Time for a new computer PC or Mac

Discussion in 'Buying Tips and Advice' started by redhatlab, May 29, 2013.

  1. redhatlab macrumors newbie

    Dec 1, 2010

    Back in 2008 I got an iMac and short after an Apple Cinema Display of 24 inches and after dealing with the issue of the display mini-port to mini-dvi I got it work like a charm.

    Now fast forward to November 2012 when from so odd reason the fan of the iMac got stuck (maybe dust) and my video card failed (this also seems to be a common issue for iMacs like mine [early 2008]). Long story short after replacing the video card twice my iMac, it is still failing to show the video. Everything else is working, I can even access my iMac files from the network or SSH to it, but the video will work for a month and then stop and so on.

    So, I decide well, maybe it is time to buy a new computer. I am web developer, I code in LAMP and I watch some videos from time to time, but I never play games or render anything on the computer. I was thinking to put the iMac on sale on eBay for parts, as well as the Apple Cinema Display and that should give me around $700 to $900 to play around.

    I started to think that maybe I should buy a PC instead and that in case of a similar situation in the future I will just replace the CPU or the damage part for less and keep going, but to my surprise if you want to put together a nice PC system that match all the features I have in my Mac it is not that cheap or so much of a price difference. I am not even mentioning the fact that I am giving up Mac OSX in favor of Windows 8, that is for me the hard part and no, a hackintosh is not the same nor is Linux.

    I was looking into the new iMac 27 inch display with the Apple Thunderbolt display 27 inches. The 2012 release of both of them in the Apple Refurbish Store goes from $2,500.00 to $2,800.00 depending on the iMac configuration. With that setup I am getting the 3rd generation processor i5 or i7, 1TB HD, 8Gb to 16Gb of RAM, a dual screen of 27 inches each, plus all the other standard features Mac have like the audio, the camera, the lack of extra cables, etc.

    If you try putting together a similar system with a Dell, HP, Acer, Gateway you will be surprise too on how quickly the price almost match the Apple price and at the end is not a Mac.

    What should I do?
  2. Bear macrumors G3

    Jul 23, 2002
    Sol III - Terra
    Get a Mac? It sounds like what you really want to do.

    Do get AppleCare as it will cover the additional Apple Display as well.
  3. IlikeMacsSoMuch macrumors 6502


    Dec 30, 2009
    Blainville, Province of Quebec
    "I was looking into the new iMac 27 inch display with the Apple Thunderbolt display 27 inches."

    Are you looking at a 27 inches iMac plus a thunderbolt display?

    Anyway, I switched to mac in 2008 and in 2009 I bought a very high spected windows PC, and hated it, so 2 months later, I sold it for 600$ less than what I paid for it and bought the then new 27 inches iMac (late 2009 model). Even tho I lost 600$ in the bargain, I don't regret it at all. My iMac is pretty much running 24/7 and is still running anything I throw at it 3 years and a half later.

    I'd go for the iMac, a lot of people tell me that I'm a mac fanboy tho. Well, I am.

    Besides, there's always bootcamp for windows, or virtual machines. My windows partition is rarely used tho.
  4. roadbloc macrumors G3


    Aug 24, 2009
    Sounds like you've already made your choice if you ask me. But if you really want me to give my opinion, I'll say PC just to be awkward.

    All in all, the decision is yours. It depends entirely on what you need from a computer and what software you wish to use.
  5. maxosx macrumors 68020

    Dec 13, 2012
    Southern California
    Ignore the price premium Apple charges and buy a Mac... that's what I do :)

    They're great computers, you'll enjoy it immensely.
  6. designs216 macrumors 65816


    Oct 26, 2009
    Down the rabbit hole
    For me personally, the superior user experience of OSX trumps specs any day of the week. Add to that the ability to run Windows on the same hardware (handy for web devs) and there's all the justification you need.
  7. redhatlab thread starter macrumors newbie

    Dec 1, 2010
    Thank you all

    I appreciate all you comments and at the end the dilemma is just justify the price tag Mac computer have. Yes, I love my iMac and the OS functionality is huge, I just for a minute entertained the idea of going back to PC.

    Has anyone else have experience the switch from Mac back to PC? if so how was it?
  8. tgi macrumors 65816


    Aug 29, 2012
    Once you go Mac, you never go back.
  9. r0k macrumors 68040


    Mar 3, 2008
    I go back once a day. When I walk in to my office, I sit down in front of Windows 7. I hold my nose, grit my teeth and get my work done. I recently got upgraded from an old battle axe HP Elitebook with a 5400 rpm drive(piece of crap) to a nice new Dell Latitude 6430 with an SSD. Even with SSD, Windows 7 is miserable to use compared to my Mac at home (which is wonderful to use despite the fact it has a 7200 rpm drive and no SSD yet).

