Switching. Need info on what macs are about.

Discussion in 'Buying Tips, Advice and Discussion (archive)' started by riddick, May 17, 2005.

  1. riddick macrumors newbie

    May 17, 2005
    I am thinking of switching from a pc to a mac. I have had pcs for a while, but have started to become fed up with the constant battle with spyware, viruses etc. I think the platform has its benefits, but im wondering if a mac will be better for me. To be honest i would just like something to work rather than have to be constantly updating it and having multiple programs running to prevent breaches of allsorts.

    Im pretty sure i have my usage worked out, and the things i want to be doing with it are: Word processing, image editing (light - medium), dv editing (lightish), internet, music, and other general tasks. I have looked at the imac range, but am a little put off by the integrated screen and the fact that i want to keep the monitor i already have as it cost me a lot. I have been looking at the powermacs, but i dont know much about them or the os in general. I am hoping for some opinions on the benefits of using a mac over a pc. I dont want to start a flame war, and would appreciate input from people who have used both platforms. Also, it would be great if someone with a powermac could tell me some of the possible limitations, or things that i might need to research. Thanks for the help.
  2. Mord macrumors G4


    Aug 24, 2003
    get a powerbook, then you can use your old screen.

    i trust it's a DVI display? if it's vga there is a hack that allows you to screen span with imacs/emacs/ibooks that works well.
  3. irjaelisa macrumors newbie

    May 17, 2005
    San Francisco
    what about a mac mini?

    It sounds like you're doing some pretty straight forward computing there, nothing to crazy on the ram use. Maybe for your first mac, a Mac Mini would suffice, and just bump up the memory a bit. I understand that you can use all your PC gadgets on it, so the start up cost would be minimal. The powerbook suggested above would be awesome too, and mobile (something I love-- nothing like sitting in a cafe with my iBook)... and would definitely suit your needs. However, they tend to be cost prohibitive for some of us who instead painfully pine for them.

    My personal experience...
    I switched to Mac from PC about two years ago and love it (though I still have to use a PC at work). It takes just a little getting use to after conforming to PC/Windows "logic" for so long, but in time you'll feel right at home. The platform is very intuitive. If you live near an Apple store (http://www.apple.com/retail), you might want to go in and attend one of their Switch seminars, or talk to one of the "Geniuses" about your needs to see what s/he recommends.

    I hope that was helpful.
  4. cwedl macrumors 65816


    Jun 5, 2003
    I hope this helps.
    P.s. can't be bothered to read though it to check for spelling or grammatical mistakes so I apologise in advance.

    You can do what you need to do on both a Windows PC and a Mac.
    I use both daily and I prefer Macs, The operating system feels cleaner, I don't get frustrated like I do on a pc, this may be because when I program crashes it doesn't take the mac operating system down with it, like with a PC. And so all these restarts I have to do with my pc just doesn't happen with my mac.

    Image editing - for simple editing like getting rid of red eye or lightening the picture you can use iPhoto, I love this program, it allows you to catalogue all your pictures and movies from your camera. for more serious editing I use photoshop, its very very good, but also very very expensive, if you already have photoshop for windows you will still need to buy it for the Mac.here

    Dv Editing - iMovie is very good, use it very rarely, normally just to play around with it. Obviously for heavier editing finalcut express can be used available from apple.Here

    Word processing - you can get microsoft office 2004 for the mac, which is in my opinion far superior than microsoft office 2003 for windows, the formatting palette in which all the tasks that you may do most often are in the palette so you don't have to go through menus and buttons to perform them.here

    If you need to use windows at any time you can use virtual pc which is an emulator my Microsoft allowing you to run windows xp and windows xp programs on the Mac. Its quite slow though and is very demanding on RAM.

    The operating system is very cool, more stable and as far as I am concerned Virus and spyware free for the moment. Switching to a mac took me about 9 months to consider, I played with macs for hours and read books before I switched, there are even books about switching, I have 2 of them. If you do decide I would recommend getting a book about Tiger so you can learn about it.

    If I think you should switch, I really can't tell you, If you are a user expecting not to have to learn anything new, then I wouldn't switch. I leant my mum my powerbook, shes been a windows user since shes worked, she only uses a computer when she has too and so doesn't now much other than routine things. She was phoning me up every five minutes asking me how to do stuff on the Mac, I would recommend that she doesn't switch.

    However from the sounds of it you seem to know a lot more, you may fine it weird switching because somethings you are used to on windows like using the cross at the top right of an application would close the application. well on the mac this would only close the application window not the application, and the fact that the cross is on the left side anyway! another thing that bothered was print preview, they open up in preview and not in a special print preview mode so that you can change the page layout to suit your needs.

    I switched when Jaguar had just come out, is was good, but panther and now tiger are great! spotlight in tiger is very good, but the best feature for me, is expose, this when you press F9 resizes all the application windows you have open, you can then click on the one window that you want to work on, I love that! F11 moves all the applications off the desktop so that you open files living on your desktop.

