Thinking of buying a mac

Discussion in 'Buying Tips, Advice and Discussion (archive)' started by ToddW, Feb 26, 2004.

  1. ToddW macrumors 6502a

    Feb 26, 2004
    Well, I am an avid PC user, build um and use them quite a bit. I currently use my PC for:

    -iTunes and iPod
    -home videos
    -programming (dual boot with linux)
    -circuit design programs (grad school research)
    -surfing the web
    -office stuff
    -games (HALO, ut2k4 demo)

    I have been thinking of buying a mac for awhile. I am really talking a total switch. I just can't seem to make up my mind. I use my PC a lot and have never had any problems with it. But I really want just one platform to do what I want.

    Any suggestions, I am really intrigued with apples hardware and OSX is great. I am trying to convince myself on if I should switch, and what should I buy,

    Any suggestions.
  2. unixkid macrumors regular

    Jan 25, 2004
    just do it

    i was a HARDCORE PC user for 14-years and would cringe at the word MAC but eventually got fed up with windows, and blue-screens, and freezing and my comp never working, and having to run ad-aware, and update my virus definitions, and getting win updates every week so i made the switch just a year and a half ago. I LOVE IT!!!!!!! i was so ignorant not to switch sooner!! everything works. I've made it my mission to switch all those chauvinistic windows users.

  3. whocares macrumors 65816


    Oct 9, 2002
    A Mac should meet you needs just fine. But don't forget to take into account software. If you're using specific software it may not work on the Mac or you may have to upgrade to a Mac version (Office, Photoshop, etc)...

    On what to buy also depends on your needs/cash....
  4. floatingspirit macrumors 6502

    Oct 13, 2001
    Seattle, WA
    Re: Thinking of buying a mac

    Once you switch;) you may find that statement to be relative :p

    Go 4 it man:)
  5. rfenik macrumors regular


    Oct 28, 2003
    I kept my Emachines computer on the desk for about a month after I bought my 12" powerbook, thinking i'd need it for something. Basically, it sat there for a month without being touched. It's now in the closet. My mac completely replaced my windows box and actually does a lot more.... like plug into the TV and stuff.

  6. ToddW thread starter macrumors 6502a

    Feb 26, 2004
    I guess the main thing I am worried about is can I do the same things on a mac that I do on a PC. Gaming, movies, and if the UI is as intuitive as that of Windows.

    I am also worried about price versus performance doing certain tasks. I know you cannot really compare GHz to GHz between the two platforms, but for games such as HALO or UT2K4 and photoshop tasks are pretty intensive for a PC.

    I run a self built PC that runs great, and I really don't want to have to give that up. I really don't like linux that much, having to constantly boot into another system to do some programming is getting annoying at the least.

    I am also wondering what type of mac to get?
  7. jxyama macrumors 68040


    Apr 3, 2003
    Re: Thinking of buying a mac

    get a Mac to do everything above except circuit design, visio, matlab and games. keep the PC to do the rest, but you won't need to dual boot because you'll be able to program on the Mac/X11.

    i am not sure what program you use for circuit design, but i'd imagine it's more economical for you to keep visio, matlab and games on your PC. (i hate matlab for OS X - it's just a UNIX version running in X11. very ugly and a glorified kluge at best - not worth paying for if you got a PC version already.)

    emailing, iTunes/iPod, video edit, PS, office and web stuff won't be a problem at all on a Mac. get FCE2, PS and Office v.X by edu. discount...

    i'd get an iBook or a PowerBook to nicely complement your existing PC...
  8. agreenster macrumors 68000


    Dec 6, 2001
    Walt Disney Animation Studios
    If its gaming you want to do on a mac, you probably wont be happy with anything but a G5. Even though Apple's claim to fame are their awesome, powerful, sleek portables, gaming on them (and any laptop, really) always leaves something to be desired, namely framerates.

    But for EVERYTHING else you mentioned, a mac will be perfect. You havent mentioned budget, so may I suggest the dual 1.8 or dual 2 ghz G5Powermacs and Apple display. :D You'll never be sorry picking up either of these machines. They are fast and super dependable. If you want to wait, there are abounding rumors abounding about speed bumps across the Powermac line (2.5 top end), and its widely known that the 3ghz models will be announced/available end of August.

    If cost is an issue, then you COULD get an iMac, but you are stepping down in processor to the G4, but they are still great little all-in-ones. Also, the video card will probably be less than ideal for gaming, but not bad.

