The total cost to switch to Mac

Discussion in 'Mac Pro' started by pencilbox, Aug 8, 2009.

  1. pencilbox macrumors newbie

    Aug 8, 2009
    is too huge an investment for me. After spending 2 weeks reading through posts, reviews, visiting forums and relevant sites, I'm almost leaning towards switching. What holding me back is the total cost to switch. After some conversative calculation, I need to invest at least a 8k to do the switch (hardware + software). Now, I am hesitating as its consider quite a huge investment to me to take the plunge. I need to talk to real people.

    I'm a designer and have been using Windows for the past 10 years. I know you would not believe there is a designer who never touches Mac. I started off in a corporate environment on a PC and have been doing that ever since. I'm doing full time freelancing now and majority of my clients are PC users. Windows have NEVER given me any problems. I have never experienced any system crash, I have never installed any anti-virus or anti-spam software and my system is never infected, I have never need to call up tech support for help. I am not tech savvy but using Windows have been that problem free for me. So, I'm justified to never explore a Mac and have never thought of switching.

    Lately, I'm on the look out to buy a new workstation to replace the aged 4 year old workstation and my CRT monitor, I'm considering getting my hands on the new Mac Pro and the 24" LED. Especially after knowing I can run Windows in Mac too. I knew Mac WAS the ultimate choice for designers in the past but I am wondering if Windows have catch up on this market share successfully. If you are a designer doing print and web and are using windows and mac pro at the same time, would you mind to share your experience on both systems and what are the things I need to be aware of when I switched?

    My primary usage is to run multiple apps from the Master Collection Suite and I do scripting on PHP too. Not a photographer and not doing any video editing. If I intend to run both windows and os at the same time, is it advisable to have three internal hard disk drive, one for os, one for windows and one for backing up both + one TC to back up externally?

    I intend to purchase a new monitor but have been reading so many reviews that the 24" LED's cable is too short to have the tower set up on the floor. My 2nd option is the LP2475 which costs higher than apple LED in my country. If I decided to continue to use my CRT monitor (very very old model), do I need two graphics card for this dual set up or I can have one and get a cable to link up the two monitors with the Mac Pro?

    I too have few questions on applecare plan, it states on the website I can purchase the Applecare within a year of hardware purchase and it covers up to 3 years. It's understandable if I purchase it together with the new tower but what if

    - I decided to buy new add-on peripherals during these three years, will they be automatically registered into 1 applecare plan or I have to purchase individual applecare for each item I bought?
    -If I buy the mac pro without applecare, few months later, I decided to buy a TC and the applecare plan, will the mac pro be covered underl the same plan too?
    - If I decided to take a risk and go without the applecare plan, but few months later, the mac pro starts giving me hardware problems, am I allowed to purchase the applecare plan then and save on the possible replacement/repair cost?

    Guess I'm getting lengthy... look forward to hearing your thoughts, tips, advise and suggestions. Thanks
  2. Tallest Skil macrumors P6

    Tallest Skil

    Aug 13, 2006
    1 Geostationary Tower Plaza
    Every graphics card has two ports. You can use two monitors.

    No peripherals are covered by AppleCare. If you buy additional Apple products, they have their own AppleCare.

    No. AppleCare only covers one device.

    You already have AppleCare for an entire year when you buy the machine.
  3. kirreip macrumors regular

    Feb 11, 2009
    If the cable is too short, then buy an extension cable.

    And if you buy the apple cinema display together with your mac and buy apple care (3 years), then your display is covered too. But if you buy the display later, then you need a seperate apple care.
  4. Zerozal macrumors 6502

    Apr 3, 2009
    Is there a compelling reason for you to switch to Mac? If you've always used PCs with no problems and most of your clients are on PCs, why are you considering switching? Don't get me wrong, I love my Mac Pro, but for a freelancer in this economy to sink $8k into a totally new system seems, well..ill advised.

    But anyway. If you are using Adobe products, give them a call and tell them you are switching to a Mac and need cross-licenses for your software. You do NOT need to re-purchase the Master Collection--assuming you have properly licensed installs of the PC version, Adobe will provide a Mac version for a nominal fee. Hopefully that will save you some $$$!

