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mac vs pc?

post #1 of 103
Thread Starter 
I had been planning on a new pc for a few months already. Basically I was going to do what I've always done, read a bunch of reviews on the latest and greatest hardware, buy the stuff one price bracket under, and piece together my own pc that would inevitably be built on the kitchen table. I decided on the newish intel i5 750 on a gigabyte board running an ATI HD5850, perhaps adding another later along the line.

So somewhere in reading all the spec sheets and benchmark tests, without having a clue what any of them meant, I thought to myself "this is ridiculous, I don't even know what any of these numbers mean besides the price tag" and the thought of an iMac crept into my mind.

The logical solution is to jump on google and find some reviews, pro's/con's, some facts to help me make my decision. Of course, this is about as useless as googling "does god exist" or "socialism vs democracy". All I find are pages upon pages of fan-boys on either camp, exclaiming how much better their machines are with absolutely no factual support. Tons of inane firsthand accounts like "my mac has never broken in 15 years!", not to mention the stupid pc/mac bashing commercials both parties have released.

So anyways, computer geeks I need your help. What are the pro's and con's of getting a mac besides the obvious price differences? For those of you who've used windows 7 and snow leopard, is windows finally there yet with user friendliness/ease of use?

A few background details, I've been around pc's for quite some time, 23 years old and pretty tech savy, I'm an engineer so I don't mind technical stuff, but at the same time I hate using software that isn't intuitive, and wastes my time having to figure stuff out.

Important uses:
-downloading media, also as a media server for my PS3, being able to serve data over ethernet is very important
-video editing, HD content
-as a digital audio workstation, recording with my midi controllers/mics
reference to illegal activity removed by moderator
-interfacing with my ipod touch
-willing to give up gaming and overclocking


With all that in mind, should I get the 27" iMac with i5 core, or a pc based on the same processor?
post #2 of 103
Go for the PC, it'll price out much cheaper and you can get faster hardware. Plus there's a lot more software options for PC than Mac. And then you can still play all the games you want.
post #3 of 103
You'll most likely get a similar response here as to anywhere else. Aside from any pros or cons.. I'd avoid the 27" iMac until the yellow screen issue is fixed.
post #4 of 103
For a desktop, I really don't see the justification for buying a mac. You are just paying more for a pretty case and OSX- plus you lose overclocking and gaming ability. Video editing demands CPU horsepower, so the lose of overclocking is a real liability unless you want to go for broke on the price front.

Heck, if you really like OSX, you can still run it on a non-apple PC with some legwork and careful component purchases. The following provides compatibility info:

http://www.insanelymac.com/osx86db/

That said, windows 7 is really nice.
post #5 of 103
Thread Starter 
guess I should mention that I haven't played a PC game in years, but also have a friend who works with apple that can get me 15% discount on a new system, which sort of factors into the price consideration. (I would not buy a mac for the retail prices)
post #6 of 103
There are three iMacs in my family - all of them are up 24/7 and none have had hardware issues. My sister's 27" i5 is doing fine, too.

As for longevity, I still have a 512k Fat Mac. It doesn't get left on the time, but it's been working since 1985. My 1991 IIfx is still running, too.

That being said, I also have a nice Asus board with Opterons that's been up for a few years, trouble-free. If you get good hardware, you'll be OK. I either buy Apple or DIY, since I run Linux as well as OS X. I love the solid stability of Red Hat just as much as OS X.
post #7 of 103
If you are comfortable and competent with Windows/Linux I don't really see any advantage in having a Mac- probably the opposite unless you like using itunes for music playback.

I only use a Mac because of its relative ease of use.

Can you get the 15% discount on refurbished Macs?
post #8 of 103
For me, the chance to build a PC is something I factor in. I also love messing around with the internals every now and then, if I decide I want to change something. I'm pretty familiar with Mac and have to use them in a lot of my design classes. I've just been around PCs long enough to really know everything I want to know. Games aren't too big of an issue for me, but software is definitely up there.

If you are serious about video editing and want to get into Final Cut, Mac it is. I've always been pressured into getting a Mac just for Final Cut, but for my workflow, Adobe does it all. If you really hammer out video editing projects, feel free to PM me.

