I need some advice on switching...

Discussion in 'Buying Tips and Advice' started by Spanky Deluxe, Jan 30, 2006.

  1. Spanky Deluxe macrumors 601

    Spanky Deluxe

    Joined:
    Mar 17, 2005
    Location:
    London, UK
    #1
    Hi!

    I'm an occasional Mac user who's been wanting to switch for ages, years in fact. However, I know Windows like the back of my hand, have qualifications in it, know literally every shortcut and I like to play the odd computer game every now and again. Not to mention that I often use loads of apps that haven't been ported to OS X.
    The news about switching to Intel was literally a Godsend for me. Its only a matter of time before it'll be possible to dual boot OS X with Windows. I'm sorry if I offend people by wanting to do that but I need to, end of story so I don't need anyone flaming me and saying how its wrong and how Windows on a Mac is an abomination. I need it, that's it.
    Now I know Windows can't run on any of the Intel Macs yet but I'm sure it will happen and I wouldn't mind helping out in getting it to run. Don't worry, I wouldn't do any silly bios flashing business and fry my machine.

    Anyway, that's enough of the background. I currently have a beast of a PC, a high end Windows laptop and a few ageing second hand macs and laptops around the place. I use my Windows PC and Windows laptop 95% of the time. I've always been one of those people that has built their own computers from parts. In fact for the past year I've been running with a Mach 2 phase-change cooler, running an Athlon 64 3700+ at the speed of a theoretical 5000+. It also has a pair of 6800GTs in it and a 30" 1280x768 screen connected to them. {I'm getting to my point}.

    Now my plan was that I was going to wait until the Intel PowerMac replacements came out, sell everything that I own and save some money up and switch to an Intel Quad Powermac, Intel iBook and Apple 30" Cinema Display. That was my plan. That is until my phase change cooler's seal with the processor somehow failed and has fried my processor and possibly my motherboard. I've been fighting with the machine for months and months.
    Now I'm thinking maybe I should sell the parts to my big computer now (that still work) and get a 20" Intel iMac. It would only cost me £200 more than what I'd have to spend anyway in order to fix my PC. I'd have to sell all the parts of my PC now. Selling the screen would get me some extra cash as well that I could put in the bank.
    I would then plan to sell the iMac in six months time when the PowerMacs come out, sell my PC based laptop then and get a PowerMac, iBook and 30" ACD like I'd always planned. Having the Windows laptop would mean I still have access to Windows even if I can't dual boot it yet.

    Since I'm a University student I can get Apple products at ridiculously good prices, so selling the iMac in six months shouldn't really give me much of a loss.
    I would have to put up with a smaller screen size for six months though and I don't know what I'd do about TV right now since as far as I know there aren't any USB/Firewire TV cards that support the Intel Macs.

    I think this could be a decent way to go and would mean I won't have to stress and worry about having to maintain and fix my Windows computer all the time. Frankly I've had enough.

    To be honest I could do with some reassurement. I'm a serious Windows Power User and as much as I've love OS X when I use it, living without Windows on my main PC is a really daunting and scary prospect. I love Windows and I love the control I have over it since I know it so well but I've had enough with building my own PCs and I swore I'd never buy a desktop computer from anyone other than Apple because they all use crap components and lose their value like bilio.

    Sorry for my rambling btw!!


    Spanky

    Edit: If anyone wants to see what my old Athlon processor looks like now click here.
     
  2. GorillaPaws macrumors 6502a

    GorillaPaws

    Joined:
    Oct 26, 2003
    Location:
    Richmond, VA
    #2
    You've got a lot going on there, and unfortuatly, I'm probably not qualified to help with a lot of your issues. First off, you're not going to offend anyone here by wanting to run Windows. As far as your plan goes, I'm not sure if the new iMac's going to have all the muscle you're looking for to be perfectly honest. It's absoutely wonderful for consumer-level apps and will run pro apps well too, but it's not going to be a "beast" machine. You're right in wanting the Powermac line (I guess they're going to call it the Mac Pro or something like that, though I'm not sure it'll have a quad processors or not).

    That being said, you may want to hold off on the iMac purchase, because if you're counting on the student discount, you're only alowed one discounted machine a year, which you'd probably want to reserve for the more expensive (and bigger discounted) Powermac. Another thing you may want do is to post some of the windows apps you're going to be using to see if their are similar Mac apps out there (although they're probably not going to be universal yet, so it may be sometime). The reason I'm saying this, is that there is a lot of great 3rd party software for the mac, and it's generally well designed to appeal to the Mac community's demand for excellence and usability. One example is Delicious Monster's personal library software--simply amazing. As far as watching TV on your Mac, have you looked at El Gato's eye TV2 (www.elgato.com)? Also, this is a link to a great article about a hard-core PC user's experience on a Mac, I would think it's a must read for someone like yourself: http://www.anandtech.com/mac/showdoc.aspx?i=2232 .

