Seriously considering switching sides...

Discussion in 'Apple Products' started by G-Nome, Apr 14, 2006.

  1. G-Nome

    G-Nome Limp Gawd

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    I've been a PC fan all my life, because of the compatability with pretty much everything. However, now that I'm seriously getting into graphics and photography, and since Apple came out with Boot Camp, a Mac is starting to look really good. My questions are:

    -Using BC, I would still be able to play a few games using Windows, right?
    -If I do go this route, should I get an iMac or a Mac Mini?

    The MM is appealing because of the lower cost and the size, whereas the iMac would be more powerful but more expensive. I already have a monitor, etc., so the Mini wouldn't have that extra cost. Opinions?
     
  2. Methodical

    Methodical is cool

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    imac. The mini has an underwhelming video card.
     
  3. G-Nome

    G-Nome Limp Gawd

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    Ah, that's a good point. Hadn't thought about that. Guess $1300 isn't too much for something of such high quality. How much do you think I could get for my current setup?

    A64 3000
    DFI Ultra-D
    X800XL
    2 gigs RAM
    1 or 2 160GB HDD's (depending on whether or not I keep one)
    TT Purepower 480W PSU
    DVD burner
     
  4. DigitalEdge

    DigitalEdge Limp Gawd

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    Why not have both? Keep you pc and also get a Mac

    If you’re going to get into graphics get a good Mac wait for the Intel towers prob going to be like 2.5 grand or more. You can build your own faster pc for allot less and all the adobe (graphic) apps are the same. Only thing diff will be the os...you decide with vista around the corner the pc route to me is a no brainer IMO

    I use Macs (at work) and pcs (at home) everyday
     
  5. G-Nome

    G-Nome Limp Gawd

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    Well, I *would* do that, except that I'm young and poor. :p So right now it's either one or the other, except for possibly a cheap Mini. Which actually might not be so bad, if I could do photos, etc. on the Mac and everything else on the PC..but my PC would probably be faster anyway. I'll probably check out my neighbor's new iMac to see if I like it enough. ;)
     
  6. G-Nome

    G-Nome Limp Gawd

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    Bump for a question:

    How's the sound quality of the built-in speakers on the iMac? Almost exclusively for music. Headphones for gaming.
     
  7. Black Morty Rackham

    Black Morty Rackham [H]ardness Supreme

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    The Intel Mac towers will most likely start at $1999, not more.

    As for the idea to get a mini and keep the PC, that's probably your best bet. Would you really want to have to reboot to play games? I've tried that, and in my experience, you usually end up using just one of the OSes and give up whatever it was you could only do in the other. With a mini and a Windows-PC, you can run your graphics apps on the Mac and play a little WoW or whatever on the PC, with no real problems.

    As for the performance issue, the Mac mini's CPU performance will actually often come very close to your tower's. If you go for the Core Duo model, the mini is actually faster for most things. Faster RAM, too. The integrated graphics are pretty slow, sure, but I don't know if that'll be a real problem unless you plan to run motion graphics apps (like Motion), or 3D applications. iPhoto is not slow on an Intel Mac mini. When Photoshop is a universal binary, it won't be slow either. It all depends on your needs/desires. I suggest going to an Apple store and playing around with one of their demo machines. Load a large photo into iPhoto and see how it feels. Just make sure to check the amount of RAM it has.

    As for the sound quality of the iMac's speakers, I've heard it's excellent for built-in speakers. That's not saying much, though...
     
  8. emailthatguy

    emailthatguy Limp Gawd

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    its most likely that the pro towers wont be out till august as thats when steve is next slated to speak at WWDC
     
  9. G-Nome

    G-Nome Limp Gawd

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    Whoa, thanks Black. That's exactly the information I was looking for. And probably what I would be most willing to do, since I'm not sure if my gaming spirit has completely died yet. ;) I love the mini for its size and convenience, so if the graphics apps do run better on the mac it'd be a no-brainer. It'd be nice to have the best of both worlds. However, if I got the Core Duo mini with a gig of RAM, which would make sense considering the application, it would run me at $900, which is pretty steep. For that price I could get a dual core CPU for my PC and a nice monitor. Does the mac really offer that much of a performance gain?
     
