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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?" :)

iMac - Buying an iMac... Is Timing Everything?


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drgrafix

 
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After a good friend did it a couple of weeks ago... I'm giving serious thought to coming back to Apple after many years with the PC, and it'll most likely be the iMac bundled with the 3 Gigs memory, 500 Gig HDD, 24", etc.. So as I'm doing my research, I see that Apple is about to launch a new OS called Leopard, and there will be many improvements (?) with it. Should I assume that if I bought now I'd get a free upgrade? Or should I wait until the end of the month and just buy it when its packaged with the iMac?

I'm not in a major hurry as my PC is pretty adequate and loaded with software and projects. To that end, I've been reading about a software called "Parallels" that out-does BootCamp in that it actually allows you to run MS Apps simultaneously in the main apple window. This would be wonderful for me to make the transition, and since I intend to keep my Shuttle X 2.7 GHx little box running side by side with the iMac, it would seem to me that plucking files from the Shuttle's two SATA drives and even running some MS Apps on the new iMac would be a breeze.

One other question... I haven't really looked at the back end of the iMac in terms of I/O's... but is there a way to utilize my PC monitor to expand the iMac desktop? In a PC, I've always run dual monitors so I can have two distinct desktops. Matrox made adequate (for graphics) dual monitor video cards, and if that doesn't work, you simply plop in a second video card in an open slot if your prime card doesn't support two monitors.

One other question while I have anyone's attention. Is there a full keyboard on the horizon that will be wireless? I've gotten so used to wireless keyboards and mice that I'm a bit baffled that the iMac's wireless keyboard has the number pad chopped off! Could you use aftermarket wireless keyboards/mice with the iMac?

Thanks in advance for the advice!

Doc
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Cherokee

 
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Welcome back the Mac family!

Quote:
Originally Posted by drgrafix View Post
After a good friend did it a couple of weeks ago... I'm giving serious thought to coming back to Apple after many years with the PC, and it'll most likely be the iMac bundled with the 3 Gigs memory, 500 Gig HDD, 24", etc.. So as I'm doing my research, I see that Apple is about to launch a new OS called Leopard, and there will be many improvements (?) with it. Should I assume that if I bought now I'd get a free upgrade? Or should I wait until the end of the month and just buy it when its packaged with the iMac?
There is a chance you will get a free upgrade. There are no guarantees though as we don't know the actual release date. Personally, I would wait until the end of October and get it pre-installed.

Note: Buying your RAM from a third party (crucial, etc.) will be much cheaper than buying it through Apple. It's easy to install through a panel on the bottom. A monkey could do it.

Quote:
I'm not in a major hurry as my PC is pretty adequate and loaded with software and projects. To that end, I've been reading about a software called "Parallels" that out-does BootCamp in that it actually allows you to run MS Apps simultaneously in the main apple window. This would be wonderful for me to make the transition, and since I intend to keep my Shuttle X 2.7 GHx little box running side by side with the iMac, it would seem to me that plucking files from the Shuttle's two SATA drives and even running some MS Apps on the new iMac would be a breeze.
Parallels will run Windows in the OSX environment. Don't expect the same performance as running Bootcamp. It will suffice for a lot of apps that aren't resource hungry. Having lots of RAM should help as well.

Quote:
One other question... I haven't really looked at the back end of the iMac in terms of I/O's... but is there a way to utilize my PC monitor to expand the iMac desktop? In a PC, I've always run dual monitors so I can have two distinct desktops. Matrox made adequate (for graphics) dual monitor video cards, and if that doesn't work, you simply plop in a second video card in an open slot if your prime card doesn't support two monitors.
You can run dual monitors. The iMac has a Mini-DVI output port.

Quote:
One other question while I have anyone's attention. Is there a full keyboard on the horizon that will be wireless? I've gotten so used to wireless keyboards and mice that I'm a bit baffled that the iMac's wireless keyboard has the number pad chopped off! Could you use aftermarket wireless keyboards/mice with the iMac?
Don't know for sure on this one. If I was to speculate, I would say it's on the way. Maybe that's wishful thinking as I want one as well.

Check the specs for Mac compatibility when shopping for other wireless options.

iMac - 2.4 C2D - 4GB RAM | MacBook - 2.0 C2D - 2GB RAM | AirPort Extreme Base Station
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giulio

 
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I might be wrong... but I think any bluetooth keyboard would work (just check the specs to make sure).
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drgrafix

 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Cherokee View Post
Welcome back the Mac family!

