Switcher Opinions

Discussion in 'Buying Tips and Advice' started by Ladybug, Apr 13, 2006.

  1. Ladybug macrumors 68000


    Apr 13, 2006
    Hi, I'm looking for opinions and advice from anyone that has switched from pc to the new intel iMacs recently. I'd really love to hear what your experience has been, what you normally use your computer for, advice, comparisons, or anything that you'd like to share with me.

    I'm currently using a 3.2 ghz P4 w/HT, 1 gig ram, 9800XT w/256mb's, 250 gig drive and running Windows XP. I've been reading the forum since January and have my eye on a 20 inch Intel iMac. I intend to max out all the upgrade options when I order one.

    The main use for this computer will be for computer graphics *hobbiest*, internet, email, games, and reading this forum :D

    All replies are most appreciated, no matter if you just made the switch or not.

    Side note: Reason I want to make the switch... Security! I'm not new to computers, in fact have 15 yrs experience here. However with all the spyware, trojans, and now rootkits to worry about, I've just had enough of the nonsense. I want to use my computer and not have to worry about these things anymore.
  2. Philberttheduck macrumors 6502a


    Mar 15, 2006
    HB, CA
    Thumbs up on the contemplation of switching. Overall, the experience is AMAZING. No worries of having to buy (cough coughlimewireandtorrentscough cough) all these softwares for security. The iTunes experience is amazingly faster than windows (didn't really believe that). The bootup is F-in fast (with the new firmware update) and Safari is f-n amazing. Pop-up safety is amazing (be sure to toggle it after you update safari, under 10.4.6 update). The beauty of the machine.. OMG! Just tidy and elegant. The white is beautiful (my desk is all white, and it fits in perfectly. Windows is great for gaming (but don't install AIM Triton, because it'll crash you). You just have to devote 10-20gigs for XP, and you'll be set. The fact that you can pretty much overclock the Apple-Safe mobility chip, makes the gaming MUCH better than mac. Playing WCIII is SUCH a difference in terms of sheer speed (i belieive its run under rosetta.. not sure). My only real complaint is the video in general. Don't mistake the x1600 for a 7800GT, because its really different on Windows and Mac. Even after you overclock it to say 500/540 using ATItool. Also, you really should get MSOffice, because Pages (iWork '06) isn't really "office" format (maybe I'm missing something.. anybody feel free to point me to the "microsoft word-format").

    Overall a GREAT purchase and the smartest investment I've made in awhile.
  3. FFTT macrumors 68030


    Apr 17, 2004
    A Stoned Throw From Ground Zero
    Hi Ladybug!

    You've done your homework and picked a great machine.

    You also picked a great community to help you along if you have any
    problems adapting to Mac OSX.

    The Macrumors Starters Guide should help you with the basics.

    The Apple Stores also offer a free orientation class.

    For the most part, you'll just need some time to get familiar with where
    things belong and a few minor differences is terminology.

    All applications go to the main Applications Folder on your hard drive.

    All your personal data goes in your Home folder.

    There are a few basic Folders for Photos, Documents, Music, Desktop, Movies etc.

    It's very easy to create and label new folders from your File menu.
    Some application support documents will be placed in your documents folder automatically and you'll create your own for things like Tax returns, , PDF's, eBooks etc.

    While OSX is VERY secure, I recommend setting up your system with a primary administrative account for installations and maintenance ONLY
    and a secondary super user account for all your normal daily operations.

    I wouldn't bother purchasing A/V software.

    Simply buy a good router and consider adding a personal firewall like
    Little Snitch, NetBarrier or IPNetSentry.

    These will alert you any time your system attempts a connection or notify you of a possible intrusion.

    When you open an Application, you'll see the corresponding Dock Icon
    in your Dock.
    If you plan on using that Application on a regular basis, simply right click or control click on the Icon and select "Keep In Dock"

    The small arrow under the Dock Icon tells you the application is open.

    All of this will make perfect sense once you start using OSX.

    If you get stuck, there's usually someone here to help 24/7

  4. Ladybug thread starter macrumors 68000


    Apr 13, 2006
    Thank you so much Philberttheduck. I really appreciate the feedback, you've been most helpful.

    I think the simplicity of this design is the main attraction for me hardware wise. I'm looking forward to the switch, but feeling a bit nervous about it at the same time. LOL
  5. Ladybug thread starter macrumors 68000


    Apr 13, 2006
    Wow..awesome tips to help me get started. Unfortunately there is no Apple store anywhere near where I live, so I'll be on my own as far as learning goes.

