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Apple Desktops Discussion of Apple's desktop machines including Mac Pro, iMac, Power Mac, and mini

iMac - IMAC QUESTIONS- Your expert opinons requested


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Sweej1
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Hello. I recently suffered PC meltdown and stumbled upon the iMAC section at my local Comp USA while shopping for new parts. After trying out the 24” and enduring a pretty good sales pitch I am considering purchasing one. I am looking for a great machine for video and photo editing. I don’t do any gaming on my computers. I have the following questions if someone could help me out. I apologize if any of this stuff has been on this forum in the past.

1. Is it worth installing windows on these systems, in terms of stability and compatability? The reason I would install it is because of my old external hard drives and all my software and files I would want to still have access too.

2. Is compatibility an issue with peripherals and files (jpeg, mp3, mpeg) made and played previously on a PC? Will both my USB HP printers still be as easy as simply plugging them in?

3. How would you bring over files on a PC hard drive to a mac?

4. I would likely also purchase an Adobe Suite including Acrobat and Photoshop as well as Microsoft Office basically because I love and know these programs and am unfamiliar with what Mac has to offer. Does anyone consider it a waste to purchase this additional software?

5. Does anyone feel it is necessary to upgrade to the 2.33 GHz processor, 2 Gb RAM and video card as you can do on the website or do those upgrades only yield subtle improvements that are not worth the price?

6. If you configure the system to be a dual boot system, are files that you manipulate and save in one OS available if you boot into the other OS (windows to tiger and vice versa)?

From what I've heard most people think they are going to want and use windows but end up never going back to it. I think that is it for now. Thank you in advance for any assistance you can provide.

Mike
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mac57

 
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I think you will be very happy with a new iMac. I am a recent switcher (three months or so now) from a combination of Windows and Linux. Like you, the big thing I do with the machine is media editing - in my case photos, in yours photos and videos.

To your questions:

1/ Is it worth installing Windows? I don't think so. I didn't bother. Pretty much all major graphic and video formats (and music too) are supported on all platforms - they are platform independent. The exceptions are .wmv and .wma, and there are Mac based programs for these. So, why clutter up your hard drive with an anachronism (Windows) when you have the state of the art (Mac OS X) already loaded? Yes, I am biased, but as a lifetime user of Microsoft products (I started out in the days of DOS 4.x) I think my bias is based in facts, not "religion".

I transferred ALL my files over from Windows/Linux to Mac, and have not lost access to any of them. As I said, all major file formats are supported on Mac. In my case, I just copied everything over to a Windows supported FAT32 external hard drive, plugged that drive into my shiny new Mac, and copied them onto the Mac. It was easy, easy, easy.

2/ Will I have compatibility issues? You will find compatibility a real pleasure on the Mac. I had zero issues with all of my hardware, right down to a USB webcam. Ditto (per the above) for file formats. Now if you have some very Windows specific program that doesn't have a Mac equivalent, you may have the odd issue or two, but you don't mention any such requirements, so I am assuming you don't.

3/ How do I transfer files from the PC to the Mac? There are lots of ways. As I mentioned above, I used an external hard drive. In that same theme you could use a USB memory stick, or a ZIP disk, or even a CD - burn them onto a CD or a DVD on your PC and read them off on your Mac. You can also use good ol' FTP for electronic file transfer, or you can enable Windows file sharing (shudder!) and transfer them that way. LOTS of ways, and all of them work. I shudder at the Windows file sharing not because it doesn't work, but because of all the security issues it has. If you do go this way, don't leave it turned on for long, or you PC may suddenly be home to lots of new uninvited "guests"! The Mac of course, is pretty much impervious to such things.

4/ Is it a waste of money to buy Photoshop and Microsoft Office? No. I did exactly the same thing for exactly the same reasons. Photoshop is the golden standard of image editing. You can't do better, and you MUST have it if you are serious about image editing. It makes great sense to get it. Microsoft Office is more of a personal decision. FOR FREE, you can get NeoOffice, the Mac version of OpenOffice, which does an excellent job of reading and writing MS-Office files (and has a remarkably compatible User Interface). But, like Photoshop, and whether I like it or not, Microsoft Office is the golden standard for Office products. It makes sense to get it, unless you are motivated to save the money and try the free alternatives first.

5/ Is it worth upgrading to 2.33 GHz and 2 GB RAM? Yes and Yes. You are using heavy duty, CPU intensive programs like Photoshop, which until CS3 comes out, are running under Rosetta. You NEED all the horsepower you can throw at them. If they offered 2.66 GHz on the iMac, my advice would be the same. Go for it. You won't regret it. The difference between 2.0 GHz and 2.33 GHz is about 15%. That's a lot in terms of program responsiveness.

6/ Can I see files between Windows and Mac? Yes and No. Mac can see the Windows files if you use FAT32 for the Windows partition, but Windows cannot see the Mac files (doesn't support Mac's HFS+ disk format). However, this means that you can use the Windows partition to share files if you need to. Per my answer above, I wouldn't bother with Windows on the iMac.

Thats it. The above is just my opinion, based on having done exactly what you are doing now. I haven't used Windows now in over three months since I got my Mac. I bet you will find the same thing. Once you dig into Mac OS X, you will find it so much better, in so many small but significant ways (and some big ones too) that you will find yourself be really annoyed by Windows' shortcomings.

