My first iMac is coming! Any tips before my life is changed forever?

Discussion in 'iMac' started by iStress, Dec 19, 2008.

  1. iStress macrumors member

    Sep 23, 2007
    Sydney, Australia
    Hey guys!! I am ecstatic about my new iMac, which is coming in 2 days time. The config is:

    24inch 3.06Ghz
    2Gb Ram
    500GB HDD

    I've been a PC user for a while, Mac fanatic for years, and now I finally get the chance to own a beautiful computer! For the next 2 days I plan to prepare my iMac for its arrival, approximately at 11am.

    So here are a few questions regarding the new iMac:

    1) What are the recommended/must have softwares/programs?

    2) I'm planning to install XP (eww) using Bootcamp, just for gaming. How much should I allocate for the XP partition? Considering I'll have around 5-7 games such as Bioshock and GTA IV.

    3) With regards to the System Preferences, is there anything I should know? For example, tweaking a few settings for optimum performance.

    4) I've seen a few screenshots of macs in the photo gallery, having the album art displayed as a CD case. I believe the software used is called Coversutra - is that right? If so, are there any free alternatives?

    5) Which wireless encryption should I use? AES or TKIP? Also, which type of security - WPA or WPA2? I currrently use a Belkin N Modem Router.

    6) Should I rip my music with AAC 256kbps or 128kbps? I would like to make the most out of my iMac's speakers before I get the external ones.

    7) This is a random one....should I plug my wired mighty mouse into the keyboard, or into the back of the iMac? Which way looks better?

    8) I noticed from my cousin's MBP, that everytime you boot up a Mac there is always that "ddoooohhmmm" sound - is there a way to turn off the sound? I'm scared I might wake the whole house up when I want to use the iMac at 4am.

    9) From question 8 - should I put my iMac to sleep when I'm not using it? Will the iMac make that "ddoooohhmmm" sound when I wake it up?

    10) Is it safe to put the iMac to sleep instead of shutting it down? I know that I won't leave it alone (hahahaha). What about power saving? I've read that the 3.06Ghz CPU uses 55W, so does that mean the iMac will use "a bit more power" when I put it to sleep, compared to other 35W CPUs? (eg 2.8Ghz iMac).

    11) This is a big easy is it to adapt to Mac OSX? The most I've spent with a Mac is 4 hours, and it's a Tiger. If there are any tips, short cuts, cool things to do and features of Leopard - please show me!

    Thanks so much guys! I can't wait to film myself moaning, taking pictures and filming the unboxing of my first mac!

    PS. I bought the iMac now because the update would increase the iMac's price, due to the decreasing AUD value.
  2. The Hammer macrumors 6502

    Jun 19, 2008
    Toronto, Canada
  3. iStress thread starter macrumors member

    Sep 23, 2007
    Sydney, Australia
    I was thinking about doing that, thanks for suggesting!

    Should I go for the ext HDD for Time Machine, or 4Gb of RAM?
  4. iknowyourider macrumors 6502a


    Mar 26, 2008
    A big congrats. You picked a sweet system. Look for a great deal on a ram upgrade. I upped my macbook to 4gb ram for $30. I recommend using the better sound quality 256. You might even rip your favorite cd's in wave format. My 128 aac sounds great on ipod and on desktop studio monitors but they sound poor in my new Scion XB. I'm having to go back and rip my favorites with another program at 320 kbps mp3. Get Handbrake to rip your dvd's for itunes.
  5. petermcphee macrumors 6502a


    Aug 20, 2008
    4GB of ram for sure. That's a must. Also, remember to peruse the support discussions for answers to your questions prior to posting them here. It's a useful resource, and one that has answered many of my questions.
  6. iStress thread starter macrumors member

    Sep 23, 2007
    Sydney, Australia
    Thanks! Looks like I'll spend the next 46 hours doing some more in depth research.
  7. Fonzijr1964 macrumors 68000


    Feb 26, 2008
    See Bold^^^

    Get 4GB of ram i think its like $57
  8. richard.mac macrumors 603


    Feb 2, 2007
    51.50024, -0.12662
    Hi iStress! (kind of an oxymoron name ;))

    welcome to the Mac!

