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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 - Which iMac?


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Straitsfan

 
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Hello all:

I'm thinking seriously about getting an iMac -- I guess I've had enough of windows, and my current pc is eight years old. I'm primarily interested in using the computer for music writing (with Sibelius -- don't know if any of you are familiar with it) and music recording/editing, which I've never done before, as well as everyday things like word processing.

Anyway, the machines I saw in my local apple store were beautiful to boot -- nice and sleek and they seemed really sturdy. The two models I'm looking at are the 2.0 Ghz and the 2.4 ghz. 250 gb hard drive and 320 gb, respecitvely, as well as a 128 mb video card for the 2.0 and 256 for the 2.4. My questions are:

1. When/where does the difference in video card memory become noticeable? Does it affect the display itself? Will it make any difference in my notation software program? Currently on my pc I get slow screen redraw, as I open more widows/dialolg boxes -- it looks like a 'shadow' or some kind of trailing image when I move the boxes or the sheet around. Will video card memory size affect that at all?

2. In general, is the difference between the processor speeds that important for my applications? When does processor speed really matter as a whole? I don't want to have to spend money for things I don't need. I could use the $300 price difference for other things.

By the way, I plan on maxing out the RAM to the full 4 GB

I hope I've given enough info. Let me know if you need more.

But overall, I'm looking forward to this purchase:
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Chilbear

 
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My first thought is tell us about your current PC especially the video card - if we know what you have then it is a baseline for us to help you.

My first though is almost any of the iMac you are looking a will more than fill you immediate need. The 4GB ram idea is bang on. As for video card speed I have 2 different generations of 24" iMac with both those cards and I am in Graphic design. Faster is nicer for me but I am not sure it will matter to you. What is important IMO is to buy Applecare because of the flat panels. Dead pixel can happen and Applecare takes care of that. Look at the Apple store for refurbished machines as well - good deals are there as well. I only buy refurbished for that extra sweet deal. Everything is under one umbrella guarantee so so not be afraid.

Have do investigated to find out whether your music program is Mac as well? If not you can run it under Bootcamp or Parallels on your new machine. I use Parallels and love it - very seamless working under Tiger or Leopard.

My call - buy a 1 gen old 24 or 20 iMac that are white (non reflective screen), buy Parallels and max the ram to 3GB (that version maxes at 3GB still enough). Add Applecare and you are good to go for many years. Maintain the Applecare and if things fail and they will, you will be protected.
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EORI

 
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Take a look at the benchmark test scores comparing the 2Ghz to the 2.4 version:

http://www.macworld.com/article/5945...minumimac.html

Since you seem to like to keep your computers for a long time, you may want to get the 2.4Ghz model. $300 amortized over 5~8 years doesn't amount to much.

BTW, Maclife recently did a review of Sibelius, and they gave it a rave 5-star review:

http://www.maclife.com/article/sibelius_5

Happy to be back to a Mac
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Alexis

 
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Quote:
1. When/where does the difference in video card memory become noticeable? Does it affect the display itself? Will it make any difference in my notation software program? Currently on my pc I get slow screen redraw, as I open more widows/dialolg boxes -- it looks like a 'shadow' or some kind of trailing image when I move the boxes or the sheet around. Will video card memory size affect that at all?
There's no difference between the two, unless you're in a 3D application such as games. You'll get higher framerates and less stuttering in games with the HD2600 graphics chip.
Any graphics card produced in the last 5 years can perform 2D tasks in its sleep. Your PC sounds like it has a seriously old graphics card or you're using incorrect drivers such as the default Windows ones instead of the bespoke nVidia or ATI ones.

Quote:
2. In general, is the difference between the processor speeds that important for my applications? When does processor speed really matter as a whole? I don't want to have to spend money for things I don't need. I could use the $300 price difference for other things.
No. You might knock a couple of minutes off an hour's video encoding, but that's about it.

Quote:
By the way, I plan on maxing out the RAM to the full 4 GB
Sounds a bit overkill. 2gig is good. 3 gig is useful if you have A LOT of programs open at once. 4gig is for those involved in video editing and 3D rendering really.
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MRT555

 
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Make sure you don't buy your RAM from Apple, buy it online and save alot of cash.
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Straitsfan

 
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My current machine is a 2000 Dell Dimenstion 8100. According to the owner's manual, it has an AGP 4x or PCI video card. That's all it says.

Forgot to add that I inherited it from my mother about a year ago -- she didn't need it anymore and I needed a new computer at the time. The only thing I added to it was a gig of RAMBUS memory (it only had 128 in it at the time). It originally came with windows 2000 or 98 and I think it was upgraded to XP Professional. It also has no dvd rom drive. It's time to get something for myself. What are your opinions on the Applecare program? Worth it? If I got it I just might opt for the 2.0 Ghz machine to save some money, especially if that will do what I need it to.

