thinking of getting a PC

Discussion in 'Alternatives to Mac Hardware' started by emjaymert, Mar 3, 2017.

  1. emjaymert macrumors member

    May 26, 2008
    Currently I am using a 2011 iMac. While it does still work, it s slow. Sometimes to get wifi active I have to turn it off and then back on again.I've been told that probably my wifi card is fading. While I'm a mac fan , I'm considering a PC. It will depend on the iMac refresh specs and cost.If I can get a better specced PC for the same price, that s where I'll head.
  2. keysofanxiety macrumors G3


    Nov 23, 2011
    It would be a better option to fix your existing one. For very little you can get an iMac performing better than new.

    1) Change HDD for an SSD. This will drastically improve performance.
    2) Ensure it's running the latest OS.
    3) Ensure your router's wireless encryption is set to WPA2-PSK (AES) only; no mixed/legacy mode. This alone could be causing the problems you're having with Wi-Fi.
  3. elf69 macrumors 68020


    Jun 2, 2016
    Cornwall UK
    Agree with above...

    I have a 2007 imac have similar wifi issues and it is my sky router.
    It is broadcasting wrong country, have reboot router once in while.

    Im fitting ssd to my imac soon.

    urs much newer than mine, bit of maintenance it be good as new again
  4. hurtmemore macrumors member

    Jan 9, 2017
    I'm the same - waiting to see what Apple does with the new iMac. No doubt I could build a much more powerful PC for a lot cheaper. But I love OSX, love the 5K screen, fairly confident in Apple's support and stability.

    The main thing that would push me away is if they made RAM non upgradable. I need 32GB, not going to pay 600 dollars when it's always 150-200 on Amazon. I'd also like to see SSD prices go down, too expensive for the 512GB upgrade. I wish Apple was more competitive on certain specs.

    Just waiting it out now to see what they do. I've already pulled together a whole list of PC parts, very nice machine closer to a MacPro with a 4K display coming in around $2,100 vs an iMac at about $2,700.

    Practically I know the PC makes more sense, but truthfully I've always had much better experiences with Apple than with any PCs I've owned. Kinda hoping to go with Apple again. Getting a bad feeling though. I just hope we know something this month.
  5. Mac32 Suspended

    Nov 20, 2010
    In my opinion the CPUs are already plenty fast (mine is a late 2012 model), but I'm still holding on to mine - waiting for a decent GPU update (that doesn't run boiling hot). Guess I'm gonna wait for a long, long time. Either that or getting a Windows-based AIO next time.

    Apple has dropped the ball big time on their stationary models, very disappointing.
  6. TRClark911 macrumors newbie

    Feb 28, 2017
    Renton, WA
    Yeah PC will be considerably cheaper than any Apple machine and there's no getting around it.

    I personally feel that Apple is taking advantage of their brand loyal fanbase (where are you Steve Jobs?) with high prices and I refused to be taken any longer.

    I went full Apple mode in 2011 and my newest machines were a 2014 MBPro and 2015 iMac. Over the last year or so I grew tired of the iMac and just went back to Windows. I just built a custom VR machine listed in my sig that can do everything I need it to from VR/gaming to CAD work to video encoding. I paid about $2600 for the PC and another $600 for the VR. The specs are top of the line. I wouldn't get anywhere near those specs spending that money with Apple.

    I'm still into the iPhone and iPad though but can't see myself going back to another Apple computer.

    Both my MBPro and iMac were given to my 2 college bound nieces.
  7. maflynn Moderator


    Staff Member

    May 3, 2009
    That's the difficult issue, you need to determine if the Mac offers a better value for your money then a PC. With a Mac there are a lot of intangibles, but is it worth the price? Only the prospective buyer can determine that.

    Not for nothing, but that same argument was basically said about Steve Jobs. I remember when Apple released the G4 Cube, it was priced at the same point of a PowerMac except it was not expandable and was slower.

    I have a mixed household at this point, my kids definitely prefer the Mac, I have an iMac but I also use a Surface Book and run Windows on my iMac.
  8. Malus120 macrumors 6502

    Jun 28, 2002
    I strongly agree with the above in response to your "failing"/"slow" 2011 iMac. I previously owned a 2011 iMac, and the speed difference when I added an SSD was phenomenal. When I bought my friend with the same machine a cheap SSD for Christmas a few years back, he had the same experience, and still feels that it is a very fast computer even today (which, CPU wise, it is) (he's just now replacing it with a 2016 rMBP, and that's only for the portability.)

    I think the real question here is, what is the value you (personally) get out of using a Mac vs a Windows computer? If you're truly ONLY looking at price vs (raw CPU/GPU) performance (in multi platform apps), then I don't know why you didn't go for a PC a long time ago.

