Switching Company to Mac

Discussion in 'Mac Basics and Help' started by miniConvert, Jun 23, 2006.

  1. miniConvert macrumors 68040

    miniConvert

    Joined:
    Mar 4, 2006
    Location:
    Kent, UK - the 'Garden of England'.
    #1
    My small company is setting up an office and taking on some staff so we can expand our operations. Currently everyone involved works from Windows machines and, quite honestly, we have seldom few problems.

    However, my ideal office is not one full of mismatched, hot, noisy PC's with the plethera of cables that come with them. No, this simply is not the C21st office. The rooms are quite small and with no air conditioning I just can't see it being a nice place to be.

    So, despite my personal distaste for all-in-one's, I'm pushing for iMac's, six of them, 20" Intel Core Duo's. I have a Mac mini myself, it's my playtoy and I love it, but I've never used Mac's in a business environment. Despite the challenges I think having a fleet of matching machines, each needing just one power cable, with integrated sound, video, Wi-Fi etc would make for a fantastic and uncluttered working space - maximising the room we have and keeping noise and heat to a minimum.

    Does anyone who has had or witnessed a similar experience have any advice or know of any possible pitfalls I'm going to be up against?

    I've budgeted for copies of Parallels and XP for each machine as I don't doubt that there will be the odd Windows applications that our staff will need. I'm not going Boot Camp though - I absolutely refuse to pay Apple prices and not have everyone enjoy OS X and its various pieces of software even if it is a bit of a learning curve... I'd imagine the majority of people will have never used OS X before and using things like SSH at the terminal could be somewhat daunting. Talking of SSH, does anyone know any good SSH GUI's that remember passwords?

    I'm also slightly confused about horsepower. I know Intel's new Core chips are fantastic - I have the Core Duo in my Mac mini - but lets face it, Yonah is a portable chip and these will most certainly be desktop machines running Office and multiple other applications. They'll each have 2GB of RAM, but does the 2GHz processor have enough beef?

    Finally, Apple's UK online business store offers no discounts whatsoever. Does anyone know if Apple is prepared to offer discounts for business? Surely 6 iMac's should at least attract discounted AppleCare or something. Any tips or advice on this front would be greatly appreciated, I think I'll cry if we end up plumping for Dell and Windows again and not taking this fantastic opportunity to think different.

    Thanks in advance for your thoughts!
    miniConvert Who doesn't want running an office of Mac's to blow up in his face!
     
  2. Le Big Mac macrumors 68020

    Le Big Mac

    Joined:
    Jan 7, 2003
    Location:
    Washington, DC
    #2
    I run a small office that's a Mac environment. Generally it's fine. The few things I would be concerned about:

    1) IT support. It's a lot harder to find people to do the support. Sure, support is easier, but there just aren't as many Mac networking/support people.

    2) Windows programs. You may be able to get over it using Boot Camp etc., but if you have any software that needs windows, you might want to reconsider. But if all you need are things like word processing, email, spreadsheets, adobe, etc., the Mac versions of these are as good or better than windows. Except for exchange--if you want an exchange server, you'll probably have to have some windows remaining in your life, at least at the server level.

    3) People knowing what they're doing. Most people are used to PCs. So, regardless of how much easier a mac is to learn and use, many people will find adapting a bit tricky. That could slow productivity.

    Otherwise, I'd go for it. Macs are made for small offices without big legacy expensese (ie., existing systems you have to keep and integrate).
     
  3. iGary Guest

    iGary

    Joined:
    May 26, 2004
    Location:
    Randy's House
    #3
    Make sure you run virus software on all your machines - I've pissed off a couple of clients by unknowingly passing on viruses to their Windows environments.
     
  4. Monkaaay macrumors 6502

    Monkaaay

    Joined:
    Jun 19, 2006
    Location:
    Richmond, VA
    #4
    My perception is that you're looking at this from a visual point of view instead of a dollar and cents. Business is all about the bottom line, not how good the computers look around the office. As much as I'd love everyone in my office to have 20" iMacs, it's not possible. We run software that's "windows only" and virtualizing all day isn't a bright option. Time = money. If your company isn't dependent on windows based software, it might be an option, but be sure before you pull the trigger or you might be searching for new work.
     
