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Old 10-25-2009   #26
amateriat
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Originally Posted by bwcolor View Post
Unfortunately, Apple still refuses to put ESATA and Blu-Ray on their machines. Not much excuse since these are now well established technologies that would greatly add to the capabilities of these machines.
I think Apple regards Blu-Ray as the tail-end of optical-storage tech(and even moreso for movie distribution), as SSD technology gains a foothold. I somewhat agree about eSATA, although I think USB 3.0 is going to make a mess of SATA in general.

Then, too, I am still a FireWire sort of guy.


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Old 10-25-2009   #27
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Agree... my 2003 G5 Mac is more than capable today with no need to upgrade it in the foreseeable future - I can work 6x7 scans at 4000dpi / 16-bit in Photoshop with no problems. But you do need to understand the software-OS-hardware lifecycle interdependencies and manage the system not just the components.
I'm actually scanning with my old 500 mhz G4 tower because it has a SCSI port to talk to my old Minolta Scan Multi. Both my computer are still great for scanning and Photoshopping as I've said. but they are too slow for basic web browsing and such, and can not be used with newer apps.
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Old 10-26-2009   #28
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Over here, my main iron is a near-last-generation, dual-processor G4 tower (MDD, FW800), maxed out with 2 gigs RAM and quartet of fast, fairly big hard drives; running PS CS2, the thing is plenty fast for me, and I've been doing a heavy amount of scanning on it.
I'm running exactly the same set-up. But it is time to upgrade for me. The Mac Pros are just so expensive, however.

If I hadn't bought a rather expensive new monitor earlier this year, I would certainly be looking at the new iMacs. They are an incredible value.
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Old 10-27-2009   #29
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So I went to the Apple Store to have a look-see.
First of all that 21.5" iMac screen seems absolutely HUGE in person! Holy crap! But with that big screen comes all that glass and the reflections were truly annoying. Granted, I don't have the same kind of lighting as the Apple Store but I do have a window and a light fixture I need to have on to see to type, so I think that glossy screen may be too much.
Looking at photos on my usual website I had the urge to rip the glass off the monitor because of the feeling that I was looking THROUGH something, rather than AT something. I guess I could get used to it but it was kind of disconcerting.
Secondly, the iMacs seemed to run pretty hot. When I put my hand on the top of the monitor (where all the heat is channeled out) it felt nearly as hot as my girlfriend's Macbook. Obviously I wouldn't be operating the computer with my hand on top of the monitor all day, but I'm still not really comfortable with hot-running machines (insert joke here).
Performance-wise the basic 3.06 ghz iMac didn't do anything faster than the 2.53 ghz Mac Mini, both with 4GB RAM, in the basic tests I did. The machines at the store aren't loaded with any heavy-duty apps of course, so all I could do was some basic iPhoto edits and watch HD video clips from Vimeo and with Quicktime. Both machines appeared equal in these tasks.
I did really like the Magic Mouse. It seems to be getting mixed reviews so far but I really liked how it handled.
So my mind isn't made up yet. As impressive as the iMac display is in terms of resolution, contrast and color, the glossiness might be too much for me. Starting to lean towards the Mini and maybe a second Samsung matte display...
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Old 10-27-2009   #30
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I have two Mac Mini's and they are absolutely bargains to use. Even if I upgrade every 3 years I can still use the keyboard, mouse and monitor for many more years. This is why I won't buy an iMac: Not very environmentally friendly.
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Old 10-27-2009   #31
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Yesterday morning I ordered a 21.5" iMac from B&H (won't ship for a few days), but I won't be using it for photo editing. I ordered the environmentally friendly version with the Al Gore sticker on it.

The iMac is the power champ but I don't use my iMacs for photos, so I didn't consider the reflective screens. Choosing just the right screen for your tastes seems like a big plus, but good photo-editing screens are very expensive. I have an old Lacie Electron22blueIV for such use with my photo/video editing setup, but my HannsG 27" from Costco is what I spend most of my time staring at. I turn on the Lacie for final color/contrast/brightness adjustments and have the whole thing calibrated from screen to printer. If you are going to pay attention to the screen, things can get a bit expensive..fast. That is why I haven't spent the money for a new flat screen photo monitor.
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Old 10-27-2009   #32
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I will say that the glossy screens Apple has favored of late rub me the wrong way. too, but there are aftermarket solutions to this.