    But given that you say you're a long time Apple user, I have to assume that there are other areas of the platform in which you found value. macOS, reliability, service, design, HW/SW integration, integration with iOS, Apple's great pro and consumer apps. There are tons of great things about the platform to be honest. But you have to decide where and from what in that ecosystem you derive value, and how much its worth to you in monetary terms.

    What do you use your computer for, and in what areas do you feel it to be slow? The answers to these questions will help us better advise you in making your decision :)
  9. cynics macrumors G4

    Jan 8, 2012
    If price vs performance is high on your priority list I would consider building your own PC.

    It can be surprisingly difficult to beat a 5k iMac in specs vs price without some level on compromise, usually using a 4k monitor without as wide of color space, and sata3 SSD's instead of PCIe based. If those things are good enough though you can build a killer PC MUCH cheaper then an iMac.

    Not going to try to talk you into staying with Mac but I would carefully consider what you might be losing as far as software goes. If your answer is "not much" then go for it, personally I wouldn't even wait for the next iMac.
  10. maflynn Moderator


    Staff Member

    May 3, 2009
    Agreed, that was one of the major factors in my purchasing a 5k iMac, I was getting more computer for my money which seemed odd since Macs are known for being expensive. :)
  11. TRClark911 macrumors newbie

    Feb 28, 2017
    Renton, WA
    Surprisingly difficult in what way? I'm not trying to start a PC vs Apple flame war I am just speaking as someone who went back to Windows last month after being hardcore MBPro and iMac since 2011.

    That being said... looking at strictly the dollar side of things here's what I built and what I paid.

    i7 7700k Kaby Lake @4.20 Ghz $349
    Kraken x62 liquid CPU cooler $159
    16GB G.Skill Ripjaws 3200 $115
    EVGA GeForce GTX 1080 SC 8GB GPU $559
    EVGA G3 750W PSU $120
    MSI Z270 SLI Plus mobo $149
    1TB Samsung 960 EVO m.2 NMVe SSD $479
    4TB WD external HDD $119
    LG Blue Ray Writer $79
    Asus 23.6" @3840x2160 60hz $339
    NZXT S340 Elite $99
    Gigabyte 802.11 AC/Bluetooth wifi card $37
    Mechanical keyboard $69
    Laser mouse $69
    Turtle Beach x22 headphones $39
    Bose Companion III speakers $89

    Windows 10 Home 64 $109

    That's a total of $2978 delivered to the door and features the latest Kaby Lake i7, 3200 mhz DDR4 ram, the best GPU available, an NVMe SSD (3200 mb/sec read, 1900 mb/sec write which owns SATA III) and a 4k monitor.

    Did I mention upgradeability? Got lots of room.

    Now heading over to the Apple store looking at the latest 27in 5k iMac...

    • 4.0GHz quad-core Intel Core i7, Turbo Boost up to 4.2GHz (Skylake?)
    • 16GB 1867MHz DDR3 SDRAM - two 8GB (DDR3 1867?)
    • 1TB Flash Storage (nowhere near the speed of an NVMe)
    • AMD Radeon R9 M395X with 4GB video memory (Not even close to an 8GB 1080 GPU)
    • Magic Mouse 2
    • Magic Keyboard (English) & User’s Guide
    • Accessory Kit

    For $3599.

    So for $600 more I get a lesser CPU, lesser RAM, lesser SSD, lesser GPU.... What does the iMac have that I don't? 5k screen vs 4k?

    I guess markups like this is why Apple has 400 billion cash on hand? LOL

    So the whole "I'm getting more computer for my money" thing is a bit confusing... because you surely didn't get for your money what I got for mine.
  12. saberfi macrumors member


    Oct 7, 2015
    Your PC is a monster, no doubt about it.

    I suppose you're correct that the 5K screen is one factor. It is quite a beauty and is in a ball park of its own unparalleled, save for a couple of screens that you can count with the fingers of one hand comfortably. The display is one of the most important - or rather, the most important - part of any computer as it is something you are using 100% of the time you have the computer on. Although I'm fairly sure your screen also looks great with 200% scaling in W10.

    For me aesthetics are also quite important. iMac is definitely in the top tier in terms of personal computers when it comes to looks. If I can get away from having a physical box sitting on the floor and some extra wires, I'm definitely interested and I can certainly sacrifice something to reach that end. iMac looks clean, nice and minimalistic - terms that I've come to appreciate more and more over the years.

    Funnily enough, macOS is not an important thing for me, although it certainly can be for a number of people.

    I've also pondered between a PC and the iMac, especially now that the wait has been so long. I could build a PC with a 5K display, but it would cost me more or around the price of an iMac and would not look as pleasing - I would have powerful hardware, but I'm unsure whether I would really need it.