  5. iGary Guest

    iGary

    Joined:
    May 26, 2004
    Location:
    Randy's House
    #5
    So what? Does that mean he should go out and buy an E-Machines because it's cheaper and uglier?

    That's your decision, and no, business is not all about the bottom line, especially when it comes to tax liability.
     
  6. Eraserhead macrumors G4

    Eraserhead

    Joined:
    Nov 3, 2005
    Location:
    UK
    #6
    For SSH try Cyberduck or Fugu, I personally prefer Fugu as it doesn't need to re-connect to get each file.
     
  7. Monkaaay macrumors 6502

    Monkaaay

    Joined:
    Jun 19, 2006
    Location:
    Richmond, VA
    #7
    Does it get the job done, is it cost effective, will they work? Granted the E-Machine does all of these except work somewhat regularly, go get another PC that does do these things and _still_ runs the software your company needs.

    I guess we all have our opinions.
     
  8. j26 macrumors 65832

    j26

    Joined:
    Mar 30, 2005
    Location:
    Paddyland
    #8
    And a nicer work environment does have an effect on staff morale and productivity. I was involved in the redesign of our open plan office a few years ago and was amazed at the difference in outputs after it was done (no macs though - they suckle from the Microsoft teat where I work).

    Cost is not the only factor. the OP as much as admitted that a mac based office would uplift him at the very least.
     
  9. Monkaaay macrumors 6502

    Monkaaay

    Joined:
    Jun 19, 2006
    Location:
    Richmond, VA
    #9
    Sure it does, but for how long? I mean at some point you get used to it and it's whatever. Cost isn't the only factor but barely anything in this world is absolute. Cost certainly the largest factor, esp to the one writing checks. If you can't give a solid business reason for it, your "higher ups" generally won't go for it. I'm not trying to be an ass here just stating my real world experience and opinion on it.
     
  10. miniConvert thread starter macrumors 68040

    miniConvert

    Joined:
    Mar 4, 2006
    Location:
    Kent, UK - the 'Garden of England'.
    #10
    Thanks folks.

    It's not just visual. It's about space, heat and the general working environment as I mentioned. I want my staff to want to work there :) I also want performance and quality - my business may be termed small, but it's perfectly formed ;)

    iGary - thanks for that reminder, it does skip my mind that while we'd be leaving the many Windows issues that exist behind we'll still be interfacing with an almost entirely Windows world.

    Eraserhead - Thank you. Unfortunately they look like SFTP type clients. I need something like this, but for Mac OS X.

    Keep it coming folks! I'm eternally greatful.
     
  11. Timepass macrumors 65816

    Joined:
    Jan 4, 2005
    #11
    well heat and noise on both system will be about the same. The heat out put will be exactly the same.

    Heat wise the CPU, PSU and the monitor are the 3 things that generated the most heat in a modern computer. And for the most part they are going to be about the same across the board heat wise so going over to make not going to save you that part.

    Also as other have said if you buniess needs windows only software and you have to use it on a daily bases then going over to Macs is a bad idea. The work around (parallas boot camp ect) are only good in a pinch and in the very few times you need a windows only program (like 1 once a week MAX). Other wise just sick with a windows computer.

    The biggest thing to make everything look good is make sure your monitor are LCD monitors. Everything else is not really going to effect a modern look more than that. A PC tower is more like a meh thing and has no real effect. Now not having LCD monitor is a way to runned that imangae more than anything else. The tower can be put out of sight easy enough. Monitor, mice and keyboard have to be visable.
     
  12. thegreatluke macrumors 6502a

    thegreatluke

    Joined:
    Dec 29, 2005
    Location:
    Earth
    #12
    In the US, Apple has business discounts.
    They also have several unmentioned discounts that you have to call for.
    (Like personal computers for government employees - nice 10% discount on that.)

    Give it a try - call Apple and ask if they have any UK business discounts. You might be surprised.
     
  13. timswim78 macrumors 6502a

    timswim78

    Joined:
    Feb 8, 2006
    Location:
    Baltimore, MD
    #13
    What type of file server and email system do you plan on running?
     