    If its portability that you want, you have a wiiiiiide selection.

    As far as "movies and intuitive interface," you are talking about the most intuitive OS and interface there is. Watching movies on a Mac? Man, I was watching DVD's on G3's back in 1999...

    And its also widely known that Photoshop is regularly optimized for use on the PPC platform, and runs circles around the Windows version. This cant always be said when comparing the two different platforms. Photoshop has always been Apple's benchmarking tool. (because it always runs it so well) My 1Ghz Powerbook runs Photoshop about 25% faster than my dual 2ghz Pentium. But when comparing 3D software between the two, the Xeon wins hands down.

    Programming isnt a problem in OSX. It can be as simple as launching the terminal (unix shell) and type away. There is also some really great (and critically acclaimed) java tools available from Apple. (for free I think, someone help me out here) I dont know anything about matlab and visio though...
  9. cubist macrumors 68020

    Jul 4, 2002
    Muncie, Indiana
    Why not think about a portable, an iBook G4 or PowerBook. That way, you won't invest a huge amount of money, you'll add portable capability to your setup, and you can learn Mac on the go.
  10. ToddW thread starter macrumors 6502a

    Feb 26, 2004
    well right now, with work and gradschool I am thinking I will need to maintain the PC route for those applications. However, for my other stuff I am thinking of going for the ibook/powerbook route.

    I would perfer to use my email, office apps, ilife suite. I really like itunes so that would be good.

    How does the educational discount work. Can I go to an authorized apple retailer like CompUSA, flash my student ID and get a discounted ibook with bluetooth?
  11. gwuMACaddict macrumors 68040


    Apr 21, 2003
    washington dc
    Re: Re: Thinking of buying a mac

    there are plenty of mac programs that run very similar to matlab
  12. ToddW thread starter macrumors 6502a

    Feb 26, 2004
    yes there are some programs for the mac that run matlab type funtions, but I use matlab for advance control system design and analysis, and that alone is much dinero, I have an educational copy through my research grant so I really can't justify using matlab except on my PC.
  13. Crikey macrumors 6502

    Jan 14, 2004
    Spencer's Butte, Oregon
    I think you should get a Mac because they rock (and I was a heavy PC user for 12 years, still have three PCs I rarely use since I got my Mac). You sound just like I was before I took the plunge -- Unix-savvy, Windows-savvy, Mac-curious -- I find the Mac the best of all worlds.

    But, have you tried CygWin on your PC? That might let you do your Unix-style programming stuff under Windows.

    It seems like most hard-core gamers who have Macs also have a PC or a console for gaming. There are some great games that run on the Mac, but for selection people seem to cross platforms.

    Good luck,

  14. jxyama macrumors 68040


    Apr 3, 2003
    generally, no. some CompUSA accepts edu discounts, but the best bet is or apple retail.
  15. CmdrLaForge macrumors 601


    Feb 26, 2003
    around the world
    Well I can't completly agree. I not so sure about circuit design software.

    Anybody knows ?
  16. Danrose1977 macrumors regular


    I love the way you put that, it sounds a sexual thing.... kind of like "Hetrosexual but Bi-curious"!
  17. ToddW thread starter macrumors 6502a

    Feb 26, 2004
    Well I went to CompUSA today and looked really hard at the iBook. I really like it. I hate the touch pad though. I was wondering if anybody has anything to say about the iBook?

    Pros and Cons
  18. JamesDPS macrumors regular

    Feb 25, 2004
    Irvine, CA
    First, let me say I am a die-hard avid Mac user; but if gaming is at all important to you, you probably want BOTH systems available to you. I have my Macs to do work and some gaming on, and then my Winblows box, XBOX, and PS2 are all in the same category together, as gaming machines. The sad truth is that while most of the professional software for PC is available on Mac (and certainly comparable scientific and engineering software), Macs still don't get the games.

    Case in point: Halo 2 is coming to XBOX in a few months. I can't wait, but I'm also incredibly frustrated that M$ picked up the game, which by all rights should have been released on Mac - it's basically the sequel to the Marathon series of games. Half-Life 2 looks like reason enough to keep the Winblows box around.

    So I guess what I'm saying is don't over-spend on a high-end Mac for games -- if you're serious about the vid. editing you'll want something speedy, but it really just depends what you need to do. Even a lowly iMac will be a very welcome addition to your computing world. Personally, I'd suggest a Powerbook so that you can take your work anywhere, and come home and play games on your PC.

