Switch from Mac to Windows? I feel so dirty...

Discussion in 'Windows, Linux & Others on the Mac' started by barr08, Nov 20, 2008.

  1. barr08 macrumors 65816

    barr08

    Joined:
    Aug 9, 2006
    Location:
    Boston, MA
    #1
    OK, this is going to sound weird I think, but I am seriously considering switching from my iMac to a custom built gaming PC. Here is the background:

    I have been a mac user my entire life. Growing up, I dealt with all of my friends ragging on apple - one button mouse, no games, etc. Finally, when Apple started to blow up in the past couple years, I felt vindicated, and haven't heard a peep from my friends about the subject in years. One of the best days I can remember is when I saw my friend (the biggest apple hater growing up) switch to a MBP. "I told you so" just didn't cut it in that situation.

    Now, however, I find myself playing a ton of PC games in bootcamp. I have spent 90% of my time in windows XP since I got my iMac a few years ago. I feel like such a sellout, but since I game so much, it just makes sense. I find myself switching to OS X for a few days, then going right back to XP.

    Now, its time for an upgrade. I want to make a really nice gaming desktop, but a Mac Pro is like 3 times as much as the PC equivalent I built on newegg. I would feel awful ditching Apple, but honestly, I use XP more than OS X anyways.

    I'm just torn. I value the opinions of this forum's users very much, so hit me with your best shot, and pull no punches!

    Thanks!
     
  2. Tomorrow macrumors 604

    Tomorrow

    Joined:
    Mar 2, 2008
    Location:
    Always a day away
    #2
    If you're weighing a Mac Pro vs. a custom PC for a third of the price, I would recommend the following:

    Would you use OS X enough to justify having two computers? If yes, buy the custom PC and a Mini or a MacBook. If no, buy the PC and don't look back.

    It really doesn't have to be an Apple-or-bust world out there. If a PC is better suited to your needs, go for it!
     
  3. barr08 thread starter macrumors 65816

    barr08

    Joined:
    Aug 9, 2006
    Location:
    Boston, MA
    #3
    I think getting a macbook in addition to a PC is a great idea! And its still about a grand cheaper than getting a Pro.

    Thanks!
     
  4. bigjnyc macrumors 601

    bigjnyc

    Joined:
    Apr 10, 2008
    #4
    if you spend 90% of the time gaming in bootcamp then get a windows computer. once you grow out of games then go back to a mac. simple as that.

    I personally have always used consoles for gaming, I currently have a PS3 and xbox360 and havent touched them in months. I never played games on any of my computers, even when i was on windows.
     
  5. nick9191 macrumors 68040

    Joined:
    Feb 17, 2008
    Location:
    Britain
    #5
    Comparing a Xeon workstation to a Mini tower is completely fallacious. They are two entirely different architectures.

    Spec for Spec the Mac Pro is cheaper than any other OEM, or custom build.

    Onto your question, you want the PC. Don't feel bad about ditching Apple, they don't care, brand loyalty is just a way for consumers to get shafted.
     
  6. Keleko macrumors 68000

    Joined:
    Mar 26, 2008
    #6
    If you don't need the Mac side of things upgraded, you can keep the one you have now and use the PC for gaming. Get the MacBook if you need a Mac upgrade, too, but it may not be necessary if you stop using the Mac for gaming.
     
  7. PeterQC macrumors 6502a

    PeterQC

    Joined:
    Jun 30, 2008
    #7
    You could always build an Hackintosh. Would still have Mac OS X and be able to play your games on it with second drive with Windows.
     
  8. Winni macrumors 68030

    Winni

    Joined:
    Oct 15, 2008
    Location:
    Germany.
    #8
    Since I own an Xbox 360, gaming is fun again. I play stuff like Gears of War 2, Call of Duty 4 or Far Cry 2 at 1920x1080 resolution on a 24" HP display and it looks great.