  14. iGary Guest

    iGary

    Joined:
    May 26, 2004
    Location:
    Randy's House
    #14
    Look I didn't mean to be so crass, but I was kind of put off by the all knowing front you walked in here with. ;)

    The bottom line isn't always the biggest consideration. Having top flight gear in my business is sometimes an asset to the reputation of my company and the work I do on them. Could I have bought a cheaper alternative? Sure...
     
  15. Fleetwood Mac macrumors 65816

    Fleetwood Mac

    Joined:
    Apr 27, 2006
    Location:
    Canada
    #15
    Timepass, I agree with you on the heat issue. Apart from Macs just being *cooler*, you're going to get the same heat output.

    I disagree with you on the noise aspect however. When my mini runs in quiet room its completely silent unless you try to hear it real hard. I have to shuve my head over top of it sometimes to see if there's life whilst it copies something or renders a dvd.

    I swear my pc sounds like it could take off any second. Most PCs are like that, but there are some brands which seem to be quiet(er). I'd suggest an HP or Toshiba for low noise. It all depends on what miniConvert has now.

    I've never had a problem with Windows/Mac networking. In fact, I find using a mac for Windows networking easier than using a windows machine. That's just me though.

    Good luck with your decision miniConvert
     
  16. Monkaaay macrumors 6502

    Monkaaay

    Joined:
    Jun 19, 2006
    Location:
    Richmond, VA
    #16
    Again, all opinion. :D Obviously everyone perceives things differently.
     
  17. mjstew33 macrumors 601

    mjstew33

    Joined:
    May 29, 2005
    Location:
    Illinois
    #17
    So will you be ending up having an Xserve? I have a home network, with a server acting just like an XServe, my old one was taken away, but, the software that comes on them can be sorta tricky, and if you need help, just IM me and I'll help you. :)

    You might want to consider taking the time out and doing one machine perfectly how you want it for each client, and then FireWire Target Disk Mode the info to all the other computers.

    That's what my school did, which I helped, I might add.

    You might want to have one PC.. just in case, even though the new Macs can run windows, I'd say get one just to be safe.

    Doing the FireWire Target Disk Mode trick is a great time saver. :)

    Just set them up the preferences, what they can do and what they can't do.

    If there a smarty, they might want to disable the privilege settings by deleting the info.plist, so you might want to hmm, lock it maybe? Dunno if you can. That basically disables all the privileges you have them and they have full access to the system, every program, every website.

    :)
     
  18. Peyton macrumors 68000

    Peyton

    Joined:
    Feb 2, 2006
    #18
    Mini, that sounds exciting :D

    Like already mentioned, if you wanted to go with a xserve system, and run everyone off that, that could prove to give you a clean working environment as well. Or just use the iMacs, but as you know there are some drawbacks to an all in one.

    As for the discount, the best way of doing business with apple online, is by calling them. Look at what you want online, then call and a Apple rep, they'll walk you through it, and usually place orders faster. Also they may be able to give you some better deals.

    Good luck and have fun!
     
  19. CanadaRAM macrumors G5

    CanadaRAM

    Joined:
    Oct 11, 2004
    Location:
    On the Left Coast - Victoria BC Canada
    #19
    Don't forget calling an independent authorized Apple dealer for a quote as well.


    The main thing is:
    Find the software first. Your business has particular needs, and the most critical thing is to identify the software that best meets the needs (regardless of OS). Changing established business process to match the limitations of software seldom works.

    Then, find the best machinery to run that software, taking into account all factors including purchase price, support, cost of warranties and maintenance, training, ongoing costs, lifespan and replacement schedule. AND the intangible benefits as well. I know I smile and feel warmer towards a business when I see a Mac bravely standing on the counter rather than a plain jane cash register or PC -- because I already have something in common with them.
     
  20. miniConvert thread starter macrumors 68040

    miniConvert

    Joined:
    Mar 4, 2006
    Location:
    Kent, UK - the 'Garden of England'.
    #20
    Again, thanks for your responses.

    The only thing I really need right now is a graphical SSH client and I'm not finding one easily. OpenSSH would be fine, but it'd be tricky. However, running SecureCRT in a Parallels window wouldn't be the end of the world.

    All our servers run Linux. Therefore having a room full of Macs with a built-in terminal yet a fantastic GUI (the best of both worlds, not offered by Linux where the GUI's are abismal) would be beneficial.

