Buying Advice Needed for A New Convert!

Discussion in 'Buying Tips and Advice' started by VitaminC, Jan 31, 2008.

  1. VitaminC macrumors newbie

    Jan 31, 2008
    I am a first year undergraduate student. I have been using PCs all my life, but I think this is the time for me to switch to Apple and its OSX. It also happens that I have just received my student loan check, and while I know this might be real stupid.. I decided to blow it all on a brand new, shiny, Apple iMac.

    Problem is, this is a huge decision for me. Its a large sum of money for a student like myself, and I know I will be skint for a very, very, long time. Therefore I want to spend it in the most efficient way and get my money's worth. I want a really good deal. So please direct me to the best possible direction, and correct any mistakes you see:

    1- 2.4 VS 2.8, which model to get?
    I know I will be getting a %13 discount with my HE discount (UK) with my purchase. Now I have used the search function and came to the conclusion that I should be getting the 2.4 model. That is firstly because the difference will only be noticed when encoding a video and will shave off a couple of minutes of the total time it would have otherwise taken. Another reason is that you are paying for the an extra gig of ram from apple which is a rip-off (I could go around this by getting the 2.4 and upgrading the processor and HD, but I want to buy from a physical store and not the online.. that leaves me with the 2.4 model).

    2- Gradient issue. I have tried checking the gradient problem myself in an apple store but couldnt notice anything. I certainly wouldnt be going to look for problems but whats a way that I can use to check if the machine I will be getting has this particular problem or not?

    3- Which leads me to my next question; is it possible at all to ask the staff to open up and fire up the machine before purchase? I am asking this because I have asked the manager at the store and he tried to run away from the question by saying that I neednt to since the cool-off period extends to 14 days in which I could return the product for a refund, no questions asked. I really would want to try it before hand at the store though, just as an extra assurance I will not get a defect.

    4- Would you buy from an Apple Store or the Online Store?

    5- I was thinking of maybe using the ADC, and get the one off %20 discount on hardware. It just seems alot of hassle, and I could see me frustrated with a dead machine and not knowing where to return it to. Is this correct?

    6- I will be using the HE %13 discount. Along with Apple Care £58 pack. With a later addition of 4 GB RAM kit from crucial for around £60. Any other tips on many savers?

    7- In terms of resale value, would the 2.4 be way worse than the 2.8??

    8- I will be using the iMac for browsing the internet, video encoding (small videos i.e. youtube and some home ones), university photoshop and some 3d packages, drawing with a tablet, watching loads of movies and shows and some gaming. I want to upgrade the HD to 500 GB but I feel its expensive, would I get reliable fast connection to an external through firewire?

    Over all, what would you advice me to buy? If you have a case for the 2.8 model please do tell, any other tips on general transition from PC to Mac are welcome also.

    Thanks alot for your time!
  2. irishgrizzly macrumors 65816


    May 15, 2006
    By the sounds of what you're doing I'd say go for the 2.4 and max the RAM 3rd party like you're are.

    With the change you can buy a nice big external HD – handy for taking into college if you don't have a laptop. That and beer no point going to uni and being totally broke with just your mac for company.
  3. GimmeSlack12 macrumors 603


    Apr 29, 2005
    San Francisco
    Go with the 2.4.
    Max out the RAM or start with a 2gb stick and add another 2gb later.
    Never hurts to ask!
    Gradient issue does happen, but not common.
    Get an external drive later.
  4. siam macrumors regular

    Nov 1, 2007
    This is what I am going to do, ive talked to the Apple reseller where I am going to buy an iMac from and they have agreed that the new iMac can be tried in the shop before I take it home, I think if you don't at least try it out in the shop first and get home only to find some thing you are not happy with , you will feel gutted that you did not try the machine out first, here's my list of things I want to check out in the shop, it may take some time to do, but its going to be worth it in the end...