    Anyways, best of luck to you in your dilemma, and welcome to the community!

    Edit: oh, and I think the new iMac's have dual screen support, so you could always hook up your current montior to it.
     
  3. blackstone macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Dec 12, 2005
    Location:
    Washington, DC
    #3
    Go ahead and pull the trigger -- it sounds like you've got a pretty good plan!

    As for worrying about losing the level of control you have over your Windows computers... that's only temporary. The Unix command-line in OS X is so much more powerful than the measly DOS command-line in Windows. Once you get over the learning curve with Unix and get accustomed to the OS X GUI (and find out about all the various keyboard shortcuts available), I suspect you'll find the Windows interface clunky. After a couple of years of being a switcher, I know I do....
     
  4. jsw Moderator emeritus

    jsw

    Joined:
    Mar 16, 2004
    Location:
    Andover, MA
    #4
    Given that - which has been a long time coming (officially, at least) for iMacs - I'd recommend getting a 17" if you get an iMac.

    If you need more screen space, you can connect a 2nd monitor and span them.

    The 17" iMac is very nearly as fast as the 20" (the speed difference is unlikely to be noticeable), and the fact that you're only going to keep it for six months or so would imply that you don't need some mammoth internal drive.

    So, you'll get most of what you'd get in a 20" for less than the cost of repairing your PC (as opposed to more), you'd see if you liked them, you'd be able to install the inevitable Windows dual-boot hack (it runs already on the Developer Transition Kits from this summer), and you'd take less of a loss when you sold it due to its lower initial cost.
     
  5. balamw Moderator

    balamw

    Staff Member

    Joined:
    Aug 16, 2005
    Location:
    New England
    #5
    Much the same arguments I've been running through my own head. ;)

    The 128 M VRAM though might be a bottleneck for running two monitors off of a 17". No?

    B
     
  6. jsw Moderator emeritus

    jsw

    Joined:
    Mar 16, 2004
    Location:
    Andover, MA
    #6
    Well, FWIW, my aged but not yet infirm Rev. A dual-2 G5 runs two 20" monitors with a mere 64MB RAM and a slower card (Radeon 9600) just fine.

    And, when I connected a 20" Dell to this iMac, it worked with no visible slowdowns. Of course, I do little to push it (WCIII is the most ambitious GPU task it's faced yet in its young life), but I think it'd be fine. if you used the max supported resolution, then, well, maybe not, but I suspect that would work OK as well - 128MB is a decent amount of video memory.
     
  7. Glen Quagmire macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Jan 6, 2006
    Location:
    UK
    #7
    I'd go for it, if I were you.

    I bought a Mac mini just over two weeks ago - it arrived last Thursday. Since then, after transferring all my stuff over, I've used my PC for a grand total of around an hour. I can do pretty much everything that I do on my PC on the Mac, and it's far less irritating and far more enjoyable using OS X. Sure, I'm far from being an expert, but, compared to Windows, OS X is a total joy to use - intuitive, friendly and great to look at.

    Just think of the benefits - no more spyware, no more viruses, no clearing out all the crap every couple of months. No messing around with the Registry. No programs installing junk all over your hard drive. No worrying about your phase change thingy going boom. You get Un*x under the hood, so there's even more power at your fingertips. The wonderful iLife and iWork applications. And so on and so on.

    When I was thinking about buying my Mac mini, I went to the local PC World and had a good play for half an hour or more and then another play once I'd actually ordered the thing. Fortunately, on the first occasion I did so, they'd just re-installed OS X and left it on the initial screen, so I could set it up from scratch and pretend it was actually my computer and configure everything how I wanted it. Go to the local Apple Store or PC World and have a good play.

    I bought this book to go with the Mac - most useful and highly recommended.

    If you are really worried about whether you'll get on with OS X and be able to use it as your main computer, why not consider getting a Mini instead? This was the reason I got mine. Sure, it's slow (relatively speaking), there's no scope for expansion (I got the 1GB memory fitted at the Apple Store) and it's likely to be replaced soon, but, to me, it was the strategy of least risk. It only cost me £500. I can use it with my existing TFT monitor, I can use it with a generic mouse and keyboard (however, I did buy an Apple keyboard and mouse to go with it, just to complete the experience). If I like it - and so far I love it - I'll get a PowerMac once they've gone Intel later this yer. This will replace my current four-year-old PC. Hopefully by that time, you will be able to run Windows on the Mac - either by dual booting or some sort of software solution such as VirtualPC - so I'll be able to use the few Windows applications that I use that aren't available on OS X.

