Switching PC to Mac

Discussion in 'Buying Tips, Advice and Discussion (archive)' started by TheFallGuy, Aug 20, 2003.

  1. TheFallGuy macrumors member


    Aug 20, 2003
    Ok I've been a long time PC user. And I've been thinking of changing to a Mac for a while and I've been comparing prices on several models of Macs. These are: a standard Power Mac G4, Imac 17" w/combo, 15" Powerbook, and a 14" iBook. Everything is within the price range I have set.

    I'm not very familiar with Macs as you will see. So I'm turning to ya'll for a few answers.

    What's the difference between a PowerMac (G4) and an iMac (G4)? I can see that the Powermac is a tower with possibilities for expansion and so forth, and the iMac is more of a single base with monitor attached. But are there any other significant differences, such as in abilities and so forth? (I know, an odd/stupid question. But I've never played w/ Macs. A couple friends have them and I'm taking a look in a few days.)

    When it comes down to it, I will probably end up either with the Powerbook, or PowerMac. Any comments on what is better and for what?

    Some of my friends like to network their PCs and play games (Diablo, StarCraft, etc). Would there be any difficulty in networking with them?

    I'll probably have more questions but I'll post them as we go along if that's fine.
  2. dswoodley macrumors 6502a

    Jul 18, 2002
    Glad to hear you are interested...

    The iMac has no L3 cache on the processor - which will make some applications run slower than on the tower. Also, the iMac has limited expandability options - pretty much you can just add ram. The iMac also (obviously) comes with the monitor, and can take advantage of Airport Extreme and built-in Bluetooth.

    Happy Shopping
  3. Horrortaxi macrumors 68020


    Jul 6, 2003
    Los Angeles
    I think you pretty much figured out the difference between PowerMac and iMac. iMac is a consumer level machine--it's good at what it does but has limited upgrade options. The PowerMac is a professional level machine--it has PCI slots, more ports, and will accept more hard drives and memory than the iMac. They're also faster. Basically they're workhorses.

    If you're between a PowerMac and Powerbook I don't know what to tell you. How important is portability? The towers are a little difficult to lug around with you. Laptops have almost no upgrades available if that's important to you.

    You can establish a connection with your friends' PCs very easily. You may or may not be able to use that connection for games. The reason for that is limited game availability on the Mac. Most of the big games come to the Mac, but later than PCs or consoles.
  4. Powerbook G5 macrumors 68040

    Powerbook G5

    Jun 23, 2003
    St Augustine, FL
    If I were in the market for a desktop unit, I'd go for the PowerMac since you have the ability to upgrade graphics cards, limited processor upgrades, PCI card, etc to future proof yourself for years to come. Both the iMac and PowerMac systems are nice, though, and with any Apple product, I'm sure you'll have a great user experience.
  5. TheFallGuy thread starter macrumors member


    Aug 20, 2003
    Thanks for the all the input, and now I have a few more questions now that I've been able to look around some. Basically, Ive limited my options down to the PB 15" and the desktop G4.

    I've been searching around these forums and I've found that some people are complaining about some bugs/errors/problems with the 15" PB. Are they referring to the one on the apple site (combo drive)? Are these experiencing problems?

    I've also heard about a supposed new release of the 15" PB in Paris (macrumors news discussion). And I think I might wait for that to come out, would that be a good idea or should I just go for the PB 15" Combo?

    I can get the $300 rebate with the PB, iPod, and printer. Not sure I really need the iPod, but.......

    Would it be cheaper, or easier to just get everything through Apple.com or are there really good distributers out there that can match or beat their prices? I've checked Amazon, but they can't compare to the prices I can get at Apple.

    Also, are there any DBMS (database stuff) for OSX? Office X doesn't come with Access (big disappointment).
  6. macrumors12345 macrumors 6502

    Mar 1, 2003
    Re: Switching PC to Mac

    You really ought to consider getting the PowerMac G5/1.6. It can be had for $1799 with the combo drive (select the $1999 model, and then remove the Superdrive when you are customizing it - it will subtract $200). This is the same price as the 17" iMac w/Superdrive (there is no 17" combo drive model, to my knowledge). In the long run, it is just going to be much faster than any of the other machines you are considering, especially in a year or two when all the software is being compiled with the G5 as the target.

