iMac vs Custom PC

Discussion in 'Buying Tips and Advice' started by aloshka, Jun 9, 2015.

  1. aloshka macrumors 65816

    Aug 30, 2009
    I know not the best place to ask since you are all heavy Apple fans, but for those that are open minded:

    I am a web developer but 99% of all my development is done on the PC. I play games like Heroes of the storm, WoW, but nothing serious. I absolutely LOVE apple products, but is getting an iMac and having to do keyboard remappings (like where end is actually end of a line and not the worthless end of a document like mac does), running parallels (all my dev work has to be inside a VM on PC)... or am I just going around the long more expensive way to using a mac as a pc?
  2. mcnallym macrumors 6502a

    Oct 28, 2008
    Use the right tool for the right job. If your development work is on in Windows / Linux i.e. non-OSX then paying a premium to use the iMac really doesn't make sense
  3. aloshka thread starter macrumors 65816

    Aug 30, 2009
    I completely agree the only thing that makes me even ask this question is that everything I do is in Virtual Machines, so I'd technically still be working in Windows just on a mac. I guess I love my rMBP and wondering if the desktop would be just as good. Only issue is I do like to play games, but again, they aren't high-performance games.
  4. Pakaku macrumors 68000


    Aug 29, 2009
    The only problem I have with PCs are the atrocious cases. So I'm running an old Mac Pro into the ground, and then refurbishing the case when I build a new PC.

    Apple laptops are nice (at the moment) and it's perfectly feasible to install Windows as your main OS. The only issue is trackpad drivers are atrocious, as far as I've tried. Maaaybe Windows 10 will be better?
  5. \-V-/ Suspended


    May 3, 2012
  6. aloshka thread starter macrumors 65816

    Aug 30, 2009
    Win 10 is definitely better. I tried it on rMBP. They fixed a lot of stuff, even the DPI stuff is better (not fully fixed, still have to log out). And I agree on cases. They are AWFUL. The only one I found that is decent is the ft05, which is what i use now. It's vertical so the video card doesn't bend over time from weight and heat disposition is really good.

    Sounds like, I should probably stick to PC since I'm a PC developer... even if all my work is done in a VM. I got to admit vmware workstation > vmware fusion > parallels. Parallels has been buggy and I stopped using it even on my macbook.

    Thanks for all your honest answers!!
  7. aloshka thread starter macrumors 65816

    Aug 30, 2009
    Already have PC hardware. Some of it won't work, not sure I'd want to. Plus with Mac you always want the latest and greatest and not have to wait until someone figures out how to get some hardware working on a hackintosh.
  8. \-V-/ Suspended


    May 3, 2012
    It's not as complicated as people make it out to be. If you get compatible hardware, upgrades are not troublesome. It's usually a tweak here or there. The Hackintosh community is quite large and very helpful. I've never run into an issue I couldn't fix. Being able to easily replace internal components or upgrade the graphics card while still being able to run OS X has been a very pleasant experience.
  9. aloshka thread starter macrumors 65816

    Aug 30, 2009
    I guess I wouldn't care so much for a hackintosh. I'd rather buy a mac pro.. i know it's extra money, but i'd love the full mac experience including their awesome hardware
  10. \-V-/ Suspended


    May 3, 2012
    The full Mac experience to me is just planned obsolescence. I'm done buying into Apple's hip "feel good" culture. I get the pizzaz and fun of getting a new Mac ... believe me, I do ... but I also used to enjoy when Macs were easily upgradeable. Everything is soldered onto the motherboard now or super proprietary.

    The Mac Pro is indeed a beautiful piece of engineering ... all that stuff crammed into a tiny cylindrical, black, shiny case. But it's already outdated. The problem with Apple is waiting forever for them to update their hardware.

    I understand your position and it's perfectly fine. Just saying there are other options out there and it's easier than ever to build a custo-Mac desktop.

    As for laptops, however, I still prefer Macs ... even with their immensely un-upgradeable parts.
  11. aloshka thread starter macrumors 65816

    Aug 30, 2009
    I don't think I care about upgradability as much. Generally when it's time to upgrade there are new sockets, new memory standards, so you have to upgrade everything anyway. And doing small upgrades, I don't bother as I usually buy things maxed out.

    As for apple stuff being outdated yes!! I think I'd more likely jump on a mac pro if it was refreshed and new monitors were released. But as it stands, neither is going to happen anytime soon. In fact I think the MS Surface Pro 4 with Skylake is coming out before Apple refreshes ANY of their hardware.

