Foolish Windows user's inane ramblings about switching

Discussion in 'Buying Tips and Advice' started by BioBiro, Mar 7, 2015.

  1. BioBiro macrumors newbie

    Mar 7, 2015
    Hello Macintosh people,

    So you'reI'm thinking of switching to your computer.

    I've no real problem with Windows, except it's problems. The same can be said for my PC. It's served me well, but annoys me in several ways. For example, the sound card is an external FireWire device, which is now going mouldy. Increasingly often (on a weekly, sometimes daily basis), the device will 'dissapear' from Windows, all the sound cuts out, and I have to restart the computer because it's FireWire.

    Also, I'm fed-up of waking up to find my computer turned off, because Windows decided to restart itself (why does it shut down if it's just supposed to restart?) because of an update I didn't give it permission to install. I then turn it on, and it proceeds to 'resume' itself, but my hardware doesn't support wake-on-boot or whatever it's called in the BIOS, so Windows will start up (after ten minutes), and get stuck at the log-in prompt because my keyboard and mouse don't wake up and work. Of course, I can't do a hard reset when I see the 'Windows is resuming' screen, because it's loading stuff and a sudden restart will potentially corrupt the filesystem, so I have to wait for it to finish this tedious routine every damn time.

    Yeah, anyway, sorry, back to the point.

    The other day I went to an Apple store, and talked to a man wearing a blue t-shirt. He seemed kind of... glazed... but maybe it's just because it was a Friday and he was tired from working all week. Anyway, he answered my questions, including some that I didn't even ask, and I got to fumble with a riMac and compared it's screen with that of a late 2013 27" non-retina iMac. I can see the difference; it's really surprising. I was also surprised how small the 27" (r)iMac is (physically). Is it always that small? Maybe it's just because it was sat quite low on the (very rectangular) wooden display table - i.e. it seemed small due to it's lower vertical height than my standing position. At home right now, my dual 24" monitors almost feel bigger than the 27" (r)iMac. I like big screens, lots of screens, high resolutions...

    Cost of Mac software for a new switcher:
    I see a lot of software I've never heard of before being mentioned around here. I'm used to free software in the Windows world. I'm getting the impression that switching to Mac is going to cost me a lot of money in new software. There's this disk partition program you want, there's this app remover, there's this memory cleaner etc. $9.99 a piece, $29.99 a piece, whatever it costs, it's going to get expensive. Is my vague perception of reality accurate?

    riMac GPU overheating:
    Now, hold on - I'm not bringing this up just because people have been talking about it on the forum. I have owned two modern (Windows) laptops in the last... ten years now, and both of them have died as a result of fried video cards. I used them as my main workhorses, played hardware-accelerated games on them on a frequent basis, in a (in the summer) hot environment, and they lasted a couple of years each. It might have taken two laptops, but I've learnt my lesson. If I purchase a riMac, with it's high GPU temperatures, and use the GPU frequently (i.e. play games), I will fry it eventually. I have to be realistic about this; it'll feel good and show healthy temps when I take it out of the box and hug myself for buying a shiny new object, but four years later, being pushed hard in the summer heat, it still needs to work properly, and I'm not convinced it will.

    So, anyhow, although I can feel my heart starting to set on the riMac (with the upgraded CPU, GPU, 512GB SSD, 16GB RAM), I feel I should ask for your respected advice, and consider my options, which are the following:

    1.) Stick with my (now, five years old) Windows PC, and upgrade the naff bits to get a few more years life out of it. It'll need a new graphics card, an SSD, a new sound card, more RAM, and I wouldn't mind some better monitors (they're 1920x1080 cheap ones). Probably going to cost me half as much as a whole new PC.

    2.) Go new Windows PC. Most bang for buck, and I've no objection to Windows 8.1, plus Windows 10 is apparently shaping up very nicely. It's hard to see any particular downsides to this option, even though I'm catching the Mac bug.

    3.) Go iMac retina. I'm willing to max it out, spec wise. Only problem that concerns me, is the GPU overheating. This has a secondary problem the other options don't have, in that I can't play games on it due to heavy GPU use leading to overheating - so I'm going to have to have a dual computer arrangement - gaming PC (my current PC) and riMac for everything else. I'm kind of used to dual screens on my PC, too, and it'd be weird going back to one screen, even if it's large and pretty. Other than that, I'd pull the trigger.

