Don't know what to do

Discussion in 'Buying Tips, Advice and Discussion (archive)' started by Super20, Jul 24, 2004.

  1. Super20 macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Jul 24, 2004
    Location:
    Council Bluffs, IA
    #1
    I'm 28 years old. I've been a PC user all my life except for a year in college when my roomie had a mac. I teach at a music camp during the summer and one of the other counselors (who is a composer) had just purchased a 17" Powerbook. The thing was awesome and I was very impressed...not just with looks, but how well it performed and all the stuff he could do with it that pertained to what I do...teach band at a school that is all PC. I've never used mac, but I really think I want a powerbook. I'm having a hard time justifying to my wife why paying $1000 more for a mac is better than getting a less expensive PC notebook. I've checked out the education discounts and they look good, but I just have my reservations about making "the switch." Also, apple's financing looks great...for the first two years of interest only payments...what happens to the $28 a month after 2 years....and is it even worth it to use apple's financing? HELP A CONFUSED GUY OUT! :confused:
     
  2. jsw Moderator emeritus

    jsw

    Joined:
    Mar 16, 2004
    Location:
    Andover, MA
    #2
    So much to say...

    First, you'd probably be just as happy with a 15" as a 17", which, even if you get the top-of-the-line 15", shaves $200 off your edu price.

    Let's say you get the top 15", add some options (128MB VRAM, 1 RAM stick instead of two, faster hard drive), and end up around $2500. Or you go with a lower 15" model and spend ~$2K.

    Here's what your money gets you - what that extra $1K (it's actually not that much of a premium) buys:

    (1) OS X. This is hard to overvalue. OS X is something which is actually cool to use, as opposed to simply being what you need to boot to get to your apps (i.e., Windows). I work on Windows machines in my "real" job and Macs at home. I am never happy to sit in front of the Windows machines - I like a lot of the apps, but Windows is just there. OS X is a fun ride by itself, and there's so much to learn about it to make it more fun, yet it is immediately accessible for beginners.

    (2) iLife apps - like Garageband (right up your alley), iDVD, etc. These are pure gold and are included. In fact, here's all that's included:

    It's a hell of a bundle.

    (3) Mac community. Sounds dumb, but the Mac community is generally more supportive than the Windows one.

    (4) Ease of use. Not just OS X, but the apps as well. It's just easier to use, period. Except for window resizing - Windows is better at that!

    (5) Beauty. I mean, come on, isn't the backlit keyboard worth something by itself?

    (6) Built-in wireless and Bluetooth. 54Mbps 802.11g wireless. Not typical Centrino 11Mbps 802.11b wireless.

    (6) Fun and joy. You'll love a PowerBook. You'll use it incessantly. You'll see it as a tool and not an impediment. It's a wonderful thing.

    As I said, I use Macs and PCs. There are things I like about Windows, and about PC laptops. But, generally, the PB is the gold standard.

    As far as financing - true, you only pay interest for two years. But... two years down the road, you've paid a lot of interest but haven't touched the principal. Not a good idea.
     
  3. jsw Moderator emeritus

    jsw

    Joined:
    Mar 16, 2004
    Location:
    Andover, MA
    #3
    And one other thing - it's not a $1000 premium. I mean, you can buy a Mac laptop for ~$1K. PC laptops with comparable specs to the PowerBooks cost maybe a bit less, but not $1K.

    Also: get a configuration with one stick of RAM, even though it costs more. You can buy the other stick of RAM at http://www.crucial.com, or http://www.kingston.com, or other places, save lots of money, and still have great RAM. You'll want a minimum of 512MB. 768 is quite nice, 1GB is really good, 1.25GB is amazing.
     
  4. Brother Michael macrumors 6502a

    Brother Michael

    Joined:
    Apr 14, 2004
    #4
    Can't help you on the financing, but someone please explain that, as that is how I will probably be buying my G5.

    As for the convincing that I can help on:

    1) For starters, boast about Apple Care, and how basically Apple seems to take care of their own.

