Hello from the new guy

KevKaos

macrumors 6502
Original poster
Sep 1, 2006
400
0
Baltimore, Maryland USA
Don't really have a question, but I would surely accept any hellpful insights you folks may have. I am new to this site, but I belong to two others sites (different topics) that use the same format. I am a PC owner and have been for a number of years but I am very serious about switching to Mac in the near future. I used to work on old Apple SE' and Apple II's many years ago at work and though I aways loved them, I just couldn't afford them back then. Now, I am basically fed up with Windows and generic PCs. I got my hands on the beta release of Windows Vista and decided that I would try it out. Problem is that I couldn't load it on my laptop or my main PC because of an incompatible disk drive controller. This has happened to me before with a different Dell machine. Couldn't load Linux for the same reason. Anyway, you get the idea. Like I said, I am just plain fed up. The other problem I have is that I have a one year old Panasonic Digital video camera, but I can't seem to get the video off of the camera cleanly because of not having firewire or USB 2.0. Added the USB 2.0, but it is rather dodgy so it makes it not even worth bothering with. The main things I do on my computers these days are, working in the forums like this, video conferencing with my kids who got moved 600 miles away from me, digital photo printing and minor photo manipulation, rip my own CD's and burning backup CD's or putting MP3's on my MP3 player. A couple things that I REALLY want to do with my next computer are: Use Rosetta Stone software to help learn Spanish, and start doing some fairly lightweight editing of my digital video tapes and put them on DVD's. I will still have my old PC for the rare times that I might want to play around with a PC game, but I don't do that much. My existing system has a Dell 17" flat panel (it's baically a Samsung) that accepts DVI input. I will probably use that with my next syetem. I went to the local Apple store and met with a very helpful rep. We talked about these things and this is what he recommends. Wondering what you folks think.

Mac mini 1.66 Intel Dual Core
Internal Super drive
2GB RAM
Keyboard and Mouse
AppleCare (for the extended warranty)
maybe Procare
Remote possibility of .Mac but what I have read doesn't make it sound worth the cost.
 

EricNau

Moderator emeritus
Apr 27, 2005
10,648
31
San Francisco, CA
Hi :)


Spend an extra $150 to $250 and you can get:

- 17" iMac 1.83 GHz Intel Core Duo
- 1 GB RAM (or 2 GB, but you can upgrade later)
- 160 GB HDD
- SuperDrive
- AppleCare

You won't be sorry (especially if you want to do any video editing). Also, I would save $100 and skip on ProCare.
 

mduser63

macrumors 68040
Nov 9, 2004
3,038
30
Salt Lake City, UT
The mini is a good choice, but also make sure you take a look at the iMacs. I'm not saying the iMac is necessarily a better choice, but you should know your options. I don't think I'd get Procare either, but it's up to you of course. For what you've mentioned, I think either system should do fine.

Besides the slightly faster CPU, the iMac does have a bigger, faster hard drive, a more powerful video card, more ports, and of course a built-in screen. It's also more expensive...

I sort of think 2 GB of RAM is overkill for you. 1 GB should be fine. Additionally, Apple charges too much for their upgrade to 2 GB, but the upgrade to 1 GB is pretty reasonably priced. I'd say get 1GB from Apple, then if you ever want to upgrade, just do it yourself later on.
 

Xander562

macrumors 68000
Apr 2, 2006
1,628
0
KevKaos said:
WOW. So far both of you have had really interesting input and opinions. I think I will go look at the cost of the iMac again.
and if THATs too much, consider the Educational stores (if you qualify) and i've never heard bad things from the refurbished store, they offer GREAt discounts, the only downside i've heard of, was that you dont get the cool Apple Box. (it's just a basic brown one)
 

EricNau

Moderator emeritus
Apr 27, 2005
10,648
31
San Francisco, CA
KevKaos said:
WOW. So far both of you have had really interesting input and opinions. I think I will go look at the cost of the iMac again.
If you are willing to spend that much for a Mac mini, I really recommend the iMac for just a little more. Don't get me wrong, the mini is a good computer, but after a certain point, the iMac becomes the better deal.
 

mkrishnan

Moderator emeritus
Jan 9, 2004
29,777
12
Grand Rapids, MI, USA
I don't have particular advice beyond (aside from using paragraphs! :eek: ;) :D ) what was said, but welcome and good luck! :)

I think actually that the all-in-one with no cables and no junk is part of the charm of the Apple experience. But the Mini with the Dell hardware will also be a very nice experience.