    In a nutshell, you could buy a Mac or you could buy a PC, if you buy an Mac G5 is the way to go, I would recommend at least 1Ghz of ram! the operating system is hungry and needs loads of Ram. Powermacs are great, I will get one when I can afford one, the apple cinema displays are amazing as well! G5 iMacs are very good, may not be as fast because you can order dual processor Powermacs, but you do get an all in one design which will save space.For Dv editing a Powermac with its dual layer burning at 16X will certainly be a plus point, the Powermac will also allow you to upgrade more easily like change the graphics card etc. On the PC side, Dells in my opinion are cheaply made, and the service is the worst ever, I phoned them up to book an engineer the indian man didn't even understand me!!!
    at least if you apple goes wrong you will speak to someone that understands you. In terms of price difference, The Mac will always be the more expensive, but with that few hundred pounds more, you get get a a better quality system, thats been designed to suit the consumers needs, and that makes using it enjoyable, not like the "me too" computer boxes you have to put up with.

    1 last thing, when you own a mac, you become part of the mac community, we help fellow mac users on any problems they have. :)
  5. destroyboredom macrumors 6502

    Dec 16, 2002
    Washington, DC.

    I made the switch about 2 1/2 years ago and haven't looked back since, though I am still forced to use a Windows machine at work. I started out with an iBook and currently own a DP Powermac.

    I don't think it's possible to come from Windows and not enjoy the Mac platform. Everything just works and it's that simple. You don't have to waste time or system resources running anti-virus software or spyware removal programs.

    As far as what to go with, that really depends on your budget and needs. For myself, I feel confident that the machine I bought will last me for years to come. It has great expanability from a memory and storage standpoint.
  6. Maxiseller macrumors 6502a


    Jan 11, 2005
    Little grey, chilly island.
    It does all depend of course on what you're willing to part with in terms of money.

    I know you don't want to part with your display, but you can't fault the iMac. It's beautiful, but more importantly, up-to-date, functional and cost effective. It's an all round good solution.

    I don't think a Mac Mini is a necessarily good option for a switcher. Basically you get what you pay for, and unless you load it, you're unlikely to get the best performance from it. It is also worth noting that installing Superdrives (You mention DV editing) and a faster hard drive (not to mention larger external ones) and 1GB of ram you're looking at a much more expensive system.

    You're only option therefore is the Powermac if you really do not want the iMac. A fantastic machine albeit bulky but damn does it get the job done. I can't beat the previous reply in terms of software, but I can add a couple of more suggestions, and some of my own experiences:

    1) Get MPlayer while it is still available. This combined with Quicktime is a great all round media solution for viewing AVI files for example.
    2) Limewire - we all need P2P occassionally.
    3) OnyX - Mac OS X can leave you thinking there is nothing to do in terms of keeping your system running smoothly. This program is a gem.

    Then you've got Photoshop Elements for the light Graphics work, Office '04, VPC as mentioned.

    You tend to find that on a Mac there is one tremendous program that does exactly what you want rather than 98 inefficient ones that do one thing you want, so bear that in mind when looking at software. This is rapidly chaning however as the popularity of the Mac grows at a tremendous rate.

    A note on my switch: Unfortunately, I cannot claim to be a long Mac follower - I made the switch, like you, a little over two years ago. My first Mac was a Powerbook Titanium 15" with Combo Drive running at 867Mhz on OS X Jagwire! At first I was overwhelmed at how beautiful it was. Then I pined for Windows (It's like a drug!), because of the "little things" that I couldn't do like play AVI files, and now, I'm three more computers down the line (Mac Mini, eMac and an iBook all under one roof) and I'm as happy as a pig with a potato. The GUI is very different, the speed is different, and I firmly suggest that you get a G5 processor with 1GB of ram to enable your switch to be smooth and easy. Then I suggest you get all the programs mentioned here, and bookmark this page for future referance.

    Its a great community, and I have to say that in finding this page It really has turned around how I use my mac. Now, a couple of years down the line, I know that my productivity has risen, I'm throwning no tantrums at my fragile TFT, and my old grey Celeron box is in the loft, waiting for sombody to adopt it. Go on, make the switch!
  7. Coca-Cola macrumors 6502

    Dec 10, 2002
    It's time for a mac mini!

    If I had a monitor, I would get the mac mini. Bump up that ram! It makes a huge difference. A gig would be sweet. For word processing, try out mellel, or nissus writer express. For DV, iMovie rocks, all the iApps are good. Image editing- check out graphic converter.
  8. macbaseball macrumors 6502a


    Feb 27, 2005
    Northern California
    I disagree, about the Mac Mini. It sounds like you are into your computers, and you can afford to get what you want.