    All this being said, a large part of the reason Win 7 is so bad to use at work is all the handcuffs our IT people put in the way. I played with a nice Lenovo netbook in Office Depot the other day and it was a pleasure to use. Well it was as much a pleasure as Win 8 can be in its present form which is to say it's slightly better than the mess I deal with at the office but it pales by comparison to OSX.

    If money is the main issue, pop an SSD in your existing iMac, use an external display and wait until you can afford a new iMac. Only consider a PC if you absolutely need Windows as your only OS. Don't forget you can run Windows in a virtualbox on a Mac every now and then and keep OSX as your main OS for day to day use. BTW, Linux is a viable option for a web developer. OSX is my main OS but I keep a handful of Linux boxes around for testing things in Apache on Linux which is the server/OS combination that really serves my pages on the net. All of my Linux boxes are "headless" and I do everything via ssh so you could put Linux on that old iMac if you decide to replace it and use it for testing rather than getting little or nothing by selling it for parts.
  10. thehustleman macrumors 65816

    Jan 3, 2013
    1. A mac is a PC, it just runs osx. PC merely means personal computer. That describes mac. What you should have asked is windows or Mac.

    2. Go with the mac, you'll get a longer useful life out of it, not have to worry about a virus, and OS updates are DIRT CHEAP compared to windoze.

    Both are just as easy to use contrary to popular belief but mac has its advantages
  11. SnowLeopard2008 macrumors 604


    Jul 4, 2008
    Silicon Valley
    Wait, you work in LAMP but don't like using Linux? :D

    LAMP is Linux. Plus some other things.

    Anyway, I'm just joking. I get what you mean. I would get a Mac. Building a PC takes time which isn't free nor cheap. On top of the fact that it's not cheaper than a Mac at all, there really isn't much benefit except if you want to learn about computers or want a custom rig for gaming. It's also easier to upgrade a Mac. They're easier to sell and retain their value. PCs don't. At all.

    For anyone writing code, Macs are the best way to go. You have UNIX and the option to run Windows either virtualized or native. You can easily switch between platforms.
  12. thehustleman macrumors 65816

    Jan 3, 2013
    Building a PC is cheaper and it only takes about half an hour to put it together (if that) and yes, it IS cheaper than a mac, by far.

    And it IS NOT easier to upgrade a mac.

    Not in the least bit.

    Memory is cheaper for a windows pc than a mac pc because apple uses laptop memory in their PC's.

    Want to install an additional drive? Go for it, find one for as little as 20 bucks for an internal drive. Apple didn't leave room for an internal drive in their PC's.

    Want to upgrade your storage? Do it. Buy a new hard drive or SSD and go for it. Try doing that on an apple.

    Want up upgrade your monitor? Buy another and hook it up. Done. Can't do that on a Mac.

    Don't get it confused, I think apple makes the best PC'S and I like the format more than Windows but it's by no means easier to upgrade them than a windows box
  13. sjinsjca macrumors 68020


    Oct 30, 2008
    A Mac Mini sounds like a great solution for you.
  14. SnowLeopard2008 macrumors 604


    Jul 4, 2008
    Silicon Valley
    It is not. Half hour? You forgot about installing the OS. If you buy a new Mac, OS setup is all you have to do (which can be done in minutes). If you build a computer, you need to install the OS. Have you ever built a PC? It takes much longer than half an hour, even if you're experienced. I know because I just finished building one for a friend the other day.

    By "upgrade", I mean upgrade to a brand new machine. Like from PC A to PC B. I should of made this clear but the term is a bit ambiguous. I agree that your use of the phrase "upgrading a Mac" is definitely not easier (or possible in certain Macs). Upgrading from a custom PC to another is really not a simple thing to do. And the amount you lose in value is much higher than a Mac.

    Your memory comment makes no sense. Apple uses laptop memory. A Windows laptop also uses laptop memory. It's the same exact part. But Apple's BTO memory prices are more expensive. That is indeed true. Plus, laptop memory and desktop memory aren't that much different in price.

    Your entire post is cherry picking bits and pieces across different product categories. It's like saying an iMac has more powerful than a Samsung smartphone. Or Samsung smartphone has longer battery life than a MacBook. It's completely ridiculous.

    Compare a Windows AIO versus the iMac. Not a Windows desktop and iMac. Compare Windows laptop versus MacBooks. Not a Windows desktop and MacBooks. Apples to apples.

