Considering iMac purchase - few questions

Discussion in 'iMac' started by twynne, Mar 18, 2008.

  1. twynne macrumors 6502a

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    Apr 21, 2006
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    London, UK
    #1
    Hi all,

    I'm a long-time Mac user, but I'm currently considering replacing a Mac Mini with a new 24" iMac. Before I buy, a few questions I'm hoping some owners might be able to answer easily:

    - Is it possible to connect/run a second display and extend the desktop onto that display? Is there a DVI out on the iMac??

    - I leave my Mac Mini running 24x7 and want to do the same with the iMac. Is it possible to just switch off the display, and if so how?

    Thanks,

    Tom
     
  2. Duflul macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Jul 20, 2007
    #2
    1: yes, you will need a mini-dvi to dvi adapter
    2: not sure, but there must be a simple program to do that out there somewhere, otherwise just let your screen go to sleep after 15 mins or something
     
  3. twynne thread starter macrumors 6502a

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    Apr 21, 2006
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    London, UK
    #3
    Thanks for the quick reply - very helpful! :D

    On a related note, I currently watch films and tv shows from my Mac Mini attached to an LCD TV. If I connect the same via mini-DVI<>DVI, can you force the playback onto the second display? I suppose worst case you could do this with Spaces and assign VLC to the secondary display? Can Frontrow display on the secondary?

    Thanks again,

    Tom
     
  4. LouisBlack macrumors 6502

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    Balham, London
    #4
    Front Row will use the primary display. You can swap which one is primary in system prefs but that will be laborious everytime you want to use it.

    Spaces are virtual desktops and it sees both of your screens as one big one. You can't assign apps to certain screens, only certain spaces... confusing...
     
  5. twynne thread starter macrumors 6502a

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    #5
    Thanks- sounds like it may be a pain if I want to watch things on the secondary screen. At the moment I nearly always use Frontrow. Might have to rethink the whole thing! :rolleyes:
     
  6. MacGuy35 macrumors member

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    Mar 16, 2008
    #6
    sometimes you just have to think outside the box!:D
     
  7. Ged' macrumors newbie

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    Jan 31, 2007
    #7
    System Preferences > Energy Saver > Put display to sleep when computer is inactive for:

    Set to 15 minutes and it should do the job.
     
  8. LouisBlack macrumors 6502

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    #8
    You can assign 'turn off display' to hot corners in Leopard.

    If you're not getting rid of it, why not use the mini as a dedicated media player? Hook it up to your TV and stream from the iMac.
     
  9. G-Force macrumors 6502a

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    Nov 25, 2006
    #9
    In Leopard Ctrl+Shift+Eject will disable the screen. :)
     
  10. Kittychan macrumors regular

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    Wellington, New Zealand
    #10
    Ohh never know that ..... Thanks heapsssss :D
     
  11. twynne thread starter macrumors 6502a

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    #11
    Thanks - Does that mean an externally attached display remains active?
     
  12. islandman macrumors 6502

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    Sep 13, 2006
    #12
    Wish I knew that before!
     
  13. clyde2801 macrumors 601

    clyde2801

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    #13
    What will you be using the displays for? I use mine for comparing documents. Or I'll have a couple of browsers open on one screen and copy and paste material into a word document. And when I have to use a windows program, I'll put windows on one screen and osx on the other. For those uses, the spanning abilities of the imac are great.
     
  14. wordmunger macrumors 603

    wordmunger

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    #14
    Nope -- turns off both screens.
     
  15. twynne thread starter macrumors 6502a

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    #15
    The Mini is mainly used as a media center, and as such I download on it (Azureus) and convert (Visualhub). It also acts as an SSH server for remote access into my network, and has some home control software installed. As it has all the media, it's also a 'server' to the AppleTV located in another room.

    I've always loved the look of the iMac and have considered it for a while. The main issue now is that I would want to keep my flat screen TV in the room and continue to use it for viewing downloaded content as the display is larger. I would (sometimes) want to be able to disable the iMac display when watching something on the other, and it's not clear if this is possible at the moment.