    Addendum: It wasn't until building a PC early last year that I truly came to appreciate Macs. I can't believe anyone would put up with that as their primary computer!
  19. thekaiser macrumors member

    Dec 16, 2002
    Huntington Beach, CA
    I run MATLAB on my PowerBook. Mathworks makes a copy and you can buy the toolboxes. I use the control toolbox and the neural network toolbox. My .m files work seamlessly with the PC's we have in our labs. However, if you already bought it for your PC, it may not be worth buying for your mac. I still have yet to come across a good SPICE package for the mac. Someday maybe.
  20. fartheststar macrumors 6502a


    Dec 29, 2003

    PS - I'd get a Dual 1.8 G5 for what you're looking to do with it. Spend more on the processor, and if you run out of money, buy a CRT monitor or less expensive monitor. Stock up the CPU and RAM.

    1.8 GHZ vs Pentium 3.0 is irrelevant because of many "tech" things, and it'll probably run faster (although someone here could provide you with links to "power" tests.
  21. ToddW thread starter macrumors 6502a

    Feb 26, 2004
    well I am looking at a notebook for a temporary solution. I'm basically looking for another computer to do email, internet, pictures, itunes, and office. Then use my PC for intensive CPU apps. I have thought about buying a copy of virtual pc along with the ibook or powerbook to see how it runs.

    What I really need are pretty good comparisons between ibooks and powerbooks.
  22. adamjay macrumors 6502a


    Feb 3, 2004
    i'll mention it again today...

    if you just need something portable, reliable, and not CPU intensive... might i suggest the mac warehouse deal of the g3 ibook 800mhz for $700. it will be a minimum investment to cure your curiosity, and is the least expensive brand new mac you can get right now. 1 year warranty... and would certainly get you going with OSX

    virtual PC WILL run much slower than regular windows on a PC, you can be sure of it if you also have a PC, dont even bother with Virtual PC... i think its designed more for mac users that need to use PC specific programs due to their company's / work's requirements.

    as for powerbook to ibook comparisons...
    there are so many to make really.. and you could easily find tons on this board or at

    but if you like the feel of the iBook, then go for it. you get used to the trackpad in no time.
  23. flyfish29 macrumors 68020


    Feb 4, 2003
    New HAMpshire
    If the school you attend has an on campus computing store most likely they have apple products and they might be able to give you a great deal on apple products at edu discount. Eductation site is the easiest, but I would compare. Also, when it comes to software, I don't know if AppleStoreEducation gives edu discounts on software, but there are many software sales companies that give edu a search and compare prices. Be sure to buy from a legit company like MacConnection, macZone, MacMall, etc. A good rule of thumb, if you have found a price that beats someone else hands down, come to this forum and ask if they are legit...most likely they are not. There are many online supposedly apple resellers that claim %20 off macs or more. You will most likely not find any mac 20% off unless Comp usa is discounting it due to model change (which they do at times) or it is a refurbished or discontinued item. However that being said, check out the refurb. macs on or at other resellers. I have a perfectly good flat screen iMac with superdrive DVD burner and 17" flatscreen and 1ghz G$ I got last fall from Apple for $1299! SAved $500 retail as a 1.25 ghz had just come out and this was refurbished as well. For the most part the refurb. program is great, but there have been a few products that have not been refurbished correctly(including my first iMac last fall), but Apple has always resolved the problems by replacing the item for free with expedited next day shipping to the best of my knowledge. (mine was delivered on Sat even by fed Ex. when I originally had it delivered by ground for free ;)

    good luck and hopefully for YOU...WELCOME TO THE MAC!

    macs don't have problems with virus...virtually never a problem. I have had macs for 14 years and never had my virus software detect a virus!

    Remember though...each platform has its drawbacks and you have to weigh the ones that matter to you.
  24. loubapache macrumors member

    Feb 12, 2004
    I went to one Compusa store and asked about the Education discount. They will match, however, they will only match if you buy Applecare.
  25. ToddW thread starter macrumors 6502a

    Feb 26, 2004
    When I went to CompUSA to look at an ibook they said they did not do the apple edu discount. I know the apple retail stores, do and those are only 30 to 45 minutes away (across the metroplex) however, I want to get the built in blue tooth. With that said can the apple retail store have the built in blue tooth ibooks.

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