    Thanks for the suggestion though. I just think if I'm going to self-build and lose the mac "experience", might as well run windows. Games are faster, OS feels faster, virtualizing is faster, etc.
  12. \-V-/ Suspended


    May 3, 2012
    OS X doesn't feel any different on a Hackintosh than it does on Apple hardware. I will say that the biggest "downside" is you are your own tech support. And Apple's tech support is some of the best in the business, so that is definitely part of the Mac "experience"...

    The build quality of their laptops is that "experience" for me. I still get giddy when I upgrade my Mac laptop.

    If upgradeability is not really a concern, then Macs are fantastic. They do tend to last if you take proper care of them and they look really beautiful sitting on or near your desk.
  13. aloshka thread starter macrumors 65816

    Aug 30, 2009
    By experience I meant solely the hardware. The software, yeah I don't think it matters what it runs on. The thing that is even bigger than me not really using OSX for anything other than it's pretty, is that it's buggy. Lately everything Apple releases has been buggy. At least for me. Phone locks up, crashes, gets hot sometimes and battery drains even when I have no apps installed. OSX mail crashes all the time, fails to retrieve email (looks like no new mail when server shows you have x unread messages), laggy cursor, cursor not changing when putting it over like a textbox (doesn't change to the I-beam).. i can keep going on and on. I was hoping capita was going to fix some of this, but not a single mention of any fixes and a lot of what I described has been going on for years.
  14. \-V-/ Suspended


    May 3, 2012
    When's the last time you did a clean install of OS X? Or a clean Restore of iOS? Those both tend to help fix a lot of issues for me.
  15. aloshka thread starter macrumors 65816

    Aug 30, 2009
    When the problems first started. I didn't even do icloud or timemachine restore in fear that it might have been a program. Didn't matter
  16. Mikael H macrumors 6502

    Sep 3, 2014
    The only real benefit of running a (stationary) Mac is if you run OS X on it, imo; otherwise you're very likely to be better off buying a custom PC or a workstation - especially if you will be doing things like reconfiguring keyboard shortcuts instead of learning the OS X equivalents.
    That said, WoW can be played natively on the Mac, as can HotS. If you don't need gaming PC performance, but want to enjoy a great screen, then an iMac may be a good way to go. If you'll be running VMs, make sure to get a quad-core CPU and plenty of RAM no matter which solution you decide on.
    (That said, I still haven't found anything I personally need to do at work that eats up my 16 GB of RAM even though I regularly run 2-3 VMs at a time for testing purposes).
  17. foobarbazqux macrumors regular

    Apr 17, 2014
    Then get a PC. No sense buying a Mac if you're going to be spending most of your time in a Windows VM.
  18. aloshka thread starter macrumors 65816

    Aug 30, 2009
    Ya, I did just that. So far very happy. Now just to find two good monitors... These small work monitors suck. I like the u2715h, but QC is causing me to not jump on it yet. They are getting 5 stars or 1 star for backlight bleed, dead pixels, etc.

    If anyone knows of any good monitors that you can just buy without playing the panel lottery game, let me know. I'm looking for 27"+
  19. vkd macrumors 6502a


    Sep 10, 2012
    I picked up a mint mid-2011 27" iMac on ebay for a song and it is great. More than powerful enough for all I use it for, I put 16GB RAM in though which helps a lot. In VMs I can play Assassins Creed 4 and do all my Windows stuff no problem.

    Usability of an iMac is in my opinion far superior, it is very convenient, always on, power management is great, the bluetooth keyboard is small, stylish, trackpad excellent. Of course the real point is the screen, as thats what you are staring at all day long. The resolution is excellent, plenty big enough for everything, watching films, youtube, tv progs, whatever whilst sitting distant on the sofa. You can easily and quickly adjust the brightness to suit your needs and viewing position. Sound is great too, especially considering the hardware, I mean to say its not big wooden cabinets with big woofers and tweeters but hey, who cares. It more than suits my needs. Of course the OS is far superior too IMO; yes MS are tagging along and catching up but for me, Windows will always be Windows one way or another and the way I can just get on with doing what I wanna do and not messing about searching for some additional driver or add-on or plug-in or hack or crack or some other necessity just doesn't exist here, really. Would recommend not installing Mac OS 10.10 or later though (Yosemite) as personally I still can't accept the childish, brightly coloured Fisher-Price new look and feel.

