Making the Switch from PC

Discussion in 'Buying Tips and Advice' started by Volodymyr, Sep 20, 2008.

  1. Volodymyr macrumors newbie

    Sep 20, 2008
    My PC just died, and for all of PC's problems I can ALWAYS fix it. Problem here is my PC is to the age that it isn't worth fixing it, need to build a new one at the very least. But this provides me with the lucrative opportunity to give Apple a try. I'm not an Apple fan for any reason, save for the fact I am tired of my PC getting screwed up and so it's only fair I give the competition a chance! :D

    But, I know very little about Macs so need some help. Price is always a factor, I don't have a set limit but we will see what you guys recommend. Most important fact here is that I need a new computer, if the mac I need isn't going to make it within my price range I'm not going to get a mac. So I'm not even giving you some arbitrary estimate of my price range ;).

    I don't game anymore at all on the computer. I absolutely must run dual monitors, I do the regular college thing, and on top of that I do lots of graphic design (and the entire Adobe suite) and the occasional video/audio project as well. My needs are by no means extreme, but I want it to do all these things well. I know I can build another PC in that capacity within my range, I'd love if a mac fit in there though.

    I am open to all advice. I haven't decided yet between laptop or desktop, so recommendations in both would be appreciated. I am open to anything really.

    Currently run a 2.8GHz P4 (no dual core or anything fancy, this thing is OLD), 1.5gb 3200 DDR, P4P800 mobo, 9500 128mb Radeon, etc. I don't know the effective capabilities of a mac (for example a modern dual-core 2ghz P4 would blow my 2.8 away no competition- don't know how that works out for macs), don't know how much memory I want/need, etc.

    Only specific question I got at this time is on iMac's how many memory slots are there? I would love to go to four, but two is probably reasonable- 2gb is 1gb x 2 I'm assuming, so are there four slots or would I have to get all new 2gb sticks?

    Bring on the recommendations!!!!

    And thanks in advance!
  2. kurzz macrumors 6502


    May 18, 2007
    Macs, regardless of what other people say, are expensive. You're paying a premium for the OS X and hardware integration. If it falls within your price range, then definately go for it. Macbooks and iMacs have 2 RAM slots..the Mac Pro has many more (4?).

    iMacs are great for webdesign with their nice big monitors. If you have your own large monitor, you can opt for just about anything except the Mac Mini (only 1 monitor port).

    2 Gb RAM is reasonable for Macs, don't go for anything less. If you need the discrete graphics card, get an iMac or Mac Pro. Buy the RAM separately and install it yourself.
  3. iMav macrumors 6502


    Jun 20, 2008
    Columbus, WI
    The Macbook, MBP, and iMac all fit your needs given your vague requirements (all can span desktop to a second monitor, all can be maxed out at 4GB of ram).

    As someone who builds their own PC's and has nursed their current one along for a while, I assume you are bright enough to see the spec differences and make an educated decision based on what your preferences and budgetary constraints are.

    There is no right or wrong answer. It's all about what YOU want.
  4. SnowLeopard2008 macrumors 604


    Jul 4, 2008
    Silicon Valley
    Let's get something straight here. Macs are usually on par with PCs. They just have higher starting price. But for a dual monitor display, that rules out the Mac Mini. Either the MacBook or iMac lowest configuration models could do what you need. Only problem with MacBook (laptop) is that the lowest configuration model doesn't have a SuperDrive (burns CDs/DVDs) instead a Combo Drive which can read CDs/DVDs but can only write CDs. If you want to burn DVDs, you might want to look at the middle configuration which is priced at $1,299, it has slight processor upgrades and a bigger hard drive. The lowest configuration iMac only has 1Gb of memory, which you might want to upgrade to 2GB at least. The best in specs is the iMac which has a better graphics chip and also a bigger screen.

    You asked about the ram slots. Both the MacBook and the iMac both have 2 ram slots, 2GB maximum each slot. RAM upgrades to 2Gb should cost you around 30-40 for good quality RAM, 4GB is around 50-60.
  5. donga macrumors 6502a


    May 16, 2005
    you could always get a second-hand mac for good prices too
  6. Sun Baked macrumors G5

    Sun Baked

    May 19, 2002
    The iMac is a Santa Rosa Laptop stuffed into a desktop case with a larger monitor and a desktop sized drive.

