Macbook or Acer 8204

Discussion in 'Mac Pro' started by shadowfayre, Jan 29, 2006.

  1. shadowfayre macrumors regular

    Jan 17, 2006
    I am currently a PC person. Don’t shoot me yet. :) Given the situation, I have worked with PCs for 13 years, so I have a reason. I am also a developer and a photographer. I know as a photographer (video and Photo) I would be better with a Mac, but as a PC guy, Macs seems so limited and frankly designed for the PC challenged people. That for the most part is why I haven’t yet switched. However now with the MacBook, I am strongly considering the switch. Prior to the announcement of the MacBook, I was set to purchase the Acer 8204. I previously purchased their Ferrari laptop for my mother and was impressed with the quality of their laptop and the performance, so being the 8204 was the improved model (minus the Ferrari logo), that was the direction.

    Well, that changed with the MacBook Pro. With similar hardware that I have worked on for years, I feel more confident with the MacBook vs. the PowerBook. As a designer, the Mac OS obviously has benefits. I do wish that the MacBook would have came with the same specs as the Acer 8204, but they are close enough to weigh the advantages. I also look forward to the chance to install Vista on the same unit in a Dual boot or at least in a VM session, but again, I will have a PC desktop for anything that I want to do in Windows. I still question how much customization I can do with a Mac (compared to Windows, but hey, this is a laptop, not a game rig).

    Being that I used a lot of Adobe and Macromedia Applications (currently on a PC), having a Mac would be a good choose, especially since I already have a nice gaming rig (DC Opteron... Raptor drive, blah blah)
    The laptop would really more for the portable office and development and design/graphics.

    The question is that hardware on the Acer 8204 seems to be better in comparison. More Processor speed, more memory (2GB standard) more video ram, and the biggie card reader support. I also like the 1600x1050 screen too... I am really surprised that since Mac's are known for designers the lack of a built in card reader. I know you can get cards, but comparing the Acer, that is one thing I don’t have to worry about.

    No really a question, as I pretty sure I know what I want; however I am curious on other opinions. Considering the expense of a laptop, I do not want to error on this purchase and reget it for years to come.
  2. Dustintendo macrumors member

    Aug 20, 2005
    if you honesly think macs are limited, just continue using pc's. buy the acer.

    actually, you should probably just step away and bang your head on a rock
  3. kretzy macrumors 604


    Sep 11, 2004
    Canberra, Australia
    That's really helpful. :rolleyes:

    I know as a PC user there is the common belief that Macs are limited in some way. There are VERY few limitations if you use a Mac. While you may not be able to use the same software as you do on your PC, 9 times out of 10 there is a Mac equivalent, that will do the same thing. They are also definitely not for the PC challenged (well in a way they are, because everyone is challenged by windows :p ), just because they are easier to use, with generally fewer major problems does not mean they are not as powerful etc. Why not use something that gets the job done with as few problems as possible?

    I'd highly recommend you have a look around these forums, there are 1000s of threads about switching, which all contain excellent info about just about anything you'd ever want to know. Also, if possible, go to an Apple Store/Reseller and have a play around and get a feel for the OS - which really is the best thing about Macs.

    Good luck with your decision! ;)
  4. NeuronBasher macrumors regular

    Jan 17, 2006
    Good job answering the question there. :mad:

    To get to the answer to your question, shadowfayre, I think it's really going to come down to a matter of personal preference. First, a little background on me: I began my computing life as a PC guy, mostly because that was what was available in my formative years. Commodore 64/128 to 286 to 386, and so on. Once I entered college I discovered the joy of Unix and have made a living as a Unix administrator for the last 15 years, but I've always had PCs and consider myself well versed in them.

    Before OSX came out, I'd have agreed with you that the Mac was for the people who couldn't handle the interface on a PC. I wouldn't have been right, but that was certainly my perception for a very long time. Once OSX came out, the entire playing field changed dramatically. OSX is built on a Unix foundation and gives the user FAR more down and dirty control over the system than Windows ever has. There is simply no comparison between a DOS/Windows command line and even the worst Unix shell.

    If you're willing to spend the time to really get your arms around how things work on a new system, and don't just want a hardware upgrade, then I think you'd be very well served by the MacBook.

    As far as the hardware differences go, the CPU performance difference will be negligble, the higher level video card comes with 256MB of RAM (equivalent to the Acer), and to get the MacBook to 2GB will cost you about $125. The card reader is an interest absence, but understanable since there are so freaking many different formats of card out there these days. As far as the reoslution is concerned, IMHO, the MacBook has the perfect resolution for the screen size that is used. Any higher and you start making things too small.

    If you have any more questions, I'll be happy to answer as best I can and I'm sure there are others who will as well.

    Good luck!
  5. shadowfayre thread starter macrumors regular

    Jan 17, 2006
    Thanks for the responses... Dustintendo you must be on of those, Mac or nothing people. I believe I made a good point in not trying to bash Macintosh in that post. If that is what you read, then I am sorry that I did not explain myself correctly in that post.

