I think I want to buy an iMac, but need help with specs etc

Discussion in 'Buying Tips and Advice' started by lisamel, Mar 1, 2008.

  1. lisamel macrumors regular

    lisamel

    Joined:
    Mar 1, 2008
    Location:
    Oslo, Norway
    #1
    Hi!
    I have never had a Mac before, but are really keen on buying the iMac. I've decided that if I buy, I only need the 20" one.
    But should I get the 2 GHz or 2,4 GHz?
    I'm planing on buying RAM from somewhere else (cheaper), but not sure where to turn? Anyone got any ideas? :)
    I download a lot of movies/TV series etc, surfing the web, itunes etc. Basic stuff really.. But not sure what I will need?

    Also, I've heard some people talking about an upgrade which is on its way? Does anyone know if this is true? Should I wait with buying for the new one to come out?

    Oh and lastly, what software do you all recommend? iWork or Office 2008 for Mac?
    Is there anything that could replace Outlook with iWork?

    Sorry for all the questions, I just dont have a clue when it comes to Macs, but think its time I try it :D
     
  2. cohibadad macrumors 6502a

    cohibadad

    Joined:
    Jul 21, 2007
    #2
    For what you need, 2GHz is plenty. Additional RAM is the better way to go. I bought 2GB sticks on buy.com for like $50 each. They were crucial and work perfectly. I'm sure that penryn update will come to iMac very soon if Intel is dictating the changeover. Shouldn't really effect your decision either way except you can get very good deals from Apple refurb online. They are perfectly new machines most of the time. I'd get iWork if you need presentation, spreadsheet, page layout/wordprocessor (personal opinion). iLife comes with the iMac and replaces Outlook with Address Book, iCal and Mail that integrate.
     
  3. cherry su macrumors 65816

    cherry su

    Joined:
    Feb 28, 2008
    #3
    Get the base 2.0GHz and a 500GB hard drive. Buy extra RAM from http://www.newegg.com .

    Mail is Outlook's replacement.
    iWork's Keynote is a great PowerPoint replacement, but Pages is well...so-so.
     
  4. lisamel thread starter macrumors regular

    lisamel

    Joined:
    Mar 1, 2008
    Location:
    Oslo, Norway
    #4
    Okay, thanks for your help.
    Will definitely go for the 2 GHz then ;) I dont even know what it means lol

    Is the mail that comes with the iMac similar to Outlook? I depend on making different inbox folders for 3 different accounts and for making "rules" for certain emails to go in certain sub folders.

    I live in norway so not sure if i can get the refurb imacs here? Will def look into it, thanks for your help!!

    Is it possible to have both iWork and Office for Mac on the iMac?

    Wow thanks peeps for the very fast replies! :)
     
  5. richard.mac macrumors 603

    richard.mac

    Joined:
    Feb 2, 2007
    Location:
    51.50024, -0.12662
    #5
    Welcome to Macs! :)

    the 0.4 GHz difference between 2.0 GHz and 2.4 GHz is negligible and youd only be able to tell the difference if you used the CPUs full potential when encoding video.

    the choice between the 2.0 GHz and 2.4 GHz models really comes down to hard drive space and the graphics card. will you need more hard drive space than 250 GB? will you use the iMac to game? if yes then go for the 2.4 GHz model.

    the iMacs where last updated to the new aluminium design in August 07. the buyer's guide says dont buy now as there could be updates soon. Apple could release Penryn iMacs soon as the MacBook Pro and MacBooks where recently updated. do you really need it know? if so buy.

    i would recommend iWork. if you do light word processing and want to make cool presentations then use iWork. a trial comes preloaded on all Macs so all you have to do is buy a license. if you need word or excel buy Office for Mac. i personally use Office 2003 in Parallels as its better than Office for Mac and i hate Office 2007's interface.

    Mail is Mac OS X's email client but it doesnt support Exchange. if you need this use Entourage in Office for Mac or Outlook in Parallels/VMWare or Boot Camp. yep you can make 3 different mailboxes for different accounts and have different rules set for each.

    check out the Norway Apple online store for refurbs.

    and yes you can have both Office for Mac and iWork installed.
     
  6. jfull15 macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Feb 4, 2008
    #6
    Yes! iWork is definitely your best bet, unless you need extreme compatibility with Microsoft files.. & I agree go with the 2ghz unless you plan on doing anything more intensive. Save your money, so you can buy more Mac Products :)

    But yeah I'd say hold off for another month and see if anything comes out, which it probably will, unless you really don't care and just want an amazing computer, then go ahead the iMacs are amazing!

