Some advice please :)

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Hi guys, I've just spent quite a bit of time reading all the boards and threads relating to my own questions, but I feel that I've now taken onboard such a wealth of information that I feel a little lost. If anyone fancies taking the time to reply to this, I'd really appreciate it!

I'm 23 and I've been using a PC forever. I've decided to go Mac and the lovely, lovely white Macbook will be my choice. I've researched everything I can find because I want to buy a machine that I can use for as long as possible, I don't want to be left wishing I'd bought different (read: better) specs after just a month.

However, I'm torn between opting the extra cash for the 2gig RAM. As I said, I want this baby to last and it'll be a bit of self-loving too, to treat myself to a top of the range machine, however I don't want to spend a lot of money for the sake of it and find it doesn't make much difference? But I'm a bit of a lazy multitasker, with a lot of browser windows open, iTunes, documents, a game of Minesweeper etc. so would the 2gig RAM be better?

So, what will I be using the Macbook for? iTunes, archiving digital photographs (I'm a bigtime digicam fan but not excessively so. I'll just be using simple photoshop to resize, contrast, sharpen), internet mostly, some work with documents. I did sort of want to replace my Sims 2 games with MAC versions, I'm not sure yet though. I'm not a gamer at all but it's a game I like to waste a few hours here and there with. Don't know how well it would run on the Macbook as I've read about the integrated cards not displaying games well and I don't fancy paying for the MBP just so I can play Sims 2 :) I'd rather just sell my games and not play it again, it's not that precious to me!

I can't really wait until October for Leopard as my current computer is on it's last legs. I don't think it would cost much to upgrade later if I wanted to anyway, am I right? I don't think we're talking Vista prices here, lol. Still. I'd like a good spec Macbook that will last me a good few years and maybe even longer, with specs that won't deprecate too quickly. Which is why I'd quite like to get the 2.0ghz and 2 gigs of RAM.

I'm not really too keen on opening up my machine and buying RAM from other sites. I've read that it's cheaper to go low and upgrade later, but it's not for me. So the RAM and processor I choose, I'll be stuck with it foreveeeer.

I don't want to mess up my purchase and regret something later but I don't have oodles of cash either, so I don't want to buy equipment that is surplus to what would already be more than enough for my requirements. I'm going with the 80 gig hard drive because despite being an iTunes fan, I don't really have much more than about 15 gig on my iPod. I tend to delete music I'm not listening to at the time so my iPod isn't packed with 1,000's of songs I don't listen to anymore. I'm not really a hard-drive hungry sort of user. But does the 2ghz of RAM only really pay off with say, the 160gb hard drive? Do I need to upgrade in proportion with each feature or can I just do one or the other?

Is the 2gig RAM worth it? Any noticable improvement over the 1gig RAM that would shine through especially with any of the software I'll mainly be using? (what I mean is, if the 2gig RAM only really improves performance of say, Office software or video editting or graphic design, then I probably won't really need it as I won't be using any of those things).

Sorry this is long! Thanks in advance to anyone who replies!
 
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Since your requirements are rather basic, it would seem as though 1GB will be just fine. However, since you plan on keeping this machine for a while and have some odd aversion to upgrading it yourself, it would seem as though getting 2GB would be a "smart" decision as you would be future-proofing your machine for the next couple of years.

However, I really don't understand why you wouldn't want to get 1GB and then have the option of upgrading to 2GB later. That way you can get a feel for the machine and then decide whether you need the extra GB of RAM. It's very simple - took me 5 minutes at most and many others who were initially hesitant had no problems whatsoever. Also, the bigger issue is that it is MUCH cheaper to upgrade on your own than to get Apple to do it for you, especially since memory prices have been dropping recently.

I personally think you should really reconsider your aversion to upgrading. But if you can't, then I would suggest getting the Macbook with 2GB.
 
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I'm hesitant because I can't really afford the AppleCare option, so opening my box would void my warranty, wouldn't it? I mean, I am actually lol, an I.T Consultant, I could probably do it but I'm new to Macs and hesitant about damaging a brand new lappie! It does make sense to see how the 1gig RAM works for me before plugging another few hundred for the extra, though.
 
