Buying a New Mac: Should i think different?

Discussion in 'Buying Tips, Advice and Discussion (archive)' started by RobHague, Aug 10, 2005.

  1. RobHague macrumors 6502

    Jul 8, 2005
    :D Sorry little joke there *cough* nevermind.

    Well anyway I have already parted with my beloved PC, i sold it on ebay to get some extra cash to put towards an upgrade - however this time it would be slightley different. I would be getting a Mac instead of building yet another PC.

    I have always wanted to buy a Mac, when i saw the G4 Cube in PC WORLD all that time ago, and the iMac G4's being delivered to college i was drooling. The problem was that they were WAY WAY WAY out of my budget and i couldnt do what i wanted to do on them (games) - so i couldnt entertain the idea of buying one really.

    Mac OSX looks so nice, and i hear so many great things - the practically zero virus/security issues seems too good to be true after struggling to keep Windows secure for god knows how long. The MAC systems design is also rather splendid, i have not seen any manufacturer of PC's come close to offering quite the 'style' as the Mac systems offer (except Alienware maybe but they are more 'flashy' then 'classy' ;) )

    Originally i wanted an iMac G5, 2.0Ghz with the 20" Screen - Looked perfect because of its compact design. My problem is, afraid to say, as i still use my PC for games - I had a 6800GT in my PC and i did make good use of it for entertainment.

    I accepted the fact that i wouldnt have quite the 'range' of games available to me on the Mac long ago dont get me wrong - but the iMac G5 has a 9600 which seems too much of a step backwards to me, and i felt would spoil the experience of switching (not really an 'upgrade').

    So that leaves me with only one option, Power Mac. "OMFG"... sorry just wanted to get that out of the way, as its what i thought when i saw the price ;) so i speced up a few systems... silly me! No Monitor... "WTF!" sorry that was what came to mind when i saw the 'cheapest' 20" monitor XD

    "Ok, so its excellent quality or something" i thought... fair enough. Oh... wait im going to have no sound - I need speakers! Right so once all the extra's are there it comes to a pretty scary figure.

    I basically speced up about a base PowerMac G5 with what i thought would be a good comprimise between performance/price.

    • Dual 2GHz PowerPC G5
    • 1GB DDR400 SDRAM (PC3200) - 2x512MB
    • 250GB Serial ATA - 7200rpm
    • 16x SuperDrive Dual Layer (DVD±R/CD-RW)
    • ATI Radeon X850 XT - 256MB DDR SDRAM
    • Bluetooth Module + AirPort Extreme Card

    My problem is that the X850 eats into my budget quite a lot. If i droped it i would be able to go for the 2.3Ghz G5 instead which i feel would be wiser....

    I want to play UT2004/WOW though with max eye candy :eek: i dont think thats too much to hope for after spending so much money. I'm buying a 20" Cinema screen from apple to go with it so...

    The problem is that the 'are you mad?' part of me keeps thinking how much PC that kind of cash would buy me. Duel Core Pentium with a GeForce 7800GTX kinda thing.... and i feel like im trying to despiratley justify the mac purchase when all the indications keep pointing me back to PC's.

    So far ive discovered im going to lose webcam support for MSN (i use it all the time, a lot) and there seems to be no solution. I'm making comprimises and paying more money to do so....

    The question isnt what can the PC do that the Mac cant, its what can the Mac do that the PC cant. :confused: Im not sure if MAC OSX is enough of an excuse for switching... even though i really want too.

    Thoughts? I'm still swaying towards the PowerMac but common sense keeps telling me to forget it :(
  2. mad jew Moderator emeritus

    mad jew

    Apr 3, 2004
    Adelaide, Australia
    Can I assume you're running Windows, right? Well, are you happy with it? Are you inundated with crashing apps, spyware, viruses and general incompatibilities?