    Mail on the Mac is much more streamlined and simpler than Outlook, but you can easily setup 3 accounts with rules and everything like that, however Calendars and Contacts aren't stored in the Mail app, there are the separate programs iCal and Contacts respectively.
     
  7. lisamel thread starter macrumors regular

    lisamel

    Joined:
    Mar 1, 2008
    Location:
    Oslo, Norway
    #7
    I am thinking about getting the 500GB HD so I wont need to move movies/songs etc to different HD.
    Does anyone know if it is simple to use an external HD to back up etc?

    I dont play any major games, just old ones like Rayman, but they probably wont work on Mac anyways?

    My main concerns are the email client. I do depend on outlook and like that everything is integrated (calender and contacts). I also would be using a windows laptop for writing essays at school.
    Would i be able to open the files on the iMac, when originally written in word 2007?
    Maybe it would be best to get Office for mac as well as iWorks so I could choose which of the programs is best?
    ;)
     
  8. boazjoe macrumors member

    Joined:
    Feb 13, 2008
    #8
    If this is your first Mac, you are in for a pleasant surprise. You won't believe how easily most programs install and uninstall.

    I agree, more ram will win out over less ram and slightly faster processor almost every time. My father was a systems' analyst and used to say you can't have too much memory - that was 30 years ago and is even more true today.

    As far as office programs, I use neooffice (www.neooffice.org) for most things and have not had any real issues. Oh, it is free. However, if you have a lot of items going back and forth to PCs at work, you MIGHT need office.

    Here is a handy page of programs for the mac. I blatantly stole it from another forum so props to Sky Blue.

    http://www.neowin.net/forum/index.php?showtopic=571489&st=0&start=0

    Good luck on your decision.
     
  9. mlblacy macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Sep 23, 2006
    Location:
    the REAL Jersey Shore
    #9
    Lisa, welcome aboard... unless you are in a rush hold off 2-3 weeks to see what iMac refreshes come out (hopefully even as soon as next week). If you are tight for cash I would consider a refurb, the deals are getting better with the newer ones in the pipeline ( I think they just dropped another 400.00 on the 24"s). It doesn't sound like you are doing anything very intensive so the 2ghz should be more than adequate, however I would definitely upgrade the ram to a minimum of 2gb. Apple usually is a bit steep for ram (to out it mildly, lol), head to places like RamJet, Memorytogo or Crucial and save a bundle (which you can use to buy an iPod Touch or some other goodie with the savings). If you are very used to Office then I would say purchase it (or if you get a lot of word docs from your PC friends), but I think there is a demo of iWork on the machine when you get it. Use it to open some of your legacy PC word docs, and see it there are any issues. Try it out for a few weeks and see if it does what you need, before you dump the money for Office. The spreadsheet function is adequate, but the powerpoint like app Keynote is very slick. My wife and kids use Pages all the time and like it a lot, for basic wordprocessing it is pretty good (and the templates are easy to use and very slick as well). ILife (iPhoto) is simply an amazing program, simple & intuitive yet very powerful... I use it professional as well (alongside Aperture) and it simply rocks. Give the apple mail app a whirl too before you choose Outlook, the integration between all of the apple software products is very handy (like emailing images directly from iPhoto, etc.). In terms of spending money however I would recommend purchasing AppleCare, which extends the warranty & support for 3 years. Especially if you are a newbie to our world, Apple's support lately has gotten very good, if not exceptional. If you are lucky enough to have an Apple store nearby there are tons of free classes for beginners & even for professionals, these are great, and my kids have even gone to some of them. Buy a big enough hard drive as you will be amazed how quickly it can get filled up with music files, pictures, movies etc., however if you run out of space you can easily just add an external drive. I have a couple of external maxtors firewire drives hanging off my 24" iMac, I would recommend firewire 400 over USB2 (and probably stay away from firewire 800 drives IMO), Buy the biggest external that is cost effective, just make sure they are OSX compatible (I have a bunch of Maxtors & LaCies and they seem very stable), Staples usually has a bunch... just watch for sales as they go on sale all the time.

    Another consideration (actually I would recommend this as a first choice) for backing up would be to choose apple's new product Time Capsule. This combines a external hard drive with their airport extreme wireless network base station. For a little more than the cost of an external hard drive you get the free wireless neworking (or the other way around, either way it is quite a deal). The 500gb model is 299.00, and the 1tb one is 499.00...