    The Quad Mac Pro is a 5400 workstation/server chipset machine.

    Nothing in between those two chipsets.

    Want portability get a MB or MBP and a 2nd monitor.

    Want two larger screens get the iMac and a 2nd monitor.

    Want to cheap and large DELL screens on the same machine, but a refurb Mac Pro for $1799 -- might be a dual-core with a 5000x chipset, but still a lot of grunt and expandability.


    And most will say, buy a 2nd 3rd party monitor -- the on-display controls tend to play better with windows than trying to hunt down software drivers to control an Apple Display.
  7. Scepticalscribe Contributor


    Jul 29, 2008
    The Far Horizon
    Agreed. An even better option would be to wait for the projected (and expected) updates, and then buy a refurb model; if you do not mind lacking the extra features of the very latest model, a refurb can offer you a lot of what you are looking for. They have the advantage of having been rigorously tested, come with the Apple warranty and usually offer a generous discount.
  8. Volodymyr thread starter macrumors newbie

    Sep 20, 2008
    Thanks for the responses. I guess I should have been more specific. What kind of specs should I be looking at specifically? I know the debate rages even in the PC circles, but Apple doesn't really make my life any easier by offering 4 different processors :rolleyes:.

    The PC I currently have specced out is pretty screaming...
    -Intel Core 2 Quad Q6600 2.4ghz
    -Asus P5N-D nForce 750i SLI Mobo
    -G.Skill 4gb (2x2gb) DDR2 800
    -EVGA 8600 GT 256mb GPU
    -2 x Seagate Barracuda 250gb @ 3.0gb/s (for 500gb RAID)

    I may neuter that down a bit as it is kind of overkill for my needs. So I guess here is the low down. My current computer (specs listed before, but I will list them again) is...

    2.8GHz P4 (no dual core or anything fancy, this thing is OLD), 1.5gb 3200 DDR, P4P800 mobo, 9500 128mb Radeon

    So what is going to be better than that, but not necessarily as overkill as the PC I specced out. Like I said before, it isn't that my PC was awful and couldn't do a thing- it just isn't up to par anymore. I don't need to be able to play the latest games at 400FPS. If you missed my first post I just do the usual college thing, plus use the entire Adobe suite pretty regularly (lots of graphic work, some video/audio).


    P.S. I was looking at the refurbished MACs online and see the 20inch 2.0ghz Core 2 duo is $949, only 250gb HDD, there is 1gb ram but I see 4gb seems to run only around $90, direct from Crucial. The 250gb is limiting, and the 2ghz seems low- but what do you guys think?

    P.S.S. I know Macs are expensive and whatnot, I actually (even when I was a loyal PC owner) defended the fact you are getting a nice monitor and the operating system with the package. Personally for me that isn't a huge selling point as I own Vista Ultimate and plenty of monitors (though they aren't nice by any means). So I do know you get what you pay for, in a way, but if I pay the premium for a Mac, I am essentially paying it for the fact it is a mac as OS and monitor are not a huge concern to me.

    That is why this is such an excruciating decision.
  9. techound1 macrumors 68000


    Mar 3, 2006
    This is a really nice deal IMHO:

    Refurbished iMac 24-inch 2.4GHz Intel Core 2 Duo
    24-inch glossy widescreen display
    1GB memory
    320GB hard drive
    8x SuperDrive (DVD±R DL/DVD±RW/CD-RW)
    ATI Radeon HD 2600 PRO with 256MB memory
    Built-in iSight Camera

    for $1299. Free shipping. Free Printer.

