iMac as primarily Win7 machine

astrocramp

macrumors member
Original poster
Aug 27, 2011
71
41
Anybody here using an iMac primarily as a Windows 7 machine? If so any issues that are annoyances/quirks that I should consider if looking at an iMac over another similar all-in-one from Dell/HP/Lenovo?

I have a MBA and had a MBP, but honestly Windows 7 for my purposes is a superior OS (I just can't get over the file menu anchored to the top especially on a multi-monitor rig, and I hate the cluttered look and functionality of the dock). However, I do love the hardware of the iMac - the IPS panel, Core i7, and ability to jam 2x SSD's in the hard drive slot with a bit of sweat (I'm not sure that Dell or the others have SATA ports available for that). The downside is lack of USB3 and blue-ray.

tips welcome!
 

wassal43

macrumors member
Sep 23, 2011
89
0
Actually we are paying for our expensive Mac (compared with windows price) to enjoy their fascinating system i suggest to buy Dell or Sony All in one if you want windows and i hope you good luck with hangs and death screen
 

dh2005

macrumors 6502a
Jan 25, 2010
907
0
i suggest to buy Dell or Sony All in one if you want windows and i hope you good luck with hangs and death screen
Oh, do shut up...


... in answer to your question, OP: it's rather an expensive way of going about it, but if you have the money and the iMac meets your power/aesthetic requirements, go for it. I bought my previous iMac for the dual purpose of playing games through Steam in Windows 7 and running productivity software in OS X, and found it to be very capable.
 

astrocramp

macrumors member
Original poster
Aug 27, 2011
71
41
Actually we are paying for our expensive Mac (compared with windows price) to enjoy their fascinating system i suggest to buy Dell or Sony All in one if you want windows and i hope you good luck with hangs and death screen
Well, I was hoping for a more intelligent response than that, but OK. I did buy a MBA and a MBP, used OSX for a long time. I know it's a good OS, so don't get your panties in a bunch.
 

parapup

macrumors 65816
Oct 31, 2006
1,291
49
iMac is a great Windows 7 machine if you don't insist on playing latest games at highest FPS. Just learn to ignore the below little annoyances -

1) If you attach a disk to the USB or FW800 port - boot takes painfully longer. Work around it by never rebooting.

2) Keyboard and the ridiculous mouse Apple ships with the iMac - work around them by getting rid of them and using a Logitech/Microsoft keyboard & mouse.

3) Brightness control is missing if you don't use the Apple keyboard, which means screen stays uncomfortably bright - live with it by adjusting it once to suit all conditions using the Apple keyboard.

4) Little technical deficiencies that you won't notice day to day - missing AHCI support, substandard GPU drivers with no way to upgrade using AMD provided ones (apart from gaming issues, the Apple shipped drivers also result in very rare painting glitches), slower than ideal suspend-resume etc.
 

dh2005

macrumors 6502a
Jan 25, 2010
907
0
iMac is a great Windows 7 machine if you don't insist on playing latest games at highest FPS. Just learn to ignore the below little annoyances -

1) If you attach a disk to the USB or FW800 port - boot takes painfully longer. Work around it by never rebooting.

2) Keyboard and the ridiculous mouse Apple ships with the iMac - work around them by getting rid of them and using a Logitech/Microsoft keyboard & mouse.

3) Brightness control is missing if you don't use the Apple keyboard, which means screen stays uncomfortably bright - live with it by adjusting it once to suit all conditions using the Apple keyboard.

Agreed that the mouse is a pain in the balls. I'm very fond of the keyboard, though.
 

parapup

macrumors 65816
Oct 31, 2006
1,291
49
Agreed that the mouse is a pain in the balls. I'm very fond of the keyboard, though.
Keyboard isn't bad - but a) it is not ergonomic and b) It sucks batteries - a lot. I hate recharging keyboard and mouse batteries every so often. The Logitech / Microsoft ones are USB so that's no issue and even the wireless ones last a lot longer than Apple's.
 

