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Old May 22nd, 2004, 03:33 AM   #1
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Hi there! I'm the new guy.
First of all, this web site - cool, informative and Canadian- love it!
Obviously everybody here uses a Mac, I have a PC, Pentium II, 200MHz, 2GB HD.
Okay, stop laughing. I need help, I want to buy a Mac, I want to switch. My PC is driving me up the wall, no, it’s driving me though the wall. I can’t take it any more, I want that thing berried, destroyed, cut it up in little pieces and feed it to… anyway, I know little of Macs. Okay, I know nothing of Macs except that it suppose to be reliable and easy to use. So how do I start? I looked at some magazines and web sites, but it’s all techno talk: G-force that, X this, Beige here, 10.something there, I just don’t know what all that means. So before I make some salesman with the best of intentions (I’m sure) very happy, I would like some advice from the experts on what should be my first Mac, where to buy, what to look for and what to avoid. Now, this would be for home use, with a Photoshop for digital darkroom, word pro, few games, possibly with a DVD player, a zip drive and of course the Internet. Also, before you want to show off and go techno on me, (which I’m not) go easy, step-by-step, talk to me like I’m a six year old, and if any other web sites you have in mind which would tell me how to start with a Mac would be appreciated.

Really, really, thanks.
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Old May 22nd, 2004, 06:07 AM   #2
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LOL! Hey man [welcome.

Basically, there's two ways I would suggest you go, hardware-wise:

A) Get a new eMac. They're reasonably fast, wonderfully featured and very well bundled -- and at a decent price. It would handle all the "consumer level" Photoshoping you'd want. Just get LOTS of RAM.

B) Get an older Sawtooth and upgrade the hell out of it. You'd end up spending about the same amount as the eMac -- maybe even a bit more, if you went bonkers. The point of this approach is that you can stuff some kickin' DUAL G4 processor upgrades in it that would smoke the eMac on dual processor aware apps like Photoshop. Another plus is that if you're tight on dough, you can start with a stock Sawtooth for about $650.00, use a standard VGA monitor, and your two button USB mouse. You'll also have to pay for OS X and some software, too, wherears the eMac comes with lots (not Photoshop, though).

Others may have alternate suggestions. Also, if you have other questions, let 'er RIP. [img]smile.gif[/img]
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Old May 22nd, 2004, 07:34 AM   #3
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Welcome. I was sort of in your shoes a few months ago and ended up switching in March - I wanted the portability though so I decided on an iBook.

My friend, ScriptKiddie, showed me around the Mac world a bit - he bought an eMac and uses it for all of the reasons you mentioned and he and his family love it.

I agree with Macaholic - you get a lot of machine in the new eMacs and they are very affordable and packed with goodies. Of course you are likely very used to tinkering so a Sawtooth would also be a good start.

I would think though, if you have been limping along on a P2 with a 2Gb HD - an eMac will really blow you away.

Check them out on Apple's website and you can browse the specs.

Good luck.
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Old May 22nd, 2004, 07:35 AM   #4
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Macaholic's suggestions are right on.

To find out more about the eMac, you can't really do much better than Look at the hardware tab, not the store. Under hardware they detail exactly what the eMac can do in fairly plain language.

I recently bought the latest eMac for home use. Very, very impressive computer. My daughter is a Photoshop animal and it handles it very well - I maxed out the RAM. Really good value for the cash. If you have specific questions about this model, ask away.

You are going to love the iLife suite of products, all detailed on the Apple site. Wonderful for home use.
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Old May 22nd, 2004, 08:57 AM   #5
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I'm with the others - go with the eMac.!

Now to answer some of your other questions:

Apple divides its computers into segments - Pro and Consumer.

Pro models would be the G5 Powermac, the G4 Powermac (although this would make an excellent home machine too), the G4 Powerbook.

Consumer models: eMac, iMac (this is the one with the LCD screen that looks like a desk lamp), iBook.

If you buy new then buy from the consumer line. If you buy used then buy from the pro line. The pro line is generally more upgradeable than the consumer line, which generally has closed architecture. You can still upgrade ram and hard drive in the consumer line but there isn't room for expansion cards.

OS X means 'Operating System - 10'

We are currently up to OS X 10.3 'Panther'. In the Mac OS nomenclature every successive release increases by an increment of .1, so the last release was '10.2 Jaguar' and later this year 10.4 'Tiger' will be released.

As for 'where to buy', give or MacDoc or DPI Mac a call and discuss your needs with them. I can personally vouch for these two. Tell them you're interested in the eMac but say you're also interested in exploring used machines.

