Switcher seeking reassurance

Discussion in 'Buying Tips and Advice' started by JenRay, May 10, 2008.

  1. JenRay macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    May 10, 2008
    #1
    My Dell desktop is nearing the end of its life expectancy. I bought more computer than I needed 6 years ago, but it is starting to seem slow, and it seems like it could just drop dead without warning any day. I don't want anything to do with Vista, and am becoming more and more anti Microsoft as I get older. I'm a little apprehensive about learning a new OS, just because I have used Windows-based machines at home and work since 3.0. But I am ready to make the switch. YAY!
    So...
    At first I thought I would get the 2.4GHz MacBook, but I am just not sure how much I need the portability. Mostly I do the usual surfing/email, Lots of photo organizing and editing, and a some writing/word processing. I am thinking we might like to get a video camera now that we have a near-toddler, so light video editing may be in my near future. In my lurking around here, it seems like if I were to go with an iMac, the 24" is the way to go due to fewer screen issues. Seemed out of my price range until I saw the Refurbished iMac 24-inch 2.8GHz Intel Core 2 Extreme. Given I am looking to spend about $1500 or less, this seems like a pretty nice setup for the price. It also seems like it is more computer than I need, so I should be able to keep it around for a good long while - which is typically my buying strategy. I learned here that I shouldn't pay Apple for RAM, so I would want to do that on my own.

    Any advice or encouragement either way? Will I be unhappy that I didn't get the latest gen? Also, I guess it doesn't have any word processing software. I figured I might get a trial of Pages or iWork somehow? Any other I should look into? I use PSE for photo stuff now, will iPhoto be all I need, or will I want to get the latest version of PSE?

    Thanks for feedback! I promise I won't be on here trying to make my mac be a windows machine. ;)
    Jen
     
  2. aaronw1986 macrumors 68030

    Joined:
    Oct 31, 2006
    #2
    The refub iMac sounds like it will fit your needs to me. Look into NeoOffice for a free office suite. I'd say use iPhoto first, and if it doesn't meet your needs, then get something else.
     
  3. flyfish29 macrumors 68020

    flyfish29

    Joined:
    Feb 4, 2003
    Location:
    New HAMpshire
    #3
    Sounds like you have done your share of homework!

    I think the iMac sounds like the deal for you. Are you a student or educator? (discount if you are)

    I think iPhoto is fine but only you know how much you edit your photos- I would think with a little one on the move I would think you will do less editing of photos, but iPhoto certainly is capable of doing management of photos and some touch up work.

    You will be happy with any generation iMac- as far as longevitiy goes- I have never been dissatisfied with my Macs. All have given me at least five years of life (five different Macs) and some many more as a second computer!

    How much word processing do you do? Do you send files to others or just need to type letters, documents, etc.? Text Edit comes on every Mac and you would be amazed at what it can do for basic word processing. I woudl say try it, then try pages and other demos and then decide.

    Good luck- you will not be dissapointed with your purchase!
     
  4. aaronw1986 macrumors 68030

    Joined:
    Oct 31, 2006
    #4
    Educational discount doesn't apply to refurbs.
     
  5. flyfish29 macrumors 68020

    flyfish29

    Joined:
    Feb 4, 2003
    Location:
    New HAMpshire
    #5
    You are right, I was actually thinking of a word processor discount with office or word for students or educators.
     
  6. JenRay thread starter macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    May 10, 2008
    #6
    I am not eligible for an education discount, but I do qualify for a corporate employee purchase discount thing. I noticed that it does not seem to apply to the refurbs either. It seems like I figured out that a new 2.8Ghz iMac with my discount would cost me $138 more than the refurb. But that is also $238 over what I wanted to spend, and I am not convinced the new generation specs are worth the extra $. I am open to discussion though.
     
  7. DoFoT9 macrumors P6

    DoFoT9

    Joined:
    Jun 11, 2007
    Location:
    Singapore
    #7
    are you able to do a salary sacrifice??
     
  8. digitalnicotine macrumors 65816

    digitalnicotine

    Joined:
    Jan 11, 2008
    Location:
    USA
    #8
    Okay, I'll play devil's advocate. ;)

    The newer model iMacs have differences other than the obvious. For example, they have a different CPU (penryn), which doesn't run as hot as the previous version. Heat is what kills all electronics, so there is a plus for longevity.

    The new models have a bigger L2 cache (6 MB), faster front side bus (1066 MHZ), and 800 MHZ ram. These are what set it apart from the previous model, and all of the above can equal longer use for your system.

    I realize it's a tough call now, but when you spread it out over time, that extra $250 or so may be worth it in the long run. The new models also have 2 gigs of ram standard vs. 1, but most of us bump it up to 4 gigs straight away, so it's probably not a factor. :)

    Another thing to consider, is the fact that the iMac comes with a lot of very useful software. iPhoto, iMovie HD, iDVD, and Garage Band are things you may find very effective in creating and archiving memories of your child growing up. Right there you have the photo and video editing software, DVD creation tools, and soundtrack tools right out of the box. They are very user friendly, and surprisingly powerful considering they are programs that come with the system.

    Unlike many PC manufacturers, they are not trialware, but full programs. :) Your skills may exceed them in time, but they will work nicely for someone less experienced, and just getting into the mediums, without requiring a steep learning curve.