Does anyone out there use their iMac for recording and is a 2.0 processor fast enough? (I'd have thought it's a lot of information to deal with when you're multitrack recording).

By the way, Is it possible to use the XP professional disk for the office applications (word in particular?). I thought I'd use that instead of buying word for mac, at least for now. But someone at the apple store thought I might not be able to, since it was for the dell (Something about OEM license)

Can anyone tell me how I'd find this out? It would really stink if I had a perfectly good windows OS that I couldn't use. But if that was the case, I came across openoffice.org today, and it had a word processing software (write) that looked a lot like word and would be more than adequate for my needs, I think.

Thanks for all your advice.
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EORI

 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Straitsfan View Post
My current machine is a 2000 Dell Dimenstion 8100.
I had that until about 3 years ago, when I handed it down to my daughter who is still using it. It's still running strong (for a PC). It has 2GB of memory from the outset, and I ran Windows XP Pro. It's not a bad machine for that vintage.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Straitsfan View Post
What are your opinions on the Applecare program? Worth it?
That's a personal decision; it depends on your risk tolerance level. I bought an iMac, and since it's a desktop, and they seem to be quite reliable, and I'm comfortable fixing it if it broke, I didn't bother with it.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Straitsfan View Post
By the way, Is it possible to use the XP professional disk for the office applications (word in particular?). I thought I'd use that instead of buying word for mac, at least for now. But someone at the apple store thought I might not be able to, since it was for the dell (Something about OEM license)
There are free alternatives to Office. NeoOffice is one example. I wouldn't bother installing Windows just to use Word, since you'll need to reboot each time using Bootcamp. If you're going to spend money on Parallels, you may as well just buy the Student edition of MS Office.

Happy to be back to a Mac
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Alexis

 
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Quote:
Does anyone out there use their iMac for recording and is a 2.0 processor fast enough? (I'd have thought it's a lot of information to deal with when you're multitrack recording).
Any of the Core Duo processors are very fast. The line is the fastest consumer processor line available.
Even the 1.66Ghz Core Duo is very fast.

Quote:
My current machine is a 2000 Dell Dimenstion 8100. According to the owner's manual, it has an AGP 4x or PCI video card. That's all it says.
You should have no problems with screen drawing with that. I'm thinking it's a driver problem.
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Straitsfan

 
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Wanted to ask as well -- is there a difference in display between the 20" and the 24"? iMac, or is it just a matter of a bigger screen preference?
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Chilbear

 
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There is a difference at the bit level on how they display colour back to us. The 20" has 6 bit and the 24 has 8 bit if I remember. The difference between 6 and 8 bits is the accuracy in colour it displays - with more bits having wide colour space and gamut available. Kind of like HD (24 bit) versus cameras in a cell phone (6 bit).

Some 20" owners are reporting a colour shift in the display (lighter or darker) from side to side. This seems to occur only on the 20" though. If you can afford it - go 24" and you get the bonus of a better video card.
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Straitsfan

 
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Hey Chilbear or anyone else:

I tried asking apple just now what the color depth was for the 20 and 24 inch models. They didn't know (or wouldn't tell me). Where did you hear/read about this? It affects my purchase decision. This makes me upset -- why don't they release their hardware specs?
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Chilbear

 
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That info came off another Mac site I surf. It said:

I would also say keep the laptop, just so that you can both use a computer at the same time.
Conversely, I would choose a 24" iMac over a 20" iMac, as the 20" iMac aluminums have crappy TN-film LCD panels inside them (6-bit colour vs. 8-bit colour in the 24")
Have you investigated the Refurbs on Apple.ca/store?
The 24" Al iMac is $1639 vs. $1899 retail
And they have the older 24" white iMacs for $1499.

Accurate or not I do not know. I have both a white and Alum 24" and both are nice.
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MrMac

 
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Get the latest iMac!
Make sure you get enough memory and storage... as much as you can, because you will need it.

MacBook Pro 15" 2.0 C2D 1GB M 80Gb HD.
iPod Video 30 GB.
30" Apple Cinema Display.
www.macandtalk.com
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calenerd

 
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Personally I went through the same problem as you, I bought the 2.4Ghz model instead of the 2.0Ghz not because of the increase in processor speed. But I got it mainly for the better graphics card and partly for the larger memory space. Since my iMac is going to last for me a long long time, I'd spend the extra money and get the better graphics card since I game on my iMac sometimes. So you can see in my display pic now my 2.4Ghz iMac, and I'm a happy happy man!

The dark is passion, the light is logic.
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