    2) Talk about the stability of the OS compared to Windows. And about how basically everything in the Mac was designed for the Mac.

    3) It's a notebook computer...Apple Notebooks are far better than PC Notebooks. They are quieter, lighter, thinner, and more attractive looking (perhaps that Centrino Processor will help balance the field). I found that a lot of PC Notebooks are heavy and for some reason loud (at least the ones that I saw at school were. Perhaps the P4?)

    4) Virus' and security issues are not as big of an issue.

    5) You are in the music field and that is what we use!

    6) Finally, Computers are a lot like cars in a way. Think of it like this (this gets wierd): Let's compare Computers to SUV's. Now, you can buy a Ford, GMC, BMW or Lexus SUV (aka a PC) or you can buy a Jeep (aka Mac). How many Lexus SUV owners can say that they take their SUV's off-roading at conventions. I have yet to meet one. Talk to Jeep people (especially Wrangler owners) and they seem to like to boast about Jeep events that they go to and all the other people they meet who also have Jeeps. It's a sub-culture in cars people. Well as far as Apple's vs. PC's goes same rules apply. Seems that all the people with Mac's on my campus seem to know each other somehow...it's a wierd thing.

    7) If that don't do it...(I can't imagine why :rolleyes: ) and she hasn't left the room laughing yet, then try this: http://www.apple.com/switch/

    Mike
     
  5. jsw Moderator emeritus

    jsw

    Joined:
    Mar 16, 2004
    Location:
    Andover, MA
    #5
    As far as financing - it's not a bad idea; I just meant that you should pay down the principal during the first two years even if you don't have to, otherwise you end up paying interest but don't pay off any debt. I'm about as stupid as they come when finance is the topic, but I know that only paying interest isn't ever a good idea. Not that I haven't done it - but it's dumb. make sure you can make payments on the principal - which I'm almost positive you can. You don't want to spend $3K or whatever and still owe $3K after two years....
     
  6. kant macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Jul 22, 2004
    #6
    And it's transferable.

    That was a major factor in my decision to buy an apple. Knowing I really can't afford a new one, I felt far more comfortable buying a used machine knowing that I still had factory warranty on it.
     
  7. Brother Michael macrumors 6502a

    Brother Michael

    Joined:
    Apr 14, 2004
    #7
    OH! It clicked! You mean even though the website says you can pay as little as 10 dollars a month, you should really pay 20+ a month so as to pay interest AND Prinicple!

    See folks this is why I buy things with cash...I would dig my self in debt up to my armpits with a credit card...

    Mike :eek:
     
  8. Duff-Man macrumors 68030

    Duff-Man

    Joined:
    Dec 26, 2002
    Location:
    Albuquerque, NM
    #8
    Duff-Man says...jsw summed it up pretty well. I also have a day job supporting a whack of windoze pc's, so it is windoze all day long for me (except the Powerbook I keep beside the Dell desktop on my desk) and I would never buy anything but Apple for my own personal use. OS X is by far the best OS I have ever used - and I have tried lots of them from every flavour of Windoze to a few Linux distribs to BeOS...and for anyone doing anything with music (like me) - that just makes the choice even easier.

    As for the financing...well I have been fortunate enough to not require that but in general you may find you can do better if you talk to your local bank - many offer a line of credit at better rates than the financing via Apple...shop around a bit...rates are generally low and there is a lot of competition for your financial business....oh yeah!
     
  9. Brother Michael macrumors 6502a

    Brother Michael

    Joined:
    Apr 14, 2004
    #9
    At the begining of summer I almost bought a used Powerbook simply because it still had the original warrenty. I didn't thank God because that money was needed like two weeks later on car crap...

    Mike
     
  10. dav macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Jun 29, 2004
    #10
    Don't go in debt for a laptop... Thats my input.
     
  11. Brother Michael macrumors 6502a

    Brother Michael

    Joined:
    Apr 14, 2004
    #11
    I can totally agree!