    Bottom line take home: You won't be disappointed, get one.
  20. aloshka thread starter macrumors 65816

    Aug 30, 2009
    Ever since I wrote this, I took my wife's imac to just try it out. Like I said I LOVE my rMBP. She has a 2014 iMac so it's very good. 32gb of RAM i7. I got to admit, I'm a bit disappointed. I'm trying Parallels but everything is so buggy. If I do fullscreen and launch another VM in full screen and close one of them, the last running VM takes over the desktop. So it's like the same thing is on two spaces but you cannot open any windows or do anything else. You have to get out of fullscreen for it to "release" the desktop. The mouse cursor never changes properly. Half the time it looks like the OSX cursor in the VM so things like scrolling doesn't work. If you move the mouse in big circles it seems to switch to the windows cursor and everything works, but I don't want to do that all the time. When running the big VMs (SQL, Visual Studio), at times (not sure what causes it), I get the spinning candy or beachball or whatever it is. I have to hold power button and restart. I am not assigning too much memory or processor so I don't think it's a resource issue. I tried VMWare Fusion, definitely a lot more stable but same cursor issues and spaces issue.

    She has a the flash drive in there but it feels slower than windows. Little things like launching onenote takes 2-3 seconds as opposed to instant in Windows. Also no windows snap feature.. didn't realize how often I use that. It's a lot easier snapping a window to the top to maximize it rather than trying to click a really really small green circle which takes up a full screen and the animations/getting it full screen takes closer to 2-3 seconds to do. I guess I'm used to things being instant.

    I DO love the interface however. Something about the font, the "task tray" in the top-right hand corner, the dock. But the bugginess is killing it for me. I received a call from my iPhone and it called on iMac. I answered but no one could hear me, it was too quiet even if I yelled. I checked all the settings and ran some tests and nothing is broken. It's also insanely delayed for when people tried to listen to me (when you say something the other person doesn't hear it for 2-3 seconds) which causes a very awkward conversation of talking over each other. Definitely not like they showed in the keynote. Wasn't instant either, took about 4 rings before iMac started ringing.

    You are right about the screen. It is very good, great color reproduction. Only thing, I have to close my blinds because the glossiness is insane and gives me a headache pretty quickly. She has a newer iMac (the thinner one), so I guess screen is supposed to be better, but it's still a mirror.

    Sorry about all the complaints, but I'm convinced now that I won't be using an iMac for work. For personal stuff, browsing the net, watching youtube videos, reading news, maybe even playing basic games, etc, it's beyond perfect. Safari is snappy and smooth scrolling feels nice. Love the keyboard and the mouse (although it feels insanely laggy, but I'm sure I can get used to it).

    I guess I have to do a time machine restore (very nice) for my wife's stuff to get back. I did a clean install of Yosemite.

    But thanks for all your answers. Was really helpful.
  21. loon3y macrumors 65816


    Oct 21, 2011

    i was born and raised with PCs, used apple products for work (app developer + ERP software support so i need both mac and windows)

    if you're playing heroes of the storm and WOW a high end iMac should be enough. Just get the max ram.

    if you're trying to play more graphics intensive and modern games, go with a PC.

    if budget is concerned get a PC

    if you want a Mac then get a mac. but i suggest you to do a little homework, when is the next model being released, whats in it?

    the 4K base price is at 2,000 its not that bad. I decked out my gaming rig so it was around 5,000. but you can create a decent one for prob $1500

    it really depends on you. Do you need a Mac? No, but how bad do you want it?

    I don't need my Beat Pros, as i can just use any headphones for music, but do i want it? Yes, and the quality is good but there are cheaper brands that offer either same, similar, or better quality (M50s are not better then Beat Pros, just had to put that out there)

    Its the brand, and it is a sexy computer. Would i ever get it for my personal/gaming desktop? Personally No, all i want to spend is money on a Video Card when i need to upgrade, or add another hard drive.

    not buy a whole computer. for work i don't mind at all, rMBP is amazing.
  22. aloshka thread starter macrumors 65816

    Aug 30, 2009
    Yeah thanks for the reply. I do agree, but I decided against the iMac because of the bugginess I experienced (see earlier post). Outside of WoW and HotS I can't imagine playing any other games.

    Now just to find two good 1440p monitors or possibly get the Dell curved 34".. Saw one @ microcenter and it's a beaut.
  23. Mikael H macrumors 6502

    Sep 3, 2014
    As a long-time VMWare and Parallels user, that sounds a lot more like either you're running too old a version of the hypervisor on a relatively too new OS (I got some graphics glitches in VMs running on Fusion Pro 6 when I ran it on Yosemite, for example), or at worst a hardware problem with the iMac (especially the having to reboot the entire computer because of a VM hanging part).
  24. maflynn Moderator


    Staff Member

    May 3, 2009
    I'd go with a custom PC, the cost of an iMac is high and if you're only going to use it run windows, you can build out a custom PC that is more powerful for less money.

    I agree the iMac is a beautiful machine, but you need to pick the right tool for the job.
  25. aloshka, Jun 21, 2015
    Last edited: Jun 22, 2015

    aloshka thread starter macrumors 65816

    Aug 30, 2009

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