Strongly Considering an Apple Mac
Posted 26 June 2003 - 10:46 PM
Posted 27 June 2003 - 06:48 AM
In a strange twist of things, I sorta now own my wifes HP AMD2200+ computer. I got it for her a couple months ago but she never migrated to it. I struck a deal with her and I'm running off it now. It's integrated graphics is a Georforce4mx so I now have 3d graphics capability.
This weekend I'll go out and buy my first 3d game in 5 years. Since my last 3d game was Tombraider, I thought I'd pick up the most recent release and see how far 3d gaming has come.
Any suggestions on your end for good 3d games?
Posted 27 June 2003 - 10:20 AM
1. Dreamweaver comes in Windows and Mac versions, so no problems there.
2. Picture manipulation with Adobe Photoshop, again both Win and Mac versions. There are lots of good alternatives, including GIMP which will run on most anything (including OS X, I used it quite a bit despite having Photoshop as well). One flag that does need to be raised is that if you're used to doing graphics on a PC you may find the Mac a bit odd to begin with -- the Mac screen resolution and gamma value is different, and images are designed to be optimized for consistency between screen and printer. After all, these are if nothing else 2D graphics workstations. Windows PCs are not -- they can't be because of the diversity of hardware involved -- and so pictures that look fine on your Mac's screen can look odd on some PCs. You can prevent this problem by calibrating your monitor carefully and using ColorSync (built into the OS). See -- http://www.apple.com/colorsync/
3. Document conversion is increasingly _less_ of an issue than it used to be. Word, Word Perfect, Excel, graphics formats, etc work transparently. If you use something obscure you will need to check this out, but good utilities (such as Graphic Converter for the Mac) exist for both platforms. DataViz also package something called MacLinkPlus which is a real Swiss Army knife and allows you to open virtually anything from Works-for-Windows through to Star Write. Years ago when people had lots of different word processors to use, I routinely used this to convert files on my Mac for one PC user to give to another PC user.
4. Web surfing -- MS Explorer is dying, MS have no interest in upgrading it given the popularity of Apple's new browser "Safari". Safari is great for many reasons, its speed for one, but also intelligent blocking of pop-ups. The other browsers are there if you want them (Netscape, Mozilla, etc.). You can also run Linux browsers like Konqueror just fine, too. Only one in hundred websites I've come across, if that, don't work properly with a Mac browser, normally because some plug-in is needed that isn't available for the Mac OS.
5. Uploading music to a Rio player. Don't know about this. I have an iPod, and needless to say it works great with a Mac, but can't comment on other MP3 players.
6. 3D games -- this _is_ an issue with the Mac. There is unquestionably a smaller selection. I'd never recommend the Mac as a gaming machine as it only gets something like 1 in 10 decent games. Check out Apple's gaming website to see if the games you like are listed -- http://www.apple.com/games/
7. E-mail -- the default e-mail app (imaginatively called "Mail") in OS X is superb and has one of the best spam filters around. There are alternatives like Entourage. Lotus Notes, etc. if you prefer them. I liked Eudora a lot, at least until I got used to Mail.
8 & 9. You can do this sort of thing easily. Roxio's Toast application gives you full CD and DVD authoring capabilities. I did a whole stack of mini-cassettes, and wrote a how-to for AppleLust last week -- http://www.applelust...ves/toast-imic/
10. Astro planning software: there are two apps I know of that fit this bill, AstroPlanner (also a Windows version) and ScopeDriver. There are reviews of both at AppleLust, go to the SciTech section and scroll down to Astronomy -- http://www.applelust.com/scitech/
11. DVD movies play fine on the Mac, including the special features and whatnot. Obviously freebie Windows apps on them won't work, but that doesn't seem to be very common. Right now I'm working my way through season 2 of Babylon 5 and awaiting delivery of my season 2.2 West Wing DVD set! What isn't as easy to do on the Mac is fudge the Region settings, but it can be done.
Hope this helps,
Posted 27 June 2003 - 10:53 AM
Oh my, well it depends on what you like. Pick a genre.
I'm something of a WWII buff, so I enjoy Medal of Honor. The expansion pack opens with you parachuting into normandy. It *really* looks like it's right out of Band Of Brothers.
I guess the current standard impress me's for twitch games tho are Unreal II - I haven't played it. I hear it's actually not much of a game, but the graphics are supurb *IF* your system can support it.
I can't think of much like tomb raider that's out currently.
Pick up an issue of PCGamer and thumb through it. I don't think I've ever disagreed with their reviews. They do a really good job.
Posted 27 June 2003 - 09:52 PM
He loves Unreal II and the graphics are great. He is running a AMD 2500+ but your 2200+ will do just great! He also likes BlackHawk Down, Return to castle Wolfienstien, and Medal of Honor, and finally he like Splinter Cell.
The only question I ask is you mentioned your system had a integrated Nivdia. You might want to consider getting a full AGP card over the built on the motherboard graphics card. If you do consider that option look at the ATI 9000 PRO with a 128 megs. I put it on my son's computer and the games scream. I have not seen a single frame lose even running 32 bit color at 30 frames a second.
www.comptergate.com has it for 90 dollars.
