Return to Mac and iMac Buying Questions

Discussion in 'Mac Basics and Help' started by pMad, Apr 28, 2008.

  1. pMad macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Apr 28, 2008
    #1
    Please help.

    I'm pretty new at this.

    The last Macs I owned were an LC and a Duo210 during college. :eek:
    I kicked ass at CrystalQwest ;)

    I am now coming back and buying an iMac. (I'll purchase within next 30 days.)

    I knew enough to wait for the update and now I want to buy. I just have a few questions.

    I plan on getting the 3.06GHz.
    I will use it mostly for internet, graphics rendering (photoshop etc), iTunes, Editing home movies, etc.

    BTW, I get an education discount.

    1. RAM - I assume I'll want to go to the 4GB?
    Apple seems to be more reasonable now with it's RAM. A brief check on 3rd party RAM leaves me guessing the 4GB upgrade (when available) will run $125-$135. Apple has it for $180.

    Should I save the hastle and just have 4GB installed by Apple or go with a 3rd party (which one?)?

    2. HARD DRIVE - I've always purchased the largest drive available and then purchased an equal sized external to back up to. Then once every 4-5 months, I burn photos and movies to disc.

    So, should I upgrade to the 1TB drive ($225) and get a 1TB drive external.
    or should I just get the 500GB and one or two externals for additional space and backup storage?

    What is a good brand for externals? I have a Western Digital currently connected to my Dell (it's only 250GB). Do I stick with Western Digital or someone else?

    3. AppleCare ($119) - I'm assuming I buy that?

    4. WIRELESS ROUTER - I currently have a Linksys WRT54G. Is that fine, or should I upgrade the router? Upgrade Suggestions? (BTW, using Carter cable internet).


    Anything else I need to know?

    Thanks.
     
  2. Morod macrumors 68000

    Morod

    Joined:
    Jan 1, 2008
    Location:
    On The Nickel, over there....
    #2
    1. The RAM difference in price is not what it once was. If I was buying today I would probably have Apple put it in, if for no other reason than you don't have to worry about reinstalling the OEM RAM if it ever needs to go to Apple for service.
    2. Size depends. Whatever you think you'll need you should get. It's very difficult to DIY an iMac HD, so make sure you get enough. As for external drive for Time Machine, at the Apple Store I was told to get the external 1.5 times larger than the internal. You could get away with getting the same size in both, but you won't save much money.
    3. Flip a coin. Half the good people here say to get Apple Care, the other good people say it's a waste of money. I got it.
    4. I have no idea. I like wired. :)
    Morod
     
  3. PlaceofDis macrumors Core

    Joined:
    Jan 6, 2004
    #3
    1. i always buy third party, i hate paying Apple's "tax" for their ram.

    2. hard drive size depends on what you need/want. for backing up if you're going to do clones of your system, then yes get the same size as your internal. if you're going to use TM then get one double your internal. at least thats my thought on the manner. others differ. btw you can always buy an internal drive and put it in an enclosure, i prefer seagate drives myself. FW 400 is much better for transferring than USB too.

    3. you have a year to buy, you can wait and see if you have any problems with it, or get it right away doesn't matter. nice to know that you can wait though.

    4. the router should work just fine afaik.
     
  4. nick9191 macrumors 68040

    Joined:
    Feb 17, 2008
    Location:
    Britain
    #4
    Upgrading the iMac ram is easy, search on youtube :)

    Use Time Machine. For it to work, ideally you need a external drive double the size of your boot drive. So if you buy the 500gb, buy a 1tb external (buy a 1tb internal hdd and a caddy- much much cheaper).

    Don't buy AppleCare until the first free year is up, you can decide whether or not you want it then. That will give you 2 more years.

    Wireless router seems fine, buy an Apple router if you like, their expensive but totally worth it (wireless n, gigabit, usb etc.)

    Or alternatively get a time capsule. This is the Apple airport extreme router with a hard drive built in, which you can use with time machine. There great. You get a new router and a backup drive all in one

    http://www.apple.com/timecapsule/
     
  5. scaredpoet macrumors 604

    scaredpoet

    Joined:
    Apr 6, 2007
    #5
    1. It really depends on how comfortable you are with taking apart your shiny new iMac. If you feel up to the task, then buy third party RAM. If you don't want to risk it, get the upgrade from Apple. In any case, definitely go 4GB. It will last you a good while that way.


    2. If it were up to me, I'd get the 1TB, and go with a 1TB external. I currently have a similar setup with my desktop machines.

    Seagate is a good brand, as is Toshiba. Western Digital is not bad either. I've also had a large amount of success with the Samsung SpinPoint F1 1TB Drive. Relatively low price, low power consumption, very quiet drive. Pair it with a good external enclosure, and you're set.

    Stay away from Maxtor. I've only had bad experiences with their drives.


    3. I always recommend AppleCare, especially if you intend on keeping your computer for a while. If you intend on getting the latest and greatest every year, then I wouldn't get it.

    4. Your current router should be just fine. Perhaps later you might want to upgrade to an 802.11n router when prices drop, but for now, you're fine with what you have.
     
  6. Roquefort macrumors member

    Joined:
    Apr 29, 2005
    Location:
    U.S. west coast
    #6
    1. Why pay extra? For a tiny extra effort, you save money and lose nothing. Buy the minimum RAM from Apple and add it 3rd party.

    2. Only you know how much storage you'll need during the life of your iMac. 1TB sounds like an awful lot unless you'll have much more storage than the average person,. Unless you store lots of videos, 500GB might be just fine. I like the idea of buying an external drive the same size. I've had good luck with Maxtor and bad luck with Western Digital, but I've heard good and bad comments about all brands. It seems to be hit or miss.

    3. Like any warranty, buying or bypassing AppleCare is a matter of playing the odds. With an iMac, which will probably stay in one place, indoors, and be taken care of properly, I think the odds favor NOT buying AppleCare coverage.

    4. The Linksys WRT54G should be fine.
     
  7. PlaceofDis macrumors Core

    Joined:
    Jan 6, 2004
    #7
    maxtor is owned by seagate now.
     
  8. pMad thread starter macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Apr 28, 2008

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