Lifelong Windows user contemplates (gasp!) a Macintosh! Advice please!

Ben Cloud

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1. If I am going to use the computer mostly
for surfing, email and photo/video/audio
editing programs, is a Mac G5 overkill?

- For surfing and email a PowerMac G5 is probably overkill, a G5 iMac would be more than enough. When it comes to photo/video/audio editing it really depends on the complexity of the files. Average iPhoto/iMovie/iDVD/Garage Band stuff and an iMac should be fine. If your projects tend to be more towards the Photoshop/Final Cut Pro/ProTools stuff you may should definitely look towards a PowerMac G5 (dual processors, extra ram, upgraded video card etc.)

2. I see most G5 computers tout 512 memory.
If I were buying a Windows PC I would opt
for at least 1 gig. Is 512 memory on a Mac
comperable to the same on a Windows PC? I
will be using a lot of high-memory programs
and startups.

- I would recommend at LEAST 1GB of ram. Echoing others statements, don't buy from Apple.

3. Are there still a lot of software that
will not work with the Macintosh? For instance,
even chat cliants like Trillian or
email programs made by 3rd party vendors?

- True, there is less software for the Macintosh platform from the perspective of quantity. However, from a quality standpoint, I believe the software that exists is much better in ease of use and stability. Good examples are the iLife apps from Apple (iPhoto, iTunes, iMovie, iDVD, Keynote, Pages, Garage Band) as well as pro apps from Apple (Final Cut Pro, DVD Studio Pro, Shake etc). There are many reasons these products get rave reviews. Here's a link for the Apple website that addresses this question: w w w.apple.com/macosx/applications/

4. Can I work with .JPG .GIF and .BMP files
in Macintosh or am I now going to be working
with an entirely new array of file types?

- You can work with these files types and many others with no problems.

5. What program allows you to run Windows
programs under Mac? Will it run any Windows
complaint software? How much slower will it
run under the Mac environment? Can I run the
Windows client and multitask with Mac programs
outside that client at the same time?

- The software you are referring to is VirtualPC and you are right in that is does run slow compared to the speed of the host computer. If there are certain PC apps that you just can't live without, I would actually recommend keeping your old PC, enabling Remote Desktop (assuming your running XP or 2000+ server*), then install Microsoft Remote Desktop on the Mac. If you utilize Internet Sharing and the built-in Firewall on the Mac and connect your PC to it you should be able to keep it pretty secure. This will let you run your apps at decent speed -- full screen if you want -- no need for a second monitor. You can also enable drive & printer sharing between the two.

*If you don't want to use Remote Desktop or can't, you can always use VNC.

6. Is it easy to migrate from a Windows XP
environment to a Macintosh? In other words,
within a few hours of use, will I pretty much
be comfortable navigating around the Mac OS?

-- I like to think it's pretty easy to migrate to the Macintosh from Windows as I have personally helped a number of users and friends do this very thing. Apple has some nice documentation on this: w w w.apple.com/business/mac_pc/tutorials.html

7. A top-of-the-line Windows PC costs about
$3k or so. How about a G5 with lots of memory,
high-end graphics, a DVD and CD burner, TV card,
(and perhaps a few other bells & whistles) cost?
Note: I don't need a Monitor

- A top of the line PowerMac retails at $2999. You would probably want to add additional ram, upgrade the video card (Games, Final Cut Pro and Motion if you like). A number of companies sell TV cards and FireWire/USB TV Tuners (El Gato, Miglia etc)

8. Will my Linksys adapter automatically
configure to the Macintosh settings once I
turn it on? I'd hate to have to reconfigure
my entire wireless broadband network.

- Your Linksys setup should be fine.

9. If I switch to Mac will I regret it? Will
I miss Windows? Will this be the best move I
will ever make?

- Everyone that I know that has switched hasn't missed it one bit.

I would encourage you to drop in on a local Macintosh User Group in your community and talk with people about their experiences. They can provide a great deal of insight and can also be useful for support should you decide to switch to the Macintosh platform: w w w.njmug.org/ not sure if this is close but you get the idea.
 