Performance-wise, if you have enough RAM, the difference in processor speed may be more or less a wash. But I recommend maxing the mini (wow, that sounds funny...) out to a full 4GB if you're going to be swinging large files to-and-fro. (I manage fine with 2GB, but I'm running Tiger on a late-generation (and dual-processor) G4; Leopard (and Snow Leopard) require more overhead, and each succeeding version of Photoshop seems to want a bit more RAM as well.

Speaking of minis, I'm taking apart a client's right now, to upade the hard drive (from a slow, poky and mostly-stuffed 40GB to a faster 250GB). iMacs have never been fun to take apart, save for the very first iMac G5. But minis are "character-building" in their own way if you ever decide to do a DIY upgrade.


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Old 10-27-2009   #33
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I built a quadcore pc and dual boot between OS X and Windows depending on what the situation calls for. I'm not limited to the older hardware apple uses, nor do I have to pay a premium for old hardware. The box is now around 2 years old and still performs as least as good as the current iMacs and Mac Pro's while having better hardware and costing less.

Getting Apple hardware wasn't really a choice for me as apple likes to force hardware upgrades to keep sales up by imposing hardware checks, like with the new final cut studio (apple decided at the last minute to make it Intel only and imposed a hardware check, which can luckily be circumvented easily). There was also the issue with apple dropping essentially all SCSI support going into 10.5. Also the lack of eSATA, the lack of expandability (even with the Mac Pro 2 hd max).

Of your two choices I would go with the MiniMac. Displays fade over time and nearly all the apple displays I worked with experienced terrible ghosting and dimming after about 3 years. I'd prefer to replace the display than the whole computer. I'd also go with the minimac because when you upgrade following this new acquisition, it'll be much easier to still use the minimac. It could easily become a HTPC, a server, etc whereas the iMac could be in fine working order but unfortunately have a bad display, making it essentially useless as the repair would cost as much as the whole iMac is worth. You could always plug up an external monitor, but that would just be annoying.

So yeah, if you have to buy apple hardware, I'd go with a MacMini.
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Old 10-27-2009   #34
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mephiloco View Post
There was also the issue with apple dropping essentially all SCSI support going into 10.5.
Yes, this is why I still keep a G4 tower to operate my Minolta scanner.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Mephiloco View Post
Displays fade over time and nearly all the apple displays I worked with experienced terrible ghosting and dimming after about 3 years. I'd prefer to replace the display than the whole computer. I'd also go with the minimac because when you upgrade following this new acquisition, it'll be much easier to still use the minimac. It could easily become a HTPC, a server, etc whereas the iMac could be in fine working order but unfortunately have a bad display, making it essentially useless as the repair would cost as much as the whole iMac is worth. You could always plug up an external monitor, but that would just be annoying.

So yeah, if you have to buy apple hardware, I'd go with a MacMini.
This is a very good point you make. At work I have a G4 iMac with a flat screen that is about 5 years old and the display still seems fine. But we also have a quad core tower with a 2006 30" cine display that is definitely showing ghosting and fading. Our previous 22" studio display didn't fare much better. You never know when it's going to be a problem.
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Old 10-28-2009   #35
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although the fading screen is an issue, new iMacs are fitted with LED screens, which have not been in use for three years. Nothing sensible to conclude about ghosting and brightness there yet.

IMHO you would do best to buy the Mac Mini now and if in a couple of years the LED displays turn out to be very durable, you can always switch to the iMac. Possible premium: the LED displays might have gotten cheaper by then, too!
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Old 10-28-2009   #36
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I have had all kinds of Macs. The first iMac, several G3, G4 and today we have 2 minis and an iMac. I prefere the Mini. It is a really good and fast-working computer. You can take it with you if you need and you can buy a screen at your own convinience. And if you change the computer in a few years you still can keep the screen, keyboard, etc. Go for a MiniMac.
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Old 10-28-2009   #37
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Do you want a very big hi-rez monitor? then get the iMac but the bigger one.
If you don't want that monitor, makes no sense to get the iMac sinfce you have a monitor already that suits your needs.
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Old 10-28-2009   #38
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As a bifocal wearer, any monitor larger than 15" causes me to do the neck roll to use the whole screen, or to scrunch down my browser or app window so I can see it without moving my head.