Just as a flavor of the above, and since you are using Photoshop, try this one on for size. Mac OS X understands color management in its base. It isn't an add on that individual programs need to support, unlike Windows. So, for example - like working in Adobe RGB? Guess what? Mac OS X's basic file viewer, Preview, understands color spaces and displays Adobe RGB files correctly. In fact, I have yet to run into a program on the Mac that doesn't, because, as far as I can tell, it is built right into Mac OS X. Every wonder why most graphic professionals use Macs? I suspect that this is one of the big reasons.

Anyway, enjoy your new Mac!

My Macs: iMac 27" 3.4 GHz, Mac Pro 3.2 GHz, PowerMac G5 Quad 2.5 GHz, G4 Cube with 1.2 GHz Upgrade
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My OS': Mac OS X Lion, Mac OS X Snow Leopard, Mac OS X Tiger, Mac OS 9.2.2, openSUSE 10.3
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Ditto the above :-)

One thing I'd disagree with would be the processor. The difference between the 2.16 and 2.33 Ghz processors are small. In real terms, I don't think you'll see a 15% difference at all.

2gigs of RAM is definitely recommended though!
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NanoBite

 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Sweej1
Hello. I recently suffered PC meltdown and stumbled upon the iMAC section at my local Comp USA while shopping for new parts. After trying out the 24” and enduring a pretty good sales pitch I am considering purchasing one. I am looking for a great machine for video and photo editing. I don’t do any gaming on my computers. I have the following questions if someone could help me out. I apologize if any of this stuff has been on this forum in the past.

1. Is it worth installing windows on these systems, in terms of stability and compatability? The reason I would install it is because of my old external hard drives and all my software and files I would want to still have access too.

2. Is compatibility an issue with peripherals and files (jpeg, mp3, mpeg) made and played previously on a PC? Will both my USB HP printers still be as easy as simply plugging them in?

3. How would you bring over files on a PC hard drive to a mac?

4. I would likely also purchase an Adobe Suite including Acrobat and Photoshop as well as Microsoft Office basically because I love and know these programs and am unfamiliar with what Mac has to offer. Does anyone consider it a waste to purchase this additional software?

5. Does anyone feel it is necessary to upgrade to the 2.33 GHz processor, 2 Gb RAM and video card as you can do on the website or do those upgrades only yield subtle improvements that are not worth the price?

6. If you configure the system to be a dual boot system, are files that you manipulate and save in one OS available if you boot into the other OS (windows to tiger and vice versa)?

From what I've heard most people think they are going to want and use windows but end up never going back to it. I think that is it for now. Thank you in advance for any assistance you can provide.

Mike
Welcome to Mac-Forums Mike!

Mac57 has succinctly answered your questions and basically I agree with the Windows part...why do it? I read more about the problems people have with this everyday...To my opinion it's like polluting a pristine environment! The external Hard Drive is the excellent way to go.

My PC and Mac sit side by side and are connected by Ethernet over a basic network. The files I swap are minute mostly, but the day I can buy an external HD, this is the way I'd prefer.

The best external HD for mac and pc will have both USB and FireWire ports, and an external power supply. As was already posted, it must be formatted FAT32 which usually is the factory default anyway.
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Jem

 
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I did the same a couple of months ago and switched from many many years of PC ownership. I got hold of Microsoft Office for Mac and also Parallels Desktop (with WinXP) to run any old PC apps I couldn't convert.

I've since removed Microsoft Office and am using NeoOffice which is more than enough for my modest home needs. I also don't think I've sparked up Parallels Desktop in the past month, the only app I couldn't get for the Mac was eBay Turbo Lister, but helpful members here pointed me at the Garage Sale app and now I've no need at all for Windows.

Compatibility with hardware is MOSTLY good although in my modest collection of hardware I've so far had problems with NO support for my Canon D646U scanner and also no support for my Nokia N80 phone over USB - it works over Bluetooth but only for basic file transfer, to get it to Sync is going to require some kludging of iSync config files that I haven't got around to trying yet.

I brought over all my files simply by sharing the drives on my Windows XP box and connecting to them from the iMac over the network. I even managed to bring in all my Outlook Express mail boxes after a bit of trial and error.

As to buying Photoshop - personally I'd hold off until they make the Universal Binary version available as otherwise you're going to want to upgrade as soon as it comes out.

Just buy it, you know you want to... and if you really really don't like it, at the end of the day you can fall back on Apples 14 day return policy or get almost-new price for it on eBay.
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Sweej1
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Thanks a lot for all the great advice! I will be switching soon... gotta convince my wife we need the 24 inch. The last post by Jem mentioned bringing over outlook express. How did you do that?
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Jem

 
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Heh now you're asking... ummm it was messy! I'm working from memory here so there could be some mistakes, but this is the gist of it...

I first transferred the dbx mailbox files from my PC across. Then I got hold of Entourage (part of MS Office) which can handle importing of these DBX files into new mailboxes.

I then exported the newly created mailboxes from Entourage into the Apple Mail app that comes with Tiger - this is the step I can't quite recall but I think it was just a case of dragging out the Entourage mail boxes onto the desktop that created new files that Mail understood.

Whichever way it was, the task is quite do-able so when it gets closer to the time I can go through it again and guide you although I'm sure I got the info from either searching here or googling
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