    It lets you kick up the size some from the one you mentioned. Toss in the after-market ram and you're good. If you're worried about HD size, you can always add an external.
  10. iMav macrumors 6502


    Jun 20, 2008
    Columbus, WI
    You may be the first person to complain about Apple giving us too many choices. :)
  11. Volodymyr thread starter macrumors newbie

    Sep 20, 2008
    I know I'm being high maintenance but convince me Mac is the right choice!!!
  12. hogfaninga macrumors 65816


    Aug 16, 2008
    Chestnut Tree Cafe

    I don't think most on here care what you do. Sorry if that sounded rude. It was. What I meant was, there are thousand of threads and thousands of sites that show comparisons of PC and Mac. You can easily do the research yourself. There are vast differences and get the system that best suits you.
  13. Slippery Gimp macrumors member

    Aug 2, 2008
    Leeds, UK
    Just get a top of the range iMac and be done with you. Plenty of grunt there for you. I do 3DS Max stuff via Bootcamp and I have the 20" 2.66ghz 4gb RAM 320gb HDD spec and it suits me fine.
  14. Volodymyr thread starter macrumors newbie

    Sep 20, 2008
    Thank you, this is the kind of responses/information I am looking for :)

    EDIT: Also curious, I am assuming so but want to make sure that Mac/Leopard has good language support? Need cyrillic support.
  15. yrael macrumors newbie

    Aug 20, 2008
    West Coast
    I think an imac would be a nice change of pace for yourself. Your setup will look infinitely cleaner than having a normal desktop, especially if you get wirelress mouse and keyboard.

    (and imacs are very pretty and not to mention loads cheaper than the mac pro)

    Hope your transition is smooth!
  16. ArthurDaley macrumors regular

    Feb 29, 2008
    What I love since switching to a MBP this year is the dual monitor thing works out the box. I bough a Dell 24" (highly recommended) and plugged it into the digital out of the MBP. To my surprise the MBP instantly split the screen between the MBP screen and the 24".

    So I put the MBP ontop of external h/drives to level it against the 24 " side by side somewhat, bought a wireless Apple keyboard (great), the awesome MX Revolution wireless mouse, so in effect the MBP I don't go near, it's just a screen beside the 24".

    I've then set it so my comms apps (skype, adium etc) go to the MBP screen and FireFox etc goes to the 24"
  17. madfresh macrumors regular

    Dec 21, 2006
    San Francisco, CA
    You won't be disappointed. I know I wasn't when I originally switched in 2006. Macrumors made the switch so much easier, too. If you ever have any problems, just post, and someone here should help you.
  18. SnowLeopard2008 macrumors 604


    Jul 4, 2008
    Silicon Valley
    Regarding the OP's question about language support, macs do have a lot of languages. I take a mandarin class at my high school, and the input for mandarin suits me fine. Not sure about cyrillic, tho. Just did some quick googling and cyrillic and it seems macs do have some support for cyrillic.
  19. alphaod macrumors Core


    Feb 9, 2008
    I might be interested in some of the parts on that P4 machine of yours if you plan to dump it.
  20. pencraft macrumors newbie

    Oct 9, 2008
    Similar questions

    Hi, I just read this post and all the replies. I appreciate the information that people have shared. I too am looking at making the switch from PC to Mac. I have narrowed the field to the MacBook Pro based upon graphics card capability. I understand there is likely to be a new MacBook Pro release on the 14th and I'll wait to see what that is all about.

    Still a couple of questions. Background:
    Right now, I'm running a PC with
    -Intel Core 2 Quad processor (Q9450) which is 64-bit capable when the software comes out
    -500 GB Seagate hard drive
    -PNY GeForce graphics card (PNY 9600GT 512MB DDR3)
    -4 GB RAM
    -two DVD drives--one Samsung DVD-RW and one ASUS DVD-ROM, CD/RW combo

    It has some extreme cooling stuff inside. Nice machine. But, it's not meeting my needs because I bought it on an emergency basis because my old machine died and I am a graphic designer. I needed a machine ASAP and this was one my computer guru could build and get to me in a week. What I really wanted was a laptop and that would have taken longer to build. Meanwhile old machine (which has pretty decent specs in its own right, has been repaired and is on it's way back to me).

    Like the original poster I have a dual monitor setup. Any glitches I need to be aware of with MacBook Pro and dual monitor? My monitor calibration tools are all PC based (USB Colorvision Spyder). any experience in running this softward on a mac?

    I assume I can just buy an external DVD to get my dual DVD capability. Advice, pitfalls here?

