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PC User Needs Help choosing...

by arodsny / May 23, 2006 11:58 AM PDT


Old story I'm sure...

I'm looking for a machine for use at home to capture and edit video (been using pinnacle studio on the pc), editing family pics (been using photoshop on the pc), web updates (been using net objects for years on the pc), organize family pics, update iPOD, light web use and light email use.

I buy quite a lot of computers (6+Dells, Gateway (bunk) Compaq ('eh), and on the whole, have been as reasonably happy, but know there's got to be better. I was going to pick up another Dell 380 Precision Workstation for the above use, but am considering an Apple product.

My concerns are:

- The learning curve of the OS (I've been a PC only user)
- The Power Macs are high-dollar
- Do I need a Power Mac for the above use?
- Is an iMAC a notebook computer inside monitor???
- If so, my experience has been that notebooks are NOT performers
- File Compatibility
- Software Compatibility
- Will I need to buy all new software?

If any users have been where I am, please let me know your experiences or advice from an experience user would be most helpful. I know there is something to the Apple product when applied to video and still imagery and would like to explore it.

The bottom line is, if the 20" iMAC isn't a low-performance, glorified notebook,
it may be a value.

Any help would be greatly appreciated.


[Edited by: admin to remove email address]

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Apple based or Windows based PC
by mike_quesnel / May 23, 2006 7:18 PM PDT

first off, the 20inch iMac is a desktop PC. It seems like you have been around Window based PC's for a very long time. With everything going on right now, I believer there are only two choices with the Apple Windows war. To use MacOSX or Windows OS. If you choose OSX, buy a apple. If you choose Windows, you can either buy an Apple or a Windows based pc.
So I believe your question is which operating system to choose from. From what I read, since you are a long time Windows user, I would suggest you stick to the Windows OS. Now with that, you can choose to get a Apple based or Windows based pc. If you choose an apple, and i were you, i would mainly use the windows os, but still keep the mac os for secondary usage. If you choose the Windows based pc, then i guess you have to go into what kind of pc to get, and i'm sure you can decide from there.

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Answers to your questions
by mrmacfixit Forum moderator / May 23, 2006 10:02 PM PDT

The learning curve of Mac OS X is not that great. Sure, some things are different but if you know how to move a mouse and click a mouse button, you should at least be able to launch programs. After that you will find it is quite easy.
The PowerMacs are high dollar, yes and so are some Win Boxes.
No, you do not need a PowerMac for what you are planning to do.
No, an iMac is NOT a laptop inside a monitor. (Where have you been?)
That's because you always had windows laptops
Depends on what files you want to move and share. All the Office type files are compatible. You will have to be more specific on that question.
No software written for the PC runs on Mac OS X and vice versa. However, with the Intel Driven Macs you will find a piece of software called Boot Camp which will enable you to boot into Windows when you want to suck your blankie.
For the work that you have told us about, NO. All the software that you require to do the photo thing and the video thing is ALL included with a new machine. It is called iLife and consists of iPhoto, iMovie, iTunes and iDVD.

Make the switch and you will not be disappointed. In a worse case scenario, where you find that you just can't let go, you can always boot into Windows for a quick fix.


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Re: Answers to your questions
by arodsny / May 24, 2006 2:17 AM PDT

Hey P,

Suck my blankie? That is a good one! You've got me crackin'up. It's good to know that if I need to do that, it's an option.

It seemed reasonable to suggest the iMAC is essentially a notebook computer due to it's compact size. It's hard to get the same performance out of a such compact components.

I've got two Dell ''desktop replacements'' (C840's) and a Compaq ''desktop replacement'' (nx9500), which perform marginally when using Quark or Illustrator at the same time. Sure only 1G ram, but Hyperthreading on the nx machine. I think the Windows OS may be the weak link.

For this reason I am looking for something better. If most MAC users believe the iMAC is not a compromise, then I will likely move in that direction and be prepared to learn a new OS.

I am unaware there are different OS's offered for a MAC. Is this true? Isn't the MAC OS the most stable and reliable?

I'm still clueless on this subject. Thank you for your input. Very helpful.

..and I'm still crackin'up about the blankie!

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iPOD Help...
by arodsny / May 29, 2006 10:38 AM PDT

...from ya'll intelligent people.

