The big switch - advice on an iMac G5

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ejl10
Posts: 79
Joined: Sun Oct 19, 2003 6:17 pm

The big switch - advice on an iMac G5

Post by ejl10 » Fri Jan 07, 2005 6:21 am

Well, I'm thinking about making the switch. My PC is awesome- dead silent if I manage the fans right, very fast, and can do just about anything. However, I've grown weary of being a tech support guru- especially for my own system. I'd like to get a system in which the software works and I'm not constantly trying to tweak drivers and OS files to make things play nice together. I'm definitely a perfectionist, and I can't seem to rest until everything works... and it never does. Its a very tiring spot to be in! So, here's what I want to know before considering the plunge...

First, how difficult is it to change the hard disks in these things? The only current options are 80/160/250gb SATA drives, and I've got my eye on the new Seagate 400gb. If I do this, I'd like to make the switch almost immediately after getting the iMac. Does the system ship with CDs for all the software installed, or am I going to lose all the little niceties that they include for me? I've heard that the software package is fantastic, especially when compared to a typical Dell package that's overloaded with AOL and MSN crap.

Second, does anyone familiar with Macs know how much difference you'd see between the 1.6GHz and 1.8GHz models? I'll probably end up springing for the 20" that only comes in the 1.8GHz flavor, but if I decide to save my money with a 17" model, I might consider the slower processor. I have an Xbox for games, so that isn't and won't be an issue. I anticipate Photoshop, Dreamweaver, and Office to be the system's biggest strain, though I'd like to try my hand at some video editing, too. I'll have 1GB of RAM, too, so that should help.

Finally, does anyone know anything about iTunes? I've used Musicmatch up until now to rip all my CDs to MP3. I've used VBR 100% quality, and they come out great. Is there a comparable recording quality in iTunes, or is the encoder as bad as the audiophiles say? I don't want to use Apple Lossless simply because of the space it would consume.

Oh, and I've already heard that the iMacs are having some problems with a fan... I'll certainly wait until that clears up with the next revision.

Thanks for any and all help,
Emmett Lyman
[size=75]My 20" iMac G5 is not silent. Oh well, its still nice.[/size]

sthayashi
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Re: The big switch - advice on an iMac G5

Post by sthayashi » Fri Jan 07, 2005 8:57 am

ejl10 wrote:Finally, does anyone know anything about iTunes? I've used Musicmatch up until now to rip all my CDs to MP3. I've used VBR 100% quality, and they come out great. Is there a comparable recording quality in iTunes, or is the encoder as bad as the audiophiles say? I don't want to use Apple Lossless simply because of the space it would consume.
The above is the only thing I can help you on, and that's because iTunes is available for PCs. iTunes can encode into AAC format which is actuallly better than most mp3 implementations in terms of quality. It can essentially be compared directly to the best of the best for mp3. iTunes' mp3 encoder, however, is not nearly as good though. Note: that the 2nd link shows iTunes' mp3 capabilities, whereas the 1st chart shows its AAC capabilites

The hardcore audiophiles feel that any lossy encoding is crap, but you should use your own ears for that.

Sorry I can't help you with your other questions on iMacs.
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ejl10
Posts: 79
Joined: Sun Oct 19, 2003 6:17 pm

Post by ejl10 » Mon Jan 10, 2005 7:44 am

Thanks for the music advice. I'd hoped to maitain about the same quality level that I've used up till now by mirroring the 100% VBR MP3 on the Mac, but I guess I'll resolve to use the AAC to get teh best quality I can for similar space usage.

Well, I guess my other questions were too hard, so I'll ask an easy one- does anyone know what kind of hard disks Apple uses in the iMac G5s? I'm specifically interested in the 160GB and 250GB models. I can accept that a 160GB Samsung or Seagate might be quiet, but who makes 250GB SATA drives? Maxtor, Western Digital? I'm sure those won't be quiet!

