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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?" :)

Questions before I jump into the Mac Pond...

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Member Since: Feb 01, 2008
Posts: 1
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Hey all, I'm posting this before work so sorry if it appers brief.

I have been very interested in "converting" for a while now, and I'm just now at the point where I could get a Mac. It would of course be my first and I find myself excited getting to learn a new OS since I'm quite the pro when it comes to Windows after all these years. Windows is such a bore any more.

I was wondering which system offers the best bang for your buck in terms of overall use and value. I will be using the system for Surfing, Email, Photography, Video Editing, and anything I can really find to mess around with. I know that they aren't primarily for games, but with the inclusion of Boot Camp and the new setup with the Intel processors and all, I'm wanting to be able to run Windows and Windows applications, when need be, as smoothly as possible as well.

My stupidness regarding Macs lies in the MHz/GHz factor, as I was brought up on Windows machines believing that the faster the processor clock rate the faster the machine, and I realize that Macs with lower processor speeds actually outperform Windows boxes with higher clocked processors. So I am unfamiliar as to what system I should choose in order to have a good time and leave a juicy Apple taste in my mouth instead of a sour flavor.

Portability is not really an issue or necessity for me in terms of getting a Mac, partly because I already have a fairly up-to-date Windows laptop, plus I would think that the mobile Apple computers aren't quite up to par with the iMacs and Power Macs.

So right now my big decision is really lying between the desktop choices.

If I were to get a Power Mac, which processor and all should I get in order to enjoy all of my computing without really jumping the border of paying too much for too little of an increase.

Also what video card setup is the best? Are there any current major issues with the ATI cards? Would I be better off waiting out a long ship date for the Nvidia 8800GT, or should I stick it out with the default ATI selection?

As for ram, I plan on purchasing any additional ram from other sources due to the dramatic price increase.

I will need to get a new monitor, probably a 23" Samsung flatscreen LCD for $300, in order to use a Power Mac if I end up getting one.

This is where the iMac is mighty tempting, although my fear is that it won't have as long as a lifespan due to the fact that once the screen goes out it is pretty much done for. Not to mention I don't believe it is as future-proof or upgrade-it-yourself friendly as the Mac Pro.

Anyways, any help or suggestions on this will be greatly noted and appreciated as this is definitely a big decision in my life both educational wise and financially.

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Member Since: Apr 20, 2006
Posts: 2,255
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Mac Specs: Al iMac 20" 2.4Ghz Intel Core 2 Duo

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The megahertz myth is probably less relevant at the moment. Before, when you had G4's and G5's, and AMD Athlons on the PC, Intel was pushing out Pentium 4's at silly clock speeds to make them look faster than they were.

The Core 2 Duo's are actually the fastest line available at the moment (but who knows what AMD might come up with in a year or two).

Be assured, any Mac now on sale has a very very fast processor in it.

Mobile computers use mobile processors and graphics chips, but they are hardly any slower than desktop versions. The iMac uses laptop parts by the way - it's pretty much a MacBook Pro in a different case.

Mac Pros are neat, but more suited for heavyweight professional tasks such as video editing. It might seem like you'll save money with upgradeability, but the initial outlay means it'll never be a cheap option for the home user.

I would seriously look at getting a 20 or 24" 2.4Ghz iMac. The Radeon HD2600 is a decent enough GPU. Not outstanding, but it plays current games surprisingly well.

No computer lasts more than a few years in terms of keeping up wth the industry, but there's no reason the iMac shouldn't physically last at least 15 years. Screen failure is very rare - if anything's going to fail in any computer it is usually the hard drive because it has frequently moving parts.

Remember that Apple machines hold their value, unlike PC's. In 3 years, put it on ebay and you'll have at least 65% of the money towards the 2011 iMac.
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Member Since: Sep 30, 2007
Location: Wilmington, NC
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If you want to play the latest and greatest in games at the most detail you can get, the Mac Pro is the only way to go. I bought one myself about 6 months ago with the lowest-end GPU at the time, and it still struggles with Bioshock more than I'd like without cranking down some graphics options. I really wish I had sucked it up in retrospect and gotten one of the better graphics card options. The iMac is a great machine, but it just doesn't have the graphics power you may want for some games, so just keep that in mind.
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Member Since: Feb 02, 2008
Location: Traverse City MI
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Mac Specs: 15.4" MacBook Pro 4GB 500GB 2.4Ghz

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The imac would be a good mac for you,
If you get the basic model its still a great mac for the money
you get a 2.0GHz processor and a 250GB HD. If you do a lot of editing(video)
I suggest upping to the 320 or the 500GB HD so that way you dont see the amount of storage drain daily. 1-2GB of ram is perfect.
So Those are some suggestions and its from a personal experience

15.4" MacBook Pro Unibody
2.4GHz 4GB Ram and 500GB HD nVidia Geforce 9600
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