    I wouldn't buy a computer for gaming anymore, it's a waste of money. And the Xbox 360 is the reason why I can live with a Mac. Even my Mac Pro with an nVidia 8800GT isn't a good gaming machine anymore when you look at the latest system requirements. It's a beast for everything else, but when it comes to game performance, a 300 dollar Xbox 360 has it for breakfast.

    Also, you don't have any Spyware or copy protection-dongle-software-nightmares on the Xbox. On a PC, you get all that Starforce-like-crap and other malware from the industry. It's not worth it.

    The general discussion of Mac vs PC can easily be determined by your software requirements and your available budget. But from what you said, you really don't need a Mac for anything, do you? You need a gaming rig.

    But since you already have an iMac... My advice is to buy an Xbox 360 for your gaming needs and simply keep the iMac. Or buy an Xbox 360 -and- a PS3. Once you've learned how to play with a controller instead of the mouse and keyboard, you won't even want to go back PC gaming.

    One last comment: There is no shame in switching back to Windows entirely. Windows has a larger software portfolio than OS X and it is the de facto industry standard. If you don't need a specific software that only runs on OS X, but have or use a lot of Windows-only software (as your games), then there simply is no reason or rationale to stay with Apple.
     
  9. barr08 thread starter macrumors 65816

    barr08

    Joined:
    Aug 9, 2006
    Location:
    Boston, MA
    #9
    Thanks for the input, everyone. Let me comment on a few things.

    Thanks for this. I don't know much about computer components, but I know enough to not make that kind of mistake.

    The mac pro is a beautiful rig, but there is no argument you can possibly give me that justifies spending $3000 on a xeon workstation over a $1000 customized PC with an intel i7 and whatever the newest Radeon HD is. I know that I will get similar performance for my needs.

    I have a 360 and a Wii, both played on a 42" 1080p LCD. I play many 360 games (I'm in the middle of Gears 2, just finished Dead Space, both great games). I like the PC for it's customizable settings, and I love the keyboard/mouse for shooters. And I am giving my iMac to the mum when I get this new rig - she is still using my old iMac g3!

    I have firmly decided on getting a PC, even though the information in this thread is valuable and probably very accurate. I appreciate the help, guys.
     
  10. ayeying macrumors 601

    ayeying

    Joined:
    Dec 5, 2007
    Location:
    Yay Area, CA
    #10
    At this point, I personally say go with a Mac laptop and a PC desktop for gaming. A PC Gaming custom built desktop would be far superior then most macs since you have a wide variety to choose from. And you can have a mac Laptop to do everything else and now you wont feel so bad for ditching APple.
     
  11. The Flashing Fi macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Sep 23, 2007
    #11
    Actually, the main difference between the Xeon processors the Mac Pro uses and the Core 2 processors desktops use is the socket type and the RAM. The Mac Pro uses Xeon processors for LGA771 vs the Core 2 Processors that's only on LGA775. Xeon processors are Core 2 processors with Xeon branded. Intel may "hand choose" these chips as being "better" for stability, but performance of a LGA775 Xeon (yes, there are Xeon processors for desktops) and a Core 2 processor at the same speeds, are the same. The architecture is not any different.

    Back to the Mac Pro. The reason they use LGA771 is for the dual CPU sockets. However, LGA771 also requires ECC registered RAM. ECC Registered RAM is more expensive, slower, but offers stability, something always focused on in servers.

    For gaming though, you don't need 8 cores. And as far as building a Mac Pro, you can build one for a few hundred less than Apple (think 100-200 bucks). But if you're gaming, it's a waste of money.
     
  12. 7031 macrumors 6502

    7031

    Joined:
    Apr 6, 2007
    Location:
    England
    #12
    Exactly what I did. I have a Macbook Pro for portability, and a desktop PC for everything else.
     
  13. cg165 macrumors regular

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    #13
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    Great post. I agree with everything you said up until the part about once you use a controller you won't want to go back to the pc.