    If you are any kind of designer, the 24" LED Cinema Display is great. You definately want to ditch your CRT and step into the 2000's with a modern display. You can read some thoughts on using the 24" display with the Mac Pro at this thread:
  5. Doctor Q Administrator

    Doctor Q

    Staff Member

    Sep 19, 2002
    Los Angeles
    Remember that if you don't switch you may have some costs as well. If you consider your PC to be in need of replacement or an upgrade, it's the difference in PC vs. Mac cost that you should weigh.

    As Zerozal points out, you should identify the benefits you'd except from making the switch. There are plenty of advantages to Macs and Mac OS X (see What do you like and dislike about Mac OS X?), so the question is which would apply to you.

    I'm usually a Mac proponent because of the many minor factors that seem to make Mac users happier, but I see some negatives for you making the switch:
    • Being on a different platform than a majority of your clients. Although you can run Windows on a Mac, as you've noted, I wouldn't make the switch if I expected to spend most of my time in Windows.
    • Macs and the iLife suite are especially good for beginners, but you're already a long-time professional user.
    • Adobe's software is mostly the same (once you get used to using different modifier keys), and I think MS Office has a better implementation under Windows.
    • You've been lucky to escape many of the nightmares of Windows users, so one of the common benefits of Macs (escaping Windows problems) doesn't apply to you.
    This is not to say you shouldn't switch, but to suggest that you gather more details about the potential benefits.
  6. gugucom macrumors 68020


    May 21, 2009
    Munich, Germany
    The Mac Pro is actually a great machine for switchers. It provides four internal drives of which you can dedicate one completely to boot Windows natively and then you will have a machine that is 99% compatible with your existing Windows BIOS machine. To be on the safe side do not look at Mac Pros made before 2008 because the machines prior to that date did have some compatibility issues with their firmware.

    Actually a refurbished 2008 model would probably be a great cost saver. The Mac Pros are very reliable and do not experienve the rigors that the laptops are subjected to. I would not be too much concerned if you are offered a great deal and the machine has no Apple care. The 2008 models are really worth their money and you will be hard pressed to find a Windows workstation of similar spec and quality for the same price. The 2009 machines saw a huge price hike when Apple adopted the new Nehalem technology with a new CPU socket. Nehalem is certainly a more capable machine with increased memory bandwidth but for your application that is completely irrelvant. You are not going to exhaust the 2008 machine potential unless you change your mind and go to video editing. So if you want a monster machine for a nice price look at a refurbished 2,8 GHz 2008 Mac Pro.
  7. juanster macrumors 68020


    Mar 2, 2007
    I am a junior web designer. Most of my instructors use pc(yeah shocking to me too). Some of them use only Macs. I am a mac user and can do everything better on the mac platform, even simple things like key shortcuts, in design they add up and save you huge amounts of time at the end, and therefore saving/making you more money.

    My point is, Windows machine and OS X machine will get you to the same spot, but if you've never had any problemw ith pc why the switch?

    it's not a bad thing either im sure in less than a month you ll be fully up and running as long as you can accept both OS do the same thing but sometimes you 've got to jump thru different loops to get there.

    whatever you get at the end make sure it really is what you WANT, because it is you who will be spending hours after hours working on the machine not your clients, and for most design stuff (mostly adobe right?) is all easily cross platform. Except for the 3d stuff.
  8. Tesselator macrumors 601


    Jan 9, 2008
    I think it depends on you satisfaction levels. I switched because I wasn't satisfied with Microsoft morally! They spend their proceeds on eugenics in Africa mostly. That means every time I buy an MS product I'm paying for someone's abortion or some BS propaganda instead of trying to build up and restore those same African cultures. Bill's dad and IBM have been into this sorta thing long before MS existed. When the BMGF was founded and actively started in with the same aggressive themes is when I drew my lines. The MS OS's themselves are OK. Not great but OK enough to use the apps needed for whatever - usually. Anyway, I think your own personal satisfaction levels based on whatever is important to you should be the determinate factors.

    No, not hard to believe at all. I'm involved with/in the design community in a very big way and Windows based designers outnumber Mac based designers by at least ten to one. And most of those people have never used a Mac and aren't interested in trying either.

