PC user needs info to make "the switch"

Discussion in 'Buying Tips, Advice and Discussion (archive)' started by nateko, Feb 4, 2004.

  1. nateko macrumors newbie

    Jan 27, 2004
    First time poster to this forum. Also a PC user very close to making the switch!!

    I am going to be a first time dad and I need a computer for photos and movie editing to share with grandparents living far away. I will also be using it for MS office and Quicken for a little home finance.

    After a lot of reading around the web I am "planning" on the following purchase and would appreciate a little feedback from the experienced folk of the Mac forum :)

    17" 1.25 G4 Imac w/ 512 (1 Dimm, for possible upgrade), MS office, .Mac, and maybe Isight

    A few questions:
    1) Based on my above usage should I wait for a G5? Because of Mac prices I plan on keeping it for quite some time.
    2) How is Ilife for photos and movies? Easy to use?
    3) How is .Mac for posting pics and movies? Any other routes (other than email) for sharing with relatives far away?
    4) In a year or two I want to put kids learning games on the Imac. Are there many kids games out there or do I need the "XP emulator" that I read about? Should I buy the emulator anyway to help me wean off the pc? :D
    5) Does Isight work when the person on the other end owns a pc with camera/web cam xyz? or is it mac to mac only?

    Thanks in advance. Sorry for the long post and any "rookie"/foolish questions.
  2. virividox macrumors 601


    Aug 19, 2003
    Manila - Nottingham - Philadelphia - Santa Barbar
    welcome, i hope you do make the switch.

    1. Well for photos and basic movie editing (imovie) your imac should fit the bill just fine, it wont be a speed demon but its no slouch either. if by movie editing your talking films like family vacations little tommy and susies birthday, and first whatevers, then it should be fine. you could even burn it on dvd if you get the one with the superdrive. iphoto is great for managing photos; its pretty straightforward if you want to burn a disc of photos you just drop and drag and click burn.

    2. Ilife is made of several apps
    imovie - simple movie editing, but by no means a 'weak' application, you can do simple transitions, slides, music, and the timeline funciton makes it really great
    iphoto - the old versions were sluggish, the newest one (which will come preloaded) on ur new mac (or you get the cd to upgrade it) is supposed to be better with more photo management options, like when the photos were taken etc
    idvd - incorporates with imovie to make ur home movies into dvds that are compatible with most players'

    3. .mac is great for hosting a website to share pics, movies, articles, and such. i think the biggest factor that it has going for it is its good integration. .mac has other features as well like idisk and antivirus. i used to use .mac but not enough to justify the price. i think spymac offers something like .mac and that could be an alternate route, but im not to sure about how that works.

    4. dont really knnow about kids games for the mac, but i can tell you the emulator will not really run games. and even if they are simple games that dont take much to run, it probably wont be what your looking for. but i think there are a couple games for kids for the mac, check on teh website of apple, but dont quote me on that

    5. as of right now isight cameras and their audio capability work only with ichat to ichat (mac to mac), there is video on yahoo messenger but no audio at the moment. but they are supposedly in the works. thats one feature id like, on my msn account to be able to video chat with wintel users.

    hope this clears it up a little
  3. wordmunger macrumors 603


    Sep 3, 2003
    North Carolina
    I can offer you a little more help with #3 and #4.

    I use .mac right now for sharing family photos and the like--it really works great, particularly now that iDisk syncs locally. This means you just copy the files to your iDisk and you don't have to wait around for them to upload--your computer just does it automatically in the background while you work on other things. I've had a few problems with this--when I *want* it to sync, right away, sometimes I've had a hard time forcing it to sync, but 99 percent of the time this works great. I also use .mac as a very painless way to back up my critical files. I've been lazy in the past with backups, but because it's automated, I actually *do* it! Besides sharing with .mac, I believe you could also use iPhoto/iMovie/iDVD to create a DVD slide show of photos. And of course, a really great feature of iPhoto is the custom book process. We had the kids make books to give to their great-grandmothers, and they were a HUGE hit.

    There are a lot more educational games available for Mac than games in general, I don't think you'll be particularly disappointed there--plenty to choose from, no need to emulate XP. Also, educational games don't tend to have as stringent system requirements as recreational games, so I think your iMac should be fine there. When the kids get old enough for serious gaming, you'll probably want a console (though I'm holding out so far--my son plays Warcraft/Starcraft/Harry Potter on the Mac)

    As far as whether you need to buy Virtual PC to ease your transition, it depends--the only real reason is if there is a PC program for which you can't find a Mac equivalent. Don't buy VPC right away--make sure you need it first.
  4. nateko thread starter macrumors newbie

    Jan 27, 2004
    Thanks for the responses. Ilife and .mac appear to be the way to go.

