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The General Purpose Apple Thread


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#1 JayX

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Posted 20 October 2009 - 07:23 PM

What better time to start a general Apple thread than now, with the new retail store opening in 2 days and an 'out of nowhere' big hardware revision. I'll add stuff to the FAQ over time, but feel free to ask the various Macheads questions if you're looking into switching, or just wanna talk about hardware we can't justify to our girlfriends/bank managers.

Apple Cardiff St David's 2

We've waited for a long time for a real Apple store to come, and it's finally here. Just to please me, it's sounding a lot bigger and better than the new one down at Cabots Circus in Bristol. Ha!

Details are here - http://www.apple.com...tail/stdavids2/ will update with photos n stuff once we have some. I'm liking that 8.30pm close time in case I need to go there and bitch about one of the many, many design inherited problems I'm suffering this week.

Turn up at 10.30am on Thursday to see the store opening dance ( for Norwich's) and get one of 1,000 free T-shirts. Which you can then eBay.

Bonus points to anyone who spots the SWMer in the dance. Super bonus points if you get a photo of 'em :D

Apple FAQ For Newbiez

Whats the difference between a Mac and a PC ?

In essence, Macs are PCs... it's just a simpler way of describing the difference. Apple make the hardware and operating system 'OSX', and you can only (officially) run OSX on Apple hardware. Microsoft make Windows which can be run on any set of standard AMD/Intel based components. In reality, the 'war' is between OSX and Windows, but once you're sucked in to the cult of Apple, you tend to want everything they bastards make.

Aren't Macs way more expensive?

No getting around this one, yes the general hardware is more expensive in RRP. But, there's quite a few factors to think about - mainly, the cheap end of PCs are awful. The components are poor quality, the cases rubbish, and they don't cost much because they're just thrown together from various sources regardless of how well they work together. Apple's computers tend to only exist in a few variants at any given time. You can choose from maybe 6 laptops, or 4 desktops, or 2 mini based machines etc. They work closely with the big names (ie NVIDIA and Intel) to get specialised versions of their technology, often earlier and at a cost. Apple make one thing very clear : they have no interest in the low cost computer market. Apple hardware is premium, even at entry level, and all of it is very good backed up by excellent tech support and customer service.

Don't pay RRP, get a student discount... buy refurbished... buy second hand... there's lots of ways to not pay the store price and still be in the gang.

Is OSX better than Windows? What about Windows 7?

It's obviously down to personal opinion, but I switched to OSX very quickly after being bored of using Windows from 3.0 up to Vista. OSX is far more user friendly, is not dumbed down in any form (contrary to popular belief, in fact the Terminal gives you access to a fully POSIX compliant BSD build), incredibly efficient and looks great. I've not used 7, but I've seen it in operation... it looks an improvement, but isn't going to swing me.

What are the Apple equivalents to software I use?

Can build on this over time, but software like Firefox is of course available anyway (altho I tend to use Safari for most day-to-day stuff). MSN/AIM/Facebook/ICQ etc can all be done with Adium, which is awesome. RealPlayer somehow doesn't suck on OSX, and is a nice small mp3 player when I don't want to use iTunes (which runs great on OSX, ignore how bad it can be on Windows).

What machine should I buy?

If you want to move it around a lot, and not need pro features - MacBook
If you want a single unit on a desk - iMac
If you want a small machine to use with old monitor/kb/mouse - Mini
If you want something with ridiculous power that can cost up to like, £20k per machine - Pro

Will update as time goes on...
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#2 JayX

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Posted 20 October 2009 - 07:24 PM

Anyway, here's the 'new' stuff for the thread...

Apple October Hardware Revision

Where to start...

MacBook aka BlancoBook/WhiteBook

The only MacBook you can buy now only comes in one flavour, but the new casing is supposed to be much better. It's the same white plastic MacBook we all know, but much sturdier, and designed just like the aluminium bodies now with a non-removable battery. Ports are limited with no firewire and a combined headphone/line-in jack so if you need to do video/audio work, this might not be the buy for you. If you're a student or a general purpose user.. this'll do you fine. Price remains at £799. MacBook Pro's start at £899 and the entry level model gives you your ports, an even fancier case and a ... hmm... lower capacity harddrive. I'm not sure that's worth the £100 difference.

Apple Link

Mini

The Mini is the unsung hero of the Mac desktop range, and the only headless machine you can buy that doesn't cost close to £2,000. Don't be daft and buy the more expensive of the two, swap out the RAM and HDD yourself and save a ton of cash. These are great boxes for development, front room use, or if you're really attached to your monitor/keyboard/mouse rig. I think they're fuckin fab, and I still want a G4 PowerCube from years past.

A new addition to the range is a £750 (ouch) server version, including a fully licensed copy of Snow Leopard Server. No optical drive (good riddance) and a dual 500gb HDD system. It's too expensive for most home users, but it's a great idea. Mac Minis rule.