    Yeah, in the early 90's and late 80's it was considered the best platform for page layout and print illustration. That's all though and that's long over. By the late 90's Mac was pretty terrible as a designers' platform. Over the past 5 years it's regained some lost ground and began to keep a fairly healthy pace with windoze. Mac is still measurably behind though - I don't mind being honest. It's just that it's become "good enough" for people like me that would rather not use MS products for whatever reasons. Linux is probably similar but even further behind - at least IMO.

    The biggest thing to be aware of IMO is the lack of available commercial software. Many commercial and share-ware applications simply do not exist on the Mac. Plug-ins are another source of concern as well. Mostly we can find something that's almost as good but the selections is still very limited in comparison. Hardware - expansion cards and etc. - is another source of concern. I suppose if you boot into bootcamp you'll be OK but don't expect to find a large selection that will work on the Mac under OS X.

    Something to look out for concerning monitors are the connections and display sizes. Some Apple video card options come with proprietary MiniDV that kinda sucks and may need expensive adaptors. Currently going out to an HDMI monitor may limit you to display resolutions that are NOT the monitor's native resolution and as a result looks terrible. This just started happening with 10.5.6 a few months ago.

    Yeah, that sounds good! That would certainly be better than partitioning one drive at any rate. Keep in mind that this can be done in both directions though. Running OS X (or Linux) on a PC or running Windows (or Linux) on Apple gear. Both ways are possible and about the same level of difficulty to set-up and maintain. In 2009 the Mac Pros are terribly overpriced compared to PC systems of similar (or even better) ilk.

    I can only guess at the first two but for the last one the answer is yes.
  9. OllyW Moderator


    Staff Member

    Oct 11, 2005
    The Black Country, England
    Not 100% true. You have to purchase the extras with the Mac, you can't add them to the AppleCare at a later date.

  10. Doc69 macrumors 6502

    Dec 21, 2005
    You didn't really mention any good reasons to switch, but plenty of reasons not to. So from a business standpoint, I would recommend that you stay with Windows.

    If your reason for wanting to switch is just a vague "I think a Mac would be better", it may not justify an 8K outlay. Sure, if you got the money, then great, Macs are indeed nicer computers, but from what I read, it seems to make more sense for you to buy a new Windows machine. In the end, using Adobe software will get you to the same point on either a Mac or a PC.

    I just built a quad core PC with an i7 Core 920 CPU, 6GB of RAM and three graphics cards running Windows 7 RC 64-bit. The cost was just under $1000. The machine is blazingly fast and very stable. It will run your Adobe software just as fast as new quad core Mac Pro.

    Since you already own the Master collection for Windows, I think your decision is a no brainer. If you didn't, the cost of switching would be much lower and could probably be justified, as a Mac gives you access to both platforms on one computer.

    Also, you may want to think twice about doing photographic work on a glossy display. There are better displays out there with higher color accuracy etc. for about the same money as the Apple 24".
  11. dimme macrumors 65816

    Feb 14, 2007
    SF, CA
    I think you should stay with Windows. I don't see any advantages to switch. If you have so cash burning a hole in you pocket get a new monitor and Windows 7. Good Luck!
  12. Infrared macrumors 68000


    Mar 28, 2007
    I would suggest first considering the Mac Pro as a Windows machine.
    You can compare it with other Windows machines and see whether it
    fits your criteria. If you then decide to buy a Mac Pro, you can later
    decide whether to use OS X or Windows.
  13. Dr.Pants macrumors 65816


    Jan 8, 2009
    Do you have NEC in your country? Their IPS 24" and 26" offerings are superior (IMO) then Apple's offering.

    Everything else that I could think of happens to have been said previously :p
  14. bearcatrp macrumors 68000

    Sep 24, 2008
    Boon Docks USA
  15. GoKyu macrumors 65816


    Feb 15, 2007
    New Orleans
    If a major cost issue is with the Adobe Creative Suite, then remember that Adobe offers a cross-grade license - basically you pay a small fee (probably depending on which suite you have) and destroy your old windows copy, and they'll send you the Mac version.

    You USUALLY (unless you've got a very old version) don't have to shell out another $1000-2000 for a new Creative Suite license on the Mac.
  16. pencilbox thread starter macrumors newbie

    Aug 8, 2009
    Thanks all for knocking some senses into me. Appreciate the time taken to share your views, advice and suggestions.

    @doctor Q you are right that I’m considering the cost difference in getting a PC and a Mac Pro.

