Idiotic Mac Questions for an Idiotic Mac Newbie Idiot. Idiot.

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  • Lukus 6 Feb 2008 22:29:21 19,037 posts
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    Ok, I think my title says it all. My queries, in all likelihood, will appear moronic as I know very little about Macs.

    Basically, I intend to buy a Mac of some sort in the near future as my aging PC is on its last legs.

    I will likely bump this thread throughout the next year in the run up to buying, and in the early stages of use.

    Currently I'm thinking I don't want a Macbook as I'd like a nice big screen and more bang for my buck and the option to upgrade easily.

    Presently I only have a few questions-

    1.) If I were to buy a Mac Pro, would it be compatiable with a non Apple monitor (told you the questions would be moronic), or even an HDTV?

    2.) Just how powerful are the current lowest spec Mac Pros?-

    One 2.8GHz Quad-Core Intel Xeon
    2GB (2x1GB) 800MHz DDR2 fully buffered ECC memory
    ATI Radeon HD 2600 XT 256MB GDDR3

    2a.) As a PC Spec that doesn't sound amazing, but I hear it works differently in Macs? Or something..

    2b.) How would that setup handle Mac games and PC games through Boot Camp?



    That's all for now, but stay tuned for more embarrassing questions folks. Thank you in advance. Don't mock me.

    Paintings & Photographs

  • Telepathic.Geometry 6 Feb 2008 22:31:21 11,288 posts
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    Yay, my Mac arrives tomorrow or the day after, and I'll be needing this thread!!! :)

    || PSN Barrysama || NNID Barrysama ||

  • FWB 6 Feb 2008 22:32:05 44,092 posts
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    Lukus wrote:
    2b.) How would that setup handle Mac games and PC games through Boot Camp?


    That's all for now, but stay tuned for more embarrassing questions folks. Thank you in advance. Don't mock me.


    Don't buy a Mac if gaming is a concern, but that setup will run most games out there, albeit at lower res. Not sure about the likes of Crysis. Probably not.
  • Lukus 6 Feb 2008 22:36:19 19,037 posts
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    Telepathic.Geometry wrote:
    Yay, my Mac arrives tomorrow or the day after, and I'll be needing this thread!!! :)
    Awesome! Fellow Mac newbs unite!

    FWB wrote:

    Don't buy a Mac if gaming is a concern, but that setup will run most games out there, albeit at lower res. Not sure about the likes of Crysis. Probably not.


    Good point. Rest assured, games aren't that big a concern really. More me trying to understand the spec.

    I'll be using a lot of Photoshop and various video editing/animation/sound software primarily. Also lots of non game entertainment features hopefully.

    Paintings & Photographs

  • FWB 6 Feb 2008 22:39:35 44,092 posts
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    What I like most about my Mac is the OS. It simply works. Just couldn't go back to XP. As lay Mac user that's what I paid the extra for, tho naturally my iMac is very nicely designed too.
  • Telepathic.Geometry 6 Feb 2008 22:44:00 11,288 posts
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    That's why I got a Mac too. :) I'm looking forward to playing around with it and pimping every pimpable feature on there. :) /is as excited as a kid on Christmas Eve

    || PSN Barrysama || NNID Barrysama ||

  • mrharvest 6 Feb 2008 23:16:16 5,194 posts
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    Mac Pro comes with a DVI -> VGA adapter and you can buy a DVI -> HDMI adapter pretty cheap too.

    Also, in the PowerPC era Apple megahurtz used to be 'worth more' than PC megahurtz. These days since it's Intel chips I think there isn't any difference.

    The reasons why you'd want to buy an Apple computer are the OS, the design and overall integration of the whole package. If you don't care for those, I think it's better to look at generic PCs.
  • Lukus 6 Feb 2008 23:40:23 19,037 posts
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    Mr Harvest wrote:
    Mac Pro comes with a DVI -> VGA adapter and you can buy a DVI -> HDMI adapter pretty cheap too.

    Also, in the PowerPC era Apple megahurtz used to be 'worth more' than PC megahurtz. These days since it's Intel chips I think there isn't any difference.

    The reasons why you'd want to buy an Apple computer are the OS, the design and overall integration of the whole package. If you don't care for those, I think it's better to look at generic PCs.

    Hmm, it would appear I'm an adapter newb too. So I assume that means you can easily hook it up to any VGA/HDMI monitor or TV?

