Two questions about buying an iMac

Discussion in 'Buying Tips and Advice' started by Amanda the Wuss, May 24, 2012.

  1. Amanda the Wuss macrumors newbie

    May 24, 2012
    Hey everyone, Windows user here who needs a new computer and is considering an iMac. I have three questions that hopefully you can help me with:

    1) I know the current advice is "wait until the new one comes out," and that Apple hasn't announced a release date yet for it. Is there a specific date when they're expected to announce it? (Like at a conference or something?) And how long after being announced does it usually take before they start selling it?

    2) Is it still true that Macs don't need anti-virus?

    3) Anyone know if iMacs can run WoW at the highest setting?

  2. GSPice macrumors 68000


    Nov 24, 2008

    I was/am a Windows user who loves the iMac:

    1) If I'm not mistaken, the new Ivy bridge processors will be used in the new MBPs and iMacs - an announcement is possible in June during the WWDC, but often the "Back to School" sales are a way of flushing out the old stock. So there's a chance that a new iMac would be selling sometime after that promotion.

    2) The legalistic answer to that question is no (there will be cynics who jump up and down for joy whenever a virus makes its way onto a Mac), but if it's true that Windows machines desperately need antivirus programs, it's also true that Macs don't need antivirus programs. I've never used any. Mac OS is a completely different operating environment that hasn't been subject to viruses to the scale that PCs have - by a long shot.

    3) Search around for WoW players with iMacs. If you have any interest whatsoever in gaming, you pretty much have no choice but to get the most expensive iMac with the most powerful CPU/GPU, and maxed out on RAM.

    Unless there's some software or network environment that requires Windows, Macs run beautifully and have excellent and exclusive app options. To say nothing of the Apple ecosystem benefit - loosely speaking, the more Apple products you own, the more features you're rewarded with between them.

    I'd definitely wait on the new iMac. You'll thank yourself.
  3. 7enderbender macrumors 6502a


    May 11, 2012
    North East US

    I'm in a similar situation as the OP and I'm considering the switch to Mac. Still debating as their are pros and cons to the various directions I could be going from where I am. I'm definitely waiting for the new hardware (iMac, MBP and even Mac Mini and Mac Pro) to weight my options. My biggest concerns are available fast storage options and high resolution screens for more real estate.

    1) WWDC in June I believe seems to be what people are waiting for.

    2) That I don't get. Nobody should ever use ANY system connected to the web and or networks without appropriate protection. I'm no IT expert but that just seems common sense and it's about time that Mac users come of their high horse on this one. There are more security issues than viruses. Plus there is always the risk of passing something on to other users even if your own Mac may be safe. Also I would think that it's just a matter of time given the increasing market share of Macs and the income bracket (and degree of naivete?) you find in that segment. I know that has been predicted for a while and nothing really ever happened. But still - now is the time where these machines and the OS has become interesting even to users like me and the OP I assume. So....

    3) I have no idea what that even is.
  4. GSPice macrumors 68000


    Nov 24, 2008
    1) +1

    2) I suppose the easy response is that you're "thinking in Windows" (if you aren't sure what that means, look around the forum for examples - it's hard to quickly encapsulate). Not to toot my own horn, but to call myself an IT expert would be a bit of an understatement, and trust me, I can't afford any high horses in my stable. I've always run antivirus on my Windows machines, and never on my Macs. Sure, needing antivirus on Macs may be inevitable as you say, but as I mentioned before, there's an underlying OS architecture paradigm that makes vulnerability a completely different animal on Macs vs. Windows machines. I appreciate your forward-thinking sentiment regarding AV, but many, many things would have to happen - with quite a bit of warning ahead of time - before antivirus protection meant the same thing on Macs as it does Windows machines. I will concede as well that if you were an administrator of 1000s of employee/public-use Macs, there are obvious security layers needed, but that's another topic. When we're talking about a personal use machine, AV on Windows? For that matter, firewall, malware, spyware protection too? Yes. All that on Macs? ::chuckle:: No. I'd still take my chances with the most naive, abysmally ignorant computer user on a Mac with no AV, than on a PC with a full anti-virus/spyware/malware/firewall suite.

    To each his own - if you feel safer running AV on a Mac, no one's stopping you from doing so. Certainly not AV marketers. Thinking rationally, however, you must accept the reality of running AV on Macs.. look around - statistical and anecdotal evidence says, "not needed".

    3) No idea what WoW is? That's not necessarily a bad thing. :)

    Regarding your concerns of fast storage options and high resolution screens: first of all, I'm assuming you mean, more accurately, fast access storage - there's the usual triangle of choice: large, fast, and cheap - pick any two for your application. With the possibility of USB 3.0 coming to Macs in the next model refresh, Windows machines offer no far-and-away benefit with respect to storage options. With Apple's Thunderbolt, and some cash, there are several options that are massive, fast, and expandable, putting iMacs and Apple notebooks on par with towers with respect to storage flexibility. For instance, I'm currently dreaming up a Macbook Pro or iMac system that will use an internal SSD, with a fast 4+ TB SATA RAID setup via Thunderbolt or USB 3.0.