    I worked in an office until late last year and have been using whatever configuration my ex-boss bought for me. My home PC set up is not top notch and especially after completing a 50 pages product catalog booklet recently, while waiting for the progress bar to disappear each time, I consumed bags of potatoes chips and mugs of coffee more than I ever had in the past years. I’m seriously in need of getting a new workstation since I’m doing full-time freelance now. I can see it as an investment.

    Reasons for switching to Mac Pro (not in order of importance):
    - I am always under the impression that Mac Pro is specifically catered to designers use and since it has a new release late last year, the configuration should be the best in the market for designers now.
    - I’ve read posts and reviews on how building a PC that is comparable to Mac Pro can be higher than the cost of buying a Mac Pro. I’m not a techy person, even if I would like to build one myself, I’ve no idea where to start from and how to get it done. It’s easier for me to grab just one off the shelf that meant to do what I need.
    - I’ve spent some time going through the tutorials on Apple’s site and it seems the GUI is as easy as Windows.
    - I do light PHP scripting and it helps after knowing I can enable Apache in a few clicks.
    - I’m not an adventurous computer user. I spent 85% of the time working with the Master Collection apps and 15% of the time checking emails, MSN and light surfing. It perhaps explains why I have never encountered any problems with Windows. I feel comfortable getting a machine that caters specifically for graphic applications as that will be my primary usage. When I do not have to work, I stay away from computer.
    - Learning a new Operating system can be refreshing to mind and help me to break away from old habits and explore better and more efficient way to work
    - Having experience in both platforms can be a marketable skill.
    - I know I can get a mac product anytime and can start with imac, macbook or minimac that has a lower entry level to start from but I am not a tech savvy person, my primary usage for computer is mainly for work. Working with one workstation is sufficient for me and I already have one laptop for presentation use, these two are all I need. Whatever I’m getting now should last me for another 4 years before the next upgrade. If I don’t get a Mac Pro now, I’ll not get one in the next 4 years. Not minimac, not imac and not mac book either if I can’t use them for work purpose.
    - I think OSX and Windows are similar to a non tech person like me. It’s a matter of learning a new way to find things, save files and keyboard shortcuts command. I have no idea how to work with registry even after that many years on PC.

    Of course, the reasons to switch were largely based on the “vision” created by the marketing and branding influence of Mac Pro. I was always under the impression that Mac Pro is the ultimate tool for designers. I can’t compare if it is better than Windows since I have never used one. There are anti-mac and anti-windows users out there with valid points on what they like and dislike about each platforms, but they didn’t share much of their background experience to shed more lights. The person can be one who touches Windows/Mac many years ago and that first impression last forever. The person can be one who doesn’t do graphic work as a living and find Mac over priced or Windows is suffice for any usage. It will be really good if I can hear the point of view from a print and web designer that has used both Mac and PC simultaneously now to do high intensive print work. Web design is pretty unaffected as any decent set up should be fine but print work relies a lot on the processor’s power.

    The biggest reason that is holding me back is the cost involved as I’ve mentioned. The predictable cost is the cost to purchase the tower but I’m afraid there will be unpredictable cost after that. I don’t know if I need to purchase any add-on peripherals to make it work. I’ve tried google for pc configuration recommended for graphical professionals but I can only find one Dell Precision T7500 but the price is quite on par with Mac Pro. I don’t know whats difference in the spec but it states is meant for creative applications. If you know of any other, would you mind to share with me?

    Oh yes, I’ve overlooked one question – If I create a file(psd/ai/eps..etc) in Mac, can PC users open it and vice versa?

    Till now, I've still yet to make up my mind. Do you think the reasons to switch are considerable?

    I've checked with Adobe as I bought the latest master collection CS4 for windows last year, I've to wait for the next upgrade to opt for a cross grade license.
  17. macrumors 6502

    Jan 10, 2008
    The Netherlands
    What about if I buy a macpro with applecare and I decide later to add another HDD. Will the HDD be covered by the applecare as well ????

  18. OllyW Moderator


    Staff Member

    Oct 11, 2005
    The Black Country, England
    No, it won't be covered. Only Apple supplied extras (as detailed in my earlier post) bought at the same time as the computer are covered.
  19. pencilbox thread starter macrumors newbie

    Aug 8, 2009
    Is there an off the shelf PC system that I can look into? I don't think I can build one myself by purchasing all items individually.
  20. Tesselator macrumors 601


    Jan 9, 2008
    Myth. It exists only as a "feeling" among a few elitist designer types. In reality Windows (as much as I hate it) should be better for design work as there are more tools available.