    One advantage I would have though - I often find that I need to remote into the Mini (from a Macbook Air) to manipulate files or work with one of the apps. At the moment I have to exit/minimise Frontrow or whatever media application I'm using. With an iMac and external display I could perform these activities on the 'primary' (iMac) display without interrupting the process on the external.
     
  16. renegad3 macrumors member

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    Feb 3, 2008
    #16
    You may wish to check out XBMC for Mac OS X @ osxbmc.com

    It has all of the features you are looking for in this thread, as well as many others.

    Also you can easily sleep the display on the iMac, yet leave apps running in the background. It is adjustable from system prefs.
     
  17. twynne thread starter macrumors 6502a

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    #17
    Thanks - I have downloaded XBMC but I think it's still early days in some ways. It didn't seem very intuitive when trying to point it to my existing media, and (currently) you really need a full keyboard as the remote support is dodgy at best. I'm certain all of this will improve with age.

    Correct me if I'm wrong, but I don't think it's possible to sleep the iMac screen and still watch something on a secondary display (even with XBMC).

    Thanks for the advice either way. :)
     
  18. renegad3 macrumors member

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    Feb 3, 2008
    #18
    As of 0.4.5 you can blank any display that you are not using XBMC on.

    So, yes, you can blank the iMac screen while still watching the secondary display. And vice versa should you so desire.

    As for remote support, it currently has apple remote supprt(which is somewhat limited due to lack of buttons on the apple remote), but if you happen to have(or dont mind buying one as they are relatively cheap) an external IR receiver you can use just about any remote and map the keys. I currently use a Harmony 1000 myself.

    Adding media is no harder than mounting a drive/share in OS X, just click add, browse to the source and name it, its that simple.

    You do not even have to unrar it if you dont want. Will play directly from the archive. It will also play 1080p HD content. It really is a great piece of software, even if you consider it to be beta. Yes it does have some kinks, but it is very actively being worked on, and gets stronger each release.

    Anyhow just something for you to consider.
     
  19. twynne thread starter macrumors 6502a

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    London, UK
    #19
    Well for now I've decided against the iMac and I'm going to stick with the Mini (which I've now replaced as the previous one died last week!) This is mainly down to cost (as I can get 2 Mini's for the price of an iMac, with change) and the fact that I don't need a separate display in either room.

    I will play around more with XBMC though. The HD support seems worth it, as does the ability to use a different remote. I already have the Harmony 885. Is there a way to make that work with the built-in IR on the Mini or would you still need a separate receiver. If so, which one do you have? Is there a good reference somewhere on setting this up??

    Thanks,

    Tom
     
  20. renegad3 macrumors member

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    Feb 3, 2008
    #20
    As far as I know you can use the built in IR receiver, BUT, you need additional software such as remote buddy in order for it to work. So I guess its a toss up as to how you wish to approach it. In either case some remapping of the key functions is required. I personally had previously purchased a keyspan express remote kit for use with airtunes. Since moving to a mini for media, I just used the IR receiver from that. You can find USB IR receivers very cheap by themselves.

    As for setting it up you can go to the XBMC forums(xbmc.org) there are some posts there(some specifically for your remote as I recall too), as well as pretty good documentation in XBMC itself.
     
  21. capran macrumors member

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    Nov 28, 2003
    #21
    I just got a new 24" iMac myself, to replace my old G4 Mini. I was holding out because I hoped vainly for a Mac that could also be my gaming computer, but that just won't happen.

    I had thought about getting a Mac Pro with a single quad-core and an 8800GT, but even with EDU discount that's around $2300. Way too much, heck the 24" is steep too, but I kind of wanted a bigger screen too.

    I got a Mini-DVI to DVI so I could hook up my old 20" Dell LCD, and got an extra gig from a guy I work with.

    So for now, I think the iMac will be my primary computer, but I still have my home-made gaming PC hiding behind it and use my KVM so I can still use the Dell on either.

    And, I had been hoping Apple would update the iMac since it's now 255 days old, but I don't think that will happen until late summer again. Even if they do release something incredible then, I can always sell this one for a decent amount.
     

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