Thinking about switching from Windows - need advice/opinion

Discussion in 'Buying Tips and Advice' started by p6889k, Jun 25, 2007.

  1. p6889k macrumors newbie

    Jun 25, 2007

    I've been using Microsoft software for the last 15 years and have lately started thinking about switching to the Mac platform (OS X). For the past few weeks I've been reading various Mac articles and newsgroups to educate myself. I have learned a lot, but still have a ton of questions. I would really appreciate anyone to please provide feedback (both positive and negative) for my questions below. I would especially like to hear from those that switched from Windows to OS X.

    1. Does installing/uninstalling of new applications slow down the system?

    It seems that I spend ton of time just keeping my Windows running smoothly. After some time, the registry gets filled up with junk, and I have various background processes slowing my machine. I usually end up reinstalling windows every year to get rid of the junk I no longer need. I hardly have any spyware or viruses, but do frequently install software trials. I'm technical/geek enough to fix things, but I simply no longer feel like spending my time doing it. I want to use my computer without constantly fixing/tweaking something. Things get especially ugly when my 10 year old niece and nephew get on the internet to play Disney games - it doesn't matter how many firewalls, spam protections I have installed, they are always able to bring my computer to its knees.
    How is your experience with OS-X? Will I have performance problems after installing/uninstalling numerous software trials? Can I keep the system running smoothly without hunting which specific process is slowing down my Mac and cleaning up the system? How is your Mac performing after your kids played games online for a week?

    2. Connecting to Windows network share?
    I have a media/backup windows server on my home network. It's not in a Windows domain, it's only in my Workgroup and is used as a file share server. Is it easy to setup a connection from the Mac to this file server to manage files, e.g. view/update photos, videos, documents. On my windows machines, I have a mapped network drive pointing to the central server - is there an equivalent on the Mac. I would like a solution that could remember the servers login/password, so that I don't have to authenticate every time I'm trying to get to a file?

    3. Can iPhoto and iTunes manage media on a Windows network file share?

    4. Is there a photo management/browser application that can match the speed of ACDSee for Windows?
    I do a lot of photography and use ACDSee as my photo browser application. I use Photoshop and Lightroom to edit, but ACDSee for viewing. ACDSee is extremely fast. I have a library of 20,000 pictures and ACDSee can display thumbnails extremely fast - I can scroll down a list of a thousand photos and it smoothly scrolls down without any rendering slow downs. I tried Lightroom, but it was extremely slow for browsing my library - I use it only for editing. I plan to use my Lightroom on Mac for editing, but don't know what app can give me the speed of ACDSee for image browsing. I've read numerous stories about how iPhoto slows down significantly with large photo libraries.

    5. Managing multimedia on multiple HDDs.
    I may get some of the names incorrect on this one, so please bear with me. In OS-X, when I double click the HDD icon (in top right corner) it opens a file browsing application that shows links such as "Pictures", "Movies", "Documents", etc. in the left pane and when I click "Movies" it displays list of my movies on the right. I like this setup, but what happens if I have multiple HDDs and media split between multiple HDDs. Would clicking the "Movies" button display all movies on all HDD? If not, what would you suggest to manage large library of movies/pictures spread across several HDDs?

    6. Is there a 2-button mouse?
    This may sound stupid, but is there such a thing as a 2-button mouse for Mac? I think, I've read that I can use a third party mouse (Logitech, etc.), but is there an Apple manufactured 2-button mouse? Windows users use the right button a lot for context menus, do Mac apps not use context menus?

    Thank you.
  2. zephead macrumors 68000


    Apr 27, 2006
    in your pants
    Welcome, and kudos to you on making an effort to educate yourself about the Mac platform. I switched for the same reason as you, because I'm also perfectly capable of fixing Windows, but I was just fed up with always having to. I probably can't fully answer all your questions, but I'll answer the ones that I can. :)

    No. Mac OS X doesn't have a registry like Windows, so installing/uninstalling things won't slow down your computer over time. The applications are all self-contained, which means that instead of the files that make the program work being all over the place, they're inside the app file. Usually the only files that aren't inside the app are the preference files, which are only a few KB. Playing online games will be fine, although Adobe hasn't made the Mac version of Shockwave for Intel yet, which is only used for a few games anyway.

    I don't connect to Windows networks, but OS X does have Windows file sharing capabilities. Someone with experience with this can answer better than I can.

    I can't answer that, since I've never used ACDSee.

    Those folders are just regular folders with icons on them, so no, they don't automatically show stuff on external HDs when you connect them in those folders. You'll have to go to where they are on the HD.

    The Mighty Mouse that comes with most Macs is technically a 4-button mouse that has touch sensors under the shell for left and right click, but if you wan't a bona fide two-button mouse, pretty much any USB mouse will work.
  3. GFLPraxis macrumors 604


    Mar 17, 2004
    You shouldn't have too much problems with this :) That's why I use a Mac, as well. As I do IT work with Windows, I certainly know how to maintain a Windows PC; I just hate having to do it.

