Need some guidance from Mac users

Discussion in 'Apple' started by Mark Paquette, Apr 29, 2003.

  1. Mark Paquette

    Mark Paquette Supporting Actor

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    I'm a long time PC user who is considering purchasing a Mac just to toy around with, broaden my horizon and check out OS X. I'm not looking for anything super fancy or expensive. Can any experienced Mac users out there suggest a particlar model to go with and how it should be configured, i.e. amount of memory, etc.
     
  2. Patrick Larkin

    Patrick Larkin Screenwriter

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    It depends on if you want an all-in-one flat panel iMac or CRT-based eMac (only memory is easily user upgradeable) or a portable or a G4 tower (with slots and all the upgrade paths possible).

    To mess around, I'd get the 17" flat panel iMac with DVD-R drive. Get no less than 256MB RAM (I'd get as much as possible). Other than that, there's not much to decide. It comes with everything...

    Or if you have an existing monitor to use, you could buy a PowerMac G4 and you'd be able to prolong the life a bit longer by being able to upgrade components, stacking 4 hard drives inside, and having the ability to have two optical drives...
     
  3. Joseph S

    Joseph S Cinematographer

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    These items should get you a machine that is more than capable of running OS X in its present state, as always the later models are going to have higher resale value, but even a used 3 y/o Dual 500 isn't cheap. New OS revision due this summer/fall may have higher requirements.
    1) G4 Dual >= 500
    2) G4 Single >= 867
    3) Ram >500MB
    4) HD variable size
    5) Current Radeon Vid Card
    6)iMac, Powerbook, or iBook
    7)optional items also include DVD-R, Modem, iPod, firewire external drives, M-Audio USB Sonica, Sonica Theater, Revolution Audio card, usb input devices, printers, etc.

    Suggested software: Simon Extreme (free), Carbon Copy Cloner(freeware/donationware/best util available!!!!l), Stuffit Express(Free), USB Overdrive(Shareware), Camino(free) or Safari(free), Videolan client and mplayer for DVD/Multimedia(free), PodWorks(Shareware), Audio Hijack(Shareware), Roxio Toast Titanium(Paid app), Sharepoints(Shareware), and almost any of the great sharewares from Unsanity.

    and Alsoft's Diskwarrior X if it is ever released.

    Stay away from the "e"Mac, G3s, older vid cards than the Radeon, and low RAM quantity in your machine. (iBook may be the exception here) Stay away from USB2 PCI cards as well, the drivers are not very functional at this point.
     
  4. Michael*K

    Michael*K Screenwriter

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    Memory, memory, memory! Can't stress enough that you need to maximize the amount available.

    Although the eMac has a nice screen for a CRT-based machine, I'd have to say I'm partial to the LCD iMacs. Seriously, if you just want a Mac to "toy around with", the 17-inch iMac may be overkill. The SuperDrive will only be of use if you really plan on jumping into digital video headfirst. But the added screen real estate is pretty impressive when compared with the 15-inch model. As far as memory, the iMacs only have one user-accessible memory slot (unless you're looking to break your warranty by replacing the factory-installed DIMM yourself) Throw 512MB (about $75 or less) in that slot for good measure. The iMacs also come with a nice software bundle.

    Any of the laptops are nice though, although you'll pay a premium for portability. The iBooks can be had for under a grand, but OS X will run much smoother on any machine with a G4 chip (only the iBook still uses the older G3's.)

    Into wireless networking? Make sure you pick up an AirPort or AirPort Extreme card to go with whatever machine you get.

     
  5. DonRoeber

    DonRoeber Screenwriter

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    Mark,
    For casual use, I can't recommend the current iBook line enough. For $1299, you get a 900Mhz G3 processor (which is fine to run OSX), 128mb of ram (you'll probably want more, but it's easy to install later), a decent size harddrive, a decent video card, a modem, network port, and the ability to add a wireless airport card later. Nothing is cooler than wireless networking. You also get a CD-RW/DVD-ROM combo drive, which is pretty cool.
     
  6. David Lawson

    David Lawson Screenwriter

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    I disagree with Joseph. I think the best bang for the buck is the eMac, especially a refurbished one. People who complain about its GeForce2MX don't fall under my definition of "casual" users.

    The Apple Store had the refurbished base model for $600 yesterday, but it sold out in a heartbeat. You might also check the Micro Center location in Madison Heights; I've seen a number of deals (under $700) on open box models at the Cincinnati store.
     
  7. Mark Paquette

    Mark Paquette Supporting Actor

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    Thanks for all of the replies and suggestions. Now it's time to go shopping.
     
  8. Joseph S

    Joseph S Cinematographer

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  9. Camp

    Camp Cinematographer

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    I think the updated iBooks are the best overall value. How much are you wanting to spend? Budget in enough for one of the new iPods too! As a PC user you'll really be stunned by the integration between iTunes 4, iPod, & the new music service.
     
  10. Kelley_B

    Kelley_B Cinematographer

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    Personally I think the sweet spot in the Apple line up right now is the Dual 1.25Ghz PowerMac G4 for only $1,999. If you already have a monitor I'd really take a good look at it. If you wind up not liking it you can sell it on eBay and make most of your money back.
     
  11. Chris Farmer

    Chris Farmer Screenwriter

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    If you're going Apple, go with the laptops. I have an iBook 500 model that is a top notch computer. Their desktops have a lot of style but are expensive for what you get (although I would argue that the price is worth it in avoiding Windows), but Apple's laptops are the best in the entire computer industry, bar none. They're smaller, lighter, better designed, have better screens, built in wireless antennas, and are extremely price competitive with their Windows counterparts.

    For the price you pay, a 12" iBook with combo drive will handle just about anything you throw at it for casual use, or if you really want the G4, go with a 12" PB. The size/features/price combination can't be beat, and they're terrific machines.
     
  12. Joseph S

    Joseph S Cinematographer

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    DiskWarrior 3 from Alsoft.com is finally available!!
    http://www.alsoft.com/DiskWarrior/index.html

    Now the wait is on for TechTool Pro 4 and Mac OS 10.3 to make both require updates. [​IMG] Unreal Tourney 2003 Mac Demo is also available as of a few days ago. The eMac and iBook lines have also received updates if you're still looking.
     

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