    1. on un packing the computer ( make sure the box has NOT been opened already ) take a look at the machine serial number to ascertain when it was made and where , this should give an idea of how long the store has possibly had the computer in stock , the normal serial numbering should go some thing like this -

    The first 5 characters of the Mac’s serial number tells you the place it was made (1 and 2), Year (3) and week (4 and 5)
    the number should probably look something like this: W8743xxxxxxx

    W8: Shanghai China
    7: 2007
    43: week 43

    here’s some of the places the Apple Mac’s are made -

    F: Fremont, CA, USA
    CK: Cork, Ireland
    SG, E: Singapore
    XA, XB: Sacramento, CA, USA
    FC: Fountain, CO, USA (PowerBooks only)
    PK, SI: Mexico
    LT, SR , UV, Taiwan
    G, A: USA
    MI, SK, M, MB, Malaysia
    PT: Korea
    W8: Shanghai China
    QT, EE , Taiwan (Quanta Factory)
    YM, VM: China

    Serials numbers that start with RM mean that your machine was Refurbished/Re manufactured

    I think there are others, so this may not be a complete list

    2. Once the box has been opened in front of you check to see you have the following items.. (Apple iMac)

    iMac computer
    Apple Keyboard
    Apple Remote
    Mighty Mouse
    Cleaning cloth
    Power cord
    Install/restore DVDs
    The Printed and electronic documentation

    3. Look the computer over for scratches and marks especially the screen

    4. Ask the shop assistant to boot up the computer and take you through the stages required to setup your initial username, password and create the Home folder. after this process you will be able to fully use the computer NOTE ..If the Setup Assistant doesn’t launch when it’s turned on in the shop, this suggests it’s been switched on previously, which might set alarm bells ringing (for example, it might have already been registered with Apple, which could affect your warranty).

    5. Once up and running look at the screen for the possibility of Dead pixels , Note Dead pixels are always black - Stuck pixels are stuck in one colour go to the System Preferences and to the Desktop/Screen Saver settings. Select Screen Saver, click on Computer name, then click on test. This will give you an almost all black background. Take a close look around for any colored pixels that should be black. If you don’t see any then you are good to go

    6. Bring up a Solid colored desktop or black wallpaper now look at the screen for a possible problem like this .. Left side of the screen is bright white, while it’s yellow in the middle and dull on the right. and see there’s no light at the bottom of the screen creeping onto the image ( backlight bleed problem evident when the screen is black)

    7. Put the computer under some load by Opening every application in the dock at once, make sure at least ten open also open up lots of files and applications and make it work. try to push the machine to get it warm.

    8. Play a DVD / CD

    9. Play the movie trailers in Front Row and the Arabesque screen saver. ( Two screen freezing
    classics )

    10. Play with the Mouse and keyboard

    11. Try out the remote control

    12. When the iMac has been running for a few minuets , listen for any odd sounds , Noises or
    vibrations coming from the inside

    13. Try out the iSight camera

    14. Check that it goes to sleep and wakes up no problem,

    15. Boot the machine several times

    16 .Make sure that the back of the computer is not getting too hot

    17. Click on the Apple logo in the top left and choose About this Mac. It will tell you if you have
    Tiger or Leopard Etc

    18. Go into System Profile check the shown serial number matches one on packing box

    19. Buy Apple Care Protection Plan

    20. Get a sales receipt showing the date of purchase, the machine serial number and
    the shop address
  5. Stardotboy macrumors regular

    Jan 30, 2008
    Manchester, UK
    If money is an issue, I would recommend the 2.4 processor - the difference in power isn't massive and I don't think it would affect the resale value much. I use my iMac for similar things and the best thing I did was to get extra RAM - as that makes a massive difference for a small cost (provided you don't buy expensive Apple branded RAM).

    Some iMacs have the display gradient issue, but bear in mind if you're looking at forum posts about it etc, you're often going to see posts from people who have a problem rather than the majority who never knew that anyone had this issue. If you're unlucky enough to get a dud machine, just return and exchange it.