    It might be worthwhile getting a really decent PC and running a good distribution of Linux on it (assuming you don't already) because as you're figuring out, buying a Mac for gaming is kind of pointless and very expensive.
  3. Chundles macrumors G4


    Jul 4, 2005
    Basically if all you are going to do is play games I'd forget the Mac, the Mac is all about enjoying your computing experience, it is built around enhancing your life rather than making games run faster.

    Yes, I think that you should switch but "differently" to how you are going about it. Seeing as you are keen to spend all that money on a machine I would go about it like so:

    Get your 20" iMac, use this as your main machine, use it for your Office work, email, internet browsing, watching movies, working with your photos, all the stuff you want to do without the stress and strain of having to use Windows. The graphics in the iMac are sufficient for running nearly all Mac games going around if not all of them. The iMac is an amazing machine and yes OS X is worth the cost of switching, considering everything else that you get for free it really does pay for itself.

    Use the extra money you were prepared to spend on a PowerMac and screen and all the bells and whistles and build your own Windows gaming machine. Trust me, after using the iMac and OSX you won't want to use Windows for anything else. Windows and cheap build-your-own PC's can and do handle games better than most Macs, it's a fact.

    Macs are not about their specs, specs nowadays are irrelevant unless you really live on the cutting edge (in which case just build a gaming rig) Macs are about making your computer a fully integrated part of your life, something you can use to get stuff done without worrying about stuff happening.

    As for something the Mac can do but the PC can't, go to the site and look at the new Tiger features, pretty much anything the PC can't do without some dodgy hack. OS X destroys Windows in everyday ease of use and ease of upkeep.

    Do it.
  4. mkrishnan Moderator emeritus


    Jan 9, 2004
    Grand Rapids, MI, USA
    I would also tend to agree that a Windows PC for games, a nice large screen, perhaps from Dell, a lesser Mac -- perhaps a refurb PMG5, or a Mini, depending on what non-game stuff you plan on doing, and a KVM switch sound like it'd be a much better setup for the money for you.
  5. 20rogersc macrumors 65816


    Jun 28, 2005
    Brighton, UK
    I would agree with all the comments so far, that a mac at the moment is not the best option for gaming. However, like mkrishnan pointed out, why not get something like a mini, and then this way you don't have to connect your gaming pc (unless you play games over the internet) to the internet, which means that the pc won't have spyware or virus', making it much better. And then you can still use the mini for everything else.

    My two cents ...

  6. RobHague thread starter macrumors 6502

    Jul 8, 2005
    Those are all valid points, thanks -- I didn't want the mac just for gaming btw, i use my PC all the time and i was looking forward to hopefully a better experience using MAC OSX than Windows.

    I mean its what im looking at and using most of the time - Windows works... mostley...kinda...but thats all it does. I'm getting annoyed at things in windows that didnt used to bother me before, i hate how it handles more than one application and im fed up of the thing freezing me out. I use Photoshop often, not professionaly or anything just personal use and im not sure if the latest version had a memory leak or something but it seemed like it... i was really peeved at losing work in photoshop often when it decided to have a Program Error.

    I also hate how Windows seems to lock up while its 'thinking' the damn thing seems to allow 100% CPU use to a program (that is obviously going screwy) and the rest of the system goes to hell. I have...I had rather.. an Opteron 146 (long story) w/ 6800GT. No matter how many anti-spyware/firewalls/virus scanners i had something always seemed to get through the latest loop hole. It felt like i was patching up a siv. I had oodles of RAM but mutlitasking always seemed lacking, i have not been using my PC for games as much as i used too - Id say 35% of its use is Gaming/Entertainment....I wanted to use it for DVD's and a lot of my PC's use is Music. I was hoping to play with GarageBand when i got the Mac too. ^_^

    There were lots of other niggles with windows too but i wont go into them right now. The seperate system for gaming is a good idea, i wanted to buy a console (XBOX 360 more than likley :eek:) and hook it up to the monitor for the PowerMac. Which is something i cant do on the iMac G5's built-in screen.

