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Some Questions for iMac Users

post #1 of 14
Thread Starter 
My old 7300 / MaxPowr G3 250 that I set up at my parents house for them to use (for word processing and email mostly) is about to croak. Being far past the point where it would be worth sinking addition money into, I'm looking into the low end iMac for them.

My reasoning is pretty simple: it would perform much better than the current machine, take up much less space on their desk, and with a USB - to - Serial adapter, can use their exisitng printer....also it will be able to utilize OS X if I decide to go that route (not sure at this point whether I want to go down that road or not, since they're less than techno-literate).

My questions are:

1. How likely is it that by January or February, the bottom of the line iMac will be faster or otherwise more capable than the existing 500Mhz Indigo model on Apple's site?

2. How easy is it to upgrade the RAM on these things? Anywhere near as easy as say a G4? If so I'm going with the smallest amount of RAM from Apple that I can, and will buy some modules from Crucial and install them myself.

3. How well do the lower-end iMacs handle OS X, given a decent amount of RAM (say 256MB or more)?

4. Anyone have bad luck using their serial printers via USB-to-Serial connectors? I tried that once with my G4 (tryed using an old modem) and it was bad. Couldn't get the setup to work at all -- even with latest drivers, etc. Have the connectors gotten more reliable?

5. Anyone out there want to make the case that my Mom would be better off with an iBook (for added $$)? All she's going to use (once I get done setting everything up and "teaching" her) is MS Word (for letters, mailing labels, etc), Entourage, Explorer and maybe some language CD-ROMs and other odds-and-ends. I figured an iMac would be more than enough for her, but if someone wants to make a counter-argument I'm all ears.

Thanks in advance....
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post #2 of 14
[quote]Originally posted by Moogs :
<strong>

1. How likely is it that by January or February, the bottom of the line iMac will be faster or otherwise more capable than the existing 500Mhz Indigo model on Apple's site?

Maybe they'll go up performance wise. Wouldn't there even be a whole new iMac design by then too?

2. How easy is it to upgrade the RAM on these things? Anywhere near as easy as say a G4? If so I'm going with the smallest amount of RAM from Apple that I can, and will buy some modules from Crucial and install them myself.

Very easy, just open the back and switch or add more. Remember too that many deals out there will double or triple RAM for free (or thirty dollar install fee).

3. How well do the lower-end iMacs handle OS X, given a decent amount of RAM (say 256MB or more)?

Get as much RAM you can afford. I have an iMac G3 700 with 768 MB RAM and OSX runs great. Personally though I think iMac's screen is too small for OSX. Even at 1024 x 768.

4. Anyone have bad luck using their serial printers via USB-to-Serial connectors? I tried that once with my G4 (tryed using an old modem) and it was bad. Couldn't get the setup to work at all -- even with latest drivers, etc. Have the connectors gotten more reliable?

I used PowerPrint on my first iMac and it worked fine. It was a parralell port to USB cord and driver software. Now again, look at the dealers out there and see if they'll throw in a free printer in the deal. Might be a better direction.

5. Anyone out there want to make the case that my Mom would be better off with an iBook (for added $$)? All she's going to use (once I get done setting everything up and "teaching" her) is MS Word (for letters, mailing labels, etc), Entourage, Explorer and maybe some language CD-ROMs and other odds-and-ends. I figured an iMac would be more than enough for her, but if someone wants to make a counter-argument I'm all ears.

I'll let someone else discuss that. I gave my Mom my first iMac (the very first Apple came out with). In the deal I got with the new iMac I got a free printer so she got that too. As soon as she learns how to use it I'll let you know if she like it!

</strong><hr></blockquote>
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post #3 of 14
People will give you some elaborate reason for why or why not the iMac will be upgraded soon but the truth is, nobody REALLY knows. Let me put it to you this way: the last iMac upgrade was in July and Macworld is in Jan, and Macworld Tokyo is in March. Draw your own conclusions.
RAM is VERY easy to install. A door on the back of the iMac drops down and the ram slots are exposed.
OS X will run just fine, don't worry about that.
As for the adapters, I have no idea.
'
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post #4 of 14
Thread Starter 
Artman: I had a feeling screen size might be an issue with iMacs and OS X, although by extension the same issue would apply to the iBook I suppose.

Glad to hear RAM upgrades are a snap. As for the printer, I thought about the "buy an iMac get a free printer" thing...just trying to consider the possibility, since the printer she has works well and is more than capable enough for her (Epson Stylus 740).

Anyway, the more comments the better as I want to do this right the first time and not have to think about it for another four or five years....
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post #5 of 14
1. I think there's a good chance ... but then again I was saying the same thing before MWNY.