    We own our own proprietary web based email system and would not have a central server. The iMac's would hook up to a router wirelessly.

    As for heat, the Yonah mobile chip in the iMac is going to give less heat output than the desktop chips currently used in PC's, especially the soon-to-be-phased-out Pentiums that, if we buy now, we'd be lumbered with given Conroe isn't quite here yet. One power brick and one adapter is also going to generate less heat than the several required in a PC setup.

    So far things are looking positive. All the points you are raising are good ones, but none of them thus far have posed serious issues. Should the worst come to the worst and OS X be unworkable then the entire fleet could be easily converted to Windows XP and, while a rather expensive way to buy 6 PC's, it's a fallback.

    Any further advice, especially hints to SSH GUI's, is gratefully received!
     
  21. Makosuke macrumors 603

    Joined:
    Aug 15, 2001
    Location:
    The Cool Part of CA, USA
    #21
    I've done something vaguely similar to this peacemeal at a couple of workplaces. The most relevant was my day job, which has "forced" Macs on several people who were ordinarily PC users. I've found that the learning curve, even for those not particularly technically oriented, is very shallow--there are always a few questions, but usually the employees are quite comfortable within a week, and often more productive to boot.

    Second, in answer to both the comments on heat and whether the Core Duo has the grunt to get the job done, I would like to reference this extensive article comparing benchmarks and stats for the Core Duo versus a variety of high end mobile and desktop chips:

    http://techreport.com/reviews/2006q2/core-duo/index.x?pg=1

    Remember that there currently aren't a large number of non-Apple desktops that run the Core Duo--most are running P4 variants. Certainly all the "budget" towers on the market are.

    And you will note in the heat comparisons in that article that the Core Duo system they were testing, in comparison to a range of systems with "Desktop" chips, draws betwen 50W and 200W less depending on load and particular competitor. After all, the Core Duo was designed as a "laptop" chip, while most desktops use chips engineered with far less concern for power draw/heat generation.

    The iMacs are expressly designed to be low-power (and thus low-heat) systems, so the savings in generated heat are NOT trivial. I would be willing to bet, and this has been backed up by my own testing every time I've put a wattmeter on one, that your average Wintel tower draws on the order of 75W more than a current iMac if not more under load.

    If you'd like, next week we're getting a new iMac in at work so I can probably give you a specific measured comparison to an HP budget tower purchased a couple months ago.

    As I said above, the Core Duo is indeed a "laptop" chip, but the other thing you'll notice in that article is that it performs VERY, VERY well with respect to every "desktop" processor currently on the market. In a couple months when the desktop-grade Core 2s start shipping that will change, but now is not a couple months from now, and if you're comparing to everything that has been available up until now you're looking at very good performance.

    Specifically, I quote this from their conclusion:

    If you go through the article's benchmarks, the Core Duo (they tested the 2.16GHz version, which will be about 8% faster than the 2GHz one in the 20" iMac) is often around the midle of the pack, but that's versus high-end desktop processors. For example, in their 3ds Max test it wipes the floor with all other current Intel chips, and is only beaten (by a relatively small margin) by the top of the line Athlon 64 and Opteron processors. In their video encoding benchmarks the spread wasn't as dramatic, but the Core Duo still finished near the top of every benchmark. In the LAME MP3 encoder test, it was actually faster than EVERYTHING else. The only benchmarks it wasn't at the very least near the middle of the pack on were Mandelbrot Floating point and some of the Cinebench tests, but even then we're talking about finishing near the bottom of a "who's who" of top-of-the-line desktop/workstation processors.

    That's a little scary, if you think about it--I have a chip in my laptop here that can literally outperform a 3.73GHz Pentium 965, an 2.4GHz Opteron 180, or a 2.6GHz Athlon 64 FX-60 in some areas.

    The bottom line here, since the iMacs also ship with a decent 7200RPM SATA hard drive, is that you're getting quality computer that can keep up with or best high-end desktop-grade systems from just a few months ago, and at a fraction of the heat outupt.