    I'm getting quite excited about it, and I'm looking forward to participating here in the future. Thanks so much.
  6. Shrek6446 macrumors member

    Mar 29, 2006
    I made the Upgrade about a month ago from a P4 3.6Ghz, 1gig ram and an ATI 800xl to a macbook pro. I got to say even though this thing only has 512ram it runs alot quicker then my windows xp machine. now that Bootcamp is available there is no reason not to make the switch (except for money). I love the startup time also with my mac. Windows used to take me 5 mins mininum to start up from reboot. Now it takes me no longer then 45secs.

    There are suttle things that if you go back to windows you will miss. For example
    1. Expose (I have tried to push F9 a couple times in windows)
    2. Dashboard (Yahoo widgets dont come close to dashboard)
    3. Dock ( I now hate windows start bar now that I have the dock)

    Last of all, you dont have to worry about things like popups, spyware, adware or viruses.

    Good luck making the switch for me it was pretty painless
  7. FFTT macrumors 68030


    Apr 17, 2004
    A Stoned Throw From Ground Zero
    Probably the most important thing about running in Mac OSX is making sure
    your system is equipped with enough RAM.

    Adding 2 GB of 3rd party RAM from a reputable vendor like OWC, Datamem or Crucial is the best way to insure satisfactory performance.

    If you don't like iChat which is actually run off the AOL servers with your
    same AOL screen name, then download Adium from Versiontracker.

    Consider getting a .mac account.
    Not only do you get a cool new e-mail address, but you also have a great place to store critical data off site on your iDisk.

    Your personal preferences are stored on property lists ".plist "

    You'll see Apple default Applications listed such as com.apple.desktop.plist

    Preferece files for 3rd party Applications will either be in their own folders listed by the manufacturer or the application name.

    such as com.microsoft.Word.plist

    You'll also see many other support files in both your User/Library and HD/Library.

    Leave these files alone until you know what you're doing.

    At least familiarize yourself with where things go.

    I think you'll appreciate that the majority of files are clearly labelled by the manufacturer or application names.

    You can choose the way you prefer to view your files and folders.
    As Icons, As lists or As Columns

    You can also easily select View Options,
    Arranging one folder window or all by Name, Kind, Size, Date or Label

    If you can't find something, that's where Spotlight comes in.
    If it's on your computer or on a particular volume or partition
    spotlight can find it.

    You'll appreciate Apple's system wide spell checker and built in dictionary.

    You can use the built in set-up assistant to transfer files from your P/C
    or simply burn CD's and load only what is necessary.

    You really won't need much time to get up and running.

  8. Ladybug thread starter macrumors 68000


    Apr 13, 2006
    Thank you both Shrek and FFTT. You've both given me a lot of useful information and things to consider. Now I just need to get up the nerve to pull the trigger. :D
  9. ero87 macrumors 65816


    Jan 17, 2006
    New York City
    Best, most under-appreciated feature of Mac OSX:

    When you open PDF files from the internet, they just OPEN! You don't have to wait 3 minutes for Adobe Acrobat to load or whatever.

    That and expose, of course. I'm a switcher, and it IS the best decision i've ever made in my life. I GUARANTEE you won't regret it.
  10. tigercrane macrumors newbie

    Mar 10, 2006

    What's up Ladybug

    Pull the trigger. I just got a 20 inch iMac and I love it.
    I was obsessing over it for months and finally did it. Worth every penny in my opinion. It's beaufiful and works the way I want it to.
    If you have the money and need a good computer than you are on the right track.
  11. FFTT macrumors 68030


    Apr 17, 2004
    A Stoned Throw From Ground Zero
    If you or a member of your family qualify for the education discount, that will save you on your hardware and software prices.

    Apple also offers limited government and corporate discounts.

    You'll love your new iMac.

    It will look great next to your Easter baskit!
  12. yoak macrumors 65816


    Oct 4, 2004
    Oslo, Norway
    Welcome to the Mac community. I just bought a 20" iMac 2 weks ago. Amazing machine. I haven´t been able to play games yet, but everything else is fast and beautifull.

    I love the screen on this thing. Going from a 12" ibook it´s quite something.

    As people have said, there always someone here on MR to help you out.

    PS I went with the wireless keyboard and mouse, just makes the set-up soo clean and tidy. Worth it.

    I have to admitt I was sweating in my palms before hitting the buy button. It´s not cheap, but it´s worth every penny.

    Good luck (hit that button;) )
  13. miniConvert macrumors 68040


    Mar 4, 2006
    Kent, UK - the 'Garden of England'.
    I didn't 'switch' as such, as I still use PC's one hell of a lot (infact I'm just taking a break from a 7 hour stint), but the Intel Mac mini is my first Mac.

