iMac leaving a not so sour taste in my mouth

Discussion in 'Buying Tips and Advice' started by Quad SLi 295, Apr 12, 2010.

  1. Quad SLi 295 macrumors member

    Quad SLi 295

    Mar 21, 2009
    Adelaide, SA (for a limited time)
    I'm also posting this on PCPowerplay (with a few small edits to see the varying responses for the other side of the fence.

    This is not meant to flame apple, as everybody here is likely using a mac (including me oddly enough) to post up here, so we all know where most of us stand. This is merely a initial log of my fist real sit down and use of an under 2 year old intel imac (2.1GHZ C2D, With ATI X1600 and 2GB of DDR2-667,) which I'm having to use while staying in Adelaide for a few weeks. I'm commenting as is. Now I've got a PC (user JFAllen) and while it has its flaws which were obvious to most on PCPowerPlay and clearly pointed out, I'm going to say that the hardware is near as possible to top shelf, (or at least was at time of purchase, Dec2009-March2010.)

    Now the iMac and OS-X...
    Things I miss, or are leaving a sour taste
    -The use of the ALT key to access menus and associated keyboard short cuts
    -General lack of keyboard shortcuts.
    -No drafting or mine design packages work, and the systems specs mean running boot-camp (woot for XP support only) to run them is an exercise in patience boarding that of a saint.
    -The use of a proper 2 button mouse (the apple mighty mouse's second button is and has always been dogey)
    -As a follow on having to use the control key to bring up the right click options
    -Mouse linearity and accuracy, (while moving a mouse slowly in osx it barely moves, making selecting menus tedious or inaccurate)
    -More than 3 USB ports, my PC has 8 on the back and 4 at the front.
    -No optical or coaxial audio output. EDIT Not true, I've been enlightened and tested the mini optical output embedded in the headphone out
    -A task bar that displays all open windows, not just open programs
    -Safari, that's ok since Mozilla SeaMonkey is OSX binaries
    -Very noisy DVD drive, and still no blu-ray in any apple products?? odd when they are marketed as a video and graphics editing package.
    -Slow key repeat and courser movement when typing.
    -No native DivX or Xvid support in Quicktime, I mean seriously.
    -Video up-scaling isn't done very well, or at least significantly worse than Winamp or WMP.
    -Having to use iTunes
    -System response is generally sub-standard. Videos stagger when using other programs, even using the slider on a web browser. Also the system crashed big-time while attempting to import 300GB of song data to iTunes from and external HDD.
    -lack luster specs vs PC's of the day (2008) but a nice screen for 2008
    -Poor system specs mean that even though steam is coming to the mac, one would not be able to fully enjoy the games catalog.
    -I can't figure out how to turn dashboard off

    Things that aren't leaving a sour taste
    -Tech support, the mouse began to phone it in, (had movement but no functionality.) Not knowing my way around OSX overly well the Singapore based support lad was great. But stopped short of talking me though how to reinstall the mouse only using keyboard shortcuts. Was easy enough though, so that gets points.
    -Pinching the mouse fits all open windows on the screen, making a "windows / linux style task bar" less necessary. would be better with a better mouse, but would then lose a USB port. Still it's well thought out, but not perfect as minimized windows are in the dock.
    -SeaMonkey, Open office, Tomato Torrent all work, but VLC development has stalled, pity really but at least it is still available.
    -The included software package is rather good though not overly useful since no office suite is included, would it kill apple to formally support open office (which is free) out of the box.
    -Installing programs is pretty much drag and drop, as is removing them
    -the on board speakers are better than most laptops, but lack of digital out isn't a full redemption.
    -In the Finder I've always found the fact that there is a menu at the top to be reasonably useful.
    -TextEdit is better than window's notepad but no-one uses them for programing these days.
    -OSX doesn't automatically start playing a CD when it's inserted like OS9 did. (Seriously for those that don't know or can't remember, OS9 would play a CD with no player open as soon as it was inserted. You'd then have to open a media player and stop playing it.)

    Final comments
    No operating system is perfect, and none are even close and as you become familiar with one or another you learn to forget to see it's problems and learn the quick way around. Likewise no hardware configuration is perfect, and we learn to accept what is in front of us. My PC draws on the wrong side of 1kW from the wall socket, when under load and as a result is noisy and bloody hot. The iMac (aside from the noisy CD drive) is neither noisy nor hot, and might draw 1/5th the power under full load. My 2 24" SGi are huge limiting physical desktop space, the iMac could be mounted to the wall. My PC has more connectability than I know what to do with, the imac is somewhat limited, likewise with expandability.

