I'm a PC

Discussion in 'iMac' started by jader201, Jun 18, 2009.

  1. jader201 macrumors newbie

    Jun 18, 2009
    For most of my life, I have been a Windows guy. I'm a developer, exclusively in Microsoft technologies. I've never owned a Mac product. No, not even an iPod.

    But tomorrow, that all changes.

    Last week, I preordered an iPhone which should arrive tomorrow. I've been considering getting into iPhone development, which means I will need to finally break down and get a Mac. Since it's been 5 years since my last computer purchase, and I will soon be an iPhone order, seems like now would be a good time to consider making the jump. Which brings me here.

    I want to purchase a Mac desktop, that can basically replace my current PC. I want to be able to dual-boot (using Parallels) Windows XP. My PC is about 5 years old, but is still decent for its age:

    - Windows XP Pro
    - ASUS P4C800-E Deluxe Motherboard
    - Intel Pentium 4 2.8C Northwood 2.8GHz Socket 478 Single-Core Processor
    - CORSAIR XMS 1GB (2 x 512MB) 184-Pin DDR SDRAM DDR 400 (PC 3200)
    - Radeon 9800PRO 128MB AGP 4X/8X Video Card
    - Western Digital Caviar 750GB 7200 RPM SATA 3.0Gb/s 3.5" Hard Drive (purchased 2008)
    - Dell Ultrasharp 24" monitor

    So, here's what I'm debating:

    Mac mini - Originally my first option, but seems to be borderline inadequate for running XP in parallel. And as I add options to make it beefier, I start to approach the price range of an iMac.

    iMac - What I'm starting to lean towards, but two things make me hesitant: 1) I already own a nice 24" monitor, and 2) as with any all-in-one, if/when I decide to upgrade, I'll be forced to replace the monitor.

    Mac Pro - A bit out of my price range, but not totally out of the question since its life span would be much longer, and is independent of the monitor. Would make for an extremely nice Mac+Windows machine.

    Things that I plan to use on the Mac:

    - iPhone development
    - Management/synching of my email (non Mobile Me account)
    - Web browsing
    - Photo management/editing
    - Video capturing/authoring
    - Remoting into web/database servers (Windows)
    - Occasional gaming

    Things I will continue to do on XP:

    - Microsoft development
    - Some gaming (one's I've purchased already for Windows, or future ones that only work in Windows)
    - Microsoft Office (may buy Office for Mac someday, but not for now)

    Any past experience or other suggestions that you guys could offer that could help me make the decision?

    Thanks in advance.
  2. Tallest Skil macrumors P6

    Tallest Skil

    Aug 13, 2006
    1 Geostationary Tower Plaza
    High-end Mini or low-end iMac would be perfect. The Mac Mini can run XP perfectly fine and Seven even better.

    Welcome to the fold.
  3. -Ryan- macrumors 68000

    Jan 28, 2009
    Wirelessly posted (iPhone: Mozilla/5.0 (iPhone; U; CPU iPhone OS 3_0 like Mac OS X; en-us) AppleWebKit/528.18 (KHTML, like Gecko) Version/4.0 Mobile/7A341 Safari/528.16)

    I feel that the Mac mini is never really suitable to use as a main computer. At the same time I agree that the Mac Pro is a bit
    much for you. What you'd be looking at would probably be a mid to high range iMac. But if you'd feel better either stretching yourself or saving until you can afford a Mac Pro go that way, simply for upgradability. Enjoy your iPhone, you'll love it and definitely want a Mac after!
  4. jav6454 macrumors P6


    Nov 14, 2007
    1 Geostationary Tower Plaza
    What he said
  5. geoffreak macrumors 68020


