Choosing between old PC and new Mac

Discussion in 'Buying Tips and Advice' started by stevedaniels, Jun 17, 2009.

  1. stevedaniels macrumors newbie

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    Jun 17, 2009
    #1
    Hey all, I'm looking at purchasing a new Mac for home use. I use a Mac at my job and, being a graphic design student, I've put off getting one long enough.

    Problem is, I'm not quite sure if getting one one would be an upgrade or a DOWNGRADE. I'm currently running a Gateway tower with an AMD Phenom Quad-Core Processor, 3GB Ram, 360GB HD, GeForce 9800 GT OC Graphics Card and Windows Vista Home Premium. Now aside from the ram and hard drive this system is a powerhouse and runs everything I need it to with little problems (although Premiere does tend to give me some hassle).

    So here's my question: Should I stick with what I've got for now, or sell it to help pay for a Mac? If I wait I'll obviously get more use out of it but when I DO need to upgrade I won't get as much for the system. If I sell it I'll get more towards my Mac but I may be paying for something that is LESS powerful than what I need (the highest end IMac still only has a dual-core processor). Any advice is greatly appreciated, as I am still relatively new to the Mac scene. Thanks all, and take care!

    -Steve Daniels
     
  2. Hellhammer Moderator

    Hellhammer

    Staff Member

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    #2
    This really depends on what you do with your computer. If you're a serious HC gamer you shouldn't buy a Mac. Home use, web surfing + light editing? Please, be more specific
     
  3. Consultant macrumors G5

    Consultant

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    Jun 27, 2007
    #3
    Ever heard of the GeForce GTX 285?

    Some people enjoy having a laptop 1" thin that they can do work AND play games on the road. For example I beat the sniper mission in COD4 while I was waiting for a flight transfer.

    Some people rather have a computer with OSX, as it's maintenance free compared to windows.
     
  4. Hellhammer Moderator

    Hellhammer

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    #4
    GTX 285 is only for Mac Pro which is very expensive. Of course other Macs will play games OK but if you want to play games like Crysis with high settings, then Mac isn't an option, unless OP can spend ~3000$ for Mac Pro
     
  5. stevedaniels thread starter macrumors newbie

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    Jun 17, 2009
    #5
    Clarification

    Sorry all, I should have clarified a little better. I play games, yes, but nothing too strenuous on my system (NWN2, Spore, WoW, etc.). I really don't have too much time for hardcore gaming anymore. What I'm looking for is a system that I can run the full Adobe Suite on without much lag/hassle. I'd like to have Photoshop, Illustrator and InDesign open simultaneously without too much of a slowdown in system performance. My current setup does this, but as I mentioned above, I'm debating whether or not it would be a better idea to upgrade now rather than waiting until my PC is considered obsolete.

    Other than the three programs mentioned above I'll be running AfterEffects, Premiere, Dreamweaver, Flash, etc. Basically, this computer will be used for media creation of all kinds.

    Hope this helps. I appreciate all the feedback I've received so far. If anyone has any suggestions as to the path I should take I'd be overjoyed to hear from them. Take care!

    -Steve Daniels
     
  6. Hellhammer Moderator

    Hellhammer

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    #6
    I think 2.93GHz iMac with GT120 will do your job well. It plays games OK and if you want better GPU, get ATI 4850, it's only 200$ more.
     
  7. j.e.f.f macrumors newbie

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    Jun 19, 2009
    #7
    I have experience with exactly your dilema. Short answer, sell your PC, buy the Mac.

    Here's the long explnation:

    I've worked with two VERY highly spec'd and expensive IBM Intellistations, one with a dual core Pentium long ago, which was susequently replaced by one with 4GB RAM and a quad-core Xeon. Both had SCSI hard drives configured with hardware RAID. These are sick machines from a hardware perspective. Both were running Windows XP Pro (admittedly 32-bit, not 64 -- at the time of purchase there was no native support for 64-bit creative suite)

    I use Adobe's creative suite ALL the time, usually with Photoshop, Illustrator, and Flash open at the same time. BOTH of the above machines were complete DOGS if more than one of the major apps apps were running simultaneously.