So I'd be buying the Mini and use my current Sony monitor.

The all in one iMac is a better dollar value though.
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Old 10-28-2009   #39
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AL:

You are suffering from a poor choice of glasses and not a screen size. Get some professional advise on that one. There are lots of products that work great. I'm viewing a 27" screen with lined trifocals without any issues at all. Glasses are a tool, but you need the right tool.
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Old 10-28-2009   #40
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We have both Mac Mini and 24" IMac's in the studio (previous model). I love the look of the IMac but can not do critical editing on the high gloss screen. I have it perfectly calibrated but the high gloss give a false impression of sharpness and contrast making it useless for me to do critical work on. I just purchased a new Mini last month and purchased a new Lacie 324 to go with it. The speed difference between the IMac and MIni is of no consequence. Converting Canon raw files to 95 meg Tif files takes just under 3 seconds on the Imac and four seconds on the Mini. 1 second difference, no big deal! Both have 4 gigs of ram and I'm running Photoshop CS4 on both unde OS 10.6. I would have bought the IMac again had it not been the gloss screen. I labored over adding another gloss IMac until I researched monitors. I've been editing on Lacie 22" CRT's for the past six or seven years and just could not find a screen that showed as much information until I found the Lacie 324. I'm sold now on the Lacie and will replace another PC in the studio with a new MIni and 324 next year. I also have a Mac Book Pro that I bought last year. I generally carry it on shoots in the field but now use it to scan to with my Fuji Finescan scanner. Basically the Mini is the same guts as the Mac Book Pro and I regularly scan 1 gig or larger files to the Mac Book with no problems. I expect the Mini will perform the same.
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Old 10-28-2009   #41
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Thanks Don. That's a really useful real-world comparison!
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Old 10-28-2009   #42
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Quote:
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AL:

You are suffering from a poor choice of glasses and not a screen size. Get some professional advise on that one. There are lots of products that work great. I'm viewing a 27" screen with lined trifocals without any issues at all. Glasses are a tool, but you need the right tool.
Agreed, but I did have a pair made for work that allowed me to use larger screens, but then I had to hold the newspaper at arm's length to read it. (Books too) I ended up with 2 pairs, one for work and one for home.

I'll stick to the tools I have for now.

Now, a 13.3 MacBook would fit the bill quite nicely, as the 14.1" Toshiba I'm on now fills my lined bifocals perfectly when on my lap here in the coffee shop...
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Old 10-28-2009   #43
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I'd go for the imac, less cables. I updated my g4 pudding basin to a 20" 5 months ago due to the bigger files coming out of the D700. All the Nikon software works great and CS4 with plug ins. A word of warning though, use Leopard and not Snow Leopard. Nikon have just updated so should be fine now but my Macbook pro came with Snow and it wouldn't work properly. In CS4 also, certain plugins ie Alien Skin and Dfine also wouldn't work so I've installed Leopard on it until everyone gets their act together with Snow!
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What is your budget?
Old 10-28-2009   #44
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What is your budget?

IF you can afford $1,400, then the iMAC is a no brainer. I bought one (24") from MacMall.com with a $300 rebate! The Mac Mini is cute, but it is NOT a desktop! It is a scaled down laptop without the screen, mouse and keyboard (the motherboard and internals are the same as the Macbooks). by the time you add a decent monitor, memory, etc,, you are at $1,400, so get the iMAC. I bought mine for the display, and will never go back! My colors are right on with my Epson 3800 printer.
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Old 10-28-2009   #45
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Mac Mini for sure.. the IMAC screen is glossy (cannot get it in a flat matte) and way to contrasty for post in my opinon.. Save money and max out a mac mini.. use the savings to buy an external Drobo drive and a higher end monitor (Lacie, Eizo).
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Old 10-28-2009   #46
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Hackintosh is perfect for folks who like tinkering. I've had 30 years of tinkering with different systems from a Singer System 10 to a zSeries and lots of stuff in between. I've got the last Macbook I think I will need for many years. Give me simple and working for me and my family. We have two in our family and a MacMini (first dual core). I'm thinking that when we get another it will be a Mini because I can do remote processing of stuff (remote control) and use the laptop or pad for browsing and low power stuff. I like the cloud computing model and think it can work well on a smaller scale.