    I find that's true for everything except first person shooters. Nothing beats a mouse and keyboard combo for these types of games. For racing games and everything else, a controller is great. I've got a ps3 which I also use as a blu-ray player and upscaling DVD player. It all depends on what types of games you like, what you'll be connecting it to, and what console you have as a preference. As far as bang for your buck, you could buy the ps3, xbox360 and wii AND save money compared to buying a new comp. One thing I do like about console gaming is the fact that the games were built around the console instead of the console having to be built around the games. They do look great now depending on the game.
     
  14. maccompaq macrumors 65816

    maccompaq

    Joined:
    Mar 6, 2007
    #14
    You already have an iMac and a PC that you built from parts from New Egg.
    You have answered your own question.
     
  15. cg165 macrumors regular

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    #15
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    After reading the op's next post and realizing he already has consoles... Build a custom pc. I like newegg.com for parts. You can get a new core i7 and an ati 4870 or nvidia gtx 260 or 280 as a video card. Any of those cards should do very nice on even crysis.

    Crysis is probably the best benchmark as far as gaming is concerned. Get vista 64 bit for directx 10 and at least 4gb ram which you can get cheap. I'm guessing you'll spend around $1,200 for that, maybe less. I haven't checked prices but that's your best option if you want to game 90% of the time.

    Oh I wouldn't get an sli setup either (2 of the same cards used together). It's more of a marketing thing and you can just wait for a few years and spend that money on a more powerful card.
     
  16. cg165 macrumors regular

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    #16
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    After reading the op's next post and realizing he already has consoles... Build a custom pc. I like newegg.com for parts. You can get a new core i7 and an ati 4870 or nvidia gtx 260 or 280 as a video card. Any of those cards should do very nice on even crysis.

    Crysis is probably the best benchmark as far as gaming is concerned. Get vista 64 bit for directx 10 and at least 4gb ram which you can get cheap. I'm guessing you'll spend around $1,200 for that, maybe less. I haven't checked prices but that's your best option if you want to game 90% of the time.

    Oh I wouldn't get an sli setup either (2 of the same cards used together). It's more of a marketing thing and you can just wait for a few years and spend that money on a more powerful card.
     
  17. barr08 thread starter macrumors 65816

    barr08

    Joined:
    Aug 9, 2006
    Location:
    Boston, MA
    #17
    Yeah, I play mostly shooters, so the mouse/keyboard is invaluable. This is one of the main reasons I want to get a nice gaming PC to augment my console collection.

    I built the PC but didn't buy it, and I'm giving the iMac to my Mom, so I won't have it.

    Thanks for this good info. This basically mirrors what I have been finding online, so its good to hear a real person say it. the i7/some good ati card is the combo I am planning on going with.

    I think this sounds like my best bet for sure.
     
  18. bengal85 macrumors regular

    bengal85

    Joined:
    Oct 22, 2008
    Location:
    USA
    #18
    I had a grape imac g3 I really liked that computer but was forced to switch back becasue my school work could not be completed on a mac.

    now that I have gone back to mac I have noticed that windows is very bad
     
  19. barr08 thread starter macrumors 65816

    barr08

    Joined:
    Aug 9, 2006
    Location:
    Boston, MA
    #19
    So I took the plunge and purchased a Dell Studio XPS. Here are the specs:

    Intel Core i7 920 Processor (8MB L2 Cache, 2.66GHz)
    Genuine Windows Vista Home Premium Edition SP1, 64-Bit
    4GB Dual Channel DDR3 SDRAM at 1066MHz - 4 DIMMs
    500GB - 7200RPM, SATA 3.0Gb/s, 16MB Cache
    Single Drive: 16X CD/DVD burner (DVD+/-RW) w/double layer write capability
    Dell 23 inch Consumer S2309W Flat Panel, Adjustable Stand (1920x1080 resolution)
    256MB ATI Radeon HD 3650

    Got it for a cool $960 shipped on special. I'll probably need a new gfx card, but other than that it looks pretty tight.

