New to macs, general advice appreciated :)

Discussion in 'iMac' started by creepy crab, Jun 29, 2011.

  1. creepy crab macrumors member

    Jun 29, 2011
    Hi all,
    i have always been a windows man, but when i left the UK to live in Australia for a while i gave my PC to my brother. I start uni in september and need a new machine. i am now feeling drawn to a mac (don't need to explain the appeal here i'm sure), and as i'm entitled to the student pricing this makes the appeal stronger. I have a few queries however.

    Although i haven't had a 3d system yet, i don't want to pay a huge amount of money for a system that can't adapt as game tech moves on. I tried the NViDIA 3d glasses and they were awesome, but imac doesn't have an NViDIA option anymore, and i have a suspicion i would have to buy another monitor, ontop of an already expensive system?!

    furthermore, i will be using the iMac for everything at uni... PC, music/entertainment system, as space is limited. Has anyone got any experience of external blu-ray drives on the new iMacs?

  2. timtom33 macrumors member

    Mar 30, 2011
    As space is limited, once you add on another monitor for 3D and external drives for things like blu-ray you aren't saving that much room over a conventional desktop, which could have come with blu-ray etc anyway at a lower overall cost. You need to look into your requirements a bit more and whats the most suitable system for them Be it PC or Mac (e.g. you mentioned games, in this case on a iMac most of your time will be running Windows 7 in parallel and not using OSX, except for the other stuff you mentioned). It is easy to just get drawn to the shiny shiny though i must admit.
  3. creepy crab thread starter macrumors member

    Jun 29, 2011
    Oh i completely agree. There is no logical quantifiable reason why i should buy an imac over a windows desktop, other than the fact that i want one. I Like the way they look, and i prefer mac OS X to windows. Personally i feel that there is really nothing a mac can do infinitely better than windows can, and vice versa (preparing myself to be shot down). Boiled down, i NEED a machine for uni, and i prefer iMac. I was essentially looking for comfirmation that the iMac screen is not "3d ready", and if it's easy to hook blu-ray up to it, as i don't mind having an external drive :)
  4. snberk103 macrumors 603

    Oct 22, 2007
    An Island in the Salish Sea
    Short Answer. If one of your primary requirements is that the system be a gaming machine, then it probably should not be a Mac.

    While Macs can be used for gaming, and are getting better year-by-year.... that is not what they are primarily designed for. Macs are designed to help you work and create stuff, and then to play games.

    If you want a gaming machine, then you should likely be looking at a gaming console, and/or Windows gaming machine. At least the Windows gaming machine can also do the work you will need it to do at Uni. I realize that not every Windows system is gaming system, but it is possible to get/build a system for gaming.

    Another option is go with a Mac Mini/portable and hook that up to a display that is used for a gaming console. If you go the Mac portable/gaming console route you will also have a system for taking to classes. Please make sure you have and use a good backup strategy, of course....
  5. MonkeySee.... macrumors 68040


    Sep 24, 2010
    Sorry if i've misunderstood but how would another monitor help with a graphics card issue? :confused:

    On a side note the bottom line iMac i3 that i have eats up call of duty: Modern warfare with no issues. You may need a better mouse though.
  6. creepy crab thread starter macrumors member

    Jun 29, 2011
    You haven't misunderstood, another monitor wouldn't help the GPU issue... I was just clumsily summing up the problem, and thought AMD might have their own tech for 3D.

    I may have gone on too much about the 3D thing, as i really don't game alot on my pc anyway... i have a 360 which i use, and really i only play things like WOW, fallout and Portal 2 on the PC. I think what i'm really trying to say is i love the iMac, but am a bit worried about closing the door on a feature which is only going to get bigger.

    Does anyone have anything to say on the blu-ray issue? are there external drives on the market, or do you have to just buy a player and use the monitor mode?
  7. eggfoam macrumors member


    Jun 21, 2011
    I believe the iMac with a 3D-capable external monitor or TV will support stereoscopic 3D when booted into Windows. See this person's description of his/her setup:

    The internal display will not do 3D. An external Blu-Ray drive also should work with Windows.

    Then again, if these are important uses, maybe you should just go with a Windows machine. Or a nice 3D-capable monitor with a Windows box for gaming and movies and a Mac mini for everything else (but wait for the forthcoming Sandy Bridge update before you buy). That could get a bit expensive, but maybe not a whole lot more than a top-end 27" iMac.
  8. creepy crab thread starter macrumors member

    Jun 29, 2011
    interesting link thanks :) i think the blu-ray is important to me as i will want to watch decent quality movies at uni, but the 3d is more of just a "what if", and i was always planning on having Windows 7 on partition anyway, so i think my mind may be made up. An external bluray drive for use with windows or just a player to use the imac as a monitor won't be overly pricey
  9. eggfoam macrumors member


    Jun 21, 2011
    I like the idea of using the iMac as a monitor for a stand-alone player, especially because Windows software for playing Blu-Rays can be a little buggy and expensive if it doesn't come with your drive. But note that the 2011 iMacs support Target Display Mode (i.e., using it as a monitor) ONLY with Thunderbolt input, which for now means only with input from 2011 iMacs and Macbook Pros. Even though the connector is physically compatible with Mini DisplayPort, existing HDMI/DVI to MDP adapters won't work.

    It sounds like third parties are working on new adapters. I wouldn't assume that this is actually possible and/or affordable until we see one on the market, though. If the adapter needs a Thunderbolt controller on board, that could make it unfeasible or at least very expensive.

    It's possible that standalone Blu-Ray players could be made with Thunderbolt output, but I wouldn't hold my breath for that unless the standard becomes a LOT more popular. There's no incentive for TV manufacturers to include Thunderbolt, and without that, there's no reason for BR players to include it either.
  10. creepy crab thread starter macrumors member

    Jun 29, 2011
    So to paraphrase, essentially untill third parties come up with adapters, the imac monitor is essentially a single purpose display for the imac itself (or from another thunderbold equipped device)? which means no blu-ray input, no tv input etc? This is a blow because as i mentioned in my op, i was hoping to use the imac as an all in one media display at uni... dayum
  11. NutsNGum macrumors 68030


    Jul 30, 2010
    Glasgow, Scotland
    Yes; unless you buy a 2010 refurbished model (still excellent machines, and appearance-wise, identical to the new model) The 2010 iMac could be used as a display with an adaptor. - This one seems to be the most popular.

    Refurbished Macs are available from the online Apple Store.
  12. eggfoam macrumors member


    Jun 21, 2011
    That's right. The 2011 iMacs will (for now) accept display input only from 2011 iMacs and 2011 Macbook Pros. Once more Macs gain Thunderbolt, they'll be able to use the iMac as a display, too, but it's unlikely that a lot of non-Mac devices will be doing that anytime soon.

    I like the suggestion of a 2010 refurb. You give up a bit on CPU since they're not the new Sandy Bridge architecture, but you also save a little money and get a system you can use as a monitor/TV more generally.

    BTW, Kanex is the third party I linked to above -- they are apparently working on a suitable adapter for the 2011 iMacs, but they haven't delivered it yet. You could also get in touch with them or just wait and see if anything comes out that makes the 2011s more useful for you.

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