Is there a way that anyone knows to import music from the device itself?

My networking skills are not-so-good, otherwise I would import directly from the xp machine. I've moved some files over with a 1gb usb key, and burned a bunch of pics.

Are there any tricks I may be missing?

Thanks again for all the help.


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iPod to comptuter
by mrmacfixit Forum moderator / May 29, 2006 9:55 PM PDT
In reply to: iPOD Help...

Unfortunately, Apple were constrained from allowing the iPod to transfer tracks to your computer.
There are a number of good utilities that perform this function for you.
Just Google for "transfer music from iPod to Mac" and you should be in business.


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iPod to comptuter
by arodsny / May 30, 2006 1:04 AM PDT
In reply to: iPod to comptuter

Yeah P, I'm an idiot. Sometimes it's easier to ask first and think later. I was in a rush to do this at home last night. Since I didn't have a power supply for this firewire Firelite HD I picked up, (my notebook has the older a 4pin 1394) I was looking for an alternative in a rush. Instead I beat my head into a bloody pulp trying to learn iMovie.

Now that I'm at the office I was able to pull the files off of a newer machine with the 6pin.

Thanks again.

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(NT) (NT) Never put your email address in a forum
by mrmacfixit Forum moderator / May 23, 2006 10:03 PM PDT
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Mike new user here
by zurple07 / May 24, 2006 1:14 AM PDT

I've only had my iMAC 20' Intel for a week now, and so there are some things that are different but nothing you can't overcome in a short time. You will find the help you need right here from people such as Pete and Bob.

I too am a Photoshop user. You can use the program Boot Camp and continue working with Photoshop. Check out the Adobe Lightroom which is in beta now and only available for MAC. It is a great program for a lot of editing of photos. Many pros from NAPP are using it and say in some ways they like it better than Photoshop, although PS program is still needed for major corrections. Simple corrections can be done in iPhoto as well. I only have one disliking in iPhoto and that's its library system. I have pics from a UK trip with over three hundred shots that a had in separate folders and it puts them all together. All in all, I don't think I'll ever own a Windows computer again. Do yourslef a favor and really check out the MAC and I'm sure you won't be sorry.

Good Luck,

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Re: Mike new user here
by arodsny / May 24, 2006 2:48 AM PDT
In reply to: Mike new user here

Thank you for taking the time to reply Jim.

I'm definately game for the challenge.

Where did you buy your machine?

To all:

*Are there any benefits to buying directly through an Apple store or Apple web site?
*Is Compusa a better dealer/service?
*Tips on must have options?
*Tips on RAM necessary to capture video?
*Tips in video card?

Thanks again for the help.


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More answers
by mrmacfixit Forum moderator / May 24, 2006 4:17 AM PDT
In reply to: Re: Mike new user here

No, the prices are the same at a "real" Apple store as they are at the Apple Web Site. You can also purchase them at one of the on-line stores like MacMall, CDW, etc. Apple will charge sales tax on everything purchased, both on-line or in a real store.
Compusa is will never be a better anything.
Max out the RAM, if you can, but not as a purchased from Apple option. Buy the RAM from a third party RAM provider. It is usually cheaper and has a lifetime warranty.
See above but video capture really depends on connection speed, this will be Firewire(IEEE1394 for those of you still in the Win world)from your DV camera.
You are stuck with the stock video card, which actually is not a card but an IC on the board.

Mac OS X is the only OS offered for the Mac. Unlike Windows there is only one user version. There is, however, a Server version of the OS.
Boot Camp is a, currently, free program from Apple that allows the running of Windows. Windows is NOT included with a Mac. There is also a program called Parallel which does the same but both OS's can run at the same time, without the need to reboot into each system.

On the subject of size, if you were to take all the components of your PC tower and arrange them neatly on a flat surface,you would find that the pile you create would not be very tall. Everything that sticks up, think of a way to lay it down but still have it connected to the MB. That's the iMac. It uses standard size serial HD's, a Slot Loading CDRW, a logic board and a 20"LCD. Do not confuse thin with lack of performance.