The only thing I'd say regarding the RAM is that, as pointed out, Apple RAM tends to be priced above market value. BUT.... RAM is harder to install in the Mini than most Macs. You sound like you'd be comfortable with it from what you describe. So go for it. But otherwise, 2GB might be overkill, but RAM is always a good future-proofing investment.

And finally I'm sure you'll enjoy the fact that getting Vista to run on Mac hardware is easier than it is on a lot of Wintel hardware. :D

Welcome again! :)
 

tristan

macrumors 6502a
Jul 19, 2003
765
0
high-rise in beautiful bethesda
The value of your used 17" Dell is under $100, so I don't know if I would let using that impact your decision. Your best options are (IMO):

Mac Mini Core Duo + 19" or 20" external LCD
17" or 20" iMac

A refurb iMac G5 might be a good value too
 

FFTT

macrumors 68030
Apr 17, 2004
2,952
0
A Stoned Throw From Ground Zero
If you're serious about video editing, you'll want the extra horsepower, video performance and storage of the iMac.

Buy your extra RAM from Datamem.com, macsales .com or Crucial.
All three are reliable trusted vendors of lifetime Apple guaranteed RAM. at prices far lower than Apple. Installing you own RAM is very easy.

Hold off for 2 weeks to see what happens after Apple's next Paris Expo.

The rumor buzz is that iMacs may upgrade to better performing Core Duo 2 processors.

If so you'll have a choice between upgrading or selecting a current model
at a good savings.

If you are eligable for the Apple education discounts, be sure to price your system with that in mind.

Otherwise, you can save on a great system buying the latest current model
as a refurb.

This would get you into a 20" Core Duo iMac for $1399
or the 17" Core Duo iMac for $1099.00

If Apple does release an iMac update, the refurb prices will go even lower
or you can save buying a new current system on closeout.

We should know much more about updates somewhere between this Tueday the 5th and September 16th.
 

KevKaos

macrumors 6502
Original poster
Sep 1, 2006
400
0
Baltimore, Maryland USA
Sorry about the lack of paragraphs. Guess I sorta got onto a roll there. :eek:

Here's my PC RAM horror story: Had 512MB and wanted to go up to 1GB. Ordered the extra SIMM from Dell, so I knew it would be the right one. Put it in and rebooted. System will only recognize 768MB. Called Tech Support and get some guy in India. No offense intended. He says that I have to return the system to it original configuration. I ask if he means just the RAM, he tells me "No, everything." I tell him that I can't do that because I had replace the video card. Long story, but he could not help me. (Another reason I want to move away from PC's) From what I hear, I should not have this sort of problem from Apple. I hope that is true.

I priced out an iMac with 1GB Ram instead of 2GB. I thought it was interesting that Apple is offering the RAM upgrade for the same price whether you choose 2 X 512MB or 1 X 1 GB. I opted for the 1 SIMM.

I bumped up the hard disk to 250MB for $70 which I thought was a pretty decent price. I could always shave that $70 off if I had to, because the iMac has double the disk space over the mini and I do have an external USB 120GB hard disk that I can reuse.

I really wasn't sure about the iWork '06 software. I had it on but took it off once I looked into it a bit more. I originally thought it was the software that was giving me all the basic Apple software. I left it off since it looks like i can buy it for about the same price later if I need it? Does that sound correct?

I didn't go with a modem since I have not used a modem in something like 10 years.

I included AppleCare. Three years extended warranty for about $150 seems like a no brainer. Thoughts?

OK, now it is time for my stupid question. What do you do about speakers for a Mac? Mini or iMac. With my Dell computers, I have always bought higher end speaker systems and sound cards. I don't even see speakers discussed. Am I missing something here? I figure there is probably some really basic answer that everyone other than me already knows and I think I am about to feel really stupid.

Oh yeah, after all that, and the fact that the iMac gets me the really sweet Apple widescreen monitor and pretty much the same exact (upgraded) video card I have in my current Dell, the price was only about $120 more than the mini with 2GB. Thank you all for the great suggestions.