Ken Chan

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About six months ago. I actually went to a fair amount of trouble to setup a dual-boot setup on a dual-Xeon. Had to get the Enterprise version of the kernel (this was Mandrake) and had to include the switches to enable ACPI for... something, I don't remember now. Also had a heck of a time trying to get a CPU meter, with all the icons in the right place. Wasted hours trying to get the ALSA sound working for something. The on-screen fonts were crappy, and the UI was klunky. Ended up not using it too much and needed the disk space for the Windows side, so I wiped the whole partition and removed the dual-boot.

It has certainly improved over the years, but it still has a way to go. Every year it's, "Is this the year desktop Linux takes over?" and so far the answer is no.
 

Ronald Epstein

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Still no comments on this Mac that CompUSA
is selling:

Click Here

I get an additional 10% off that price
 

Joseph S

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That's the current top of the line model, liquid cooled machine with the second tier level graphics card. There's certainly nothing wrong with it. Whether it remains the top of the line model past 4/1, we shall see. It's a very solid machine.
 

Ken Chan

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That is the base configuration of the top of the line model. It does not have the video card required to drive the 30" (2560-by-1600) Cinema display. The price for current models is about the same no matter where you buy it; 10% off is, well, 10% off
If you bought it somewhere else, you might get a free inkjet printer or something.

If you get that, get an extra gig of RAM from a third party. 1.5 GB should keep you comfortable for a while.

I don't see Windows PC processing speeds going up that much by the end of this year.
 

SteveLa

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We have four of them at the office. They are lightning fast (we upped the RAM to 1.5GB) One of them runs a dual 30-inch LCD setup which is just incredible. People come in and see it and their jaws drop. Probably faster then what you need it for but hey, who's to say that some processor intensive apps you may want won't come down the pike at some point? I thought you were looking to purchase at the end of the year. Newer and faster machines almost certainly will be out by then, but for the time being the machine you've linked to is outstanding.
 

Seth--L

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Unless you're in a "time is money," constant time crunch situation, this unit could be overkill. You can run high end prosumer dv editing programs like Avid and FCP with a significantly slower computer just as smoothly, only it will take a heck of a lot longer to render effects (but if you're not regularly color correcting hours of footage, than this might not matter). For fun I installed Avid Xpress Pro on my 1.25GHz Mac mini. It works perfectly, except that rendering a 30 second pan and zoom effect took about 8 minutes; my 2.5 year-old Dell, 2.2Ghz P4 laptop renders the clip in 2.5 minutes. What do you think the most intensive program you're going to be running?

As others have said, factor buying an additional GB of RAM into your budget.
 

Robert_Gaither

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One of the things not mentioned is whether you use a PDA and if so I would make certain that you also shop for the software now to make certain everything can stay in sync. I know apple syncs very well by Bluetooth to most phones (namely Nokia and Ericson) but some of the PDA's (Blackberries, PPC, and Treo) requires third party software and some tweeking on the side.
 

SteveLa

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We use both Blackberries and Treos at the office. While the Blackberries require IAA's PocketMac application, the Treos use plain old Palm HotSync software. Neither require any tweaking.
 

Ken Chan

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Oh yeah: if you believe this page, the PowerMac line is due for an update soon, so don't buy just yet. There are also plenty of rumors for NAB in April and WWDC in June. Unless the discount expires soon, wait until after.
 

StephenL

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Check the Apple Certified Reconditioned Products at the Apple Store.

http://store.apple.com

Click on the red "Save" tag, then "Apple Certified".
 

MarkHastings

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Whenever I hear someone asking wether they should move to a Mac, I say "don't" - The reason? Mac users use Macs because they want to/they have a specific purpose. There is no doubt in a Mac users mind as to why they are using a Mac. A Mac person is a devoted fan. Going into it with doubts, may not make you a fan. You have to have the passion to want to use one.

Ok, enough of the blabbering


As far as my qualifications
Been a Die-Hard Mac user/lover for close to 13 years now. About 8 years ago I got a PC for home because as far as basic "home" computing (i.e. internet, word processing, gaming, etc.) I prefer a PC. Windows XP has been great for this exact kind of thing. But as far as Macs go, I can't get anything to even resemble the artistic side of my G5. Graphic design, Photoshop, print work (basically anything that requires my artistic side) I NEED my Mac for.

