Computers

Switching sides

Yes, after 14 years of PC ownership, in the process of shopping for a new machine, I have been persuaded that Apple is the way to go. Just a few years ago, I might have snickered at the idea – Apple was a down-on-its-luck company that was teetering on the brink of bankruptcy, who sported innovative but severely underpowered, undersupported and overpriced machines and software. Then, Steve Jobs came back to the company, Apple released the iPod, and it’s been uphill ever since. (Who else wishes they’d bought Apple stock back in 2003?)  Modern Macs are based on Intel processors, can run both OS X and Windows (as well as Unix, which is what OS X is built on top of), and sports hardware easily comparable to the best PCs built today. Prices are finally comparable to PCs, and OS X is quite simply the most elegant operating system I’ve seen since the Amiga OS days of the late 1980s and early 1990s. Yes, I used to be a Commodore Amiga user, back before I was a PC user. Before that, I was an Atari owner. I don’t stick to one platform  or do computer advocacy. Computer “religion” is stupid, nothing more than misplaced “loyalty”. I just want a machine and software that will do the best job for me at the current time, and right now, that’s an Apple Mac. The switch to Intel and the ability to run Windows was the final nail in the coffin as far as I was concerned – at that point, why not buy a Mac?

So anyway, I placed my order on Monday – one machine for me, and one for the wife and kids. My machine is a real beast:

  • Mac Pro
  • 2.66 GHz Quad-Core Intel Xeon
  • 1GB 667 DDR2 FB DIMM ECC-2×512
  • ATI Radeon X1900 XT 512MB
  • 250GB Serial ATA 3Gb/s drive
  • 16x SuperDrive DL
  • Airport Extreme & BT 2.0+EDR
  • Apple Keyboard & Wireless Mighty Mouse
  • Mac OS X Tiger

I’ll be adding another 1GB of RAM, and replacing the hard drive with four 1TB Hitachi drives – 2 for main use and 2 for backup (as a photographer, digital video editor and general music junkie, yes, I need that much space.  Heck, I still need more!). I didn’t upgrade those components through Apple because it’s quite a bit more expensive to go through them than to buy my own components (and besides, they don’t offer 1TB hard drives anyway). I’ll also be replacing the horrible “mighty mouse” with a nice Logitech wireless (probably a G7 gamer’s wireless.  Hey, Apple isn’t perfect).  Lastly, I ordered the highly-regarded Dell 30″ widescreen monitor so I can experience my new computer in its fullest glory.  (Why didn’t I get the also-highly-regarded Apple 30″ Cinema?  Because the Dell is almost unanimously rated just a little bit better…and the Dell costs $500 less.  ‘Nuff said.)  This machine should be capable of just about anything I throw at it, from editing my huge library of photographs to playing the latest processor intensive games (ok, for playing World of Warcraft at full settings and resolution at over 60 fps.  That’s pretty important, you know).

The computer for the kids and wife is a more bare-bones 20″ iMac, but it will be more than enough to suit their purposes:

  • 2.16GHz Intel Core 2 Duo
  • 128MB VRAM
  • 1GB 667 DDR2 SDRAM – 2×512
  • 500GB Serial ATA Drive
  • SuperDrive 8X (DVDR-DL/CD-RW)
  • WL KYBD & MSE + MAC OS X

Again, I’ll be replacing the mouse with something else.  If they need it, I can upgrade the memory, but I kind of doubt they’ll need it.

So, I’m pretty excited about this purchase.  My Mac Pro is due to arrive on Monday, and after I get it set up and get a chance to play with it, I’ll post my impressions here.  I expect that this machine is going to put the “fun” back into computing…

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