    Feb 8, 2008
    First of all, welcome to the Mac side!
    An iMac is what would suit you best. Although you can't replace parts inside as you want to upgrade, you will be able to sell it when you upgrade to a new one for a good price. Macs hold their value quite well years down the road (PowerPC Macs are still selling strong).
    Just because the iMac has a screen, it doesn't mean you are limited to it. You can connect your existing monitor as a secondary screen with a mini displayport to DVI adapter. If you use Parallels or VMWare to run Windows XP at the same time, you can put an OS on each monitor and just move your mouse back and forth. You can't do intensive gaming inside of a virtual machine, but dual booting into Windows XP will fix that.
    Being a gamer, you'll want the upgraded graphics card for the iMac. I can't remember the name, but the price difference will point it out. This will improve your gameplay under both OSes
    You should buy Microsoft Office for Mac instead of using the XP version. It is a bit of a pain to switch back and forth in order to do basic word processing. I would recommend you check out OpenOffice as a free (and identically featured) alternative for Microsoft Office if price is an issue.
    Macs come with a VNC client and server built in, but it can only be used to remote into other Macs on your network. There are many free VNC clients (such as Chicken of the VNC) that are capable of logging you on to remote computers and Windows machines.
    Hope this helps!
  6. floaty83 macrumors newbie


    Mar 30, 2009
    Springfield, MO
    I would say go with the iMac. Keep your 24" display and use it as a 2nd display.
  7. calsci macrumors 6502


    Nov 27, 2008
    a high end imac plus that 24" screen in daul screen mode would be one sweet setup.
  8. nufanec macrumors regular

    Sep 10, 2005
    Have you considered the MacBook Pro? It's around the same price as a mid-high range iMac and gives you power and portability. I currently use a previous generation Unibody MBP 2.4 as my main machine, and when I'm at my desk it connects to my 24" cinema display for dual screen goodness :D It's a great setup.
  9. BJMRamage macrumors 68020


    Oct 2, 2007
    Couldn't you use OSX on one screen (iMac) and then Windows on teh other 24" in some sort of dual boot setup?
    so oyou'd essentially run two OS's with 2 screens from one computer?

    not too sure but thought you could.
  10. cocky jeremy macrumors 68040

    cocky jeremy

    Jul 12, 2008
    Columbus, OH
    When i read the title, i wanted to come in and count the sentences until you crashed.. haha. Congrats on coming over to the right side. :D
  11. dborja macrumors 6502a

    Sep 13, 2007
    Northern California
    You'll have to run WinXP/Win7/WinVista within a virtual machine (Fusion, Parallels, VirtualBox, etc). Then, yes, one monitor for OS X and the other for Windows. Win performance is quite good within VMs...

    Oh, BTW, welcome to the fold OP!
  12. Kebabselector macrumors 68030


    May 25, 2007
    Birmingham, UK
    Another vote for a Mac Mini.

    I've got XP on Boot Camp for Half Life 2 (and Orange Box) and it runs fine. Also for work I've got VMWare Fusion, that runs Windows XP, 2003 Server and Win7 just fine - all via an external FW800 hdd as well!
  13. statik13 macrumors regular


    Jun 6, 2008
    Either will handle it both fine. I used to use a Mini but now I have a 24" iMac with an external 20" and it works perfect for development. The extra screen real estate is a real plus. You just can't have enough screen space when you're programming.
  14. jader201 thread starter macrumors newbie

    Jun 18, 2009
    Thanks, guys, for the extremely good info.

    I'm now starting to lean towards an iMac 24"/2.93GHz. I did consider a MacBook, but honestly, it would probably never leave my desk. I don't travel much, and when I do, my iPhone will easily suffice.

    While I do think a Mac Mini would be fine for now, I'd really like to get a bit more longevity from my next purchase, and I think an iMac would stretch me a bit further.

    Thanks again.
  15. Sambo110 macrumors 68000

    Mar 12, 2007
    Yes, iMac's are great for everything, hope you enjoy your Mac experience!
  16. kurosov macrumors 6502a

    Jan 3, 2009
  17. Consultant macrumors G5


    Jun 27, 2007
    Whatever that's suited for your budget.

    iMac has 3.5" drive which are faster than laptop drives.
  18. palane macrumors member

    Jan 13, 2009
    Perhaps a refurb Mac Pro?