    With the photo editing, if you find you need a more powerful solution, there are free programs that you can utilize, such as Gimp. There are also office suites, as mentioned above. The included text editor is similar to Wordpad for Windows. You can also check out iWork. It's $79, and much cheaper than MS Office, but similar.

    Good luck on whatever you decide. I'm positive you'll be very pleased with the iMac. :)
     
  9. queshy macrumors 68040

    queshy

    Joined:
    Apr 2, 2005
    #9
    As long as you're spending the money, you might as well get the "newer" model - I'd feel a little "iffy" about a refurb, but from what I hear on this site, refurbs are fantastic. Refurb or not, what does seem clear to me is that the MacBook is not as good as a choice as the iMac. The iMac will give you an overall better experience. It's more comfortable to work on because of its great big screen. It also has more power. If you really must stick to your budget, the refurb 24" iMac is great.
     
  10. DoFoT9 macrumors P6

    DoFoT9

    Joined:
    Jun 11, 2007
    Location:
    Singapore
    #10
    yea tru, they would have a pretty hefty "pass-fail" series of tests that they put the computers through.

    to the OP:

    personally, go for the brand new one, another $250-$400 isnt that much, its not really all that different. The newer model will give you another year i reckon, even tho the refurbs will easily last 5 years.

    but u kno, just follow what u want.
     
  11. ozmerelda macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Mar 13, 2008
    Location:
    Sarasota, FL
    #11
    I'm a switcher & I LOVE LOVE LOVE the 24"iMac

    I used windows for years and I have the iMac now for 16 months. The learning curve is fairly easy and when you get stuck, calling apple will solve your problem. The phone support has been terrific for me. David Pogue's book,
    Leopard, the Missing Manual is a must have!

    As for refurbs: people here say they have great experiences. Don't be fooled by the price differences. Check the specs for the newer/est models vs the older refurbs and you might notice that the newer models are really not that much more expensive.

    Education discount: you do have to pay taxes which eats into the discount.
    MacMAll and Amazon compete with rebates and sometimes free shipping and sometimes with a free printer. You do have to mail in the rebate!

    If you can, pony up for the 24" iMac. I don't believe you will regret it.

    Good luck, Oz
     
  12. Thorbjorn macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Jan 14, 2008
    #12
    Love my 24" refurb (last gen). Flawless inside and out.
     
  13. aviationalyours macrumors member

    aviationalyours

    Joined:
    Apr 26, 2008
    Location:
    Doha, Qatar
    #13
    Switch

    I am still a Windows user. I am getting a iMac in one month. (new one top specs). It dosen't really matter. Refurb will do you 5 years new will do you 6 so same dif. If you can afford it though step up.

    Photo editing iPhoto should be good enough. If not Photoshop never hurts, (I also heard Aperture is cheap (compared to photoshop) and good).

    Word precessor? Use OpenOfice. They have a Mac version. I use it on PC and Linux. Perfect and better than word. Saves into .doc and is readable on Word and Pages.
    :apple::apple::apple::apple:
    You are now officialy cool! You made the switch.
     
  14. aviationalyours macrumors member

    aviationalyours

    Joined:
    Apr 26, 2008
    Location:
    Doha, Qatar
    #14
    Word Precessor

    On second thought, Google Docs is good for basics :)
     
  15. gnasher729 macrumors P6

    gnasher729

    Joined:
    Nov 25, 2005
    #15
    That is an important advice. Refurbished computers can be either brand new modes or older models. The rebate is calculated from the original price, not from the current value, so older models can have quite large rebates. In reality, I think the prices for refurbished models are always set at 15% to 20% below a fair value of that model.
     
  16. JenRay thread starter macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    May 10, 2008
    #16
    Well, I think the refurb I am eying is just one generation back from current. It says it is 31% off of the original:
    Refurbished iMac 24-inch 2.8GHz Intel Core 2 Extreme
    24-inch glossy widescreen display
    2GB memory
    500GB hard drive
    8x SuperDrive (DVD±R DL/DVD±RW/CD-RW)
    ATI Radeon HD 2600 PRO with 256MB memory
    Built-in iSight Camera
    Original price: $2,299.00 Your price: $1,599.00.
    BUT, a new gen iMac at 2.8 GHz, with a HD upg to 500GB (making it the same as the refurb) would cost me about $140 more than the refurb (with my empl purch prog. discount). These newer 2.8 models don't seem to have as steep a starting price as this older one.

    So is the older refurb as a great a deal as it seems (at the 31% off) or is really just less computer for only $140 less than the latest gen?
    And what is "extreme" supposed to mean?

    Thank you all very much for your input! I think you have convinced me to go with the iMac as opposed to the MacBook. I know I am making the switch from Windows, it is just deciding which mac, and pulling the trigger. i am getting so excited!
    Jen
     
  17. freddyaudiophil macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    May 12, 2008
    Location:
    Eastern Canada
    #17
    I guess this qualifies as my first official post on this board.

    I, too, bit the bullet so to speak this past weekend and ordered a new 24" iMac from the Apple Canada Education store. I work as an IT Manager and have been using PCs for over 20 years, but I found that I have been doing a lot of stuff on my home Vista and XP boxes that they were not really suited for, so I opted for a new iMac.

    I did consider a refurb but opted for the improved performance of the newly-released models. I went with the 24" 3.06GHz rig, 500GB, with 4GB and the wireless mouse. According to the order info, it should ship later this week and arrive next week sometime. I can hardly wait!

    freddy
     

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