Convince Me..Mac VS PC

Discussion in 'Mac Pro' started by jmast, Jun 11, 2006.

  1. jmast macrumors newbie

    Jun 11, 2006
    Hi everyone,

    I am just starting to look into an iMac or Macbook computer. I know absolutely nothing about Mac computers. I have been a PC user only.

    I currently sell fulltime on ebay and I am upgrading my office/warehouse and with that looking at a computer upgrade. I was considering a Dell or HP duo core system when I thought I would explore the Mac line of PC's as well.

    Can some of you tell me the pros and cons of the Mac versus the PC? I use Quickbooks pro 2006 and I don't know if I could use that on a Mac system or not. I do alot online and use a few programs at a time. A good photo editor would be a huge plus, as I don't have a program I am really pleased with to date.

    I am concerned about the learning curve with a Mac and most importantly, I don't know what Mac system I would need. I love laptops, but the fact is you pay alot more for the mobility and I am always afraid of longterm use and how it would hold up to being used everyday for 8 hours a day or more.

    Any help would be appreciated. I am excited about possibly trying a Mac, but want to be sure its the best computer for the $$$ and for what I need.

    Thanks In Advance
  2. Rovman macrumors regular

    May 4, 2006
    United Kingdom
    While im not nearly experienced enoug to try an convince oyu as i am myself totally brand new to Mac OS X. I can make a mention of the learning curve.

    I've used windows all my life, never touched a Mac at all, ever until i got this MacBook.

    Quite simply Mac OS X is simple to use,, if your pretty experienced with Windows then you should no doubt be able to jump straight in and use Mac OS X as if you'd been using it all your life, at least thats how it was for me.

    There were just 2 tips i read on the internet before i got my Mac, and of course i didn't (and still haven't) touched the manual/help files. Those tips are quite simply...

    To install software, drag it to your Applications folder. To uninstall, drag it to the trash.

    So long as your not computer iliterate, you can learn as you go. Everything behaves exactly as you would expect it too.

    PS. You can run Windows XP Natively on your MacBook. The MacBook itself, from a "PC" point of view is still a seriously kick ass machine at a great price.
  3. Sun Baked macrumors G5

    Sun Baked

    May 19, 2002
    Quicken/Quickbooks on Mac have been an abortion for years.

    Try and download the free 30-day trial. They currently offer both Mac and PC software.

    You should be able to transfer your Quickbooks stuff over, don't know if it'll be painless or not.

    It should give you an idea of what is available for your checkbook accounting or double entry accounting needs.
  4. Makosuke macrumors 603

    Aug 15, 2001
    The Cool Part of CA, USA
    Well, there are literally dozens of websites that address the general issues you might face and the advantages of going one way or the other, as well as many, many threads here that cover the topic--I suggest poking around and seeing what you find.

    Here's a few things I'll mention in regards to your particular situation, though:

    1) Depending on your simple photo editor needs, iPhoto (which comes with every Mac) might be ideal for you. If all you're doing is cropping, minor color correction, and exporting, it's nearly perfect. Since you probably deal in volume if you're a fulltime eBay seller, Graphic Converter might also be a good choice for you--it's got more power (a poor man's Photoshop, really), it's not expensive, and it has some good batch-processing features that might benefit you.

    2) I don't know what the state of eBay listing tools on the Mac is. Probably not as good as on Windows, but it might be sufficient. Perhaps someone else will chime in.

    3) There is a version of QuickBooks 2006 Pro for the Mac. I have not used it, and it's not quite feature-identical to the Windows version, but it is out there. I believe every Mac comes with QuickBooks 2006 New User Edition, a simplified "trial" version of sorts.

    3) Your basic web apps are all available and will work fine. Apple's Mail for e-mail is a very good program and a lot of people like it, but there is also the free Thunderbird which is the same as the Windows version, Microsoft Entourage for a big fancy management-oriented app, the old standby Eudora, as well as a couple of others. Browsers include Firefox, which runs well, Camino a "Mac-ized" version of Firefox that is prettier and generally faster (it's what I use), as well as Apple's Safari, which is a decen browser as well. Oh, and Omniweb, of course. There is an old version of IE available, but it's junk. Then again, so is IE6 on Windows (I say this as a web developer and IT support guy--none of the businesses I work with use IE on Windows).