    Personally, I've seen the difference between workspaces with a standard tower-monitor setup and an iMac, and the iMac saves measureable clutter, particularly in cramped offices. A few hundred extra on compact computers is a lot cheaper than expanding your office space or installing a new air conditioning unit, that's for sure.
     
  22. Monkaaay macrumors 6502

    Monkaaay

    Joined:
    Jun 19, 2006
    Location:
    Richmond, VA
    #22
    That _would_ be awesome. :eek:
     
  23. SVG macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Mar 13, 2006
    #23
    One more thing you need to consider is that when you buy 6 iMacs, sooner or later, 1 of them is going to run into hardware issues. Do you have a budget to include a backup unit of some sort? Perhaps an extra Mini or a PC.

    My understanding of AppleCare is mostly bringing it into an Apple Store for repairs, or return to depot, does Apple have some kind of expedited warranty service for businesses?
     
  24. Timepass macrumors 65816

    Joined:
    Jan 4, 2005
    #24
    where do you get more power adaptor for a PC. Heat out put for the most part is illrevent of the number of power supplies. They all run at around 80% effince. I still dont see how a PC has multiple ones. Heat out put is the same. They both are goign to draw the same amount of engery and product about the same ammount of heat. Even if it was 4 powersupples or 1 powersupple only diffence is the same amount of heat is going to be spread out amoung 4 PSU units But tne same amount of heat will be pump into the room.

    I still trying to get how your count for the max is so much lower. See I have a full power strip for my PC but then again I have more stuff plug that is not part of the computer. Speaker (company computers general dont have those but if you do that 1. 1 for the computer and 1 for the monitor. You can get monitor that cover the speakers any how. Printer takes up another slot. Then I have a few charging things plug in.

    Really I dont see heat or power useage being really any differnt.

    It all going to be about the software. Right now you are making up extra excuse to go mac which is stupid and not a good idea. Go with the software part of it and worry about that. Just make sure you dont have any windows only software. If you have any then you dont have a choice you need a windows computers.

    As posted earily check on your software and make sure none of it is windows only. If any of it is then making the switch is no longer an opition.
     
  25. Makosuke macrumors 603

    Joined:
    Aug 15, 2001
    Location:
    The Cool Part of CA, USA
    #25
    My plug count is the same as yours, and you're absolutely correct that power=heat, period. But as I said in my post above, the average current Windows desktop does NOT use a Core Duo chip--it's probably going to use a P4 variant or maybe an Athlon of one sort or another. And a tower with one of those, plus some fans, is gong to draw notably more power than the iMac. Period. A PC using a decent power supply and a Core Duo would be about the same, but there aren't very many of those available, and fewer still (if any) that can equal the iMac in terms of combined space efficiency and price.

    I could be mistaken about the power draw of your average tower, but I doubt it--like I said, every time I've measured one it's been quite high.

    I believe the poster's point is you've basically got one wire from the wall to the computer on the desk, one wire from the computer on the desk to the keyboard, and one wire from the keyboard to the mouse. That's significantly less than the clutter produced by a tower and monitor, which (depending on whether the monitor has an internal hub and you're using a USB keyboard/mouse) results in between two and four wires going underneath your desk and more clutter up top.

    Regardless, I concurr that you should pick your software first and then buy hardware to match. I could easily see a situation in which a company would purchase iMacs solely to run Windows for any of a number of reasons, although I'd go with as much OSX native software as is available.

    A question on the GUI SSH client: I'm a little unclear on why this is such a necessity; if they're doing SSH as a shell (as opposed to a tunnel), then they're already using a command line, so is it really such a big deal to have them use the terminal for that? Just explain that you start an SSH session by typing "ssh name@server" and enter the password.

    Alternately, I'm 95% certain you could also find (or create) a double-clickable Applescript or executable shell script that would launch a terminal window with a preset SSH command; a collection of these for your servers would take care of the issue, no?

    For example, if I didn't mind typing in the password every tme, I can just enter the ssh command for the server of my choice in a text file, save it, set it as executeable, and tell the Finder to open it in Terminal. Bingo, double-clickable ssh sessions.

    If it's tunneling you want, there are a number of good products out there. I've been using AlmostVPN, which is amazingly easy once you get it set up--basically one click and I've got an instant secure tunnel to my box at work for VNC access.
     

Share This Page