So I guess what I am saying is, if you aren't getting the Mac for a specific reason, I'd stick with the PC. I buy my family all PC's just because they suit their tastes much better than Macs.Dude, you left right before the best years of Mac. Macs were pretty bad up until 98/99. Once the G4's came out (and especially OSX), it's been smooth sailing these past 5 (or so) years. When I compare my G5 to my old PowerPC, I can't imagine going back to that. You really missed out on the good stuff. The suffering through OS 8 and 9 was sure worth what we got in OSX - BIG time!
 

Pamela

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I agree with you there! Fooling around with virtual memory. Extension conflicts. Sitting through the "icon parade" until all of the extensions loaded. Ugh! I so do not miss those days. I cannot wait until Tiger comes out. It sounds like a good thing's getting even better.
 

Andrew Grall

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Of course, that is when I would try to use one here and there, and they would severely piss me off by freezing up anytime I tried to do more than one thing at a time!
Even around 2000-2001, the Macs in the lab I worked in still had these problems. It's those kinds of experiences that keep me from wanting to try a Mac again, even with so many people saying how much better they are now. That and the fact that I like to build computers... optimize and tweak the hell out of them...
 

MarkHastings

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As many problems I had with my Mac in the late 90's, it still didn't compare to the crap I've had to deal with Microsoft. Only until XP, have I been a little more at ease with Windows, but back in the days of Win98 and 2000
 

Seth--L

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Windows 98 was the devil. Even after multiple formatting I could never fix a memory leak problem. After about two days operations would slow down to the point that I had to reboot. Before using any programs that required a lot of memory, such as photoshop, I had to reboot. It was non-stop rebooting. Oh, and then there was the blue screen of death....
 

Tony Kwong

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"For instance, even chat cliants like Trillian?"

For Mac OS I use Adium it works great.
http://www.adiumx.com/

I actually prefer it to Trillian!
 

Phil Kim

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First of all, I recommend reading Ars Technica's A mini-guide to Mac OS X for new Mini owners and AnandTech's A Month with a Mac: A Die-Hard PC User's Perspective and A Month with a Mac - Part II: The Mobile Experience. Both articles are written from PC user's perspective.

I have been a Mac user since 2000, with previous background in Windows and *nix. Although Mac OS X is not a perfect replacement for Windows users (notably for games and running specialized applications, such as .NET development and AutoCAD), if your needs are fairly generic, it's a superb platform that is simply a joy to work with.

First choosing the right Mac. If you want the fastest performance possible and/or wants expandable Mac, there's only one choice: PowerMac. Keep in mind that PowerMac is overdue for an update and many are expecting an update within few weeks.

If your needs are casual and do not need much expansion other than memory, iMac represents a better value (although you may not like the fact that the monitor is built-in).


Perhaps initially. But I am certain you will eventually love it.
 

Robert Ma

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I didn't read the entire thread but wanted to add something. In case it wasn't mentioned, buying from the Apple Certified section can save you hundreds of dollars on some models and it comes with the same warranty as the new ones. Goto the apple.com/store and click the red tag on the right side that says "Save". Then make sure you have the Apple certified view because there is a couple other tabs for sales that are not as good.

Useful links:
http://buyersguide.macrumors.com/
http://macreviewzone.com/html/review...es/index.shtml - tracks the apple certified store so if they sell out one day you can know the deals that they are doing this month.


I am also a lifelong Windows user. Well sort of. When I wasn't using a C64 or an Amiga, it was always IBM / Microsoft. I recently purchased a Mac Mini. I love it. In the past I hated the Mac OS. OS X changed that.

I use it to surf, email, itunes (AAC is my preferred format when its not lame encoded -extreme mp3 format), and iMovie. My wife is not a computer person at all and she is not as intimidated by the OS so she actually is using a computer for the first time in her life.

Now I do not see it as replacing windows. Windows Apps saturation see to that. I couldn't survive without my Windows PC but I can now say it would be hard to live without my Mac now. I use a switch box with the two.

Bob
 

Greg*go

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