    I'm looking forward very much to the ease of use and everything 'just working'. I'm sick to death of every single app on my PC wanting access to the internet, setting up processes all the time and so on. Generic PCs can go fuck themselves. :D

    Paintings & Photographs

  • deem 6 Feb 2008 23:49:15 31,641 posts
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    What's your budget Lukus?

    Sounds to me like a MacBook Pro would meet your requirements, but have the added bonus of being portable if you needed it.

    Personally, I don't see the point in Mac Pros unless you are working with music and need sound cards etc.
  • MrCarrot 7 Feb 2008 00:02:24 3,516 posts
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    Lukus wrote:

    Hmm, it would appear I'm an adapter newb too. So I assume that means you can easily hook it up to any VGA/HDMI monitor or TV?

    Yes.
  • Lukus 7 Feb 2008 00:03:31 19,037 posts
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    Budget will most likely be around 1500 max. I know someone who can get me 25% off. Failing that I'd happily get a refurb if enough people reassure me there.

    I was thinking Mac Pro as I'd prefer a nice big monitor. I'm on a laptop at the moment and have rarely taken advantage of its portableness.

    I was also thinking a Mac Pro would last longer giving me the option to upgrade easily.. I dunno. I haven't ruled out an iMac yet.

    Paintings & Photographs

  • Telepathic.Geometry 7 Feb 2008 00:06:39 11,288 posts
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    Lukus wrote: Budget will most likely be around 1500 max.
    :) Same budget as me, except I'm going for a fully pimped mac mini and a 23" screen (to be bought sometime in April). :)

    || PSN Barrysama || NNID Barrysama ||

  • FWB 7 Feb 2008 00:10:50 44,092 posts
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    Lukus wrote:
    I haven't ruled out an iMac yet.

    Unless portability is a must I would go for the iMac. Slightly more bang for you buck and a nice big screen.
  • quantumsheep 7 Feb 2008 00:17:27 3,127 posts
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    Telepathic.Geometry wrote:
    Lukus wrote: Budget will most likely be around 1500 max.
    :) Same budget as me, except I'm going for a fully pimped mac mini and a 23" screen (to be bought sometime in April). :)

    I love my Mac Mini - bought it just under a year ago and it really got me into the Apple ethos.

    Have since bought:

    iPod Shuffle
    iPod Nano (for Mrs Sheep)
    iPod Touch
    Macbook

    Also, the Mini looks great on my 32" HDTV. Get at least 2GB though, as it can chug a little otherwise.
  • deem 7 Feb 2008 00:19:37 31,641 posts
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    Lukus wrote:
    I was thinking Mac Pro as I'd prefer a nice big monitor. I'm on a laptop at the moment and have rarely taken advantage of its portableness.

    Don't forget you can plug a nice big monitor into a MacBook Pro, without even having to turn it off or adjust any settings.

    The 17" MacBook Pro has a screen res option of 1920x1200 - an even bigger screen estate than a regular 26" monitor, or 50" 1080p HDTV - on your lap.

    But if being tied to a desk doesn't bother you, then I guess you should go for an iMac.

    I really don't see what a Mac Pro can offer you to be honest - they are VERY much a pro machine - music industry and 3D graphics, and as a) Mac Video cards are so ludicrously expensive and as rare as rocking horse shit, and b) you can't upgrade the Processor or motherboard, you wouldn't be upgrading it in any way other than RAM - which you can do with an iMac or MBP.

    On the level in which you would be using it, a MBP would offer you everything a Mac Pro would, with the added option of portability - albeit at a premium.

    If you REALLY don't see the appeal of gaming/working/surfing on the sofa or out of the house/away from a desk, then go for an iMac.
  • Lukus 7 Feb 2008 00:29:22 19,037 posts
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    deem wrote:
    Lukus wrote:
    I was thinking Mac Pro as I'd prefer a nice big monitor. I'm on a laptop at the moment and have rarely taken advantage of its portableness.

    Don't forget you can plug a nice big monitor into a MacBook Pro, without even having to turn it off or adjust any settings.

    The 17" MacBook Pro has a screen res option of 1920x1200 - an even bigger screen estate than a regular 26" monitor, or 50" 1080p HDTV - on your lap.

    But if being tied to a desk doesn't bother you, then I guess you should go for an iMac.

