Buying an iMac or Macbook - Tons of questions!

Discussion in 'Buying Tips and Advice' started by a morning view, Sep 11, 2007.

  1. a morning view macrumors newbie

    Sep 11, 2007
    Hi, I plan on purchasing a new iMac or Macbook to use while in college (just started my freshman year). I've been a PC user my whole life, but my current desktop is 6 years old and I definitely need an upgrade. Plus, I've been interested in a Mac for quite some time (already love the ipod). I'll be using the machine for IM/videochat, email, web browsing, music, possible photo/video editing for personal use, but no gaming or professional apps. I've been reading the forums as part of my research on the two products, but I have a bunch of questions/concerns that I'd like some help with. I'll break it down between each machine...

    -Is the screen really that bad? I'd be going for the 20-inch model and I don't think I'd have any problems with sunlight causing glare on the screen based on the room i'll be using the computer in. However, I've heard some people complaining about other things such as viewing angle and the like? what's the deal with the screen?
    -Are there any issues with the machine getting too hot or making noise?
    -I'm concerned about the slot-loading drive. I've heard stories of the drive being super sensitive, discs getting caught, etc. Is the CD burner/DVD burner efficient?
    -Is there any significant difference in speed with the 2.0 ghz processor vs. the 2.4 ghz? also, is the low end model's videocard sufficient? I know it's probably fine for what I'll be doing with the computer, but I don't want to be out of date after like a year...
    -I've heard people complaining about the keyboard as well. is it easy to adjust to after using a standard PC keyboard for so long? also, can i charge my ipod/connect my digital camera through the keyboard's USB port, or what?
    -How are the internal speakers?

    I was leaning towards the iMac because I commute to school and have no breaks between classes this semester, so I don't need to bring a laptop to school. I can't see myself using a laptop in any of my classes this semester, although things could change in future semesters and the portability would be a nice thing to have. plus, the macbooks are in the same pricerange as the low-end imac. If i get a macbook, i'd have it hooked up to an external display, keyboard, and mouse while at home. here are my questions regarding the macbook...
    -again, is the glossy display troublesome? If i'm using the machine in different places, i don't want to have to worry about trying to find the right spot to sit where there isnt a huge glare on the screen.
    -is the integrated graphics card okay for what i'll be using the computer for?
    -are there any issues with the machine overheating, especially if i have it closed while hooked up to an external display?
    -what's the realistic battery life like?
    -is it possible to upgrade the harddrive on the macbook, or am i better off getting an external HD?

    I also have some general questions about macs:
    -are harddrive partitions created with bootcamp permanent? can i eliminate the partition without having the reformat the whole drive? also, how exactly does parallels/VMfusion work? does the drive have to be partitioned with those programs as well?
    -I am a bit concerned over the fact that apple updates their products very frequently. am i going to feel out of date within 2 years, or will the computer serve me well for as long as my gateway PC has?

    Uh, i think that's it. sorry if this post is a little chaotic, i just threw it together real quick. i'd appreciate help with any of these questions :)
  2. DrBunsenHoneyde macrumors member

    Sep 27, 2006
    Hi,I hope I can help just a little bit with some of your points. Just to give a little bit of info I am a uni student studying graphic design and have a macbook 1.8CD with a high speed PC based at home for serious work.

    I have had the macbook for just under a year now and ok I feel out of date and really want a MBP but the machine is so awesome, it still runs like a dream and does everything I still need it to which involves alot of photoshop and similar apps, when im at uni I have it hooked upto one of their 23" displays to help with the screen real estate.

    The glossy screen I find is really nice, OK its not perfect for my work but thats what the external and my home PC is for. You do get glare in some situations but to be honest where ever you sit you always have just enough room to adjust or get comftable not to see it just like any other screen's. The glossy is also awesome for films and programs.

    I would not be able to comment as much on the imac due to not having one but I can say that the specs for the price are great the problem is can you justify the price for the lack of portability as you said you will have the option to hook the laptop upto external componants.

    Oh yea one last thing both machines will be able to fly thru all the tasks you have listed with no issues what so ever if my poor little macbook can steam thru photoshop and illustrator im sure they can handle those app's :)
  3. emptyCup macrumors 65816


    Jan 5, 2005
    It seems as though you don't really want or need a portable computer so try to see the iMac if you can. The screen issue is very personal.

    The keyboard is fine. Very similar to the Macbook keyboard (and inexpensive to replace if you really hate it).

    I find the iMac very quiet, and I have not had any heat issues. There is a thread about this you may want to look at.

    The 2.4 GHz model is, obviously, faster. It also comes with a better video card and a larger hard drive. That may be worth $300 to you, but both models will be out of date in a year. Buy for what you need now. The reasonable useful life-span of a Mac is about 3-5 years.

    The speakers are surprisingly good. It won't replace your stereo but it has replaced the stereo radio I used to listen to as I worked.

    Disks getting stuck in the drive has not been a problem (restart while holding the mouse button down if it happens).

    You can make and delete a Boot Camp partition without reformatting the rest of the drive.

    Go see the machines for yourself if you can. Best wishes.

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