    4) Hardware longevity is hard to call, but I can tell you that I know several people who have used Mac laptops as their primary computers for years without any difficulty. I can't say the same of the one family I know of who uses Dell laptops as their primary computers--they had major hardware problems after a while. Actually, "used" would be better--their second-hand experience with Apple laptops and firsthand experience with Dell's lead them to switch a few weeks ago. Buying the extended AppleCare 3-year warranty will give you peace of mind, but Apple hardware is generally built well--at least on par with higher-end Windows hardware.

    5) With any new iMac or MacBook/MacBook Pro you have the option, of course, of running Windows if you don't like the MacOS or need to use Windows for one reason or another. They can boot directly into XP (you hold down a key at startup to select the OS), or via a $40 program called Parallels you can run a Windows "virtual machine" from within the MacOS--basically a window with Windows running it in. This is very convienent (I use it for web development--testing on IE), since you don't need to restart, and in fact if Windows has a problem you can restart it without affecting anything else you have running on your Mac.

    You will need a Windows license to do this, but you may already have one. Otherwise, it'll cost you a bit, but it's a one-time expense.

    6) I recently did some price comparisons between Apple and comperable Windows laptop hardware for friends. What I turned up was that while you can get, say, a functional Dell laptop for less than a similar Macbook, once you add all the nice extras that the MacBook comes with (built-in camera, remote control, Apple's iLife media creation/editing software, XP Pro--more equivalent to the MacOS than XP Home--etc), you end up paying at least as much, generally more, for the Windows computer. I did direct Sony and Dell comparisons with the MacBook, and you paid about the same for a heavier Dell, and significantly more for a somewhat lighter Sony Vaio.

    MacBook Pros are generally similar--I recently bought a 17" one, and configuring a similarly equipped laptop from Dell cost a bit more.

    The point I'm getting at here is that while Macs are generally on the slightly priceier side, this is because they include "the works" out of the box, while most makers start with a stripped down model then charge more for the add-ons. If you don't need the extras, you save by going with another company, but you do get what you pay for.

    7) Were I in your situation, I'd probably try this: Buy a not-too-expensive Apple and also install Windows on it. If you end up loving the MacOS, you're in great shape. If you end up hating the MacOS, then just boot in Windows and pretend it's not a Mac--you've basically just got a highish-end Windows computer with an Apple logo on it at worst.

    Note also that while I've been talking about laptops, the iMacs are really, really great machines, and if you don't need the portability, I highly recommend them. You could also just try grabbing a Mini to test the waters--they're not that expensive, and can use an existing Monitor and USB keyboard/mouse that you probably have around. Use it as a media center/DVD player/jukebox for your TV if you don't end up liking it--they're quite good for that.
  5. jmast thread starter macrumors newbie

    Jun 11, 2006

    Thank you for all the great information. I have been trying to do some research on the Macs and checking prices as well. I am kind of leaning towards the iMac for the office and maybe getting a cheap Dell laptop for portability. The only function the laptop needs is to check email on the road which is not very often.

    The iMac looks great! I love the design and its not bulky. It sounds like iPhoto will work fine for what I need.

    I do have a question about XP, does it run fairly stable on the iMac if you are running macs OS as well? How much ram would you recommend for a system if you are using both OS's?

    I also read that Macs will not get viruses?? Is that true?

    I really appreciate all the insight you have provided!

    Julie :D
  6. auxplage macrumors 6502

    Nov 11, 2004
    Virginia Beach
    You cannot run both OS's at the same time with BootCamp. You have to boot up in one or the other. There is a company (Parallels) that allows you to run Windows within Mac OS X.

    Any operating system can get viruses. Lets just say that there are almost none for Macs, and I have never had one in two years.

    Get the 20" iMac . . . the screen is vastly superior to the 17".

