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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I am curious as to people's responses on MAC vs. Windows. I am considering getting rid of my "Microsoft-garbage" and replacing it with a MAC. Anything I should know about MACs? What is a good source of information (websites) for MACs? My budget is approx. $1500-$2000 including monitor... Please advice. Thanks in advance.
 

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I'm not claiming to be an expert on the subject but I'm a Windows Engineer by trade and a MAC user at home. They both have their inherent advantages. The main reason I use a MAC at home is, in my opinion, they are much more stable, reliable and the lack of constant patches, updates and virus attacks is very refreshing.

Now that Apple makes an affordable solution for the home user, Windows no longer has a price advantage. The only real advantage Windows holds is greater market penetration which in turn gives you a few more vendor and software options. This, however, is changing.

Also, MAC users are more like a cult and tend to have smaller but more rabid support groups. For power users this is an advantage.

As far as websites for Mac information. If it's within the forum rules, here are a few.

http://www.macworld.com/
http://g5support.com/group/
http://www.macosrumors.com/
 

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If you're up to the challenge, you could go with Linux and spend the extra money on better hardware <insert shameless linux plug here>. If you want to stay more mainstream, get a Mac.

If you plan on using it for alot of games, Windows is still the way to go just because the selection is so much greater. The Mac OS is so much more solid and ships with alot of very useful software right out of the box. Even simple things like "themeing" the desktop M$ wants you to pay extra for (although there are ways around that :) but you get my point).

I'm a developer for Windows and Linux platforms and although I don't use a Mac myself I'm envious of what I've seen and played with. Using a Mac brings me back to the good old days of my Amiga that kicked the a$$ of everything else in its day. Linux is getting there but doesn't have the spit and polish the Mac has. The Mac is just so easy to use and everything just works and works the way you expect.

Bottom line, I use Windows when I have to but I'd rather use Linux and I'd definitely use a Mac at home if I had one.
 

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Now that they're price-competitive, the only reason to use a PC over a Mac is if you have specific, PC-only software that you need to run.

I use both, and prefer the Mac by a large margin. Very easy to set up and use, not nearly as vulnerable to viruses, almost never get annoying pop-ups, etc. And you NEVER have to reboot.

I do heavy photo and video editing as a hobby, and there's no better platform than Macs for that. I'm an attorney by profession, and use Microsoft Office for the Mac; I never have a problem with document compatibility with other lawfirms, unless they're using WordPerfect (which I can use, it's just not as easy since I have to run it in Mac's old operating system, now called "Classic"). (If necessary, you can buy a program that will allow you to run Windows, and alll PC programs, on your Mac, as well.)

Apple has a new Mac Mini that's very affordable ($499), if you already have a good monitor and keyboard. But you can't beat the iMac for overall value. For $2k, you can get the 20" widescreen model, which is what I use -- you won't regret it! If you have an Apple Store near you, or a Comp USA, go check them out. If you're a student or teacher, you can get a nice education discount, as well.
 

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Software options for Mac are somewhat limited

I've been programming since 1965 (I started on an IBM 1620 in college) and was a Mac user from their first offering. My wife and kids learned about computers on Macs and we've had at least 10. But when I went to business school 8 years ago, all the software we were given or told to buy was either PC-only or not as current for Mac OS as for Windows (e.g. linear programming). So I bought a Dell laptop running Windows ME, and met the "blue screen of death" for the first time.

As others have pointed out, the Mac OS is quite stable compared to Windows. But I run Windows 2000 on 7 family machines (including web and FTP servers) and 2 in the office right now, and I rarely have problems beyond something annoying and easily overcome (e.g. an image that requires reloading to display completely). I see the BSOD once a year or less.

I do a lot of photo editing and record live multitrack audio on a PC. It's fine - but I do agree with the others that a Mac seems to feel "better" for audio and video creation, presentation, and editing. Macs are also faster, hertz for hertz. Windows attracts worms and viruses, unlike the Mac OS and Linux (which is also a fine platform, as pointed out above, but has its own software limitations for anyone who can't develop his or her own).
 

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Mac

I think you know my answer! And don't even get me started on Windows!!
 

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I use both and it all just depends on what you use the computer for.

Lots of games or need to run specific PC-only software, get Windows.

Internet, email, and such; can't beat the Mac for ease of use and lack of worry about constant updates and malware.
 

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iMac

Also,,, the new iMac is awesome!
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Wow. This is why I like this board (and spend hours reading it). You post a question and people will respond. Thank you very much for all responses.

To comment on a couple...
- I used RedHat for a while but managing all the packages and dealing with config problems + lack of time to work on these issues caused me to switch back to Windows
- I don't really play video games ( I used to test video games for a living when in High School so I got my share of fun). I mainly only use my computer for "Internet", pictures, and music; that's about it...

Again, thanks for all the replies.
Kris
 

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krzys4 said:
- I don't really play video games ( I used to test video games for a living when in High School so I got my share of fun). I mainly only use my computer for "Internet", pictures, and music; that's about it...

Again, thanks for all the replies.
Kris
Go with a Mac, you wont regret it!
 

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When shoping for a DTR we came close to a Mac/apple 17" Powerbook, but found nobody to discount it's 3K price, ended up going with an HP ZD7000 17" widescreen for half as much. Would like a mac, but $$$ - also didn't understand 1.25g comparisons to PC #'s
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
Can you stream MP3s (Shoutcast) with MAC? I guess I am looking for an alternative to Winamp that can play *.pls.
Also, are there any players that do visualization effects (along the lines of AVS in winamp)?

Thanks
Kris
 

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krzys4 said:
Can you stream MP3s (Shoutcast) with MAC? I guess I am looking for an alternative to Winamp that can play *.pls.
Also, are there any players that do visualization effects (along the lines of AVS in winamp)?