    Your PC game will most likely not work on the mac, some games are cross platform (check the back of the CD and see if if it is OSX compatible). However your machine is sufficient for gaming use (not hard-core though).

    Lastly I would put a plug in for getting the wireless mouse and keyboard. I was a bit skeptical when I ordered mine, but I have to say the lack of cables is a VERY nice thing (especially for the mouse). The downside is that the wireless keyboard does not come in more in the extended form like before (which sucks IMO).

    Good luck...
    michael
     
  10. jfull15 macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Feb 4, 2008
    #10
    Yeah the Mail app is integrated with iCal, they work together but they arent in the same program, to get a good feel of how theese programs work together try looking at the guided tour of leopard it can really show you how well these programs are integrated.

    In agreement withmlbalcy, the wireless mouse is very good, I haven't used the wireless keyboard because I depend on the extra function keys and number pad.. & iLife is great. It's integrated as well.

    Backing up to a hard drive is extremely easy, its like plug-n-play. Mine just sits next to my iMac and backs up every hour in the background, no big deal it just does it. I don't have to bother with it, and it doesn't slow me down at all. I'd also say get the 500gb or 750. I have 500 and I wish I would've gotten the 750, but I do alot with Final Cut Studio and the Adobe CS3 Suite, so you may not need the 750..

    If you really want to get to know the features of the MAC OS X and iLife check out Apple's guided tours, they are really helpful & really broadcast the general gist of how to do everything.
     
  11. mlblacy macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Sep 23, 2006
    Location:
    the REAL Jersey Shore
    #11
    Just out of curiosity, does anyone have the new wireless keyboard? How much of a dealbreaker is the lack of "extra" keys? I am probably going to get another iMac after the refresh, but was thinking wired keyboard with wireless mouse. I have to admit I quickly got very spoiled with the wireless key+mouse on my white 24", if I had to choose one, the mouse is what I most appreciate the lack of wires (but the keyboard is pretty handy as well).

    Anyone want to "sell" me on the new short wireless keyboard?

    cheers,
    michael
     
  12. jfull15 macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Feb 4, 2008
    #12
    Well I use the extra Functon keys for quicksilver commands and i need the right control key + arrow keys for spaces, and i just don't want to lose that functionality.
     
  13. lisamel thread starter macrumors regular

    lisamel

    Joined:
    Mar 1, 2008
    Location:
    Oslo, Norway
    #13
    thanks everyone for all your help.
    I think i have decided to go for the 500 GB, 2 GHz, 20" iMac, when the update comes out.
    I probably wouldnt notice the difference but im sure i will regret it if i dont wait for it.
    Now that i really want it, a few weeks may be too long though haha

    Thanks for the tip about guided tour, I will try it when i get back from work. Very exciting.
    If i dont play any special games, will the cordless keyboard be fine? I probably wont know which keys are missing anyway..

    I do have an Apple Store near me, but its only tiny and i dont think they do any lectures there :( sadly.. Would be very good to go to a few to learn how to do things.

    Will it be hard to go from Windows to iMac? Anyone experienced that? :eek:
     
  14. jfull15 macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Feb 4, 2008
    #14
  15. lisamel thread starter macrumors regular

    lisamel

    Joined:
    Mar 1, 2008
    Location:
    Oslo, Norway
    #15
    I had a look on the guided tour, and I think I will be very happy with a mac! Does anyone have a clue about what supposedly is to be updated/upgraded/changed with the new iMac?
    I dont know if i want (can lol) wait for it in Norway, as I'm suspecting it to take longer to get here :(

    :D
     
  16. TheVandit macrumors member

    TheVandit

    Joined:
    Oct 19, 2007
    Location:
    Strathaven, Scotland
    #16
    I don't think its worth waiting for...will be a slight processor speed bump and move to Penryn chips. Wont look any different and its not known how soon its gonna be.
     
  17. lisamel thread starter macrumors regular

    lisamel

    Joined:
    Mar 1, 2008
    Location:
    Oslo, Norway
    #17
    Well, I got one, and I am very happy with my new iMac!! :p
    Thanks for the help everyone :D
     
  18. chrono1081 macrumors 604

    chrono1081

    Joined:
    Jan 26, 2008
    Location:
    Isla Nublar
    #18
    A great alternative to MS Office is openOffice: http://www.openoffice.org
    I started using this awhile ago and havent used MS office since. I never had the need and all my files were compatible with office (even though open office will warn you of possible formatting issues, I have never seen this happen, not once.)
     

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