    As far as the limitations, most of my very limited experience was prior to OSX. As I mentioned I have been with PCs for a great deal of time backing into the DOS days, so if igornance is to play, it is that I did not know that one could access the Unix shell within OSX. If that is the case, then my original statement that OSX is limited is invalid. I personally do not like Windows. I fault until Windows 2000 to do must of my work @ the command prompt, simply cause it was faster and that I felt I was in more control. I looked at the Mac as a GUI only platform.

    Other customize features that I look for, since I now have to deal with a GUI, are third party apps that allows one to customize the UI experience (example WinBlinds). I consider myself a unique person, and that applies to my desktops too. I do not want to open an UI that is plain and looks like everyone else's UI, if that makes sense.

    I hope that helps explain the "limited OS" statement.
  6. jer2eydevil88 macrumors 6502


    Feb 6, 2004
    I just made the switch to a Powerbook over the summer from my 1.7ghz Centrino I had been running for nearly two years. I can safely say that this hardware is absolutely half the speed of my older notebook but that the transition to OS X was worth it.

    The acer notebook you are considering will have relatively no parts for sale in two years, you will however be very much able to buy parts for an Apple or Dell notebook for years.

    I am deeply rooted in PC's having done most of my lifes work on them and I do feel there are a great number of drawbacks as to switching to OS X.

    1.) The lack of a universal CTRL + X substitute in finder which makes cutting and pasting a real frustrating task.
    2.) There is no really well developed web browser that can compete with IE6 for the Mac, Firefox and Safari are close but don't cut it for many IE only designed corporate intranets.
    3.) The PowerBooks on sale at this time have one IDE channel for the Superdrive and Hard drive meaning that if I am watching a DVD or in any way accessing my optical drive I am also freezing up my mac.
    4.) A well-known grievance of us converter’s is the lack of a right mouse button. To the more dedicated apple fans it may be very appealing to think we all need form over function but in real world use (especially poorly ported VNC-Viewers not having the right mouse button becomes a severe handicap.
    5.) Gaming is almost non-existent for PPC based Macs. Hopefully this Intel transition will take care of that (point2play).

    The negatives do stack up against Apple but I must tell you I am not going back to a PC notebook for all the tea in china. My reasons are many, and quite a bit of it is personal preference. Regardless of what I hopefully you will be convinced that you either need or don't need a Macbook.

    1.) OS X is friendly, well thought out, fast and easy to use.

    2.) The incredibly friendly support you will find from people on forums and other user groups. You won’t be lost in a World of hopeless idiots who focus more on their next AOL update than if they have Antivirus.

    3.) Apple hardware is extremely well built and has even better support. My new powerbook was unfortunate enough to have its superdrive fail after just two months. I learned upon taking it to an apple store for repairs that Apple support sets it apart in the industry. All things considered I had it back in 2 work days.

    4.) It's smarter than you’re used to! Especially coming from a Windows world where you must install drivers and patches in order to maintain a balance of working peripherals with newer software. Plug in a USB drive or scanner and it just works, bought a new printer? No problem OS X knows its hooked up. Now sometimes the printer, scanner, camera, etc… is newer than the OS version and you will need a driver but this tends to be rare if you keep up to date with OS X.

    5.) Screen Quality - My basis is that my Windows notebook was 1440x1050 I was used to the size of things on there so I never complained. In retrospect I was convinced resolution was the most important feature and I chose it over readability. I certainly couldn't hold it over 3 ft from my face and clearly read the text I am entering into this box on this site like I’m doing from the (1440X960) Powerbook.

    6.) Software Cooperation with other 3rd party software, and the drag n’ drop interface. This is huge! You will get so used to dragging files onto your dock icons that going back to a Windows machine and its double clicking will drive you crazy. Many applications also include similar useful Drag n’ drop features.

    7.) Backlight Keyboard, Speakers that will blow you away, a tough outer shell, decent 2-3 hour real world battery life, hibernation that lets you swap batteries when you shut the lid without having to reboot, three clicks and your cloning your screen out to a TV via svideo or DVI.

    Basically there are many reasons to switch but those are my reasons without really going into a storybook on why. I hope I didn’t over do the explanations; I tried to keep it short and sweet.
  7. MUCKYFINGERS macrumors 6502a


    Jun 7, 2005
    I've used PCs for nearly 11 years, so saying a Mac is for PC challenged people in an insult to me.

    Macs are great machines. They are not limited and once you get one you won't go back. I switched last year and I would never think of buying another PC again.
  8. BENJMNS macrumors 6502


    Dec 28, 2005
    I like both. To me, the PC is a more serious, more powerful business machine. The Apple is great for home use.

    I'm looking forward to Windows Vista as well as the upcoming suite of products from MS.

    I'm looking forward to the next wave of MacBooks. The ones coming out next month ain't cuttin' it.

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