    I really don't see what a Mac Pro can offer you to be honest - they are VERY much a pro machine - music industry and 3D graphics, and as a) Mac Video cards are so ludicrously expensive and as rare as rocking horse shit, and b) you can't upgrade the Processor or motherboard, you wouldn't be upgrading it in any way other than RAM - which you can do with an iMac or MBP.

    On the level in which you would be using it, a MBP would offer you everything a Mac Pro would, with the added option of portability - albeit at a premium.

    If you REALLY don't see the appeal of gaming/working/surfing on the sofa or out of the house/away from a desk, then go for an iMac.

    You make the Macbook Pro sound very appealing. I'd no idea you can't upgrade the processer in Mac Pros. I knew this thread was a good idea!

    Ok, assuming for a moment I did get a Macbook Pro; What is the screen quality like? On my wretched laptop at the mo it's pretty awful and looks wildly different from slightly different angles, making judging colours when working potluck. The thought of that happening puts me off straight away.

    You say you can plug a monitor into a Macbook Pro? What about an HDTV?

    Finally, what about overheating? Laptops in my experience are awful for this and, again, the pile of crap I'm on takes a performance hit after only an hour of being on cos of the heat.

    Paintings & Photographs

  • deem 7 Feb 2008 00:31:59 31,641 posts
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    Lukus wrote:
    deem wrote:
    Lukus wrote:
    I was thinking Mac Pro as I'd prefer a nice big monitor. I'm on a laptop at the moment and have rarely taken advantage of its portableness.

    Don't forget you can plug a nice big monitor into a MacBook Pro, without even having to turn it off or adjust any settings.

    The 17" MacBook Pro has a screen res option of 1920x1200 - an even bigger screen estate than a regular 26" monitor, or 50" 1080p HDTV - on your lap.

    But if being tied to a desk doesn't bother you, then I guess you should go for an iMac.

    I really don't see what a Mac Pro can offer you to be honest - they are VERY much a pro machine - music industry and 3D graphics, and as a) Mac Video cards are so ludicrously expensive and as rare as rocking horse shit, and b) you can't upgrade the Processor or motherboard, you wouldn't be upgrading it in any way other than RAM - which you can do with an iMac or MBP.

    On the level in which you would be using it, a MBP would offer you everything a Mac Pro would, with the added option of portability - albeit at a premium.

    If you REALLY don't see the appeal of gaming/working/surfing on the sofa or out of the house/away from a desk, then go for an iMac.

    You make the Macbook Pro sound very appealing. I'd no idea you can't upgrade the processer in Mac Pros. I knew this thread was a good idea!

    Ok, assuming for a moment I did get a Macbook Pro; What is the screen quality like? On my wretched laptop at the mo it's pretty awful and looks wildly different from slightly different angles, making judging colours when working potluck. The thought of that happening puts me off straight away.

    You say you can plug a monitor into a Macbook Pro? What about an HDTV?

    Finally, what about overheating? Laptops in my experience are awful for this and, again, the pile of crap I'm on takes a performance hit after only an hour of being on cos of the heat.

    Screen quality is excellent. I wouldn't use mine as my sole machine if it wasn't!

    Of course - HDTV and a monitor is the same thing as far as a macs concerned.

    They get hot, but no performance hits afaik.
  • Telepathic.Geometry 7 Feb 2008 00:32:06 11,288 posts
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    Lukus wrote: Budget will most likely be around 1500 max.
    Telepathic.Geometry wrote: :) Same budget as me, except I'm going for a fully pimped mac mini and a 23" screen (to be bought sometime in April). :)
    quantumsheep wrote: I love my Mac Mini - bought it just under a year ago and it really got me into the Apple ethos. Have since bought:

    iPod Shuffle
    iPod Nano (for Mrs Sheep)
    iPod Touch
    Macbook

    Also, the Mini looks great on my 32" HDTV. Get at least 2GB though, as it can chug a little otherwise.
    :) Mac mini owners unite! :D I'm actually on the cusp of getting myself an iPod Touch now too. It just screams sex appeal, and I would actually have use of most of the features n a regular basis... Just have to check my finances, and make sure I'm not getting myself into shit first.