    The time once again came to upgrade, and after the same deliberation you're going through, I decided to go for a 17" MacBook Pro, one of the new glossy screen ones. The only upgrade I opted for was a 7200 RPM hard drive. Otherwise it has base memory (4GB), and base processor (2.66 GHz Core2 Duo). I have it hooked up to a VERY nice external 26" display (NEC wide gamut IPS panel). This setup runs CIRCLES around either of those IBMs. I have have Parallels (XP limited to 512 MB memory to keep it under control), Photoshop, Flash, Illustrator, Word and Excel ALL open at the same time, and I do not notice ANY performance degradation.

    Funny thing is, the Macbook Pro WITH the NEC display was CHEAPER than either of those two intellistations -- made the business case to my manager a VERY easy sell.

    The biggest bottleneck is Windows (especially when combined with all of the various security software added on top). It simply robs all of your system resources so that there's nothing left for your main applications. Why should an OS require 2 GB of RAM just to boot the desktop in a reasonable amount time with reasonable performance???
     
  8. krizhek macrumors newbie

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    #8
    j.e.f.f.

    Although I am not the thread starter I must say Thanks for the last few weeks I have been trying to figure out what Mac to get (being a full Windows guy untill this year when I decided to do iPhone game development) and I know better what I want!
     
  9. stevedaniels thread starter macrumors newbie

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    Jun 17, 2009
    #9
    Thank You

    Yes J.E.F.F., and everyone else who contributed, thank you very much! I now have a much better idea of what I need to do. Goodbye PC, hello Mac!

    All the best.

    -Steve Daniels
     
  10. three macrumors 6502a

    three

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    Washington State
    #10
    Go with the Mac! You will love the switch from Winblows to Mac OS X. Mac OS X might not be the best for gaming, but it's best for many other things. :) Heck, I'm typing this on my iMac G4 which has only 10.3.9 on it.
     
  11. Dr.Pants macrumors 65816

    Dr.Pants

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    Jan 8, 2009
    #11
    I bought a G5 recently because I wanted to work with Final Cut, opting away from an iMac. I can't recommend it (for the obvious reasons), but it works with what I needed; expansion. Unfortunately when I am done expanding it, it will have cost about the same as a 2006 MacPro... but that's beside the point. If I got the old MacPro I would still have to add RAID and other PCIe cards on it.

    The largest bottleneck in any system is the hard drive, usually. IMO (correct me if I am wrong on any part), an OS generally uses a ton of small files that the hard drive has to seek for - Vista, for example, attempts to work around that with having a lot of its brains in the system memory (as far as I know).

    So, I don't know what sort of footage you will be working with regarding After Effects and Premiere, but my intuition would be to invest in an external hard drive that connects via firewire to work as your media scratch drive - if your computer is meant to make all sorts of media, you will see a speed increase from having the separate drive instead of using your boot drive as where you keep your media - thanks to OS and Application I/Os.
     
  12. chrono1081 macrumors 604

    chrono1081

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    #12
    Get the mac. You'll be glad you did.

    You really cant compare hardware specs across operating systems. Mac OSX does a lot more with less.

    My MBP (in my sig) runs circles around my officemates 7k gaming rigs when it comes to adobe lightroom, photoshop, corel painter etc. Obviously theres is better for games but anything else my mac runs much better. Mac OS is just a much much more efficient OS.
     
  13. chrono1081 macrumors 604

    chrono1081

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    #13
    Negative. Windows does not use file indexing MacOS does (you can enable it in windows but its still slow (I'm talking XP here). Mac OS doesn't need to search everywhere for files which is why when you do a search spotlight pulls it up instantly, in windows, you wait, and wait, and wait.