    Over all I would find it difficult to hand over my hard earned for an iMac or MacPro, (keep in mind my profession as a Coal seam gas Engineer.) As for the soccer mum and general user it's a harder recommendation. The new iMacs are faster than this one, and since it's not mine it's file system is full of junk unlike my PC (lean and mean.) For out of the box computing + open office and a better mouse 'n' keyboard combo the iMac might just be worth the ticket price. For professionals (even graphics and video editors,) gamers, power users and the do-it-your-self crowd I'd have to say that a custom build or HP/Dell/SGi workstation would much better suit your needs. Given that save Final Cut Pro all programs available for mac are also available for Windows / Linux / BSD(UNIX)

    It's been interesting, but I'd have much rather typed the back 9 of my 40,000 word thesis on my PC as I did the the front 9.
  2. skottichan macrumors 6502a


    Oct 23, 2007
    Columbus, OH
    Not to nitpick, but your iMac does have optical audio output, you just need the little TOSlink to 1/8" adapter (some TOSlink cables come with them), and you just plug it into the headphone/speaker jack in the back.

    Not sure what's causing your video playback issues, my old 2.33GHz C2D 20" white iMac plays 1080 MKV files just fine.
  3. sammich macrumors 601


    Sep 26, 2006
    A few things to note: Mac OS X isn't Windows, so many differences/'sourness' you experience are simply because haven't gotten used to doing things the 'Mac way'.

    How did you buy a new 2008 machine in that time? Or I'm not understanding your writing.

    Missing keyboard shortcuts? What exactly?
    Missing native software...not OS X' fault. It's on you to check if 3rd party software works on your machine before you buy it.
    Mouse acceleration: again OS X != Windows.
    Only 3 USB ports: are you really comparing your 1kW behemoth to a consumer level sub 200W machine?
    Optical: poster above mentioned it, again, check the specs of anything you buy
    No task bar for open windows: check expose.
    Can't turn off Dashboard: change the shortcut?
    No one is forcing you to use iTunes. It's better anyway.
    You played with a 2 yo machine that was never meant to be good at gaming. If you're a keen gamer you should know from the specs and if you aren't then you won't care if the settings aren't at the max.

    They could...or they could make money by selling you their office suite:iWork

    Really? The iMac is a consumer machine, it should be treated as such.

    I understand you may have written all that off hand but posting uninformed pieces like that don't help anyone. Can't that you compared 2 yo iMac to your 1kW monster, how on Earth does give anyone any perspective?
  4. Paulywauly macrumors 6502a


    Sep 26, 2009
    Durham, UK
    While i can wholeheartedly agree with a few of your points it seems like alot of the things you've mentioned can be put down to you either not doing much research before buying your machine or not being very familiar with Mac OS e.g.



  5. Badger^2 macrumors 68000


    Oct 29, 2009
    Umm, yeah. 2 year old? Try a review on a 3.5 year old iMac. Not 2008 even. Bought used(?) in Dec 2009.

    Apple iMac "Core 2 Duo" 2.16 20-Inch Specs- Late 2006 - MA589LL
    Introduction Date: September 6, 2006

    Theres a problem with HP/Dell/SGI workstations, they run Windows.

    Take your whole entire post and replace the words "iMac" and "OS X" with "Dell" and "Windows" and you have my review of a 3.5 year old Dell.
  6. iMav macrumors 6502


    Jun 20, 2008
    Columbus, WI
    Control not necessary for right can change this in the system preferences. There are a TON of keyboard shortcuts, they simply aren't the same as your windows keyboard shortcuts. Try TextMate for programming, NeoOffice for a nice "Macified" version of OpenOffice, and a better keyboard if the thesis typing is less enjoyable.
  7. Quad SLi 295 thread starter macrumors member

    Quad SLi 295

    Mar 21, 2009
    Adelaide, SA (for a limited time)
    wasn't aware of the mini optical out, had an old mini-disc optical cable lying around and gave it a go. I'll edit the first post.

    to sammich, the imac is from 2008, my PC was bought in stages between Dec2009 and March 2010. Sorry for any confusion. Also note that the iMac I'm using is not mine, I did not pay for it, and am being lent it for the purpose of writing an Engineering paper for University.

    Just to mention again this is not my iMac, it's a friends and he bought it in 2008. This is a first impression of what he has to work with every day, and the 3 USB ports is annoying for me (having to switch in and out devices)

    After posting I spent the better part of an hour pulling the keyboard apart and cleaning the dam thing with electra-clean working much better now (basically a highly volatile solvent used to clean electrical contacts, be sure to use a face mask ;) ). And while there are plenty of keyboard short cuts, you can't use the alt key to highlight a menu, and navigate around that way (the way I use to get around AutoCAD.) In windows you don't need a mouse to get around, losing mouse functionality basically crippled OSX (from my observation.) I know Command+SpaceBar brings up spotlight and you can launch programs that way, but accessing menus was very difficult.

    To Paulywauly: I think the video issues are more to do with the amount of random crap on this particular machine, rather than a fault in general but missing native DivX support is an oversight.
    Also Steam isn't available for mac "YET" but I've signed up for the beta, and it's not bad, this example just doesn't have the grunt to really fill out the 20" screen. This would be less or a null issue on a more modern one, or yet to be released i7 based one.