    I suppose the iMac does call for sacrifices to be made, but in return you do get the 5K screen and a very beautiful design without a tower on the floor (I know mITX cases exist as well). For some that may not be compelling, but for me it is compelling enough that I'm willing to primarily look forward to the iMac, even if that means I may have to lower details in an occasional game I might wish to play. Pretty 5K AIO is just that enticing.
  13. MacStu09 macrumors regular

    Aug 27, 2009
    Those all used to be key reasons I stuck with Apple, but now, Windows takes just about all of those categories, except design. MacOS is getting less reliable with every update, Apple service has become far worse than when I bought my first mac, design is still nice, hardware compatibility is slipping, and their pro apps have left quite a lot to be desired in the past several years.

    As for the PC price vs performance others were discussing, I've posted this several times. You can literally pick up a used xeon PC that outperforms the 5k iMac in every way for just $250-350 if you keep an eye out. That gives you a huge budget to get a 5k monitor with better color accuracy and more uniform display lighting than the 5k iMac if you really want. One of my rigs outperforms the iMac significantly, and its total cost with a 4k monitor + 2nd GPU + 2 additional storage drives + 32gb of ram was under $1,000 total.
  14. Malus120, Mar 8, 2017
    Last edited: Mar 9, 2017

    Malus120 macrumors 6502

    Jun 28, 2002
    No offense but for someone who says they're "not trying to start a flame war," your post and tone certainly don't bear that out.

    You wanna make the point that you can get a lot more raw power for less money, that's fine. But don't pretend that your 23 inch 4K screen is equivalent to the iMac's 27 5K screen. At the very least add a comparable monitor if you want to have a real discussion about cost for equivalent or greater hardware.

    Also, lets not forget that your computer is absolutely massive compared to a 27" iMac. While space and aesthetics may not matter to you, they certainly do to some of us.

    Finally, not to be (too) rude, but I'm actually pretty underwhelmed at what you got for $2999. I just built the computer in my signature for like $650... even including the stuff I already had (27" 4K Monitor, SSD keyboard, mouse) I'd still only be at about a $1100. For $2999 (or even less) I could have had X99, 6 core Broadwell E, Crossfire/SLI graphics, multiple moniters, etc. To each his own, but if anything, your post just highlights how much value is in the eye of the beholder.
  15. maflynn Moderator


    Staff Member

    May 3, 2009
    And that's the point, I compared a Dell 5k and Dell machine with the iMac and I was getting a better deal with the iMac.

    I understand you or anyone can build a machine for a lot less, I used to do that myself, so I fully understand the concept. My point was that if you looked at a 5k setup in the PC world, it was going to cost you 3k. Sure it probably had a better GPU, more expansion and a faster CPU but its still going to cost you 3k. Where as the iMac you get a decently fast computer (at least for my needs), a 27" 5k machine for 2k
  16. joema2 macrumors 68000


    Sep 3, 2013
    You are comparing a homebuilt PC to a commercially-produced iMac. You can likewise build a Mac Pro equivalent for $998:

    You are also comparing a big box to an all-in-one design. Dell's equivalent XPS 27 with 1TB SSD is $3399, hardly any different than an iMac except it's much louder, heavier, thicker and doesn't have 5k resolution.

    If you compare your homebuilt PC to a commercially built tower like the Dell XPS 8910SE, that is $2399, and to equip it similarly to your PC would be more expensive than your $2978. So it's not just Apple -- a commercially-built Dell tower equivalent to your homebuilt PC is more expensive, and they don't yet offer Kaby Lake.

    Yes you can build your own PC cheaper than an iMac -- just like you can build your own Hackintosh cheaper than an iMac.
  17. Asclepio macrumors 6502a


    Jul 11, 2011
    if apple had a 5K display only i would build an Hackintosh even with its downsides. unfortunately there aren't nice looking monitors like the iMac one or even the old TB display. i saw a lot of monster pc's but god they look so cheap. if you are pro or a gamer, windows PCs is the way to go tho, no doubt.
  18. Partron22 macrumors 68020


    Apr 13, 2011
    You can buy USB WiFi Dongles for cheap.
    Probably best to keep the Mac limping along with a slow migration to your shiny new Windows machine.
    The transition is not without its bumpy spots.
    Besides which, that 2011, with fixed WiFi will make an excellent Music/Video server for years to come.
  19. Malus120 macrumors 6502

    Jun 28, 2002
    The reason they "look so cheap" is precisely because of that race to the bottom mentality that makes you say "if you are pro or a gamer, windows PCs is the way to go tho, no doubt."

    While I won't disagree with you on the gamer front, I think that whether you're a "pro" an "enthusiast" or just a plain old "consumer," platform choice for something as complex as a computer (including the mini computers we all carry around as smartphones) is rarely as simple as a pure performance/dollar calculation.