    Mike
     
  12. jsw Moderator emeritus

    jsw

    Joined:
    Mar 16, 2004
    Location:
    Andover, MA
    #12
    Well, if you are going to go into debt, a mac is a good way to go. Depreciation is not too bad, and you can sell it fairly quickly if you need the cash.

    Of course, this is from someone who ought to have at least one of the major Citibank buildings named after him, given what they've made off of me.... ;)
     
  13. cubist macrumors 68020

    Joined:
    Jul 4, 2002
    Location:
    Muncie, Indiana
    #13
    You could start slower, with an iBook for example instead of a PowerBook... not quite as nice, but a lot cheaper. You could look for a refurb 12"...
     
  14. ozone macrumors 6502

    ozone

    Joined:
    Feb 18, 2004
    Location:
    Ontario, Canada
    #15
    You also have to factor in "lost time" due to PC problems. While this is pretty hard to quantify (let's not get into hardcore economics), your time is still worth something. As another PC user who's been using Windows for many users, you probably know how many times you've had to: 1) reformat; 2) rebuild; 3) buy yet another "little program" to make something work; 4) check, scan, and update for viruses; 5) update the OS for yet another patch. While it's fun to figure a computer's OS and guts the first or second time around, it gets pretty tiring about the 4th or 5th time when you have a deadline looming.

    And in my case, it's my wife who wanted a Mac first, so there wasn't much argument from the significant other! :)
     
  15. iNetwork macrumors member

    Joined:
    Jul 20, 2004
    Location:
    New Mexico
    #16
    It's obvious you haven't owned and operated a PC since XP Pro has been around. I have had to re-format my ibook just as many times as I have my desktop PC. I have also had to buy lots of "little programs" for my mac as well. Virus thing:automatic--updating and scanning when I'm not using it. OS updates, YES the mac has these too and a not very automated system of doing it. XP updates automatically and I never have to worry about this either...After you figure out your computer guts the first time around, it's automatic and you know how to fix it. With a mac you have to rely on someone else to fix your problems--if you paid 300 extra for a warranty. All of your arguements are valid however they can be circumvented if you actually know how to operate the comptuer. I think people who will limit themselves to one platform without knowing how to run both are ignorant. I like macs, I like PC's. I have reasons for owning and using both. When you can hit into the hundreds of FPS in Battlefield 1942, Autocad comes out on it, I'll use a mac to game on and work on. Right now I need both. It's a PC world out there in business at least. Oh, and get the US Gov't and Military to run Macs and I'll be impressed.
     
  16. m.r.m. macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Oct 25, 2003
    Location:
    Germany
    #17
    i´d strongly advise against the financial plan. paying only interest is basically throwing money out the window. now, you don´t want to feel like a third world country, do you? if you have a computer now, make do with it until you have saved up enough to buy an apple. i don´t think it makes any sense to get into debt over a laptop. also as said before, you may try one of the smaller powerbooks. the 12" will also be able to run all the apps you want to run and it´s much cheaper. that much cheaper in fact, that you could get an external monitor later. try to differentiate between what you need and what you want. do you need 128mb vram, portable 17" screen, 1.5ghz g4? sometimes a compromise here, will give you greater satisfaction in the long run.
     
  17. ozone macrumors 6502

    ozone

    Joined:
    Feb 18, 2004
    Location:
    Ontario, Canada
    #18
    iNetwork... I don't know how you can logically infer that I have not owned or used XP Pro. I have used XP Pro everyday on 2, 3 different machines for the last 2.5 years, and have spent quite a few years struggling through Windows 95, 98, and Me. I have had to rebuild at least one XP computer once from scratch, my current XP machine has inexplicably decided to crash periodically (with no discernable reason and no opportunity to recover). Although I am no computer technician, I know enough to open up cases, install drives, muddle through the BIOS, etc. I've rambled around enough to realize that often I don't have a same problem recurring, but that there are always different problems. You're probably right about the re-formatting of Macs.... I'm sure it happens occasionally and given that my Mac experience is not great, I know that technology on all platforms has faults.

