Can you give me advice, please?

Discussion in 'iMac' started by whaaat, May 6, 2008.

  1. whaaat macrumors newbie

    May 6, 2008
    Hello, I've been using a PC all my life and I'm going to be switching to an iMac fairly soon. First of all, I'd like to thank all you guys for all the countless helpful posts as you don't get the recognition from all the lurkers that you deserve.

    I'm very unknowledgeable (is that even a word?) when it comes to computer mechanics so I really need your help! I use my computer for:

    Email, web surfing, downloading a LOT of crap, IM, music, movies and I use it for school work. I would like to play the occasional game like GTA IV and Halo.

    My main uses are downloading and watching movies on it, but I enjoy doing most things on my computer. I don't use hardcore video editing software or intense graphic stuff, but I do convert video format for iPod etc.

    I have enough money to get the top of the line, top specs best iMac, but I don't know if it would be worth it if I never max out the processor or graphics card. I will also be getting to 4 GB RAM from crucial. I'm hoping the computer will last a couple years, so should I max out so it will cope well with future software?

    Should I upgrade the internal hardrive of the iMac or just get an external?

    Also, why do people recommend getting the Time Capsule so much, do iMac wipe themselves often?

    Thank you so much for reading and I hope you can help me out as much as I've seen you help others!!
  2. thejadedmonkey macrumors 604


    May 28, 2005
    Have you ever accidently deleted something of importance?
    Have you ever had a hard drive crash on you?
    Has something ever happened that caused you to reinstall Windows?

    If you can answer yes to any of these questions, that's why you need to use Time Machine. Time Capsule is just a wireless way of doing it, but not a necessity (however, if you have a mac laptop it's much better then having to plug it in to backup).
  3. GoCubsGo macrumors Nehalem


    Feb 19, 2005
    Time Capsule to me is worthless if you don't use a laptop. That's pretty much my take on it. Just another fancy product that we're all going to want eventually because it is Apple. :)

    I believe you should try and upgrade the internal drive if you can but also keep in mind having an external isn't the worst idea either. You'll want that for Time Machine. Use Time Machine if you have it or use some other third party software, but just back up.

    I think that overall you're really on the right track. I would start with the iMac, upgrade the internal drive, buy additional memory from a 3rd party vendor and enjoy your new machine.
  4. whaaat thread starter macrumors newbie

    May 6, 2008
    Oh, I see. Does OSX have a recycle bin similar to Windows?
    Why does the Hardrive crash? :confused:

    Sorry, I'm a bit of a moron

    thanks for your reply though :)

    Thank you Jessica, what Processor/graphics option do you recommend I should get?
  5. digitalnicotine macrumors 65816


    Jan 11, 2008
    Congrats on making the switch. The iMac sounds like it will meet your needs well. However, instead of going with the top of the line, you may want to consider the midlevel (24"), and adding an eyeTV Hybrid + Turbo.264 in order to rip for iPod without taxing your CPU, and also allow you to watch TV, and HDTV (over the air) with recording. You can also record your video games, or play them through your iMac screen with the eyeTV, but check their site for more details. I know some gamers like to record gameplay.

    You're right to max out your ram from a 3rd party vendor, and as far as hard drive space, I'd get a good external for backups and storage. It's not so much an issue with system crashing and losing data (never had that happen with a Mac), as a safeguard for important data, and extending your storage space. You didn't mention your ISP setup, whether it's wireless or wired, and which router you use, (if any). The Time Capsule has an integrated router that has the same capabilities as the Airport Extreme Base Station. The difference lies in the compatability with Time Machine, and the integrated hard drive (aesthetically more appealing?).

    Those who wish to have an integrated back up system and wireless router are prime candidates for Time Capsule. Those who already have a router, and just want to add network storage, or directly connected external hard drives have no real need for the Time Capsule.

    If you're interested in NAS (network attached storage), and don't currently have a capable router, than it's a consideration, as well as the Airport Extreme Base Station. But not both, as that'd be redundant. If you don't have more than one networked computers that require access to a particular hard drive, than directly attaching it to your iMac makes more sense, since it's a desktop system. NAS is generally intended for those with multiple systems accessing the same external drive, or laptop users who need portability.

    Good luck to you, and ask lots of questions so you can make the most informed decisions. The midrange iMac I suggested will last a few years for sure, as it was just released. Especially if you add Apple Care (don't buy it from Apple, check eBay). Hope this helped. :)
  6. ewilson6 macrumors 6502

    Nov 30, 2006
    you can also install windows on new iMac via bootcamp and get the best of both worlds.

  7. whaaat thread starter macrumors newbie

    May 6, 2008
    Thank you so much for such a detailed response, I feel so priviledged!

    I never considered the Time Machine as a wireless router, but it is such a good idea, as I am due to get a wireless router when I get my new iMac. What are the other advantages/disadvantages to it, apart from the obvious wireless backup?

    bump :)
  8. drommarn macrumors newbie

    Mar 24, 2008
    (Hope you don't mind if I hitch on you thread, but I have similiar questions seeing as how I'm getting an iMac in June)

    Is there any relevant different between the 2.8 and the 3.06GHz versions (both w. 4GB RAM and the 512MB 8800GT) gaming-wise? It would be nice to save those 180$, and maybe get a bigger hdd, seeing as how I have a pretty big video and audio collection.
  9. whaaat thread starter macrumors newbie

    May 6, 2008
  10. digitalnicotine macrumors 65816


    Jan 11, 2008
    Time Capsule is the actual router/back-up hard drive. Time Machine is the software included in Leopard to back up your files. If you want network attached storage for backing up, and don't have a router already, it may be a nice solution for you. You can read more about it here.

