iMac or *gulp* HP M8226x

Discussion in 'Buying Tips and Advice' started by Christopher387A, Dec 26, 2007.

  1. Joined:
    Jul 1, 2007
    Our desktop decided to finally shoot craps yesterday and we're looking at buying a new computer and I need a little help. Obviously I'm expecting a little bias from a Mac forum, but I've never had a Mac before so don't know what I'm expecting or looking for. Since the Compaq 5050 died (very old and PAINFULLY slow :p) I've narrowed it down to two choices - the 20" iMac ($1199 model) and an HP M8226X.

    The specs seem to favor the HP (3GHz vs 2 GHz, HD size 500GB vs 250GB, 3GB ram vs 1GB, etc) but I'm not sure how dependent OSX is or if I'd notice the difference speedwise. Clearly aesthetically the iMac wins, but I'd choose performance over looks any day.

    Usage wise: internet surfing, homework (typing reports and the like; I've got a $3500 laptop I do my homework on for college so it'll be for my 16 year old sister's work), about 10GB of music and some pictures. No heavy 3d gaming or anything that will put it to the test, the majority will be on the internet. Our household is my parents and myself, along with 2 teenage girls. My sister has an HP laptop (that she hates) and I've got a brand new laptop so we aren't dependent on PCs or having compatibility between them.

    My dad says buy whatever and my mom looks at the specs and says the HP must be better since everything is higher :)rolleyes:), so I need advice. None of us have ever had a Mac, but after my iPhone and tons of iPods, I'm sold and I'm sure they would be as well. I'm also pretty sure the iMac is it pricewise since Christmas just happened yesterday so no 24" 2.4GHz computer or anything :D. I basically need help finding if the money would be better spent on the iMac (and the 2 hour drive to the Apple store) and if the difference in specs would be noticeable. We'll be purchasing within the next week at the latest.
  2. aaronw1986 macrumors 68030

    Oct 31, 2006
    It would probably good to go to a store and mess around on a mac for a while.
  3. deputy_doofy macrumors 65816


    Sep 11, 2002
    I agree with this. You should definitely go play. :) I don't think you'll be disappointed.
  4. Consultant macrumors G5


    Jun 27, 2007
    Major difference

    iMac = relatively quiet
    PC towers = loud

    With PCs, virus protection and spyware detection software takes cycles from your CPU, so you are getting a slower computer out of the box.

    No viruses on Mac.

    The two things cannot be compared easily. Specs aren't everything.
  5. deputy_doofy macrumors 65816


    Sep 11, 2002
    This is very true. Ok, granted, CPU's are now 2 and 4 core, but you still waste a core for real-time scans (not to mention RAM).
  6. sxl95 macrumors member

    Nov 7, 2006
    You mentioned in your post that you were a college student. As a college student, you can get a small discount off of the hardware. Just ask the folks at the Apple Store, or if you order online, look around the store page (Apple's of course), and find the link for education. That should save you some money. If you were buying during the summer, they do a nice deal when you buy an iPod and a Mac together, with a very good rebate.

    Being a PC user, you are probably already used to a Glossy screen, which is my one major annoyance with the iMac. Based on your needs, the Mac Mini might even work for what you, though I don't know if it is that great of a value.

    OS X loves memory, though it seems as though Leopard is less memory hungry than Tiger (the last version of OS X). 1gb should be fine for now, but with memory so cheap, you might be able to upgrade to a whopping 4GB for as low as about $100. (After Rebate and the Google Checkout discount, I think my 4gb of Kingston for my MBP for under $100 on Cyber Monday).

  7. Sun Baked macrumors G5

    Sun Baked

    May 19, 2002
    The iMac is comparable to a Centrino 4 laptop -- it uses those components, with a few parts like a non-Intel wireless losing it the Centrino sticker.

    So the desktop will smoke it spec for spec, and will be a bit more expensive than a conventional PC.

    However it does have a lot of the laptop benefits, quiet operation, low power, etc.
  8. jroad macrumors member

    Mar 24, 2006
    Also factor in things like: time spent on tech support/admin, user experience, dealing with pre-installed crapware, viruses, vista performance issues, etc.
  9. DesignerOnMac macrumors 6502a


    Jul 23, 2007

    And don't forget, you can run OSX and Windows on the iMac! So you can learn OSX and do Windoz at t he same time! Considering what your using the computer for, I do not think it makes much of a difference. More RAM would be the option here rather the CPS speed in my opinion!
  10. Christopher387A thread starter Guest

