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Help me choose an iMac -- please!!!
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Gordon Cole
Member
 
Join Date: Oct 2007
 
2007-10-01, 03:00

Hello -- I've been lurking for a little while and want to thank everyone because I've learned so much from reading your posts. Now, I humbly ask for your advice. I've been doing research on the new iMacs and I'm kind of torn on which one I should get. I know there was a similar thread recently, but pscates was only asking about the first two models, and he had somewhat different needs/concerns for his iMac.

Here's what I need it for: in addition to the basics (web, etc.), I do A LOT of work in Final Cut Pro and some other video stuff. I use it semi-profesionally, and that work is picking up a little bit.

Here's what I've got now: the original desklamp iMac -- 1GHZ PowerPC G4 with 512 MB memory and a 17" screen. Despite the now antiquated nature of my machine, it's served me well. I've done lots of professional video production on this thing -- nothing anyone's ever heard of, and it's all low-budget enough to keep me in the iMac price range -- but the point is it's worked. However, it's worked slowly, and it's working even more slowly now. And it's finally crossed over to the point where it's driving me crazy, and I want to replace it the day Leopard comes out with a shiny new iMac.

Because I love Macs and still have no choice but to stay in the iMac price range (partly because I'm going to have to spend more money to upgrade some software, I've been told), I've been looking at the new iMacs. I understand that WHICHEVER one I get will be vastly superior to what I have now. There is one particular option I am leaning toward but I'm hoping to get some more expert opinions first. While I consider myself proficient in Final Cut and a few other applications I use, I don't know that much about the rest of the computer.

My questions to you are:

1. Which iMac do you recommend for me?

2. Is there a big difference in the various processor speeds (2.0, 2.4, 2.8)? And keep in mind I'm coming from 1.0... How much of a difference will I notice when I am editing and rendering video?

3. Three of the options have 1GB memory, and the fourth has 2GB. Right now I have 512MB. When it comes to editing video (and also maybe occasionally having Safari and/or Mail on), would I be better off with 1GB or 2GB? If the answer is 2GB, should I get the most expensive machine (more than I want to spend) or buy one of the 1GB models and add another gigabyte at the store?

4. 20" screen versus 24" screen - in addition to size, I've heard the 20" might also be a bit dark?? I've had that problem with my current imac and don't want to have it again, if possible. What is the story on that?

4. Finally, and thank you for bearing with me, how much software will I need to re-buy/upgrade? On this non-Intel machine, I'm currently running Final Cut Pro HD 4.5, plus Adobe CS, Microsoft Word, Final Draft (screenwriting programming), and well,those are the biggies as far as I can remember. I assume my iTunes will transfer over, but I've heard all this other software won't. True??

Thank you so much for your time and advice (I hope). I really appreciate it!

Last edited by Gordon Cole : 2007-10-01 at 05:56.
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Dave
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Join Date: May 2004
Location: Bay Area, CA
 
2007-10-01, 09:43

You're doing video editing, right? I'd go with the 24" screen since it'll show full HD video.
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Taskiss
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Join Date: Jul 2007
Location: St. Louis, MO
 
2007-10-01, 09:57

I am of the opinion that any serious effort deserves the best tools. If you are serious about what you'll be doing, then get the 24" system with max ram.
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zippy
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Join Date: Jul 2005
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2007-10-01, 11:13

First off, Welcome to the 'nova. Second - as far as first posts go, this one is top notch - so well done there!

Third, I would recommend the 24" iMac over the 20", assuming you can, and are willing to afford it. I'd stick with the 2.4 Ghz model and upgrade to 2GB of RAM (that's a $150 upgrade from Apple, or you could possibly do it for less yourself). Jumping from 2.4 to 2.8 Ghz will not be terribly noticeable, and certainly not $250 worth of noticeableness (please forgive generous abuse of the language).

Which version of MS Office/word do you have? As for the other software, I don't know right off whether it would work or not (with the exception of iTunes, which will already be installed - you'll just need to transport your library over and that should be simple with the built in migration tool). If Chucker happens to wander into this thread, I'm sure he'll know about the rest, as might others.