    1. Have a look here. my must haves are

    Firefox (for sites that arent built for Safari)
    Flip4Mac (plays WMVs in QuickTime)
    Frostwire (free Limewire Pro alt.)
    Handbrake (encodes DVDs)
    Onyx (system maintenance)
    Perian (play AVIs in QuickTime)
    TextWrangler (coding text editor)
    Transmission (BitTorrent)
    VMware (virtual machine)

    Final Cut Express
    iWork '08
    Little Snitch (extra firewall)
    MacTheRipper (rip DVDs for burning)
    Pacifist (reads installers)
    Toast (burn DVDs, movies, files)

    2. i have a 10 GB partition for just a normal XP install and a few apps like Office 2003, Antivirus & spyware, iTunes, etc. which is just enough space left for an OS and install games on an external drive. so for a few games i would say more than 20 GB.

    3. not really. hook up an ethernet cable instead of wireless, turn off all Sharing options when not using them and disbale Dock magnification and animations IMO.


    5. WPA2 is good.

    6. anything under 192 kbps is noticeably bad on good speakers.

    7. the keyboard has USB 2.0 ports as well so whatever you think is aesthetically better. i would connect it to the keyboard so you have another USB port on the back… but then the keyboard USB ports are easier to access.

    8. on some Macs you can lower your volume and the startup chime volume will be lowered as well and it can even be muted. but doesnt work on my MBP so i use "Psst".

    9. the startup chime wont sound when waking from sleep.

    10. course its safe… they wouldnt include the sleep feature if it wasnt safe! dont think too much about it and just sleep your Mac unless you reboot into Windows or install updates. of course sleep mode uses more energy than completely off but the amount used is hardly any. here are energy consumption stats from Apple.

    11. there is a definite learning curve. best piece of advice is to not think its Windows and if you get stuck just think what is the most user friendly way of doing that task, and it will usually be that way. check out the Leopard Tips and Hints thread.

    updated Mac models are always the same price as the predecessor. so the current price of the Australian stock at the time will determine the price. so if new iMacs are released at MacWorld 2009 in Jan and the AUD hasnt moved much at all the new iMacs will be around the same price and the price of your iMac will decrease in price. try and hold off till Macworld but the general consensus is if you need the computer just keep it.
  9. wawanarchist macrumors regular

    Oct 19, 2008
    I'd reccomend XSlimmer, I used it on my powerbook g4 1.67 and it reduced the startup time of safari from 4 bounces to 1, itunes from 8 to 3, ect... Maybe its more effective on the old powerpc's but its worth a shot
  10. shoopaman macrumors 6502


    Nov 17, 2008
    A huge welcome and congrats!
  11. iStress thread starter macrumors member

    Sep 23, 2007
    Sydney, Australia
    Thank you so much guys for your help! I am going to print all the posts in this thread :D

    shoopaman, the MBs and MBPs had a $500 spike when they were released in October. I guess Apple can't really lower the price of the new iMac to help customers.

    For example, the MBP in the US costs $2199USD (with tax, 6% right?), which converts to about $3115AUD (the MBP sells for $3199AUD now). In Australia the MBP used to sell for about $2699AUD (when $1AUD = $0.98USD), but now it's $3199AUD because $1AUD = $0.68USD.