  10. Black Morty Rackham

    Black Morty Rackham [H]ardness Supreme

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    Performance gain? I don't know. I don't really care. Hell, even my 1.33GHz G4 (iBook) is fast enough for Photoshop to be relatively painless even on 10-megapixel images (largest image I've opened in it was 4096x2800). Do you really think you'll stress the hardware so hard that even your Athlon64 isn't fast enough? In my opinion, it's not a matter of CPU performance anymore. It's the user interface and workflow that matters, and I feel that what the Mac offers in these respects is simply the best of the best. Exposé + many images open in Photoshop = downright fucking bliss, and that's just scratching the surface.

    One thing you could do is to sell your PC and buy an iMac. Load it up with RAM and give in to the Mac experience. If you don't like it, sell the Mac and buy a new PC instead. Macs don't lose their value nearly as fast as regular PCs.



    Edit: 20-pixel gaussian blur on that 10-megapixel image takes maybe three seconds on my iBook. That's not too bad, I think.
     
  11. emailthatguy

    emailthatguy Limp Gawd

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    the hardest part of switching youll find is that you tend to overthing things when coming from the pc.

    example, first time you try to uninstall something you downloaded youll look for a control panel in system prefs most likely. it takes you a bit to realize that anything that didnt use an installer can just be dragged to the trash and the os does the rest. some apps, you just run the installer again and select remove as the install option and boom yer done.

    most people need about 2 months to adjust to a new more direct way of doing things
     
  12. Black Morty Rackham

    Black Morty Rackham [H]ardness Supreme

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    I would just like to point out that the OS does not do "the rest," because there is no rest to be done. An application in Mac OS X is generally just a single file. Remove it, and you remove the entire app. Nothing else needs to be done. Nothing happens in the background.
     
  13. emailthatguy

    emailthatguy Limp Gawd

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    oh and dont forget to drag your installers into the trash lol

    i went by the apple store my buddy works at yesterday (not apple owned) to find a machine w/ a desktop with like 9 installers on it of card games lol
     
  14. G-Nome

    G-Nome Limp Gawd

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    I think the best course of action would be what Black suggested: Selling my current comp, trying out the whole 'mac experience' for a while, and if it doesn't work, get a PC. But I agree that the OS interface/user friendliness is a big plus with the macs, which is one reason I want one. So now the question is, is it worth it to get an Intel mac, or would a G5 suit my needs? I'm leaning toward the Intel, because of the eventual speed boost it'll give me, but I like the price of the G5. Though I suppose the Intel isn't much more expensive.

    Edit: Such as this?
     
  15. synergyo1

    synergyo1 2[H]4U

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    You expressed interest in Bootcamp on your original post. You can't use Bootcamp on anything other than the Intel Macs.
     
  16. G-Nome

    G-Nome Limp Gawd

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    Yes, this is true and the main reason I'm probably just going to get an Intel-based mac. So my final question (for now) is how much RAM I'd need. I can get a refrubished 17" model with 512 RAM for ~$1100. Is the memory in a mac more efficient than a PC, or should I just get 1GB?

    Edit: Looking at some more reviews, it seems that 512MB is enough to get the job done. Still, opinions matter!
     
  17. emailthatguy

    emailthatguy Limp Gawd

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    id get at least 1.5 or 2 if you can swing it. also since you asked about games i believe (i think it was you anyway) youll wanna get the 256mb upgrade. every little bit helps and the x1600 isnt that much of a powerhouse.

    although at least on the mac side, apple is licensed by ati to write their own drivers for the card (they have the full spec). i can tell you that mac drivers written by apple are MUCH better than any ati driver ati themselves write. much better opengl performance. tbh i dunno wtf the problem is at ati with their inability to hire a decent opengl programmer. apple seems to have them growing on trees :p


    just expect to feel a bit lost, like you dont even know how to use a computer your first few days. itll pass, youll tend to overthink things. just give yourself a lil time to adjust and i think youll at the very least have a bit of fun.

    good luck to ya
     
  18. G-Nome

    G-Nome Limp Gawd

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    Hehe, thanks for the advice. 128 megs on the VRAM should be fine, since it'll only be light and occasional gaming. And besides, you can only upgrade it to 256 on the 20" iMac. The RAM sounds like a good idea, but do I really need that much? 1.5-2 gigs seems like a bit of an overkill.
     