    || PSN Barrysama || NNID Barrysama ||

  • quantumsheep 7 Feb 2008 00:46:23 3,127 posts
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    I actually use the Mini, touch and Macbook now on a daily basis, they're seriously all that good!
  • Telepathic.Geometry 7 Feb 2008 00:47:45 11,288 posts
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    quantumsheep wrote: I actually use the Mini, touch and Macbook now on a daily basis, they're seriously all that good!
    I'll be 1/3 of the way there by Friday, 2/3 of the way there by March, and possibly all the way in the quantumsheep happy place by 2009. These things take time... :)

    || PSN Barrysama || NNID Barrysama ||

  • Pooley 7 Feb 2008 01:18:47 1,507 posts
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    I bought a 24" 2.4Ghz iMac just over two weeks ago, and I must say I'm hugely impressed with it. This is the first time I've used a Mac since Uni days when I had a Mac Classic and HP DeskWriter!

    The screen on the iMac is utterly gorgeous, though very bright. I also got the wireless keyboard and mouse combo with the iMac, and they both work well.

    It's just a pleasure to use, just wish I'd bought one sooner. The latest version of OS X, Leopard, is very good as well. So intuitive.

    Took a while to get used to only having one mouse button, but I actually prefer this now to a two button mouse.

    I'm even considering a Macbook to use upstairs, though I'll probably wait until the next technology refresh.

    Overall, very impressed.
  • deem 7 Feb 2008 07:03:14 31,641 posts
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    Pooley wrote:
    Took a while to get used to only having one mouse button, but I actually prefer this now to a two button mouse.

    o_O

    Your mouse does have 2 buttons...

    I couldn't go back to a one button mouse for love nor money.
  • Phreedh 7 Feb 2008 07:38:25 683 posts
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    deem wrote:
    Pooley wrote:
    Took a while to get used to only having one mouse button, but I actually prefer this now to a two button mouse.
    o_O

    Your mouse does have 2 buttons...
    Two weeks of ctrl-clicking... that's rich! =D

    Lukus, I'm gonna mess things up a bit for you. I'm doing what deem's advocating and I'm not too happy about my laptop as a desktop machine.

    I used to have a G5 iMac which I loved, but decided to switch to an MBP when they were released. Got a screen for it, kept my wireless keyboard and mouse and thought it wouldn't be much of a difference. I'm not in love yet though... and it's been two years. =(

    For some reason I just can't find peace with the solution. The fugly screen cables bother me, and the fact that I can't "tuck away" the laptop means I've lost a portion of desk space I was used to when having my iMac. There's a part of my desk which is just dead now. What was once a clean and spacious desk is now a flurry of cables (USB hub, power to laptop, power to screen, screen cable to laptop, firewire to external HD).

    With the iMac I had one single effing cable. One! =)

    Also, I need to keep it open (as in not folded together) or I'm afraid the heat will drive it nuts.

    I need to choose which system to boot (XP or OS X) on the laptop screen, it's not displayed on the "external" screen. Granted, if I just want OS X it's automatically selected without delay, it's only when I boot to XP I need to do this. Still it's an annoyance.

    When the iMac gets some hard ware loving in the graphics card department, I'm going to be all over it. The current card is a bit pap. Not expecting cutting edge tech in something which is essentially a laptop - but I at least want something better than the previous generation in all accounts. The iMac of today is unfortunately a bit LESS powerful than the previous generation when it comes to 3D graphics (ie games).

    I'm not too happy with the screen on the laptop either, the viewing angle is nowhere as good as a stand-alone screen. The screen can not be tilted backwards far enough to get a good angle when using it at a low coffee table, in a lounge or similar. I don't even think you can put it in a 135 degree angle...

    Bear in mind that I've got the first batch of MBPs though... surely improvements have been made.

    Here's my tip. Go to your nearest Apple peddler and check out the laptops. You might very well come to the conclusion I'm full of shit and a whiney bastard. =)

    Edit: Fuck me, mondo post! =(
  • [maven] 7 Feb 2008 08:04:46 5,152 posts
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    The Mac Pro is awesome, I got one of the 1st ones. Insanely fast and quiet. The current low-end model is at least as fast as my model (although I'd make sure to get the 8800GT graphics card and at least 2GB ram).

    I'm using mine with a 24" Dell display, a wired Apple aluminum keyboard and a Microsoft mouse. Heaven!
  • mouse Moderator 7 Feb 2008 08:29:52 10,312 posts
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    Phreedh wrote:
    deem wrote:
    Pooley wrote:
    Took a while to get used to only having one mouse button, but I actually prefer this now to a two button mouse.
    o_O

    Your mouse does have 2 buttons...
    Two weeks of ctrl-clicking... that's rich! =D

    Eh?