Posted 27 June 2003 - 11:21 PM
The integrated video would pick up noice off the motherboard, probably via crosstalk. Except for servers, I've always been keen on separate video cards for that reason.
Posted 28 June 2003 - 06:07 AM
NIce to see a fellow poster who's proud to display their face. We're in the far minority here but someday this movement will grow
Return to castle Wolfienstien? They made a remake of the original? I remember when the original came out - we all went ga ga over the graphics. Gosh, that must have been, what? 10 years ago. I might pick that one up also just to for old times sake.
What issues have you seen with integrated video? I'm curioius. It says it's an AGP integrated card. Am I getting short changed somehow? Help....
Posted 28 June 2003 - 06:10 AM
Now you are making ME feel old. 486-33 as your first computer? My first computer was the hot and sexy Commodore 64. I even got a floppy drive for it.
So like Charles you don't think highly of integrated graphics. You guys are just giving me reasons to spend more money.....
Posted 28 June 2003 - 11:38 AM
cash and got both the windows and Mac version. Astroplanner combined with Xephem has got to be the best set of tools for planning an evening with the scope. I plan the evening and then print out finder charts of everything I want to look at and the charts from Xephem are the best I've seen. I own an etx90-ec and I can download an evenings observing quickly and simply. AStroplanner also gives me an eyepiece view of the target based on scope and eyepiece information. Xephem does
as well, but not as cleanly as Astroplanner.
Posted 28 June 2003 - 11:52 AM
To answer your question on the integrated AGP video chip, many board manufactures really only put the chip on the motherboard but still rely on your CPU to do much of the processing. The big thing that can give you less than peak performance is many also share your core memory with the chip. As an example lets say you have 512 megs of memory and your integrated video states it's a 128 megs. That means it steals 128 megs of memory for graphic useage every time you boot up. Some manufactures do this much better than others but it still steals from Peter to pay Paul. Laptop manufactures do this all the time. If when you put games on them and they work find, no problem, but you get more bells and whistles with a dedicated AGP card. It's just a preference between money and performance and you have to be the judge on what you think you need.
As to return to Castle Wolfienstien I guess I proved I don't play games much. I thought that was the name of the new version. I remmber the old version back in the early nineties. Anyway he has the new version and loves it. Half-life is another great game of his and I did play it when it first came out. Their are new free downloads that revamp the entire game. The graphics are enhance and I here my son on the internet all night long talking with team mates because they use voice over TCP.
As for my picture I definitly need someone to take a picture of me. It looks like I got a mouth full of something. That's what happens when you try a hold a camera at arms length. I gues when you get old you really don't give a hoot. I thinking maybe I'll pull out my old CAV Hat from my Army days and try and look like Ron.
Posted 28 June 2003 - 12:15 PM
Sounds like you've been taking a bit too many bumps of home made grog if want to look like me!
Sharing memory is still a sin in my book. But system memory in some cases is just as fast as video memory now so the hit is not so bad. I didn't know that the CPU took a hit though. That's really bad. I'm of the school that the CPU should never be bothered with video problems. That is what the card is for. Use the CPU for number crunching and tasks.
Castle Wolfenstien was a great game. I was just amazed the video could be redrawn so fast. Wasted a ton of time on it. Astroids was another favorite. Chess Master 2000 was fun at first but it seemed like it was too easy to beat on the lower levels and impossible to beat at they higher ones. Like there was a step function instead of a linear slope of difficulty.
Allister: I tried to buy a Commador 128 but Target ran out just as production quit. I really wanted the first Mac when it came out but no money; back in college for the second time. Then the Amiga came out and I was all hot for that but they were expensive. I'm still impressed with that machine. Can you imagine how a 2003 version would work if you consider yearly improvements? I don't think there would be Mac's, Windows or Linux. Alas, heavy sigh.
Since we got into history a bit, our department had an AT&T 3B2 UNIX box that we did all our editing and prelimary runs before pushing it to the mainframe. Saved us money. It had a 72MB hard drive and 2MB of ram. I now have one of those USB storage thingies as big as my thumb that holds 256MB of stuff. In it's day I thought 72MB was all the world; back when PC's had none or maybe 5-10MB hard drive.
A colour monitor was orange or green letters on black. OK, IBM came out with a colour monitor, I think it was EGA or worse. Colour text was about all it could do. Bar graphs maybe. Those were the days. 9600baud was our version of broadband.
Posted 28 June 2003 - 05:58 PM
Posted 28 June 2003 - 07:34 PM
I just checked EBAY and you can pick up your Commodore 128 for a whopping $5.00. How about a blast down memory lane.
I had an Amiga 2000 and was quite a fan for a while. Problem with using an Amiga back then was Commodore. Talk about a company you loved to hate. They made so many bad business decisions. Bankrupt 3x. BTW - Amiga 3000 system with 2 boxes of software $50.00. Me - I'm holding out for an Amiga 4000 with Videotoaster.
An AT&T 3B2!! Hey - I owned one of those 5 years ago. Cute little guy and a neat way to learn Unix. If I remember right it had an MFM Hard drive that had the most pleasent sound when you accessed it. Kinda hard to describe but it was like a deep purr.