    I guess the problem is that it doesn't come with a display. =( You could always pick up a 17" CRT for under $150 these days, but you probably don't want that, huh? You can buy a decent 15" LCD for under $300 these days, and that is the same viewable area as a 17" CRT. Well, I dunno, I still think the low end G5 might be worth the extra money.

    To put it in perspective, the G5/1.6 Ghz will easily be twice as fast as the G4/1 Ghz in the long run. This is the same performance differential (double the speed) that exists between "the fastest (single processor) Windows machine that money can buy" (the 3.2 Ghz P4) and "the slowest Wintel machine that money can buy" (the 2 Ghz Celeron). But the price difference between those two machines is well over $1,000. The price difference between these two machines (G5 vs. 17" iMac) is only a few hundred dollars.

    Also, if you do decide to go with an iMac or a Powerbook, try to wait until next month if you can. Both lines are due for a refresh any day now (yeah, I know, we've been saying that for a while...but it's true!), which should make them more competitive with the G5.

    Mainly expandability. With the PM G4 you can add internal drives, change the video card, and add PCI cards. iMac you cannot. Also the PM G4 has L3 cache, and iMac does not. This helps a bit in terms of speed.

    If you want portability, the Powerbook is not that much slower than the PowerMac, so I would probably go with that. But if you don't need portability, then there is no point to ever getting a laptop...you are just paying extra and getting less.

    I don't think so. I have played Warcraft III on my iBook with my friend on his Athlon 1.2 Ghz. It worked fine, other than the fact that it ran kind of slowly because my iBook is quite old.
  7. macrumors12345 macrumors 6502

    Mar 1, 2003
    Um, sounds like you are an EDU customer if you are eligible for the $300 rebate, right? In that case you should definitely buy through the Apple EDU store.

    The iPod is great, and even if you don't want it, you can easily Ebay the 10 GB model (which would cost you $69 after the $200 rebate) for $250, new.

    Only thing to consider when waiting for new PBs is that the rebates might disappear when the new PBs are released, but it's probably still worth it (to wait)...
  8. Coca-Cola macrumors 6502

    Dec 10, 2002
    Go for the G5. Or wait for the new Paris notebook. You probably won't be able to get a G5 before that anyway. If you are an edu customer you can get the 1.6 model for 1799.99. That is a sweet deal for a sweet system. I want one sooooooo bad. I think the G5 tower would last you longer before becoming too slow. I would give it 6 years of life vs. 3 with the notebook or iMac.
  9. TheFallGuy thread starter macrumors member


    Aug 20, 2003
    Yup, I'm a grad student, hopefully I'll be done next year with school. And then I'll be able to go out and hopefully get a job <spits over shoulder>.
    The portability would be nice, but I might be more interested in longevity. In fact I am a little more interested in that. So looks like I might go low end G5. But, I might wait for the Paris show to see what comes out. The PB is still enticing. Maybe they'll come out with G5 PB that I can afford. Here's to hoping.

    Also, just to reiterate: Has anyone had any problem with the PB 15". I've read some reviews on Amazon, but they're all cheery and stuff. But I've seen hints on this site that some people have had some problems with them. If so what are the problems and are they really that bad? Do these problems occur with all PBs or very often?
  10. macrumors12345 macrumors 6502

    Mar 1, 2003
    Actually, it would be more like 1620 if you remove the Superdrive. ;-)
  11. macrumors12345 macrumors 6502

    Mar 1, 2003
    The only problems I have heard with it are mainly cosmetic - some of the paint chips after a while, and the titanium is not super stiff, so you have to be a little more careful with it than you would be with, say, an iBook.

    My roommate has a PB G4/667. A small corner of the screen is dead, but that is because he dropped it really hard on the floor (or so I infer - he certainly did SOMETHING bad to it, because there's a fairly large dent/crack in that corner of the case). The good news is that the hardware runs fine.
  12. Coca-Cola macrumors 6502

    Dec 10, 2002
    Yes, the paint does come off the tiBook. It looks bad. There is a touch up paint on the web someplace. A guy at work has a scruffy 600. It drives me nuts that he doesn't touch up the paint. If it was my machine, I would be all over that thing with silver paint and a brush in hand.
  13. CMillerERAU macrumors regular

    May 12, 2003
    From what I hear the paint isn't an issue on the Aluminum 'books. So if new PB's come out in Paris, I'd bet that the 15" would be aluminum instead of titanium. Though I'd still recommend the G5 desktop over a laptop. So many students at my school have laptops that never leave the desk, ever.

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