    Also: Mac Pros are good if you want to eventually upgrade the GPU / sound / run dual displays (or a 30" Cinema Display which requires the use of both DVIs). They're meant to be proper hardcore media production machines, but will sling games about as well.
  • Deleted user 7 February 2008 08:41:25
    The 2.4GHz iMac with 4GB of RAM (from Crucial, not Apple, because 500 notes don't grow on trees round here!) throws a lot of great games about in Windows as well, to be fair.

    But I'd also suggest a 24" iMac if portability isn't really going to be a factor. Mind you I also have a Powerbook that I occasionally take to the sofa or the bedroom for a bit of surfing, but that's all it really gets used for these days.
  • Jeepers 7 Feb 2008 09:01:52 13,173 posts
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    MrED209 wrote:
    The 2.4GHz iMac with 4GB of RAM (from Crucial, not Apple, because 500 notes don't grow on trees round here!) throws a lot of great games about in Windows as well, to be fair.

    But I'd also suggest a 24" iMac if portability isn't really going to be a factor. Mind you I also have a Powerbook that I occasionally take to the sofa or the bedroom for a bit of surfing, but that's all it really gets used for these days.

    I'm in the same position as you - an iMac for main work at home, and a PB for sofa-browsing. My iMac feels at least as fast as my dual 2gig G5 at my office and is more than comfortable when using the usual suite of Photoshop, Illustrator, Word, Powerpoint, Mail, Safari, Firefox, iTunes, eyetv and Adium. I have 4gig in mine, which I'd recommend.

    On the games front - I'm playing Company of Heroes at 1280x768 with all settings on High (no AA) and getting average frame rates of 30. More than good enough, and better than I expected. This is in Vista as well.

    I'd go for an iMac if I were you. The 17" mbp is a great machine, but it's a large beasty and - for me - a little too ungainly to be truly portable.
  • SirScratchalot 7 Feb 2008 09:16:54 7,872 posts
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    Lukus wrote:
    Mr Harvest wrote:
    Mac Pro comes with a DVI -> VGA adapter and you can buy a DVI -> HDMI adapter pretty cheap too.

    Also, in the PowerPC era Apple megahurtz used to be 'worth more' than PC megahurtz. These days since it's Intel chips I think there isn't any difference.

    The reasons why you'd want to buy an Apple computer are the OS, the design and overall integration of the whole package. If you don't care for those, I think it's better to look at generic PCs.

    Hmm, it would appear I'm an adapter newb too. So I assume that means you can easily hook it up to any VGA/HDMI monitor or TV?

    I'm looking forward very much to the ease of use and everything 'just working'. I'm sick to death of every single app on my PC wanting access to the internet, setting up processes all the time and so on. Generic PCs can go fuck themselves. :D

    It works better for HD tv connections than my dedicated HTPC. I spent ages trying to get a TV that dosen't do pixelmapping over HDMI to accept a DVI signal. It's a pain the nights I spent trying to set up the right amount of hertz, overscan etc with Powerstrip.
    With the macbook I plugged it in and it takes 20 seconds to try every possible transmutation for me and then proceeds to work perfectly.
    Second time it didn't take 20 seconds.

    \o/

    Anyway, most gaming works fine on the MBP through bootcamp, crysis is pretty good since the patch but was pretty dire before TBH.
  • nickthegun 7 Feb 2008 09:18:33 59,365 posts
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    I will second deems 'The 17" MBP screen is amazing'.

    If you take the super resolution-o-tron upgrade (with a matte screen) its just jaw dropping.

    As, ive said before, a little too jaw dropping. Its weird to be able to watch 1080p stuff on it and still think it looks a little blurry. And DVDs look like 3rd generation VHS copies.

    It really has to be seen to be believed, to be fair. The mrs uses it primarily for video editing and you get so much screen real estate she doesnt need a second screen so much.

    ---------------------------------------------------------
    He totally called it

  • deem 7 Feb 2008 09:19:08 31,641 posts
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    SirScratchalot wrote:
    Anyway, most gaming works fine on the MBP through bootcamp, crysis is pretty good since the patch but was pretty dire before TBH.

    Woah, Crysis has improved lots since a patch?

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