astrocramp

macrumors member
Original poster
Aug 27, 2011
71
41
I bought my previous iMac for the dual purpose of playing games through Steam in Windows 7 and running productivity software in OS X, and found it to be very capable.
Hmmmm...I imagine if Steam games are working fine, that's a good sign. I like the idea of booting into OSX occassionally to futz around, but I'll spend most of my life inside Win7 so OSX will be gravy. Most of the other panels on Win7 AIO's are crap, although I wish iMac had a matte screen rather than glossy (i don't see too many people complaining about glare and reflections so maybe it's a non-issue). I think I'll just take the plunge, but I'll have to decide whether to wait a month or so for Ivy Bridge announcement and whether or not to go with 1x SSD and hack in an aftermarket blue-ray or 2x SSD and go external.
 

dh2005

macrumors 6502a
Jan 25, 2010
907
0
Keyboard isn't bad - but a) it is not ergonomic and b) It sucks batteries - a lot. I hate recharging keyboard and mouse batteries every so often. The Logitech / Microsoft ones are USB so that's no issue and even the wireless ones last a lot longer than Apple's.
Oh, sorry. I'm mistaken... I'm talking about the wired keyboard that I inherited from another Mac. The wireless one irritates me on account of having cramped cursors and no keypad.

I take it back!
 

Dpock

macrumors member
Nov 4, 2011
34
0
I used my iMac principally for running Windows XP through VMfusion and it worked great. I only used the Mac side for internet browsing.
 

dh2005

macrumors 6502a
Jan 25, 2010
907
0
Hmmmm...I imagine if Steam games are working fine, that's a good sign. I like the idea of booting into OSX occassionally to futz around, but I'll spend most of my life inside Win7 so OSX will be gravy. Most of the other panels on Win7 AIO's are crap, although I wish iMac had a matte screen rather than glossy (i don't see too many people complaining about glare and reflections so maybe it's a non-issue). I think I'll just take the plunge, but I'll have to decide whether to wait a month or so for Ivy Bridge announcement and whether or not to go with 1x SSD and hack in an aftermarket blue-ray or 2x SSD and go external.
I'd certainly wait, if gaming is in your mind. The 6970M currently available in the top-end iMac is alright, but an (I assume...) 7970M would be a good deal better.

And the glossy screen thing... yeah, okay, so it's not ideal; but you do get used to it. Make sure you don't have the screen facing a window, and I don't reckon it'll cause you (m)any problems.
 

astrocramp

macrumors member
Original poster
Aug 27, 2011
71
41
1) If you attach a disk to the USB or FW800 port - boot takes painfully longer. Work around it by never rebooting.

2) Keyboard and the ridiculous mouse Apple ships with the iMac - work around them by getting rid of them and using a Logitech/Microsoft keyboard & mouse.

3) Brightness control is missing if you don't use the Apple keyboard, which means screen stays uncomfortably bright - live with it by adjusting it once to suit all conditions using the Apple keyboard.

4) Little technical deficiencies that you won't notice day to day - missing AHCI support, substandard GPU drivers with no way to upgrade using AMD provided ones (apart from gaming issues, the Apple shipped drivers also result in very rare painting glitches), slower than ideal suspend-resume etc.
Thanks! This is exactly the stuff I was looking for. For sure I'll be replacing the keyboard and mouse, as I need a numpad, and I use NAS for all external storage so should be OK. Interesting that there's no driver control for the monitor brightness. No AHCI? This will drive me nuts (irrational, yes because I'll likely never notice the difference but I'll still know my ultra-modern SSD drives are in IDE mode). I exclusively use S3 sleep, which is really implemented well on Win7 (at least in my experience), so hopefully that's not a mess. I won't game too much, so hopefully the driver updates are reasonably often enough to keep the rig stable.
 

parapup

macrumors 65816
Oct 31, 2006
1,291
49
I exclusively use S3 sleep, which is really implemented well on Win7 (at least in my experience), so hopefully that's not a mess. I won't game too much, so hopefully the driver updates are reasonably often enough to keep the rig stable.
Yep, sleep/wake works reasonably well with the iMac - just remember to disable wake on LAN if you use Wired Network - for some reason if that's enabled Win 7 keeps waking up for no reason.

Sounds like you are going to like it as much as I do - it is the best setup for someone who likes the hardware but not OS X!
 

Muzz112

macrumors member
Feb 17, 2009
36
0
United Kingdom
I'd probably consider a Lenovo if you want an alternative to the iMac. I needed a powerful windows laptop for CAD and have found Lenovo to have an excellent build quality and superb performance.
 