    Upgrading a hard drive for laptops is pretty much the same for Windows and Mac (except Retina). Upgrading the monitor is pretty much the same for Windows AIO and iMacs, namely you can't. Installing a second drive doesn't work on iMacs nor any Windows AIO (AFAIK).
  15. phrehdd macrumors 68040


    Oct 25, 2008
    In a way I agree with you. I prefer OSX (given that OS/2 went bye bye long ago). However, Mac hardware is less about being cutting edge and more about being business - as in profits for Apple.

    There are lots of comparable PCs out there for less money and offer a better deal for the end user if they don't mind using MS OS or Linux.

    I am staying in the Mac camp out of preference for OSX (though that too is starting to change given the blending of OSX with IOS) and because I admit a real dislike for MS tactics throughout the years with respect to gobbling up real innovation companies and ugly monopolistic practices and of course, their latest OS which is just plain bad.
  16. Cubytus macrumors 65816

    Mar 2, 2007
    I still haven't read here that homebuilt PCs, and a good part of the factory-built ones have very noisy fans. That gets on your nerves after a few hours working on it.

    To build a premium PC, you have to start with a premium case, which can cost $200, etc., even if you keep more standard specs than the absolute topmost (although BTO more powerful iMacs are available). Then you get to a point where your PC costs as much as a Mac, but without the service.
  17. designs216 macrumors 65816


    Oct 26, 2009
    Down the rabbit hole
    Which is what I said :)
    It's not perfect but all things considered, the best for me.
  18. Winni macrumors 68030


    Oct 15, 2008
    How do --you-- "code in LAMP" on a Mac? After all, the L stands for Linux.

    Well, I sure hope that Linux won't ever become the same as OS X. Where would be the purpose in that? Linux is all about empowering individuals to create and build INDIVIDUAL solutions WITH it. OS X is designed for the exact opposite of that.

    Since you already do your real work FOR Linux-based systems, how can giving up Mac OS X be the hard part?

    Windows 8 is not as bad as everybody chooses to believe. In fact, it is the fastest and most secure version of Windows that was ever shipped. Its current user interface might not be everybody's cup of tea, but the system is very usable nonetheless. And like it or not, it certainly is a much more versatile platform than OS X. If you don't like the new GUI concepts of Win8, just downgrade to Windows 7 (which is explicitly allowed by any Windows 8 license). It might be a little bit slower and more "traditional", but it sure is a very capable working horse.

    You should ask yourself what you REALLY need and then what you WANT. That are probably not the same two things, because very often what we want is not what we need.

    Anything you do can be done on either platform. Since you already do development on or for Linux, maybe you should simply try out one of the more widely used Linux distributions.

    My personal preference currently is (a highly customized version of) Xubuntu 12.04 LTS, but tastes and preferences vary and at the end of the day it doesn't matter which desktop environment you choose. The good thing here is that you CAN choose between desktop environments -- that's an option that Windows and OS X users will never have. Ubuntu, Mint and all the others are also great alternatives.

    All of them can be tested on "live" USB sticks without having to actually install them. When you're done testing, just install the one that feels best for you and go from there. All of them allow you to write and test PHP code and to watch videos. And you don't need to spend thousands of bucks to do that. You could even breathe new life in your current system by using Linux - you will be amazed how much faster ANY machine feels when it's running Linux instead of Windows or OS X. ;-)

    But you know as well as I that none of this helps you. Eventually, you have to make the decision yourself and then make the best out of your own choice.
  19. theluggage macrumors 68040

    Jul 29, 2011
    In that case I'd stick with Mac. If you're using LAMP you're probably deploying to Linux or Unix servers so it makes sense to develop on Linux or Unix (and OS X = Unix). I make a lot of use of the command line, shell scripts, symbolic links etc. when developing, maintaining and updating sites. A couple of symlinks and you've got a development environment with the same directory structure and permissions as your target.

    Sure, you can install Apache, MySQL, PHP etc. on Windows, but... Last time I did web development on Windows I ended up using Linux VMs for the servers anyway.

    You'll still want to test your sites on both Mac and PC browsers, and while you can use Parallels/Virtualbox to do your PC testing on a Mac, AFAIK you can't (legitimately) run OS X on a PC.

    Plus, a Mac can be used for developing and testing for iOS (including running virtual iPads/iPhones)

    Only things to note are that (a) since Lion, OS X no longer includes MySQL (it comes with PostgreSQL instead) and (b) since Mountain Lion there's no 'web sharing' checkbox (you just have to run apachectl from the terminal).

    In any case, I usually install MacPorts and use it to build the latest versions of Apache, PHP etc. Or you can use a pre-built LAMP bundle.

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