2. Very easy ... flip the iMac onto its face, open the little access door in the back. That's about it.

3. OS X runs great. I have OS X on an iMac DV 400 with no problems. I just upgraded to 640 MB of RAM, but before the upgrade it seemed fine with 192 MB.

I agree with Artman's point about the screen. The iMac's screen is a little too fuzzy for me at 1024x768, so I run it at 800x600. Mostly it's fine, but Entourage X is a little cramped. An LCD iMac, if it in fact arrives next month, would address this.

4. Dunno -- don't have a serial printer.

5. Depends on how much you parents would make use of the portability. If it's just going to sit on a desk all the time anyway, get an iMac, if only for the better keyboard and mouse vs. the iBook's keyboard and trackpad. Plus, the low-end iBook still has only a 66 MHz bus, compared with the iMac's 100 MHz.

I think a current iMac is just fine for what your parents want to do: word processing, Web and e-mail. Since MWSF is only about a month away, it's up to you whether an LCD iMac would be worth that wait.
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post #6 of 14
Thread Starter 
It would indeed. I don't know if either an LCD 15" screen or a 17" CRT will happen, but either would make it an easier buy...either in the sense of more screen real-estate for OS X, or in the sense that the 15" CRT variety would become very cheap very fast.
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post #7 of 14
[quote]Originally posted by Moogs :
<strong>Glad to hear RAM upgrades are a snap. As for the printer, I thought about the "buy an iMac get a free printer" thing...just trying to consider the possibility, since the printer she has works well and is more than capable enough for her (Epson Stylus 740).
</strong><hr></blockquote>

If she has an Epson 740 then all you need to do is get a USB cable because that printer has a USB port so you shouldn't need an adapter for the printer.
post #8 of 14
Thread Starter 
I could be wrong, but it's an early-model 740, so I think the only ports on the back are serial (what's being used) and parallel. Any such animal as a printer with both serial and USB ports on board?
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post #9 of 14
The probability of an iMac revision at MWSF is extremely high. I'm not saying it will be an LCD model, but it will definitely be a revised model ... faster CPUs and stuff.

The iMac was last updated seven months ago. A revision is a near certainty.

Anyway, hang on and you will know kn a few weeks. We'll start hearing about EOL (end-of-life) on the current revision iMacs.

If we don't start hearing about EOLs, then you can go ahead and buy an iMac.
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post #10 of 14
Thread Starter 
Good point NeoMac. Maybe They'll include a combo drive standard on all the new rev models in addition to more Mhz, etc. Hopefully at the same price points.....

<img src="graemlins/hmmm.gif" border="0" alt="[Hmmm]" />
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post #11 of 14
Pretty much everything except the printer situation has been covered in detail already.

I would just like to add that I think that the current $70-$150 USB printers are very quality products. I'm particularly deferential to the HP 93x series printers. Excellent resolution (2800 x 2800), acceptable print speed, separate black and color cartridges, and a great price at suggested retail of around $150. Staples and the like offer discounts all the time too.

I even use mine for quality Photoshop prints and photographs with my 3.3 MegaPixel digital camera. HP really makes a quality printer.

FWIW, anyway.

-Ender
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If you find yourself sided with the majority, it is time to change your thinking.

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post #12 of 14
Thread Starter 
Yah, I realize that this type of question is asked fairly often. I just figured we were so close to MWSF (and I really don't follow the rumors too much) that perhaps getting feedback today might bring very different results than if I'd read a thread from two months ago for example.
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post #13 of 14
Regarding the Serial to USB adapter

I really don't think it's worth the trouble. If you keep your eye on pages like dealnn.com & macnn.com around once a week you'll see a deal for a USB printer for $50 or less (that's around what an adapter costs right?). Example Nov. 30
"Refurbished Epson Stylus Color 880 for $49"
You'll get a better printer, never have to worry about adpater issues or incompatabilities & it'll be newer. They'll probably have some nice sales on this type of thing after Xmas.
post #14 of 14
[quote]Originally posted by X704:
<strong>Regarding the Serial to USB adapter

I really don't think it's worth the trouble. If you keep your eye on pages like dealnn.com & macnn.com around once a week you'll see a deal for a USB printer for $50 or less (that's around what an adapter costs right?). Example Nov. 30
"Refurbished Epson Stylus Color 880 for $49"
You'll get a better printer, never have to worry about adpater issues or incompatabilities & it'll be newer. They'll probably have some nice sales on this type of thing after Xmas.</strong><hr></blockquote>

Definately good advice. If you get them an iMac you can probably even find a place where you could get a new good USB printer for free with the iMac or very, very cheap.
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