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Author Topic: PC or Mac?  (Read 12778 times)
BernardLanguillier
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« Reply #20 on: August 13, 2007, 05:22:40 PM »
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I'd say that today, if you are looking for a high end solution, there is a lot going for the Mac Pro. Leopard (OS 10.5) to be released in October will add some more to that but what we have today is already excellent.

Cheers,
Bernard
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DiaAzul
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« Reply #21 on: August 13, 2007, 05:40:58 PM »
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Yeah...I would stay away from Linux at this point...
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You mean Photoshop is NOT being compiled for Linux. Bummer  
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GregW
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« Reply #22 on: August 13, 2007, 09:43:49 PM »
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I was using Macs when proprietary hardware and beige boxes were the order of the day, about 20 years ago.  In those days they were mostly functional boxes and were in no way cool.  The reason some people bought then was the graphical user interface.  When choosing between a command line operating system and a GUI it was easy to see why many DTP, imaging and audio software developers chose the Mac platform.

The reason we chose Macs was not because we were guru's running ahead of the curve, it was simply the only platform that supported the apps we needed to use.  A good example is that of Quark.  It was only in the late 90's that the Windows version became operationally stable.   Before a Windows version was released it had been available on the Mac for years.  The two companies worked closely - Apple even developed advanced graphics cards to enhance app performance.  It's one of the key reason Macs have taken a stronger hold in the 'imaging' markets than other markets like gaming or productivity.

Most of the opinions you will get here will have their foundations in people sticking to what they know and defend it.  Very few people are going to say that the MacBook Pro they bought last week was a mistake?

Here are some things to consider.

- Art is art, it doesn't matter a jot that it was produced on  Nikon, Canon, Windows, Mac OS or an etch a sketch.  Both Windows and Mac OS can get the job done.  You're buying a tool not a lifestyle.

- You don't know exactly what it is you need right now.  Versatility and flexibility seem to be key.  The reality is that a Windows machine will give you the greatest flexibility i.e. hardware and software options.

- A windows machine will likely be cheaper.  These days it's not going to be enough that it should sway you one way or another.

- Running two platforms could become expensive depending on the software you choose to run.

- Parallels, VMWare and Boot Camp are NOT solutions, they are workarounds.  From my experience and testing the former struggle with CPU and GPU intensive applications.  3rd party peripherals don't always play nicely.  They are perfect for running an old legacy app, ones that doesn't need modern processing power (Boot Camp excluded).  By putting Windows on a Mac you ARE exposing it to all the evils - viruses, malware, spyware, bots etc - the Apple marketing dept. tell us about Windows.  Just because it's Windows on a Mac doesn't mean it's invincible.  

It's an acceptable risk on a private or hobby computer but not on a professional setup.

- For most Windows apps there is a Mac version or equivalent.  You have to figure out if you're likely to need something exotic.  It often when you need to hook up proprietary equipment where the manufacturer hasn't developed a Mac version of the interface that you can come unstuck.

- According to most independent surveys Mac OS is more reliable and secure out of the box when compared to Windows.  It's UNIX kernel was developed with multiuser networked computing in mind.  Windows was designed to be open to applications and users.

- Mac's are not immune from virus and malware attacks, there is evidence that the risk is growing.  Still, most independent surveys confirm Mac OS requires less maintenance than an equivalent Windows machine.

- What legacy equipment do you have, i.e. printers, scanners, network hardware etc.  Make sure you can get reliable Mac drivers.  When selecting new equipment keep an eye on it's Mac friendliness.  Check the support pages of the manufacturers web page.

- Poor support.  Eventually you'll get used to it.  Apple are notorious.  There have been quite a few occasions where it took class action law suits to galvanize Apple in to action.  

- Be prepared to become self sufficient or have a very good Apple dealer (Not one of those shinny Apple stores) but an old fashioned dealer employing people who know what they are talking about.

You can buy extra hardware support, AppleCare, but think of it as an extended warranty.  In most countries you can't get a 24 or 48 hour on-site repair service from Apple.  You'll need to have a working hardware, software and data backup to meet deadlines if your system goes down.

Apple's server line is well respected and consistently benchmarks well for reliability and performance.  One of the key reasons they have not been more successful is that Apple can not sell them the kind of service they are used to getting from HP and IBM.

- Macs are built in China with off the shelf components just like most Windows machines.  Thus it's reasonable to expect the same level reliability.

- Mac hardware often has some quite clever design ideas e.g. light sensors for keyboard illumination, magsafe connectors to name two.