Boy - we are covering some platforms now. Any Nexstep guys out there? I've owned 3 of those including the ultra hard to find Next Dimension. Now that was STeve Jobs at his finest.
Posted 28 June 2003 - 09:20 PM
The only Nexstep I've ever seen was a unit the computer department at UMD had. Just a few years ago I got the nickle tour from an old buddy and there it was still preforming yeoman duty as a mail server - although it was scheduled for replacement shortly after that.
How many models did the Amiga come out in? There was a push a couple years ago to restart the company in Germany but I think it floundered. It was supposed to be very big there. Which is a bad sign for Linux. Germany has has a nasty habit of adapting OS's with short life lines (OS/2, Amiga...).
Sounds like a bunch of old timers sitting around the campfire reminiscing fondly of old friends, spitting, farting and adjusting their dentures. This is fun, but I'm moving up wind just a bit.
Allister; you used a 3B2 five years ago? It was a handsome machine but it's a fossil. One of the gals I shoot with had a customer that was selling a 3B2 system and I was making noises about buying it. Somebody else did otherwise I'd be sitting here with egg on my face as that was less than five years ago!
Posted 29 June 2003 - 05:58 AM
Your analogies crack me up. Keep em coming!
3b2 a fossile? No, no, no ,no. The word you were searching for is "Collectible". Mine I purchased for $50.00 from a school system and ended up selling it for $500.00. Many of these older systems have become much sought after collectibles. Be careful what you throw out now a days.
Amigas - ok, here are the models from memory
Amiga 4000 (best they ever built)
Late in life there were a couple I can't think of. They moved from the numbering scheme to letter. Great platform which never had a decent company supporting it.
ok, I'll stop reminiscing about old platforms. Otherwise we'll be here for weeks.
Posted 29 June 2003 - 10:37 AM
God help me I found a Pentax battery grip for my motor drive so I'm back to bidding again. This one has a motor drive attached to it. If I get it, I should make a complete set and sell it so I can buy an Amiga.
That was quite the return on the 3B2. Remind me to never buy anything from you.
When we got back from Hawaii a few years ago I found out my "new" camera, the Pentax KXMD was a collectable. What a bummer. Now I have two. I need a ten step program or counseling or more money.
Posted 30 June 2003 - 08:13 AM
The Mac may be cool, but unfortunately its the PC which, for me anyway, keeps the paycheques coming in so that I can buy telescopes. So that determines my direction.
Mac or PC. They're both competent types of computers. The PC can definitely do more (more software, more hardware diversity), but the Mac does things with style.
If you're not depending on the beast for livlihood, go with what you really like; otherwise go with a PC. Sad but true.
Posted 30 June 2003 - 12:45 PM
This is extremely typical with video chipsets.
Posted 30 June 2003 - 12:46 PM
Posted 30 June 2003 - 05:23 PM
Posted 30 June 2003 - 06:32 PM
PS: I would be very keen on seeing some performance figures on the dual G5's. But I wonder what a single G5 could do against a P4?
Posted 30 June 2003 - 06:49 PM
Are the new G5's shipping right now or is it a pre-order of some kind. I didn't see any price reduction on the G4's which didn't make sense to me.
Posted 30 June 2003 - 07:39 PM
Posted 30 June 2003 - 08:11 PM
Mainly because I think most folks could get by with a fast 386. If you choose your OS and software carefully.
Ron the Rebeler.
Posted 30 June 2003 - 08:30 PM
sent me a Mac site that allows me to consolidate all of the flyers into a single web site. For Macs the site is
Todays page lists the lowest prices on G4 Macs. So for instance
Mac of All Trades - search Apple Desktops
Mouse and keyboard extra.
* used G4/450, 256/10/DVD, Zip 250, $599.99
* used G4/500, 512/27/DVD-RAM, Zip 250, $699.99
* used G4/450 dual, 512/20/DVD, Zip 250, no modem, $799.99
or from PowerMaX
Free RIO MP3 player. See site for details.
* 1 GHz single, 256/60/Combo, $1,145
* 1.25 GHz dual, 256/80/Combo, $1,694
* 1.42 GHz dual, 512/120/SuperDrive, $2,394
* other configurations available
Based on personal experience with Astroplanner, Adobe Illustrator and Micro$haft Office the 500Mhz boxen are
about as fast as the 2 Ghz Pentium-4's. THe combo drives
are CD-RW/DVD drives and the Superdrives are DVD-RW (not
the less desireable DVD+RW)
For an LCD iMac
* 15" 700 MHz CD-RW, 128/40, $1,099
* 15" 800 MHz Combo, 256/60, $1,299
* 17" 1 GHz SuperDrive, 256/80, $1,799
refurbished, demo, used, open box
* store refurb 15" 800 MHz SuperDrive, 256/60, $1,179
* store refurb 17" 800 MHz SuperDrive, 256/80, $1,499
* refurb 17" 800 MHz SuperDrive, 256/80, $1,529
* store refurb 17" 1 GHz SuperDrive, 256/80, $1,699
Once I get the PC version setup I will post a similar