Buying iMac - best way to configure for Windows?

Discussion in 'Buying Tips and Advice' started by landers10, Jul 20, 2008.

  1. landers10 macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Jul 20, 2008
    Location:
    San Diego, CA
    #1
    I almost bought an iMac today, but got overwhelmed with everything the salesperson at Best Buy told me I had to buy - in the end the quote was $3900. I am not sure I trust him to tell me honestly what I need (I can already delete the $670 in GeekSquad assistance and the extra warranty plan he wanted to sell me).

    This is what they told us we would need:

    iMac 2.8GHz w/ 24" display ($1799)
    wireless keyboard ($79)
    wireles mouse ($69)
    Time Machine ($299)
    HP 7280 printer ($259)
    HP printer cartridge ($35)
    Microsoft Office installed ($129)
    Vista Ultimate Full ($319)
    Best Buy 3 yr protection plan ($269)
    Geek Squad installation ($189)
    Geek Squad network installation ($219)

    Our 5 year old Dell Dimension desktop died. Figured it was a good time to switch to Mac (they seem so cool!). This is especially appealing since the new Macs now have the capability to run Windows, if necessary. My husband and I are lawyers and work in PC environments. We need to be able to access some windows programs.

    Questions:

    1. We were told that Citrix is not compatible with a Mac, and would have to be accessed on the Windows side of our iMac. Is this true? Besides Citrix, there are a few programs that we will occasionally use that are PC-only.

    2. What is the best (and least expensive) way to configure the computer for occasional Windows use? From websites/forums I have looked at, it appears Windows XP will work as well, and it seems less expensive than Vista. Is there a reason I would choose to spend so much extra on Vista? I see mention of programs such as Bootcamp, Parallels and Fusion Ware (I think that was what it was called). Is one better than the other for our purposes?

    3. Does anyone have an opinion on the list of must-haves we got from Best Buy, and what should not be on the list, or what should be (and is not)?

    We are not big gamers. Mostly the computer will be used for web surfing, iTunes, photos and maybe (in the future) videos/movies. We should be using the Mac operating system for all of that. We do draft documents in Word, but they are not very complicated, so it seems we could use Word on either the Mac side, or the Windows side, depending on your advice.

    Any advice would be appreciated!! Trying not to be a gullible buyer . . .
     
  2. r.j.s Moderator emeritus

    r.j.s

    Joined:
    Mar 7, 2007
    Location:
    Texas
    #2
    iMac 2.8GHz w/ 24" display ($1799)
    wireless keyboard ($79)
    wireles mouse ($69)
    Time Machine ($299)
    HP 7280 printer ($259)
    HP printer cartridge ($35)
    Microsoft Office installed ($129)
    Vista Ultimate Full ($319)
    Best Buy 3 yr protection plan ($269)
    Geek Squad installation ($189)
    Geek Squad network installation ($219)

    IIRC, the iMac comes with a wireless keyboard and mouse, so you can cross those off the list.

    The Time Capsule is not really needed, it is a wireless router and built in harddrive for time machine. If you already have a working router, any external drive will do.

    The printer is up to you.

    Office, they are probably quoting you for the Windows version. Which will you use more? Mac or windows version of office? Chances are you only need one, and it is easy enough to install yourself.

    You don't really need Vista Ultimate, you can use Home Premium just as well.

    I'd go with applecare before I go with any warranty from best buy.

    The installations are up to you, do you need them? Or can you set up the iMac, it's not that hard, and a wireless network.
     
  3. r.j.s Moderator emeritus

    r.j.s

    Joined:
    Mar 7, 2007
    Location:
    Texas
    #3
    1. I believe there is a Citrix client out there somewhere, some Googling may find out more.

    2. Depends on your needs, bootcamp is free (besides the cost of windows) but requires a restart to use windows. VMWare Fusion and Parallels both run windows side by side with OS X. All three can use XP or Vista.
     
  4. ColinEC macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Apr 4, 2008
    #4
    I would recommend purchasing a Mac from the Apple online store rather than Best Buy (who needs the GeekSquad to setup your Mac... you just put the batteries in the wireless mouse and keyboard, plug in the power and you're set!).

    Since you're not going to be doing very much gaming, only more casual computer use, I would go for the cheaper 20" iMac instead (w/2GB of RAM and a 500GB Hard Drive for photos, movies, and music).