    Windows is interesting in that the more you use it, the more it sucks. I've actually got Windows dual-booted on my Mac; I *only* boot in Windows to play Windows-specific games. And it performs beautifully. Much better than on my PCs. Why? I *only* use Windows for a couple of apps, and when you use Windows very little, it is actually a nice OS to work with. I found that funny.

    What kind of games are your kids playing? Are they things the kids will need Windows to run? Or can they be played in a web browser (and thus on Windows)?

    One of the things I love about the OS is that most apps are self-contained. The entire application and everything it uses is stored within that one executable that you double-click on. No messy DLLs. No confusing registry. No ugly uninstallers. Transferring apps between computers is as simple as dragging and dropping the one file, and uninstallation is a matter of deleting one file.

    This, sadly, is not true of every app; most Adobe apps for example require an installer as they add stuff like fonts, and they add extra files with registration information. Also, a lot of trials are installed via installers since they need to add a key somewhere that says that you've installed the app before.

    But the majority work that way, and I love it.

    Piece of cake; Windows' networking is called Samba. Macs can connect to Samba servers- in Finder (equivilant to Explorer in Windows, the standard file browser) you can choose Go -> Connect To... and type in smb://sharename/share and tell it to save the username and password in the keychain. Then drag and drop the icon that appears in your desktop on to your Dock and you'll have a permanent shortcut to it with no authentication, ever.

    I connect to Windows shares in my home network all the time.

    The short answer is Yes...

    The long answer is depends how you have it set up. By default, iTunes copies everything into it's own library, but you can set it up to use shortcuts (or hold a modifier key when adding stuff to the library) so it'll look for stuff on network drives whenever it is available.

    I haven't tried it on iPhoto.

    I haven't tried ACDSee but iPhoto is designed for rapid scrolling through thousands of pictures. Just stock up on RAM.

    Clicking Movies would take you to the Movies folder in your user account (like My Pictures in Windows).

    You can easily create a Smart Folder which will list all movies on all HDs, though.

    When you have multiple HDs, you'll see multiple HDD icons in the Finder and on the desktop. Finder is the file browsing app.

    Actually, the DEFAULT Mac mouse button is two-button! It's got touch sensors so it knows if you're clicking on the right or left side. It just looks like one button.

    Additionally, you can plug in any third-party mouse and it works.

    Mac apps are designed so that you don't need context menus through the mouse to use them; anything you can do with a context menu, you can do by selecting something and using the toolbar at the top. HOWEVER, almost every Mac app *also* supports context menus. Best of both worlds- it doesn't matter if you have one or two buttons. The OS supports around 50 buttons IIRC.

    Macs have supported two-button mice for well over a decade now, so application designers keep that in mind. I've always preferred two buttons. In fact, holding down Ctrl makes all clicks into right-clicks, so even people with one-button mice can use context menus.

    Welcome to the Mac crowd! :)
  4. p6889k thread starter macrumors newbie

    Jun 25, 2007
    Zephead and GFLPraxis,

    thank you both for your encouraging comments. Sounds like you were in the same boat is I - hated the constant Windows maintenance.

    you mentioned to get a lot of RAM to make iPhoto fast with large photo libraries. Exactly how much RAM would you recommend? Are there some figures like, if you have x number of pictures you need x amount of RAM? I'm planning to get Mac Pro 2x2.66ghz with 2 or 4 GB of RAM - would that be sufficient?
  5. ktbubster macrumors 6502a


    Jan 20, 2007
    I only have a macbook pro CD with 1.5 gig of ram and I seem to have very little slowdown when skimming through tons of photos on iphoto...

    long story short.

    You will be MORE then fine. The mac pro is a POWERHOUSE of a machine, even the older models. 2gb should be fine, but if you want to not have to add later (and have a desire to play any system draining games at any point) then go ahead and put 4 in. More the better, but 2 should be just fine.

    Enjoy your machine! You won't be sorry. :D
  6. Vorbis macrumors newbie

    Jun 7, 2007
    I have a 2ghz imac with 2gig of Ram. I just cranked up Iphoto, it took 6 seconds to start and display the 13000 thumbnailed pictures I have. Scrolling is instantaneous.
  7. GFLPraxis macrumors 604


    Mar 17, 2004
    Heck yeah :) 2 GB and up shouldn't have problems.

    I've never tried >3000 photos, so if you find any sluggishness, upgrade the RAM more. But Steve Jobs demoed 10,000 photos onstage like 2-3 years ago, and IIRC the system he was using couldn't have fit more than 4 GB, and the hard drive wasn't SATA and the processors would have been slower.

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