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Switcher Hangout The place for switchers to discuss their new machines, and how to work with OS X. General support can be had here for newbie stuff, like "How do I restart my new iMac?" :)

New machine - Mac or PC?


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Jay Riffs

 
Member Since: Apr 17, 2010
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hello there!

i have a pretty common question i guess.. i need some oppinions to help me decide properly.

i need a new computer, the old tincan doesnt bring it no more, and now its time to get a new MACHINE.

i am a professional photographer/ gfx. designer, mostly doing compositings, and that means i want at least 16 gb RAM, since my compositings are usually huge and have like 2389740934 layers, and photoshop eats RAM for breakfast. i just want at least 16 gigs, thats one thign im sure of. i also need a good processor for 3d rendering.

"get a mac" you would say, but for me its not a simple decision, because i am also an oldschool pc user and gamer, and generally a person who likes riggin stuff in very custom ways and buying weird gadgets. atm i am working on a wacom cintiq 21ux, for which i literally chainsawed the furniture of my workplace so it would fit on my table; pen in one hand, logitech g13 gamepad in other..for photoshop, yeah.. and the next thing planned is apple wireless KB for my PC, and i will be so happy about cracking the **** out of it and making it work with customly mapped keys wit hassigned macros or some stuff

anyway, what i want from you is to tell me your experiences with switchign from pc to mac. especially people who feel/felt like i do now.

please dont tell me how awsome macs look and make my penis bigger etc., i know that and agree with you on that fully, but its not a point for me at all. in fact, all the apple hype has been keeping me from even remotely thinking of getting a mac for years

because what i want from my new computer is:

- customization possibility. i am not familiar with mac OS, so i dont know anything about how much you can rig it, but on windows i can force the ****ed thing to just do what i want, have flyout panels with shortcuts where i want them, and remove useless menu points im never using etc. it all is usually an ugly workaround, but it works for me after all

- ability to use all sorts of weird gadgets and customize those too. for example, can you make logitech programmable mice work properly on mac OS?? heard there were some problems there

- ability to run windows natively without problems, since some of the oldest games im still playing wont run on a virtual machine for sure

- that it just WORKS and doesnt fail me when i have a strict deadline etc., and also that its durable and so solid, that you can use it to break open vault doors by smashing it against them if you wanted to. macs fufill this point i guess.

- graphic card should support pc games


what i dont care about:

- looks, fashion, etc.


why i am considering a mac pro at all:

- last night my tincan wont turn on, and then when the system booted finally, after 1,5 hours of swithcing on and off, it deleted my user preferences from wacom drivers and ****, and then ,after i restored all, and finally did just a bit of work on my picture, it crashed and left me raging liek a manpig. that was annoying, and im tired of getting THAT sort of thing, also tired of having to reinstall my OS every 3 month or so, because it gets clogged up liek a WC drainage pipe and jsut wont start at some point.
my machine must obey me, for i am its rightful master and the only god.

alternatives to a mac:

- custom-build pc with i7 or xeon, 24 gb ram, SSD-RAID as OS drive, and win7. SS

i dindt try win 7 yet, but i seen reviews and heard from friends it is pretty much more stable and kickass then XP, which i had ever since.

--- if i can nateively run windows on a mac, then i can generally not screw up much getting a mac.. except for the price and lack of SSD drives, or at least i cant find the option to get a mac pro with SSD RAID


please post your oppinions, with pros and cons for mac and win 7 PC
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chscag

 
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Quote:
please post your oppinions, with pros and cons for mac and win 7 PC
You're posting in a Mac forum where opinions are going to be slanted toward a Mac. I can give you many reasons Pro for Mac and Con for the PC, but you're the one who in the end is going to have to decide.

I suggest instead of asking for opinions that you do some research on your own. These forums are a great place to start.... just use the search function and put in the proper phrases and you should come up with hundreds of hits.

Additionally, take a trip to your local Apple store or even Best Buy (tongue in cheek) and ask the sales persons for a demo and perhaps even play around with the hardware yourself.

Good luck with your decision.

Regards.
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J.Fo

 
Member Since: Sep 07, 2008
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Whew! That's a long post! I'll try to cover the most important details as best I can.