Thanks,
Emmett Lyman
[size=75]My 20" iMac G5 is not silent. Oh well, its still nice.[/size]

souljas
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Post by souljas » Mon Jan 10, 2005 12:18 pm

I use a Mac!

there are some great sites like macrumors.com - a rumour site with a vast forum discussing everything Mac. and http://www.xlr8yourmac.com/ has lots of modding of your mac

burcakb
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Post by burcakb » Mon Jan 10, 2005 12:48 pm

Actually, the LAME encoder produces the best lossy compressed music and it does so in MP3 format. AAC comes in a close second. (sthayashi, I saw exactly the same page just yesterday but it showed LAME & AAC head & shoulders above everything else :?: :shock: ) Is there a similar, more updated version of the page I wonder.)

I heard of something called the iTunes-LAME that does LAME MP3 encoding for iTunes and is supposed to be MUCH better than Apple but I have no idea what platform it runs on.

Musicmatch is rated among the worst encoders btw.

Some time spent in HydrogenAudio forums is advised. Also, don't post before reading up a lot. The folks there don't seem to be as helpful to newcomers as here.
[size=75][url=http://forums.silentpcreview.com/viewtopic.php?t=17474]Thor's Hammer[/url]
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sthayashi
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Post by sthayashi » Mon Jan 10, 2005 2:48 pm

burcakb wrote:(sthayashi, I saw exactly the same page just yesterday but it showed LAME & AAC head & shoulders above everything else :?: :shock: ) Is there a similar, more updated version of the page I wonder.)
I hope you're not thinking of the 64kbps test the same guy did. He only did that to show whether claims of "same quality at half the bitrate" are applicable. Lame was at 128kbps, everyone else was 64.

And incidentally, it's only with LAME's more recent updates that got it to about the same level as Apple's AAC format. In previous versions, AAC trounced LAME. So to say that iTunes' AAC will give comparable quality to the absolute best of mp3 is not an unreasonable statement, IMHO.

FWIW, I use MPC for my CDs, and Ogg Vorbis for my portable.
[size=75][url=http://www.twolf1300.net/sthayashi/SPCR/systems.html]My Power Rig, Storage Rig, HTPC and Main Rig[/url][/size]

ejl10
Posts: 79
Joined: Sun Oct 19, 2003 6:17 pm

Post by ejl10 » Mon Jan 17, 2005 9:48 am

Well that's good news... in a manner. I guess I don't need to worry about the quality of music I rip on the Mac, but now I need to second guess the stuff I've already recorded!

Thanks for the input,
Emmett Lyman
[size=75]My 20" iMac G5 is not silent. Oh well, its still nice.[/size]

sdc
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Location: Munich, Germany

Re: The big switch - advice on an iMac G5

Post by sdc » Mon Jan 17, 2005 12:23 pm

ejl10 wrote:First, how difficult is it to change the hard disks in these things? The only current options are 80/160/250gb SATA drives, and I've got my eye on the new Seagate 400gb.
Apple states that the hard disk is designed to be easily replaceable, and given their history of not liking users to touch the gory bits, I think it is safe to believe that they wouldn't make such a claim lightly.
http://docs.info.apple.com/article.html?artnum=86812
Does the system ship with CDs for all the software installed, or am I going to lose all the little niceties that they include for me?
You will get a MacOS X install CD, which will allow to reinstall the system on the new disk with all the bells and whistles.
An even better alternative is to buy an external Firewire enclosure and clone your disk using CarbonCopyCloner (freeware). This allows to boot on the external disk as well, which is the best way to backup your data. It should even work on any other Mac supporting MacOS X, actually.
Second, does anyone familiar with Macs know how much difference you'd see between the 1.6GHz and 1.8GHz models? I'll probably end up springing for the 20" that only comes in the 1.8GHz flavor, but if I decide to save my money with a 17" model, I might consider the slower processor.
As souljas wrote, xlr8yourmac.com is a good place to start when looking for benchmarks. There is also an FSB difference between both models (533 MHz vs. 600 MHz.)

/sdc

HomerSapien
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Post by HomerSapien » Sat Jan 22, 2005 4:44 pm

OSX loves ram and lots of it. 1GB should be minimum, but dont buy the ram from apple.

Go ahead and get the 1.8Ghz if you can afford it. You will love the extra monitor space. I am still using a 667 tibook that is now 3 years old. They last a long time so all the megahertz will help later on.

Since ripping quality is a matter of personal taste, I like the 128kbps aac. To me, it is comparable to 192 vbr, but that is for my own speakers and equalizer settings. You really just have to encode a bunch of songs and do blind testing.

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