- If you are already a confident Windows user you will adjust to Mac OS quite quickly.  It might do things differently but its basically doing the same stuff as a Windows or Linux machine.

- Macs are no longer 'cool'.   They zenith of Mac cool was probably the aluminum G4 Powerbook range.  By definition too many have been sold over the last couple of years for them and their purchasers to be considered cool.  As I said earlier it's a tool not a lifestyle.

Many of my points are of particular relevance in a professional / working pro setup, so they don't apply to everyone.

What would I do in your situation.  Well, I've spent lots of time and money on Macs over the last 20 years, if I follow my own logic from earlier I'd recommend a Mac wouldn't I?  If you can find satisfactory answers to some of the points or questions I've made, maybe a Mac could also work for you.

p.s. If you are considering a Mac Pro and work in a quiet environment on your own, get ear plugs!
« Last Edit: August 13, 2007, 09:57:41 PM by GregW » Logged
GregW
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« Reply #23 on: August 13, 2007, 09:47:39 PM »
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I'd say that today, if you are looking for a high end solution, there is a lot going for the Mac Pro. Leopard (OS 10.5) to be released in October will add some more to that but what we have today is already excellent.

[a href=\"index.php?act=findpost&pid=133055\"][{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a]

Correct.  The reason some people will be disapointed with Leapoard's feature set is that Tiger is so good.  It's going to be very hard to make substantial improvements to an already excellent system.
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« Reply #24 on: August 13, 2007, 10:37:47 PM »
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What would I do in your situation.  Well, I've spent lots of time and money on Macs over the last 20 years, if I follow my own logic from earlier I'd recommend a Mac wouldn't I?  If you can find satisfactory answers to some of the points or questions I've made, maybe a Mac could also work for you.

p.s. If you are considering a Mac Pro and work in a quiet environment on your own, get ear plugs!
[a href=\"index.php?act=findpost&pid=133093\"][{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a]

Thanks a lot! I find many of your points quite helpful and valid. Right now I dont own any particular equipment besides my notebook and some software. So I would be starting from the very beginning - is the MacPro really that noisy?
As far as support goes: I will be living in Germany and I have no experience with apple in europe whatsoever, so I don't know how well developed their service is.

thanks a lot
ed
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BernardLanguillier
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« Reply #25 on: August 13, 2007, 10:48:21 PM »
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Mac Pro and work in a quiet environment on your own, get ear plugs!
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Greg,

I totally agree with everything you write except for this last point. My 8 core Mac Pro is a lot more silent that the (admitedely ery noisy) PC it replaced.

It is fully loaded with 4 HDs and is used to do heavy stuff on multi-GB images with PS, PTgui and Lightroom typically running at the same time in a room that is at least 28 degress C.

Noise is probably a lot about perception, but I would think that most people would find the noise level of my Mac Pro to be on the quiet side. Or it could be me turning deaf...

Regards,
Bernard
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Mark D Segal
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« Reply #26 on: August 13, 2007, 10:54:42 PM »
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Thanks a lot! I find many of your points quite helpful and valid. Right now I dont own any particular equipment besides my notebook and some software. So I would be starting from the very beginning - is the MacPro really that noisy?
As far as support goes: I will be living in Germany and I have no experience with apple in europe whatsoever, so I don't know how well developed their service is.

thanks a lot
ed
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I know a professional photographer in Europe, who was formerly an I.T. professional, and he started his photography career a couple of years ago with a Mac. He dumped it and reverted to a PC because Apple's service was - in his words - horrible. I know another imaging specialist in the USA also with a very considerable I.T. background who is at this very moment beside himself with anger at Apple over very shoddy service related to a major hardware breakdown  which they promised to get fixed overnight and in two weeks is still un-repaired. But horror stories abound about service from PC makers too. Just to say it would appear there is nothing exceptioonal about any of them including Apple when it comes to service.
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Johnny V
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« Reply #27 on: August 14, 2007, 09:32:00 AM »
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I know a professional photographer in Europe, who was formerly an I.T. professional, and he started his photography career a couple of years ago with a Mac. He dumped it and reverted to a PC because Apple's service was - in his words - horrible.

Geez I've had great luck with Apple's service...just make sure you buy the 2 year warranty.

Had nightmares with my dad's Dell service and brother's Gateway service....just plain disgusting.

Pick your poison! I'll pick Apple!

