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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?" :)

Intel Mac - buy now or wait

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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?
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Member Since: Apr 27, 2006
Posts: 8
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You can read about it the thread "new to the iMac...pretty underwhelmed".

MS Office was a big thing for us as well, because we use our family computer for word processing and spreadsheet work. We all know how to use the MS Office tools and it seemed like a smart purchase. Our familiarity would help ease the transition.

We felt right at home with it and the things that it does differently are universally better..the UI is slicker and it has a nice look and feel. We all immediately liked it better on the Mac.

Performance is another matter. It's really slow. Since it was our first Mac application and the one my wife and I used initially, it caused us both to be really disappointed in the iMac. Since then we've learned about Rosetta, emulation and memory (our iMac came with 512MB). We've also used some of the other Mac applications that run natively. We are learning to like the Mac, but MS Office continues to pretty doggy. It runs just fine on my son's laptop (G4), so we feel pretty comfortable saying it's not the application, it's the implementation the Intel iMacs. If you plan to use it more than just casually, I don't think you'll be happy with the performance.

Other folks can speak to Open Office, but we experimented with it on a Windows machine. You can't beat "free" and I have nothing but praise for the folks that work on it....but it's a bit slow and I found a few formatting things it doesn't do/understand. For casual use it's probably fine...I wanted it to edit large work documents on a personal laptop and I don't think it's quite ready for that.

Good luck.

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Posts: n/a now should I do iMac or MacBook? I think with enough RAM rosetta will do the job.
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Member Since: Apr 28, 2006
Posts: 2,542
goobimama is a jewel in the roughgoobimama is a jewel in the rough
Mac Specs: iMac Core Duo 20", iBook G4, iPhone 8GB :)

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I'm telling you guys. The iMac upgrade is just around the corner....just a few more days....maybe june?
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Member Since: Feb 24, 2006
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playm0de has a little shameless behaviour in the past
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The guy at compUSA gave me a free copy of office with my intel iMac. It runs fine and I have the standard ram, but then again I came from a 1.6ghz p4.
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I'm sure Office for Mac runs fine. It's the high-end programs that we see any lag with.
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New Braunfels...nice...

Well my wife and I talked about it, our computing needs (office, email, web, photos, video, itunes, DVD burner) and our personal home needs (portability, maximizing home office space, neat appearance) and I think we have decided that the 2.0GHz Macbook with standard RAM will do the trick. I will buy RAM online and install myself...$250 for 2GB seems like a good deal and should prevent the shared video from sucking away any resources.

The iMac is also a great price but we want something portable. If we need more computing power in the future or a better video capability the iMac may be calling us. Until then I think the Macbook will be fine and when CS3 runs natively I expect it to work quite well.

Thanks for listening to me rant. Time to move back to Apple :-) I actually miss my Apple //c, is that wrong?
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Member Since: May 05, 2006
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Originally Posted by Wedge
I actually miss my Apple //c, is that wrong?
Haha, I don't think it's wrong. Although I don't use it, I still have my Apple IIc. ;-)

Congrats on you MacBook, I'm sure you'll be very happy with it.
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Member Since: Aug 24, 2005
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Mac Specs: 17" 2.8ghz Macbook Pro, 32GB iPhone 4

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I've always used Office on my PC.

I now use it on my 12" G4 Powerbook.

Has everything I need, and it's able to keep up with me.

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Member Since: Mar 20, 2006
Location: Petaluma, CA
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dohidied is a jewel in the roughdohidied is a jewel in the roughdohidied is a jewel in the rough
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Originally Posted by goobimama
I'm telling you guys. The iMac upgrade is just around the corner....just a few more days....maybe june?
why would they upgrade the imac again when they haven't upgraded the powermac yet?
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Originally Posted by dohidied
why would they upgrade the imac again when they haven't upgraded the powermac yet?
They may do both at once, no?
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I don't think they will upgrade the powermac until CS3 is ready. Not many power users are going to start buying new hardware that can't run photoshop or illustrator natively.

I am far from a Macbook here I come (in 2 weeks).
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Alvin Meister
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Office runs fine on Rosetta, at least it does with a gig of RAM. I was worried about all the Rosetta scare stories, but it's all scaremongering.
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Originally Posted by caveatipss
They may do both at once, no?
There is nothing wrong with the intel iMacs. Any Lag with CS2 and even office is EMULATION under Rosetta. It's up to Microsoft and Adobe to take care of that and make a Universal application like most other people are doing.
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Member Since: Feb 17, 2006
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BlindingLights is a jewel in the roughBlindingLights is a jewel in the rough
Mac Specs: iMac 17" Intel Core Duo 1.83GHz 512 MB Ram 128 vRAM 60GB HD

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Try using iWork '06 instead of MS Office, I'm running MS Office and will be getting iLife soon because I need a good word processor, and MS Office runs too slow under Rosetta.

the back of our computer looks better than the front of theirs

Originally Posted by Super_boy22
i can store many dvds on 1 floppy so it's essential to me
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