    Jul 1, 2007
    Thanks everyone for the opinions so far. Like what was mentioned above, for the general use I don't think either one would be bad but if you're gonna buy something you might as well get the best for the money you know. I completely forgot about being able to run Windows as well. How difficult is that to set up? I can't really test out an iMac unless I drive 2 hours to Indy to mess with them (although does Best Buy carry them now?), so that's a bit difficult. Do iMacs noticeably slow down when they get hot? My new HP gets pretty hot and if I'm playing a game or running iTunes for a long time it will get REALLY slow until I click out and open it back up a few seconds later. Is that due to the ram getting full or something? I'm not a computer whiz on the hardware itself - I just know enough to be dangerous :p

    My mom just went out exchanging some Christmas gifts for different sizes and maybe I'll get lucky and she'll bring an iMac home. :apple:
  11. JSchwage macrumors 6502a


    May 5, 2006
    Rochester, NY
    I can't believe nobody has mentioned all the awesome bundled software that comes with every Mac. iLife is great!
  12. djejrejk macrumors 6502a


    Jan 3, 2007
    I would say, go with the iMac,... but then again, this is not the most fair question to ask this question. The question you should be asking yourself is: 1.) How much do I hate windows? and 2.) Do I really need windows? If the answer to #1 is a lot, and the answer to number 2 is sometimes or never, the iMac would be a good decision. When you need windows, simply use Parallels, VMWare Fusion or install a Windows partition w/ Boot Camp.

    If you *need* windows for a particular program, or for work, the iMac will still work with no problems, Mac run Windows better than many consumer PC's, but you might be able to pick up a less powerful tower/ LCD combo that would suit your needs and save some $$. Than again, the HP is $829 and comes with a 19in LCD... for another 150$ (with the student discount) you could have the iMac with a 20 in screen and all of the useful software that comes bundled with the iMac and no bloatware.

    Good luck
  13. Cave Man macrumors 604

    Cave Man

    Feb 12, 2007
    Neander Valley, Germany; just outside Duesseldorf
    The iMac is superior in many ways. Here's a quick rundown based upon specs from HP's web page.

    • iMac Core 2 Duo T7xxx; HP Athlon 64 X2 (W) 6000+ 3.0 GHz (roughly equivalent to E6600/E6700 C2D)
    • iMac cpu supports Virtualization Technology; HP cpu doesn't
    • iMac has 4 mb L2 cache; HP has 2 mb L2 cache
    • iMac 802.11n; HP 802.11g
    • iMac dedicated graphics card; HP integrated
    • iMac 20" display is DVI 1680x1050, HP is 19" 1440x900 VGA (it's DVI, but computer is VGA only)
    • iMac supports 2 displays (e.g., second display, TV, projector) and is DVI; HP is VGA
    • iMac has iSight camera, HP none
    • iMac digital optical audio I/O; HP analog audio out (needs discrete inputs on amp) and in, coax out
    • iMac gigbit ethernet; HP 100 kbs
    • iMac 3 USB2; HP 2
    • iMac FW800 and FW400; HP 1 FW400
    • iMac Bluetooth; HP none
    • iMac Leopard; HP Vista Home Premium
    • iMac iLife; HP whatever...
    The HP does come with an analog TV tuner and two analog inputs (isn't the mandatory switch to digital effective next year or 2009?), consumes more electricity, and can be used as a supplemental heat source during the winter.

    To me, this decision is a no-brainer.
  14. MezicanGangxtah macrumors regular

    Jul 21, 2007
    Correct me if im wrong but by saying centrino 4 you mean santa rosa right?
    Anyways the imac has a core 2 duo 2 GHZ proccesor and the other one has an AMD Athlon 64 X2 6000+. Now i dont know what this CPU is equivalent/comparable to on intel chips but just as a reminder that just because it has 3 GHZ CPU doesnt neccesarily mean it is faster , again I really dont know much about AMD proccesors i mean for all i know it could be the flagship chip AMD carries or it can be reallly slow.Another point worth mentioning might be the fact that amd procesors are for the most part accros the line behind the performance of intel chips.

    And about your purchasing decision i suggest going for the imac overall it is pretty much better deal over any PC's lifetime . Good luck with your desicion
  15. stomer macrumors 6502a

    Apr 2, 2007
    Leeds, UK
    Time Machine is another good reason to get a Mac over a Windows based machine. Apart from Time Machine, I've never seen software that makes backing up and restoring so easy.
  16. Sun Baked macrumors G5

    Sun Baked

    May 19, 2002
    Santa Rosa is name of the 4th gen Centrino platform, not the name of the chipset ... the chipset has another name.
  17. StealthRider macrumors 65816


    Jan 23, 2002
    Yokosuka, Japan
    Chipset of the Santa Rosa platform is named "Crestline".
  18. DuRui macrumors member

    Dec 24, 2007
    No virusses on Mac's? .. Didn't the first virus/malware appear juts a couple of weeks ago for Mac's because they're becoming more and more popular? Correct me if I'm wrong but as far as I understood it ..Mac's just weren't that popular that it was worth writing that kind of crap for it?