    What i was also after was mainly an 'all-in-one' solution. I wanted to buy a Mac, play Doom3/UT2004/World of Warcraft with spiffy amounts of detail, then drop into OSX to work with Photoshop and general usage. I'm on the net all of the time so i was looking forward to seeing how much better that might be on the Mac. I also was looking for something that could expand later - which is what puts me off about investing in the iMac or Mac Mini. Hmmm.
  7. forumBuddy macrumors member

    Jul 6, 2005
    From a person who recently replaced my PC with PowerMac G5 I would sway you away from the idea of complete switch. Apple platform is absolutely not a gaming platfrom by any stretch of imagination. Just to give you perspective, on my 2.0Ghz G5 dual with Radeon 800XT my average UT2004 frame rate at 1680*1050 is about 30-50 - and sometimes dips into low 20s - that's of course with everything turned up max, but you get the idea. Also, if you are experienced Windows user, you will find some things that Mac OS doesn't do as well as Windows, such as Finder vs Explorer, directory merging (Mac OS can't do it), Alt-Tab (Mac OS provides minimum functionality and only shows you icon of an application) - and some other things. I like my box, and I like Mac OS - but if I to do it again I would get Mac Mini, stick a Gig of ram into it, upgrade my PC - and be done with it.

    Hope it helps.
  8. FFTT macrumors 68030


    Apr 17, 2004
    A Stoned Throw From Ground Zero
    Search the buying tips 2.0 vs 2.3

    I ideal RAM for a PowerMac begins with 1 GB

    If you want to increase performance add more.
  9. RobHague thread starter macrumors 6502

    Jul 8, 2005
    Hmmm would you think that maybe this would be a better option then...

    • Dual 2.3GHz PowerPC G5
    • 1GB DDR400 SDRAM (PC3200) - 2x512MB
    • 250GB Serial ATA - 7200rpm
    • 16x SuperDrive Dual Layer (DVD±R/CD-RW)
    • ATI Radeon 9600 - 128MB DDR SDRAM
    • Bluetooth Module + AirPort Extreme Card


    Then i can sort out a graphics card at a later date if need be :confused: and hopefully purchase that XBOX360 too... hmmm.
  10. forumBuddy macrumors member

    Jul 6, 2005
    I don't believe there is much difference between 2.0 and 2.3 - unless you do some real crunching. In games I believe it's been shown that on Apple platform basically all current PowerMacs perfrom the same with the high end card - they are basically limited by poor OpenGl implementation on Mac OS.

    So if anything I would say get the lowest Power Mac you can get and save money. Buying a high end PowerMac make sense if you have some CPU hungry non gaming app that you need to run.

    The question you should be asking yourself is whether you can do without latest and upcomming games such as Quake3 , Half Life 2 etc.

    BTW I wasn't into gaming until I bought a Mac and realized, yeah - I play games sometimes :)))
  11. drison macrumors regular


    Apr 30, 2005
    I have to agree about the gaming. I have the same PM DP 2.0 but with a radeon 9800 pro and also a Intel P4 3.0 with a radeon 9800 pro using the same 20" dell LCD and WoW seems "duller", lighting or bump mapping or something on the PM. My only guess is that the game is taking advantage of something in DirectX on Windows that it doesn't or can't in OpenGL on MacOS. I love my Macs mind you, but I still have the pc when I really want all the eye candy in it's intended form.

  12. RobHague thread starter macrumors 6502

    Jul 8, 2005
    Well just photoshop, im hoping to make good use of GarageBand (hopfully) and maybe some video editing (but it will be nothing amazing). General use, internet ad DVD's - Games. Prolly right, the 2.3 might be a waste.

    I live in the UK btw. For the DP 2.0 w/ X850XT, 1Gb RAM & 250Gb HDD ) and Bluetooth/Airport extreme.. its £1,818.00. For an iMac G5 with 1.5GB of RAM and a 400GB HDD its £1,500 odd. But of course it does not require an external monitor.