You want something with a G4 processor, not a G3, unless you go for a recent used iBook laptop, which have only now switched to G4 in the new models. You don't want a beige tower- those were G3's from the late 1990's. They are called 'beige' because of the PC like beige plastic case.

Do you really need the ZIP drive? If so you may will need to get an external drive - Apple stopped including ZIPs in their pro towers several years ago. All new Macs now have at least a DVD R/CD RW, and many have DVD RW/CD RW for storage, which obviously is far superior to ZIP, which is obsolete btw. Also you'll probably need to pick up a new printer if the one you have now isn't USB.

Jacek, please visit
Apple History . This site will give you a nice overview of the history of Apple hardware.
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Old May 22nd, 2004, 09:05 AM   #6
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Welcome, Jacek.

As a first time buyer, I would strongly recommend buying new from a reputable Authorized Apple Reseller! The quality of after sales service will likely be a major factor in your experiences with the Mac. Plan your future uses for the new Mac carefully and base your purchase on your perceived needs. Apple's iApps (iTunes, iPhoto, iMovie, iDVD) may provide all kinds of incentive for future uses, and you want to be sure the Mac model you buy will serve you well as time goes by.

The discussion you have with a reseller should provide you a feel as to whether or not he/she is the right person for you to deal with. Take your time and don't be afraid to ask ANYTHING!
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Old May 22nd, 2004, 10:56 AM   #7
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hey all [img]smile.gif[/img]

I just want to point out again that, with a Sawtooth, he could have a cheap fixer-upper that has the potential to significantly out-perform an eMac -- IF this is important to him. It may not be.

There are two main things that an eMac DEFINITELY has that he may or may not require -- but would be paying for anyway in that eMac package: a 17" CRT and Combo or Superdrive. If the guy just wants a FAST CDRW, he's not getting one. If he already has or wants a (different) CRT -- or an LCD -- then he doesn't need the eMac's 17".

A possible scenario would be buying a used Sawtooth for >$550.00 and adding a single 1.4GHz G4 for CAN$628.75 and it'll out run the eMac. OR, he can get some eMac stompin' HONKIN' DUAL 1.25GHz processor for CAN$945.16. Yeah, that's A LOT more than an eMac when you total that duallie with the Sawtooth, but it will also outperform most any G4-based Powermac Apple ever made in Photoshop.

As an example, here's my over five year old rig's stock config :

G4/450 (1MB L2 cache, no L3)
20GB 5400rpm drive
DVD-ROM drive
2X AGP ATI Rage 128 Pro (16MB)

Over the years, I have upgraded it to this:
Dual 1.3GHz G4 (2MB L3 cache per processor
A 72GB 7200rpm IBM Deskstar and a 120GB 7200rpm Seagate
ATI Radeon 9000 Pro
And just today, I added dual 17" NEC flat panels (model LCD71v with 16ms response time) The emac does have an external monitor connector (or can go out to S-VHS), but it only ddoes screen mirroring. there is a hack "out there" that allows you to do screen spanning instead of mirroring

Here are my "xBench" scores, which are ore than a little faster than the AVERAGE score of any G4-based Powermac category.

So, Jacek, it all depends on how high you ultimately want to fly, because you will probably never be able to upgrade the eMac's processor. On the other hand, it IS a great package (including Word/Excel compatibility for Mac and Windows) all in one purchase.

If you can't afford a G5, and as high-end dual G4 Powermacs are hard to come by, this -- to me -- is the best way to get the most power in exactly the combination of components you may want (like it is with your PC, there).

All food for thought.
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Old May 22nd, 2004, 11:23 AM   #8
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3 (easy) steps to Mac goodness:

1) Buy an eMac!
Visit your local apple reseller. In Toronto I recommend=>
Click on Macs:
everyone and their mother recommends:
Carbon Computing:

2) Visit your local PC store and pick up 2 x 512 MB DDR PC2700 RAM. Pick up some more or less reputable ram, something like Kingston, Crucial, I recommend =>

Canada Computers:

3) Get a book unless you are pretty comfortable with computers in general. I recommend something like=> Link - Panther Tutorial

EDIT: Made link shorter, messed formatting for both 1024x768 and 800x600 users. [img]smile.gif[/img]

RESPONSE to Chealion: Sorry for being lazy, using a 1600x1200 res. you forget bout these issues.

[ May 22, 2004, 09:31 PM: Message edited by: insertclevername ]
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Old May 22nd, 2004, 06:45 PM   #9
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If the guy just wants a FAST CDRW, he's not getting one.
Um, Apple's current Combo drives burn at 32x speed - that's considered slow?
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Old May 23rd, 2004, 10:01 AM   #10
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The eMac also has the cheapest extended warranty,
That in it self is a bonus.

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