Customization
The Mac OS is pretty customizable overall. If you check out the monthly desktops threads on this forum, you'll see people making use of all kinds of visual tweaks and customizations. Icons can be changed to whatever you want with the help of an app called CandyBar, and others like SuperDocker can help customize the visual appearance in other ways as well.

Compatibility with various gadgets
The Mac should work with most any USB device. You may want to check to see if what you have already works. Chances are, it will though.

Running Windows
This should not be a problem. You can install Windows natively on any Mac through BootCamp, which is included with the OS or you can use a virtualization program such as Parallells or VM Fusion. If you choose the former, you will likely get better performance for the PC games and programs you run while using Windows, since the latter options run Windows alongside OS X and eats up some of the available processor power.

It Just Works
This is the mantra of many Mac owners. In my experience, OS X is much more stable, much easier to use, and much more capable out of the box than most any Windows machine out there. Plus, the Mac is not filled with junk software you will never use. It's a very clean install and will allow you to be up and running within minutes.

Just to warn you, you may have to relearn some tasks because of the differences in the way the operating systems are designed. If one thing frustrates new switchers more than anything, it's when they try to do something on the Mac the same way they did it on the PC. Sorry, but it just doesn't work that way. However, if you are willing to try something new, the Mac can be a whole lot of fun.

Anyway, that's my perspective. I'll second the recommendation that you visit an Apple store if possible and check them out for yourself. There's nothing like a little hand-on time to help you make a big decision like this.
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cwa107

 
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If you're content with Windows, I see no reason to switch. There's nothing you can't do with Windows that you can on the Mac and vice versa. Macs mostly use commodity x86 hardware and although it tends to be of good quality and reliable, you can also get similar quality components in a custom PC. At the end of the day, it's all about whether you're looking for something new and different - if you're the kind of person who embraces change. If you are, the Mac can be very rewarding and a lot of fun. If you're particularly set in your ways and are mostly content with Windows, why bother with buying all new apps and spending time trying to figure your way around a new OS? I know a lot of the Mac zealots love to preach the "it just works" mantra, but that's not always true. I believe there is less maintenance and concern over malware, but an astute Windows user can work around those issues as well.

Liquid and computers don't mix. It might seem simple, but we see an incredible amount of people post here about spills. Keep drinks and other liquids away from your expensive electronics!
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FiosFiend

 
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Well as someone who switched just last year to the Mac after years of PC use and building I can say with out reservation that I'll never go back to a PC. Im also a photographer, thought not professional, and the Mac is the perfect choice for this. With the release of the new i5/i7 powered Macbooks you could do everything you mentioned easily on a MBP. You didn't say whether you were looking for a desktop or laptop but the new 27inch iMac with a quad core processor would be fantastic as well.

With regard to customization, I've found the Mac to be just as customizable as any PC I've ever owned or built. What I love is that it just works all the time. It never crashes, it never freezes and when I do get the occasional web plug in bug I can force close the browser without having to restart the computer. In fact the only times I've ever closed my computer down is when there been some major software update that requires a restart. I usually just close the lid when I'm done and then just open it up when I want to work. The Mac actually has a sleep mode that works, instant sleep and instant wake up.

As far as peripherals go, I've only had one problem. I had a portable scanner that would not work with the Mac. My desktop scanner was no problem. That's just my 2 cents, get what you like, but for me, I'll never go back to PC.

Macbook Pro 15" anti glare 2.8Ghz
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Oneironaut

 
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The Mac Pro is the most customizable Mac there is. It can hold up to 32 GB of RAM and the processor can be customized too. There is a reason so many people who work with video and graphics have always used Mac Pro's. Check out this page for all the possible Mac Pro configurations, though it's easy to upgrade most things yourself.

Configure - Apple Store (U.S.)

The OS itself is pretty customizable too, though in ways that are different from Windows. You can remap keyboard shortcuts, customize your Dock and icons, etc and it's a little more direct on a Mac, less of a workaround. Automator lets you write your own simple programs, then there's Terminal if you really want to get deep under the hood.