    Other then that..I like the designs (cases and OS and of course the usability of mac's). As far as gaming goes..i'll do gaming on a console.
  19. Christopher387A thread starter Guest

    Jul 1, 2007
    I just got off the phone with my mom - I'll be ordering an iMac tonight or picking one up tomorrow. ;) Thanks guys!
  20. Cave Man macrumors 604

    Cave Man

    Feb 12, 2007
    Neander Valley, Germany; just outside Duesseldorf
    Leap A was the only one, but it wasn't a virus. It also required admin permission to install, IIRC. If it were based on popularity, then there should be some, (5% market, 50,000+ WinMalware = 2,500 Mac viruses), so that can't be it.

    OS X is inherently more secure. After all, its foundations have been in existence since the late 1960s and has always been a network OS. Security has always been a priority.
  21. DuRui macrumors member

    Dec 24, 2007
    Like I said I wasn't sure but thanks for clearing that up for me.
    Obviously the needing a password to install the "virus" isn't something you read on a PC website. Didn't mean to step on anybody's toes. :eek:
  22. Paulius macrumors newbie


    Aug 22, 2005
    Christopher, take our word for it, the iMac is light years supperior to any other PC. I'm a computer geek, I'm a UNIX expert and I repair computers for many people.

    First off, let me tell you. The number of gigahertz or megahertz that the computer has doesn't necessarily correspond with the performance. Even though that the AMD 6000+ is 3GHz, it is way slower than the Core 2 2.4GHz processor in the iMac. The Core 2 Duo processor is way more efficient, has more cache and is based on a totally different architecture than AMD processors. Don't take my word for it, go look up some benchmarks on the Internet.

    Secondly, and most importantly, HP makes the worst and cheapest computers out there. Whenever I see a HP computer, I let out a long sigh. HP uses the cheapest components out there, the computers are hard to disassemble and are very much likely to fail within the first few years of operation. The iMac, on the other hand, isn't based on the cheapest components on the market. Even though Apple has lowered their hardware quality in the last few years, it is still far superior than Dell, HP and most manufacturers.

    The HP included monitor's specifications are much lower than Apple's display that's integrated into the iMac. Even though HP's hard drive has more space than on the iMac, the iMac's hard disk drive is faster (last time I checked, HP used hard drives with only a few megs of cache) and more reliable.

    Thirdly, the software. Your computer is only a humming metal box without the software running it. Go on and discover iLife and the wonderful software that is included into every Mac. The OS X operating system is far superior, easier to use and more secure than Windows. With OS X, you don't need to worry about viruses nor spyware. In addition (remember how I mentionned that I hated HP...), HP bundles TONS of useless software and crud on every computer they ship. Your HP computer will be slow from day one with the software that's in it.

    Fourth, design. People have mentionned before that the iMac is a way more civilized machine. It barely makes any noise, compared to the relatively loud HP. It has a design which integrated the monitor inside of the computer and looks more visually appealing.

    I would highly recommend you to try a Mac. It's right now the best time ever to switch to a Mac. Sorry for randomly bumping into this thread, but I just wanted to express my opinion. Let us know what you chose, and good luck.

    EDIT: I just spend a few minutes re-reading my post. I think that I might add some biased opinion too: The day that I bought my iMac was an amazing day. The iMac is an amazing machine. Every detail of the design is well thought out and it's worth every penny.
    Also, you might notice in my signature, I'm using a HP monitor. The monitor that I'm using is an expensive business monitor that I bought a few years ago, and that I'm still not regretting :p You can't compare that with the cheap computers and consummer gear that HP sells these days.
  23. Christopher387A thread starter Guest

    Jul 1, 2007
    I'm in love

    Just thought I would update everyone... while posting from my new iMAC!!! We got to the store and it was packed and then we went over to the display models and we all fell in love. About 15 minutes later we were walking out the door with the iMac and a new printer. :cool: Setup took less than 10 minutes and we were playing in Photobooth in no time (and have been for hours :D). My mom and dad couldn't stop laughing and are loving it so far. I can't believe how quiet it is!

    Apple has won my heart forever. :D:apple:
  24. ivan1234 macrumors regular

    Nov 8, 2007

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