Mac or custom PC?

Discussion in 'Buying Tips and Advice' started by mikehokie, Mar 26, 2008.

  1. mikehokie macrumors regular

    Jun 3, 2007
    Fairfax, Virginia
    Hey guys need advice here

    In early Summer 2007 I bought a MacBook Pro. This was when the new SR processors came out for them and I wanted something to do video editing on. I had never bought a Mac before and unfortunately I was unpleased by the amount of heat coming from the laptop, the SuperDrive, and some of the software I got. It cost me about $2000 for the computer and thankfully I got all parts returned for a refund. My parents paid for half of the computer and I paid for the other half, so when they heard of all the troubles they were not happy. Also the fact that I never actually visited an Apple store and pretty much bought the computer based on research and reviews from friends of mine was not smart. The trust in the Apple brand by my parents is basically down the tubes with respect to computers (not iPods they love them). For the time I had the computer I liked Tiger, but I don't think I spent enough team to really love it like most people do.

    Currently I am using a Dell Dimension 8400 and it is quite possibly the worst computer I have ever had to use. I prefer my 12 year old HP that my Dad got custom built and it runs Windows 98. I am just sick and tired of XP and that's the main reason I switched in the first place. I like doing some light video editing, games (nothing insane), and web surfing. I am thinking about getting an iMac because of the features, Leopard, and the specs are very comparable to the PC I was thinking of building. Just to give you a background I am 17 years old, a Junior in high school and will graduate June of 2009. I may even get an Apple laptop if I decide to make the switch.

    What would you suggest I do? Should I just build the PC, get the iMac and try to have a sit down with my folks, or should I just hold off? I know the deal about computers and the fact that new hardware is always around the corner, but the iMacs were just updated so I think now would be a pretty good time to do so.

    I know it's really long and I'm sorry for consuming so much of your time, but I also have a few quick questions. Do all Windows programs run on a Mac? If I use Parallels/Bootcamp, will I be able to access data (for example a word document) on both XP and Leopard? Also can you update the RAM, video card, memory, or HDD without voiding the warranty?

    Thanks guys and look forward to hear what you say
  2. flopticalcube macrumors G4


    Sep 7, 2006
    In the velcro closure of America's Hat
    The easy stuff first. You can access your data (read) on both OSX/Windows portions of the drive using either Leopard or Parallels w/ Windows. In bootcamp only your Windows stuff is accessible unless you buy something like MacDrive. On an iMac the RAM is the only upgradeable part. Some people have managed to upgrade the hard drive but its not straight forward (requires the use of a glass puller). On the MBP, the RAM is also the only upgradeable part but the hard drive is easier to get to than the iMac and many people have managed it without void their warranty (i.e. damaging their machine in the process).

    Now for the more difficult stuff. What do you want to do with the computer? If you are a casual gamer than the iMac would be OK and is a very good value if you buy it from the refurb shop (sale on now). If you are REALLY into games, you could get a better spec'd PC for less and you probably should because the iMac isn't a hard core gamer. Video editing is another matter. All iMacs are great for that.
  3. mikehokie thread starter macrumors regular

    Jun 3, 2007
    Fairfax, Virginia
    I am certainly by no means a "hard" gamer. I will play BF2, Civilization 4, Starcraft and Age of Empires 3 sometimes but I am not really into PC games that's what my Xbox is for (sorry guys but I like my Halo). Also is there a huge difference between the 2.8 extreme and the 2.4 core2?
  4. flopticalcube macrumors G4


    Sep 7, 2006
    In the velcro closure of America's Hat
  5. stainlessliquid macrumors 68000

    Sep 22, 2006
    If you need a lot of performance but dont have a lot of money then building a pc is by far the best option. Or if you plan on doing a lot of gaming since that requires a lot of power.

    If performance isnt very important or you have alot of money to spend and dont game then macs are good.

    If I just need a regular computer then I would rather get a mac assuming I had the money for it, especially for a laptop (the only pc laptop I would ever buy is an EEE). If I need power then theres no doubt in my mind that I would build a PC myself (I can put OSX on a pc easily enough anyways).
  6. topgunn macrumors 65816


    Nov 5, 2004
    What exactly were you not happy about with the MBP? You mention heat, the superdrive and "some" software. I ask because iMac's can get hot, they use the same superdrive as the MBP and the software you ran on the MBP you would likely run on the iMac. How hot did it get? Basically every laptop I have ever owned has gotten super hot at some point. If you had problems with the superdrive, Apple will fix it. For software, there are very few (if any) that are the ONLY program that will do a particular job. If you don't like one, try another.

    You say you want to switch because you hate XP but you didn't love Tiger either. Those two things being true, you will likely dread Vista. If you build a computer, you have to deal with Windows. Plain and simple. If you buy an iMac, you risk having the same problems (buyers remorse possibly?) that you had with the MBP.

    What do you want your computer to do? What are the advantages in your mind to building a computer? What are the advantages to buying a Mac? Are you planning on college? What degree? Is space an issue now or will it be a problem in a dorm or apartment?

    I would build my own computer if I:
    - was perfectly satisfied with Windows XP
    - wanted a very fast computer for a very good price
    - had no need for any iLife apps
    - couldn't care less about cable clutter and having a beige box under my desk
    - always like to have the latest and greatest hardware
    - have Windows only apps and don't want to mess with Parallels or Boot Camp

    I would buy an iMac if I:
    - believe that Mac OS is superior to Windows XP
    - don't want to be hassled with viruses, adware or spyware
    - want an attractive computer that can sit out in the open unashamed
    - hate cables
    - am concerned with the computers resale value
    - want an all-in-one solution (one vendor for hardware, OS, and software)
    - don't mind having a built in display

    Make your own list and decide what points are most important to you.
  7. ruckus macrumors regular


    Oct 19, 2005
    The thing to remember is an iMac is basically a laptop you can't tote around very easily in terms of hardware. Its a great computer and I love it, but you won't be able to upgrade graphics cards and things like that with it like a true desktop machine.

    I'm sorry to hear you had a bad experience with your mac. You should go to an apple store and spend some time poking around Leopard and playing with the new iMovie software for editing movies. This might sell you on OS X.

    And the fact that you can dual boot to windows for games/whatever else really makes owning a mac a no brainer, as long as you like the computer overall.
  8. mikehokie thread starter macrumors regular

    Jun 3, 2007
    Fairfax, Virginia
    Good points. Thanks. It was definitely a case of buyer's remorse, but when I started liking all the features of it the superdrive sort of caved in and anyways I was feeling a bit overwhelmed with the computer too. But to address the heat issue, it was a lot hotter than normal and trust me I had my Dad feel it and he said it doesn't get THAT hot.

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