switching! but... some last minute questions

Discussion in 'Buying Tips, Advice and Discussion (archive)' started by jorugu, Jul 17, 2005.

  1. jorugu macrumors newbie

    Jul 17, 2005
    Hi everyone!

    I'm completely ready to toss my winxp pc out the window. I've been using computers ever since my parents bought a 286, 15 (??) years ago, but the crashes, reboots, virusses, spyware are driving me mad, i think i don't need to tell anyone here how annoying it is. I ran linux for a while, but that wasn't really my cup of tea either. I started my very first 'real' job a month ago, and when a friend of mine showed me his ibook I figured, why not buy a Mac instead? If any of the stuff down seems stupid to you guys, consider that, besides the iBook demonstration, I've never seen a Mac up close before.

    Anyway, i do have a pc and it would be a waste to just disregard everything in and around it... I don't need the fastest machine in the world, but i do want all my stuff to load when i click it. So i already have:

    a neat 20" screen. CRT though, so it's HUGE.
    an AMD XP2k machine with 1.5g RAM.
    an ATI 9600 pro.
    300g storage (filled to the last byte right now)
    It manages to reboot itself about every hour. It did that last year too, I thought it fixed it. And a few months later it starts all over again. Im sick of it. So, I could buy a mac mini and use it with the hardware i already have, but i think that will only start to annoy me after a while because of the mini's limited processor and hard disk speed/space. Then i thought, buy an iMac. Before i spend so much money there are several things i'd like to know first:

    Is there any way i can add the 200g S-ATA disc from my pc to an iMac? As i understand, there's not much room left inside the thing, but maybe there are other ways?

    Can i use my CRT monitor as a dual screen? This is not really necessary, but maybe for kicks :)

    I'm used to having lots of partitions, for those times when i formatted my pc again. Should i do this on an iMac too? If yes, is it much harder than formatting and partitioning a winxp or linux machine?

    I use an xbox to play movies from my pc on my tv, it's much much easier than messing around with video-out. I often play music this way too, because the TV sound is hooked to the amp. better than those small PC speakers! :) It does use windows shares though, (//ipadres/sharedfolder). I'm asuming this works the same on mac's, but i've never seen one in a windows network before, so i better ask anyway...

    That's about it for now, Thanks for reading.
  2. Spanky Deluxe macrumors 601

    Spanky Deluxe

    Mar 17, 2005
    London, UK
    You could probably find an external housing for the hard drive so that you could connect it via firewire for one.
    I don't think its any trickier to have loads of partitions on a mac than a pc.
    I'm not sure about the whole external monitor thing.
    Personally, if I were in your position, I would get an iMac and then wipe and reinstall the Windows machine - you could keep it as a file store. If its wiped and nothing is particularly installed on it then it should remain pretty stable.
  3. mrgreen4242 macrumors 601


    Feb 10, 2004
    Ok, gonna try to answer all your questions...

    The iMac G5 CAN span monitors, with 2 caveats - one, you need to run a small, harmless hack, call ScreenDoctor I think, and two, you need a $10 adaptor from Apple.

    You can put your 200gb SATA drive in the iMac, but you'll have to remove the one it came with, so you should look at an external enclosure or another method of adding drive space.

    I think your last question was about sharing media with a hacked XBox? Or was it a regular XBox with some sort of MS media player sharing? Anyways, you can present a folder on your Mac as a shared file via Samba, which is the open source implementation of Window's file sharing method. It's built right into Finder and easy to use. Can't say it will work with an Xbox for sure, but works with other Windows machines.

    Now, my recomendations to you. As you already have so much reusable stuff, I would rethink the mini. You can grab a used one really cheap, and a new one for not a ton of money. Load it up with a gig of RAM and buy an external FW enclosure for it. Put you 200gb drive in there, couples with the 80 already in the mini and you're already close to the 300gb you are using now.

    Also, get a KVM switch and hook up your keyb, mouse, and display to both the mini and the PC. Leave the other HD in your PC, and after you copy all your files off of it reformat it and reinstall XP, with a good firewall and anti-virus, etc. Then don't use it for any web browsing, email, etc. Use it as a file server for the other 100gb and also as a gaming rig.

    This should run you well under a $1000, which is cheap that an imac will be, and you can use the extra cash for some upgrades down the road (a new LCD, more HDs, better video card for your PC, etc).

    The other choice is to dig up an older single CPU PowerMac, which are about $1000-1200 last I looked. Still cheaper than the iMac, since you have a monitor already, and would let you put all your drives in there as well.
  4. CanadaRAM macrumors G5


    Oct 11, 2004
    On the Left Coast - Victoria BC Canada
    Most Firewire enclosures assume you are using PATA (IDE) drives. You'll have to look harder for a SATA-Firewire version.
  5. jorugu thread starter macrumors newbie

    Jul 17, 2005
    thanks for the quick replies!

    So there are things to use s-ata discs as external drives. I'll look into that.