    To iMav: I've changed the system preferences so that the Mighty Mouse functions as a 2 button mouse (did it as soon as I sat down to start work.) I'm just mentioning that on this example (2 years old) that the dexterity of the 2 button functionality is rather hit and miss. I've used the apple mouse when new, and they're much better. This one appears to have aged poorly

    As I mentioned in the first post this is my observations in using OSX on a 2 year old imac having not used a mac in anger for 6 years and prior to that it was all OS7-8-9. And a determination in how 2 very different user groups reply to the same source material, given my oservations. I've posted links in the first paragraph on both forums to the other for that reason so that any user can read the different responses

    Remember I said
    knowing that this example is 2 years old and that i7 updates are on the way, as is full steam support, and lets hope bootcamp7 as well. In which case for the general user not needing CAD/CAM/Surpac/Vulcan/insert other enterprise software It'd be a much harder determination. The buy in is high, but there's a lot you get for that dollar that is not initially apparent, The admission price is starting to make scene. But I can understand why the corporate space is as yet off limits to Macintosh systems.

    When I first was told what I was available, I thought Oh Crap but on balance it been better than expected, though some short comings are definitely retracting from the experience, partly through my lack of knowledge and partly through design flaw.
  8. Badger^2 macrumors 68000


    Oct 29, 2009
    Its still a 3.5 year old iMac with 3.5 year old tech. No matter when your buddy bought it.

    Need more USB ports? A 7 port USB hub is $15. Big deal.

    I know what DivX is, but I have never run across a DivX file/video. Where would I find one? Link?

    Your other all PC forum will just crap all over the Mac, its what they do.

    When you use an Apple its just one step above mass kitten killer. Never has this been more evident than with the release of the iPad. iHaters from every where all wanted to be the first ones to post "I dont get it" on every comments section, blog, FB or myspace page they could find. No matter the fact they had never used it. Even my local newspaper web site was flooded with these kind of comments, just for a simple story about the iPad.

    You just arent looking hard enough:
    iTunes >> Preferences >> General >> When you insert a CD >> Begin Playing

    You are a PC guy and we are Mac people, not sure what kind of responses you expected here.
  9. iMav macrumors 6502


    Jun 20, 2008
    Columbus, WI
    Personally, I've always detested the assumption that PC = Windows. I use PC's all the time...I simply don't use the nasty. You can't beat the bang for your buck. Commodity PC hardware is a great value. My VMWare servers, general workstations, and media servers all run on PC hardware (with Linux as the base OS).

    But, back on's a bit ridiculous to be in including the keyboard and mouse in your comparison between Windows 7 and OS X. After all, the same keyboards and mice can be used on both systems. 99% of the keyboards and mice that ship with your typical PC are crap...the currently available Apple keyboard and mouse (neither of which you are using) are at least quality items with some serious engineering behind them.

    As far as working with menus with the keyboard, check out this page for a ton of keyboard shortcuts.
  10. Winni macrumors 68030


    Oct 15, 2008
    You see, that's the problem: That stuff is not documented, at least not in the official package when you open the box. Not even killer features like QuickLook are really documented.

    How is a new user supposed to know any of this?

    The companies are nowadays only throwing stuff over the fence and leave it to the bloggers and the user forums to figure things out and write about their findings. This approach would have been impossible ten years ago.
  11. Quad SLi 295 thread starter macrumors member

    Quad SLi 295

    Mar 21, 2009
    Adelaide, SA (for a limited time)
    Thank you Winni. I guess I've succeeded in what I set out to achieve. To post my thoughts with regards to my first impressions on using an iMac for the first time, and my first real sit down with OSX, not including uni 6 years ago where all I did was use the text editor.

    I won't be jumping in and joining the mac band wagon anytime soon, but I can see the point why people pay the high admission price.

    Thank you for your responses
  12. Starhorsepax macrumors member


    Jun 6, 2010
    Important Note to all Newbie Mac buyers

    1. I picked a refurbished macbook over a new PC when I needed one. But I researched it (and the sellers!) more than many would final exams. I knew what I needed it to do and what (at most)I could spend (beg, borrow,save...).

    The keyboards are a SHOCK going in either direction. First time on a PC I froze when I found the Command key was GONE. Uh oh.:confused:

    2. Borrow a book. Without it, one may never know what to look for in any computer. A perfectly obvious button to turn an app off to designers may not be obvious to the owner. Currently I'm using libraries and hope to decide which one is worth buying as a reference. (At $20 and up I want to be SURE.) One can find all sorts of cool stuff in the books one didn't even realize the mac could do. i.e. Terminal tricks, games, website links and application tips.
  13. bumzo1 macrumors 6502a

    Jan 31, 2009
    Dallas, TX
    hahahaha I tried to use my dad's PC after using solely a Mac for almost two years and I was having trouble copy and pasting. I kept pressing alt instead of control. I also had trouble finding my USB stick, windows file browser is really confusing. Also squeezing a PC mouse doesn't activate expose, I actually had to use the (tool bar? menu bar? lol I've forgotten what its called). I also don't get my scrolling with momentum :(. And it looks very ghetto but I won't count that since it was vista, bleh.

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