    IMHO, it's good that you're having doubts. It shows that you're considering things properly and not acting rashly.

    Now, go and buy that Mac!
     
  8. Spanky Deluxe thread starter macrumors 601

    Spanky Deluxe

    Joined:
    Mar 17, 2005
    Location:
    London, UK
    #8
    My reason for wanting the 20" model over the 17" one is that it might be a better option for me to sell the 30" screen sooner in order to save up for the "mega-switch" I'm planning in the Summer. I've gotten used to watching DVDs and such from lying in bed looking at a 30" screen, I'm definately going to feel the hurt of dropping to 20 inches but dropping to 17 will feel quite ridiculous. I've got a 15.4 inch laptop and a 17" screen really isn't *that* much bigger!!
    My mouse is hovering over the buy button. For a 20" 2.0Ghz iMac Core Duo with 256MB graphics memory and a gig of RAM it'll cost me £1,173.36.

    I know what's going to come though. If I order it I'm going to be a gibbering blob transfixed to Apple's own tracking system and www.apecode.com for the next two weeks!! That's so counter-productive!!

    BTW Buying the PowerMac through Edu-discount shouldn't be too much of a problem since I have my girlfriend at hand through who I could order it if there are any problems. I've been looking through Apple's site and I haven't been able to find those stipulations anyway though. Hell she might even get the iMac.
     
  9. ChrisA macrumors G4

    Joined:
    Jan 5, 2006
    Location:
    Redondo Beach, California
    #9
    One question:

    What do you DO whith computers? You say you run many Windows apps but WHY? Are you a writter? software engineer? Do you use the PC to control lab equipment? or maybe you do some video editig?

    Ok now that we know what you want to use the computer for we can see what kind of a computer might work best for you. I mean if you are running a web server a iMac could work but it would be a big waste.

    About dual booting. If you really do need to run some WIndows-only applications then I can't argue. but dual boot has to be the worst way to go. I tried a windows/linux dual boot in the mid 1990's breifly before trashing Windows for good and t didn't work. My e-mail and broser bookmarks was on Linux so if I was in MS Word I'd have to ave and re-boot just to check mail. You will find the same with a OSX/WinXP dual boot you have to reboot every 15 minutes, what a PITA!

    The ideal solution is to have Windows and Mac OSX up and running at the same time on the same screen. Virtualization can do this. Look at either Vitual PC, VMWare, QEMU (and maybe Wine). In a few months I'll bet all of these will run on an Intel Mac. QEMU might already.

    But I'll say it again. Think of what you need to DO. Even go so far as to write it down. Writting forces you to think clearly.
     
  10. jsw Moderator emeritus

    jsw

    Joined:
    Mar 16, 2004
    Location:
    Andover, MA
    #10
    Click it. Click it!
     
  11. Spanky Deluxe thread starter macrumors 601

    Spanky Deluxe

    Joined:
    Mar 17, 2005
    Location:
    London, UK
    #11
    I do all sorts of things with my computer, copious amounts of internet browsing, lots of word and excel and then huge amounts of 'playing around'. I can't begin to lest the Windows applciations that I use a lot because there are loads of little small ones here and there. I know I can replace a lot of them with OS X software but some you can't. For one I'm a big user of Paint Shop Pro and have always preferred it to Photoshop. I know that when I make the switch I'm going to have to get to know Photoshop from scratch which is quite daunting because its such a complex program. I've used Paint Shop Pro since version 4 or 3 and have learnt the new features as they've been introduced over the years. I also like to play new games. I'm not saying I spend huge amounts of my time playing games but I do buy a game such as Half Life 2, play it non stop for a few days, complete it and then I won't play another game for months. For those instances I need Windows.

    I've often dual booted on my PCs and haven't had any problems. The basics are that you need a decent amount of hard drive space and you need to choose one as your primary OS. I want to choose OS X as my primary OS, I really do. I'd really like to have a barebones Windows installation there as well for when I want to play games or run the odd Windows only app.


    Spanky
     
  12. kiwi-in-uk macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Sep 22, 2004
    Location:
    AU
    #12
    I agree with Mr Quagmire - go for the Mini. You should be able to run your 30" screen off that. It might be slower than what you want, but should be adequate for what you need in the short run. It would allow you to learn OS X inside out while you wait for the Power Macs (or whatever they will be called).
     
