Should I get a Mac?

I’ll soon have to buy a new computer, and for the first time in my life I don’t intend to use it for games at all. It’ll mainly be used for running numerical simulations on Matlab or a similar environment. That leaves me with an option I haven’t considered for a long time: a new Mac. Although I’m a little wary of the Mac cult, I have to admit that the new Mac Pro quadcores are really tempting, especially now that Macs seem to run Windows business apps as well as PCs do.

If you’re not going to be playing games, are the new Mac Pros really all that?

I don’t know about not playing games, but I bought an iMac last year because I wanted a relatively fast small form factor PC. It’s a great box, nice and quiet, and I haven’t bothered to boot into OSX in… oh, two or three months or so. It’s expensive though, eh? I mean, is it really worth $2500 for a quad core system? I honestly have no idea, but I’d be a bit leery about spending so much money on a system with otherwise middle of the road specs (1GB RAM, 250GB HD, Geforce 7300 @ $2500 USD). I haven’t run a price comparison on a similar beige box equivalent, but I would ask myself how much I need OSX, and whether it’s worth $x over a PC beige box.

If you’re going to be running XP primarily on a Mac, no, it’s not worth it.

If you’re planning on switching, and only running Xp then yes.

At the risk of trying to get you to drink the Kool Aid, I find I’m more productive in OSX on a daily basis than I was in XP.

I find I’m more productive in OSX on a daily basis than I was in XP

Well, yeah, because you have to reboot if you want to play any games.

lol

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Ubuntu. The productiveness with none of the extra costs of running a Mac.

I would have gone 100% Mac ages ago if it wasn’t for the gaming issue.

Macs are really nice for daily/casual use, as stand alone computers. I have no experience on how well they work in an office environment but i imagine it’s inferior to a PC. If you already have PC software like Office, you’ll have to get Bootcamp and boot to XP anytime you want to use it or fork over hundreds for a Mac version.

Vista seems to almost be equal with OSXs standby snapiness, but takes forever to boot by comparison.

I like the Mac for casual gaming and web browsing, email, ect. It seems more efficient and always “at attention” and is easier for me to get up and use than XP. It takes my XP computer about 4 minutes to boot cold, but the Mac is always in sleep, and it takes about 4 seconds to wake up and be ready to work. Vista handles standby much better than XP though.

Yeah but OSX isn’t all fucked up and Vista is.

You’ve never actually used Vista, have you?

No but I’ve spoken to plenty of friends who have and have since rolled back to XP because it drove them nuts.

Haha, that’s part of the reason that I do most of my work in Ubuntu :) (that, and I’m a lunix geek)

For any reason other than video drivers not being quite there yet? Which only matters in games anyway… that you can’t play on OS-X in the first place.

I’m using Vista, it’s excellent. Wouldn’t dream of going back to XP.

I’m also happily using Vista these days. My experience may be skewed based on the fact that WoW is the only PC game I play these days and even that doesn’t get played too often.

I’m just hearing a lot of anecdotal stuff from friends who have had real compatability headaches with software and hardware that worked perfectly well under XP.

A particular problem for me is that the screenwriting software I use has serious issues with Vista and since that’s one of my most relied-upon programs I am not going to fuck with that until some kind of patch is available. I’m sure there are lots of similar problems with users of specialty software.

Well, that’s because Vista is a real update, not just a new skin for XP as the other faction of Vista haters claims…

I had one specialty program break on Vista, too. Fortunately it wasn’t essential. The reason was that the program was poorly written and the developers decided they’d rather rip off people for an upgrade than issue a free patch.

And that’s really the typical reason for problems with Vista. Microsoft has long had entirely reasonable guidelines for application programming, but in Vista’s default configuration they are actually enforced for the first time. That breaks some of the junk that’s out there, though you may be able to work around it by disabling UAC and running as administrator.

Of course I understand that you don’t want to risk an upgrade until essential software is guaranteed to run on Vista. I’m just slightly miffed that Microsoft gets so much shit about Vista when it’s really the fault of irresponsible 3rd party clowns writing software as if they were still on MS-DOS 3.10. Microsoft should be congratulated for finally forcing them to get their act together.

I totally get that. I’m actually a lot more annoyed at the makers of Final Draft since they apparently have no plans to issue a Vista patch and so any PC users of the industry standard screenwriting software basically have to suck it until the next full version - which has no release date and will cost at least $100 to upgrade to.

This is a company which makes one single software product - what the fuck are they doing all day? How hard would it be for them to issue a Vista patch?

I suspect the reason why they’re not that bothered is that the majority of screenwriters (the pros at least) work on Macs. You can bet your ass that any Leopard issues will be patched quickly.

So yeah… to clarify I’m not blaming Microsoft but until the programs I rely on every day work reliably on Vista I’m not going to risk the upgrade. It’s really only a problem that affects the users of fringe programs like Final Draft but so long at it does Vista is no use to me. Sucks.

I went Mac last year, with an Early 2006 Intel 20" iMac, and haven’t had any complaints. I’ve got Parallels with a Vista install when I need it, which is next to never, since I do all the major gaming on the XBox 360.

iLife and the rest of the software that ships with the Mac works much better than the equivalent on the PC platform (usually manufacturer shovelware), and Neooffice lets me open all the Word docs I need. I’ve even had no problems connecting to share on my work laptop, or using CoRD to connect to it via remote desktop when I get tired of looking at a 14" screen.

And that’s really the typical reason for problems with Vista. Microsoft has long had entirely reasonable guidelines for application programming, but in Vista’s default configuration they are actually enforced for the first time. That breaks some of the junk that’s out there, though you may be able to work around it by disabling UAC and running as administrator.

Damn skippy. Microsoft gets a lots of shit they don’t deserve.

I love Ubuntu, but I am less productive when using it than I am when playing games. The temptation to tweak the OS is so great that I usually eventually end up tweaking it to the point that I break something and then have to spend a while figuring out what it was.

I can recommend the modern Mac to any computer user without reservation. (Okay, one: You’ll probably want to try out Parallels, just in case you have some essential Windows software you must use. But you might be like my sister, who switched to OSX, then never ended up using any of the Windows programs she previously thought “essential.”)

Vista, even though it has been a clusterfuck for me in some ways, definitely has many improvements over XP. I bet by SP1 it’s going to be in excellent shape. That said, I mostly like it because I can turn my window chrome transparent pink.