    Virividox you mentioned the G4 is not super fast though not sluggish either. Should I upgrade to 1G of Ram right away? Will there be a noticable performance increase with it? Also I was reading a few other threads and the following statement caught my attention: (Heavily paraphrased)

    'G5 and 64 bit processesors are Apples future, future software will be made for the G5'

    What is the thought on this? I understand a lot of people are still using (happily) there older macs (G3's). Is apples move to 64 bit G5 processing going to limit the life expectancy of a G4 Imac. or will it compare to the G3 - G4 migration?

    Am I making sense? Is the paraphrased statement biased or overly dramatic? Apologies to the original author.
  5. sigamy macrumors 65816

    Mar 7, 2003
    NJ USA
    Welcome to the Mac community.

    For what you want to do with your computer you will absolutely love the iMac. This machine was *designed* to run the iLife apps and to do exactly what you want to do--organize and share photos, create movies, etc. It was made for YOU! I have a 1Ghz 17" iMac and it is a joy to use.

    It is a great idea to get the 512mb RAM in the factory slot. My advice would be to use the system with just the 512 for a while--at least 6 months. I ran on 256 for 4 months and the system was very responsive. I just added 512mb and now it is like having a new machine--again. I didn't really need the RAM, I never really had a problem with 256 except for iPhoto. But more RAM is more gooder! Do not buy the RAM upgrade from Apple, go to crucial.com or www.macsales.com.

    I am looking to get .mac. I had the trial for 60 days and it is very valueable for shaing pics and small movies. It is $99/year so the value is for each person to judge. It is totally intergrated with Panther and the iApps and makes creating web pages of photos and movies seamless and, well, too easy!

    iSight is only for Mac users right now.

    There are plenty of kids games for the Mac. I have a 3 year old and he has about 10 games which is plenty (he also has his own iMac, 333mhz). You won't need VirtualPC, but one factor is that older games require the Classic Mac OS. Sometimes when you run older games thru Mac OS X's Classic you may have compatibility issues. Newer games should be made for OS X and there you will not have a problem. Toddlers do not need a lot of titles. They are easily distracted and it is better to limit the options. Most kids games have 5-8 different activites so it is like having 5 games in one. The ReaderRabbit games are very good. There are also a ton of free online games and activites at http://www.pbskids.org and http://www.nickjr.com.

    As far as the G5 and 64-bit software argument...Yes, the G5 is the future. Today it is used by professionals. Maybe it will trickle down to consumers later this year. But does that make the G4 iMac any less usefull? It will take a few years for the software that you want to use to surpass an iMac's capabililties. I am running Panther, iPhoto and iTunes on a 333mhz G3 iMac! But things do move on. A lot of people are upset that they can't run GarageBand on older iBooks or that you need a DVD-ROM just to install it. New software may be eventually be released that you can't run on "x" system. But that is progress--it doesn't mean that you still can't use your current software and be productive.

    Don't let the people on the web make you think you need the top of the line machine. PowerMacs are for *professionals*. These are the people creating magazines, TV shows, films, music. Now, if money is no object then sure, get the most machine you can get. But for your use an iMac or eMac will last you for a good 5 years.
  6. nateko thread starter macrumors newbie

    Jan 27, 2004
    Sigamy, thanks for the post! Very good and useful info! :D

    I believe that should just about do it for my decision. I live near the chicago area so I believe a trip to the Apple store is in order to check things out and get a feel for the machine.

    One final question for relatively new PC to Apple converts... Should I buy a 2 or 3 button mouse right away?
  7. jMc macrumors 6502


    Nov 19, 2001
    London N8, Late-16th Century
    If you're used to one, then yes - they're only cheap...

  8. virividox macrumors 601


    Aug 19, 2003
    Manila - Nottingham - Philadelphia - Santa Barbar
    i always like more ram if you can afford it. you can tell the difference between 512 and 1 gig when you are running multiple apps i burn dvd, listen to music and do some photoshop work on a regular basis at the same time and i rarely feel it getting slow, and im on a powerbook, the imac should be a bit faster cuz of its hard drive and all.

    as for the 64 proc, the previos poster covered it, but my thoughts are, g3 users are hapily runing panther now, and i doubt apple will alienate g4 and late g3 users within the next 4 years by requiring them to upgrade to a 64 bit proc, maybe wthint the later part of the next ten years, but not in the immediate future.
  9. virividox macrumors 601


    Aug 19, 2003
    Manila - Nottingham - Philadelphia - Santa Barbar
    sorry for posting again i just forgot to mention about the mice

    i use a kensignton pro studio mouse it has 3 buttons and a scroll wheel, it comes with kensignton mouseworks which allows you to program the buttons. right click works the same way it does on windows, and iv mapped expose controls to the mouse buttons as well, once you use expose you will really like having them mapped to buttons.
  10. laserbeahm macrumors member

    Feb 4, 2004
    Central Valley, CA
    You should be just fine with the iMac G4. However, for almost the same price you can get a G4 tower. With the tower, you are getting the same speed with much more upgradability. You can get a bigger monitor... or even two if you want. Working with a lot of photos and videos... and eventually games... You might enjoy the fact that you will be able to add additional internal hard drives.

