My first Mac

Discussion in 'iMac' started by grantmo, Jul 28, 2010.

  1. grantmo macrumors member

    Jun 26, 2010
    I'm needing a new computer as my 5 year old Dell dimension 8400 is becoming a bit slow and old looking.

    So I've decided the iMac is the one for me as I've had a couple of iPhones and now have an iPad, it's time to switch to os x from windows.

    I mainly browse the net and email the usual light computer stuff. I also encode videos with handbrake for my iPad, it takes about 18 hrs on my Dell lol.

    Watching high quality mkv videos on my pc is impossible as it just stutters so I'll be looking forward to not having that problem.

    I was thinking about the i7 27 inch model to future proof for a few years. I'm also thinking about the ssd option as videos on YouTube show a big difference in speed. I may also go for 8gb of ram but not sure. I'm sure all of that is an overkill for my needs has anyone got any advice or opinions?

  2. spinnerlys Guest


    Sep 7, 2008
    forlod bygningen
    The entry level 21.5" iMac will more than suffice. I have a 20" C2D iMac with 2GHz and encoding via Handbrake takes less than two hours for a feature film.

    The i7 and i5 are overkill, if you want the 27" iMac, the entry level model is enough too. But if you want to go with an SSD, then there is no way around the SSD, unless you put the SSD in yourself.
  3. SnowLeopard2008 macrumors 604


    Jul 4, 2008
    Silicon Valley
    SSD is overkill. If you want a faster drive, try the Seagate Momentus XT. It's a hybrid drive, which means it is a regular hard drive with spinning components but also a 4GB flash memory module inside. It's cheaper (500GB model is $130) than any SSD. It performs just as good as an SSD. The only problem is you have to install it yourself which can be a bit difficult. There are step-by-step guides on iFixit that can walk you through the process.

    8GB of memory is also overkill. I get by just fine with 4GB. I usually have about 10 programs open at once. If you do a LOT of multitasking, then 8GB is needed.

    If you are frugal, the 21" iMacs are pretty good in performance vs. price. If you have the money, then go for the 27" i7 iMac. The i7 CPU will last longer because it is more powerful and therefore should satisfy your needs in the future much better than a lesser CPU. But looking at your uses, an i7 won't really speed up your tasks and offers marginal gain. I'd rather upgrade the memory to 8GB than an i7.
  4. grantmo thread starter macrumors member

    Jun 26, 2010
    Thanks for the replies.

    Yes I thought it was an overkill. I'm just thinking of the future.

    The ssd drives look very quick from videos I've seen that's why I was thinking of one. Also Im thinking handbrake will encode a lot quicker with the i7.

    I'll have a look at that momentus xt drive that sounds good.

    So if I'm encoding with handbrake, surfing the net and maybe playing some music 8gb of ram would still be too much?

  5. Spike88 macrumors 6502a

    Jan 25, 2010
    A wise man once told me, "never buy something based on today's usage. Think of the product's average lifespan and buy at 75% of its average life". Say what???

    - Computers have a lifespan of 4-5 years. Sometimes 6 - if one really over stresses their internals.
    - One wants their computer to run efficiently (re: NO extra stress) for 3 or 4 years.
    - What will your computer needs be in 3 - 4 years (not based on today's usage)?

    If it were me, I'd buy a i5 and better video card with base 4 GB of memory. If more memory is needed in 2 years, I'd buy 3rd party memory. To me, i5 and better memory card is "in the middle" of the pack. Over kill for today's needs, under sized for 5-6 years from today but the i5 should be a perfect size from now until the next 3 years. Thus, the 75% of lifespan rule.

    Good luck....

