[ Switching : ] Apple store or MacMall?

Discussion in 'Buying Tips, Advice and Discussion (archive)' started by radhak, Sep 9, 2003.

  1. radhak macrumors regular

    Aug 28, 2003
    NJ, USA
    Finally I have been able to persuade my secretary of finance (wife) to allow me go shopping for my first Apple, and have decided to make the switch with an 17" iMac. So I come up with a couple of doubts :

    i) some of the Apple-authorized online retailers offer freebies that the Apple store does not seem to : extra 512 MB ram, a couple of extra softwares free after mail in rebates. So whats the downside of buying from these online resellers? Are they 'reliable'?

    ii) is it true that the iMac at the Apple Store comes bundled with the Airport Card? I will need that, and will need to pay $99 at MacMall.

    iii) do i need to buy the 3-year AppleCare right away or can I wait for some time before I do? Can i buy the iMac at MacMall and then buy the AppleCare at the local Apple store?

    iv) does it matter if I buy applecare with an online re-seller rather than from the store (would I get a colder reception at the store if later I go there for help?)

    v) MacMall also offers FinalCut Pro for $99. As somebody just stepping into all this image/video manipulation world, would I find it useful? I do have somewhat of a hobby in photography but not much of computer work on it.

    vi) as a bonanza, i am delighted to see that the 'older' 17 imac is now at a $200 discount. Other than the 0.25GHz, do I miss out on anything else if I go for it? And how much of a difference will I see with the added GHz? [ At the store I noted that the iMac is slightly slow, say when 'back-spacing' while editing text. Will this improve? ]

    Whoo!! Thats a lot of questions for one small post. Thanks for even reading till here ;)

    - Radha
  2. arn macrumors god


    Staff Member

    Apr 9, 2001
    Re: [ Switching : ] Apple store or MacMall?

    The major resellers -- such as MacMall are reliable. I wouldn't worry about that so much. The major advantage for these mail order shops over Apple's online store is that they do not automatically charge sales tax unless you are in a state they operate out of . Apple charges sales tax for every order.

    You'd have to configure it to see... but I don't know why it would have it... the configs should be the same

    As for the AppleCare. You should do a search on AppleCare -- there's been a lot of discussion on it.

    As for Final Cut Pro. It's probably Final Cut Express. Which usually retails for $299. It seem like a great deal for $99 (I assume that's w/ CPU purchase)... if you think you are going to be doing a good amount of video editing. iMovie is usable and you can do simple things with it... but it all depends on how serious you think you'll be.

  3. mkaake macrumors 65816

    Apr 10, 2003
    Re: Re: [ Switching : ] Apple store or MacMall?

    right now final cut ex is 99 for anyone who buys a mac... as long as it's all on the same receipt. you can get the same deal from apple.

    the real question is, do you or anyone you know have access to school (university) pricing? then you can get a really sweet deal.

    otherwise, sad as it may be, it is sometimes a much better deal to go third party.

    as for the 17 incher, the main difference is going to be the quality of the graphics processor, which depending on what you do can make a huge difference. if you're going to start dabbling with vid editing, it never hurts to have a good video card...


    it's a toss up, but if you look specifically at whatever company you want to buy from, you can usually find a better deal.

  4. radhak thread starter macrumors regular

    Aug 28, 2003
    NJ, USA
    Yes, I meant FinalCut Express. Seeing it might cost me $200 more if I finally decide I wanted it, I might go for it now.

    I heard a rumor that the store gives the airport card gratis. maybe not true.

    Since I am unable to think up any devious way of getting the student discount ;) I am leaning towards the retailers. I wish they would gimme a break and allow for the full 1GB ram (i am guessing replacing the 256 with another 512 might really hike the cost; i shall ask them ).

    But buying extra memory at the Apple store seems to be prohibitive : Just swapping the 256 for a 512 would add $200, so adding the 512 on top of the 256 would be - forget it, am not going there !
    ( I guess nobody buys extra memory at Apple? I noted that I could add 512 MB myself without stripping the iMac's globe)

    I don't have much of an idea about the relative merits of the two graphic cards; need to do some research, unless somebody here can spoon-feed me? I definitely am not going Apple without trying out all of its strengths; i see a substantial level of vid editing in my near future :)
    But is that all where I would see a difference - video editing etc? Would normal text and image handling, internet, etc not see much of a difference at 1.25GHz? Seeing that I had decided for the iMac before this upgrade was announced, I might as well enjoy the $200 break, whatsay?
  5. KLFloyd macrumors regular

    Nov 13, 2002
    Gainesville, FL
    Don't just look at MacMall vs. the Apple Store, there are several other authorized resellers. MacPrices.com is a website that gives you a breakdown of all the major Apple resellers and the current promotions they're offering. It's a good one-stop for comparing all the information and I would feel 100% comfortable ordering from any of the resellers listed on their site, in fact...I think at some point or another I probably had.

    Another option to look at is refurbished products or slightly older models which can sometimes be bought for extra savings. You know apple just introduced new iMacs yesterday so many of the resellers are offering the previous models at significant discounts. As for refurbished products, Smalldog.com or The Apple online Store will sell refurbished products that came with the same 1 year warranty as all other Apple products and are eligible for Apple care. Easy way to save a few hundred bucks.

    As for your Apple Care question, it can be bought any time within your first year of ownership of your machine. But think strongly about it before you do plunk down a couple hundred bucks. I've owned macs since 1984 and I've splurged for the AppleCare plan in the past but I've NEVER had a single opportunity I've needed to use it. (Knocking on wood) If you think about it, almost all problems with computers that you're going to encounter in the first three years are going to be software related problems. If you're going to experience a hardware failure chances are it's going to be within your first year. And remember, Apple Care doesn't cover any accidental damage, only hardware defects.

    Lastly, one thing I've discovered that many people may not take advantage of is that when you call Apple up on the phone they DO negotiate if you're placing a substantial order. I've always had great success on the phone saying, "hey you know MacMall is offering this..." All I'm saying is, it doesn't hurt to ask if you decide to deal with Apple directly. The Apple sales people are some of the most knowledgeable and personable sales reps I've ever spoken to on the phone

    Anyway, there's my two cents. Welcome to the Mac Family, enjoy your purchase!
  6. DillHarris macrumors member

    Feb 19, 2003
    Upstate NY
    I would go with the newer one... Yeah, you might save 200 bucks, but the new one also has USB 2.0, AE, and the better graphics card. Those three things alone are worth the extra 200 you would save right there IMO.
  7. Keith Purfield macrumors regular

    Apr 19, 2003
    Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
    As for the speed issue, it will be noticable.

    1.25 gigahertz is, correct me if I'm wrong, 1250 megahertz. So that's like saying is 800 MHz faster than 550 MHz, which is obviously yes.

    And the slowness with the keyboard wasn't the processor, it was probably set to slow in the preferences, which can be changed.
  8. radhak thread starter macrumors regular

    Aug 28, 2003
    NJ, USA
    Whoa, lotsa info here; thanks guys.
    Already found Macprices interesting...

    Shall wait out the year before deciding on applecare. All these years I have pulled apart and put together more PCs than I care to remember, so nothing to be scared of here ;)
    Had not noticed the USB 2 on the new; a good jump on the 1.1; but Airport Extreme (AE ?) was around even in the old 17". I really wish to make it to 1 GB ram, so the $200 would be handy; still mulling it over. I am in NYC tomorrow for a seminar, lemme check out the new iMac at the Apple (SoHo ) store there.

    - Radha

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