Tuesday 4 May 2010

New PC or a Mac

There comes a time when you need to upgrade your workhorse be it a PC or a Mac as after 2 or 3 years they get slower with all the junk we put on them and software programmes get more and more powerful and demand more RAM, Well i am getting to that stage and hope that this year i will find the funds for an upgrade, I have had one or two issues lately with viruses and this has made me look harder at moving over to the white side (Mac) ,Everybody that i know that uses them say that you will never want to go back to a PC, Well i know that they are not perfect and i know a few people who have had multiple crashes but overall the consensus is that they are bloody good, So i have been speccing up a high end PC which comes out at around $4000-alot of money so the decision needs to be the right one
Today i popped into my local Apple store to ask a few questions, Apple now use the new Intel chips so things will run at 64 bits and for once allow the new CS5 to run at full speed-this is what i am after, The first problem that i have recently found out is that Adobe wont let you run Photoshop on two different operating systems so you canT have say a Mac desktop and a normal windows laptop-you need either a mac for both or Windows PC and laptop, So if i go Mac i would need to buy both which i cant afford to
I ask the Apple guy about the iMac-27'' which has had issues but i am now told have been sorted, First question-can i buy it with a SSD (solid state hard drive) to which i get the answer-NO, Now i want an SSD for my OS system and photoshop etc as these are much faster and a normal hard drive for everything else, So that rules out the iMac, So now what about the new MacBook Pro, Yes you can have an SSD but not an SSD and a normal hard drive that i can get in say a windows laptop, Not the end of the world it would just mean carrying around 2 externals instead of 1, So the final question-USB3, This i see is very important as its 10 times faster than USB2 and that will make a huge difference to download speeds, I am told that Apple support USB3 but do not yet offer it, Now i dont want to but a machine with USB2 and 3 months later be pissed off that they then bring one out with USB3, I can buy a PC now with an SSD and another hard dive and USB3, I spec up the Macbook Pro which comes to around $4000 but the chip is a 2.66 and in the PC its an i7-980 which is the fastest that you can currently buy and way faster than that offered by Apple
What can i say-i have given Apple a fair chance but keep coming up against brick walls spec wise, Its not all bad they 'look' nice, So at this moment in time i would go the PC route again and get way more bang for my buck, I am not ready to pull the trigger yet but i hope it wont be too long
So come on Mac boys and girls tell me why i should spend a small fortune on something with a much lower spec and doesnt run breezebrowser-i am very open minded about it and would be happy to buy a Mac if you give me some Pro's over a PC



  1. You can have an SSD system drive and a normal drive, just don't let Apple do it - put them in yourself, it'll be cheaper. However, I'd still be wary about SSD for system drive. They're expensive and small, but they also have a finite number of read/writes they can do, and unless you get a good one, they can ware unevenly - look up wear levelling on google. If you want a fast system drive, go down the Western Digital Velociraptor route. Trad HDD but spins at 10k.
    USB3 - you'll be able to get a PCI-e expansion card to add USB3. But why not look at eSATA or FW800? USB3 faster than FW800, but not as fast as eSATA for external HDD.
    iMacs are nice, but I'm so glad I went down the Mac Pro route. More expensive but expandable - to the tune of having just ordered 6TB of drives to go inside it for image/movie storage space.
    When it comes to specs, don't always look at RAW numbers. Mac OS is cleaner and smoother running than any windows install and therefore it runs faster, even on 'slower' processors. And the lack of viruses is another bonus.
    And finally, resale. Can you resell a PC? Errrrr no. I resold my MacBook Pro for a very good price 2 years later, so lifetime ownership is much lower with a Mac.
    One last point - you mention breezebrowser - did you know it was coded and tested on a Mac running windows rather than a true windows box? Mac boxes run windows better than window [sic] boxes :-) If you still want some windows, you can run it through boot camp or parallels if you want.....

  2. Thanks for that Dave,SSD's have been around some time now and i think if you get a good one like a Corsair or Intel you should be ok, They are instant and no moving parts, A bit like the old micro drives compared to a CF card,Still time to do some more homework and dot the i's


  3. Hi Dave,

    IMO there's no silver bullet answer to the 'PC or Mac' question, it depends on many things.

    I've just recently switch to an iMac (i5/8Gb) from an i7 desktop. For me it wasn't the Mac experience I was after, rather Final Cut Studio.

    I can still run Windows on the Mac, which I fully intend to do as that's what my work revolves around. Basecamp will allow you to dual boot and VMWare Fusion will allow you to run Windows on top of OS X. I believe you can even get Fusion to boot your Basecamp partition into a VM for those times when you don't want to reboot into the other OS.

    If you base your decision on specs alone then a PC will always win. Apple run a walled garden so there are some compromises. I will say though that OS X on the i5 feels faster than Windows on the i7. I don't have much good to say about Windows' ability to multithread.

    There's a lot of things I'm liking about the Mac but I will go where the tools are tbh.

    (I'm also enjoying Aperture, quite a change from Lightroom)

  4. On the SSD front, Intel rate their X-25M at 1.2million hours (mean time before failure).

    IIRC they say you can write 20GB of data a day for 5 years to the drive.

    If you're at all serious about the Mac I'd look at the Pros, you can be considerably more flexible with your setup.

    The 27inch screen on my iMac is stunning though :-)

  5. Hi Dave,
    You can get the i7 chip in a macbook pro and mot of the reviews have it running faster than pc,s . After you recounted your problems with unzipping the cs5 download and the hours spent cleaning up your pc i think the question of usb3 over usb 2 looks a bit redundant. no breezebrowser but there is photomechanic which is probably not as good but its not the most important part of the workflow.
    You made the right decision moving to Nikon now dont make the wrong one now.lol

  6. Hi Pete
    Yes as i said you CAN get an i7 but its 2.66 whereas in a Mac pro or PC its 3.33 which is much much faster,I am now looking at getting a basic mac and putting in an SSD and more RAM as Apple really rip you off for RAM and that will keep the costs down