    4.) Go nMacPro. This option takes me into the Mac world, but at considerably more cost than an (r)iMac. I'd be buying near-enough the base model, with a 4K non-Apple screen, and getting the same (or less) performance than the riMac for undoubtedly more money, simply to circumvent the GPU overheating I'm concerned about in the riMac.

    5.) Anyone got a fifth suggestion?

    I can wait some time before making the buy. Not years, but perhaps a few months if need be. Of course, every time I start shouting at my PC and wanting to throw it out the window, that waiting period may decrease significantly. Still, the nMacPro could well get a refresh sometime in 2015. The riMac seems less likely to be updated soon, but a bump to a new processor type and perhaps a better (i.e. cooler) GPU could be worth waiting for (you know how panicky I am about that). But, I know you can fall into that trap of always waiting for the 'better' model, never actually pulling the trigger.

    Thanks for reading! Sorry this post was so long...
  2. Mikael H macrumors 6502a

    Sep 3, 2014
    If gaming is a large part of what you do on your computer, you'll definitely be better off for less money with a gaming PC, especially if you research the parts properly and build it yourself.
    You will have the recurring frustration that Windows inevitably brings anyone who regularly adds and removes programs (especially dodgy ones), which is that at some point, it'll be quicker to reinstall the machine than to fix the problems. That is the cost of running Windows. Otherwise, I have to say the operating system by itself is very solid today.

    If you have a lot of money and don't care particularly about bang for the buck, a nMP with one of the higher-end graphics card solutions probably isn't a very bad gaming machine - it certainly is a good-looking one. But gaming is not what it is designed for, and if you spend that kind of money on a specialized gaming computer, you'll have an absolute monster.

    Option 5, that you asked for: If you primarily play games available on Linux through Steam, that operating system will give you yet a different computer experience, and you can run it on a purpose-built gaming rig.
  3. roadbloc macrumors G3


    Aug 24, 2009
    Depends what you're wanting to do and if you're prepared for an OS X learning curve. If you're a gamer or rely on software that requires a Windows installation, Macs won't cut it for you. However, if not, and you're okay with learning and buying new software, then I'd explore the iMac route.
  4. maflynn Moderator


    Staff Member

    May 3, 2009
    As others said, there are better solutions, i.e. different computers if gaming is high on your list.

    I absolutely love the riMac and would love to get that bad boy, but its priced beyond my willingness to spend.

    I think for apps there are comparable apps on OSX and that's not an issue, in fact I much prefer much of whats out there for OS X then windows. Other then MS Office, there's nothing out there that beats windows version of Office (even Mac Office which is not as good).

    I also think the nMP is over priced, and over kill for most people.
  5. David58117 macrumors 65816

    Jan 24, 2013
    Don't get a disk partitioner, memory cleaner, or app deleter.

    You can partition from the included Disk Utility app, memory cleaners aren't needed on Yosemite and neither really are app deleters.

    Most apps are only a few dollars if not free, I think Hyperdock was $10. The most expensive I have is 1Password which was around $50.
  6. 556fmjoe macrumors 68000


    Apr 19, 2014
    I'd build a PC with the components you want. It almost always comes out a better deal than buying a pre-built PC and a much better deal than a Mac.
  7. theluggage macrumors 68040

    Jul 29, 2011
    Macs are subject to tides: they get bigger when the sun and moon are aligned :) No, seriously, it will look subjectively bigger on your desk, but all that lovely screen space...

    As others have said, don't assume you need those (and be very, very suspicious of tools that promise to keep your Mac 'clean' - OS X does pretty well out of the box, and some of them do more harm than good). More likely might be "BetterSnapTool" that gives Windows-style auto window resizing (invaluable on a 27" screen) and a too to enable writing to NTFS format drives (if you have external USB hard drives in NTFS format bas OS X will read, but not write, them).

    But, honestly, look after the pounds and the pennies will look after themselves. Even if you need them, a handful of $5-$20 utilities aren't going to break the bank. What are the big software tools you use that could cost hundreds of dollars to replace (or force you to dump your 5-year-old DVD version and sign up to a subscription model)? Are there Mac versions? Do the Mac versions have the features you need (e.g. MS Office for Mac lacks Access and various other features). Are you entitled to switch to the Mac version for free? Are there alternative Mac equivalents? What about games - if its on Steam and there's a Mac version then you're cool, otherwise, even if there is a Mac version, you'll probably have to pay.