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Upgrading the RAM on your Macbook won't void your warranty. And if you're really worried about it, you could always wait a year and then upgrade ;P
 
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^ Good point, lol. I've always been under the impression that laptops are difficult, if not impossible to upgrade. Or at the very least more expensive to do so. I guess I just need to get over my fear of getting my hands dirty and breaking everything. I'm kinda clumsy by nature ;)
 
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Upgrading the RAM really is this simple - CLICK.

And the same goes for replacing the HD.
 
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Oh thank you! wow, that is simple, I feel sort of silly now haha. Does it matter what make of RAM I use, if I decide I need more later? Apple don't seem to have a parts shop like Dell does.
 
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No the brand doesn't matter. And don't feel silly, how were you to know and that's what we're here for. :)
 
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HD Compatability

Talking about replacing a HD, Do the Hard drives from the Powerbook G4's (1.5 ghz specifically) work with the macbooks?
 
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AFAIK, the PowerBook G4's (1.5Ghz specifically) have 2.5" IDE HDs, whereas the MacBooks have then more ( up-to-date ) 2.5" SATA 5400rpm HDs.
 
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Not getting Apple care with any Mac laptop is like playing russian roulette. They have issues.
 
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Thanks guys ;D

And yeah I know it's a game of russian roulette, especially for something like a laptop. But then it's the argument of BUT if nothing goes wrong, it was all a waste of money. And it's just extra expense I can't really afford, and yeah if it goes wrong I'll have to pay more but it MIGHT NOT go wrong lol. I don't know, I'll have to think about that a bit more.

Without sounding like a complete lameass (not possible in this instance), does anyone know if I'd have problems playing Sims 2 on a Macbook? It's not exactly as graphics intensive as WoW but will the integrated graphics card hold up? As I said, I'm not that bothered, would just be nice to know whether to bother selling off my PC versions and getting MAC versions to play.
 
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Your Mac's Specs
iMac 20" C2D 2.4 ghz 2gb iMac 20" C2D 2GB 256MB Graphics Macbook C2D 2GB Powermac G4 Dual 450
i would go with the 2gb of ram...because when you get the 1gb, u get 2 512 sticks, so you would have to buy another 2 gigs of ram and throw out the 512 sticks...
as for the games, the IMA 950 or w/e is nottt a great graphics card...so ur fps might be pretty low, but still playable.
 
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13" Macbook Pro 2.26Ghz Unibody 4G RAM 160G HDD Superdrive
Upgrading the RAM really is this simple - CLICK.

And the same goes for replacing the HD.

The difficulty of upgrading reputation probably came from the old iBooks notoriety of being difficult to upgrade anything. Heck, my old Mac Mini took some trepidation to get the case open so I could upgrade the 256MB it came with to 512.

1 Gig is a sweet spot for the Mac. More is good, but I haven't seen any issues with my Macbook and it's 'only' one gig of RAM. My main issue is the 80 gig HDD which only has 10 gig free at the moment. I have an external 250 gig firewire drive where I keep lots of big stuff (movies, audio, etc.) but I'm going to be wanting to upgrade to a 120 gig internal drive before I'll be adding (or replacing) the memory to get 2 gig. My iTunes collection (currently at 22 gig) seems to be ....growing, and that's something I like to tote around with me wherever I go and not necessarily just on the iPod.
 
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Thank you so much for all your input, guys. A few more questions :)

From what I've read across the boards, I've now learnt that I don't have to buy AppleCare the same time as I buy my Macbook. Fantastic! I'll save for a few months and then definitely purchase it, I don't know why I assumed I had to buy it when I got my computer so that's great, I'll definitely do that.

In terms of a few debates about using the Macbook on your lap, I know it shouldn't because of a heat sink or whatever it is, but is it only to keep your notebook on a level surface and cool? Because I tend to sit with notebooks on my lap, with a gap between my legs so really only the ends of the notebook are on my legs and there's a gap underneath it. Is that bad? I might buy a lap table though, sounds like a good plan.

