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Hi All,

I am a PC user of about 10 years (1st PC was a 486 SX-25 with 4 MB of Ram bought off a friend for $150 with a printer). Pre-1997 I used an Apple //c (hey it can do word processing) and some sort of Apple or Mac at school. So the time has come and my wife and I have decided to switch back to the Mac platform.

My biggest reason is that I am sick of being the house sys admin trying to keep the PCs up and running. The spyware/adware/virus/broken links/bad DLL/screwed up registry/etc. Also my wife's laptop is dying...hardware issues. Screen failing, keyboard dead, external video dead. Basically it is a desktop with a slow HD. Too bad, I actually like the computer and think that the PIII mobile processor works well.

So the computers at home are the aforementioned laptop (running a 1.13 or 1.06 GHz PIII with 512MB ram) and a Athlon 2000+ with 768MB of RAM desktop. At work I have a P4 2.8GHz with 512MB of RAM. They are all "fast enough". The only advantage to more speed or RAM (for me since I don't do anything too intense) is not having to close programs before opening new ones.

My wife uses OS-X every day so is quite familiar with it and when we stopped at comp USA to look at the new machines she showed me how to get around. It has been years since I last used a mac and never used OS-X only the early OS...whatever was in the mid 90's and then just to run Pascal or C in school.

The 17" Intel iMac looks great, we're going to up it to 1GB of RAM.

Right now my biggest concern is MS Office. This will be my wife's primary computer. She is a teacher and likes to make all of her lesson plans, tests, presentations in MS Office. She has Macs at school with MS Office on them as well. The latest version doesn't run natively on the Intel Macs and needs to run under the Rosetta emulator. I have said that I don't really notice any sort of speed issues with my PCs but then again I don't try to run any programs that they are not capable of handling.

Question 1: I know this has been asked but really how slow does MS Office run on the Intel Macs?

Question 2: Open Office...I checked their website and it says they have an Intel Version (requires X11). How close is it to office in functionality? She does tests and handouts (using word), graphs (using excel) and presentations (using PP). Does it have any clip art or can it be imported? Clip art is a big reason my wife likes MS Office.

I ask these questions because I assume that MS will release an Intel native version of office for the Mac in the future. The MS website is not very clear and seems to say that they won't be doing any work until the next release which is probably 2007...seems like they would release the new Mac office at the same time as Office 2007.

Another issue keeping me from purchasing the new iMac right this second: Conroe and Merom. Maybe I am speculating too much but it seems like they could be ready by the beginning of the next school year (sept). The wiki site for the Core 2 processors says the desktop chip Conroe should be ready by July and Merom by August.

Now I know that if you keep waiting for the next big chip you will always be waiting because semiconductor manufacturers are always innovating.

Reasons to get now: Laptop is on last legs & I want it.

Reasons to wait: Newer processors on the horizon, platform should become more stable with more programs ported to Universal Apps, still have the desktop & I can put Open Office on it to see if it is worth using. Finally the MacBook is on the horizon and could be a dark horse contender for our computer $$$.

The switch will happen just not sure when would be the best time.

What is the forum's opinion?
QUOTE Thanks