Need Advice (switching to Mac!)

theimp

macrumors member
Original poster
Oct 12, 2006
89
0
Ithaca, NY
So I am definitely switching to a Mac. I am not sure if I should get the iMac or MBP. The programs I will use beyond basic ones are: Photoshop, 3DSMax, Solidworks, Autocad (and I like playing The Sims 2). Until now I have been set on getting a laptop, but I never really need to take my computer with me on a daily basis. And then I hear about some issues with the MBP and how the iMac works great so I checked the iMac out. It looks like for a cheaper price, I could get an awesome iMac.

So now I am toying with the idea of getting the 20 or 24 iMac and then buying a cheap/lightweight laptop from another company just incase I need to bring a computer with me sometimes. I just have a few questions.

1) Would you recommend the iMac or MBP (just as a computer, not factoring in the portability)
2) The graphics card on the 20 and 24 inch iMac are different, would the 24 inch have a noticable difference than the 20 inch graphic card?
3) How much ram does the imac support 3 or 4 gigs? (I plan on putting the most memory in when I get it buying it from Best buy with my BB discount)

Thanks!
 

monke

macrumors 65816
May 30, 2005
1,437
2
theimp said:
1) Would you recommend the iMac or MBP (just as a computer, not factoring in the portability)
2) The graphics card on the 20 and 24 inch iMac are different, would the 24 inch have a noticable difference than the 20 inch graphic card?
3) How much ram does the imac support 3 or 4 gigs? (I plan on putting the most memory in when I get it buying it from Best buy with my BB discount)

Thanks!
First of all, welcome theimp!

1. I have an iMac and love it.
2. The 24" has a better graphics card, yes. As for noticeability, the 24" would probably stand out, though I have no idea.
3) The 24" supports 3 Gb of ram (from the Apple website) and so does the 20", not sure about 4 gigs though.

Enjoy your Mac!
 

gavd

macrumors 6502a
Jan 30, 2006
602
2
1. Can't speak for the MBP as I don't have one, but I have a 20" iMac and love it. The bigger screen will help as well for Photoshop etc.
2. Not sure.
3. Both the 20" and 24" support a max of 3gb of RAM.

Whatever you get, you'll end up loving it!
 

roland.g

Suspended
Apr 11, 2005
6,778
1,993
1. get the iMac, I'm getting a 24". Great computer.
2. the 24" comes with the 7300 and I would really recommend upgrading to the 7600. the 20" cards are good, but not as good.
3. It can only take 3GB RAM. if you put 2 2GB sticks in, the computer will show 4GB but only use 3GB. Something to do with the chipset/motherboard.
 

ddekker

macrumors regular
Sep 23, 2006
222
0
Michigan
switching

I'm pretty sure a few of the programs you listed don't run on OS X... unless youre going to run bootcamp or parrallels you might want to think about it... switching has been fun.. but not easy...

DD
 

jTreu

macrumors 6502
May 20, 2006
318
0
24" if you got the cash, the better graphics and screen size will be worth it.
 

theimp

macrumors member
Original poster
Oct 12, 2006
89
0
Ithaca, NY
Thanks for the replies! So, the 24 (or 20) inch iMac is a better computer than the MBP? I think it is also a tad bit cheaper as well (I am using an edu discount). The only thing holding me back is that I hope I don't regret not getting a laptop.... the 24 inch screen would be pretty sweet though!

Oh, and I know some of those programs don't run in OS X, I will use either parallels or boot camp. Anyone know how much these cost?
 

dmw007

macrumors G4
May 26, 2005
10,635
0
Working for MI-6
Sounds like an iMac would be the best machine for you.


You can get a 20" iMac and a MacBook for about the same price as the 15" 2.16GHz MacBook Pro. :)
 

FFTT

macrumors 68030
Apr 17, 2004
2,952
1
A Stoned Throw From Ground Zero
Once you're all set with your new iMac, then save up for a refurbished MacBook
for your basic portable needs.

That combination will allow you to run Mac OSX, Windows or Linux on BOTH machines.
 

miles01110

macrumors Core
Jul 24, 2006
19,261
31
The Ivory Tower (I'm not coming down)
FFTT said:
Once you're all set with your new iMac, then save up for a refurbished MacBook
for your basic portable needs.
No...don't buy 2 computers at the same time. In a few years you'll have to replace 2 instead of 1.

If you don't need the portability then definitely get the iMac. The advantage of the Macbook Pro is ONLY in its portability.
 

theimp

macrumors member
Original poster
Oct 12, 2006
89
0
Ithaca, NY
Ok everyone. Thanks for the great advice. I am about ready to get the 24" iMac (still a little nervous about not having a laptop, I've had one at college 2 years now, but really havent taken advantage of its portability...), just a few last minute questions.

Since I don't have a huge budget, if I got the iMac I would definatley upgrade to 2.33 GHz, but would wait to later add ram/bigger hard drive. I know I can add the ram later, but if I found I needed a bigger hard drive, is that possible to add after the purchase? Also, how long can you get the apple protection plan after you bought the machine?