    Regarding high resolution screens, recent iMac displays (and all recent Apple displays for that matter) have always been gorgeous. There's the expected "Apple tax", but you'd be hard-pressed to put together a similar system with such a beautiful display and form factor for the same price, to say nothing of Apple's "it just works" benefit. Again, with display port and Thunderbolt connectivity, Apple does reward you for using their displays, but there are plenty of 3rd party options if you don't need the full gamut of features that Thunderbolt provides.

    If you do proper research, moving to a Mac will be very rewarding. It all comes down to the primary needs of your machine. Software is a big one. There are plenty of excellent Windows-only applications, plenty of amazing Mac-only applications, and plenty of universal options, so make sure you don't discount one or the other too quickly on the basis of exclusive apps alone.

  5. Hirakata macrumors 6502


    Mar 17, 2011
    Burbank, CA
    1. Wait. Most people expect an update in the next few weeks.

    2. It is true. There has never been a virus in the wild that can run on OS X since it was released over 10 years ago. (Where's GGJstudios?)

    3. Depends on the Mac, but iMacs won't have a problem.
  6. cgehrke macrumors newbie

    Mar 23, 2012
    In regards to point #3 about WOW on max settings.

    I have a 7 year old iMac and I still play WOW with no trouble. I usually get between 20-30 FPS in SW and in raid.

    The fact that it's 7 years old means I have had to reduce the settings from Max down to the middle settings and since the last release low settings for some of them but I still raid twice a week and have no issues.

    I am planning on getting the next iMac as I have finally been told that my 7 year old graphics card is not supported by Diablo 3. I also want to be able to increase my settings back up to maximum again.
  7. Gasu E. macrumors 601

    Gasu E.

    Mar 20, 2004
    Not far from Boston, MA.
    A worthwhile post, but you raise more questions than you answer. For example, in the sentence I've italicized-- what do you see as "appropriate protection"? In my opinion, the best protection is good behavior-- take well known precautions when installing or downloading, keep critical software up-to-date, and keep abreast of the latest news regarding Mac malware (not hard to do since any Mac malware tends to make headlines). I don't see the value in purchasing AV software-- it seems to me those types of products are designed for problem sets that are not significant in the Mac universe.
  8. thekev macrumors 604


    Aug 5, 2010
    We have seen a couple trojans, but most people don't know the difference between malware types. I don't know of any anti-malware software for Macs that actually does its job. One of the arguments in favor of such software was to limit the spread of viruses to PCs which could become infected. Even under Windows, most of the time it's not that difficult to track down a problem, and assuming safe browsing habits (no donkey pr0n), you may never see a virus.

    You don't have a 7 year old imac. That would be a G5 imac, and I really doubt you're playing games on one of those :p.
  9. johnmadden78 macrumors member

    Dec 19, 2008
    Dublin, Ireland
    My two cents on the antivirus thing: I don't think it's completely accurate to say that there's never been a Mac OS virus. With that said, the impact of those that have appeared has been quite limited.

    Still, I run Sophos antivirus on my iMac. I feel better having it there, it doesn't cause any performance issues (that I've noticed), it's from a reputable (AFAIK) anti-virus vendor, and it's free and regularly updated.

    No idea about WoW on the iMac, and I agree with those telling you to wait for WWDC. Only a week to go!
  10. Kaynarael macrumors newbie

    Jan 5, 2012
    iMacs and WoW

    Hi, OP:

    I recently purchased the high end 21.5" iMac around Christmas time, with the intention of running WoW and some other games on it. Stock config, $1499 model.

    It's a world of difference from the dual core PC I had (which had a video card and motherboard from around 2008.) I went from about 30-40 fps in the world to a near flat 60+.

    I did some graphics tests for you and the FPS does seem to stay at around 37-45 if everything is left on ultra at fullscreen native resolution. (1920x1080) Turning shadows down/off makes a huge difference, as from what I've read WoW's shadows tend to take up a lot of performance.

    What you turn up or down depends on your personal preference for the graphics--I keep particles, textures, and ground detail on Ultra, with view distances and water on High. Shadows I keep on Low or Fair.

    In cities, you may tend to lag a bit more (my fps goes to 30 or 40 in Stormwind, but I'm on a high population server, and everyone tends to go there. The new expansion might alleviate some of the crowding.)

    While I'm not in a raiding guild, I have done DS in Raid Finder mode without a problem. Same goes for 5 mans and battlegrounds. You should be able to play the game for long periods without any issues, too.

    Whether you go with the 2011 or 2012 model, you should be fine, and if you get a higher configuration, the game will probably run even better than I noted above.
  11. musty345 macrumors regular


    Feb 28, 2010
    United Kingdom
    On my mid 2011 entry level iMac- WoW runs fine at high, although ultra seems a bit choppy. But perhaps in the new iMac revision, even the entry levels will play WoW on ultra.

