reply to nokken
Re: [Beginner] Which Mac is for me?
said by nokken: Avoid the Retina MacBook Pros, the Macbook Air, and new 21.5" iMacs. All other models (and older versions of 21.5" iMac) support user RAM.
•Ability to add 3rd Party RAM. I'm not paying outrageous prices for RAM from Apple.
said by nokken: You're pretty much narrowing your options with this demand. Only the Mac Pro (very expensive and hasn't been updated in forever) supports desktop-grade graphics cards
•Desktop graphics card options, not a neutered mobile chip.
said by nokken: In general, the card must be certified for use in a Mac (read: more expensive). There has been some success with flashing PC cards to work in the past. I don't keep up with it, though.
•Can I use regular PCIe graphic cards or do I have to buy special "Mac" versions?
said by nokken: Of course. USB keyboards/mice are standard.
•Can I use my PC keyboards/mice?
said by nokken: Nope.
•Do I void any sort of warranty (AppleCare?) by opening my machine to swap out a HDD or memory?
said by nokken: Apple provides them for Windows 7 only on Macs for the past few years (should also work with 8). Windows XP drivers are available for older Macs (2006-somewhere around 2009? not exactly sure)
•Boot Camp/Windows: How do drivers work? Are these provided by Apple?
said by nokken: If you set it up properly, should work.
•Can you access the same iTunes media library from within OS X and Boot Camp Windows?
In summary, if you're dead-set on a desktop graphics card, Macs probably aren't for you right now. Unless you have very specific needs, I don't think anybody could recommend purchasing a Mac Pro and all other models use mobile variants. You'll have to rescind that requirement if you want a reasonable Mac.
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