Coming back to Apple

Discussion in 'Buying Tips and Advice' started by GoldBlue, May 5, 2011.

  1. GoldBlue macrumors newbie

    May 5, 2011
    Need some advice. That last Apple I used was an Apple IIe back when I was a kid. Still miss playing some of those games, but I digress. I am going to switch to a new iMac. Wife has an iphone and kids have 4th gen ipods so I have a little familiarity.

    I currently have 6 year old HP Windows machine. 250 gig HD, Intel Core processor, slow as molasis.

    I have decided to purchase the 21 "" model and would like advice on which one and if I should add anything. ie buy the $1199 model but upgrade x.

    Does the $300 justifiy the 500 increase in HD with better chip and graphics chip?

    I was thinking of using buying the one-to-one sevice becasue my current Windows machine has 100 gigs of itunes music and a ton of valuable (to me) pictures. Worth it?

    I have 3 grade school kids that don't do much gaming (yet) other than on our PS3 and Wii. They might in the future.

    I also want to get a word processor program for them. Is iWork sufficient or should I get MS Office? Will it be sufficient when they are in High School. iWork files give any problems when transfering to a Office Windows machine?

    The main thing I want the computer for is as a media hub for my family. iphoto, itunes, perhaps some HD video taken from my Canon T1i. Also for web browsing and the schoool projects.

    Finally, should I purchase apple care?

    I expect this computer to last my family for at least 6 years. (I hope)

    Thanks in advance for any thoughts.
  2. DeaconGraves macrumors 65816


    Apr 25, 2007
    Dallas, TX
    Welcome back! :)

    Whether to upgrade the HD is a completely personal preference. Do you need more storage or think you will? Then upgrade. If you're thinking you'll be downloading more music and video with your new iMac, then it might be worth the upgrade.

    In my opinion, the processor and graphics upgrade are worth it.

    I have no experience with one-to-one. Honestly there area lot of guides and information on the internet to assist with transfering files from a PC. If you consider yourself technically inept and want to be super precautions, go with one-to-one. But I think its probably the first expense you should cut.

    This is my personal preference, but if you or your kids are going to be sharing office files with other people, go with office. iWork can open office files fine, and it can easily export files to office, but you do ocassionaly see a small formatting change in the process. But if all the kids are doing is working on documents at home and printing them out, then iWork is fine. You can also purchase the iWork apps separately on the App Store to save some money (if you don't need Numbers or Keynote).

    Don't feel pressured to buy AppleCare now. It's nice to have, but you have a full year to purchase it. If you start having issues with your iMac within that first year, it might be a good idea to grab it in case something else goes wrong.
  3. nefan65 macrumors 65816


    Apr 15, 2009
    Well, I don't think you'll see a lot in terms of the i5 vs. the i7 for what you're doing. I'd get it with the std, 4GB, and upgrade to 8GB later if you think you'll need it. My guess is no, but don't buy what you don't need...

    As for iWork vs. Office debate; hard to say. We use iWork with no issues at all. I have Office through work, and honestly for home use, and my son @ school, we all use iWork. It's fast, easy, and simple.

    All the other stuff should be fine. Camera's, etc. should all work out of the box. Don't listen to some; iPhoto is great, and works for what it's intended for...if you need more, then go to Aperture, or something like it.

    Lastly; 6 years? Hard to tell. Not knowing what you're expectations are. If you're expecting it to last 6 years, then you may want to go to the i7 to extend the processor out a bit. I have no doubt that the OS will run fine, and that the system should last close to 6 years, and perform okay. But it's no guarantee...

    Oops! I guess this is the last item, not that Applecare; yes...definitely worth the cost. I'd get it closer to the end of year one though, that'll give 4 really. If you get it now, there's overlap. At least that's how it used to work?
  4. aross99 macrumors 68000


    Dec 17, 2006
    East Lansing, MI
    Since you want the computer to be a media hub for your family, and you already have 100GB of media, I would go for the larger hard drive. Your media needs are only going to increase - especially with pictures and video from your T1i.

    On the Office/iWorks issue I have to agree that if you are going to be exchanging files with office users (i.e. from work, family, etc), then just get office.

    It will help for the kids also, when they are working on files for school. My kids were always working on Word Documents, Powerpoint Documents, etc. After spending alot of time on the documents at home, they need to know they work at school on the Windows machines...

    On the subject of Applecare, this will provide you with two additional years of warranty coverage - after your warranty ends. You have to purchase it before the warranty ends, but it doesn't matter if you buy it on day 1 or day 365 - you get the same amount of coverage either way.

    Remember Applecare doesn't cover accidental damage. Only warranty type issues, such as a dead motherboard, bad LCD, etc. Sometimes I think you do get preferential treatment at the Apple store though if you have purchased Applecare.

    I have had very good luck with my Apple machines, so I don't tend to purchase it. That said, I have a pair of iMac G5's (2006 vintage) that could probably been repaired out of warranty with Applecare.

