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Author Topic: PC or Mac  (Read 7661 times)
Don Libby
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« on: December 26, 2007, 03:42:20 PM »
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Hi all

My current working system is a Dell running Win XP Pro 64 with 8 GB RAM.  I’ve had the system now for about 18 months and it’s been a love/hate relationship since day one.  I’m beginning to think about going with a Mac G5 thinking that this system would enable me to have a smoother workflow.  I’m also using CS3 and believe that I may have read somewhere that Adobe for whatever reason runs better and accesses more memory on a Mac than it does with a PC.  I also have dual displays each capable of supporting 2 displays and am currently using 2 Dell monitors as well as a Wacom Cintiq 12WX.

Here are some questions:

•   Will I see that much of a benefit in switching platforms?
•   Can I salvage my two DVI display cards?
•   Does Adobe actually run better?
•   Should I just wait till VISTA 64 settles down and stay the course

In supplying information to the above I would appreciate it if you’d let me know if you made the switch from PC to Mac and how it turned out for you, in other words having to do it all over again – would you?

Thank you to all in advance for you insights and responses.

One more question - can the hards drives be switched?


don
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« Reply #1 on: December 26, 2007, 06:03:36 PM »
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Don, most of the people who have used both of a PC and a Mac (but not all) report having A LOT fewer "mysterious problems" with the Mac. Also, a Mac screen is uniformly brighter and more clear than a PC screen.  There are exceptions to everything, and differing opinions too.  My experience is that the Mac is just a whole lot better - at everything.

The forum answers will be divided on this issue. There are 2 things you might do to get your own information and impressions on the Mac,  (but I personally think that Mac = much better quality of life).

Go to an Apple Company store and ask for a demo of the Mac and of "Aperture" and of iPhoto. You will be amazed.  In the Apple stores they have 2 kinds of sales people. One is technical oriented. The others are called "Creatives".

The other option open to you is to get on the Apple web site and browse around their demos and tutorials.

Enjoy the search and discovery process. There is a lot of upside potential out there and I'm sure you will get a good system, whichever. One nice thing that Apple has. With a new system (iMac) you can get 3 years of extended warranty and 12 hour a day, 7 day a week tech support for a price of $168. Whenever I call them they answer the pone right away and sometimes even keep the conversation going, just to chat and be nice.  Try that with a PC.
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nemophoto
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« Reply #2 on: December 26, 2007, 07:06:08 PM »
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Many pros and cons.

First of all, a Mac screen is not uniformally brighter than a PC. It's all dependent upon your monitor and calibration. We have a Mac G5 and a PC. The PC screens are brighter, partially because they are newer, larger monitors.

My sugestion is, try Vista 64 before making a huge investment in switching. I'd read many negative reviews and articles on Vista, but was forced to upgrade to Vista after a major crash (something I plan on writing more about later). The long and the short is: Vista is vastly better than XP, it's newer, cleaner, more hardware savvy. (When trying to reinstall my XP, I was asked for a floppy disk with a driver disk for my RAID! What's that? I dimly seem to remember the word.) From what I've read, the Mac/memory issue is more related to the OS -- you are already operating a 64-bit OS, so there is no advantage, per se. (The G5 we have has access to 8GB of RAM, which is great, but periodically STILL requires quitting an Adobe program and restarting because it won't free up memory on it's own and gets slower.) I believe I read somewhere the max memory Photoshop can really utilize is 2.5GB, regardless of how much you have, and that's provided you have a 64-bit OS.

The File Allocation Table works differently on the two systems, so no, your hard drive is not useable, EXCEPT if you reformat. You might be able to use it with a dual boot Mac, but the question would be how to get it properly set up.
« Last Edit: December 26, 2007, 07:09:04 PM by nemophoto » Logged

GregW
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« Reply #3 on: December 26, 2007, 07:06:32 PM »
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Hi Don.  You ask a great question about making the Windows to Mac switch.  Unfortunately it has the potential to stir up quite a debate as both factions are somewhat tribal.  It's not unlike the Nikon/Canon discussions we see from time to time.  

The topic was discussed in some detail in this thread from the summer:   http://luminous-landscape.com/forum/index....opic=18801&st=0

Now on to your specific questions.

Quote
Here are some questions:

•   Will I see that much of a benefit in switching platforms?
•   Can I salvage my two DVI display cards?
•   Does Adobe actually run better?
•   Should I just wait till VISTA 64 settles down and stay the course

One more question - can the hards drives be switched?

1.  It's hard to say categorically one way or the other.  If the product and purpose is the image then the answer is no.  Both platforms will produce equally good results.  My own detailed contribution to your question can be found on page 2. of the linked thread.