McGiord

macrumors 601
Oct 5, 2003
4,536
287
Dark Castle
Windows 7 is still Windows and I use it on a daily basis at work: it is always failing, this week alone I lost like 3 hours.

Get the iMac.

There is always software out there to do all the things you want:

Second Bar
http://blog.boastr.net/?page_id=79

http://www.boastr.de/

http://itunes.apple.com/de/app/bettersnaptool/id417375580?mt=12


Cinch
http://www.irradiatedsoftware.com/index.php

X Menu
http://www.devontechnologies.com/download/products.html

http://www.binarybakery.com/menueverywhere.html

You can always use Boot Camp or a Virtualization app to run any other OS out there.
 

thekev

macrumors 604
Aug 5, 2010
6,798
2,105
Windows 7 is still Windows and I use it on a daily basis at work: it is always failing, this week alone I lost like 3 hours.

Get the iMac.
Suggesting that OSX is problem free doesn't make it true. Some of you give everyone the idea that a Mac will cure all of your headaches, then some of the people who buy into that end up create threads on here to ask why they're having problems. Apparently Macs are supposed to be problem free :rolleyes:. The reality is that no computer is free of issues.

I'd probably consider a Lenovo if you want an alternative to the iMac. I needed a powerful windows laptop for CAD and have found Lenovo to have an excellent build quality and superb performance.
If I ever did go to Windows permanently, Lenovo would be high on my list. Their "mobile workstation" laptops get reasonably good reviews, and they don't weigh much more than a 15" mbp (note "much") which is pretty cool.

iMac is a great Windows 7 machine if you don't insist on playing latest games at highest FPS. Just learn to ignore the below little annoyances -
It's partially that it's a lot of pixels to push around for the graphics card that is used here.

2) Keyboard and the ridiculous mouse Apple ships with the iMac - work around them by getting rid of them and using a Logitech/Microsoft keyboard & mouse.

3) Brightness control is missing if you don't use the Apple keyboard, which means screen stays uncomfortably bright - live with it by adjusting it once to suit all conditions using the Apple keyboard.

4) Little technical deficiencies that you won't notice day to day - missing AHCI support, substandard GPU drivers with no way to upgrade using AMD provided ones (apart from gaming issues, the Apple shipped drivers also result in very rare painting glitches), slower than ideal suspend-resume etc.
You can adjust the brightness via system preferences, and if you're using a Mac, you will most likely own an Apple keyboard. I always set brightness way down when a display is new. They dim over time naturally and can be bumped up to maintain a comfortable level as the display ages.

Anybody here using an iMac primarily as a Windows 7 machine? If so any issues that are annoyances/quirks that I should consider if looking at an iMac over another similar all-in-one from Dell/HP/Lenovo?

I have a MBA and had a MBP, but honestly Windows 7 for my purposes is a superior OS (I just can't get over the file menu anchored to the top especially on a multi-monitor rig, and I hate the cluttered look and functionality of the dock). However, I do love the hardware of the iMac - the IPS panel, Core i7, and ability to jam 2x SSD's in the hard drive slot with a bit of sweat (I'm not sure that Dell or the others have SATA ports available for that). The downside is lack of USB3 and blue-ray.

tips welcome!
I need to caution you on the "2x SSDs" portion. The drives are not considered user serviceable by Apple. The SSD bay doesn't seem to have any associated issues, but on the newest one they've made the 3.5" bay essentially non swappable due to the temperature sensor design. Don't get seduced by the marketing term "IPS" panel. It's not very well implemented. IPS in general doesn't mean perfect. It gets you maybe halfway to a quality display design. Pretty much each generation has resulted in some kind of display bug complaint on here. I only commented to offer corrections on a couple of those points.
 

McGiord

macrumors 601
Oct 5, 2003
4,536
287
Dark Castle
Suggesting that OSX is problem free doesn't make it true. Some of you give everyone the idea that a Mac will cure all of your headaches, then some of the people who buy into that end up create threads on here to ask why they're having problems. Apparently Macs are supposed to be problem free :rolleyes:. The reality is that no computer is free of issues.
I am not suggesting that the Macs are free of issues.

However it is more common that the user creates the issues than Mac OS.