    I doubt id need more than 4Gb of RAM within its lifetime - but that depends how quickly things progress i guess. 1GB of RAM used to be 'extreme' and now its pretty standard.

    I think my choices are down to the DP 2.0Ghz with the X850xt or an iMac G5.... the DP 2.0Ghz might be the best way to go from an expandability POV... a Radeon 9800 would be sufficent but there is no middle of the road BTO option. Just 9600 or x850xt. I looked at the 9800 prices elsewhere and its like £179... so id save a grand total of £100. Which seems quite a tiny amount considering the whole system price, and the jump of a 9800 to an X850xt.... If the 9800 had been the price of current PC 9800's i would have gone that route.



    • Dual 2GHz PowerPC G5
    • 2GB DDR400 SDRAM (PC3200) - 4x512MB
    • 250GB Serial ATA - 7200rpm
    • 16x SuperDrive Dual Layer (DVD±R/CD-RW)
    • ATI Radeon X850 XT - 256MB DDR SDRAM
    • Apple Cinema Display (20" flat panel)
    • Bluetooth Module + AirPort Extreme Card
    • Apple Keyboard & Apple Mouse
    • Mac OS X
    • One FireWire 800 port
    • Two FireWire 400 ports
    • Three USB 2.0 ports
    • JBL Creature II 2.1 speakers - grey


    Think ive found my system =)
  13. Xephian macrumors 6502a


    May 2, 2005
    United States
    I would build a custom PC for gaming and use the Mac for everything else. A good place to buy parts is
  14. FFTT macrumors 68030


    Apr 17, 2004
    A Stoned Throw From Ground Zero
    You are still better off with either a 2.3 GHz model or trying to find a Rev B 2.0

    The guts of the machine are far more important that the frills.
    The 2.3 and the older Rev B 2.0 use the full PRO motherboard
    with 8 RAM slots and 133 MHz PCI-X expansion slots

    The newer Rec C 2.0 uses the prosumer motherboard with 4 RAM slots
    and standard 33 MHz PCI expansion slots.

    Your last configuration shows you getting the Rev C with 4X 512MB RAM sticks, when you are far better off ordering either machine with the stock
    RAM and adding 2 single 1 GB sticks of 3rd party RAM for much less.
    This would give you 2.5 GB ad your machine will scream.

    I would personally get the best basic machine you can afford
    2.3 with 1 GB RAM and the 9650 GPU and see how you like it.
    If you really find yourself needing more then add more RAM
    and the best GPU you can afford after the prices fall a bit more.

    More than likely you'll be delighted.

    After you get you G5.........

    Back up all your important P/C files to CD and run a clean install on your old machine, that wipes out all the crap that might be hidden and lets you
    retire your P/C OFFLINE for gaming.
  15. zach macrumors 65816


    Feb 14, 2003
    the major thing.

    do not buy ram from apple.

    get the lowest number of sticks from apple possible (remeber, the pmacs do have plenty of slots) and get sticks from crucial or owc.

    apple ram is perfectly reliable, i have never heard of an apple stick failing, but the price gouging is just completely unacceptable.

    because of this, i'd actually buy the 2.3 GHz machine.. with 8 ram slots, you can just toss matched 512 pairs in there like it's nobody's business...
  16. milozauckerman macrumors 6502

    Jun 25, 2005
    For the original poster, I'd look at a dual 2 and a Dell 20" monitor if not the iMac. The dual 2.3 really isn't a great improvement from my vantage point - what are the odds you'll need 8GB of RAM, and what kind of cards/work are you going to need PCI-X slots for?

    My Dual 2/x850 xbenches about the same as a 2.3/9600(9650), FWIW, if xbench numbers mean anything to you.
  17. milozauckerman macrumors 6502

    Jun 25, 2005
    Also, much agreed on not ordering RAM from Apple. I bought 4GB from OWC for ~$450, minus $40ish from selling my OEM RAM. Apple cost? $1050!

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