2.  Probably not.  One basic advantage Apple and Apple software developers have is that the hardware setup is principally defined by Apple so there are likely to be fewer hardware combinations and thus potential for conflict.  Introducing other hardware may upset the balance.  You are also relying on Apple to support the devices correctly .

3.  Someone from Adobe or with really good Abobe connections needs to answer that.  During the beta phase of Lightroom it did seem like Windows users were having a tougher time but that's just my impression and purely anecdotal.  Since then Vista has come along and it's fair to say that despite some teething problems it's a big improvement over XP.

4.  I'm not in a position to answer that.  Sorry.

Can the drives be switched.  I don't know.  You may well be able to add them to one of the spare bays in the PowerMac case once they have been formatted.  Personally I'd keep Mac OS on the disk supplied with the new machine.    I do have a couple of other ideas:

a.  Keep them in the Windows box and run it as a server
b.  Remove them from the Windows box and install them in removable drive enclosures.

A final thought.  Apple have never been that good, just as Microsoft have never been that bad.
« Last Edit: December 26, 2007, 07:20:29 PM by GregW » Logged
BernardLanguillier
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« Reply #4 on: December 26, 2007, 07:33:19 PM »
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Why a G5 when the latest Macs are all Intel based and enable you to use Windows natively through a number of ways?

I have switched from PC to Mac about 6 months ago and am happy.

I went for super high end, which might be part of the reason why I like my new box.

You should not underestimate the time it takes to migrate all your applications from one platform to the next. There is also a learning curve that is real.

All in all, I consider that my switch from PC to Mac cost me 2 full weeks of time from morning to night (including application platform switch, buying replacement HW, migrating data,...). Depending on how much you value your time, this might make the switch more or less interesting.

Regards,
Bernard
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Roy
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« Reply #5 on: December 26, 2007, 08:46:27 PM »
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Hi Don,

You haven't been very specific about your reasons for thinking of switching. From your description, you have powerful hardware so that shouldn't be a limitation. You mention workflow, but what is it about workflow that is troubling you?

To answer two specific questions:

- It is very unlikely that you can reuse your video cards. But you probably don't need to. The MacPro (the current equivalent of a G5) has a dual channel DVI video card that is just fine for photography (you might want to upgrade it if you are into serious video or gaming).

- If your disks are SATA interface, yes, you can reuse them. You will need to reformat them after you move your data.

My personal experience is that of spending years writing software and working with first DOS and then Windows for general computing and for my photography. A few years ago I switched to Apple and would never go back. The reasons are as much personal as practical. The OS makes more sense to me and it is my impression that everything is more intuitive as well as more reliable. I cannot quantify that. I do maintain a Windows computer for my wife. She has no choice but to run Windows as she trains people in how to use some Microsoft Windows software. I cringe every time I have to do something in Windows--it is always counter-intuitive and more complicated than it should be. We recently moved all her computing to a Mac, a Mac running Windows. It was totally painless and she is planning to learn some of the Mac apps for her personal use.

I don't use Vista.

There is a learning period involved in a switch. Macs sometimes break, but in general, the hardware is quite reliable. The MacPro is a lovely piece of hardware compared to most PCs.

Hope that helps.
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Don Libby
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« Reply #6 on: December 26, 2007, 11:02:23 PM »
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All

Thank you all very much for your comments and especially the link to what has been discussed so far.

I switch to DMF early this year and my files are huge compared to what they had been especially when I have a multiple image pano.  I’ve come to understand that some of my so called limitations are based solely on Adobe CS3 and not the OS.  My normal panoramas run at a minimum 60” long and CS3 does not support that length so in the past I’ve been forced to open CS2 to print (I’ve ordered QImage so that should fix that).

I guess I’m tired of hunting for drivers to support an OS that has been out for years.

I’m also researching whether a switch to VISTA 64 might be better than doing a complete system switch.  It appears that VISTA 64 has much better support in the short time it’s been released than Win 64 has had.

Please allow me to add an addendum to my original post:

             •   What comments would you give me regarding your switch from Win XP Pro x64 to VISTA 64?
             •   How much of a PIA was it and was it worthwhile?

I ask the above since I have what should be a machine capable of helping me produce the kind of product I want and think it capable of if the OS was up to speed.  Hope this all make some sense to someone….

Bottom line is that I think I have three choices:

      1. Keep with what I have and wait till Adobe comes up w/a 64bit version of PS
      2. Go with a different type of machine & OS
      3. Save big buck and upgrade to VISTA 64

Yeah, I understand the only person who can answer this is me but I’d like to hear a little from those who did the upgrade ….

