Mac Questions - Newbie Questions

Discussion in 'iMac' started by confusedxx, May 4, 2009.

  1. confusedxx macrumors newbie

    May 4, 2009
    I have been a custom built and overclocked PC guy for years, but recently I have started to think more about Apple. A colleague got an iMac and he said "it just works". That is something I would not really say about Windows. With Windows you need to make sure the driver is there, update this, fix that, etc...

    Since I do not play games so much anymore on my PC (still play a bit of Civ IV, Oblivion and WoW), I have thought it is probably the right time to think of a Mac. I mostly do: web surfing, email, LightRoom, Photoshop, iTunes, watch movies in VLC, and that is about it.

    I currently have a water cooled PC with E6600 Quad-Core CPU, 4GB RAM, Nvidia 8800 GTx card, 2 tb Raid 0 drive, Samsung 22" monitor. I have a NAS server that I use for the storage location for all critical files and as a weekly backup.

    My Music, all photoshop and camera pictures are stored ONLY on the NAS and I play and Edit them from the NAS. I also do weekly backups of My Documents and other key folders to the NAS. So I have a few noobie questions about Apple.

    1. for my needs (Photoshop, iTunes, movie streaming, limited gaming, maybe video editing one day) - is iMac good enough or do I need a MacPro?

    2. What is difference between TimeMachine and a NAS? Can I have the Time Machine backup to my NAS? Can I use my NAS for the iMac and not need to worry about running out of space on those small 500gb/1TB Time Machine things? My NAS has 4.5 TB in a Raid 5 array.

    3. Can the iMac be upgraded with memory? If I can use the NAS, I do not need to upgrade the HDD.

    4. How does today's iMac compare in specs and performance to a PC that is 3 years old?

    5. If I go with iMac can I also hook up a second monitor to it?
  2. UltraNEO* macrumors 601


    Jun 16, 2007
    Depends on how extensive you'd wanna go with the whole video editing thing.. a iMac will do you fine, IMO but you can always upgrade to the MacPro later if you decided you'd prefer to stay with Mac. Any disks you can store on a PC can be accessed via the Mac, even if it's stored in NTFS format (just can't write).

    All Macs today are using the same hardware architecture as your common PC, only difference really is the hardware specs (CPU and chipset), lack a PC type BIOS. For the average non commercial working joe, the iMac can pretty much do everything the MacPro can do, the only difference here is speed, cost of the system and expandability (hardware wise). Don't forget, you can always install BootCamp should you need to play about with windows, and it's games.

    Yep, a second monitor is certainly possible.
  3. MrENGLISH macrumors regular

    Apr 18, 2009
    1. iMac is fine for the stuff you listed but since you have stated you like to overclock, you'd probably be happier if you went with the Mac Pro since its more powerful than the iMac.


    3. Memory = RAM. Storage = hdd space. But to answer your question, YES but it is not an easy task if its Storage you are looking to upgrade. RAM is very easy to upgrade and the Current iMacs support up to 8GB.

    4. Seriously??? If you are a custom builder you should be more knowledgeable here. I'd imagine a true custom builder would know what he is putting into his system and why. All you have to do is compare the specs between the 2 and you'll find your answer. Current iMacs have C2Duo with 6mb shared L2 cache, 1066MHz bus, 1066MHz ddr3 ram, etc.

    5. YES!!!! Current iMacs supports up to 2560 by 1600 pixels on an external display.
  4. duncyboy macrumors 6502a

    Feb 5, 2008
    I switched from home-built PC's to an entry-level iMac over a year ago and you really don't need to take that much of an interest in specs on paper. My old PC was far more powerful on paper at least than my iMac but OS X uses resources more efficiently overall, making that academic.

    I don't game much on my iMac except for retro stuff so can't answer for the gaming but a current iMac would do video editing and Photoshop easy. I know this because mine does all of those too!

    Bear in mind my iMac is a mid-2007 model with a 2.0 C2D and I upgraded the RAM myself to 4GB (as stated above, latest iMacs can have 8!) and I can easily edit HD video using iMovie no problem.

    Upgrading the RAM's easy too. There's a wee trapdoor underneath- you just power off the Mac, disconnect the power lead, open the trapdoor, remove the old RAM, put in the new, reconnect and power on. Doddle :D

    You can use a NAS for Time Machine purposes. Look here:

    Time Machine though is purely for back-up purposes. You can't use it as local or remote storage- think System Restore from Windows with its own dedicated drive. Unless you mean a Time CAPSULE? That's basically Apple's WiFi router with a hard drive attached.

    Hope this helps and good luck with the switch. Your story sounds quite similar to mine before I switched and I hope you enjoy the change as much as I have :)
  5. UltraNEO* macrumors 601


    Jun 16, 2007
    I think you'll find the iMac's miniDVI doesn't have Dual Link capabilities, by default, herefore it's maximum resolution is limited to 1920 by 1200. To get full 2560 by 1600 on a iMac you need an expensive adaptor, one that's completely useless on the next gen systems cause they're gonna all have miniDisplayPort.
  6. MrENGLISH macrumors regular

    Apr 18, 2009
    I said "CURRENT iMacs", not previous gen iMacs. Current iMacs have Mini DisplayPort which supports 2560 by 1600. Take a look at Apple's iMac Tech Specs page. Yes, you'd need to have an adapter to go from miniDP to Dual-Link DVI.
  7. confusedxx thread starter macrumors newbie

    May 4, 2009
    I think an iMac with 8gb RAM is enough for my Photoshop editing needs :)

    The only concern I have read from above concerns the NAS. My current NAS is formatted at NTFS. I have a switch in the configuration screens on the NAS to make it compatible with Mac file system. I have enabled that so hopefully the mac can write to it and read from it. Since I am not getting rid of my PC yet, but adding a mac to my home setup, I wanted to use the NAS as the place to store files for Mac, PC and my PS3.
  8. DoFoT9 macrumors P6


    Jun 11, 2007
    the top spec will be perfect for PS and the other light programs you listed. i only hope that you can become accustomed to the 'no upgrade capabilities' of the computer. its not really made to be upgraded any more.. i.e. cant put two hard drives in it, upgrade the GPU etcetc.

    if you can get over that side of your 'nerdiness' then you will be sweet :)

    in regards to the NAS, TimeCapsule is basically a NAS - it will be available to all computers on the network, you can backup to it very easily (it can automatically backup every hour if you wish).

    in regards to your current NAS, im not certain if the support will be full support. if it has full AFP support then you are sweet, if not then it becomes a bit washy. im not certain how you would find out...

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