While Macs are not the first name in gaming, the specs on a Mac Pro will probably be more than enough for that. For this kind of thing, you would probably want to use Boot Camp to run Windows games and programs natively. You can get virtualization software that will let you run Windows from within OS X, but you can also boot into Windows natively for the best experience of that OS.

There are definitely some devices with drivers that don't exist for Mac, but most gadgets should work fine, and there's a good chance that the drivers you need are already included with Snow Leopard without having to download them.

And while looks are everything, there is something very comforting and stress-free about the uncluttered, simple, efficient design of the hardware and the interface that seems conducive to getting work done. Which is why most people who have Macs aren't too considered with gaming or tinkering; they're too busy actually using them to actually do things.

The biggest draw is the OS, which is so much stabler and unobtrusive than Windows. My MBP starts up to a usable desktop right away and has not slowed down one bit in the two years that I've had it, which is more than I can say for my old Windows box. Few crashes, none that have been catastrophic, and despite that I do a LOT of intense video editing, rendering and transcoding, it still runs like a champ.

But it sounds like you are used to Windows machines, so you should ask yourself if you're willing to give up a Windows mindset and learn a whole new OS.
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the editor

 
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i pretty much agree with cwa107.

Don't buy in the Macs "never crash or freezes..." thats BS. Macs do crash, not as much as a windows machine...but ive seen it happen

if buying a mac pro is an option, i wouldn't buy the current config. its way too expensive and you don't get what you pay for. Maybe wait it out (if possible) and get the updated version...God knows when that will happen.
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JUKE179r

 
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Get a Mac, add a Windows OS (I got WinXP SP3) on partiton with BootCamp and then you will be a happy Mac/Windows user!
I mainly use my MacBook Pro with OSX for strictly music production (Logic 9, LIVE!, Guru) and Windows for strictly work (MS Office, Adobe Pro 9, emailing).
It was a no brainer for me. I was getting the best of both worlds. It took time for me to get my head around not trying to make the Mac act like a PC but you get used to it.

MBP 3,1 & 4,1 w/ Vertex 4 SSD | Logic Pro 9 | Ableton Live 8 | Traktor Pro 2 | AKAI MPK-49 | Roland MV-8000, TR-808 & TR-909 | Ensoniq ASR-10 | x0xb0x #911 | Denon DN-MC6000 | (3) Technics SL-1200MK1 | 3000+ vinyl records
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DaFlake

 
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Also remember that OSx and Windows use memory in different ways. You will find that a Mac with 2 GB RAM works much better than a Windows box with that same amount.
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FiosFiend

 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by the editor View Post
i pretty much agree with cwa107.

Don't buy in the Macs "never crash or freezes..." thats BS. Macs do crash, not as much as a windows machine...but ive seen it happen

if buying a mac pro is an option, i wouldn't buy the current config. its way too expensive and you don't get what you pay for. Maybe wait it out (if possible) and get the updated version...God knows when that will happen.
They may crash, but I've yet to see one. Granted, I'm a relatively new Mac user, less then a year but I can honestly say I've yet to see a crash. Now, I've had my browser crash, but that's not the same thing. Most browser crashes are a result of add ons, usually java or flash.

Macbook Pro 15" anti glare 2.8Ghz
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TechieJustin

 
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Security.
You can't just double click on something and have it run. In windows if somebody sends you an exe file, you double click on it - it is now trying to run. Malware is not always caught by anti virus programs. There have been a few instances where malware companies sued and won against AV companies.
With OSX and any unix like environment, you have to set the file as executable and THEn take special steps to actually run it.
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the8thark

 
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My opinions are:

If you want to play hardcore cutting edge games on ultra settings, best make your own PC tower. So you can upgrade the gpu as often as you want. Also PC's tend to be cheaper to purchase/run initially. But they can have a decent maintenance cost though. But a good user will make sure this is kept to a minimum. And yes W7 is a nice OS. It's 100x better then the POS vista. Sure it's no OS X but it will get the job done.