  6. opera57 macrumors 6502

    Feb 15, 2009
    SSDs are absolutely brilliant, but sadly at the moment only if money is no object. Once they come down to under £200 for the 256gb SSD I think it would be worth it, until then, they are more than fast enough with a hard drive! [​IMG]
  7. wordoflife macrumors 604


    Jul 6, 2009
    I have a Dimension 8400 too! I just got a Macbook Pro and it's been a superb machine. I think 8GB will be an overkill for "browsing the net and email the usual light computer stuff"

    You should probably go with 4GB ram.
    Getting an SSD is your choice. Based on your needs and uses, I don't think you need an SSD at all, but if you have the money for it and you want to spend it, then that is up to you.
  8. thedon1 macrumors 6502

    Jun 26, 2010
    That's def one strategy but this all dependant on price. If the upgrades now are very expensive, instead of making your current computer last longer, why not save that money and buy your next computer earlier?

    An example is buy a £1200 computer and make it last 4-5 years or buying a £600 computer and replacing it after 2 years .

    You have to weigh your options and then decide what strategy is best for you.
  9. MacInLaw macrumors newbie

    Jul 28, 2010
    The i7 is faster in many respects, but it depends on what your needs are. If you're only going to occasionally rip movies with Handbrake, then the i7 will be faster, but it may not be worth the extra cost.

    Apple's RAM prices are generally very high. Installing additional RAM on an iMac is very easy to do, so you're better off getting a good set of Crucial RAM from Newegg and installing the extra 4GB yourself. I've installed extra RAM on all my iMacs and it's not difficult to do.

    Yes, the SSDs will be fast, but they're ridiculously expensive. I don't know how easy it would be to add an SSD later (probably not very easy at all), but you may be better off waiting for the costs to come down before going that route.

    Any of the iMacs will be unbelievably fast in comparison to an old Dell.
  10. grantmo thread starter macrumors member

    Jun 26, 2010
    Thanks for your replies I've just ordered my first Mac :D

    I went for the i7 with the ssd. I know it's too much for me but good to have the extra just incase.

    Now time to learn all about macs.

    I have a delivery estimate between 5th and 10th of August I can't wait :D
  11. spinnerlys Guest


    Sep 7, 2008
    forlod bygningen
    Have a look at the following links, as the information presented there might be helpful in your future endeavours into Mac OS X and could clear up initial confusion and may even prevent harm to your system or your files.

    Mac OS X Basics
    Switch 101 - guide with articles made by Apple on how to accustom yourself, after you switched to Mac OS X from Windows​

    Mac 101 - How to get started with Mac OS X​

    Find out how - tutorial videos made by Apple on how to do certain thing in Mac OS X​

    Pro tips - tips made available by Apple for easier ways of doing certain tasks​

    Mac OS X Keyboard Shortcuts - Learn about common Mac OS X keyboard shortcuts.​

    Mac OS X Beginner's Guide by MacRumors - learn about software, media players, shortcuts and some useful tips, tricks and hints​

    Mac Guides - tutorials, product guides and more​

    MRoogle - a very effective tool to search these fora using Google and made available by edesignuk, introductory threads: 1, 2 and 3

  12. grantmo thread starter macrumors member

    Jun 26, 2010
    Thanks for that much appreciated :D. I have a lot to learn :confused:
  13. iread macrumors member

    Jul 30, 2010
    iMac Memory Update.

    I work from home and do everything on my computer including:
    Heavy internet browser use (10 pages with up to 30 tabs each).
    Plus some professional software usage and lots of multi-tasking.

    I was advised by an Apple Tech to purchased the iMac 2.8GHz Intel Core i5 - Quad-Core 27" mostly due to the some professional software usage.
    I purchased the iMac 2.8GHz Intel Core i5 - Quad-Core 27" and was advise by an Apple Tech to update the included 4GB memory to 8GB.

    There are 4 memory slots which must all match like 2x2GB or 4x2GB or 2x4GB or 4x4GB which is the max.

    Can you tell me if I should use 4x2GB (keep the 2 included and add 2 more) or take out the included memory and use 2x4GB which would cost a lot more now but leaves the option to update to 16GB later on .. I guess the real question is if you think I might need to update to 16GB later on ???

    I am so torn over this choice and really hope to hear your answers soon ..
    I would also like to hear if you all agree with my computer choice .. Thank you.

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