Mac advice requested


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    I have never been a big fan of Macs, and even less of a fan of Apple, but it has always been something I knew I needed to get acquainted with when I get around to it. A friend of mine owns a business that buys all manner of technology. Off-lease, business liquidations, closing datacenters, etc. He recently got in a ton of iMacs and offered me one for cheap. Most of them are C2D machines, with a few i5's, etc. All in pristine condition.

    So, the question is, what would you suggest I pick up? Will a C2D machine be fine? Can I load the latest OS on a 2009 iMac? I can pick up a 24" C2D machine for extremely cheap. An i5 machine would be quite a bit more, so would that be worth it for the upgrade?

    I know next to nothing about Macs, so feel free to talk to me as you would a small child on this subject. I will not take offense. ;-)



  • @Polygeekery said:

    I know next to nothing about Macs, so feel free to talk to me as you would a small child on this subject. I will not take offense.

    why do you want a Mac sir kiddo ?


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    Because I have never really used one, and as we do IT support for businesses and for some damned reason some businesses are adding Macs to the stable.

    Also, I give them a raft of shit and I figure I should learn more about them so I can criticize them more fully. ;-)

    These came along, and the price is right. Might as well, eh?


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    @Monarch said:

    kiddo

    I see what you did there...



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    I will probably use it for development tasks also. Nothing too major. But definitely not transcoding video, etc.

    Mostly just to get a feel for networking, Apple features, etc. So the OS version is memory dependent? I know they are all 4GB machines. Is that something that can be upgraded?

    Just trying to make sure I don't miss something too obvious.

    As for price, he will throw in a 24" C2D machine on a deal we have brewing. An i5 would cost something though. A few hundred perhaps. They are pretty new machines.


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    @Polygeekery said:

    Is that something that can be upgraded?

    Not as easily as a standard desktop, but doable. If you know the model you're looking at, check https://www.ifixit.com/Device/iMac_Intel



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    @Jaloopa said:

    Not as easily as a standard desktop, but doable. If you know the model you're looking at, check https://www.ifixit.com/Device/iMac_Intel

    Yeah, and information on the subject from Apple's site is less than helpful...

    and then later...

    First table had early, mid and late 2009, then farther down the page it only lists early and late. Also, for some reason the mid-year version only supports 4GB?


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    Maybe the mid one was a cheaper version of the early one, released for education markets or something.

    Looks like I was right

    The iMac "Core 2 Duo" 2.0 20-Inch Aluminum (Mid-2009/Education Only) -- which only was available for sale to educational institutions --


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    @Monarch said:

    So maybe the dual core might be sufficient for coding and testing and other basic uses. but do expect 2009 performance.

    That's the thing though, for basic usage on Windows 2009 performance is...cromulent. Up until recently, I had a second desktop setup here with a C2Q running Linux and I never wanted for performance. Now that I have an 8-core, 32GB RAM desktop it is just easier to do all of that under VMWare Workstation.

    @Monarch said:

    if you plan to use it as a main working station, People tend to go with "high end" even if they just need to read some email and do some facebook. But for business if you are getting a low end machine, make sure it meet your requirements and consider how it is going to affect productivity.

    No doubt, but for most people they will never know the difference. Since desktops have went multi-core the actual user experience stays pretty much the same. The only time it seems to make a noticeable difference is when you are doing heavy number crunching. Video encoding, gaming, etc.

    It also will not be a main workstation.

    @Monarch said:

    The OS should work on the machine, Wikipedia can confirm that:

    Thank you. I was having trouble finding information that would say exactly where the compatibility ended.

    @Monarch said:

    if you do end getting the machine I would like to hear your feedback and experience with it. may be I am wrong.

    Will do. Honestly, I probably would not even be doing so currently except that I can pick up the older model for essentially free.


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    @Jaloopa said:

    Maybe the mid one was a cheaper version of the early one, released for education markets or something.

    Looks like I was right

    Thank you sir.