    I would tend to agree on waiting to purchase it if you have any doubts. Give yourself 10 months or so to live with the machine, and see how it is working for you. Read the forums here and see how others with the same models are doing. If you are comfortable with it then you don't have to purchase it. If you have any concerns, then feel free to purchase it for some additional piece of mind.

    One last thing - make sure you purchase an external hard drive if you don't already have one. Set it up with Time Machine (included with your Mac) or the backup program of your choice, and make sure all of that media is backed up. If you can, get two drives, and keep one of them at work, or somewhere else offsite, just incase something happens at your home.

    Good luck with your new Mac!
  5. PatrickCocoa macrumors 6502a

    Dec 2, 2008
    Here's what I did

    I bought my iMac in October 2009, here are my thoughts:

    1. I started with the $1,199 model and did a few upgrades.

    2. I upgraded to the 2 TB internal HD. I bought an external 3 TB USB drive and dedicated it entirely to Time Machine. I haven't looked at my hard drive space in a year and a half, so my brain is free to think about other things. Also, I have no worries about getting that old file or email that I deleted because "I'll never need this again".

    3. I didn't upgrade the CPU. The basic model is fine for almost all games.

    4. I bought Apple Care and used it extensively the first three or four months - not for hardware problems but for "this doesn't work" problems (I had a problem with iPhoto Faces and a few other issues). I like Apple Care as it removes one more cause of worry.

    5. One-on-one I didn't use. I'd advise it if you're a "my time is worth something" person like I am. One technique I use is to consider my free time worth about $50 an hour. If I can save a couple of hours swimming through the internet for solutions to problems by using one-on-one, I'd go for it.

    6. Just get Microsoft Office. It's the standard and if you don't get it, someone will send you, your wife, or your kids a Word file that just looks weird when you open it in Pages. Same for Excel and Numbers.
  6. blevins321 macrumors 68030

    Dec 24, 2010
    Winnipeg, MB
    It overlaps regardless. Applecare adds 2 years to the end of your factory warranty. It also makes it so that you have the full 3 years of phone support (unlimited) instead of just one call within the first 90 days. If you think you might need help doing anything, the phone support is very much worth it; even if nothing ever goes wrong hardware-wise with your machine. One thing - unless you get the student discount somehow, don't buy Applecare from Apple. Do it on Amazon and you can save some money.
  7. trip1ex, May 5, 2011
    Last edited: May 5, 2011

    trip1ex macrumors 68000

    Jan 10, 2008
    NO Apple Care.

    Just get the base model.

    The nearly $500 you save is half the cost of the base model. Use it to upgrade on a rainy day whether that be a new iMac or external hard drive. (Also, speaking from experience, replacing your internal iMac hard drive is easy enough.)

    Wouldn't worry about whether programs will be good when your grade school kids are in high school.

    No need for one-to-one unless you're computer phobic. I think if you buy your iMac in the store they will transfer data for free. Very easy to transfer music from iTunes on windows to iTunes on Mac over your home network. It's a hands-off overnight project.

    For help on using a Mac just watch the ton of nice video tutorials they have online at
  8. willieva macrumors 6502

    Mar 12, 2010
    500meg is a small hard drive for a family in this day and age. Upgrading is worth it, even if the extra processing speed won't make a lot of difference.

    If the school your kids go to use windoze, then you should consider getting a windoze box for your kids. You could turn your old laptop into a virtual machine and keep using it on the mac, buy a copy of windoze 7 and install it on your mac, or get a cheap computer to go along with the mac. Having the same version of word and powerpoint at home and school could make life easier.
  9. aross99 macrumors 68000


    Dec 17, 2006
    East Lansing, MI
    I don't think this is necessary. My kids' schools have always been Windows only, yet they have only had Mac's at home. They learned to use (and dislike) Windows at school, and used their Macs at home.

    The differences between Office on the Mac and Office on Windows was never a big deal - they don't get that deep into it for that to be an issue.

    YMMV, but that has been my experience with two kids using Macs from elementary school through High School...
  10. thejadedmonkey macrumors 604


    May 28, 2005
    I'd get MS Office. iWorks works, but it's not office. and everyone uses office. even when people don't use Office, they save it as an office .docx formal. Plus, iWorks can have compatibility problems at times. Not often, but I'd rather not take the chance.

    I have iWorks, Office 08, and Office 2011, I find myself naturally using Office more often for college, to the point where I didn't even install iWorks last time i wiped my computer.

    And I'm not sure about upgrading the CPU, but definitely get the larger hard drive. Computers have come a very very long way in the past 6 years, and hard drive space goes faster than it used to.
  11. ivelnal macrumors newbie

    May 5, 2011
    use open office, it is free.

    You can save money for your kid :)
  12. MBP13 macrumors 6502


    Mar 13, 2011

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