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Switcher Hangout The place for switchers to discuss their new machines, and how to work with OS X. General support can be had here for newbie stuff, like "How do I restart my new iMac?" :)

What to look for in a Mac...


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DVD Guy
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I am looking to purchase my first Mac and want a iMac G4 Flat screen. I will be using this computer for 60% web/email, 25% pictures/videos, and 15% Word and Excel documentation. What should be some of the features I be sure to get.

For example...
800mHz? (more or less)
256 or 512 RAM or larger?
40 or 60 Gig or higher?
Which operating system and what version?

Should I get a gently used one from eBay or a refurbished one from a retailer?
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800 is mine, and to be honest its getting slow, i hope tiger makes it a lil faster.. MORE RAM THE BETTER, HD of 60 isnt bad, 40 isnt either, you can always buy a FW external.

OSX10.3+

oh and get a refurb if you can.
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cadsmn
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Processor: G4 1.25 Ghz
Ram: 512 is a minimum
Drive: 60 Gig HD
OS: OS 10.3

I would recommend getting the superdrive if you can afford it. I would also recommend adding Blue Tooth and an Airpoirt card too.
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Padawan

 
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My suggestion would be to determine your budget, then select the best machine that fits within it.

An 800 MHz G4 will be decent, though a faster processor will obviously provide improved performance. The later versions had differences in VRAM (32 or 64 MB) depending upon the model, which would also affect performance under heavy graphics use. As for memory, 512 MB is really the minimum you'll want to consider for good performance under OS X. Hard drive size is more dependent upon personal needs. I've only filled less than half of my 40 GB drive, while other users manage to fill much larger drives. You can always purchase an external drive if storage becomes an issue, but a even a 40 GB drive shouldn't be "cramped". OS X 10.3 (Panther) is the latest version of the Apple OS, and that would be my recommendation.

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DVD Guy
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Great comments...thanks. I do plan to get SuperDrive and add AirPort if it is not installed.

Where is the best place to buy a refurbished unit?

My budget is around $1000.
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MichaelSullivan
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Lets see, can you expound on what kind of video/ graphics (pic) editing you'll be doing? Will you be surfing the web while editing ... lets say 25 pictures using photoshop? I do this routinely with a 755MHz/ 256mb ram laptop and it works just fine. Video editing is certainly going to make your machine more RAM and CPU hungry.

I'd say that 512mb RAM should be the minimum if your going to do any type of video/graphics editing as some of those programs just don't do too well without that much. Also, you might pop into a local apple store and try to do web surfing/word/graphics editing all at the same time. I only notice severe lag when I have three or four hungry apps open at the same time.

Aside from video editing, I think that 800mhz would be the minimum I'd settle for. For more extensive video editing, I'd get the fastest processor I could afford. Ram, I'd say that only under extreme circumstances would I accept 256mb RAM (otherwise your constantly paging). 512 should be the defacto minimum when video/graphic work is on your plate. I've worked comfortibly on a 30gig HD for a couple years, but I'm also not installing a lot of new stuff-nor am I using my laptop for gaming. Burning to CD is a great way to store rarely used files when you lack HD space.

Finally, used or refurb? I've used a refurb for about 6 or so years and I'd say it has no more problems than any new laptop. I wouldn't buy a used laptop or PC. Laptops are notorious for taking more physical wear and tear (READ: abuse) than PCs, and seem to pose more risk to the buyer. If you could buy a certified pre-owned, that would be the next best thing to try. Hope this helps.
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DVD Guy
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Any other suggestions?
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DVD Guy
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How will this configuration work? Which OS is this? Is there an upgrade available?

iMac 17in G4
1.25GHz
768 MB RAM
80GB Hard drive
Superdrive
Airport
OS 10.2.7 w/ Classic 9 (Small Dog refurbished, 1 year small dog warranty)
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Padawan

 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DVD Guy
How will this configuration work? Which OS is this? Is there an upgrade available?

iMac 17in G4
1.25GHz
768 MB RAM
80GB Hard drive
Superdrive
Airport
OS 10.2.7 w/ Classic 9 (Small Dog refurbished, 1 year small dog warranty)
I think this would be a very nice machine for you. OS X 10.2 is Jaguar, and the most current update for it would be 10.2.8. Of course, you could also purchase 10.3 Panther (a great upgrade from Jaguar) or even wait to buy 10.4 Tiger once it's released. Out of curiosity, what is SmallDog asking for this machine, as I couldn't locate it on their site?

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DVD Guy
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I bought the only one they had in stock. It was $1100 which I did not think was too bad because it also has a warranty, which I would not get from an eBay seller.

Since it has been refurbished, will I be able to add AppleCare?
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DVD Guy
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What are the major differences between Jaguar and Panther OS? I know Tiger is coming soon so should I wait if I decide to upgrade when I get my iMac.
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Padawan

 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DVD Guy
What are the major differences between Jaguar and Panther OS? I know Tiger is coming soon so should I wait if I decide to upgrade when I get my iMac.
Here's Apple's site regarding the Panther upgrades: http://www.apple.com/macosx/newfeatures

Panther also runs faster and smoother than Jaguar. However, if you'll be upgrading in the near future, I would certainly wait and purchase Tiger rather than Panther.

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