    For the simple fact that you want to keep it a long time, I would suggest the G4 tower. They are much more upgradable. That may not matter now, but a few years from now you might wish you had that ability.
  11. Rincewind42 macrumors 6502a


    Mar 3, 2003
    Orlando, FL
    Eventually all of Apple products will get to the G5, but the reality is that no one knows when or how that will happen, so unless you are willing to wait indefinitely go ahead and get the iMac now - you'll have plenty of time to enjoy it =).

    As for using iSight with a PC user, Apple actually just posted a beta of iChat that supports video conferencing with AOL Instant Messenger 5.5 for PC, so even if you don't want to be on the bleeding edge, you can still be assured that you will be able to do it in the future.

    If you want the beta, you can grab it here
  12. Counterfit macrumors G3


    Aug 20, 2003
    sitting on your shoulder
    Not anymore :) iChat A/V 2.1 was released today allowing video chat with AIM 5.5 too. :)
  13. iShater macrumors 604


    Aug 13, 2002
    The Woodfield store is awesome, I might be there tonight (if it snows), or next Thursday.

    I got me a logitech two-button and a scrollwheel mouse, and I love it. I couldn't live with a one-button mouse.

    My buddy uses an 800Mghz G4 17" iMac for light to moderate video editing, and it is more than enough for his needs.
  14. James Craner macrumors 68000

    James Craner

    Sep 13, 2002
    Bristol, UK
    I have a young family, and I switched a couple of years ago. My girls had a number of windows edutainment titles that either did have a Mac version on the disk, or worked fine with Virtual PC.
    There are a few good edutainment titles for the Mac, and hopefully by the time they are ready much more will be available, so I would not worry about it.

    As other posters have said, the iMac G4 17" is an ideal machine for your requirements.
  15. wordmunger macrumors 603


    Sep 3, 2003
    North Carolina
    I disagree. By the time you add the features he wants--superdrive, monitor, speakers, etc. the tower is more expensive. The tower is more customizable, but the iMac has the features he wants in a more attractive package. If you want a bigger monitor, you should get the 20 inch iMac, which is a great deal for the monitor you get.
  16. virividox macrumors 601


    Aug 19, 2003
    Manila - Nottingham - Philadelphia - Santa Barbar
    when i wrote it 24 hours ago it didnt seem like apple was gonna release a new av version, glad that that has changed
  17. nateko thread starter macrumors newbie

    Jan 27, 2004
    I sound like a broken record but thanks again.

    Ishatter, you mentioned the woodfield store is awesome. How about the Michigan Ave store? It looks even better. Woodfield is closer for me though.

    Final question(s) really, cross my heart, scouts honor, yada yada

    What is the best way to hook up to a cable modem with the Imac?
    Airport Extreme card and Base station? Any cheaper way?
  18. virividox macrumors 601


    Aug 19, 2003
    Manila - Nottingham - Philadelphia - Santa Barbar
    we are all glad to help, the hard part is sifting through all the opinions hehe.

    anyway as for wireless access, the cheapest is to get an airport extreme card with ur imac and a base station, the cost comes in picking the base station, apples base station is pretty pricey doenst offer as many ethernet ports, but it has one of the easiest set ups and admin utilities as well as the fact it can help set up wireless priting via its usb port.

    i recomend dlink or linksys if you want to go for non apple hardware.

    you dont need to get the g flavor of wifi, since the airport extreme card can also go on b flavor, that could save you some money
  19. rueyeet macrumors 65816


    Jun 10, 2003
    You only need the base station and Airport card if you need the connection to be wireless. Otherwise, just an Ethernet cable from the iMac to the cable modem ought to do it just fine.
  20. nateko thread starter macrumors newbie

    Jan 27, 2004
    Well that sums everything up.

    After discussing all the responses I've gotten from everyone with my better half its off to the apple store. Next time I write it will be as an owner. :D :D

    Thanks again. I'm signing off.
  21. paulypants macrumors 6502a


    Jun 17, 2003
    Buffalo, NY
    Hope you enjoy your iMac
    Look forward to hearing from
    you after you get it up and

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