I'm so excited!
 

Chundles

macrumors G4
Jul 4, 2005
11,979
428
theimp said:
Ok everyone. Thanks for the great advice. I am about ready to get the 24" iMac (still a little nervous about not having a laptop, I've had one at college 2 years now, but really havent taken advantage of its portability...), just a few last minute questions.

Since I don't have a huge budget, if I got the iMac I would definatley upgrade to 2.33 GHz, but would wait to later add ram/bigger hard drive. I know I can add the ram later, but if I found I needed a bigger hard drive, is that possible to add after the purchase? Also, how long can you get the apple protection plan after you bought the machine?

I'm so excited!
In all honesty, you'll notice more performance from having more RAM and a better graphics card than you would from a small boost in processor power. I would funnel that money away from upping the GHz and put it into more HDD space, more RAM and the better graphics card - it will give you a more satisfying Mac experience.

I don't know if the HDD is easily accessible on the iMac, I doubt it though. If you need to add more storage in the future an external drive is the way to go.

You can buy the Apple Care extended warranty anytime within the first year of ownership.
 

FFTT

macrumors 68030
Apr 17, 2004
2,952
1
A Stoned Throw From Ground Zero
We have a gazillion threads on what to choose in the 24" iMac.

Apple's price for the 2 GB RAM upgrade is nearly street price and matched DIMMS
allow you to take full advantage of the new MB architecture.

Most people are not buying the processor upgrade, but spending that money
on the upgrade Video card and RAM for best overall performance.

Choice of internal HD's is mixed with some buyers going for the stock 250 GB
and others going for the 500 GB.

I would get the stock unit and replace it with a Seagate or WD once you have the chance.

AppleCare for this model is CHEAP, but you have a whole year to decide.

It is highly recommended for these All In One configurations and notebooks.

Hee Hee Chundles yooz be fast! :)
 

theimp

macrumors member
Original poster
Oct 12, 2006
89
0
Ithaca, NY
Interesting, I really don't know too much about computer hardware! I thought to upgrade the processor because I didn't think that could be upgraded later and thought it would give me the biggest noticbale benefit. I am definitely going to max out the ram, but am going to do it after the fact. I work at best buy our discount is at cost + 5%, so I get it pretty cheap. I also think I am going to leave the HDD at 250 since I already have an external if need be.

You would upgrade the video card over the processor?
 

Chundles

macrumors G4
Jul 4, 2005
11,979
428
theimp said:
Interesting, I really don't know too much about computer hardware! I thought to upgrade the processor because I didn't think that could be upgraded later and thought it would give me the biggest noticbale benefit. I am definitely going to max out the ram, but am going to do it after the fact. I work at best buy our discount is at cost + 5%, so I get it pretty cheap. I also think I am going to leave the HDD at 250 since I already have an external if need be.

You would upgrade the video card over the processor?
Absolutely.

You really aren't going to notice a 170MHz increase in processor speed.

More RAM = better Rosetta performance as it doesn't need to page out information as much = better performance in Photoshop, Office and other apps that aren't yet Universal.

More HDD space = more stuff = better experience on your Mac especially when you start encoding movies and music etc.

Better graphics card = better UI performance as the current state of OS development is offloading as much of the UI rendering from the CPU to the GPU, hence a better card is always good. It's a very good upgrade too and will put you in a better place as more advanced graphical rendering stuff arrives on the market.

The processor should really be the least of your worries at the moment.
 

theimp

macrumors member
Original poster
Oct 12, 2006
89
0
Ithaca, NY
Well =) I think I am going to order myself one! I will probably be back with tons of questions, since this is my first mac ever. Thanks again!
 

FFTT

macrumors 68030
Apr 17, 2004
2,952
1
A Stoned Throw From Ground Zero
You have to be careful about 3rd party RAM.

Usually datamem.com, OWC (macsales.com) or Crucial are your best sources
for Apple Guaranteed lifetime RAM.

You can also find some good deals on Crucial RAM at NewEgg.com, but they do not
guarantee Apple compatability.

Check the prices at these known quality retailers and you'll see that Apple's upgrade is not all that bad.

The combination of the RAM and the upgrade video card are going to give you better performance for rendering than the small increase from the slightly faster 2.33 GHz processor.

There's a few benchmarks around somewhere but I don't have the links handy.

If you're going to be running Windows Applications, you'll need a retail CD of Windows XP INCLUDING SP2.

If you want to run native Windows for XP Games, go the BootCamp route.
If you're just running XP office applications and want to be able to transfer files
across operating systems then Parallel's Desktop would be better for you.
 

yojitani

macrumors 68000
Apr 28, 2005
1,856
10
An octopus's garden
On the RAM question, I believe Best Buy carries the PNY Mac and PC RAM. Just make sure, as I've been learning, that the ram you get is low latency.
Cheers for the thread. i was wondering what diff the speed bump was (aside from a couple 100$$$)... Back to dreaming...
 
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