    For all of it's failings (in the pro/enthusiast computing sector) of late, there's still a lot of good things about macOS and Apple's ecosystem. Yes, it isn't cheap. And there's no value option that can compete with the price and configurability of a home built machine. Still, Apple has a lot to offer.

    Also, I think a lot of people are either too young to remember, have forgotten, or have rose colored glasses on when it comes to the Apple of yesteryear.

    The era of the iMac being even a competent (let alone high end in some aspects) all around workstation/gaming machine didn't REALLY begin until, at the earliest around 2009 with the introduction of quad core CPUs into the lineup.

    Even then, Quad Core CPU's didn't become a standard feature across the entire lineup until 2011. Heck, the first time we got a relatively high end GPU was the 680MX in 2012. And we didn't start getting Intel's top of the line consumer CPU as an option until the introduction of the Retina iMac with the 4690K in 2014!

    Before that, if you wanted a Mac with a half way decent GPU you had to get yourself a Mac Pro.

    And then there's the dark old days of the pre-G5 PPC era, when, even on a top of the line PowerMac (Mac Pro equivalent) if the software you used wasn't optimized for AltiVec and or dual processors, you just had to live with the fact that you were often paying twice as much for a machine half as fast. And yet, even in those days when the Mac's performance was in the doldrums, people still found a reason to buy a Mac.

    My point is, yes Apple's let their desktop range stagnate. And yes, many pros/enthusiasts/on the side gamers are still mourning the death of the cMP. But to be honest, things have been A LOT WORSE before, and Apple/Mac fans have managed to pull through. I'll admit, outside of the iPhone, Apple's execution in 2016 was honestly worse than I've ever seen it (heck it drove me to a hackintosh). But I'd like to hope they can convince me to buy another desktop Mac this year :)
  20. steveOooo macrumors 6502a

    Jun 30, 2008
    I had problems with my 2010 Mac Pro wifi - just separated the 2.4ghz and 5ghz channels and just used the 2.4ghz - solved it
  21. jeff7117 macrumors regular

    Jul 22, 2009
    I switched to a PC earlier this year. Absolutely no regrets. I'm happy enough with my decision that I sold my 5,1 on eBay.

    Unless you're really tied to iOS / OS X and need it for Apple development, you'll get much, much more for your money if you switch.
  22. ZapNZs macrumors 68020


    Jan 23, 2017
    Have you considered a mini-PC? You could get a very powerful machine for not too much money. And, as you would buy an external monitor, if Apple ever updates the Mac Mini with reasonable specs, then you could purchase one of those should you wish to go back to OS X or be able to use both.

    You can get an i5 quad core mini-PC with integrated graphics, buy 16GB of RAM, a 256 GB Samsung 850 Pro SSD (the best), and Win10 Pro System Builder for about the same price as the dual core Mac Mini with 8GB of RAM and a spinning disk HDD.
  23. vrBrew Suspended


    Mar 3, 2017
    High life, High times
    It's an issue many of us diehard apple fans are facing.

    Once apple started pulling support from my main apple applications I found less reason to stay with apple products.

    There were always competing products for both apple and windows and the difference was apple was developing those products in house so they appeared organic to your OS. Back in the day apple would discontinue an application but a new better apple application was ready to take its place.

    Now the apple applications that are discontinued have third party alternatives available on apple, windows, and linux OS. The only differnce is the price and physical design.
  24. keeper macrumors 6502

    Apr 23, 2008
    Just did that with a Lenovo M900 Mini, used a vesa mount and put it on the back or a 24 inch IPS monitor, very happy with the performance and all my content is linked to iCloud.
  25. someoldguy, Mar 12, 2017
    Last edited: Mar 12, 2017

    someoldguy macrumors 68000

    Aug 2, 2009
    Couple of months back I did something similar . I needed to replace a 24" iMac that was feeling its' age . Priced out a MacMini with my desired specs (16Gb memory , 2TB storage ) and it came out to something like 1299 . Plus monitor . So I looked around and picked up an HP Elitedesk mini . i5 , 8gb , 500 HDD . Brought the memory up to 16Gb , added a Samsung960EVO 512 plus a Seagate 2Tb. drive ; and I'm set . The whole upgrade took maybe 45 minutes , runs Win 7 with upgrades via included CD to 10 if I want . Total cost a bit over a grand with monitor (HP Z24i off the HP refurb site ).
    Windows v. MacOS is neither here or there for me , the software runs the same either way , though I prefer MacOS UI.If Apple gets its' act together re: viable , updated , not too locked down/proprietary desktops , maybe it'll get replaced down the road with a mini or whatever they're peddling at that point , but I'm not holding my breath .

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24 March 3, 2017