The biggest draw back to the Mini is the lack of built in dual monitor support. I'd go iMac for what you've described for what you do. It's easy to plug in a second monitor to an iMac. If you find the slick too bouncy for you, get an extra, it rocks.

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Old 10-28-2009   #47
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Well I pulled the trigger and ordered a base model mini with 4GB RAM.
My current Samsung 19" monitor will continue to suffice and I can put the money saved towards a higher end matte display. I already have a LaCie 1TB external drive for backup and I can boot from that if the mini's 5400 RPM drive proves too slow. I already have keyboard/mouse although I can see picking up a magic mouse in the future.
I'm sure this machine will be sufficient for my needs because almost everything about it is faster than my G5 PowerMac, which is still pretty fast anyway.
BillBingham - the current minis do support dual monitor!
Thanks for all the input everyone!
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Old 11-14-2009   #48
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I've been following this thread for a bit, noting the comments. I spoke yesterday with the Apple consultant (he works for Apple) at Best Buy. And I looked at the iMac. Yes, the screen is very reflective! He said that after awhile you don't notice this. I don't think I agree. But then I saw that you can adjust the angle of the screen. By pulling the top towards me, I could eliminate the reflections. I wonder if others have this a satisfactory workaround for the shininess of this screen? The man said that an advantage of the shiny screen is that it makes the colors more saturated. Any observations on that?

Another thing he told me is that the mini is no more powerful than the laptop versions, where the iMac is a lot more powerful. It does seem like a lot of computer for $1500. That's if I can get past the shiny screen. Really, he'd like to sell me the MAcPro. And I might like to buy it.

Another thing, related to comments in previous posts. Someone sai they would not like the iMac because if the screen goes, you lose the whole computer. He showed me that the screen pops off and can be replaced. (There would still be down time though. I gues with a Mini or Macpro you can just hook up another monitor, if you have one.) Also claims the iMac can be upgraded.

So, I'm deliberating. I'll use it mostly for photography (as well as chatting on RFF!)
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Old 11-14-2009   #49
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Rob, if you're near an Apple store, it might be worth a trip there just to get another perspective.

The shiny screen concerned me before I bought my iMac. But, it really has not been an issue. Tilting the screen, and not necessarily very much, works. However, it is rather reflective if there's light coming from behind you.

A comparison of the specs of both the iMac and the Mini at apple.com ought to resolve the "which is more powerful" question. Pay particular attention to drive speed. I'm also not sure what video card is inside a Mini these days.

Good to know you can haul your iMac into an Apple store and get the screen replaced if it ever dies. (If you get one, do save the box. Makes it much easier to haul around.)

One thing you cannot do with either the iMac or the Mini is upgrade the hardware. If that's in your thinking, going for the Mac Pro might turn out to be a smart move.
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Old 11-14-2009   #50
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An aftermarket for matte overlays for glossy screen surfaces (iMac/MacBook) has sprung up, so that's a possibility. (These are not to be confused with the anti-snooping screen overlays that have come and gone.)

The fact that the glass front of the iMac is held by magnets probably hints at why the newest iMac screens are now relatively easy to replace. The one question mark concerns the heard drive: the first iMac G5's hard drive (and power supply, and logic board...in fact, damn near everything) was almost ridiculously easy to get to and replace, then became ridiculously difficult to replace in subsequent models. (Apple, for some reason, goes through cycles like this.) Towers, of course, are sheer goodness in terms of upgradability, which is why I still have, and love, my last-generation (FireWire 800, dual-mirror doors) Power Mac G4. Haven't had need to upgrade yet, and it sees heavy scanning/Photoshop/printing duty.


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