    For browsing, email, chat and that sort of thing it's a breath of fresh air. It's just a hassle-free way for me to separate my personal wants and needs from the Windows world. The design of Mac hardware and the look of the software is so pleasing and easy on the eye that it makes for a comfortable and rewarding computing environment.

    There will no doubt be some things you wont be able to find for Mac, or even some things that you can't yet find for Intel Macs, but with an Intel machine you can always do the Boot Camp thing and fire up XP should the urgent need ever arise.

    As for cost, you get what you pay for.

    10/10 from me.
  14. n8236 macrumors 65816

    Mar 1, 2006
    I have been using the PC since its BBS days 13 years ago and i just recently switched to my first Mac. I'm quite familiar w/ Windows and its inner workings and felt very comfortable. I hestitated to buy a Mac at first for the very reason of software compatibility and not having a 2-button mouse, but it turned out to be not much of a problem at all.

    I was sold on the THIS particular Mac from the very rumors of XP compatibilty and Apple build quality. Now that Boot Camp has showed up, my wishes have come true. Just waiting for it to be refined and become fully functional.

    It took some getting used to in terms of not having a right click, the usual Windows interface. But I soon found parallels between the two OSs and more to become just as productive once again.

    The only grip I have is the ablility to find pirated and cracked software for the Mac, but I soon fixed that :p I did find the OSx a bit too easy to use and I would like to dip into a bit more on the technical side. Ironic.

    Another plus, all the chicks dig it cuz it's so hawt :)
  15. Ladybug thread starter macrumors 68000


    Apr 13, 2006
    Thats really good to hear..most encouraging. I think obsessing is a great description for what I've been doing myself. :)
  16. Ladybug thread starter macrumors 68000


    Apr 13, 2006
    That was my thought as well about the wireless keyboard and mouse. Can you tell me about the mouse? I have a wireless MS Intellimouse that I love a lot. I assume it would work with the iMac?
  17. Ladybug thread starter macrumors 68000


    Apr 13, 2006
    LOL, love your reasoning about it being so hawt. I'm very familiar with Windows myself, and I too have been waiting for Boot Camp / Parallel type solutions to show up before giving this switch any serious consideration. I'm not a hardcore gamer, but I do play a few games. Have you tested any games under Boot Camp to see if they play acceptably well? I'm not looking for the highest fps or anything, just an occasional game without any hassles.

    My main concern is that there is no Apple store where I live and I'm used to doing my own repairs. I realize the machine can't really be upgraded with all the hardware options a PC can, but thats not something I usually do anyway. I think I'd hate having to send it off and do weeks without it in any event. Hopefully the quality is up to par and that won't really be an issue.
  18. FFTT macrumors 68030


    Apr 17, 2004
    A Stoned Throw From Ground Zero
    Generally IF your system has any problems, it's going to show up immediately or within 6 months.

    Fortunately, you can buy Apple Care just before your warranty expires.

    Warranty repairs if needed, generally have a fairly quick turnaround.

    I have a strong feeling that you'll like your iMac so much that you'll end up buying a MacBook too for your work on the go.

    Please also keep in mind that Boot Camp and Parallels are both limited beta test programs.

    Any work you do under Windows should be backed up completely and regularly.

    Apple strongly cautions users that Boot Camp should not be used for professional applications at the present time.

    You will eventually have to upgrade to Leopard in order to continue dual boot capabilities.

    I get the impression that once you upgrade to Leopard, you'll have to reformat your hard drive again to accept Windows under Leopard.
  19. Ladybug thread starter macrumors 68000


    Apr 13, 2006
    Very reassuring that most problems show up within the first 6 months. I understand its all beta now and I will have to upgrade eventually. Having to reformat is not an issue at all. Will Leopard be similar to OS X you think? I guess that question might be a bit premature, but was wondering if anyone has any updated info on that.

    Most of my work is saved to an external drive, then backed up to DVD periodically. I don't see that changing when I get the iMac.

    My experience with XP has been, when it works, it works well. But when *note I didn't say If* lol.. but when things go south, its usually just easier to start again, rather than try to fix things. This and the security problems I've experienced is why I want a Mac in the first place. My time and peace of mind mean more to me.
  20. flyfish29 macrumors 68020


    Feb 4, 2003
    New HAMpshire
    The nice thing is you rarely have to restart. I went for 13 months without restarting my iMac. (minus the software install restarts) It never crashed on me. My iBook has once and for the first time in 12 years of using a Mac I had to reinstall the OS, but I guess that is pretty good stats.