Another thing, do I need to buy an Apple mouse? Or can I use my current Logitech? I love it, it's not wireless or anything just connects via USB. I know I'm going to have lots to get used to with a Mac, I can't wait but I just wondered how it works. Does right click do anything?

And I might keep a second monitor on my desk for when I'm working at it, as an extra display. Can it be any brand? I have a lovely Dell flatscreen that's 5 years old and I would like to use instead of selling it, really. Do I need an Apple monitor for it to work? I just can't see that a Macbook has the right port; this dell monitor has one of those quite thick blue serial port things, with a little screwy thing on each end to hold it in place.

-Donna.
 
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You shouldn't have any issues with using you MB on your lap, especially if you do it in the way you describe and make sure you're not blocking the vents (I do it all the time).
Your mouse and screen should work without any issues too but I think you'll need an adapter for the screen - I'm not sure which but they don't cost much.
 
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Awesomesauce! I think I might actually be all out of questions. Gasp! I guess all that I need to do now is buy the thing and enjoy my new user experience. Randomly, I found all those "Hi, I'm a Mac. And I'm a PC" adverts on YouTube and they totally convinced me. Haha, I love those adverts, so funny.

I like how even though the point is that they're advertising the Mac is better than the PC, they don't exactly wipe M$ through the mud with it either. I have sympathy for PC, all he wants to do is run his spreadsheets :( hahaha.
 
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To use the monitor, you'll need the mini-DVI to VGA adapter. It's not that expensive, so you won't have to worry about that.

Like moss918 said, you can use your Logitech mouse :)
 
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Oh, I've just thought of something else.

Currently, I run a 1mb ADSL line into my Dell PC via USB modem. When I get my Macbook, my sister will take my Dell PC but we'll both want internet. I guess I'll have to upgrade the speed to something a bit more and buy a router? The Dell doesn't have Wireless but my Mac will so I'll buy a wireless router, and I guess there's no problem running a Windows PC off of the router by network cable, and an Apple Macbook off it wirelessly?

Can they be networked together? Which machine is better having the router admin software disc thingy installed upon to manage it?

I'm also an absolute newbie to Wireless. I want a secure network, does security start at the router? Are there any really good Wireless routers? Will my MB be compromised if the router is insecure? How does ADSL work on the Macbook anyway (for me to use prior to sorting the Wireless), as it stands I have the 1mb leading into a USB modem on my Dell, and I have a dialer program and a number from Pipex that I dial with a phone number etc.

Do I install the modem onto the Macbook from the disc and setup the connection as I would on a PC? Or do I just plug the cable into the ethernet port and it'll just "be online"?

Also, I've got some digital photos and documents I'd like to move from my PC to Macbook via USB stick. Will I have problems using a USB stick that's been used on a PC for a Macbook? Or .JPEG's and RTF documents? Will a Windows folder on a USB convert nicely to a Mac file folder or do I need to make folders and copy files in individually?

Haha, I'm such a n00b.

I can't thank everyone enough for being so kind and helpful!

-Donna.
 
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There are definitely no problems with running the Dell via Ethernet and your Macbook wirelessly. You probably won't need a speed boost unless you both need a lot of bandwidth. I suggest trying it out first before upgrading.

Also, you won't need that install disc for your router. It's just a simple wizard that you really don't need as the router will be ready to go out of the box. Just look in the manual for the web address that will let you configure the router from any computer. Also, be sure to add a security password (your manual should tell you how to do this; if not, there's always us ;P).

Linksys and Dlink make some great routers, and at a really good price point. Some will suggest Apple's Airport Extreme, but much like it's name, it seems to be rather overpriced to be used as a simple wireless router. It's only when you plan on using every feature does the price begin to justify itself.

Not sure how the DSL thing would work on a Mac as I've personally only had cable and my experience with DSL has never required a dialer. Perhaps somebody else will shed some light on it.
 

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