Can someone point me toward the refurbs that were mentioned. I haven't been able to find them and wanted to at least take a peek. BTW, I am a US Govt employee, so I was shopping the prices on the fed employee price list. Not as good a price as the educators, but not bad overall.
 

FFTT

macrumors 68030
Apr 17, 2004
2,952
0
A Stoned Throw From Ground Zero
You'll find the refurbs on the main Store page, left lower column under Special Deals/ Refurbished Mac or click the RED TAG sales link.

If you want exact factory replacement RAM DIMMS, go to OWC macsales.com and order their factory original Samsung RAM.

You'll be able to add a full 1 GB stick for the Price Apple charges to add 512 MB

If you can swing the difference, I'd go ahead and get the 20" iMac refurb
which includes a 250 GB HD and the faster 2.0 GHz Core Duo processor.

You may also end up with what is affectionately known as refurb candy.
Free upgrades at no cost, like extra RAM, larger HD's or upgraded VRAM.

For audio, I'd go to the local Guitar Center and check out their active near field
studio monitors.

They usually have iMacs there running ProTools, Cubase and Logic Express and they can demo each set of monitors in their pro sound room.
 

EricNau

Moderator emeritus
Apr 27, 2005
10,648
31
San Francisco, CA
Yes, go for the 1 DIMM (not SIMM ;) ) 1 GB stick - it allows for easier and cheaper RAM upgrades later. :) If you are just getting 1 GB for now, it's much easier to BTO it from Apple (and about the same price as buying it elsewhere and installing it yourself).

You can deal with iWork later (the price don't change).

Definitely get AppleCare, but as I said before, ProCare is a waste of money (IMO).

The iMac has good built-in speakers, I was surprised at the quality. The mini also has a built in speaker (if you could call it that); it's not very good.
 

FFTT

macrumors 68030
Apr 17, 2004
2,952
0
A Stoned Throw From Ground Zero
arn said:
I think the best suggestion at this stage is to wait until after September 12th.

http://www.macrumors.com/pages/2006/09/20060901123538.shtml

There are serious rumors that the iMac will be updated on September 12th. You won't be able to exchange one you order now if they are updated.

arn
Absolutely!

The best time to buy is when you know the details of the newest update, the former model's specs and refurb pricing.
 

KevKaos

macrumors 6502
Original poster
Sep 1, 2006
400
0
Baltimore, Maryland USA
Again, I say WOW. You folks are fantastic. I'd like to thank each and every one of you for all this great information. The Apple rep I spoke to was a great help, but we had a limited amount of time.

I have no problem with waiting for a bit. Of course I can use that time to continue researching and learning. I will surely be announcing what I finally end up with. I wish I could order this week, but I will probably have to wait a bit longer. I am sooooo ready to pry myself away from a Windows PC. Now that I am looking at an iMac, and knowing that I can run still runs Windows if I have to, I can probably retire my old PC somewhat and turn it into a DVR experiment.

Thanks again everyone.
 

FFTT

macrumors 68030
Apr 17, 2004
2,952
0
A Stoned Throw From Ground Zero
It's good to see that you are taking the time to research this properly.

You are also fortunate to have pretty good timing exploring your options
right before an update.

No one but Apple really knows what we'll see, but a cumulative educated guess
says we'll be seeing Merom processors in something........

The three top contenders for updates are the iMac, the mini and the MacBook Pro
in no particular order.

I would really like to see all 32 bit Core Duo 1's replaced with 64 bit Core Duo 2's, but that may just be wishful thinking until later.

It's going to be a long 2 weeks.
 

DwightSchrute

macrumors member
Jul 22, 2006
92
0
Here's my PC RAM horror story: Had 512MB and wanted to go up to 1GB. Ordered the extra SIMM from Dell, so I knew it would be the right one. Put it in and rebooted. System will only recognize 768MB.
Did you have 2 X 256MB sticks and take one out and replace it with a 512MB stick? That's the best reason I can come up with as to why that happened.

As for the Mac I agree with everyone else to get an iMac after they update them sometime this month.
 