    @mrgreen4242: Getting a secondhand mac in the Netherlands is not that easy, and if i get new one before september, i can still get a student discount from the apple website ;) Everyone who does sell his/her Mac mini just bought a better one, so i'm still not sure it's the right choice, but you did give me something to think about. The only pc games i still play are Blizzard games (WoW, Diablo2...), and they conveniently run on Mac's already. Thumbs up for Blizzard. But I'm keeping the PC anyway, keep it as clean as possible and use it as a server. At least then i can get rid of the huge monitor, heh.
  6. H&Kie macrumors regular

    Sep 19, 2004
    If you're looking for a secondhand Mac in the Netherlands, you might check


    Furthermore, partitioning your harddrive on a Mac is really easy (compared to Fdisk it is). Just start disk utility (schijfhulpprogramma) during installation (when partitioning your system disk) , choose the number and name of partitions you wish and drag them to the size of your choice.
  7. Hattig macrumors 65816

    Jan 3, 2003
    London, UK
    Getting a 20" iMac G5 is a good option, and it comes with a 250GB hard drive.

    In the refurb store however:

    Mac G5 1.8GHz/ 256MB/ 160GB/ SuperDrive/ 56K/ 20-inch - Apple Certified Refurbished
    • Save 27% off the original price
    Original price: $1,899.00
    Your price: $1,399.00
    (Buy a 1GB DIMM and you'd be set to go with an external Firewire HD enclosure for your 200GB SATA drive)

    However, how about this:

    Power Mac G5 DUAL 1.8GHz/ 256MB/ 80G/ SuperDrive/ PCI/ GeFr5200/ GigE/ 56K - Apple Certified Refurbished
    • Save 26% off the original price
    Original price: $1,999.00
    Your price: $1,499.00

    (into which you can install your existing hard drives, use your existing monitor, etc - you'd need more memory and you may as well get another 250GB hard drive for it and put the 80G in your AMD system (clean reinstall). This system will rip a CD to 160kbps AAC in under 3 minutes or so I reckon, so you may simply decide to re-rip your CD collection)

    Edit: Not much use for you though, if you're in the Netherlands.
  8. GimmeSlack12 macrumors 603


    Apr 29, 2005
    San Francisco
    The idea of getting a secondhand Mac Mini I have to disagree with. For your first Mac, an iMac would be excellent. A Mac Mini is just not powerful enough, IMO. A 20" 2gHz G5 is such a deal too. I would get one, but I need portability, so I'm still debating the Laptop options.
  9. mrgreen4242 macrumors 601


    Feb 10, 2004
    Actually, the mini fares pretty well against the iMacs... check out barefeats tests. With the addition of a fast drive (even just a good FW400 one) it would hold it's own against the iMacs in non-GPU bound functions. Sure, you will lose maybe 10% of the raw power, but all in all, it's not much.

    Also, I personally sold my iMac and "downgraded" to a mini due to noise issues. The iMacs are not whisper quiet, and mine was driving me nuts. I'd rather have a slower computer that is pleasant to use than something that annoys me. I thnk most Mac userss agree, or we'd be using Windows!

    Again, I am working under the assumption that someone would want to reuse as much of the current parts as they could. Pretty much anything on the market right now is a pretty solid machine for the price, expect the iBook, which could use a little updating. Even that is a nice machine, and I'd probably buy one if I needed a notebook bad enough...
  10. XNine macrumors 68040


    Apr 7, 2005
    Why are you wearing that stupid man suit?
    1. Buy a Powermac as the HD space is expandable. Since you already have a monitor, you won't have a problem there.

    2. Keep your XP box and convert it to a Linux, or Unix file server.

    3. Yes, you can use SMB shares with a modified XBox. My Xbox has XBMC and Unleash X on it. You can also FTP in (I use FETCH or Captain FTP) to modify/add/delete/move files on the XBox as well...

    edit: Spellcheck. Windows Sucks.
  11. iHacker macrumors member

    Jun 13, 2005
    Humph!! I paid 20 for that adapter. Still worth it i am running an iMac g5 and the hack works flawlessly! knock on wood.
  12. jorugu thread starter macrumors newbie

    Jul 17, 2005
    @onizuka: powermac's are a little bit to expensive at the moment, i checked them out. i'm kind of reluctant to keep using the crt monitor too, it generates massive heat.

    Another question popped up... there are remote admin like programs for mac right? Would be nice to access my pc from my mac without using extra screens and keyboards and mice, and whatnot.

    glad to hear XBMC will still work too, I love that program.

    @mrgreen4242: I'll have to check out those benchmark, i got problems believing it's only a 10% difference. I don't really mind the noise, you should listen to my pc sometime, sounds like it could lift off any moment :) right now I'm leaning towards the iMac 20', i found out there's an apple centre not very far from where I live so I'm going to check them all out there next weekend!

    @H&Kie: thanks for the website, I'll keep checking :)

    @Hattig: Thanks, but alas. Looking at those prices, I can check if they ship them all the way over...

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