Again, thank you all for your responses

don
« Last Edit: December 26, 2007, 11:03:16 PM by Iron Creek » Logged

Tim Lookingbill
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« Reply #7 on: December 26, 2007, 11:05:52 PM »
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8 gigs of RAM?!

You should be flying. It'ld be interesting to know what problems you'ld have with such a beefy setup like that. Maybe someone here will be able to help and you won't have to switch to Mac.

I've been with Mac's since '98 and hardly ever needed to call tech support except for a bum OS 8.6 install CD that caused corruption. They just sent me a new one.

My first computer system was one I trained on the job with-a Windows 95, HP scanner and printer setup, and, as long as it was completely configured and maintained by an IT tech dude, it went pretty smooth. But one false move on my part disabling fonts in a dedicated font management program brought the entire system down. I lasted 6 months there and later bought a Mac 9600/300 to train myself on Pagemaker, Illustrator and Photoshop.

However, the thing about switching to OSX after being so long with Classic is that it was like getting an entirely different computer. And after several months using it on a 2004 G5 iMac with 1 gig of ram (no Photoshop, yet) I'ld have to say it's been a much better experience-"clarity" being an apt word to describe it.

The OS X hierarchal design interface is so much more simply organized compared to Window's. I don't regret switching from PC to Mac one bit, but I still wouldn't mind trying out that 8gig ram Dell system of yours.
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Nigelfrommanchester
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« Reply #8 on: December 27, 2007, 04:42:54 AM »
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I mainly read this thread because I'm straddling the great divide having bought my first mac fairly recently. My observation is that the Mac set-up with iPhoto etc makes it very easy to do 'normal' photography, but that high-end or 'power-users' have different requirements. You appear to be operating in that area, and therefore my recommendation is that you pay for professional advice from someone who knows their stuff.

Its interesting that the web is full of photographers complaining that clients won't pay professionals to take their photos. However, human nature is fairly constant and photographers seem equally reluctant to pay other professionals to sort out their computers!

YMMV!

Nigel
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Nigel Atkinson
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« Reply #9 on: December 27, 2007, 06:33:05 AM »
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Don,

A good friend of mine owns 2 Apple retail stores. He showed me Windows XP and Vista running on a MacBookPro using Parallels software back in January. I immediately ordered a MacBook Pro 15" for me, and a MacBook for my daughter for her school work. A few weeks later, I ordered a MacPro 8-core which I received in March.

Adobe did a cross-platform upgrade which allowed me to get PS CS3 for the Mac by destroying my PC copy of CS2 for the upgrade price. I also was a beta tester for Adobe Lightroom so they gave me a copy of the final retail version for my contributions.

I retired my Dell Precision 470 workstation (4GB RAM, Quadra FX graphics card, 320 internal RAID drives and for sale now if someone wants to make me an offer) and a Dell Latitude laptop. My 2nd Dell Dimension 8200 was given to my son (9 yrs old) to play his piles of PC games. His old PC was donated to the church.

I could not be happier with the switch. I upgraded all 3 Macs to Leopard the weekend it was released. I had some issues that forced me to do a clean install on my MacBookPro and MacPro, but it was easy since I have greatly reduced the number of programs that I need because the Macs come complete with software. I still need to run Windows XP on my MacBookPro for my financial planning practice because of industry specific software is PC only. I run Windows using Parallels and I have my Dell 27" wide display attached to my MacBookPro so that I can run programs on both OSes side-by-side. This configuration runs WinXP better, more reliably and faster than either of my old Dell PCs. The best of both worlds so to speak. Now that I run both OS at the same time most of the work day, it has become painfully apparent how much easier it is to do things on the Mac with less software and with less fuss.

The only hick up now is that Eizo does not yet have a Leopard compatible calibration program for my ColorEdge CE240W monitor that I use in my MacPro for critical color work. They claim that it will be released in mid-Janauary. Fortunately, I saved the monitor profile created with the previous OS before the upgrade and it seems to work okay.

I reformatted my external Lacie drives to Mac HFS+ and now things are rocking. Macs just work better and with less fuss than PCs.

I also replaced my Linksys wireless networking, wireless printer controller and BuffaloTech NAS drive with 2 Apple Airport Extremes. I attached a Iomega drive in RAID 1 (redundant 750GB mirror drives) to the USB port on one of the Airport Extremes to use as a network storage device and backup. The Iomega is Mac-formatted so I no longer worry about the Buffalotech and it's proprietary Linus drive format.