Well... I haven't _really_ come back yet but thank you anyway!

There is a chance you will get a free upgrade. There are no guarantees though as we don't know the actual release date. Personally, I would wait until the end of October and get it pre-installed.

My thoughts exactly.

Note: Buying your RAM from a third party (crucial, etc.) will be much cheaper than buying it through Apple. It's easy to install through a panel on the bottom. A monkey could do it.

This is one area of the Mac world where I have always been skittish about in that I thought you'd void your warranty or whatever if you even peeked inside one of Steve's boxes. In the windows world, we're all used to opening the case, adding a new 500GB SATA drive, a new video card, processor, or memory. Calling us PC Guys monkeys eh? Hehehehehehehe.

But seriously though... you can add memory to an iMac? Sounds like its similar to a laptop. Small trap door, couple of slots, BAM!!! you have a gig of memory in your ThinkPad. I already have two USB drives that I use, and I'm thinking that a cleaner approach would be to set up some kind of ethernet link to a bank of drives. I've lost data on top quality IBM drives going bad and as a result I'm a bit paranoid about HDDs in general. But users can't change drives in iMacs anyway... right?

Apple has two "bundles" I'd consider. The first is the 2.4GHz 24" machine, possibly with some upgrades. The 500GB HDD for $100 doesn't sound too bad. I also wonder about apple's iWork productivity software. Is it a lot like MS Office? I need a word processor for sure, would like something like powerpoint, and some kind of very intuitive web design/html editor. What is the difference between iWork and iLife, and is iLife built-in or a separate app?

The 2nd "bundle" is the 2.8GHz extreme package. It seems that when you option out the 2.4GHz it costs a little more. This might just be a 10 year investment for me, partly because its so self-contained, and partly because it's expensive. I can build a pretty fast PC Box for $600-$700 and know that I can upgrade components on the fly when needed. But I'm trying to get rid of clutter.


Parallels will run Windows in the OSX environment. Don't expect the same performance as running Bootcamp. It will suffice for a lot of apps that aren't resource hungry. Having lots of RAM should help as well.

It'll probably take me 6 months to think about whether to install my various apps on the mac or to leave them on the shuttle. I'll probably want to try them piecemeal.

You can run dual monitors. The iMac has a Mini-DVI output port.

Interesting... so does it expand the desktop or allow you to run a duplicate (totally separate) desktop?

Don't know for sure on this one. If I was to speculate, I would say it's on the way. Maybe that's wishful thinking as I want one as well.

Check the specs for Mac compatibility when shopping for other wireless options.
Giulio's suggestion is an interesting one... use a bluetooth keyboard, or at least explore that possibility.

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mac57

 
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I would recommend Logitech's S530 Wireless keyboard and mouse combo. I use it - it is excellent! ...and it has a full number pad PLUS lots of extra keys, such as email, web, volume control, etc. Truly an excellent package. The keyboard is my favorite keyboard ever (both PC and Mac) and the mouse is in the top 2 for my favorite mouse ever. As you can see, I would strongly recommend this set.

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drgrafix

 
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Great feedback on the wireless keyboard... anyone want to take a crack at the iWorks & iLife?
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iNick

 
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keeping in mind that virtual machines such as parallels doesn't emulate video cards, by that I mean you wont be able to play (most) games using it. Bootcamp will allow this though.
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verdejt

 
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As far as keyboards what about the Logitech MX3200 keyboard/mouse combo?
I am also in the market for a new computer and plan to defect from windows to Mac. I don't have the money for a new system. I am currently researching a G4 powerbook with a 17" monitor. Will Leopard run well on a G4 say around the 1.3Ghz speed? Or should I stay to Tiger.
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Leopard is supposed to work with the majority of the G4 processors. How well is yet to be seen.

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drgrafix

 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by iNick View Post
keeping in mind that virtual machines such as parallels doesn't emulate video cards, by that I mean you wont be able to play (most) games using it. Bootcamp will allow this though.
Not a problem as I don't play games.
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"New! Run selected PC-only 3D games and graphics applications on your Mac"
This quote is direct from Parallel's official website, and applies to their new 3.0 version, so for those that do play games, apparently you might be in luck, at least for some situations.
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lisamel

 
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I have a question regarding parallels and office apps like word and excel.
i don't do games, but my word program is a must and I don't want the scaled down version in office 2008. Will parallels work fine for that?
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