Question about iMacs

Posted By: Lex

Question about iMacs - 07/27/13 10:24 AM

I am posting this both here and in Mixed Bag as it is not a purely technical matter.

Our over 10 years old Dell Dimension PC is on its last legs (more like crawling on its knees and struggling to breathe...!) and we have decided to go for an entry level iMac as our needs are fairly modest: mainly work related email and light word processing, iTunes, web surfing/shopping and some light gaming.

This will be our first venture into Apple desk top computing, although my wife has and loves both iPad and iPhone while I love my ancient iPod nanos.

Apple are able to offer us a refurbished 2011 model with the 2.5 ghz processor and built in disk drive at a pretty good price (£819 as against £1099 for the current model with 2.7 ghz processor but disk drive only as an external extra).

This will have full warranty, and as the disk drive is something we are likely to use quite often, especially to upload music and burn music CDs, I like the sound of it.

we would be adding a neat wireless scanner/printer which would also allow printing from the iPad or iPhone, also a separate 1 terrabyte hard drive.

This model has a 500Gb hard drive and 4Gb ram which can be upgraded to 8Gb.

I am aware of some possible compatibility issues with windows based programmes, but suspect that these can be resolved.

I am hoping that some of you may have views one way or the other to help guide us. smile
Posted By: Jenny100

Re: Question about iMacs - 07/27/13 02:57 PM

Originally Posted By: Lex
I am aware of some possible compatibility issues with windows based programmes, but suspect that these can be resolved.

Consider that complete incompatibility outside of virtual environments. For newer software, you'll have to get the Mac version of whatever programs and games you want to use. For older Windows software and games, you'll have to learn to use VMware Fusion or Parallels to set up a virtual environment and install Windows in it. If Windows has drivers for your Mac hardware, you can set up a sort of dual boot with Mac and Windows using Boot Camp. You will need a Windows license to use with VMware Fusion and Boot Camp. According to this, you also need one for Parallels.

Older Mac games made for OS 9 and earlier will not work with OS X. Some games made for early versions of OS X won't work for the current 64-bit versions of OS X Lion or Mountain Lion. So if you have any old Windows games that come on hybrid CD's, with both Windows and Mac OS 9 installs (for example Physicus, Chaos: A Fantasy Adventure, The Last Express, Riven, or Jewels of the Oracle), you're probably better off using the Windows version of the game on a Windows install inside Parallels or VMware Fusion.

If all you wanted to do was browse the Internet and do eMail, a Mac is fine for that. If "light word processing" involves MS Office, there is an MS Office for Mac or you could try the Mac version of Open Office, Neo Office, or other similar free alternatives. iTunes works better on a Mac than on a PC (though it's OK on some PC's). I don't know what you mean by "light gaming" -- older games or newer ones? Games that require a 3D video card or not? Games that require Hardware T&L or not? Games that require OpenGL or OpenAL or not? How recent are the games and are you OK with playing older ones in an emulated environment? Some people say "light gaming" when they only play two games, but one of them happens to have high system requirements -- especially for the video card.

If you're mainly interested in newer casual games, Big Fish has Mac versions of many of them.

Games bought from GOG sometimes have Mac versions, and if you bought the PC version you can also download the Mac version.
Posted By: Draclvr

Re: Question about iMacs - 07/27/13 03:07 PM

The iMacs are beautiful machines. My son has one and it's wonderful for their needs.

There are not just "possible compatibility issues..." You will not be able to run any Windows programs or games on it unless you purchase one of the options for running a Windows OS on it. You would also have to purchase a copy of Windows 7 or 8 for a dual boot.

Microsoft does offer Office for the Mac if you need to have Office applications like Word or Excel.

You don't mention any of the other specs, but I looked up the 2011 iMac and they say it has an older Core i3 processor which would be fine for your needs. The video card is a mobile card because of the design of the iMac - it's an AMD Radeon HD 6750M with 256 MB of video RAM. That's a pretty weak video card for gaming, but it might do for casual games and older adventure games.

None of these things are actual limitations if you were going to jump into the Mac ecosystem completely and other than Office, just stay with Mac programs and applications. It's when you also want to use some Windows application that you will have to jump through some hoops.

Posted By: Lex

Re: Question about iMacs - 07/27/13 03:20 PM

Thank you for those very helpful comments.

I was already thinking about Open Office as a possibility rather than buying the MS Office software for iMac.

The gaming is probably not going to be much of an issue because most of my gaming has been on xBox 360 for some years now (ever since I decided that it did not make sense to go on upgrading my PC whenever a new game came out!).

Having better iTunes response will be a plus because I am very keen on my music using both iPod and CDs.
Posted By: Jenny100

Re: Question about iMacs - 07/27/13 03:26 PM

You may want to take a look at this site
***5 Mac alternatives to MS Office***

Since most of your gaming is on XBox 360, it sounds like you'll be all set.
Posted By: JeanK

Re: Question about iMacs - 08/01/13 02:36 AM

I'm looking at an iMac to for my next purchase early next year, when Windows XP support is dropped. I'm not playing that many action games anymore, and the ones that I do play Warcraft and Diablo can also be played on iMac. I play a lot of big fish games which can also be played on iMac and my iPad.

I've been using an iPad and iPhone for the past six months, and I just love the seamless integration. So I'm ready to make a move to iMac. I tried windows eight on friends computers and it just drives me crazy. I'll keep my XP for older games on Windows, and just use my iMac for everything else.
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