  19. emailthatguy

    emailthatguy Limp Gawd

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    ram is like oxygen you can never have enough.

    one thing i will say is the mac takes more of a hit when it hits the swap file than any other os. hence why you hear about a lot of pro guy w/ 8 gigs on their g5 pro boxes.

    best thing to do to find out how much you think you might need would be hit the apple store, ask if you can just mess around w/ one and then do this...

    open itunes and get a song playing

    get about 3 safari windows open w/ different pages open

    open photo booth

    and maybe ichat

    then start alt tabbing

    be sure to do this on a 512mb machine. youll see pretty quickly why more ram is better. or at the very least youll figure out pretty quickly what your needs will really be
     
  20. G-Nome

    G-Nome Limp Gawd

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    Ok, I see your point. But what about getting the refurb with 512, and then upgrading the RAM myself? I know it's possible, and I've worked in enough PC's to not be afraid of some inards. I can get another 512 of the 'egg for $50, or a 1 gig stick for ~$100.
     
  21. emailthatguy

    emailthatguy Limp Gawd

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    just be really careful, the ram slots in the imac are kinda funky, the locks make you feel like yer gonna break the ram or jam the ram into the ram slot too hard. be sure to take a hard look at neweggs user reviews, quite a bit of people w/ macbook pros and imacs in there.

    remember sodimm pc5300
     
  22. G-Nome

    G-Nome Limp Gawd

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    Yeah, I know to be careful - spending that much on a computer is good motivation. :p The thing I'm confused on is whether it's 174 pin or 200 pin. Any idea?
     
  23. emailthatguy

    emailthatguy Limp Gawd

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    200 pin i believe

    its notebook memory ddr2 pc5300 sodimm
     
  24. G-Nome

    G-Nome Limp Gawd

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    Yeah, it is 200. And one final, but important, question: Should I save up for a while longer and get the 20" iMac, or would 17" be enough? I have a 17" LCD right now, and it seems big enough to me, but I've never had anything bigger, so I wouldn't really know. :p
     
  25. emailthatguy

    emailthatguy Limp Gawd

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    thats gonna be personal preference

    again another reason why a trip to an apple store or any store that has imacs on display would be a good idea. native res on the 20" is 1680x1050 and the 17 umm 1440x900? somewhere in that neighborhood. the only thing that will take some getting used to is how incredibly bright mac panels are. i used to rant and rave about the 2005 fpw until i spent some time with an imac 20". its night and day difference really. personally id say go for the 20". youre going to use front row for dvd's (its simply too nice to ignore) and the larger display makes for a better viewing experience i think. but again, ymmv so i would def hit up an apple store for a couple hours and just play around w/ a couple. dont let the sales kids bug you too much either take yer time. moving from the pc is a big decision. dont let some kid making minimum wage make that decision for you. =)
     
  26. synergyo1

    synergyo1 2[H]4U

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    If you are willing to save up, then go for it.

    I can't live with anything smaller than a 20in LCD personally. I need that extra resolution real estate :)
     
  27. Rocketpig

    Rocketpig [H]ard|Gawd

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    By "right around the corner", you really mean "almost a year away at the minimum", right?

    And you should be deported on the basis of stupidity if you buy a Microsoft OS within the first three months of launch...
     
  28. Cowcaster88

    Cowcaster88 [H]ard|Gawd

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    Also remember that OSX Leopard is suppose to come out about that same time, in which it will probably have an update to Frontrow and Boot Camp will come as a part of it. Just a thought for you.
     
  29. Slartibartfast

    Slartibartfast [H]ardness Supreme

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    I've been thinking about this lately as well. I was going to build a dual opteron this summer with a budget of about $3000, but I've been curious about macs for a while. Even with that budget though, what I would want in a mac is more expensive.

    How well do macs play with windows machines on a network? Would I be able to access a windows HD from the mac? Also, how upgradeable are the dual powerpc g5's? Could I stick another SATA drive in there, or upgrade the videocard alright?
     
  30. Black Morty Rackham

    Black Morty Rackham [H]ardness Supreme

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    What kind of dual Opteron? I've been looking at prices for building a dual dual-core Opteron, and it usually comes out at about as much as the dual dual-core Power Mac. But I guess prices are different here.



    In my experience, well enough.

    Via the network, yes. Via USB or Firewire, also yes, but Mac OS X cannot write to NTFS drives connected to the computer.

    Yes, and yes. The Power Mac G5 has two hard drive slots, and uses PCI-E graphics. You can't just stick a run-of-the-mill video card in it, though. You either need to flash or mod it, or buy a Mac version. Or just get the 7800 GT as a BTO option when you buy the machine.
     