    As for the speed difference between the new iMac 24" systems, it's minimal, but there are other factors. The differences between these computers (if you get the pre-configured model), are as follows:

    • Slightly faster CPU
    • 500 gig hard drive
    • NVIDIA GeForce 8800 GS with 512MB memory
    • $400 cost increase
    • Slightly slower CPU
    • 320 gig hard drive
    • ATI Radeon HD 2600 PRO with 256MB memory
    • $400 savings
    With graphics intensive gaming (Crysis, etc), the increased video ram would be a factor, but regular or medium intensity games will work on both systems nicely.

    The increased hard drive size is a factor if you have large video/music libraries you want to store on your main drive (why?), or intend to edit video or install a vast amount of data and software. With many applications, an external hard drive can compensate when used to store your music/video/photo/loop catalogs, making the 320 gig hard drive at least sufficient initially.

    Here is something important to keep in mind. If you configure your iMac on the website as a "build to order", you will not be able to return your iMac to Apple for a refund (less 10% restocking fee). They don't take returns on systems that have been specially configured outside of their pre-configured options, whether purchased at the Apple store, or on the Apple website.

    If you intend to buy a build to order system, keep this in mind, and be certain of what you want before purchasing. The worst case scenario, is you regret your purchase, and end up losing money when you sell it on eBay or in the marketplace on MR. If you buy a pre-configured system, you can still return it within the 14 days for a refund (less 10% restocking fee).

    For casual gaming, web surfing and email, and general applications, you may want to consider saving the $400 for other items, and getting the 2.8ghz model. If you intend to keep the iMac as your main computer for more than 2 years, you may want to get the 3.06ghz model, for longevity, as games and software become more and more resource hungry over time. Having more video ram will matter more after 2 years.

    The iMac is minimally upgradeable, in that you can (and should) max out the ram to 4 gigs in matching pairs. Look here for information about upgrading/purchasing your ram. You can also upgrade the hard drive, but for this, you should have an Apple authorized technician perform the upgrade in order to preserve your warranty. Any further internal upgrades are not advisable.

    Apple Care is a good investment if you intend to use the iMac for more than the 1 year of it's included warranty. It extends it to 3 years from purchase date, and can be transferred to a new owner should you sell within those 3 years. You can read more about it here, and can find it for cheaper at eBay. It can be purchased anytime within your first year of ownership.

    External hard drives are a good option for storing your video/audio/photo collections. I suggest using your firewire 800 port, as it's faster than USB 2.0, and many external drives come with the option of using either with the same drive, in case you have other computers, or use it on your network. I like the Western Digital MyBook line, as well as G-tech, and Mercury on the Go.

    I'm confident you will both be very happy with the iMac, regardless of which model you purchase, as they are both pretty awesome. Since you're purchasing soon, and they've just been updated, you won't have to worry about them becoming obsolete in June. Naturally, Apple will update the iMac within the time you own it, but that's always the case with computers, and you'll realize your machine is still very efficient regardless of the shiny new releases yet to come. This is the best time to buy, unless you are willing to wait up to a year (no way!). :)

    I wish you both good luck, and if you have anymore questions, don't hesitate to ask. :)

  11. PNW macrumors regular

    Feb 7, 2007
    Something that should probably b e brought up because it has caused confusion in the past. Buying BTO voids your ability to take the mac back because say your cat doesn't like it. It doesn't void the warranty. So in the extremely odd chance your BTO mac has a problem you can still take it back. I'm not exactly sure how that would play out if you were say not happy with the screen gradient. In my mind that should be a warranty issue but others might disagree.
    For gaming you're definitely going to want the NVIDIA GeForce 8800 GS with 512MB memory. If not now you will in a few years, and you can't upgrade the GPU later. a little more HD space couldn't hurt either. My best guess on the CPU is that with the 3.06 you might get an extra year out of the iMac but then you might never notice. You certainly aren't going to notice now.

    Backups are a good thing because bad things happen, even to good operating systems. If you are planning on buying a wireless router and an external HD then Time Capsule makes sense, especially if you have other computers you'd like to give access to the HD or if you don't want the external HD cluttering up the desk. If you already have a good external HD or router then you may not want to spend the money on the Time Capsule.
  12. digitalnicotine macrumors 65816


    Jan 11, 2008
    Uh, yeah I just said that in previous post. :confused: :rolleyes:
  13. PNW macrumors regular

    Feb 7, 2007
    No all you said was that you couldn't return it, which has in the past been misinterpreted to mean not even if it malfunctions, hence my clarification
  14. digitalnicotine macrumors 65816


    Jan 11, 2008
    I see your point, thanks for clarifying. But if you buy a BTO and it malfunctions, Apple will most likely repair under warranty rather than refund. The likelihood of getting a lemon is low, but the warranty covers you regardless of whether you get a BTO or a pre-configured model.
  15. whaaat thread starter macrumors newbie

    May 6, 2008
    You guys are absolutely amazing. I'm so tempted to buy the 3 GHz one. I think I'll just go with the 2.8 and get two pairs of sneakers with the $400 savings :D

    I'll definitely look into the Time Capsule as well :) Thank you so much!
  16. artsyfartsy macrumors newbie

    May 12, 2008

    Dude, I don't know about you but I use for all my upgrading. Their website is super easy and prices are good.
  17. D4F Guest


    Sep 18, 2007
    Planet Earth
    Be careful. If you play games the 2600 will show it's limitations way faster than you can imagine.
    At least add the 8800 to the 2.8 package as I am 100% sure you will complain in a very near future. Unless you are happy with playing half assed looking graphics.

    The 8800 is smoking the 2600 in this field by lightyears.

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