    Leopard WILL BE OSX just better. Since Apple went to OSX they have kept the basic principles the same, just improved greatly the interface and workings of the OS.

    The OS just works...as far as quality goes- I have never had a quality issue on any mac (owned five in 13 years) I have never had a HD, modem, mother board go bad...ever! My brothers and sister have gone through multiple mother boards, modems, HD's, etc on their PC's in that same time period. I am not saying it is perfect, obviously there will be issues, but I agree, in the first six months they will show up, or not at all. (minus the drop of a laptop or something):eek:

    Have you spent time working and playing in OSX? If not, do so and you will be hooked. Everything is integrated! make a movie with iMovie, use your still pics from iPhoto to do a slide show, put it all to music with your music from iTunes, then burn it to DVD using iDVD...all provided with your new Mac- free!

    With .Mac, I can have a great email address, back up my computer to iDisk space effortlessly, post photos and movies to the web for grandparents to see, sync my book marks, addresses, calendar across three Macs and also have access to those book marks no matter what commputer I use. I often use my brother-in-laws computer and just log into lMac and there are my book marks to use anytime on his computer! Great if you ask me!!!!

    Good luck!
  21. FFTT macrumors 68030


    Apr 17, 2004
    A Stoned Throw From Ground Zero
    Just curious, what is your primary work application?

    I'm wondering if it may be less complicated for you to transfer some of your Windows app licensing over to OSX.

    You may be better off using a Mac OSX version or couterpart, but it all depends.

    I'm pretty sure Leopard will function nearly the same as the current version of Tiger with a few nifty new bells and whistles.

    I think there may be a few more tweaks to take advantage of multi-core processing and better performance while also addressing multi-boot and virtualization.

    What ever it ends up being, I'm pretty sure it's gonna kick Vista's A$$
  22. FFTT macrumors 68030


    Apr 17, 2004
    A Stoned Throw From Ground Zero
    My system rarely beach balls to the point of forced reboot, but it has sometimes.

    I'm also running some heavy applications, but really what causes most of my problems is the curse of country living on dial-up.

    With a heart pounding max 2.8 kb signal downloading a PDF can lock me up pretty awful until the download completes.
  23. sonictonic macrumors 6502a

    Mar 25, 2006
    Central Coast, California
    I'm not sure how I can explain it, but I switched about a month ago myself, after growing up and basically learning computers so to speak, on a PC all my life. Ever since I bought my first iPod, the 60gb video, last November, I have been more than just intrigued by the Mac, I WANTED one. Now I finally have one. I bought a new iBook G4 and upgraded the hard drive (all I could afford for now) and I could not be happier.

    I had a Sony VAIO P4 2.4ghz desktop that was about 2.5 yrs old... and though gging from that to the iBook was SUCH a change, I finally decided it was worth just going for. I was tired of lusting over the Mac and other Apple computers, I backed up my important files, and just went for it.

    It has made me adjust somewhat, but all in all I have found just as good apps on the Mac, for what I need, and I am so so happy. It took me about a week, maybe 2, to be somewhat comfortable. I just love it.

    Anyways, thats my story. Good luck to ya! I say go for it! And it sounds like you have more money than me so you can fully trick it out. That should really be awesome. :)
  24. Ladybug thread starter macrumors 68000


    Apr 13, 2006
    Most of my work is not really work per say, just more of a hobby. I use Xenodream for fractal creation, and Photoshop mainly. I rarely use MS Office for anything but its nice to have when I need it. I have a few other graphic apps that I use rarely such as Poser, Animation Master and various plug ins for Photoshop. I have to have Xenodream and Photoshop...the rest I can live without.

    Xenodream is a windows only app and will likely always be from what the developer has told me, however it should run fine under Parallels. If it doesn't I'll Boot Camp it.

    I'll be using Boot Camp for games that I can't replace right away. Wow, Sims 2, Civlization 4, Ages of Empires 3, and The Movies..since I likely won't be able to afford the Mac versions when I first get this computer anyway.

    Vista...I think it will be a better product simply because they are building in more security. Problem is, will it be enough? After years of broken promises, I have my doubts. Let's put it this way, it doesn't excite me.

    I will be looking for Mac versions of all my apps over a period of time. Boot Camp and Parallel will buy me the time I need to make the transistion I think.
  25. Ladybug thread starter macrumors 68000


    Apr 13, 2006

    Thank you for the reassuring post. LOL at the money comment. I figure the hubby can always get a second job *kidding.:D I've been saving for the past year to buy a new machine anyway. I typically spend right around 2k anyway. I think I'm going to order it tonight.

    Thanks so much guys..all of you, have been most helpful. How will I ever sleep now :D

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