But for everything you stated a mac pro would fit your needs perfectly. But for a cheaper alternative I'd look at the imacs. They can do plenty what you need. And if you insist on having oodles of ram and cpu grunt (I can't see the need even for what you said), but if you want to then the best 27 inch imac can hold 8GB ram and an i7 cpu. And that would just just slaughter photoshop work. Even with 100gb+ raw files. Just remember to get a portable hard drive for a scratch disk and you're all set to go.

With the Mac Pro's at the end of their refresh cycle I think the best imac is a better bet. But it's totally up to you. Sure it has little upgradability but I don't think you'll need it really. And in 5-7 years time you'll get a new mac and the old one can be a 2nd computer for you still very useful.

And if you choose a decent graphics card on your mac you'll be able to play many many good games. And with steam coming to OS X soon, you'll have even more choice for games. Also there is DOS Box/scummvm for the really old dos games, as well as bootcamp (windows natively on the Mac). So most of your gaming needs are forfilled on the Mac.

And there is an extesion that has drivers on it for most logictech and other PC mice. So you can use them with OS X. I forget what it's called. I'm sure other people will chime in and tell you what it's called. A lot of people here love their non Apple mice and happily use them with OS X. In saying that for 99% of general computing the Apple Magic Mouse works. And it's multitouch capabilities are really nice too.

And there is as many PC/windows fanboys as there is Apple fanboys. There is hype on both sides if you listen out for it. So there's no need to say Apple has more hype then any other PC out there. Cause it does not. It has the same. (So no need for the penis comment, it can make you sound like you are a git when you are not one. Just a friendly word ).

And lastly if you really want to learn about OS X there is a book worth looking at. Well 2 actually.
Mac OS X Snow Leopard: The Missing Manual - O'Reilly Media
Switching to the Mac: The Missing Manual, Snow Leopard Edition - O'Reilly Media
Just look into them both and pick the one that best suits you. They are about the latest version of OS X and have a lot of useful information in them.

So after all of that my advice is:

A Mac Pro will do everything you want. One of the 8 core ones will just zip along with heaps of HD space/RAM. But it's really expensive. Too expensive in my opinion. And also it's been a while since the Mac Pro's were refreshed too. So they might get a refresh soon.

A 27 inch i7 imac with maxed (8GB) ram, a good gpu (you can opt for a non standard better one) and a few external hard drives for backups, scratch disks and more storage space is another option that will do everything you need. Negatives here are No real opportunity to upgrade the computer. Not that you need to. I'm sure in 5 years you'll be able to work with the latest applications still. Just some people don't like all-in-one computers.

The PC alternative you mentioned. If made by you, I'm sure you could make a good one for a cheap price. And it's do everything you want it to. But then you'd miss out on being able to use OS X, OS X only applications etc.

All 3 would get the job done. But the real clincher for me is OS X and price. Take a trip down to the local Apple store/reseller and take a look at OS X. And the Macs there. And if you like what you see, you can get a Mac and if not you can get your Windows 7 box you mentioned in your post.

And one thing you failed to mentioned is fun. Sure all 3 options I mentioned will get the job done. But which is more fun and less frustrating to use for you? That is a major issue, well to me it is anyways. Also the time os money issue. What OS do you find more efficient to use? OS X or W7? I'm sure a trip to a few local stores will answer that question for you too.

*****************

And OS X is not perfect. it can crash too. Just in rarely happens. Very rarely. This crash is called a Kernel Panic.

Lastly but most importantly Apple's customer service is 2nd to none. So if you have an issue with your Mac let them know about it by phone or instore (via a genius) and they will take a look at it and most times fix for free under warranty. No more hassling the PC companies that will not fix what is covered by their warranties. Apple is not like this. Apple is better. And if you're spending lots of money on a computer, in my opinion customer support is one of the first things I look for.
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DarkestRitual

 
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Take a look at my set up - pretty custom with the black menu bar, white text, changed menu bar icons, custom dock... adium... Quicksilver lets you assign system wide hot keys and macros...


Pretty much.. yes. Whatever you're looking to do. Yes.
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DarkestRitual

 
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The 27 inch iMac can hold 16GB of RAM by the way, 8th.
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TechieJustin

 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DarkestRitual View Post
The 27 inch iMac can hold 16GB of RAM by the way, 8th.
That's a lotta RAM.
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