    Next up is a new macbook!

    Thanks all for helping me make my decision.
     
  20. The Flashing Fi macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Sep 23, 2007
    #20
    The processor is great, but the RAM is the second slowest within DDR3 specification. DDR3 goes all the way up to DDR3 1600. DDR3 1066 is horrible, especially for Intel's new processor, which have ditched the old FSB and have adopted a similar memory controller architecture as AMD, which places the memory controller on the CPU itself (used to be in the Northbridge IIRC).

    With the memory controller on the CPU, the memory's latency plays a larger role in performance as well as the memory's speed, over the old Core 2 architecture.

    Also, that video card isn't too hot. It's in the same ball park as a 8600 GT/GTS.

    You probably should have considered building your own computer, but I suppose the price isn't too bad.
     
  21. barr08 thread starter macrumors 65816

    barr08

    Joined:
    Aug 9, 2006
    Location:
    Boston, MA
    #21
    Yeah, it isn't the best out there, but after a good amount of research on newegg and other sites of the sort, I can safely say I feel great about this deal. The processor is top of the line (even though it is the lowest of the 3 i7's), and it came with a 23" 1080p monitor, which will be nice to look at!

    How much of a hit am I looking at with the slow memory? Is it a big deal?
     
  22. The Flashing Fi macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Sep 23, 2007
    #22
    I can't give you a number. Any program that's memory intensive will be slower. Programs may load slower, you may take a bit of a hit in game performance. It's not going to be huge, maybe not noticeable. Just be aware that you have pretty much the slowest memory offered.
     
  23. Crazy-Horse macrumors newbie

    Crazy-Horse

    Joined:
    Jan 12, 2007
    Location:
    N. Ireland & Bristol, UK
    #23
    Although I'm not an expert in this at all, from what I had been reading about the Core i7's and their new integrated memory controller, as well as the requirement of much lower voltages to the RAM (1.6V maximum?) means that the requirement for fast RAM is much lessened, as bottlenecks are more likely to be reached as a result of fewer channels.

    If this is the case, the OP's 4x1GB (at least I think that was the configuration, sorry if not, I was speed-reading) sounds like a great set-up.
     
  24. The Flashing Fi macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Sep 23, 2007
    #24
    Actually, the on-die memory controller means that fast RAM is more important, as well as the CAS latencies.

    Before, the information had to travel from the RAM, to the northbridge and then to the CPU. Now, it's hooked straight up to the RAM. Think of it like a right triangle. Before, the data traveled through the data at the adjacent sides at the right angle. Now, the data travels through the hypotenuse, the shortest distance.

    So having slower memory is further magnified then it was on the old design. If you had memory with high latency, big whoop, since the latency was high anyway. Now, the connection is much faster and the latency is further reduced, putting the bottleneck on the memory instead of on the memory controller.

    How this transforms in real world performance with the new CPU, I don't know, since Intel changed the architecture quite a bit. AMD has used this design since 2003, and when they introduced it, they also revised their CPU architecture, making it nearly impossible for us, lowly consumers, to make a direct comparison through benchmarking.

    There is a reason why its used, and it's due to the lower latency.
     
  25. cg165 macrumors regular

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    #25
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    Everything looked great up until the video card. Sure, you can put a new one in there but what is the power supply rated at? If it doesn't have enough power, then you'll have to change that out as well. As for the memory, the best way to do it before was to match your memory speed to the fsb speed. The problem now is that nehalem got rid of fsb (front side bus) completely. I shouldn't say "problem" but I'm just not too sure about what you can use now.

    The biggest bottleneck will be the video card. You can always upgrade the memory as it becomes cheaper or you feel like it. Pushing 1920x1200 for games on that card might not be up to your standards. You'll probably have to lower some settings I'm sure. Great setup though. Try it out, see if you like it and go from there. You might be fine with it. The 4870 ati got good reviews and is supposed to be cheaper so you can always get that in like 6 months even cheaper.
     

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