With a Mac you can run almost any OS out there, with another PC hardware you are limited = can't' properly run Mac OS X.
 

thejadedmonkey

macrumors G3
May 28, 2005
8,179
1,177
Pennsylvania
I would never trust Apple to provide reliable drivers for Windows. Just poke around on the "Windows on a Mac" subforum, and see all the problems people experience. Me? My 2006 MBP still doesn't have a bug-free keyboard driver, and the graphics driver is woefully out of date compared to normal x1600's.

I'd get the HP or Lenovo, or anything but an Apple, if you plan on using Windows 7 exclusively.

P.S. If you can wait, consider getting a Vizio All-in-one. They have the sexiness of an Apple, but they're legit PC's. (coming Spring 2012)
 

thekev

macrumors 604
Aug 5, 2010
6,798
2,105
I am not suggesting that the Macs are free of issues.

However it is more common that the user creates the issues than Mac OS.

With a Mac you can run almost any OS out there, with another PC hardware you are limited = can't' properly run Mac OS X.
Well yeah if you want to run OSX I'd never suggest anything but a Mac (as in I don't suggest hackintoshing). Being able to run multiple OSs is nice if something is unavailable on one, but for most people dual booting isn't necessary.
 

bushman4

macrumors 68030
Mar 22, 2011
2,667
427
Using IMAC and have Windows 7 loaded in Bootcamp. After using Windows for many years I'm learning the IMAC features so in the interim i'm using Windows as much as IOS5 .
If you have no intentional of using the Apple system for anything then getting an IMAC probably would not be your best solution.
 

tom vilsack

macrumors 68000
Nov 20, 2010
1,880
62
ladner cdn
my nephew has a 2010 mbp and all i ever see him using is win7.

as macs hold there value so much better then pc... it might not be a bad idea getting a imac and using mainly win7

you get best of both worlds for yourself...beautiful imac that will hold it's value and win7 (which is a good os) and that works for you...win win.
 

leman

macrumors G4
Oct 14, 2008
10,950
5,435
4) Little technical deficiencies that you won't notice day to day - missing AHCI support, substandard GPU drivers with no way to upgrade using AMD provided ones (apart from gaming issues, the Apple shipped drivers also result in very rare painting glitches), slower than ideal suspend-resume etc.
I never had any problems updating the graphic drivers... Just download, uninstall old driver, install new driver...
 

MrNomNoms

macrumors 65816
Jan 25, 2011
1,130
249
Wellington, New Zealand
Well, I was hoping for a more intelligent response than that, but OK. I did buy a MBA and a MBP, used OSX for a long time. I know it's a good OS, so don't get your panties in a bunch.
IMHO I know this won't be helpful but if I was in your situation I'd go for a Lenovo, Sony, or a PC that is really designed to run Windows 7. End of the day Windows 7 can run on an iMac and Mac's in general but you'll never find the experience as good as a for example a machine designed around running Windows as its primary operating system. With that being said there is the upswing, mainly, you might end up saying when the future Mac OS X 10.8 comes out, "well 10.7 wasn't really my thing but 10.8 has really tickled my fancy, I think I might replace my partition and head back to Mac OS X" which is the main strength that I can see with the idea of going with a Mac. Just a side note, if it were me I'd go with a Lenovo Thinkstation.

Just out of curiosity, what are you planning to use the computer for? One really needs a background as to the primary purpose for such a setup because there might be folks out there in a similar situation and might have suggestions.
 

Spike88

macrumors 6502a
Jan 25, 2010
662
0
IMHO .... if I was in your situation, I'd go for a Lenovo, Sony, or a PC that is really designed to run Windows 7. ....
I would as well.....

We have 2 x non-iMac h/w machines within my home and they both run great. Not too sure why someone wants to spend large amount of dollars for iMac h/w platform, then "force" it to run Win 7. Why not simply go with a pre-bundled (and certified) Windows machine instead?

.
 
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Yogakun

macrumors member
Jul 28, 2010
50
0
It works well as a primarily windows 7 machine. I'm not sure why you would want to, unless you have an older imac. You miss out on the advantages that differentiate the two. Both are great OS's.

Anyway, like others recommended use a PC mouse and keyboard. Not the mac keyboards or mouse.

I stopped using the magic mouse because of poor battery life. I purchased a Naga for gaming in bootcamp,and regular use in OSX. I switch between the mac and logitech keyboards (both small wireless models). I use the windows on the imac for just my gaming.
 
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