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mmoy

 
Member Since: Mar 05, 2005
Posts: 282
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> First of all, a little over 2 years ago I got very fed up with Dell,
> and their lack of any real regard to quality of customer support (I
> was having a nasty problem with my Dell laptop, and long story short,
> it took 8 months and many, many wasted hours on the phone to finally
> get my PC replaced). At that time, I decided to buy a 12" iBook. The
> problem was, I got a pretty cheap one, so it was slow (600 MHz G3),
> and the screen was just too small and low res. So I returned it.

> When Dell did eventually replace my PC a few months later, to their
> credit, they gave me a top of the line system, which was worth much
> more than my original PC was worth, even when it was new. Anyway, that
> PC is now almost 2 years old, and since it's been pretty annoying at
> times too, I'm interested in getting a Mac again. I just have a few
> questions.

We have four Dell systems, three laptops and one desktop and they're
generally one to five years old and all work fine. Most of Dell's
business is with companies and they provide their best service to
company clients which is why I've ordered from their Small Business
department instead of their Home section and I've been pretty happy
with their service. I haven't really used it that much but, outside
of a few phone calls with some folks in India, it was good.

Dealing with large companies can be a headache if you're not
comfortable with being very annoying.

> First of all, one problem that I have is that with Windows, a program
> can basically bring the system to a grinding halt by just using the
> CPU to full capacity; this can happen when doing a Photoshop filter,
> or even when burning a CD. It can get so slow that the OS barely
> responds until the process finishes. And it happens with fresh XP
> installations; it definitely isn't software. My PC is pretty powerful
> too-- it's a laptop with a 2.0 GHz Pentium 4 and 512 MB of RAM. It
> seems ridiculous for a modern OS to allow this to happen.. my question
> is, does this happen on OS X? C'mon, you can be honest...

In Windows XP, you can set the priority of programs using the Task
Manager. If you know that you'll be running something that could
saturate the CPU, just set the priority to below normal. Or keep
the Task Manager running and set it to high priority so that you
can modify processes that are saturating the CPU.

Same deal with Unix/Linux/OSX. I don't recall the commands for setting
process priorities on Unix as I have a dual-processor Linux box at
work and the processors usually have lots of spare cycles.

A 2.0 Ghz Pentium 4 is a low-end machine these days. I don't know if
you can still get machines this slow. My current laptop is a Athlon
64 running at a 3.2 Ghz Pentium 4 equivalent and my CPU is on the
low end of the scale. The upper end is 4.0 to 4.2 Ghz equivalent.

> Another thing is, would the 1.33 GHz G4 be enough? I don't need
> something especially fast, just basically for it to be at least
> somewhat faster than my 2.0.

My guess is that it depends on the software that you're running.
I've only had a machine since Monday but it appears to me that
great performance is directly related to optimization work. The
G4/G5 have Altivec parallel instructions but your program has
to be programmed to use the parallel instructions.

> And what kind of battery life do they get, in real world use? One of
> the nice things about my big Dell is that you can put in 2 batteries
> at once; when I first got it, I could get up to 4 hours of use,

Some Dell notebooks can take two batteries and some can only take
one. One of my older Dells can get 7 hours on two batteries.

Pentium Ms generally have the best performance to battery life.
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