KevKaos

macrumors 6502
Original poster
Sep 1, 2006
400
0
Baltimore, Maryland USA
DwightSchrute said:
Did you have 2 X 256MB sticks and take one out and replace it with a 512MB stick? That's the best reason I can come up with as to why that happened.

As for the Mac I agree with everyone else to get an iMac after they update them sometime this month.
I wish it was that easy. There was one 512MB stick and one empty slot. The new one was an identical 512MB stick. Weird is it? I didn't sweat it to much, at least it helped a bit.
 

mkrishnan

Moderator emeritus
Jan 9, 2004
29,777
12
Grand Rapids, MI, USA
KevKaos said:
OK, now it is time for my stupid question. What do you do about speakers for a Mac? Mini or iMac. With my Dell computers, I have always bought higher end speaker systems and sound cards. I don't even see speakers discussed. Am I missing something here? I figure there is probably some really basic answer that everyone other than me already knows and I think I am about to feel really stupid.
I think you can use pretty much anything that works on Windows -- at least the 2 or 2.1's. I think most of the USB speakers should work just fine... I'm not as sure as the 5.1's and so on. I think there have been threads on this issue before but it's never been salient to me. :(

You might look at this, also: Griffin 5.1 system. It looks like it just came out. Griffin is a great brand in Mac-specific products.
 

miles01110

macrumors Core
Jul 24, 2006
19,269
30
The Ivory Tower (I'm not coming down)
I'd go for the Intel iMac and find a RAM upgrade for ~$70 on newegg or something. The iMac ahs a built in iSight webcam so you can do that pretty easily...plus it's great for simple video editing. You can get it with a Superdrive to burn DVDs.
 

KevKaos

macrumors 6502
Original poster
Sep 1, 2006
400
0
Baltimore, Maryland USA
OK folks, I have one more stupid question. I am a bit unclear as to what software applications come as standard on an iMac. I keep reading about iLife '06, but I can't tell if that comes with the system or if you have to purchase it on its own. Remember, I have been a PC user for a long time, and with Windows, you don't get to much 'for free".
 

GFLPraxis

macrumors 604
Mar 17, 2004
7,101
404
KevKaos said:
OK folks, I have one more stupid question. I am a bit unclear as to what software applications come as standard on an iMac. I keep reading about iLife '06, but I can't tell if that comes with the system or if you have to purchase it on its own. Remember, I have been a PC user for a long time, and with Windows, you don't get to much 'for free".
iLife '06 is included with all new Macs, it is only sold seperately for older Macs.

The iMac also comes with:
# Microsoft Office 2004 for Mac Test Drive, iWork (30-day trial), Quicken 2006 for Macintosh, Big Bang Board Games, Comic Life, Omni Outliner, and Apple Hardware Test
# Front Row
# Photo Booth
 

KevKaos

macrumors 6502
Original poster
Sep 1, 2006
400
0
Baltimore, Maryland USA
GFLPraxis said:
iLife '06 is included with all new Macs, it is only sold seperately for older Macs.

The iMac also comes with:
# Microsoft Office 2004 for Mac Test Drive, iWork (30-day trial), Quicken 2006 for Macintosh, Big Bang Board Games, Comic Life, Omni Outliner, and Apple Hardware Test
# Front Row
# Photo Booth
Thanks for the clarification. This just keeps getting better and better.
 

FFTT

macrumors 68030
Apr 17, 2004
2,952
0
A Stoned Throw From Ground Zero
I had to go to my backup drive to find just the basics.

Address Book
Apple Script
Art Directors Toolkit
Automator
Calculator
Chess
Dashboard
Dictionary
DVD Player
Font Book
GarageBand ( iLife'06 )
GraphicConverter
iCal
iChat
iDVD (iLIfe'06 )
Image Capture
iMovie HD (iLife '06)
Internet Connect
iPhoto (iLife '06)
iSync
iTunes
iWeb (iLife '06 )
Mail
OmniGraffle
Omni Outliner
Preview
QuickBooks
QuickTime Player
Safari
Sherlock
Spotlight
Stickies
System Preferences
SYSTEM WIDE SPELL CHECKER!
Text Edit ( very handy text editor )
A whole bunch of Utilities
Zinio
Developer Tools

iWork DEMO
MS OFFICE DEMO

Then you go to Version Tracker and MacUpdate for all the OTHER free application
goodness.