    My scanner is ancient. It's a SCSI machine. Any way to run it? I hate to buy a new one because I believe it will be fairly obsolete in a year or two anyway with so many of my clients having digital cameras now. Can't run SCSI under Vista so I can't use it with the new PC. Must keep the old PC on board now for any scans. Will that still be required with the Mac?

    My printers are ancient. All parallel port and one is bi-directional parallel port. Must all be replaced too?

    How about my Wacom 9 x 12 seriel port tablet? Must I replace with USB? Currently, I may have to do that anyway because of a conflict between serial port and add-in parallel card in the new PC.

    WiFi. I've read some conflicting reports on capability. How well does it work in "public" wifi settings like motels, airports, etc. I have no experience with wifi at all. Advice, suggestions?

    Graphics Software. I'll make the switch to CS4 native Mac with the new machine. But, I have LOTS of legacy files in PM6.5, Freehand, etc. Will I be able to install this "dead" software under the Windows bootcamp so that I can open files and then port to the new Mac equivalent software? Does anyone have experience with tools like PowerTone, Knockout, Painter in Windows version running on a Mac? It would cost a bundle to upgrade all these little add in programs. Might have to update some anyway (like PowerTone) because it runs as a photoshop plugin.

    WordPerfect. Unlike most PC users, I do not run any Microsoft products other than OS on my machines. No Office applications. Hate them. I didn't see a Mac WordPerfect version on Corel's web site. Are there word processing options for non-MS Office users?

    I appreciate any advice offered. Thanks for sharing your wisdom!!!
  21. jzuena macrumors 6502a


    Feb 21, 2007
    Lexington, MA, USA
    From the International System Preferences on my MBP - Cyrillic is supported for: Bulgarian, Bulgarian - Phonetic, Byelorussian, Macedonian, Russian, Russian - PC, Russian - Phonetic, Serbian, Ukrainian.

    There is a monitor calibration utility built into System Preferences. Others may know of more advanced ones available.

    I have an HP LaserJet 5P hooked up to my Mac Mini using a Parallel to USB cable and it works fine.

    I've not had any problems connecting to Wifi networks under OSX. WEP and WPA/WPA2 are supported, but probably aren't needed for connecting to public networks.

    Other than Office there is iWork from Apple and NeoOffice/ Haven't seen WordPerfect available beyond OS9, so if you really want to run it, you would need to run SheepShaver to emulate a PPC Mac and install OS9 with WordPerfect on it.
  22. Topher15 macrumors 6502a


    Oct 22, 2007
    If you need dual monitors then I'd suggest the MBP. It might just be me but if I have dual monitors then I would want them to be identical, not a mismatch in design and more importantly shape/height (which is what you get with an iMac + another monitor.)

    I'd love Apple to release a headless Mac inbetween the iMac and the Mac Pro. (Mac Mini > iMac > ??? > Mac Pro.)

    Actually, Mac's are on par (and sometimes cheaper) that PCs spec for spec. The problem is the limited range of Mac's. There is no desktop that is inbetween the Mini/iMac, Mini/Pro or iMAc/Pro, and there is no notebook that is inbetween the MB/MBP. If this 'inbetween' computer is what you need, and you want OS X, then you either have to get a lower spec system that may not be suitable for your needs, or a higher spec system and might be more than what you need.
  23. nick9191 macrumors 68040

    Feb 17, 2008
    You should look at the iMac.

    They take upto 4gb RAM, and unofficially 8gb, either via 2 x 2gb sticks, or 2 x 4gb sticks. They use laptop RAM, DDR2. There are 2 RAM slots.

    They support another monitor, on top of the built in monitor obviously (although you need to buy a cheap little adaptor, mini dvi to full dvi).

    So a 20" iMac, 2.4ghz Core 2 Duo Will cost you around $1000 altogether after your student discount (assuming you are a student of course). Plus the extra RAM, and the monitor of your choice.

    Although not as fast as that Quad Core machine you specced up (although thats arguable since Windows doesn't utilise multi cores well). The graphics card aint great, but again your not gaming. It will be quite a nice machine, and certainly a great great deal faster than your old PC.

    Your best bet for a free office suite is NeoOffice, or if you want to spend money Apple's own iWork, both great.

    Edit: That was in response to the original poster by the way.

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