    So if the new iMac costs $2330USD (with 6% tax), then in Australia it will cost $3426AUD, I paid $2999AUD for mine :D
  12. eXan macrumors 601


    Jan 10, 2005
    in bold
  13. shoopaman macrumors 6502


    Nov 17, 2008
    Ah!~e... C... did not realize the Global price spikes... MBP in the us has not raised its price, it is exactly the same as it was for the past few years. We have only seen improvements without price spikes... (FYI- MBP starts at $1999 +tax 9% in my state-WA and 0%:eek: in my neighboring state-OR) never really realized Global :apple: price changes... It sounds like you made a sound decision than! Welcome to the family! :D
  14. queshy macrumors 68040


    Apr 2, 2005
    First of all, welcome! MacRumors is a great place and you can always get answers to your questions :)

    See comments in bold, please.

  15. Muncher macrumors 65816


    Apr 19, 2007
    1. Must have software - smcFanControl, FreezeFrame, Onyx (last two are performance tools).

    2. What eXan said. My imac has a 55 GB windows partition, and it feels small. Use a 60GB partition at the very least, but I recommend closer to 100 GB. Oh, and buy vista basic instead. Then you can downgrade to XP, and upgrade back when vista gets more stable for full DX10. @Queshy: 32GB is not anywhere near enough for 5-7 recent games.

    5. Always use AES, it's been tested and used for years and it hasn't been cracked. Use WPA2, it is the newest standard.

    6. Always rip with the higher quality. I recommend 256 kbps VBR, which sounds better with lower file sizes.

    7. Plug it into the keyboard, it looks way cooler :p.

    11. It wasn't that hard for me. The general rule is, if you think you can, you probably can.
  16. Infin 8 macrumors newbie

    Dec 20, 2008
    iMac newb 2B

    Great thread for those of us just coming over to the fruit side!

    Just ordered:
    iMac 24" 2.8GHz Intel Core 2 Duo 4GB RAM 320GB SuperDrive and it should be here sometime this coming week. Been using PCs since DOS but never learned more than my most immediate needs.

    My question is actually about Apple Care. The new machine comes with a 1 yr warr. I bought with American Express Gold, which I believe doubles the manufacturer warr. I saw 3 yr Apple care for $169 and I am wondering if it is worth the price for what appears to only be the third year. Am I missing any considerations? Are there any other packages worthy of consideration?

  17. NightSailor macrumors 6502


    Feb 24, 2008
    More memory it needs. Yoda!

    Try to put in a total of 6GB and see how it runs. More memory is always great.

    I just put 2GB of Ram in an IBM T42, and my girlfriend is amazed how fast it now is. That was easy--try cracking a supervisor password.

    Back to the iMac. you have a great machine. More MEMORY, and a bigger hard drive too. I like the 1 TB Seagate drives.

    I've heard there is now a 512GB SSD drive coming out. Now that would be interesting. Still I'd rather have a TB boot drive and a Raid Array of SSN's.
  18. NightSailor macrumors 6502


    Feb 24, 2008

    Stick to Safari 3.1.2 and add on PithHelmut to get rid of all ads and keep things fast and stable for web browsing. $10 and worth five times that much.

    Locker is a neat little free program

    Capture Me for capturing screen shots of any size--very cool program. also free.

    For video editing I like the Full Version of Final Cut. Expensive, but I feel it is worth the $1200.

    I bought Aperture--I'm not sure I'd recommend it.

    Skype is free.

    smcfancontrol is free and very good

    XBench is fun, and good to see how your system improves with more memory and to rate it's performance.

    Open Office and NeoOffice are both free. I like Open Office better, but I broke down and bought MS Office 2008, $138, includes three license keys works out to $45 per machine

    The newer version of Azureus is giving me problems. I'd use Bittorrent.

    I'm testing out Parallels 4.0 and so far so good. I can't comment on it yet. I installed Windows Xp, but don't see much use to run windows any more. I'd rather buy Mac software and avoid the dark side. I will load Solaris 10 on it soon and that will be a good test.

    Leopard--the Missing Manual, by David Pogue is great. You should read it cover to cover.
  19. Muncher macrumors 65816


    Apr 19, 2007
    OS X can take screenshots of any size, and even of screen elements. Cmd + Shift + 3 for entire screen, Cmd + Shift + 4 for a specific section, and Cmd + Shift + 4 + Spacebar for an element.