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    If it has a 64-bit Intel CPU, the main thing you'll want to upgrade is the memory. I vaguely remember seeing that iMacs use some relatively unusual type of memory that costs a bit more than what you'd normally use these days, but I don't know if that applies to the 2009 models. But as long as you're not using it as a main machine, the relatively low horsepower shouldn't be too big a problem.

    If you're coding for OSX, the thing to remember is that its GUIs are different. Windows and Linux GUIs tend to be relatively similar in many ways; both tend to trace their history back mainly to the IBM CUA designs, even if there's been a lot of change since then. OSX GUIs don't. Porting GUIs between the platforms (and not having the result suck ass on all of them) is tough.

    For most non-GUI code, OSX can be treated a lot like a BSD Unix. Provided your for-unix code isn't infested with Linuxisms, and is 64-bit safe, you'll be fine. (Porting to commercial Unix used to be far harder than porting to OSX is right now.)



  • The iMacs just use laptop memory. Nothing too special, as long as you get "name brand" memory. They are pretty finicky about timing variance (so don't get the super cheapo stuff with poor QC).

    I used to have a very nice (for the time) 2007 24 inch iMac. Great machine. It might have had relatively low horsepower, but it worked great as a terminal into development environments, plus it was able to play games, transcode live TV, do the internet, etc.

    I looked at recent iMacs this week and I'm not sure I'd get one now. The 2007 24 inch model was very forward-looking. But the future is now, and HP has an all-in-one for 2/3 the price. At the time, the iMac was the only flat-screen all-in-one, so it was worth the premium.



  • Get the cheap one. The important thing is getting the OS license and any machine capable of running mac software. If it turns out you need something stronger later, you can use those two things to turn your PC into a (dual boot) hackintosh.


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    Yeah. On my to-do list is to pick up an AIO Windows machine for the kitchen that I can attach via a VESA wall mount at our island for recipes and YouTube while I cook, etc.

    Hmmmm, damn shame iMacs do not have VESA mounting points...


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    @cartman82 said:

    Get the cheap one. The important thing is getting the OS license and any machine capable of running mac software. If it turns out you need something stronger later, you can use those two things to turn your PC into a (dual boot) hackintosh.

    I wish that I could just run it under VMWare, but that is not easy and for me is near impossible as I run AMD chips. Or at least so I have read.


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    @dkf said:

    If you're coding for OSX, the thing to remember is that its GUIs are different. Windows and Linux GUIs tend to be relatively similar in many ways; both tend to trace their history back mainly to the IBM CUA designs, even if there's been a lot of change since then. OSX GUIs don't. Porting GUIs between the platforms (and not having the result suck ass on all of them) is tough.

    Any coding I do will be just for academic reasons or possibly trying out RoR development on Mac. We really do not do any products that would be applicable to Mac and have no real reason to. Same for iOS.



  • Pretty expensive, though. Do you have any machining experience? It doesn't look too hard to make with the right tools.


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    @Captain said:

    Do you have any machining experience?

    Yep. Hmmmm, I might have to talk him out of two of them. I think I could probably make my own adapter out of sheet aluminum if the stock mounting point is what I think it is.


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    Now that I think about it...he had some sheet aluminum over in the warehouse when I was over there the other day. Various pieces that came off of server racks, server cases, etc. There was some stuff in the .1875"-.250" range that would work perfect.



  • Honestly, since it'll be on the back of the machine, you can just drill and use bolts and nuts. But aesthetics are up to you and your budget. :smile:


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    True. In my case it is more a matter of "wife acceptance factor". The more aesthetic I can make it, the higher it will rate there. ;)

    I think I can fab up something that will use the stock mounting point for the stand to adapt to VESA. How hard can it be?...



  • @Polygeekery said:

    I wish that I could just run it under VMWare, but that is not easy and for me is near impossible as I run AMD chips. Or at least so I have read.

    I have a few OSX-es in virtual box. They run decent enough to poke at things and test stuff, but if you need some more serious work done, forget it.

    Forget about hackintosh too if you don't have intel.


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    Nevermind. The reason I wanted an AIO for the kitchen was so I could eschew a keyboard and mouse. I was wanting a touchscreen AIO, so an iMac is not going to do me any good.


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