Strongly Considering an Apple Mac
Posted 20 June 2003 - 06:22 AM
As you know, my main PC blew out its motherboard 2 weeks ago and I've been running since on my little Falcon CR51 running Win2k. The little Falcon is too noisy to use as a permanent replacement (the fan is like a blow dryer) so I've been considering my options.
Linux would be my first choice. However, the main application I use in life, Dreamweaver, does not run on it. The only way to run it would be via an emulator. It doesn't make any sense to me to switch to an OS where I have to run my main app in an emulator.
I could continue my Windows use. I do find myself at odds with where MS is heading. XP's registration stuff is not to my liking and Longhorn is just downright scary. I can continue with Win2k for quite a few years without any problems but using an OS that I won't upgrade is a bit of a deadend.
Apple has done well in reinventing themselves over the past 2 years. I was an early Mac adopter and thought the Mak 512kb was the cats meow. The Scully years soured me on Apple and I moved over to Windows and kept tabs on the Apple world for years. Nothing exciting was going on until OSX hit the scene. More to the point, Stever Jobs is making things exciting at Apple. In fact, for the first time since I can remember, users are actually feeling loyal to the company again.
I like unix and am tickled pink that even the FreeBSD org is endorsing OSX as the worlds most perfect unix desktop environment.
Posted 20 June 2003 - 09:08 AM
I'll be brutally honest.
I've never owned a Mac, never *really* used one for more than 15 minutes at a time. And never really wanted to. Always considered Jobs a bit odd (ok, maybe more than a bit). We are slowly fazing them out at work. There isn't much software available for them (our apps at work won't run on them), and the design of the hardware is a bit too flashy for my tastes. I can also typically buy 3 IBM clones for every 2 Apples. You also have to consider the future of the company, with such a small market share, I'll admit to wondering about how long they will be around.
With all that said:
Ever since OSX came out, I've been trying to figure out a way to get on on my desktop at work to play with. If it runs the Apps you want to run, I'd do it. The couple I've used I've been impressed with. I wish I could do it myself. I'm considering purchasing one as a server, but when I compare the price / features to the linux servers I run, I don't see much point. I'm still thinking about it tho. I just need a good reason.
I'd do it, if it meets your needs.
Posted 20 June 2003 - 09:10 AM
I'm with you; Apple is a serious contender. I really would like to get one of their laptops. Ego says 17", back and storage issues say 12". Eyes say something a bit bigger; and really like the 23" Cinematic screen. Dang that thing is nice!
For laptops I would like to see a stonger processor (I really have lost my feeling for them but my gut says the P4 and the Opteron are superior - any enlightening comments?).
In any event, the Apples have me back in the showroom drooling over computers again. Like I need another opportunity to spend money. Push come to shove I would really like so their OS sold seperately; supporting the Intel/AMD processors and other PC products so I could build my own.
For your kind of work an emulator would be silly; unless you had a Cray to play with. Even then, when it comes to debugging; the fewer layers you have to worry about the better.
The dual processor G4's are a lot of computer for the money. As a side note; we went looking for a few high end PC workstations with an eye towards dual processors. Ain't out there in Intel format. Server focussed units only. Workstations are single processor only. That was a shock! The gang here wants to stick with Intel and not consider AMD - even though the vendor was willing to build whatever we wanted. What an odd business at times.
A buddy got into building, from scratch for the most part, black poweder flink lock Kentucky rifles. I'm beginning to think he has the right idea.
Posted 20 June 2003 - 09:25 AM
My Father-in-law gave my daughter a 15" CRT Imac last year. It came loaded with OSX and I've played with it on and off. Very nice implementation - head and shoulders above the old MacOs.
As for cost, the latest 17" CRT Emacs are being sold for $799.00. This is price competitive with the PC platform. What tips the scales is the great multimedia software which is included with Mac OSX. Really, the OS comes down to the Apps.
Posted 20 June 2003 - 09:34 AM
I'm skeptical of dual cpu machines for desktop work. While I do have 7-8 apps open at any one time, I'm really only working on one. I wouldn't spend the extra $$ on a dual machine.
The 17" Emacs at $799.00 are awfully tempting. I have no need for ultra fast processors. For my desktop work anything Pentium III equiv or above is just fine. Unless I'm gaming I don't see the need for more speed. Now if I could only get high speed Internet access.....
I would love to have that 23" Cinematic screen on my desk!!! Anyone want to send me one?
