26

macrumors 65816
May 25, 2006
1,123
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Arlington VA
I think if you want a decent gaming experience, you should go for the imac. I have tried games on my mini, and they are ok, but nothing spectacular. I also think that Doom 3 or Half Life would be pretty bad on the integrated graphics. Just my 2 cents...
 

briantology

macrumors 6502
Jun 5, 2006
289
0
Razorhog said:
Ok...so building one is off list. Now I just need to decide on which one to buy, which will in turn determine how long I need to save up money.
I want to: surf the web, digital pics, iTunes/iPod, occasional game (I like FPS like Doom3 and Half-life 2), word processing.
Would a Mac mini suffice or do I need to step up to the iMac? Man that 24" looks sexy...
You don't happen to go to U of A do you? Past that, I think you would like an iMac. 24" is beautiful, I myself will probably go with a 20", but I'm debating between that or a MBP.
 

Razorhog

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Original poster
Sep 16, 2006
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Arkansas
GO HOGS!! Yes I graduated from U of A in 2001. Why are you considering the 20" and not the 24"? Just the price difference? Doesn't a MBP cost more than the 24" iMac?
 

briantology

macrumors 6502
Jun 5, 2006
289
0
Razorhog said:
GO HOGS!! Yes I graduated from U of A in 2001. Why are you considering the 20" and not the 24"? Just the price difference? Doesn't a MBP cost more than the 24" iMac?
I don't want to pay +$500 for some better graphics and 4 more inches of screen. Plus I don't think I have enough room on my tiny desk in the dorms for the 24" of beauty. So I would put that $500 towards a mediocre laptop (looking to buy a used 12" PB). According to my speculation, when and if Merom MBPs come out next week, the $1799 MBP (with EDU discount) will be close to the 20"/24" iMac, minus the screen size.
 

oingoboingo

macrumors 6502a
Jul 31, 2003
988
0
Sydney, Australia
Razorhog said:
Ok...so building one is off list. Now I just need to decide on which one to buy, which will in turn determine how long I need to save up money.
I want to: surf the web, digital pics, iTunes/iPod, occasional game (I like FPS like Doom3 and Half-life 2), word processing.
Would a Mac mini suffice or do I need to step up to the iMac? Man that 24" looks sexy...
A Mac mini is going to give mediocre gaming performance compared to an iMac, due to the Mac mini's integrated Intel GMA950 graphics chip. Even for casual gaming, a Mac mini may not provide enough graphics power to satisfy you, depending on your expectations of course.

Barefeats compared a 2.0GHz/2GB RAM MacBook to a 2GHz Core Duo/2GB RAM 20" iMac (with 256MB Radeon X1600 GPU) on a variety of 3D games. Obviously the MacBook isn't the Mac mini, but they both use the same Intel GMA950 graphics system. Since the CPU speeds and RAM configuration were both the same for the MacBook and the iMac in this test, it does give you a good idea of the relative graphics power of the GMA950 versus the Radeon X1600 though:

- Quake 4, 1024x768: MacBook: 11 FPS. iMac: 61 FPS
- Doom 3, 1024x768: MacBook: 9 FPS. iMac: 55 FPS
- UT2004 1024x768 Flyby: MacBook: 20 FPS. iMac: 108 FPS
- UT2004 1024x768 Botmatch: MacBook: 13 FPD. iMac: 59 FPS
- WoW, Ironforge auction house: MacBook: 16 FPS. iMac: not tested

http://barefeats.com/mbcd3.html
 

Razorhog

macrumors 65816
Original poster
Sep 16, 2006
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Arkansas
Thanks for the replies, that game test with the MacBook and iMac is excellent, Oingoboingo. Briantology - valid point about the extra money on the 24". I just want to get a machine that will last a long time...my current PC is about 5 years old, and I'd like the Mac to last that long as well. I'm definitely going to wait until Leopard comes out before making a decision.
 

slackersonly

macrumors 6502a
Apr 13, 2006
525
0
Check out Apple refurbs as well. I bought an iMac 20 refurb in May of this year and it is amazing. I dont think the update iMac have made it to refurbs section yet (i have seen other say it takes approx 30-45 days before updates show up) so you would have to be patient.
 

Razorhog

macrumors 65816
Original poster
Sep 16, 2006
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Arkansas
I will definitely keep the refurbs in mind. It sounds as though they put them through rigorous testing and stand behind them as if they were brand new.
 

miles01110

macrumors Core
Jul 24, 2006
19,269
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The Ivory Tower (I'm not coming down)
slackersonly said:
Check out Apple refurbs as well. I bought an iMac 20 refurb in May of this year and it is amazing. I dont think the update iMac have made it to refurbs section yet (i have seen other say it takes approx 30-45 days before updates show up) so you would have to be patient.
You could check SmallDog.com for refurb Intel iMacs...they usually have some pretty good deals.