    I think you should either get a Dual 1.8 or a dual 2.0, and then buy a gig or two of RAM. For Power Macs the RAM must be installed in pairs. You will get a lot better performance on the video editing on a Power Mac. The G5 will stay good for a lot longer than a G4 with constrictions on upgrades.
  9. jsw Moderator emeritus


    Mar 16, 2004
    Andover, MA
    I used Macs since the day they were born (well, the year they were born), all through college, into the early 90's. Then I grew disenchanted and went to Windows (although, at the time, I mainly used Solaris at work). I continued to use UNIX-type and Windows OSs until 2002, when I bought my wife an iMac. I got one because I thought it would stop her from asking me all sorts of computer-related questions so I could work on my Windows laptop. I sat down to set it up and expected to be there 10-20 minutes.

    I barely left it from that Friday night until I had to go to work Monday morning. I was having too much fun.

    I was and am pretty adept at the various Windows flavors. I still like a few things about Windows far more than OS X (example: being able to resize windows from any corner/side). I still use Windows every workday. I have nothing really against it. There is more software, things are cheaper, and it gets the job done.

    On the other hand, there are a number of reasons why I use OS X instead of Windows at every possible opportunity. They include:

    (1) No adware/spyware/viruses. Of course this will change. But it won't ever be as bad as it is on the Windows side. It's nice to be able to click on things without that constant fear I feel on Windows. Yes, I know one can be perfectly safe using Windows. It just takes too much effort for me to feel caught up enough that I know I'm not missing anything important.

    (2) Nicer community. Yes, Mac people can at times be a bit granola-ish and fiercely defensive of Apple and its products, but it's a good, fun community.

    (3) Better overall quality. You get what you pay for, and a G5 PowerMac is built better than any PC you own. Open one up and look inside. The engineering is fantastic.

    (4) Better OS. This is, to some, debatable, but, as one who uses OS X Tiger, Win2K, WinXP, and, occasionally, Linux and UNIX variants, I feel that OS X is more solid. It is not crashproof. It is not perfect. It is weaker than XP in some areas. But, overall, I consider it to be vastly superior.

    (5) Better gaming. Just kidding. If you're a gamer, get a PC; World of Warcraft, Warcraft III, Halo, etc. all play on Macs just fine, but games generally come out sooner or only on PCs and generally run better on them.

    (6) UNIX underpinnings, Java built-in, and AppleScript. If you like to play around with any type of programming, OS X is vastly more fun - everything comes built in.

    (7) Air of superiority. Yeah, well, perhaps Macs really aren't better than PCs, but once you get one you'll feel entitled to believe that they are.

    I have yet to run into any show-stoppers when using a Mac as opposed to a PC. I bought MS Office and recommend it, but the apps that come with the Mac are - with the exclusion of office productivity software - top notch. You might not need to buy anything else.

    It'll take you a while to get used to OS X. However, very, very, very few people switch back to Windows once they've gotten used to Macs, and the superior OS is the reason. We all know the hardware is weak and overpriced (well, really, for the most part it is), but we stay because of the OS.

    Get a PowerMac, do a four-way iChat, and you'll never go back.
  10. j26 macrumors 65832


    Mar 30, 2005
    A lot's been said already, but I'd just like to add -

    Just go for it!!! You will be happy.

    I changed from a Windows laptop to a PowerBook about 2 months ago and I love it. Previously I had to fight with the machine to do anything. With the PowerBook I get my jobs done with no hassle, no worries. Your are planning on using it for pretty much the same as me and I find that the PowerBook does it all admirably well.
    The interface is much better than windows, and easy to use once you get an idea for the shortcuts, and most of the software you will need for basic use is preinstalled (iTunes,iMovie,iPhoto etc)
    The only reservation I have about my PowerBook is that the trackpad has one mouse button, but I'm even getting used to that (Ctrl+Click or just holding down the mouse button brings up the alternate menu). I've abandoned my usb mouse, and am on the lookout at the moment for a reasonably prices bluetooth mouse.

    Just to add a point on WP and Office applications. I use NeoOffice/J (a mac version of OpenOffice) which I find is pretty compatible with MS Office (You will still have to deal with pc people). It's also free.
  11. Maxiseller macrumors 6502a


    Jan 11, 2005
    Little grey, chilly island.
    Excellent post JSW

    He's right - the hardware can be a little overpriced, and in some respects OS X is indeed flawed - but gosh, it's got to be better than Windows.

    Also, Ive yet to try out tiger - but it seems to have some fantastic innovative features that Windows just doesn't have.

    I don't think this is about a company that has 5% market share - it's about a company that is very quickly reaching targets and has the ability to have a 50% + market share. It's about superb innovation, implementation and frankly the community side to it has tremendous advantages.
  12. jsalzer macrumors 6502a


    Jan 18, 2004

    Well, just so you can say you've been given every piece of advice and are now totally confuzzled, I'm going to tell you to go iMac. I know you want to keep using your monitor - why not keep it attached to your PC, though?

    The iMac is built rock solid. It's easy to upgrade if and when you need to. You get a G5, so you'll be ready for 64 bit processing and know your computer will still be top-notch years from now.

    Power. Beauty. Portability when you need it. You just can't lose!

    And it's a nice price versus quality match.

    And did I mention it's beautiful?


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