Posted 20 June 2003 - 11:13 AM
Apple now requires that educational instutions buy directly from them and not from a reseller, therefore any sales that the reseller offers, I can't get. I ran into this first hand this fall when I purchased two laptops for our special ed program. I was a bit dumbfounded. I wound up paying significantly more getting them from apple under their "educational pricing" than I would have spent if I had gone with the vendor (but the vendor couldn't sell them too me once they found out I was a school). And, I couldn't get the free RAM expansion that the reseller offered. I have no idea if that has changed or not, but I hope so, otherwise they are not really doing themselves a service.
OTOH, they occasionally do offer really good deals to schools, so maybe they think it offsets. I did (when I purchased a third unit, later) get a free portable whiteboard.
I'm buying 2.4 gig PC's with CDRW/DVD, 512meg ram, 17" monitors, and 80 gig drives for around $599-$899 at work (with some software packages, 3 year onsite warrenty, and other options). So that's pretty comparable.
Sounds like the prices on the Imac's have come down a bit. I last really looked at the prices when we made the decision (at work) to abandon the mac platform a year or two ago. At that time, comparably equipped macs were significantly more than their PC cousins. At least the units we were buying.
Posted 20 June 2003 - 12:41 PM
We used a MAC in the physics program as an inexpensive graphics terminal (Techtronics were going for $10K or so back then). The MAC OS was heads and shoulders above DOS at the time. MS has made up some ground though. The new OS is suppose to be much better, but I have not had a chance to really play with it myself. CompUSA kinda frowns on that.
Apple, not unlike Novell, keeps receiving its' last rights, and coming back like a phoenix. I think Apple has a brighter future than Novell but it would be nice if both florished.
I have been highly temped to get an iMac but one can get a very nice binoviewer for that kinda money. And the last thing I need is another computer. Just ask my wife!
Although I would probably go for the iMac with the LCD screen.
Finally; I'm not fond of their clear plastic or some of their colour choices. Must be a generational thing. Just too modern or clinical in appearance. Teak or walnut would be better.
PS: Besides, it's not Windows.
Posted 20 June 2003 - 12:52 PM
You can get a lot more PC for the money and it'll be upgradeable.
Posted 20 June 2003 - 01:49 PM
I have heard rumors about the early release about OSX. This memory is very old, but I seem to remember the issues where related to the GUI shoe-horned onto FreeBSD. BSD is pretty much free from critism as far as stability goes.
But GUI's, anybody's, seem to add a level of instability ranging from non-existant to unusable.
However; I have not heard of any current problems (not that I've looked) and even the computer journal writers seem to think highly of the product.
Inept does make a good point on the upgrade issue. You can upgrade a mac/iMac but you just don't have the choices the PC people enjoy or curse. Since you can add memory and enlarge the hard drive, like a PC user that leaves burners, TV cards, video cards and lord knows what else. Many of these upgrades are available via an external box and using firewire or usb. So the upgrade issue is not as big as one would think. For major upgrades one just buys a new computer; just like the PC people do.
And Curse marketing. We need it, but it raises expectations to unrealistic levels, both in the Mac world and the PC world. Here Mr. Jobs does less damage than Mr. Bill. I would not be excited about buying a used car from either of them.
I'm not convinced you can get a lot more from a PC than a Mac. Even after saying I think the PC platform appears to have stronger processors. Am I wishy washey or what?
When it comes to video and graphics the Mac has been traditionaly a very strong player. In those fields you would have to make a very strong arguement to use a PC instead of a Mac. Those applications are processor hogs in the extreme. If we price compare similar machines for that job I would be interested in the outcome. I suspect the Mac would fair very well indeed. Just wish I had a good reason to buy one so I had the motivation to really dive into this.
Allister; here's your cue! Got time to compare features and price; PC against the Mac to see how they stack up against each other so we don't have Windows guys lining up against Non-Windows guys tossing epitaphs at each other which might cause - heaven forbid - spilt beer.
PS: Nice to see the computer threads active again.
Posted 20 June 2003 - 05:12 PM
I'm a Windows guy myself, but this is what I recommend to anyone who wants to buy a MAC. If you love the MAC and you don't mind constantly converting file formats to give to the Majority Windows people that you want to share with…GO FOR IT and BE HAPPY. I think they are both great OSs with both having their share of pros and cons.
