So You Are Buying Your First Mac?

Are you deciding to make the change from PC to Mac? That would be a very smart decision. Many people think Apple computers are completely different than PC. This is both true and false. Internally, Macs use much of the same hardware (hard drives, memory, graphics cards, etc.) that PCs use. They are different in respect to their operating systems and software packages. PCs use a Windows based platform while Apple uses the Mac OS platform. Don’t be scared, it may look and feel different at first, but you will find it is much easier to navigate and maintain than a Windows based PC and setup is a breeze.

One of the most advantageous features of a Mac is the fact that you don’t ever have to worry about getting a computer virus. That means no paying for antivirus software or worrying about malicious software being installed on your Mac. You will not have to replace your computer due to a virus. Security worries are non-existent!

Apple has invested a great deal of time and money developing products that easily interface with peripherals and other devices using UPnP. This means no more dealing with installation of pesky hardware drivers that you need with Windows. Just plug it in, and it’s ready to go!

Apple also takes the approach of developing software that operates intuitively. This means if you want to move something from one place to the next, you should be able to do so without going through 5 steps. You can drag and drop just about anything in Mac OS between different applications, whereas on a PC these operations would take a number of additional steps.

Support for Apple products is also unparalleled. Regardless of where you buy your Mac, you can walk into any Apple store and get help for free. If your computer is under Apple warranty they will fix it onsite or send it to their repair center and have it back within three days usually. If you have a PC problem and take your computer back to Best Buy (or another retailer) it may take multiple months to have your computer fixed. Apple also provides free classes that teach you how to get the most out of your new Mac and has a lot of online videos and help tutorials.

What Mac Should I Buy?

Although every Mac is a great computer, not every Mac is going to be a great computer for you. Just like a PC, there are different types and configurations of Macs that each serve it’s own purpose. Don’t spend too much money and get a machine that you don’t need or spend a little less and get a machine that won’t perform to your expectations. **Please note that all Mac have the option of being upgraded to maximum available RAM and a 500GB hard drive to increase storage for music, photos, and other files.**

Macs for Students:

Most students use their computer for word processing, power point presentations, excel, music/media, and web surfing. They want a computer that is portable and has enough speed and storage for their music and videos. Entry level Macs for students start with the PowerBook or iBook that uses a PowerPC processor or the MacBook that uses an Intel processor and is capable of running Windows. Powerbooks or iBooks will be less expensive, but expect slightly slower boot times and overall speed. The newer MacBook is more expensive, but boots faster, runs faster, and is capable of utilizing more RAM and a larger hard drive. Some MacBooks will still be covered under an AppleCare warranty. For students who are heavy audio/video users, we recommend using a MacBook Pro, which uses a faster video processor to provide better video and gaming experience.

Macs for Artists (Photography, Audio, Video):

Artists typically deal with large picture, video or audio files that require greater computing power, high-resolution displays, and hi-fidelity audio. Expandability is required for these users because many of them need additional PCI slots and USB busses to upgrade or add audio and video cards. An entry-level Mac for Artists starts with the PowerMac G5, which use a PowerPC processor. The upgraded model of the PowerMac G5 is the MacPro which uses an Intel processor and is capable of running Windows.

The PowerMac G5 and MacPro use blazing fast dual core, quad core, and eight core processors, which are capable of churning out a dizzying amount of data. Massive RAM upgrades are also available for both of these configurations with max RAM being 8GB, 16GB or 32GB (depending on the model)

PowerMac G5s are capable of supporting up to two internal hard drives while the MacPro is expandable up to 4 internal hard drives. This provides ample storage for large files that are commonplace in audio recording, video editing, and photo editing software. Multiple display support makes navigating editing software a breeze by cutting down on time switching between windows on one display.

Macs for Casual User (Web Surfing, Word Processing, Picture Viewing):

Casual users are able to use computers that don’t have tremendous processing power because they are not concerned with simultaneously running multiple applications or editing large audio/video files. This significantly cuts down on the price tag of a used Mac for the casual user. Suitable entry-level Macs are the iBook G3 and iBook G4 which both use PowerPC processors. The iBook G3 is older than the iBook G4 and uses slower processor configurations. Both are suitable for web, general media usage, and email.

Macs for Home Computers:

Families use computers typically need computers to be well rounded to fit a number of uses for a number of users. Also, available desk space can be an issue for a full house, bringing the footprint of the computer into play. Apple designed the iMac with the intent of putting a computer with ample processing power and storage into a sleek, low profile enclosure. The only cord the iMac needs is a power cord if it’s equipped with the Bluetooth wireless keyboard and mighty mouse!

Entry-level version is the iMac G5, which is available in 17” and 20” configurations and varying processor speeds. Late G5 models also incorporate the Apple iSight webcam incorporated into the display. Early generations of the Intel based iMac uses the same enclosure as the iMac G5, however in mid 2007, the Aluminum iMac was released with a redesigned sleek aluminum enclosure and faster processors than their predecessors.

Macs for Business Professionals:

Business professionals need computers that are both portable but durable enough to stand up to the constant wear and tear that a work computer demands. MacBook Pros are encased in a tough aluminum case, possess the processing power to run multiple applications simultaneously and churn out presentations faster than you can say MacBook Pro! They feature the fastest processors in all Apple’s line of notebooks and use a faster 1066MHz DDR3 RAM. Available in 15”, 17” or ultra small 13”, the MacBook Pro has a configuration to fit any business professional’s needs.

Macs for the Office:

Apple provides two great configurations for office use that are dependent on the level of processing power and expandability that is needed. For regular day-to-day office use (word documents, spreadsheets, various application use, etc) an iMac is ideal. It provides a powerful enough processor and hard drive space to meet the demands of daily office use. If more processing power is needed for certain applications, server capabilities, or expansion slots for external/internal hardware is needed, a PowerMac G5 or MacPro is needed. The PowerMac G5 provides two internal hard drive bays and 3 PCI slots and the MacPro provides four bays and four PCI slots providing ample room for expansion. A Fibre Optic Channel also allows support of the Apple Xserve.

Macs for Small Children (under $300):

There are a number of late model Apple computers for under $300 that provide enough power for simple applications that are used in educational software for small children. For desktop use, a PowerMac G4, iMacG4 or iMac G3 are three economical options. One advantage of an iMac is the computer is built into the screen cutting down on the number of cords. For portability, an iBook G3 allows use of the computer anywhere around the house or on the road. Both the older iMac and iBook models can be purchased for a reasonable price and will provide endless hours of learning and fun.

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