    Consider a refurbished Mac Pro as a way to ease the sting. Providing you look at the right time, you can find one available for under $2k. I noticed only desktops on your list. The MacBook Pro is a pretty nice machine and a good desktop replacement. I'm using a 15" unibody MBP and the new 13" is a nice machine as well. Spend a few hundred for a monitor, keyboard and mouse, and you've got a good system at home and on the road.

    And de nada.

  19. Shiner macrumors 6502

    Oct 1, 2007
    Not in all circumstances and please do not buy an imac because it has a 3.5" drive. Buy it because the screen is nice and the dedicated graphics card will beat the living crap out of the mac mini. Or get the macpro, but that will be overkill. As has been mentioned many times, Apple does not care about you. That is, a PC person that wants a headless mid tower to make the switch. Either buy an overpriced desktop that is really not a desktop (imac) or an underpowered mac mini or a Macpro that will be wasted for the most part. It is sad but apple always picks form over function.
  20. arcadeforest macrumors member

    Feb 25, 2008
    Well in all honesty I hope it would considering you would be dropping an additional grand on the machine.

    My vote would have to be for the mini based on your described usage. If your concerned about making the computer last you could buy the base mini and bump it up to 4gig of ram and a 7200 320gig or so hard drive. After that take the $1000 you save and stick in the bank and next year by a new mini with the latest specs and you will still have money left over. Then the mini you buy now can be moved into the living room or bedroom and be used as a htpc.
  21. MacMini2009 macrumors 68000


    May 22, 2009
    Get the base model Mac Mini with the 2.26GHZ processor, and upgrade the RAM to 4GB and Hard Drive to 320GB 7200RPM yourself and your set to go!
  22. definitive macrumors 68000


    Aug 4, 2008
    In terms of upgrades the iMac can only take new RAM (4gigs are fine for now, but 8gigs are around $650 at the moment if you don't buy from Apple). You could also upgrade the hard drive, or use an external, but if you install the internal, then you're voiding warranty.

    Mac Pro - it's more expensive, but it's cheaper to upgrade RAM and you don't void warranty if you install a new hard drive. Additionally you can buy a cheap video card such as GT120 now, and upgrade to something like Radeon 4870 or GeForce GTX285 at a later time. Mac Pro also has a faster speed DVD burner. I have no idea why Apple can't install anything faster than 8x in their cheaper systems ... unless that's the fastest speed that's currently on the market for such computers.

    In the end it depends a lot on how much you want or can spend. As my first mac I decided to get a 3.06ghz iMac with 4850 Radeon. I play games from time to time on it, so I installed Vista 32bit using Bootcamp since Parallels (I've not done much reading on it) doesn't support native drivers for the video card, and other hardware like Bootcamp does. On the Mac Pro you could have two separate hard drives, and you wouldn't need to worry if one goes bad then what would happen to all the software. You could have OSX on one drive, and Windows on the other.
  23. Cave Man macrumors 604

    Cave Man

    Feb 12, 2007
    Neander Valley, Germany; just outside Duesseldorf
    Only if you break something.

    Because they use laptop burners on their iMacs and Minis.

    There's my rub. I don't think iMac is a wise purchase, and the Mini and Mac Pro are on the edge. Apple needs to improve its desktop lineup, IMO. Quad cores are now the norm on the PC side (with their advantages and disadvantages).
  24. Cynicalone macrumors 68040


    Jul 9, 2008
    Okie land
    One thing to think about is a Quad Core Mac Pro, it would certainly last longer than an iMac. And price wise is not that much higher then a high end iMac.

    A Quad 2.93Ghz Mac Pro is only $2,999.00 USD. You can easily add RAM and HDD's as needed later.
  25. cocky jeremy macrumors 68040

    cocky jeremy

    Jul 12, 2008
    Columbus, OH
    But depending on his monitor situation, could run a good bit more. I wouldn't want an old 17" monitor on my $3000 Mac Pro. lol.

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