Do you know where children get all of their energy? - They suck it right out of their parents!
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MCQ
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2007-10-01, 11:43

Quote:
Originally Posted by Gordon Cole View Post
4. Finally, and thank you for bearing with me, how much software will I need to re-buy/upgrade? On this non-Intel machine, I'm currently running Final Cut Pro HD 4.5, plus Adobe CS, Microsoft Word, Final Draft (screenwriting programming), and well,those are the biggies as far as I can remember. I assume my iTunes will transfer over, but I've heard all this other software won't. True??
I'm not as sure about FCP 4.5, but the other apps should run on the Intel Mac under Rosetta. With the speed difference between the two systems, you probably won't notice a performance decrease, although it won't be running as fast as updated versions that are Universal Binary (native to both Intel and PPC architectures).
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bassplayinMacFiend
Banging the Bottom End
 
Join Date: Jun 2004
 
2007-10-01, 12:50

I'm almost positive you'll need to update FCP 4.5.

I believe only the 24" screen is SWOP certified so if you're looking for color accuracy, either get the 24" iMac, or a 20" model then spring for whatever external display you like. The latest iMacs can do screen spanning without hacks so you may find this works well for you as you can keep your main work on the main display and have all your toolbars, etc., on the 2nd screen.
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Gordon Cole
Member
 
Join Date: Oct 2007
 
2007-10-01, 14:01

Quote:
Originally Posted by zippy View Post
First off, Welcome to the 'nova. Second - as far as first posts go, this one is top notch - so well done there!
Thank you very much, zippy -- and thank you everyone for your replys so far. I love the internets!

Quote:
Originally Posted by zippy View Post
Third, I would recommend the 24" iMac over the 20", assuming you can, and are willing to afford it. I'd stick with the 2.4 Ghz model and upgrade to 2GB of RAM (that's a $150 upgrade from Apple, or you could possibly do it for less yourself). Jumping from 2.4 to 2.8 Ghz will not be terribly noticeable, and certainly not $250 worth of noticeableness (please forgive generous abuse of the language).

Which version of MS Office/word do you have? As for the other software, I don't know right off whether it would work or not (with the exception of iTunes, which will already be installed - you'll just need to transport your library over and that should be simple with the built in migration tool). If Chucker happens to wander into this thread, I'm sure he'll know about the rest, as might others.
Thanks, that is what I've been leaning toward, but I am easily confused. As for MS Office, I have MS Office X... will this work on the new Intel machines? And furthermore, if I no longer have the original disc, can I just migrate the application over to the new iMac?

Quote:
Originally Posted by MCQ View Post
I'm not as sure about FCP 4.5, but the other apps should run on the Intel Mac under Rosetta. With the speed difference between the two systems, you probably won't notice a performance decrease, although it won't be running as fast as updated versions that are Universal Binary (native to both Intel and PPC architectures).
What is Rosetta? (Hopefully that's not too embarrassing of a question around here.)

Quote:
Originally Posted by bassplayinMacFiend View Post
I'm almost positive you'll need to update FCP 4.5.

I believe only the 24" screen is SWOP certified so if you're looking for color accuracy, either get the 24" iMac, or a 20" model then spring for whatever external display you like. The latest iMacs can do screen spanning without hacks so you may find this works well for you as you can keep your main work on the main display and have all your toolbars, etc., on the 2nd screen.
I also don't know what SWOP is, but I think I get it from the context. And of course I suppose I could go google it...

More importantly, do you think I can do with just an upgrade, or do I need to rebuy the entire FCP application?

Thanks again, and please keep those recommendations coming. I really appreciate it!
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Bryson
Rocket Surgeon
 
Join Date: Feb 2005
Location: Whitby
 
2007-10-01, 14:31

With regards to colour accuracy: for Photoshop, yes, the SWOP certification might be useful, but for Final Cut, you must preview on a video monitor if you care about colour. A computer monitor just won't do.

I suppose I'm saying get a 20" and a JVC preview monitor, not a 24".

I believe you can upgrade from 4.5 to FCS2 for about half the price of FCS2.
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MCQ
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2007-10-01, 14:49

Quote:
Originally Posted by Gordon Cole View Post
What is Rosetta? (Hopefully that's not too embarrassing of a question around here.)
http://www.apple.com/rosetta/

It's a technology that allows most apps built for PowerPC to run on Intel-based Macs. From that page, Apple's Pro Apps (including FCP) aren't supported. So, you would need to upgrade to Final Cut Studio.
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Gordon Cole
Member
 
Join Date: Oct 2007
 
2007-10-01, 15:35

Thanks for the rosetta link. Now I get it. But ouch - that $700 upgrade for FCP is going to have a major impact on which iMac I can afford. Ugh.