    Or, are there some Windows-only applications that you can't live without? In that case, at the least, you'll have to spring for a full copy of Windows, and probably either VMWare Fusion or Parallels Desktop.

    Also, will your printers, scanners work with Mac? Most do these days, but not all (especially the cheapest laser printers, old models etc).

    The MacPro is a graphics professional/video editing machines with workstation-class processors and GPUs optimised for pro graphics/video software that uses GPU-based-processing rather than FPS shoot-em-up action. It may not suck as a games machine, but you could build a better PC gaming rig with an i7 and gaming-optimised GPU for a fraction of the price.
  8. dusk007 macrumors 68040


    Dec 5, 2009
    If a lot of gaming is a thing, just forget a mac. After two years you can exchange the GPU for something much faster for 150-200 bucks on a PC. You cannot upgrade an iMac and they come with mobile GPUs to begin with. They cannot keep up with a half decent self built PC even at the time of buying but the biggest difference for gaming is the upgradeability.

    Yes software is an often overlooked cost on Mac. There is some amount of free stuff but I would say you definitely spend some more.
    If you need Windows you still need to buy a license for it, VMware fusion or parallels costs and you usually have to buy it new or an upgrade for newer OSX versions. You can use VirtualBox and there is also quite a bit of free software for Mac that is quite good but I think it is definitely true that you end up spending more on software if you don't pirate it.
    I.e I never found a good free alternative for Notepad++ until I ended up paying for a sublime license which fortunately is at least cross platform.
    I think Office 365 is also cross platform but it ain't cheap either and Office for Mac sucks. No idea if the newest office 2016 will finally do something different.

    If you game a lot at home. Get a desktop PC and buy an Air to go along with it or something similar. If aren't into tinkering yourself, check out all the steamOS stuff that is coming out. There are lots of great packets in relatively small form factors but still upgradeable. I am thinking the medium sized ones the really small boxes have mobile GPUs which you cannot upgrade but there are relatively compact towers and lan boxes.
    If you got speakers in the display and usb, audio ports you also keep the cables to a minimum.
  9. BioBiro thread starter macrumors newbie

    Mar 7, 2015
    A lot of good respones from everyone. Thank you, everyone :).

    I've read everyone's posts, and taken your advice on board, but will respond to the general points made, if that's all right:

    I've had Windows 7 installed since I bought the machine five years ago! A testament to how much Windows has improved, perhaps? It never used to last that long, in my experience. That said, everytime I boot it up, I expect it to throw me some fatal error and collapse, but it always somehow makes it to the desktop.

    I actually added up a mock set of components for a custom PC from the place I bought my last custom PC from. Although I picked really nice parts, it still added up to as much as the riMac would cost me. We're talking a PC with a six-core i7, 32GB of DDR4, 1TB SSD, gaming video card with 6 or 8GB of video RAM, pair of good 4K displays - it soon adds up to a few grand! OK, a little better than the riMac for the same price, but I'm willing to pay more for the convenience OS X will apparently give me.

    I've run Ubuntu on a laptop for a while - no intense work, just web browsing, docs, photos/videos, etc. - and it was fine. However, I've tried various Linux distributions (and other stuff like PC-BSD) over the years, and not found them ready for the desktop in my experience.

    I do rely on stuff like SQL Server and Visual Studio for work, but I'd be happy to run those VMs (in fact, I'd prefer it to running them on an actual Windows box).

    I have an MSDN account from my work, so I shouldn't really be complaining about having to pay for just the Mac software, I guess...

    I'm not a... 'serious' gamer - it's not like I play stuff like Battlefield 4 or Crysis or Call of Duty, etc. - but I do play hardware-accelerated games on an almost daily basis. But, I do lots of web browsing, writing, programming in dev environments - lots of stuff that doesn't push the GPU hard.

    I'm willing to take the pain of switching - I'm looking forward to it, if anything. And, I'm willing to pay a little extra for a more stable computer/OS.

    I think I just really want to shift my daily routine onto the Mac, and I really like the look of that riMac. Also, I want to explore and get to know the OS X world.