    Buy a copy of Windows XP from NewEgg.com rather than Windows Vista. Ultimate comes with unnecessary extras, software you may want to use might not be compatible with Vista just yet, and Windows XP is a lot cheaper.

    You may be interested in getting Microsoft Office 2008 for Mac, but check out iWork '08 (it comes with the Mac first) before you buy Office - you may like iWork '08 instead of Microsoft Office.



    Setting up Windows on your Mac is fairly easy. You can use Boot Camp to install Windows "natively" (you have to boot into Windows to use it), or you can use virtualization software to run Windows from within Mac OS X (such as Parallels or VMWare Fusion).


    Sounds a bit confusing, but in the end it'll be worth it - brand new Macs are a lot of fun :D
     
  5. r.j.s Moderator emeritus

    r.j.s

    Joined:
    Mar 7, 2007
    Location:
    Texas
    #5
    After more research, it looks like the iMac only comes with wired keyboard and mouse. You'll have to decide which you need.
     
  6. AppleGuy1980 macrumors member

    Joined:
    Jun 7, 2008
    #6
    Buy from Apple

    I think you'd be much better off just buying from an Apple Store or online. You'd get a free printer and not have to buy one, and a free mouse and keyboard (though not wireless).

    Time capsule is probably not necessary (I assume that's what you meant by Time Machine), and also don't buy Vista ultimate. If you just need to do some Windows stuff, run a few programs, buy Home Basic. You can get the other features that Ultimate would give you (Media, etc.) in OS X much more easily.

    So, all you really need to buy is the iMac itself ($1799) and Home Basic ($199). You can get AppleCare too for $169 if you really feel the need for a warranty.

    Finally, I would suggest that you buy a Refurb from Apple, it gives you substantial savings on exactly the same computer.
     
  7. landers10 thread starter macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Jul 20, 2008
    Location:
    San Diego, CA
    #7
    Thanks

    Thanks for all of the responses. They have been very helpful.
     
  8. Crunz macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Feb 14, 2003
    #8
    Wow that's a meaty post, but i'll try to tackle it. First a few comments, as i'm sure others have said (well you should have), The guy at best buy seems to have included every addon it was possible to get to make it cost the most money. Looking up those prices look quite high and im confused why you've listed time machine, is there something im missing? isn't Time machine free with Leopard which is installed on the imac anyway?

    Unless you already had a wireless keyboard and mouse & loved the idea then i would stick with the wired version because of the low battery life on them.

    As for the questions you have poised:

    1) I'm not sure what Citrix is, sorry.

    2) I'd still choose windows xp as its cheap and has the least problems with drivers, but for future proofing vista would be better (5 more years down the line). i'd definately use boot camp and not vmware or paralells to install windows because boot camp is free and means you are using Windows natively. In English that means it'll work better and you'll be able to do more things. As far as Vista ultimate goes, the home edition should suit as you appear to be a casual user.

    3) What should and shouldn't be on the list?
    Wireless keyboard and mouse is your choice (read above). Time machine is included for free in leopard i thought. The fact that they offer a "best buy protection plan" would cause me to tell them where they could shove it. Insist on an Apple Care Protection plan or buy the machine elsewhere. Geek Squad seems to be nothing but a tech support program and maybe virus protection. Either way i'd Use norton systemworks for virus protection if you're going to pay or AVG for a free one. Use forums like this for tech support or ring apple if its a fault as thats what the Applecare protection plan is for. If you want Microsoft Office on Mac OSX and Windows You'd need to buy two seperate versions of the same software im afraid.

    I hope that sorts out any questions you had. I'd take the advice of others and buy it through the Apple online store too, you'd get more support or visit a local Apple store if you want to speak to a real Apple employee that knows what they're talking about.
     
  9. ShiggyMiyamoto macrumors 6502a

    ShiggyMiyamoto

    Joined:
    Mar 29, 2004
    Location:
    Just outside Boston, MA.
    #9
    landers10, never EVER buy Apple hardware from anything other than an Apple store. They do indeed, like you experienced, try and offer you stupid extras that only they benefit from. I know that sounds negative, but they make it so THEY have to set it up. I know what I'm doing (on OS X and Windows XP, to some extent on Vista), so I wouldn't be in trouble, but for most novices it would confuse the crap out of them.

    ~Just my two cents~
     

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