Personally, for all the freeware converting/batch encoding/etc. kinds of programs I use, I will always choose PC for that. Granted, I should do my future career a service and do my own programming for some of those apps, but there is always a free program out there for PC.

What I love about Mac, is that their shortcuts and interactive use is always intuitive for the most part. I always recommend Mac for people that just want to get into using there computer and hammer away at it, while doing it efficiently. I've used a PC long enough that I know how to make my PC efficient; and that's what I usually find it coming down to. If you want to spend the time to organize and experiment to increase efficiency on your computer, I have found PC or Linux is the way to go. Though I don't use Linux enough, I know it is very capable if you put some leg work into it. And of course it is free!
post #9 of 103
I would go Mac.
Not all sure about the 27" iMac though, as I have read numerous stories about screen issues on them.
post #10 of 103
id say get a pc, macs are great for people who nothing about computers or if you want something pretty but as someone who knows what a 5850 is i think youll just get frustrated at how locked down the hardware is on a mac and in osx too.
post #11 of 103
After trying Windows 7 with my new laptop.

i havent felt the need to use mac.
post #12 of 103
Lots of good points about Macs and PCs that can't easily be answered with the basic info here.
Can you do all your work in OS X? Is some of this music hardware Mac or PC only? Do you want a Unix OS? Windows 7 is very good.
For my money I'd go Mac laptop and PC desktop.

Quote:
Originally Posted by mark2410 View Post
id say get a pc, macs are great for people who nothing about computers or if you want something pretty but as someone who knows what a 5850 is i think youll just get frustrated at how locked down the hardware is on a mac and in osx too.
I disagree, OS X seems easy to people who've never used it before. Nowadays it can be just as configurable as Windows.
Most smart people who needs computers to do work tend to use a mixture of Windows, Linux and OS X in my experience.
post #13 of 103
Quote:
I disagree, OS X seems easy to people who've never used it before.
I don't know, I've used OS X a decent bit, and drives me nuts. No right click especially (I know you can press the option key, but that's a pain).
post #14 of 103
Quote:
Originally Posted by DanielCox View Post


I disagree, OS X seems easy to people who've never used it before. Nowadays it can be just as configurable as Windows.
Most smart people who needs computers to do work tend to use a mixture of Windows, Linux and OS X in my experience.
Very good point, I know a lot of people that have both PC's and Macs. I have an Imac, Macbook, and a Compaq laptop still running Vista. I use them all pretty equally, there are some things where I need to, or at least it's easier to use Window's. However, for everyday use I still prefer OSX, but I really like having both.
post #15 of 103
Thread Starter 
Thanks for the responses guys.

The biggest reason I was considering the mac was because I can learn all the ins/outs of windows, but I don't enjoy it. I'm at a point in my life where I want my computer to be efficient and help me do the stuff I need, instead of taking up my free time to learn how to work around issues. One example of this is microsoft office. I've been using the 03-07 format for years, every single day at work. Suddenly we changed over to the newer version and it was a disaster. I was so frustrated trying to do simple tasks like putting borders around tables or adding labels to my graphs. The program itself might be more powerful than the old version, but the designers have made no consideration for ease of crossing over. Instead they buttoned it all up with a nice looking skin/graphical interface, completely changed the layout, and dropped it into the consumers lap. Basically saying "here, figure it out yourself"

I know how to overclock my cpu/graphics card, I know how to install drivers, troubleshoot, etc. But it's feeling like I'm bending and contorting to suit the technology, rather than the technology making my life easier. I guess that's the bottom line about not minding a system that is ultimately slower or poorer performing, as long as the software is more intuitive and efficient to use.


I can draw a pretty simple analogy from my home audio stuff. I've gone through room tuning, plotting frequency response measurements, changing the axis/position of my speakers dozens of times, playing with absorbers, diffusers, equalizers, etc. But all that was such a headache compared to plugging in my headphones and just enjoying my music. That's what I'm trying to achieve with a mac, because in the end I get no satisfaction knowing my system scored xxxx on 3dmark or puts out xxx fps on crysis.
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