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Member Since: Jan 15, 2006
Location: SE Pennsylvania
Posts: 361
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Mac Specs: 20" 2.0GHz Intel Core Duo iMac, 1.5 GHZ PPC Mac Mini, MacBook MB403LL/A

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Originally Posted by PC2MAC
Hello All,

Is it hard to switch from using a PC all my life to a MAC? I seem to go through Dells about every two years. My kids and I have been to the Apple store here in town and have very much enjoyed trying them out. I've have alot of people tell me that once I make the switch I'll never go back. So, I know PC's inside out, upside down, and backwards. Here is my question what are the PRO's & CON's to switching to a MAC? Please be objective. Any previous PC user in here.....I would LOVE your input!!

From a Windows user, and someone who has built their own boxes (up until about a year or two ago) since Windows 3.1:

Don't buy a Mac with the intention of switching. Buy one as an additional machine. You absolutely will not regret it. Whether you switch or not, doesn't really matter, but I suspect you'll find yourself in front of the Mac virtually all of the time. I got my first Mac (a mini) in late December, and have visited the Windows machines more just to keep them up to date, than for anything else.

As a Windows user, I'm sure you know this scenario very well:
"Hmm, that app looks great, but will it's drivers blow something else out of the water? Maybe I shouldn't risk installing it."
With the Mac, I encountered such a scenario only once, but it was of my own doing. Want to install something? No worries.

Want to do something with a Mac? At first, you'll wonder, "Well, where's the wizard?", but then you'll find yourself saying, "Oh, so that's all I had to do?".

What about virus updates, and the CPU resources used by your anti-virus app in Windows?
No such issues with the Mac. No need to run A/V software.

In Windows, I use Acronis Drive Image to frequently create a backup image of my drive. Acronis is great, but with the Mac, I can use a freeware app (or even just the Disk Utility that's in OS X) to create a bootable copy of the OS on an external firewire drive. Just choose the drive to boot from at startup, and instant recovery. Actually, not "recovery" per se, you're just running the OS from another drive seamlessly.

Despite my primary Windows box being a relatively high-end Pentium 4 Gateway Media Center PC, the audio from this Mac mini is crystal clear, and believe it or not (though just stereo I have pumped through 2 speakers and a sub) better sounding than any audio I've heard from any Windows machine I've ever built or purchased.

Video quality/DVD playback? Flawless, and again, IMO, better looking than in Windows.

Can you exist with just a Mac? IMO, absolutely. If you prefer not to use Open Office, you can buy MS Office for Mac. It's mail client, Entourage, blows Outlook away. I wonder why MS couldn't have made Entourage the Windows Office mail client.
There are plenty of apps to round out what you'll need. Unison (shareware) is a great usenet Newsreader (coming from XNews and Agent in the Windows world). Roxio's Toast is again, a far superior product than it's Windows counterpart, and so much easier to use.

iChat, Adium, and other instant messaging apps are great, and compatible with folks using Windows. Opera, Firefox, Safari, Camino, Shira, are just some of the browsers you can use on your Mac. Currently, Opera 9 (weekly build) is my default browser. I am able to render every site that I visited with IE, with no problems.
So far, I've not found a Windows app that I leaned on, that has no Mac counterpart.

Now, is there a wrinkle in this otherwise seemingly perfect Mac world? Well, to me, as someone who's accustomed to popping the case off whenever there's trouble, I'm a bit concerned about the lack of end-user serviceability of something like the iMac. You can pry the lid off of a mini with a putty knife, and if so inclined, swap out at least a few components. I have no familiarity with the Power Mac (the tower case behemoth), but at least you can get inside one. The iMac on the other hand, appears to be designed only to be serviced by Apple. I don't own one, so who knows, they might very well run forever, but that's the only thing that's keeping me from buying an iMac.

I'm sure I left out a lot, but to conclude (before I ramble on forever), I really believe you'll love what a Mac has to offer. No need to commit to switching. Just get one and enjoy it.

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