    I used NeoOffice for a while too, until a friend gave me one of his licenses for MS Office. MS Office is actually one of the best put-together office programs I've seen. Don't compare it to the crap windows verison (oh, the irony :p).

    I've got Azureus, which works fine for me, but if you don't need all the features and just want a torrent client, Transmission is good too.

    I bought a copy of XP for my Mac a while ago, and made a bootcamp partition for games, but it's a hassle so I don't switch often. When that Crossover Mac giveaway happened, I snagged myself a copy, and it's an excellent alternative to actually buying windows.
  20. TrapOx macrumors 6502

    Dec 4, 2008
    You should have waited 3 weeks to get the new upgraded iMac that will be released.

    By the time its out, you will be past the 14 day price guarantee and stuck with overpriced previous-generation hardware.
  21. czachorski macrumors 6502a


    Sep 24, 2007
    Besides gaming in Windows, tell is how you plan to use the iMac? That will help a lot for making suggestions of software & tweaks that might be useful to you......

    Since your new to the platform, I'd start with some of the basics when it comes, like getting time machine set up, exploring the use of spotlight to help you develop strategies for naming and organizing files, expose & spaces settings, getting some useful dashboard widgets set up, and things like that.

    One useful thing about spaces - you can specify in system preferences to have an application always open in a certain space. I have my regular apps grouped into spaces by common function/task.

    Good luck! You will have a blast for the next several months!

    PS - just another random tip: there is a system folder called "documents" which is tempting to use for all of your personal folders and such. The thing is, that folder gets polluted by many apps that dump folders there. I created a folder called "our stuff" inside of documents, and then put a shortcut to that in the finder side bar, so that I have a folder for all our "stuff" that doesn't fill up with folders that I didn't put there.
  22. iStress thread starter macrumors member

    Sep 23, 2007
    Sydney, Australia
    Just got my iMac today! It's such a beautiful machine! I loaded all my music.....but the internet's not working :(

    I've tried disabling the security on the router, that did not work as well. Right now I'm using ethernet, which is a pain in the ass considering how I have to wire the cable across my house to the mac in my room.

    Does anybody have a solution to this? My router is the Belkin N1 modem router.

    I'm thinking of buying the Airport express, will this help? Since it's Apple to Apple.

    Thanks again guys for putting your time into answering my questions :D
  23. naid macrumors regular

    Mar 13, 2008
    You don't have to buy the Airport express, your iMac should work fine with the Belkin. Make sure you use the correct SSID, encryption, etc. If in doubt, you can start from scratch and reconfigure your wireless network in the Belkin.
  24. marcol macrumors regular

    Jun 6, 2005
    Norwich, UK
    I just ordered the same machine but I bumped the RAM to 4 GB. It's replacing an older 1.83GHz, 17 inch model (one of the first intel machines).

    Isn't that a bit like saying I just bought a pen and a paper, what should I write? :) Personally I bought it because I figure it will run Aperture way better than my old system and also be much better for watching TV and videos.

    I'm not a gamer but my son plays a few. We use Crossover to run his PC games on the iMac without having to install Windows. It might be having a look to see if your games are supported and perhaps give it a try (demo is free):

    Listen and see if you can tell the difference? I mostly use 192 kbps AAC.

    To me or to you? :)

    This will mute the startup chime I believe:

    but this is a complete non-issue for me because I never turn the iMac off except when an update requires it.

    It's on 24/7 and I don't have it sleep automatically because I like to be able to connect remotely. I do have the screen turn off after a while though. I'm pretty sure those numbers are peak power usage.

    It takes a while so give it some time. You have to expect to be frustrated by not knowing where things are and how things work at least for a little while. Cool things: well it all is really, isn't it :) Try Front Row (hit Menu on the remote)

    Good luck!

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