Regarding your PC formatted drives, there is a utility program that you can install on your Mac that will allow it to read PC formatted drives (Fat32 and NTFS. You can get it at this link: http://www.ntfs-3g.org/
If you have a PC and want to read Mac formatted drives, there is a commercial product available called MacDrive.

I agree with a previous poster's comments that the PC vs Mac "debate" can get pretty emotional. As I have done, you can get great results with either platform. I think that Adobe has done a fantastic job of providing cross-platform capabilities being user friendly. But, from my experiences supporting several PCs, printers and scanners in my small business for the past 15 years, the Macs simply work more reliably and are easier to use. My time devoted to troubleshooting and being a PC tech have been greatly reduced since switching to Macs.

There must be a reason while most of the professional creative community is using Macs compared to PCs. I think it's because they want to focus on their work and not the technology. Enough said.

Good luck.

Bud James
North Wales, PA.
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Bud James
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BernardLanguillier
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« Reply #10 on: December 27, 2007, 05:03:14 PM »
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Quote
There must be a reason while most of the professional creative community is using Macs compared to PCs. I think it's because they want to focus on their work and not the technology. Enough said.
[a href=\"index.php?act=findpost&pid=163350\"][{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a]

Frankly speaking, the main reason is that many photographers just prefer to do what their friends have been doing.

Cheers,
Bernard
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Don Libby
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« Reply #11 on: December 27, 2007, 08:05:23 PM »
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Just a fast update on my saga

After spending several hours this morning attempting to get my system to “see” my newest printer (HP Laser/fax 2840) I decided to run over to Ofc Max and pick up a copy of VISTA Ultimate.  I did a clean install and so far have both my Dell monitors as well as the new Wacom up and running; I also have all the printers (HP, R300, 4000 and 9800) installed and running okay.  Tomorrow I’ll reload CS3 …..

All in all it appears the upgrade has gone a hell of a lot smoother than what I expected.  I’m still not convinced that I’ll stay with a windows platform but at least I now have some breathing room.

More later if anyone is interested.


don
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Roy
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« Reply #12 on: December 27, 2007, 08:14:39 PM »
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Quote
Frankly speaking, the main reason is that many photographers just prefer to do what their friends have been doing.
[a href=\"index.php?act=findpost&pid=163454\"][{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a]

I agree, the main reason many photographers and people in the graphic arts use Macs is that Mac is the norm in those fields. At the college where I'm taking some courses (I'm the old fart in class, the self-taught guy who went back to school to learn craft properly), the photography instructors use Macs, the graphic arts computer lab is full of lovely high-end Macs and a large number of the graphic arts students use Macs. The computer science labs are full of Windows PCs and Mac use is much less in areas of study outside of graphic arts.

But that doesn't explain what I perceive to be the high satisfaction of those who have made the switch from PC/Windows to Mac. I have no hard data, this is anecdotal, but I've never met anyone who switched and was disappointed. No one I know who has switched cites joining their colleagues as the benefit of switching; they say it is easier and that they are more productive. I also see easy-to-use Mac applications turning technophobes into computer wizards who create great work.
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BernardLanguillier
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« Reply #13 on: December 27, 2007, 08:35:36 PM »
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But that doesn't explain what I perceive to be the high satisfaction of those who have made the switch from PC/Windows to Mac. I have no hard data, this is anecdotal, but I've never met anyone who switched and was disappointed.
[a href=\"index.php?act=findpost&pid=163489\"][{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a]

I agree overall, and I am personnally happy to have switched to Mac, but not everything is perfect in Mac world. Leaving Vista aside (too much of a PIA really), I have a few friends who use both and find XP to be a more productive environment.

Too cite a few in Tiger:

- a lot of the productivity enhancing tricks on the Mac can only be accessed by keyboard shortcuts that have no GUI equivalents (go one level up in the Finder for instance),
- the resizing of windows is a total pain, why have to go to the bottom right corner to make a window larger?
- the lack of application background often makes for a visually clutered workspace,
- the access to network drives is a pain,
- the internet connection/network settings are not really more intuitive than they are on the Windows side,
- ...

Personnally, I tend to think that I am more efficient on the Mac, but the issues above do bother me on a daily basis.

What I really love with OSX is:

- the seamless multi-language support,
- Expose and other desktop mgt features,
- the sleep mode,
- the UNIX command line layer,
- the overall stability of the OS,
- the application installation model,
- the efficient firewall and elegant security model.

Cheers,
Bernard
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Tim Lookingbill
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« Reply #14 on: December 27, 2007, 11:48:07 PM »
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[- the lack of application background often makes for a visually clutered workspace,
- the access to network drives is a pain,]

Bernard,

Ever hit F11 on your keyboard with a bunch of windows open from several open apps in OS X?