    Also get at least 1GB of RAM.
  7. ero87 macrumors 65816


    Jan 17, 2006
    New York City
    Hi Julie,

    I'm a switcher (like many others on this site). I've had my iMac for a year now. Progress report: No viruses, no slowdown, no bugginess. Just a purely beautiful computing experience.

    and as auxplage said, extra RAM is a mac's best friend. At least 1 GB is recommended (that's what I have in my imac, and I run about 8 apps at once with no slowdown).

    good luck!
  8. amac4me macrumors 65816


    Apr 26, 2005
    As an experienced Windows/PC user, you will not have a steep learning curve when it comes to OS X/Mac.

    If you decide to purchase a Mac .... I offer my congrats ahead of time :)
  9. hulugu macrumors 68000


    Aug 13, 2003
    the faraway towns
    Let's be more precise and say that there is one proof-of-concept, but no actual viruses for the Mac as well as the almost complete absence of spyware and adware.
  10. jmast thread starter macrumors newbie

    Jun 11, 2006
    Are the iMacs that are out right now the best to get or is there an upgrade coming out soon that I would be better waiting a few more months to make a purchase?

    I am not familiar with what is on the horizon with the Apple computers.

  11. Saluki Alex macrumors 6502

    Feb 26, 2006
    I'll also chime in here and say that if you choose to run Windows on your Mac, whether with Boot Camp or Parallels, you are susceptible for viruses. So just remember, if you run Windows, treat it like you would on any other PC, so make sure you use anti-virus software, a firewall, etc.
  12. crees! macrumors 68000


    Jun 14, 2003
    I HIGHLY recommend getting the book "The Missing Manual" by David Pogue. Get the most recent publication of it which would cover Tiger. He goes through highlighting similarities and differences between both systems and how to accomplish common tasks done on Windows and translates them to the Mac. A great read that will quickly get you up to speed.
  13. bbrosemer macrumors 6502a


    Jan 28, 2006
    Does one really need the Book I have had my MBP for a month now and its funny I tinker with stuff and it doesnt crash, just an interesting irony of the comparison to XP.
  14. Makosuke macrumors 603

    Aug 15, 2001
    The Cool Part of CA, USA
    That's a perfectly reasonable plan. Though to be absolutely honest in the same situation I'd buy an iMac and just get a used or refurbished Apple laptop for the occasional road use. Having both computers be Macs has some advantages in terms of ease of synching files, not to mention if you end up loving your iMac you're going to hate using the laptop on the road.

    I'm assuming you're asing about the Parallels system I mentioned, not BootCamp (which is booting into Windows just like any other computer, so it's no more or less stable than Windows would be on any other laptop). In the case of Parallels, I have not so far had any significant issues with Windows; there was maybe one or two glitches, but the software was in an earlier beta version at the time and they've since been worked out.

    As far as RAM, if you're running both at the same time 1GB is a bare minimum, but really, I'd just put the maximum 2GB in the computer and that way both OSes will have enough RAM (XP really likes at least 512MB, 512MB is a bare minimum for the MacOS--1GB runs better--and the Parallels software that allows Windows to run chews up some RAM on its own). Don't order the computer with 2GB from Apple, though--they overcharge for RAM in custom configurations. Go to a trustworthy site like,, or, and you can order RAM guaranteed to work with your Mac that has a lifetime warranty for a decent price.

    There's ALWAYS something just over the horizon, but if you look at the Buyer's Guide at this very site (there's a tab up at the top of every page) it gives you a general idea of how recently the model has been updated.

    Regardless, there isn't anything huge on the immediate horizon for the MacBook or iMac that I'm aware of; the Merom processor will be released in the next couple months, and that will probably make it's way into the MacBook Pro and maybe the iMac, but even then it'll be an incrimental update for what you're doing, not a huge change. Were you looking for a tower, the story would be different (probably significant changes in the next couple months or so), but you're not.

    If you want to buy now, I'd say it's reasonably safe to assume there's nothing really stunning on the horizon.

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