    If you're a gamer, get a higher spec iMac.

    Oh and if you do buy extra RAM, don't buy it from Apple! Get it from a 3rd party vendor, I've had success with Crucial, although there are plenty of others!
  12. davidg4781 macrumors 68020

    Oct 28, 2006
    Alice, TX
    1. Wait until June 11 if you can. That's the keynote at WWDC. If there's an announcement soon, it'll be there. If you need it before then, buy it.

    2. I've never used anti-virus on my Mac in the 6 years I've used it, and it's been a daily web browser pretty much since I've bought it. Although I don't download stuff that I shouldn't be downloading. I will say in the 15 years I've used a PC I've never had any issues with viruses.

    3. Never played so can't help you there.
  13. GGJstudios macrumors Westmere


    May 16, 2008
    You're right. There have been viruses that affected Mac OS 9 and earlier. What is accurate to say is that there has never been a Mac OS X virus in the wild. There have been a handful of trojans, but no true viruses.
    I recommend that you avoid using Sophos, as it could actually increase your Mac's vulnerability, as described here and here.

    Macs are not immune to malware, but no true viruses exist in the wild that can run on Mac OS X, and there never have been any since it was released over 10 years ago. The only malware in the wild that can affect Mac OS X is a handful of trojans, which can be easily avoided by practicing safe computing (see below). Also, Mac OS X Snow Leopard and Lion have anti-malware protection built in, further reducing the need for 3rd party antivirus apps.
    1. Make sure your built-in Mac firewall is enabled in System Preferences > Security > Firewall

    2. Uncheck "Open "safe" files after downloading" in Safari > Preferences > General

    3. Disable Java in your browser (Safari, Chrome, Firefox). This will protect you from malware that exploits Java in your browser, including the recent Flashback trojan. Leave Java disabled until you visit a trusted site that requires it, then re-enable only for the duration of your visit to that site. (This is not to be confused with JavaScript, which you should leave enabled.)

    4. Change your DNS servers to OpenDNS servers by reading this.

    5. Be careful to only install software from trusted, reputable sites. Never install pirated software. If you're not sure about an app, ask in this forum before installing.

    6. Never let someone else have access to install anything on your Mac.

    7. Don't open files that you receive from unknown or untrusted sources.

    8. For added security, make sure all network, email, financial and other important passwords are long and complex, including upper and lower case letters, numbers and special characters.

    9. Always keep your Mac and application software updated. Use Software Update for your Mac software. For other software, it's safer to get updates from the developer's site or from the menu item "Check for updates", rather than installing from any notification window that pops up while you're surfing the web.
    That's all you need to do to keep your Mac completely free of any Mac OS X malware that has ever been released into the wild. You don't need any 3rd party software to keep your Mac secure.
  14. 7enderbender macrumors 6502a


    May 11, 2012
    North East US

    You are absolutely right in that I have way more questions than answers - if any really. But I think it should be worth the discussion. Any time this issue comes up at least one Mac connoisseur stands up and declares it a non issue because of perceived superiority or super powers of Apples OS.

    Again, I don't understand the technical details but I'd be very uncomfortable operating anything without AV software and a good firewall. For my own protection and also that of others. And I find it shocking that Apple doesn't that acknowledge with having its own product available or included. It's not a matter of IF but of WHEN there will be a major blow up one day - especially given this wide spread attitude that Macs are somehow "safe".
  15. GGJstudios macrumors Westmere


    May 16, 2008
    Running antivirus on a Mac doesn't provide any security that can't already be achieved by practicing safe computing, as my earlier post describes. As far as "one day", running antivirus won't protect against malware that doesn't yet exist. The proper attitude isn't to think that Macs are inherently safe, but rather to be aware of the current and changing malware environment, and practice safe computing. You certainly may run antivirus if you choose, but it's not necessary to keep your Mac malware-free.
  16. GSPice macrumors 68000


    Nov 24, 2008
    Again, that uncomfortable feeling is irrational.
  17. Mr. Retrofire macrumors 603

    Mr. Retrofire

    Mar 2, 2010
    Yes it is, if you use Mac OS X or Linux on them.
  18. rever3nce macrumors 6502a


    Apr 6, 2011
    1) I was going to wait myself but couldn't help it, Just bought a 27" imac myself. Its a lot more than what I really need, and if it drops in price, I will just do a 30 day guarantee. I would imagine the new ones will be that much better, but for me a 27"imac is way more than enough. Just couldn't wait any longer.

    2. Never had a virus on my MBP ( bought in 2010)

    3. I don't play WOW
  19. ToyotaGuy23 macrumors newbie

    Jun 3, 2009
    It's true, Macs are completely immune to Windows infections.

    Side note: PCs are completely immune to Mac infections, also.

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