Also if I'm location and an AD want's to catch up on work, happens a lot, they feel more comfortable working on my Mac...big time...enough said.
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vandevanterSH
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« Reply #28 on: August 14, 2007, 10:54:58 AM »
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Greg,

I totally agree with everything you write except for this last point. My 8 core Mac Pro is a lot more silent that the (admitedely ery noisy) PC it replaced.

It is fully loaded with 4 HDs and is used to do heavy stuff on multi-GB images with PS, PTgui and Lightroom typically running at the same time in a room that is at least 28 degress C.

Noise is probably a lot about perception, but I would think that most people would find the noise level of my Mac Pro to be on the quiet side. Or it could be me turning deaf...

Regards,
Bernard
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I agree; my Mac-Pro is sitting on my work space at ear level and noise is not a problem.  The 10,000RPM W-D Raptor drives can get noisy with very heavy disc access.
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James Godman
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« Reply #29 on: August 14, 2007, 11:35:55 AM »
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If I was in your situation, I'd get a mac.  I use macs in my business and they work.

Good luck.
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Philmar
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« Reply #30 on: August 14, 2007, 03:24:35 PM »
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I would appreciate any feedback on which platform you use (and why), your experiences with either OS and possible conclusions you've come to.
Budget is around 3000 EUR/2800 US (I will be purchasing this machine in Europe).

thanks a lot,
ed
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I bought a new system earlier this year and grappled with the same decision. I ultimately chose a PC though I would have been happy with the Mac. I chose PC because I figured at my price point of $2000 I was able to buy a PC with more RAM, hard drives, CPU strength than with a comparably Mac. This isn't always possible at all price points but it was at mine. With PCs one can buy individual components on sale from many competing vendors. With Mac you have to buy the whole package from Apple. You can't buy the RAM from Fry's and the hard drives on sale from Newegg. You have several hard drive or RAM module manufacturers competing for your money as well as many different sellers competing for your business. This competition drives prices down in the PC world. You can get great deals on individual components.
Of course, I had to put the thing together so this might not be for everyone (ok I paid my neighbor's son $30 to do it). Buyiong PC components allowed me to customize my rig. CS3 doesn't need a 3D gamer's vid card so I bought a cheaper 128 mb card on sale and plowed the savings in to more RAM (which is what CS3 craves). Macs weren't as customizable. I also chose PC because I can do a moderate overclock and get what is essentially free additional performance. once again this isn't for everyone.
With a PC I was able to get a more powerful rig than a Mac and it was easier to overclock it. That didn't come without a cost. Figuring which mobo to buy as well as which RAM modules to get is a process that requires a lot of research. But that said, I really like the Mac interface and sometimes wish I had a MAC - especially when I am reading CS3 tutorials using Mac interface. But I am more than happy with my PC - I know exactly what I put in it and I got the best possible price for each component. The amount of research and price searching I did was tiresome and exhaustive. It may not be for everyone.
Good luck with your choice.
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« Reply #31 on: August 14, 2007, 03:39:00 PM »
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...With Mac you have to buy the whole package from Apple. You can't buy the RAM from Fry's and the hard drives on sale from Newegg....
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Dead wrong.

While you might not be able to get components from those two vendors, they are widely available from a number of other vendors. I plan to upgrade my mac desktop this fall, and I intend to buy  it with minimum RAM and upgrade it myself at hundreds of dollars less.

I've added hard drives to my current G4 tower several times.

Macs use by and large the same or similar components as are used to build PC's. If you're dumb enough to pay inflated Apple prices for extra RAM or drives, Steve Jobs'll be happy to sell it to you. That's why he gets to fly around in a Gulfstream.
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« Reply #32 on: August 14, 2007, 04:31:44 PM »
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Noise is probably a lot about perception,


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Noise is also a lot to do with the airflow through the machine and cooling components. The stock fans provided with Intel CPUs tend to be very noisy (or the ones that were shipped with the CPUs that I installed were noisy). However, fitting more efficient and quieter fans is entirely possible to bring the noise from jet engine roar to more of a whisper jet. The cost of the fans is low - particularly bearing in mind the discomfort that often accompanies noisy computers.
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« Reply #33 on: August 14, 2007, 04:52:57 PM »
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Dead wrong.
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Well not exactly - you both are right, you're just talking about slightly different things.