    Personally I would say if you live nearby to an Apple store, buy it there - it's probably less hassle than ordering it online and if you're anything like me you get to avoid a few days waiting where you can think about nothing except your new purchase that hasn't arrived yet!!

    Good luck.
  6. smogsy macrumors 6502a

    Jan 8, 2008
    i recently converted bit like yourself, i wanted to learn osx im also in education. i choose tthe macbook but i would go with the 2.4ghz model with max ram (im using 1gb idle)

    if i was you id personally get from the store reason why?

    they told me about some good deals over than the general discount i got a printer for £!0! which is worth £70 in Reallife. i also got apple care which you would online for £50

    plus you should be able to boot it up in store

    you could always get a mac mini if you already have pc screen?
  7. VitaminC thread starter macrumors newbie

    Jan 31, 2008
    I would like to thank you guys so much for all the help. I got the pat on the back I needed and I am confident now about my purchase. I will indeed be getting the 2.4 and will be maxing out the ram as soon as the prices go down at crucial.

    I will also be booting up the machine instore and follow Siam's steps in there (they will hate me for sure!). I have been there already and all they offered was the standard Apple Care for £58.

    I was a bit worried that I needed more space than 320 GB but I think I will be getting an external hd and connect it through firewire.

    Is the printer deal still going? seems real good.

    How do I get to the all-black wallpaper to test the gradient issue? I am a complete novice when it comes OSX.

    Any more tips, I will be on my way in a couple of hours (cant sleep!) and will be needing any input.
  8. VitaminC thread starter macrumors newbie

    Jan 31, 2008
    I've got it people!!!

    Yes, I went yesterday to the Apple Store and got myself a 24" 2.4 iMac and this thing is absolutely stunning!

    I followed most of Siam's instructions and the people in there must have hated me really! :D

    I go a free printer/scanner/photocopier with it too! It really is very nice. But how did you manage to get the Apple Care for £50? I paid £58 for it.

    I couldnt get the all black screen either, but I tested it on some screen savers with black background and it was perfect! You can do that if you click on the geers icon on your desktop and go to Desktop/screen saver then choose screen saver, and then apply random ones and click test. Thats what I did.

    Happy to report NO GRADIENT PROBLEMS what so ever. Screen is a thing of beauty. No freezing with any screen saver or anything. I am so pleased with it. There is just so much quality to it all.

    Setting it up was a breeze and I was up and running within a minute! I could not believe it. The only problem was the fact that the hard disk said the empty space was 297 GB, but I think I can fix that with a fresh installation and deleting some language files. It just isnt normal for OSX to take up around 20 GB of space, or is it?

    Another problem was the fact that because my dsl modem is too old and crappy, it doesnt seem to support Mac, so I think I will be getting a new one.

    I am still in total disbelief, I just can take my eyes of this beauty.

    I would like to thank you all for your help, some really nice people in here.

    Now I will continue exploring this baby, through bootcamp unfortunately! Untill I am able to go online with OSX.
  9. marykay9507 macrumors 6502a


    Jan 18, 2008
    congrats and enjoy your new machine...this form will become your new best friend-- pretty much everybody here is helpful and you will learn a continue to lurk away!!
  10. Stardotboy macrumors regular

    Jan 30, 2008
    Manchester, UK
    Congrats on taking the plunge and don't hesitate on maxing out the RAM! :D
  11. neiltc13 macrumors 68040


    May 27, 2006
    If you buy from the HE store at you get a three year warranty plus one year phone support included for nothing. AppleCare is redundant in this situation.
  12. siam macrumors regular

    Nov 1, 2007
    Hi VitaminC

    Really glad to hear that all's well with your new iMac, and can only look on with envy until I get the same, please keep us posted on how things go in the next few weeks... :)

    congrats and enjoy your new machine siam

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