Apple Link

iMac

Fuck, the first iMac I've ever seen that makes me think "DAMN. I want one." (excluding the G4 lamp-style model that's just dying to live in a kitchen). Up to quad-core now, the first for a non-Pro desktop Mac, and available with the much touted i7 "Nehalem" processors and 27"... this is an absolute beast. Everytime I've seen iMacs I've thought "Sure, it'd be nice to surf the web on, or do some iPhoto work", but now this thing is truly a powerhouse at it's top end.

Apple Link

Magic Mouse

Have Apple done the impossible and made a mouse that doesn't suck ass? The hockey puck thing was a crime against society, and Mighty Mouse just wasn't up to scratch... this looks great. It's expensive (but not the most expensive I've seen, and hey... it's Apple) but it's gorgeous and does it's best to replicate the glass trackpad style to a mouse. I literally used a mouse on my MBP for the first time EVER last night, and I wasn't 100% sure about it (was just a cheap MS one). This thing looks awesome, and it's a shame it lacks Exposé buttons as that'd be the icing. Wanna try one.

Apple Link

Remote

Not much to say. It's longer than the old ones, and it's aluminium. Looks kinda cool.

Apple Link

Other revisions in the range included the time machine capsule and airport extreme lines. I can't be arsed to write about those.
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#3 Haggie Rand

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Posted 20 October 2009 - 07:53 PM

Your Macbook and Mini links both go to the Macbook page.

It's cool to see they're staying open til 8pm on weeknights. I hope that becomes the norm for the shops in St Davids 2 because one thing that I've always hated Cardiff for is the fact that if you try to go into a shop after 5.50pm you get some fucking jobsworth telling you they're about to shut.

Sorry if I've missed an iTrend or anything but do Apple have/plan to have a media centre type device? Something small, silent, with wireless keyboard and HDMI out for the obligatory huge telly, etc. etc. It may exist in some form already, I dunno.
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#4 JayX

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Posted 20 October 2009 - 08:05 PM

Fixed, cheers. The site was being arsey with me and I didn't think to double check it had actually copied.

Yeah the 8pm shopping thing is a good idea, mainly because I don't work in retail and therefore it doesn't ruin my life :D Most stores will be open til 8pm now on the leadup to Christmas, so we'll see what happens in the New Year. I try to get out of work by 5pm so if I do need to hit one specific store, I can usually get there before the 6pm 'piss off' parade starts.

Media centre device type .. well, there's Apple TV but this is based around people who love iTunes Music Store and buy lots of movies, tv shows, music from there. It's a neat device and it's pretty cheap, but I don't think it'd do what you want it to do. To be honest, the closet is probably a Mini with one of those really awesome mini wireless aluminium keyboards and then running something like Plex which is pretty rad. Obviously you get more functionality than something like one of those WD boxes or a Popcorn Hour thing, but it's definitely more expensive. A second hand Mini however... that could be interesting.

edit: Here's a video of Plex running
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#5 Haggie Rand

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Posted 20 October 2009 - 10:59 PM

Damn, I need some Plex in my life.

Yo, are those older Apple desktop PCs silent? Don't mind taking a hit on space, but I can't be doing with fans kicking in halfway through watching a film.
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Drugs come out of boredom, babe.
UN exports it everyday.
Their armies feed the ghetto lame.
Government approve it just the same.

#6 JayX

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Posted 20 October 2009 - 11:03 PM

Got a link as to what kinda machine you're talking about?

Annoyingly I can't find a link showing a badass way (ie my way) of laying Plex out. Rather than the boring list of films like that dude has, you can have the entire screen filled with cover art, with no gaps. Looks great.
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#7 Haggie Rand

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Posted 20 October 2009 - 11:08 PM

http://en.wikipedia....ki/Power_Mac_G4

That kind of doohicky.
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Drugs come out of boredom, babe.
UN exports it everyday.
Their armies feed the ghetto lame.
Government approve it just the same.

#8 JayX

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Posted 20 October 2009 - 11:14 PM

Fun machines, but too old really. They're legacy and completely unsupported now, you could get it running up to 10.4 (2 OS revisions) without any hackery and have it playing VLC and Xvid stuff, but you'd probably just end up frustrated with a machine you can't get 'up to date'. If you're buying Mac, and it's your primary machine (or your first Mac) then you absolutely should only go Intel C2D now. Even the G5s, which were absolute powerhouses in their Pro forms and stunning, heavy and very very expensive just can't be kept up to date due to the PowerPC > Intel switch.
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#9 Michael

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Posted 20 October 2009 - 11:21 PM

one of my friends has a cube in work!
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#10 JayX

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Posted 20 October 2009 - 11:23 PM

Ah, but does it do this?