He's saying you can't source the machine in whole, which is true.  Yes the best solution is to buy the minimum config (complete through Apple as he said, which is the only option) and then upgrade it with 3rd party RAM and hard drives.  BUT you are still throwing away money at the minimum config ram and hard drive selection.  The grossly inflated prices Apple charges for generic hardware such as RAM and hard drives is rediculous.
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« Reply #34 on: August 14, 2007, 04:55:25 PM »
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Noise is also a lot to do with the airflow through the machine and cooling components. The stock fans provided with Intel CPUs tend to be very noisy (or the ones that were shipped with the CPUs that I installed were noisy). However, fitting more efficient and quieter fans is entirely possible to bring the noise from jet engine roar to more of a whisper jet. The cost of the fans is low - particularly bearing in mind the discomfort that often accompanies noisy computers.
[a href=\"index.php?act=findpost&pid=133289\"][{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a]
My Dell (with Intel CPU) has three internal and five external hard drives, all with individual fans. The whole system is very quiet. I my experience, up until about three years ago (give or take a couple), many PCs were noisy, but that is surely a thing of the past.

Gregw gave a good balanced discussion of the issues. It's a little like Canon vs. Nikon: there's really no "wrong" choice, but if you get more emotional about one of them than the other, then go for it.
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« Reply #35 on: August 14, 2007, 05:03:30 PM »
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Keep in mind that the new Macs are just as adept at running Windows as they are Mac OS X or Linux. These are Intel machines and as such can run Windows at any time.

If you want the utmost flexibility get a program called Parallels which allows you to run Windows inside a window within OS X. Legacy software simply isn't an issue any longer.

Michael
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That's true. I bought the latest Mac Pro, thinking that OSX must be great. After 6 months of trying to get peripherals to work, and basic calibration, and not have it screw up my server, and all the devices attached to it, I now run WinXP on the Mac.

In UK at least, at the time of purchase, it was the cheapest way of buying a workstation class PC, so I didn't really lose out.

Would I buy another Mac? Absolutely not, never, no way - complete waste of money! If I wanted to run Mac OSX, I'd get a workstation from a PC manufacturer.
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kaelaria
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« Reply #36 on: August 14, 2007, 05:03:42 PM »
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Stock Intel fans have been near silent for quite some time.  AMD stock fans have been and are still much noisier.  Older Intel fans were certainly up there.

Don't forget other options, which are really cheap now, such as water cooling.  Plug and play kits with far better results than CPU fans exist for around $100 and are silent.

I happen to run a custom water cooled system with silent 120mm low speed fans, and am overclocked from 2.6 to 3.4GHz running cooler than the stock fan.

A lot has to do with the case you choose too.  A tight case with little or no organization inside will present poor flow and may introduce noise, or need higher speed fans for adaquate cooling.  A well designed case for flow really helps, especially with fan placement.
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GregW
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« Reply #37 on: August 14, 2007, 08:04:05 PM »
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Greg,

I totally agree with everything you write except for this last point. My 8 core Mac Pro is a lot more silent that the (admitedely ery noisy) PC it replaced.

It is fully loaded with 4 HDs and is used to do heavy stuff on multi-GB images with PS, PTgui and Lightroom typically running at the same time in a room that is at least 28 degress C.

Noise is probably a lot about perception, but I would think that most people would find the noise level of my Mac Pro to be on the quiet side. Or it could be me turning deaf...

Regards,
Bernard
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That's a fair point.  

Mine's sitting on a real wood floor which in turn is on a concrete base.  The room is also quite large so it is definitely going to amplify any noise.  

I should also point out that the G5 tower sat next to it it is quite a bit louder so there has definitely been an improvement.
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« Reply #38 on: August 15, 2007, 09:20:35 AM »
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It's a little like Canon vs. Nikon: there's really no "wrong" choice, but if you get more emotional about one of them than the other, then go for it.
[a href=\"index.php?act=findpost&pid=133293\"][{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a]

That's exactly the impression I got reading your responses - they're all very helpful but in the end it really seems to boil down to what you "like" better. PCs seem to be more modifiable and flexible yet more prone to errors and crashes than Macs. Macs again are not as easily modifiable but "in general" more stable - although there seems to be cases that proof both of those statements wrong or at least indicate that system stability isnt always something you can count on with a Mac.
I have another question: I'm currently using an external hard drive (3,5" WD) for back up and picture storage (on my xp notebook), would it be possible to use that very same hard drive with a Mac without having to format it? Or even take the drive out of its case and install it in the mac? I would come in handy to transfer files etc.

Thanks a lot everybody for your great response!

ed
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« Reply #39 on: August 15, 2007, 09:25:40 AM »
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It depends on the file format of the drive and the OS version on the Mac, if it will read it natively.  It depends on the drive type and interface available in the Mac if you can install it internally.
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