Saturday, July 29, 2006

Intel iMac Review, I Switched from Windows XP!

You may have read my review of the iMac G5 a few months ago. I was taken aback at the elegance and well built hardware and software, overall. So taken that I decided to purchase the new Intel iMac, and sell my G5. The sale of my "older" G5 (just a few months old, maybe 5) was surprisingly robust. The sale price of the G5 was very good, and I took a small loss overall. Had I sold my PC I would have eaten at least an 80% loss over the same time.
The transfer of data was easy and seamless. I hooked up the 2 iMacs via Firewire, and used the bundled transfer utility. All of my files and settings and even installed software was transferred to the new iMac. I have NEVER, bar none, seen a computer do as fine a job as Apple has done here with the iMac, and it goes a long way to justifying the perceived higher cost of the iMac. Once files and all were transferred, I disconnected, and my new iMac desktop looked and acted just like the older iMac desktop! I now had a clone of my original system.
My new imac is the 20 inch, up from the old G5 17 inch system. My 17 had no bad dots on the display, but my 20 inch, I just noticed, has only one in the bottom center of the screen. Not too bad and acceptable. But I did hope that the 20 would match the zero problems the 17 had in the display.
What I am sure you are wondering is... How fast is the iMac 20 inch Intel computer? It is faster, noticeably faster, but no screamer. Not a 3 or 4 fold increase, but some actions do appear peppier. No major numbers to illustrate, just suffice to say it is faster marginally.
The real earth shattering thing is that this Intel iMac is cooler. The G5 ran HOT, very hot! Around 135 degrees HOT. It has many fans that would run in the background, and the fans would step up if the CPU was under load. The Intel iMac runs at about 100-115 degrees under load. I detect no fans. Matter of fact current fan diagnostics available for free show no fans at all. I imagine that there is a CPU fan, but not the same network of fans that the G5 had to carry.
The CD slot is moved down a little, for an obvious internal reconfiguration. The connectors along the back have also move from vertical along the back right, with system facing you. They are now along the bottom back center 1/3 of the system. Minor change, but if you liked them on the right side like I did, you have something to get used to. It took me only a few days really. Power switch was moved from back right to back left!
The Intel now has many more freeware and commercial Universal apps. That means they run natively on Intel hardware. That is good, but I didn't notice any real slowdown on the Power PC versions. All my apps seemed to run just fine in emulation. One exception was the "right click context menu apps" that I had installed. I liked the app that allowed me to easily check folder contents total size. No problem really I am sure they will be re-released in Universal.
This new Intel iMac comes with a remote control. That all works pretty well, but is still a little clunky, and hung up on me a few times. It is not ready for prime time. But if you choose to use your iMac for across the room viewing of movies, or mp3 music through iTunes, it is a nice feature, and I would rather have it than not.
As a PC person who has had his career for the last 15 years tied to PCs and Windows, I am a convert. A friend of mine challenged me, "ok you wrote a review, now switch for a month and see what ya think". I switched for 30 days, and decided not to go back. I go to the PC and Windows XP on my other system to run just a few special graphics apps that I have invested money in, and I see just how buggy Windows really is. Don't get me wrong there was a small learning curve needed from going to Windows XP to OS X, but after that 30 days, I found the ease of use refreshing. OS X is not perfect, there are instances where OS X slows for a few seconds when doing allot of multitasking, and I have put the system through its paces, especially with running many applications in the background. I love to run many apps at one time, and the iMac does well. Better than my Windows XP system, though it is a few years older.
I have not done much with the Boot Camp Beta software, but I figure that I will get time to install Windows and run it natively soon. I just haven't had the need. For the most part I have found a Mac equivalent software package to replace the PC package I had relied on prior. There is a bunch of free apps out there, thanks to Linux and the developers who like the Mac and the Unix core.
Besides that there are no real virus threats on the iMac world. That sure is nice. I really like the iMac, and Apple has a new follower. As long as they don't get carried away, and hammer iTunes or iPhoto down my throat, I don't use them, I will be just fine running the 3rd party software that is available.
My suggestion, if you have PC troubles, get yourself an iMac. They are sleek, attractive, and run well! Plenty of free software, and they create one of the nicest DVDs in a complete package I have ever seen from software that costs much more than the integrated iDVD. iDVD is bundled for FREE by the way. All the normal apps, like iDVD, iTunes, iPhoto, iMovie, iChat, Mail, and the Safari Web Browser... provide a great computing platform for Internet use. I also connect to my PC, share printers, and folders. It really is nice and fully compatible!

If you have a question or special thing you want me to look at on the Intel iMac versus the G5, let me know. And the ride continues.