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re: mike new user
by zurple07 / May 24, 2006 5:23 AM PDT
In reply to: Re: Mike new user here

Mike I bought mind at the Apple online store because as a NAPP member I got a good discount and had to go through them to get it. If it hadn't been for that I would have used an Apple Store. They have a service available (at a small annual fee) that allows you to call in and set up an appointment for service and help in general. Also they would help you sertup your computer before you ever leave the store. The people in my local store here were extremely helpful when I was looking into buying my MAC. I beleive if you went into their store and asked the same questions you are asking here they probably could show you a computer with some of the programs already loaded. You won't find Photoshop because it will be mid year before the Intel version will be availale.

AS for ease in setup, just plug it in and you off and running. It has the Airport build in and I was online without doing a thing. Loading programs is different from Windows but much faster and less trouble.

Go visit them, have a look and lesson and I think you'll see the advantage of owning a MAC . I may get the program to run both os sys simply to run Photoshop CS on this computer without having to buy a MAC version.
As you know. updates are far cheaper but that is about all I would run on windows!
Let us know what you decide to do!

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re: mike new user
by arodsny / May 25, 2006 10:07 PM PDT
In reply to: re: mike new user

Thank you again for your input and reply. I've got plans to break away today to go to the Apple store in San Antonio. The only machines they have are spec'd with the 128mb video card. I've been told that should be good for most everything I will use it for. They said the 256mb card is recommended for 3d rendering. I'll upgrade to 2gb of memory so as not to have to do it later.

Do you guys use a USB card reader for pulling images off your SD cards and memory sticks? My pcs have those 5/7way media readers and I use both types of media in my cameras.

Thanks again!


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Card Reader
by mrmacfixit Forum moderator / May 25, 2006 10:46 PM PDT
In reply to: re: mike new user

Yes, I use a card reader because it is faster and does not drain the camera battery.
However, it is not essential as the Mac will recognize almost every camera out there with a USB connection.


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by zurple07 / May 28, 2006 12:55 AM PDT
In reply to: re: mike new user

Mike, the iMAC has recognized everything I've connected via USB, printer, zip drive, card reader, etc. I still have a scanner to connect but have no doubt that will be accepted too. Just another marvel of Apple!
You will love that computer. I did upgrade to 256 on the video card and 2G of ram.


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by arodsny / May 28, 2006 3:06 AM PDT
In reply to: iMAC

Thank you guys for your inpit and suggestions. Yesterday I called an order to the Apple store in San Antonio and they maxed out a 20" iMAC with ram for me so it was ready when I got there. I took a 1hr one on one Q&A session and I was off and running. Signed up for a .mac account and have loaded a killer blog site about my son and imported all 4305 photos (had to burn them to dvd off the pc first). I just got out the mini-dv to start capturing video today.

Anyway, I'm psyched with this new machine thus far.

Thanks again!


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great job
by jptherien / May 29, 2006 1:39 AM PDT
In reply to: iMAC

keep it on!

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Welcome to the Mac World
by mrmacfixit Forum moderator / May 28, 2006 4:53 AM PDT

I have been following this thread since it started and one thing impressed me about the original poster, msigman.
Over the course of the thread he received 8 responses to various questions, almost all of which contained constructive advice and suggestions.
That was not what impressed me about the msigman though.

At the end of the thread we learn that msigman, having followed 7/8th's of the advice given, is now the proud owner of a brand new iMac, complete with all the bells and whistles.
This still is not what impressed me about msigman.

So, I'll tell you what it was. If you go back and read the entire thread you will find that msigman actually responded to all the good advice that was passed along. That impressed me! To actually take the time to thank the people who gave their time to help, is starting to be unusual.
Too many posters are post and run types, see as an example.

Thank you, msigman, and enjoy your new iMac


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Reply to Welcome to the Mac World
by arodsny / May 29, 2006 3:36 AM PDT

Thanks for the good words P.

In all seriousness though. Despite my innate drive to learn a new way of computing, your post and the others are what really put me out of my misery and helped me make the call.

I am enjoying the learning process thus far and look forward to my next one on one as I signed up for their learning service (i forget what they call it).

Thanks once again. I'll check back in with you guys to see what's going on!


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Good Luck Mike
by grimgraphix / May 29, 2006 4:40 AM PDT

and welcome to the least frustrating experience with a computer you will ever have. Grin


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