    The posts and reviews you read are completely and totally mistaken. At least for 2009. In 2006 and 2007 to duplicate identical specifications a DIY system ended up costing about the same - almost exactly the same. And this was a great testimonial to Apple's very good price performance ratio during those years. In 2008 I dunno exactly because I didn't spend so much time comparing and looking and various setups. In 2009 you can get a MUCH MUCH better spec'd machine than Apple is offering for MUCH MUCH less! On the high end we're talking 24 RAM slots, dual 3.2 quad core procs, 6 PCIe slots, 9 USB, 8 SAS connectors, 8 SATA connectors all healthily populated for $3000 less than Apple wants for a system with only dual quad 2.93 GHz, 8 RAM slots :(, 3 PCIe slots :(, etc. not to mention that with the PC one you get the full selection range of graphic cards. 2009 marks the first year in recent history that Apple shafts their customers on every level in every way.

    Yes. OS X is a great OS. Much easier to set up and use! It's basically an Apple-centric file manager on top of FreeBSD and NetBSD. This simplicity has MANY more advantages than disadvantages IMHO. MS products are downright daft when you compare them to a well designed OS. As a designer I think it's important to ask yourself how much time you spend in the OS though... I mean as opposed to inside an application - which will be about the same Mac, Windows, or Linux.

    I set it up on Windows about 5 years ago and thought it was extremely easy there as well. Basically just double click and follow the installer prompts. It comes pre-installed with Linux. ;)

    Mac is definitely not a platform that is designed for or that "caters specifically" for graphic applications. As was mentioned earlier Windows is actually still ahead in that department. About the only department I can think of that Mac takes the lead in is internet resource incorporation and utilization in a few of the Apple only home user grade tools. The way iPhoto, iTunes, iMovie, iWeb, iDVD, iCal, iChat, iDisk, iPhone, iPod, and etc., work with internet resources and work together in unison, is very beautiful indeed. Much better and much easier than other OS's or 3rd party packages offer. But that's all I can think of. On every other level it's up to 3rd party developers to define the status of the platform. And as mentioned Windows has a pretty hugh lead - more developers, more tools, and better tools are available. Even the Adobe suite you keep mentioning is more advanced on the Windows platform than it is under OS X. We don't have 64-bit Adobe apps here yet. Windows has had for about a year already. I hate Windows and I'll do without a few things to avoid it but I'm going to be honest and not lie about the status of the two and how they compare.

    I see that as well. I'm slightly affected by it. For me, as mentioned, the rational is moral and political though.

    Application data? Mostly yes. It's not 100% though. Maybe 90%. :D And for the other 10% there's usually a workable solution. I almost never have a problem.

    "Considerable"? as in worthy of consideration? Sure, but that's all personal and up to you. For me the moral/political issues trump all. Everyone's different.

    Which is just as well. It won't be till then that we get 64-bit in those Abode apps.
  21. neiltc13 macrumors 68040


    May 27, 2006
    This is probably the worst possible time for anyone to consider "switching". Microsoft are about to unleash the greatest operating system they have ever developed and Apple are fumbling around with mediocre performance updates to an OS that was broken from the beginning.

    If this was 2005 and we were talking XP vs Tiger then I'd be telling you to switch, but the roles are practically reversed now.
  22. bozz2006 macrumors 68030


    Aug 24, 2007
    why do you say that Apple's OS has been broken since the beginning? just curious.
  23. Tesselator macrumors 601


    Jan 9, 2008
    Yeah, I wanna know too. What exactly was/is broken?
  24. gugucom macrumors 68020


    May 21, 2009
    Munich, Germany
    The other thing I don't understand is where in detail Win7-64 is so much better than Vista-64 or XP-64. I see only small incremental advances there. One thing one cannot denie is that Windows had an OS with stable 64-bit kernel way before Apple.
  25. 300D macrumors 65816


    May 2, 2009
    Thats a laugh. W7 is nothing more than a face-lift of vista. Microsoft hasn't made a decent MacOS clone since 3.1.1

    Have you been using the 10.0 public beta for the last decade?

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