And Bryson, thanks for the screen info. I do use a color TV as an external monitor when I edit, but I find it helpful to have both (TV monitor and the iMac screen). I really want to buy the 24" screen and upgrade to 2GB mem, but this whole FCP upgrade thing is making it tough...
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Dave
Ninja Editor
 
Join Date: May 2004
Location: Bay Area, CA
 
2007-10-01, 16:57

You could ask Apple if it'll work, and if so, put off upgrading FCP. It's much harder to upgrade the hardware in an AIO computer like the iMac than the software.
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Gordon Cole
Member
 
Join Date: Oct 2007
 
2007-10-01, 17:01

I've asked Apple, and they say upgrade FC. Even worse, they just told me on the phone that my current FCP is not upgrade-able because I bought it on an academic discount. They said you can't upgrade the academic software. So looks like I'll be buying the whole thing, not the upgrade. But yes, first I'll get the iMac, then I'll figure out what to do about FC. Thanks again.
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Gordon Cole
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Join Date: Oct 2007
 
2007-10-01, 17:43

P.S. ... I don't know if I can wait for Leopard. I'm starting to get itchy...
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PB PM
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2007-10-01, 18:10

If you can hold on till the end of the month, I'd suggest doing so, no point in having to spend another $129 to get Leopard too.
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screensaver400
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Join Date: Jan 2005
 
2007-10-01, 18:12

Quote:
Originally Posted by Gordon Cole View Post
I've asked Apple, and they say upgrade FC. Even worse, they just told me on the phone that my current FCP is not upgrade-able because I bought it on an academic discount. They said you can't upgrade the academic software. So looks like I'll be buying the whole thing, not the upgrade. But yes, first I'll get the iMac, then I'll figure out what to do about FC. Thanks again.
I'd buy the Mac, and try the version of FC that you have. You might get lucky.
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FFL
Fishhead Family Reunited
 
Join Date: May 2004
Location: Slightly Off Center
 
2007-10-01, 20:03

Good advice so far, except for buying RAM from Apple - don't do it!

See this thread:
http://forums.applenova.com/showthread.php?t=3661
and in particular, this is where your best choices are:
http://eshop.macsales.com/shop/memor...re_2_Duo/DDR2/
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Gordon Cole
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Join Date: Oct 2007
 
2007-10-01, 20:17

Quote:
Originally Posted by FFL View Post
Good advice so far, except for buying RAM from Apple - don't do it!

See this thread:
http://forums.applenova.com/showthread.php?t=3661
and in particular, this is where your best choices are:
http://eshop.macsales.com/shop/memor...re_2_Duo/DDR2/
Thanks! You are right, of course.

OK, I just got off the phone with a big Mac store in my area (not the Apple store, but a licensed third party or whatever you call them). The man there told me the only 24" iMacs he had in stock were custom built with wireless keyboard and wireless mouse for $1,849 (an extra $50). He offered to throw in 1GB RAM for free -- so that would be $1,850 for a 24" iMac (2.4GHz/320MB harddrive) with 2GB of RAM and a wireless keyboard and wireless mouse. (EDIT: Plus I forgot -- a $100 rebate, so it's actually $1,750.)

Sound good?

I've never had a wireless keyboard or mouse -- should the wirelessness matter to me one way or the other? I have no idea if the functionality is the same or better/worse.

I told him I'd call him tomorrow (Tuesday) if I wanted it.

I don't know if I can wait a whole month for Leopard.

Last edited by Gordon Cole : 2007-10-02 at 03:01.
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FFL
Fishhead Family Reunited
 
Join Date: May 2004
Location: Slightly Off Center
 
2007-10-01, 20:47

Well, if you really want to save money - order a $1799 machine from amazon.com
http://www.amazon.com/gp/offer-listi...810139-8650043
no sales tax
possible free shipping
$100 rebate

and then add either 1 GB or 2 GB of RAM yourself.
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Gordon Cole
Member
 
Join Date: Oct 2007
 
2007-10-01, 23:20

I tried posting earlier, but for some reason it wouldn't go up. I'm trying again - but basically, I have an opportunity to buy a new 24" iMac with wireless keyboard, wireless mouse, and an upgrade to 2GB of RAM -- all for $1,850 less a $100 rebate -- so $1,750. I'm tempted to jump on this. Anyone feel the need to reel me in?