    Also you may be talking windows registry. Its a TERRIBLE system and I wish windows would break away from it. It kind of makes sense from a logical point but when you job involves constantly fixing corrupt registries you tend to hate it REALLY fast.
     
  14. neiltc13 macrumors 68040

    neiltc13

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    #14
    I'm sick of hearing people saying that "security" software is necessary on Windows. It really isn't. The only thing it protects you from is yourself - if you're an incompetent enough user of Windows then of course you can mess it up, just as you can OS X.

    You might have had an argument a few years ago, but Microsoft has done a truly amazing job of turning their software around. It's now completely stable, reliable and much, much more secure.

    I haven't run "security" software on any of my machines for as long as I can remember. I don't have problems with malicious software, because I'm an experienced enough user to be able to completely avoid it.

    I urge all of you who have buried your heads in your Macs to try an up to date version of Windows - XP, Vista or 7 and then come back here and tell everyone that OS X is better. It isn't, it's just different.
     
  15. chrono1081 macrumors 604

    chrono1081

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    #15
    Why are you even in this forum? Every post is "Windows is better blah blah"

    If windows is so awesome and so secure how come I have 15 computer piled on my desk riddled with viruses and spyware?
     
  16. fozzy40 macrumors newbie

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    Jun 21, 2009
    #16
    Hello, I have a similar question. Currently, I'm a PC user and about to make the switch.

    I am a pretty basic user: email, web surfing, downloading music, word processing. I'm not a gamer, artist, or programmer.

    As of right now, I'm interested in an iMac. My questions are:

    1)With the type of computing I'm doing, will I really notice a difference between 2.66GHz vs. 2.93 GHz?

    2) Is there a difference between the 2GB vs 4GB memory?

    3) If there are differences, when will I notice them?

    Thanks again!
     
  17. chrono1081 macrumors 604

    chrono1081

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    #17
    1. You probably wont notice a difference.
    2. Yes. Always max out the ram on a system if you can afford to.
    3. Maybe not at first but I would still recommend the upgrade. If you are comfortable installing ram I would order ram from crucial and save some $$$ if your not comfortable opening up the computer and installing ram (its actually real easy on an imac you can find videos on youtube) you can opt for the 4gb from apple and pay a bit more.
     
  18. Fizzoid macrumors 68020

    Fizzoid

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    UK
    #18
    Because users are stupid and click on every add and pop-up going, not to mention dodgy MSN messeges and e-mails of a naked Anna Kournikova? neiltc13's point was that if you're careful, you can protect yourself. While I agree with him, it's only to a point, as we don't know if there's another Blaster or Sasser around the corner...
     
  19. neiltc13 macrumors 68040

    neiltc13

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    #19
    I don't understand why you say this. More RAM will only make a difference to performance if you exceed the amount installed in the computer before you upgrade. So, if you use 1.3GB RAM then you will see no performance increase whatsoever by going from 2GB to 4GB. Doing so would be a waste of money.

    Can you please point to the part of my post where I describe Windows as "better"?
     
  20. Dr.Pants macrumors 65816

    Dr.Pants

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    #20
    I was pulling the Vista example out of my posterior for an example - I understand that the two OSes are very different in structure. However, on the Activity monitor, I still have a 34-36 KB of data read per second doing nothing intensive. Nothing even worth considering, but its still something - and it introduces latency with whatever program seeks that 34 KB; technically, its a head that is not reading/writing/seeking for about .01 seconds on average (assuming .005 seek time and negligible read time). However, nobody knows when a program needs to pull information off of a hard drive for whatever purpose... but that wasn't the point of the term bottleneck.

    When I said "bottleneck", I meant in terms of sheer amount of data transferred per second, but I gave a poor example based on read/write/seek times; however, just to prove my point, I do not know of a commercial disc drive that is capable of saturating the SATA bus.
     

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