    I'll still have my gaming PC, after all, and can just use that for playing big games. My PC may be clunky, but all the upgrades I wanted to do to it are no longer relevant if I'm just using it for gaming - throw the FireWire soundcard away and use the internal motherboard audio - forget the SSD, I can put up with current loading times - 1920 x 1080 is fine for gaming - won't need more RAM if only playing one game at a time - the only upgrade it could use is a better video card sometime in the future. That won't break the bank.

    Getting pretty close to pulling the trigger on that riMac. I'm not being stupid spending so much money on a computer, am I? I feel bad about this...
  10. tillsbury macrumors 65816

    Dec 24, 2007
    No you're not. I switched from bleeding-edge PC hardware to a retina MBP in the middle of 2012 and never regretted it, running it mostly as a desktop with a Dell 30" monitor. I bought the riMac when it was announced.

    You will have a few annoying things when you switch. The Finder, for example, is really poor compared with what you're used to in Windows. Inconsistent variations on the file selector appear in different apps in different places. Most of them you can't do certain tasks (delete or rename files, for example). You have to manually stretch columns to be able to see the filenames, every time. The sort order is often useless, and often gets things wrong (such as putting the most recent files at the end of the list next to the old ones instead of the top).

    But other than that, it's fine. Much smoother. Don't start buying "maintenance" programs. You don't need any of them. You will, however, find generally fewer free apps and generally more high-quality paid apps. These are almost without exception good value, especially if you choose carefully.

    Yes, you can do lightweight gaming on the riMac, particularly with the upgraded GPU. Not anything like a high-end PC, but mine plays Half-Life 2 and Minecraft and other "easy" stuff beautifully at native 5k resolution without missing a beat. With more modern games, you can either choose to drop down resolution or choose to drop some detail level, or both. You're still going to be able to play quite happily.

    A Mac Pro, particularly the base model, is nothing like as powerful for this kind of job. Unless you are using apps specifically optimised for the Mac Pro, the riMac will easily outperform it. Don't get a Mac Pro unless you're sure you need one.

    For day-to-day computing needs, and development in particular, the retina iMac is a superb bit of kit. You won't regret it.
  11. Bollockser macrumors regular

    Oct 28, 2014
    Indeed, because they cause your machine to need maintenance.
  12. BioBiro thread starter macrumors newbie

    Mar 7, 2015
    Thanks. I was about to order, and thought... "I'll just see when it'll get delivered, so I'll be in to wait around at home and take delivery"...

    Turns out I won't have time off work until a three weeks time, so no riMac until then. Which also means, no impulse purchase, and more time to think about whether it's a smart move or not. For once, I don't think that's a good thing.

    Now there's a thread about image retention on the riMac screen, and that hot GPU still worries me. But... OS X is what I'm buying it for, remember all the problems Windows gave you. But, Windows is several versions ahead now, those problems may be gone. But, the 5k screen was one of the big selling points on the riMac for me, but I can buy a 5k display from Dell for a PC if I wanted. Imagine how much partially-more-powerful the PC you could buy for the same amount of money would be, and some people have said the (r)iMac is not a workhouse, but more like a big-laptop. I keep saying "You won't want that anyway", "You won't miss this", "I can put up without that", "I can do without this", and there's only so many compromises I can justify before I call the switch to Mac off - I don't even need half the stuff the (r)iMac offers, like the Apple support I never use, or the all-in-one form factor I don't care about. But, if I don't take this chance, nothing will change, and the things I don't like about Windows will remain. Ah, jeez, I wish I could have just pulled the trigger and had this thing ordered already...

    I shouldn't be spending this amount of money if I can't even make up my damn mind. These next three weeks are just going to drive me nuts while I flip-flop over whether I go riMac or new PC... :mad:
  13. brentsg macrumors 68040

    Oct 15, 2008
    You can't just go the the shipping vendor's site to pick it up, rather than taking time off work?
  14. SlCKB0Y macrumors 68040


    Feb 25, 2012
    Sydney, Australia
    If you provide a list of the free software you run on Windows we can try and list some free Mac alternatives....
  15. BioBiro thread starter macrumors newbie

    Mar 7, 2015
    I didn't know I could have stuff delivered to the Apple store, but sure enough there's a page on their website that mentions that service!