    Yes, you pay extra for warranty support, but I have spent many hours with the Dell support late at night trying to figure out what's going on with my crashed computers. The point is that you need warranty support for just about everything these days unless you happen to be trained in that field itself. I'm not sure how you would rely on a Mac technician anymore or any less than you would a PC technician.

    True it's generally a PC world, but depending on what you do, you probably don't need PCs exclusively. I never play games, so the FPS benchmarks just don't make a difference for me. Also, one of my colleagues is a hydraulics professor in engineering: she uses Macs exclusively and so has her past research group. My former doctoral supervisor has used a Mac for 20 years and he heads a major engineering division in the top university in Canada. In my opinion, this stands fairly well for the credibility of Mac usage in the work world. I also believe one branch of the US military was investigating purchasing Macs for exclusive use.

    As usual, it comes down to what you need, what you want, and what tradeoffs you're willing to make. Maybe one day, like you, I'll need to get another PC as well to run both platforms simultaneously (well, I already have one I guess), but I freely admit that my PC experience to date hasn't been the greatest.
     
  18. Butler Trumpet macrumors 6502

    Butler Trumpet

    Joined:
    May 26, 2004
    Location:
    Dekalb IL
    #19
    Get the Mac

    okay man, I'm a musician and all I can say is that, if you really want to do some serious music things, you have to have a mac. You can get sibelius or finale for a PC but they suck... they are not good programs on those platforms. A mac will make you much happier. And for some comparison... at Butler where I go, in the music school, almost everyone is a mac user. A lot of freshman come in with a pc laptop or something, and like 90% of them all have a mac by there sophomore year. Apple really has better stuff for fine arts.
    Also what music camp are you doing this summer? I worked with Blue Lake music camps last year... it was great.
     
  19. Thussy macrumors member

    Joined:
    Jul 19, 2004
    #20
    I'm a big PC fan, I currently have a 2.8ghz and 2.6ghz P4 HT kickin' around. One's a SFF that i wire up to the bigscreen and the other is my day to day machine. Windows is great, as long as you know what you're doing. But ia gree, owning a windows machine is too time consuming. Nothing ever seems to work like it should.

    Gaming is why I'm keeping my Windows machine around. But random Office crashes, and large Service Packs and driver updates can come up at the worst of times. But a lot of the fault lies with hardware manufacturers, and not just Microsoft.

    Too many programs out there write garbage into the registry. Over time windwos machines get bogged down by useless crap. This is when a format becomes necessary.

    I'm hoping my OSX experience will let me be less involved, and hopefully the machine will just work. Plus the GUI is hotter, and Dashboard on tiger is something i've looked for in Window plug-ins/aftermarket software, that i couldn't find.
     
  20. Grimace macrumors 68040

    Grimace

    Joined:
    Feb 17, 2003
    Location:
    with Hamburglar.
    #21
    another way to save a little cash - buy apple care after 11 months. You are covered by the normal 1 year warranty and can purchase the applecare extension any time within the first year of ownership. That shaves $249 off of the price - tell the wife THAT!

    (also, if you are some kind of weird mutant person and don't LOVE your mac laptop after a year, you haven't paid for 3 years of warranty prematurely.)

    :D
     
  21. Brother Michael macrumors 6502a

    Brother Michael

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    Apr 14, 2004
    #22
  22. Coca-Cola macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Dec 10, 2002
    Location:
    WA
    #23
  23. Super20 thread starter macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Jul 24, 2004
    Location:
    Council Bluffs, IA
    #24
    How about this...
    without doing too much research on it, I have a Dell Axim X5 handheld. Can I still sync it on a mac?
     
  24. papersushi macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Nov 14, 2003
    #25
    Absolutely! With software call The Missing Sync
    http://www.markspace.com/
     

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