  13. Spanky Deluxe thread starter macrumors 601

    Spanky Deluxe

    Joined:
    Mar 17, 2005
    Location:
    London, UK
    #13
    I've always liked the Minis but they just seem like really old technology now. Too old and too slow. They took ages to make a revision and even that felt very half hearted. I may get the girlfriend an Intel Mini when they come out to replace her Dell but I feel it would just be too slow for me. Besides which I love the Core Duo Processor. I have its predecessor, a Pentium-M 1.7Ghz in my laptop and I've raved about them since they were anounced. Its awesomely powerful and efficient.

    I've added it to my shopping bag... I'm feeling really nervous.
     
  14. FFTT macrumors 68030

    FFTT

    Joined:
    Apr 17, 2004
    Location:
    A Stoned Throw From Ground Zero
    #14
    It's great that you can take advantage of the education discount being a student.

    I'm just wondering if you're going to be content with an AIO design.
    Yes the 20" Intel iMac is a tremendous value and will certainly hold
    you until we see the server quality 64 bit quad core machines some time in 2007ish.
    The benefit to the iMac will be dual binary applications.
    The drawback is lack of any serious expandibility and DIY service.

    I'm just wondering if maybe you'd be happier with a dual core PCI-e tower
    as long as you have a usable display.
    Education price USD gets you a dual core 2.0 tower for $1799.00
    Add another $185.00 or so for a 2 GB RAM kit and you're flyin.

    You haven't mentioned any applications that would put any major stress on
    a dual core 2.0 tower with 2 GB RAM.

    The only question would be how much you want to spend on a video card.

    Just food for thought.
     
  15. Spanky Deluxe thread starter macrumors 601

    Spanky Deluxe

    Joined:
    Mar 17, 2005
    Location:
    London, UK
    #15

    Well I do plan on upgrading to a tower in six months and selling the iMac. I do really want to have an Intel processor though so that as soon as its possible to run Windows I won't be held back by anything. I've got five hard drives in my current main PC with 1.1TB of storage. I've got the guts from an old Athlon-XP based system so I'm going to turn that into a tempoary file server under the bed until I can put them into a tower.
    BTW does anyone know how FrontRow works when dealing with network folders? Can you set it up to access its media files from across a network?

    Oh btw... I pushed the button. Estimated delivery before February 10th. I don't quite know if its gone through though since my main card was declined due to my bank having sent out two replacement cards and I've had to put it through on a Visa Electron card which I doubt they support. I'm guessing I'm going to have to pay via bank transfer or something so is gonna take an extra 3-5 days.

    I'm so excited!
     
  16. Nermal Moderator

    Nermal

    Staff Member

    Joined:
    Dec 7, 2002
    Location:
    New Zealand
    #16
    It was the same for me, but now, three years later, I can't stand using Windows. After using OS X full-time for a while, you'll feel the same way.

    Waiting is the hardest part. Mine will finally arrive tomorrow! :D
     
  17. FFTT macrumors 68030

    FFTT

    Joined:
    Apr 17, 2004
    Location:
    A Stoned Throw From Ground Zero
    #17
    It may take a bit longer than you expect with the BTO GPU upgrade.

    I've always used the wire transfer from my bank, so Apple considers the order pre-paid cash.

    I have a strong feeling you'll still be using your iMac into 2008. ;)
     
  18. Mr Paw macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Jan 24, 2006
    Location:
    Cranbrook BC
    #18
    Try the mini first...

    Mini is a good option to start with. I bought one and it came overspec'd with a 64MB video card, faster hard drive and 1.5 GHz processor. I increased memory to 1 Gig and got an iSight camera. It will drive any monitor you want, mine was a 60" Panasonic DLP television and it looked incredible. After 6 weeks on the mini my conversion was complete - and my iMac Core Duo 20" should be here tomorrow or the day after. The mini then goes to mother in law so wife can video chat - or maybe in your case an easy resell to someone else. Or just keep it as an extra media server for your stereo or home theatre.

    PC is now only used by the kids.

    Oh, never mind, I see you ordered yours already. Well done!
     
  19. Spanky Deluxe thread starter macrumors 601

    Spanky Deluxe

    Joined:
    Mar 17, 2005
    Location:
    London, UK
    #19
    Thanks for all of your advice everyone!

    I think I'm making the right decision and I'm now ridiculously excited so I must have done something right!!

    Cheers again!!


    Phil
     

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