Edit: Oops, my earlier post showed up after this one. And I'd even waited a few hours for it to appear. Oh well.

Last edited by Gordon Cole : 2007-10-02 at 03:03.
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FFL
Fishhead Family Reunited
 
Join Date: May 2004
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2007-10-02, 01:33

Do you use the numeric keypad on your keyboard very often?

Because the current Apple wireless keyboard is like a laptop keyboard in that it does not have the numeric keypad.



Other than that possible deal-breaker, I think you're on the right track.
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Gordon Cole
Member
 
Join Date: Oct 2007
 
2007-10-02, 02:59

Quote:
Originally Posted by FFL View Post
Do you use the numeric keypad on your keyboard very often?

Because the current Apple wireless keyboard is like a laptop keyboard in that it does not have the numeric keypad.

Other than that possible deal-breaker, I think you're on the right track.
Hmm... well I do use the numeric keypad, and I'm pretty used to it being there, but I don't necessarily use it enough for it to be a deal-breaker. Oy, why does life have to be so complicated?
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Gordon Cole
Member
 
Join Date: Oct 2007
 
2007-10-02, 04:16

I've also started to read some negative reviews of the wireless mighty mouse, that there might be a slow lag time when you need to do timeline edits in Final Cut. Anyone know anything about that?

Thanks again for all the advice...
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chucker
 
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2007-10-02, 04:42

Apple's wireless mice use Bluetooth, which indeed has some lag. If you absolutely need wireless but still wish to avoid lag, go with an RF-based solution.
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The Mind
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Join Date: Jan 2006
 
2007-10-02, 07:01

Gordon - Couple of things.

1, do you know any teachers or parents - if so you can get finalcut pro accademic for 700$
2nd you can also get a discount of a new mac.

And thinking about it does the US (I assume your US) also have a tax allowance for purchases for business use like we do in the UK?
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Gordon Cole
Member
 
Join Date: Oct 2007
 
2007-10-02, 13:24

Chucker... I don't need wireless at all, it's just the store that ordered their iMac custom with a wireless keyboard/mouse. I'm scared about the lag time, but then I realized I'd be saving $200 and I could always use my old mouse if I don't like the wireless one.

The Mind, yes I've been working on scamming, I mean using, an educational discount. And yes, I can write off a portion of the cost from my taxes.

Thank you all again for your advice. I'm leaning heavily toward not waiting for Leopard and scooping up this deal -- after all I'm getting $2,000 worth of computer/memory/accessories for $1,750... not sure if I can beat that even if I do end up hating the mouse.
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bassplayinMacFiend
Banging the Bottom End
 
Join Date: Jun 2004
 
2007-10-02, 14:08

If you buy an edu version of Final Cut Studio, you won't be able to upgrade that version in the future, just like what happened with you and FCP 4.5. Also, legally you aren't supposed to use educational versions for commercial projects (i.e. stuff you get paid to do).
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FFL
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2007-10-02, 14:25

Quote:
Also, legally you aren't supposed to use educational versions for commercial projects (i.e. stuff you get paid to do).
You also may find yourself in a legal grey area if you try to claim a business deduction on something that was purchased using an academic discount.
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Gordon Cole
Member
 
Join Date: Oct 2007
 
2007-10-02, 14:35

You're both so right... although I will end up in a gray area with my rent if I don't do something. I simply can't afford to buy both the computer and FCP. Which should tell you something about the "business" I'm running...
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FFL
Fishhead Family Reunited
 
Join Date: May 2004
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2007-10-02, 17:03

Well, you can always try installing your old FCP on the new system.... or, just making due with iMovie HD until you make enough $$ to pay for the FCP.
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Gordon Cole
Member
 
Join Date: Oct 2007
 
2007-10-02, 19:38

Well I went and bought the iMac (24" etc.) and I'm excited. Haven't taken it out of the box yet - just got home. I've put off worrying about FCP since setup and playing-with-new-toy time will occupy me for a couple days... thanks again for all the advice - I'll report back on whether I did good or not...
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