I want one simply 'because', and to use it as an alarm clock. It's such a great design, especially the way you take it apart. Absolute classic machine, if he ever wants rid of it cheap...
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#11 Stuart

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Posted 20 October 2009 - 11:34 PM

Would the 27-inch 3.06GHz iMac serve me well for Bootcap...with gaming in mind? Everything else i'd be much more in favour of the cleaner Mac interface.

LATE EDIT THATS PROBABLY TOO LATE: It's more a question of how reliable is bootcamp, i know the stats are more than strong enough for gaming.

Edited by Stu_, 20 October 2009 - 11:41 PM.

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#12 JayX

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Posted 20 October 2009 - 11:41 PM

If the key is gaming, then no. The 27" looks amazing, but iMacs use laptop components due to their formfactor, which means that particular graphics card is running at 500mhz compared to the 625mhz of the desktop equivalent. While it's still a decent card (and absolutely fine for anything in OSX, I'm talking Windows games now) that monitor is running at 1440P, which is a fricking huge resolution that requires a massive amount of power. Wait till the benchmark reviews come in, because people will be testing it on WoW and things like that (lots of OSXers play it unfortunately) and no doubt they'll be seeing what it's like for Windows too.

Unfortunately Macs just aren't designed to be gaming machines, even tho feedback suggests there's a market for it.

Edit:

In reply to your edit, bootcamp (from what I know of it) is great. You might be getting confused between BootCamp and a VM solution like Parallels, which runs Windows while you're still within OSX. BootCamp is simply a boot manager, like GRUB. All it does it let you choose whether to boot into OSX or Windows. I believe that when you've installed Windows, there's a folder on the OSX DVD with all the drivers for the Apple hardware to make it all work kosher.
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#13 Stuart

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Posted 20 October 2009 - 11:42 PM

hehe, made a late edit to my post but it seems unncessary now.

Cheers Jay. Might work it the other way around then. A Macbook and a Windows PC.
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#14 JayX

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Posted 20 October 2009 - 11:45 PM

Spotted your edit so I popped my own in too. I'm surprised people still care about PC gaming to be honest.. that new iMac has video in, hook your PS3 up to that and enjoy the best of both worlds :)
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#15 Michael

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Posted 20 October 2009 - 11:50 PM

I want one simply 'because', and to use it as an alarm clock. It's such a great design, especially the way you take it apart. Absolute classic machine, if he ever wants rid of it cheap...


same reason they have theirs! They use it as a glorified CD player!

EDIT: how has this thread existed over a day and there is no sign of xalexxxgfx

Edited by Michael, 20 October 2009 - 11:58 PM.

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#16 Stuart

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Posted 21 October 2009 - 01:04 AM

Spotted your edit so I popped my own in too. I'm surprised people still care about PC gaming to be honest.. that new iMac has video in, hook your PS3 up to that and enjoy the best of both worlds :)

There's so much on the PC that i want to play though that's not available on the PS3 or 360, that's my biggest problem.
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#17 gf'

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Posted 21 October 2009 - 12:22 PM

Would the 27-inch 3.06GHz iMac serve me well for Bootcap...with gaming in mind? Everything else i'd be much more in favour of the cleaner Mac interface.

LATE EDIT THATS PROBABLY TOO LATE: It's more a question of how reliable is bootcamp, i know the stats are more than strong enough for gaming.


In fairness, my old Intel iMac (the first intel revision!) was a whizz at Bootcamp. It ran Team Fortress 2, and Counterstrike beautifully. I can't imagine the brand spanking new ones being any less brilliant. Sure there are going to better gaming PC's out there, but for the monthly 'drop into windows' and play games, it was more than ample.

Edited by gf', 21 October 2009 - 12:23 PM.

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#18 JayX

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Posted 21 October 2009 - 12:57 PM

It's really down to that huge 2500x1440 (roughly) resolution, which is an absolute nightmare to drive. Playing games at a lower than native res will naturally help, and the card will be fully capable of that... but until the benchmarks and reviews are in, I wouldn't make any decisions.

Might's well post our gear in here too...

MacBook Pro 15" 2008 , 2.2ghz c2d with 4gb RAM and 500gb HDD OSX 10.6 SnowLeopard. She flies.
Have also had.. White MacBook (2007) and Black MacBook (2006) both of which were great too.
(iPhone, iPod 5G and Shuffle 2G don't really count in this thread, but hey.)
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#19 JayX

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Posted 21 October 2009 - 11:05 PM

lol

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#20 Michael

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Posted 21 October 2009 - 11:38 PM

MacBook Pro 15" 2008 , 2.2ghz c2d with 4gb RAM and 500gb HDD OSX 10.6 SnowLeopard. She flies.
Have also had.. White MacBook (2007) and Black MacBook (2006) both of which were great too.
(iPhone, iPod 5G and Shuffle 2G don't really count in this thread, but hey.)


why have you got the macbook and blackbook? the MBP not good enough?
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