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Around 4 years ago, I decided to enter the Mac market for the first time personally.. Before then I'd only used other people's mac's and thought that the operating system seemed nice and tight and that I wished I had the money for such a cool machine.
So once I got to university (studying film), I decided that some of my student loan would be well spent on a big mac to use for video editing (Mac's run Final Cut Pro, a favorite amongst pro editors)....
4 years on and it still takes pride of place in the house.. A huge screen for watching movies and editing film work on and probably more key that that, not a single virus or problem in the entirety of its life, it still boots up very quickly and generally doesn't struggle with many tasks at all. I'd definitely recommend that if you're looking to make the jump, go for it! You can probably pick one of these models up for around £300 which i think is great value if you're looking for an entertainment station too... My only gripe is that the latest games won't run on this model, though that's not really a downside of the computer, it's simply how the games market works, the newest games require more powerful new computer components... All in all though it literally changed the way I used computers and worked, allowing me to be more streamlined and worry less about some of the problems I had using windows based PCs.
I have been a windows user all my life until I bought the imac.
There is very little learning curve in using to use a mac. Sure, the cmd button has to be used when cutting and pasting and the icons are all at the bottom with documents being hard to locate, but once you have grasped it, the clean work surfaces and ease of use just strikes you as to how Apple design their product to be easy to use.
The imac does have a good processing speed, programs run fast on it. One thing to note though is that I have windows running on it too, and that causes the imac to slow down a bit. I am not sure if that is supposed to happen but I am still alright with the slowed down speed. For people who utilise their pc strongly though (as in run renderings, models etc, maybe the slower speed is not that great). The storage space is sufficient for me.
The screen is a bit too big though so it might be better to use a wireless mouse and keyboard instead. That said, the apply keyboard is a joy to use. Simple, functional, and the fingers flow like a dream over the white buttons that are easy to press. The big screen helps in watching movies and iplayers on the computer. The graphics are good, pretty clear even when the shows are expanded to full screen (that could be the quality of the shows though), and I do find that i can often just sit back about 2 meters and still see comfortably what is on the screen.
There is 4 usb plug in area, one sound jack and they are all on the screen itself. The screen also encompasses the hard disk and everything else so this takes up a lot less space than a monitor of the same size and a cpu.
I run microsoft office on the imac. I know, could use Windows to do that, but surprisingly, office for Mac is amazing. the graphics are better and the end product is cooler.
The imac is very reliable, it supports windows very well using a program called bootcamp. Up till now, about 1-2 years since I bought it, it hasn't crashed yet. (which is why I am not upgrading this)
What i look for in a computer is ease of use, hard disk space and graphics since I hardly ever do heavy duty work on the computer. Probably a waste of imac for someone like me since there is so much more things that can be done on the imac like garageband, etc.
After my old computer broke I really wanted something with more speed and reliability. I had been using Apple computers in University for Cubase 4, Logic Pro 9, Sibelius... etc. I really didn't want to go back to using a computer because it doesn't support some of the programmes I want to eventually obtain and I have had such poor previous experience with them. A few of my friends had an iMac and i assumed they'd be well out of my price range. After looking at some of the cheaper options like the Mac Mini and the Mac Books I came to the conclusion only the iMac had the power and speed that I was searching for.
I saved up for a while and let me tell you how worth while it has been. If you are looking for a new computer and you really can't be bothered with all the nascence and annoyance of slow PC's anymore then start saving up. Make the iMac in your price range because after you get used to it, It's wonderful. Every day I discover things on this computer, I am using right now to type this review, that make my life so much easier.
One of the features, "spaces", allows you to open up several programmes at once but with no desktop, dock or space clutter. Once I got used to this feature I worked out how to utilize it to my own specific needs. Virtual sticky notes, the sophistication of MacOS X 10.5, the nifty features of what you can do with bluetooth, 4 GB RAM are all saving me time and helping my career. For some maybe the 24" isn't necessary and the 20" equivalent is as useful. But this one comes with more power and higher speed. If you think you are going to use your computer a lot and for a long period of time, just save up an extra few hundred quid.
Only thing I don't really like is if you want an extra few firewire ports of different sizes or some more USB ports, an extra dist drive.. etc.. It can really get cluttered and expensive. Without a tower to adjust and modify you are talking about a lot of room on your floor but less on your worktop.
Where do i start with this simply amazing piece of kit! For years and years i have been a straight windows user who never dared dive into the world of the mac as it seemed to different to what i used to!
Then i began university and began to realise that almost everywhere in my hopefully future profession (working with audio) were using macs off all different shapes and sizes! couldnt see a windows computer anywhere!
For all of my assignments and work at university we were put onto macs and i quickly discovered that yes they were different to what i was used to but in a much more efficient way! I could do everything i usually do but much faster!
Rather then clicking start then programs then your commonly used program like you would on a pc, the mac give you the option of having your most commonly used applications along the bottom of your screen and if theyre not there then its just a simple case of the one click to the applications folder where everything is!
The mac came pre-instaled with all of the basic programs to cover pretty much every basic that a computer user may use...... Want to listen to music? Itunes is there.......Want to edit or write some much? Garageband is there.......Want to edit a video? iMovie is there........want to burn a dvd? iDvD.......well you get the idea! Its a straight out of the box powerfull tool with no faffing about!
As for the design of the iMac, this specific type comes as either a 20" screen or 24", i personally forked out and got the 24" and let me tell you its definently worth it! despite not sounding that much bigger, it really is and makes to whole movie watching experience absolutely mind blowing! The screen is HD ready so movies look fantastic! The keybord is sleek and quiet as well as featuring two extra usb slots at each side for usb memory pens for example.
The mouse is a simple design featuring both right/left click a small rollerball for scrolling both up/down and left/right and my favourite feature is the two buttons on the side that when clicked together lets you quickly hop between your different open windows!
The huge 2.66 processing power behind this machine as well as the inbuilt 4GB ram (which can be upgraded to 8GB) gives it speed and power where nothing is a challenge! I've worked on 48 track professional mixes and the mac never once complained like my pc used to, it just got on with it and did it!
The other thing about this mac which would never mac me go back to windows is the fact that it comes with everything you need straight away without having to go and buy more! inbuilt bluetooth, wireless adapter, dvd driver/burner, all that software i mentioned before...............i love it!
As i mentioned before there is way to much that this achine is capable of then a review can handle! I would just recommend you to simply play on one for five minutes and im sure youll fall in love within no time!
The most highly recommended product by myself to anyone who is constantly working with computers! Fork out a little bit more then you would usually and you will notice the difference!