  31. ky650

    ky650 n00b

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    If you plan on really gettng into photoshop I wouldn't be so quick to jump to a mac thinking everything will be okay... I just switched over myself to a 1.83 MBP with 2gb of ram and while I'm really beggining to enjoy the experience, graphics apps are one thing I jump right over to the PC for. I usually work with photo touchup stuff, raw processing with the Canon 1ds/20D and its a painfully slow task on the MBP... So until Adobe makes the switch to unversal with CS3 I wouldn't recommend that route :(
     
  32. Slartibartfast

    Slartibartfast [H]ardness Supreme

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    The dual opteron I have planned is a dual 248 (2.2ghz) with 4gig of ram, and only a 7600gt for graphics. The mobo is sli-enabled though (supermicro h8dce) so I can always drop a second one in on the cheap. The other thing is that I had budged about $270 for an x-fi and some good speakers because I'm always listening to music on my comp - how is the sound ouput quality on macs in general? I'm assuming pretty good.

    I currently have a large sata hd that I keep all of my files/data on, and I do believe it's fat32. I asked because I would either want to drop that drive right into the mac (if it will read it) or access it over the network. Even if it is NTFS, OSX can at least read from the drive, right?

    I'm not big on pc games (but I love console games - hence the gaming mod thing) so the graphics card is not a huge concern but something to keep in mind - every now and again a PC game comes out that I want to play.
     
  33. synergyo1

    synergyo1 2[H]4U

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    The Mac will be able to read NTFS. It can also read and write on FAT32.
     
  34. Black Morty Rackham

    Black Morty Rackham [H]ardness Supreme

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    Photoshop runs really well on G4s and G5s.



    Gaming on a Mac sucks. Not because the Mac hardware isn't up to it, but rather because A) most game ports are not very good and B) most game ports don't even exist in the first place.
     
  35. synergyo1

    synergyo1 2[H]4U

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    Bootcamp should allow a decent game experience :)
     
  36. Black Morty Rackham

    Black Morty Rackham [H]ardness Supreme

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    Yeah, but the Radeon X1600 isn't exactly a power house, and I've heard less-than-flattering things about ATI's drivers... still, people playing Half Life 2 on the Intel Macs seem to think it works well enough.
     
  37. emailthatguy

    emailthatguy Limp Gawd

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    itll be good enough though w/ the duo core being as stout as it is.

    i think most people that switch dont really miss gaming on the pc so much these days. hell i have a pc and frankly, im pretty sick of playing the same damn games ive been playing for the last 5 years. new graphics and shader effects targets that now duck instead of run around a corner dont do it for me anymore.

    god someone needs to start innovating in game design. pc games are just flat getting stale.
     
  38. ky650

    ky650 n00b

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    I wouldn'y say really well on a g4... but livable - and apparently the intel chips are running a bit slower than the g4s with rosetta... Buying a new computer hoping to do graphic editing on it yet having performance several years behind isnt all that appealing either. Not to try and start the whole PC vs mac thing, but if you want the best graphic editing system (going with the assumption you'd be using adobe products) at the moment I'd say your custom built PC with some tweaks would be the best option on a budget, that or pickup a good deal on the remaining G5s. If you can live with the dual booting though, save your heavy work for a windows reboot and enjoy OSX most of the time :)
     
  39. Black Morty Rackham

    Black Morty Rackham [H]ardness Supreme

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    I'd say really well, all things considered. There hasn't been a Power Mac G4 for almost three years now, and the old dual 1.42GHz G4 is still a good Photoshop machine. I think Photoshop performs really well on my iBook, considering it's a 12" laptop that cost less than $1000.

    But when it comes to graphics on an Intel Mac, remember that not everyone while almost everyone who does graphics uses Adobe products, not all of them need them to be blisteringly fast. I do 3D graphics, and I use Photoshop quite a bit. But the things I do in Photoshop are not the kind of things I need a quad Power Mac for. My 1.6GHz G5 is more than fast enough.
     
  40. ky650

    ky650 n00b

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    You're definitely right. The only reason why I wanted to point it out is so he wouldn't repeat my mistake. I made the assumption that while things wouldnt be amazingly fast, basic tasks would still be performed in real time. Unfortunately even simple resizing, zooming, and cropping seemed lagged. Not the end of the world I know... but it can be annoying, especially when doing a lot of brushwork. The good news is longer tasks (filters, conversions etc) dont vary as much from windows (on the same machine). I suppose theres always an upfront lag time and once thats done with things proceed somewhat normally - probably rosetta doing its thing. So the question is, what sort of graphic work did he have in mind...