    Unfortunately, it doesn't seem to be applicable to me, as when I when to the checkout on the Apple website with my trusty riMac, I couldn't find any such option. I don't know if it's something not enabled in the UK, or if it's because it's an iMac (big size?), or...

    In any event, three weeks isn't too long to wait, assuming the riMac is really what I want... :)

    I appreciate the offer (and I had a look through my Start Menu), but I'm completely willing to change my workflow to Mac-style.

    The only software I don't have equivalents for are applications that have no suitable equivalent (like Delphi, Visual Studio, games, etc.). I was hoping to run these in VMs, since I'd prefer being able to pause and resume Windows sessions to actually running them on a real box.
  16. macabouttobe macrumors regular


    Aug 5, 2007
    I switched 8 years ago, haven't looked back because I use the whole OS X/IOS ecosystem. I still use the same 8 year old iMac. Was able to put in an SSD 2 years ago and was like getting a new computer. Not such an option now... That being said, I've typically burned through 2-3 windows pc's by now.. Built a gaming pc with my son, serious gamer and I went nuts thinking I'd have a windows pc in my house.. things are starting to flake out after 6 months ... Sounds like a riMac will meet your needs, and I feel there will be some positive ROI on your investment. Wow I need to update my signature!?! iPhone 4? Lol
  17. brentsg macrumors 68040

    Oct 15, 2008
    I actually worded that poorly. I meant the carrier.. In the USA you could just have the package held at Fedex or UPS and go pick it up after work, or on lunch hour.
  18. Samuelsan2001 macrumors 604

    Oct 24, 2013
    In the UK

    You can have it delivered to a local pick up point, some supermarkets post offices etc not an apple store wierdly but ther you go.

    See here for details

    Not used it myself but it is possible.
  19. BioBiro thread starter macrumors newbie

    Mar 7, 2015
    Yeah, it does seem a clever service! That said, the first time I try it out, it'll be on something less valuable than a three-thousand-pound riMac. :)

    Ah, I see what you mean :). Good idea, but not really possible for me in this particular situation. I'll just have to wait a few weeks before ordering, as I have the days off whether I like it or not.

    I didn't mention it in my original post, but when I went to the Apple store, I mentioned my overheating concerns to the chap, who responded by firing up... I think it was Final Cut Pro(?)... with some '4K' video in it, along with a bunch of other applications, at which point I started feeling the riMac, and it seemed luke warm at best.

    You know, I was looking at these new '4K' PC monitors yesterday. They actually have a higher resolution than the riMac - 3840 x 2160, whereas the riMac's 'Best for retina' is 2560 x 1440, and can do a maximum scaled resolution of 3200 x 1800 (apparently, with the help of 3rd party software, it can do its native 5120 x 2880, but on a 27" screen is somewhat unusable). They (4K) actually have more screen 'real estate' than the riMac, I suppose. More space is something I really like. But, there's no pixel doubling on a 4K native resolution, is there? So, while I'd have more screen space than the riMac, I wouldn't have the ultra-sharp 4-pixels-in-the-space-of-1 thingy that the riMac does. So, it's kind of... which do I prefer: more screen space, or a (much) sharper display?

    I've got a screenshot of a desktop of the riMac in 3200x1800, and one of a Linux desktop at 3840x2160, side-by-side on my two (1080p :rolleyes:) monitors, trying to judge which I prefer. It's bizarre; even though my monitors are (comparatively) low resolution, I can quite clearly see how much sharper the retina display is just from a screenshot of its desktop GUI. When I zoom into a section of each screenshot at its 'actual' size, the 4K resolution is noticeably blurrier around the text (like most non-retina displays), whereas the retina screenshot looks extremely sharp.

    I've also made a 'cropped' version of the 4K desktop screenshot, with the top and sides chopped-off, so I can see just how much screen space I'd be losing from the drop down from 4K 3840x2160 to riMac 3200x1800.

    It's not making my decision any easier, but you can't say I'm not doing my homework on this...

    Yet more positive switcher-feedback (thanks, macabouttobe!) is making me side with the riMac! :)

    What am I thinking? I'd be nuts not to pick a much sharper display over a slightly larger resolution...

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18 March 7, 2015