Thanks
Kris
There's a ShoutCast version for the Mac: http://www.versiontracker.com/dyn/moreinfo/macosx/8439; it's UNIX based. But there are other MP3 streamers as well. Check VersionTracker.com, which is a great resource for finding Mac programs. See: http://www.versiontracker.com

iTunes has visualizations.

Think Different.
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
Few more questions... I started looking into G5 Macs. Here's what is offered (all are with 20 inch LCD monitor)

1. iMAC (1.8GHz) for $1900
2. Power MAC (Single processor 1.8GHz) for $2500
3. Power MAC (Dual processor 1.8GHz) for $3000

- Why would you take Power MAC over iMAC and vice versa? Is it really worth it?
- Why would you take Power MAC single over dual processor and vice versa?
- Why would you take G5 over G4 and vice versa??

Thanks in advance.
Kris
 

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I went through the same analysis a few months ago, before deciding on a 20" iMac with 1GB of RAM and a Bluetooth Wireless Keyboard/Mouse. Here were my conclusions:

The PowerMac's advantage is the ability to expand and upgrade; you can add additional drives, an additional graphics card (to power two monitors), etc. The iMac has fewer available options.

The advantages to the iMac are cost, simplicity and size. $600 less than for separates; it sets up in literally one minute; and takes up only the space of a monitor.

Advantages of G5 vs. G4:

64-bit processor vs. 32-bit processor; faster frontside bus (allowing faster data transmission to the processor; ability to add more RAM. Most programs written today do not take full advantage of the G5, since they're written for 32-bit processors. But, like everything, that will evolve over time. Since they're still selling 32-bit G4's, that probably won't be much of a factor for the next several years.

Single vs. Dual: The G5 is an incredibly fast processor; unless you're into heavy processor-intensive applications like editing a lot of video, rendering animations, or working in photoshop on incredibly large files, you probably won't notice the difference between one and two processors. I'd rather spend the money in a bigger monitor or other, more noticeable options.

Having said all that, while writing this response, I found a site that has run benchmark tests comparing all of the current Mac machines (even the brand-new Mac Mini. Their conclusions are somewhat startling: not a lot of difference in performance between a G4 and a G5, if you have them set properly. They have especially high praise for the Mac Mini. Check the page below, especially the Conclusions at the end.

http://www.macintouch.com/perfpack/comparison.html

They mention fan noise as a factor for the iMac and PowerMac; I get very little from the iMac -- certainly nothing close to a normal PC, or to my old G3 iMac. And nothing iTunes, even at a low volume, doesn't drown out.

Good luck!
 

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I agree with GarryMac. I went through all of the same questions and decided on the IMAC G5 with upgraded memory and Bluetooth. I couldn't be happier with this setup. Not only does it perform very well, it takes up little space and looks very cool in the family room.
 

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Discussion Starter · #19 ·
So I went to CompUSA to check out the MAC and I was impressed with the MAC but not the service. Of' course people working there could not answer any of my questions or even cared to help.

Here's more "I-know-nothing-about-MAC"-type questions...

1. Can you exchange files between Windows and MAC computers? In other words, I have pictures and MP3s stored on my PC as well as MS Office documents (doc, xls, ppd, etc...). Will all of these work with MAC or do I need to convert these files?

2. Can you sync a Pocket PC PDA with MAC? How about applications (such as Outlook, MS Office, and other software running on PDA), will that work with MAC? In other words, my fiance has lots of medical software on her PDA. In order to install this software on the PDA, one must install it on PC first and then sync with PDA? Is something like this available with MACs?

3. Is PC hardware compatible with MAC: I have SMC broadband router, Logitec QuickCam Pro 4000, and HP LaserJet 1200 printer. Will these work with MAC? I guess a general question here is do all PC perihperals work with MAC or is it on a case-by-case basis?

4. When you purchase a MAC, it comes with pre-loaded software. Is it missing anything? In other words, what do you feel is not part of the package but important for every-day use? (this is more of a personal opinion question)

5. Finally, where would you suggest to purchase MAC? Obviously CompUSA is out after today's incident. Would you recommend to buy it online or try to find a store that sells MACs?

Again, thanks for all the responses.
Kris
 

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1. Yes; non-program specific docs (like MP3s, graphics files like JPGs, etc.) have no problems at all. Where you have issues is when you have a program-specific file, like WordPerfect or Word files. But Microsoft makes a very good version of Office for the Mac (I'm told it's better than the PC version - imagine that!); if you get that, you'll have no problems with Excel, Word, Powerpoint, etc. And it has Entourage, which is an email program like Outlook -- without many of the security concerns.

2. I've got a Palm PDA; no problem. Don't know about a Pocket PC running Windows; check with the Manufacturer's website.

3. It depends on whether the Manufacturer has developed a driver for the specific hardware. Most external hard drives and just about all USB peripherals should work on a Mac, but check the manufacturer's websites for specific hardware questions. They don't come with parallel ports. I have a driver for the HP Laserjet 1200 in my drop-down menu in the Printer Control, so it looks like that's supported; I have a Laserjet 1012.

4. It's all there. Apple's "Office" close isn't as good as MicroSoft's but it has all the same ingredients. And it comes with Quicken, and all the multi-media stuff you could want. I add Photoshop for my use, as well.

5. If you qualify, buy through an Apple store or online, and get the education discount. (You don't have to show any ID online...) Couple hundred off the iMac. Shipping takes less than a week, straight from Shanghai!

I have a network of 2 Macs and 2 PC's at my house (Kids have PC's due to the games); we have them networked to use the LaserJet, a photo printer, and the internet modem, with few problems.
 
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