Me I like Windows for one reason and one reason only. Cheaper, more software, can do just about everything a MAC can do and when I give people a file I do not have to convert it. Convenience!
Posted 20 June 2003 - 05:42 PM
installed and managed a DEC PDP-11/70 with AT&T V7
and then BSD-2.9. I have managed Apollo's HP's and
Sun's and consider Sun Solaris to be best of breed.
I don't like Linux, although compared to Micro$oft
it is a big win (better performance and stability on
less expensive older hardware). I always recommend
anything but Micro$soft. As of late the developers
system management conferences I have been to show a
very strong trend to Apple after OS-X 10.1. I rarely
see a PC laptop any longer. My home computers consist
of a Sun dual Ultra-60 and a Ultra-10. My laptop is
an Apple iBook running OS-X 10.2.5.
Having laid out my biases, I would still recommend a newer
iMac or eMac. The OS is stable, in two years I have had
it nothing crashed, ie software, GUI or hardware. The Apple
is as stable as a Sun (uptime 853 days). I use Astroplanner
and a USB2serial dongle to drive an ETX90-EC and I use Xephem
with ease. The iMac at $799 from ANY of the mailorder catalogs
is cheaper than ANY PC except an eMachines bucket from WallyMart.
The last eMac $WORK bought came with a 40gb disk, CD-RW/DVD and
512Mb of memory. It runs Office and I regularly transfer files to
Windows (3.1,95, 98, ME, XP) without conversion. Outside of
Office there is always a Mac equivalent that is cheaper than
the Windows equivalent. The digital camera tools are make the
windows equivalent look pale. My wife just got a PC laptop
from $WORK and she tried to use it with our digital cameras
and gave up in disgust. She had a hard time downloading, managing
and printing images.
I'd rather not get into a flame war over the Mac vs PC, so everyone
needs to buy a Sun Blade 150 @ $950
Posted 20 June 2003 - 06:54 PM
is cheaper than ANY PC except an eMachines bucket from WallyMart"
Errrp, ummm sorry, no. I may not be up on recent iMac prices, but I've been buying Compaq D315's below that for a while now. I tend to buy in quantity so I may get a better price (just this morning bought 60 as a matter of fact), but even so, I bought a compaq from Sam's for my folks earlier this year for $699, and if memory serves, that was the more expensive version - they had one for $599.
Still Bob, you are right, the iMac is a very good value for the money.
Posted 20 June 2003 - 07:05 PM
I hope we don't get too bad. It's hard to convert folks when it seems like we'll tar and feather you if you don't join (we tried that one night in '97 but could never get the tar hot enough, then the wind came up and all the feather blew away: a sad sad night).
That said, Microsoft does present issues to some of us so we're big on choices. Be it OSX, Linux, BeOS, OS/2 or Amiga.
It's kinda like the most popular bar in town. But if they start carding your mother and grandmother, always too crowded and service is going down hill that cozy little pub down the street starts to real good. Even if half your friends get lost trying to find it. Once there you are part of a community, you're appreciated, Mom isn't carded & your wife doesn't call asking when you're coming home. The chairs don't give you bed sores either.
But if you still go to the big bar just because it's closer to your house, even if you have to park at your house to get a spot close enough that is just fine with us. But we're going to tease you about it.
At least you don't own a Meade.....
PS: By the way Charles, you can get Linux for free and it has tons of software, alot of it free. So maybe we should sit down and have a little chat! I usually don't have issues with file transfers either. See what you started!
Posted 20 June 2003 - 07:55 PM
I compared the entry level Emac to an Entry level Dell Dimension. I've put the stats in the table below. Now, from my point of view it looks like a draw on the hardware. You might point to the greater processing speed on the Dell. HOwever, I'm not convinced that for daily tasks, the hardware is the limitation between these two systems. My GUESS is the OS is the limiting factor.
However, it might be best of I setup my daughters Imac next to my wifes 2.4GHz HP machine and do some rough timings.
|Dell Dimension 4600||Apple EMAC|
| || |
|2.4GHz Pentium 4||800MHz PowerPC G4|
|256MB Ram||128MB Ram|
|30GB Hard Drive||40GB Hard Drive|
|Nvidia Geoforce 4||ATI Radeon 7500|
|17" Monitor||17" Monitor|
|10/100 Ethernet||10/100 Ethernet|
|CDROM Drive||CDROM Drive|
| || |
|Windows XP Home||OS X|
| || |