It's a scream. I just found it a couple of days ago being fairly new to OS X. Nearly fell out of my chair laughing when I used it.

All windows fly to the walls.


Talk about intuitiveness. Can someone prompt me on how to place quotes here so they showup in the blue box? I place the cursor over the QUOTE button and it says insert quote. Where do you insert it?
« Last Edit: December 27, 2007, 11:52:03 PM by tlooknbill » Logged
BernardLanguillier
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« Reply #15 on: December 28, 2007, 05:43:20 PM »
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[- the lack of application background often makes for a visually clutered workspace,
- the access to network drives is a pain,]

Bernard,

Ever hit F11 on your keyboard with a bunch of windows open from several open apps in OS X?
[a href=\"index.php?act=findpost&pid=163526\"][{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a]

Yes, of course, but this only helps to access quickly the desktop.

It does nothing to reduce the amount of mess behind the main window of a given application when it is used.

You should click on "reply" if you want to quote.

Cheers,
Bernard
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« Reply #16 on: December 28, 2007, 06:18:19 PM »
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Don, most of the people who have used both of a PC and a Mac (but not all) report having A LOT fewer "mysterious problems" with the Mac.

I've been thinking about this.  I think the "mysterious problems" are usually from misbehaving anti virus/spam software or the crap add on software the assorted pc manufactures throw on their PCs.  The bulk of my in family tech support work revolves around having them get decent software and removing the junk.  My brother has something like 6 add on search toolbars on his new PC.  Unreal.

I always load from base Windows and only put the things on the machine I want to use.  I don't do any pc maintenance and the thing just works.

I recommend anyone who gets a new PC from dell or hp or Huh take the time and unload all the demo programs and junk you'll never use.  Strip the machine down to what you want.  It is just harder to remove that stuff later.

Anyway, back to the original topic.
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« Reply #17 on: December 28, 2007, 07:27:22 PM »
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I've been thinking about this.  I think the "mysterious problems" are usually from misbehaving anti virus/spam software or the crap add on software the assorted pc manufactures throw on their PCs.  The bulk of my in family tech support work revolves around having them get decent software and removing the junk.  My brother has something like 6 add on search toolbars on his new PC.  Unreal.

I always load from base Windows and only put the things on the machine I want to use.  I don't do any pc maintenance and the thing just works.

I recommend anyone who gets a new PC from dell or hp or Huh take the time and unload all the demo programs and junk you'll never use.  Strip the machine down to what you want.  It is just harder to remove that stuff later.

Anyway, back to the original topic.
[a href=\"index.php?act=findpost&pid=163690\"][{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a]

True, most PCs come loaded with crapware.  Unfortunately, it's not always easy to remove.  Some of the uninstallers just don't work, which means your options are registry diving.  The OEM "restore" materials put you back to brand-new condition, which is to say, with crapware installed.

Macs never ship like this, because Apple won't allow it.  Which is a real improvement.

And as for anti-virus, anti-spyware, anti-malware, and the like... it's a fact of life on the PC which simply isn't necessary on the Mac (for now, at least).  And it does cause tons of problems on the PC side.
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« Reply #18 on: December 28, 2007, 09:58:58 PM »
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Quote
Yes, of course, but this only helps to access quickly the desktop.

It does nothing to reduce the amount of mess behind the main window of a given application when it is used.

You should click on "reply" if you want to quote.

Cheers,
Bernard
[a href=\"index.php?act=findpost&pid=163686\"][{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a]

Thanks for the tip on clicking on Reply on the poster's box rather than at the bottom of the thread. I haven't used it in such a while I forgot how to do it.

I know what you mean about doing the dances with windows. I also have issues with the way windows become innertwined among several open applications with each click on a window.

I'll have two Raw converters open each with their own set of tool panes, with Preview and Safari open as well. I'll try to click the tool pane of the second Raw converter and instead hit one of the other apps. The preview of the front most RAW converter disappears but leaves it's tool pane showing while Safari's or Preview's window overlaps portions where I can't quickly click back to the previous app. It becomes finger ballete with the mouse and keyboard command/tab. Even then when I finally click back to the first front most Raw converter to reveal the preview pane only portions of the entire tool pane boxes remain viewable still overlapped by the previous app clicked on.

It just becomes a mess much like arranging for a straight flush in a hand of poker cards.
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Don Libby
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« Reply #19 on: December 28, 2007, 10:10:57 PM »
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One more update:

All printers and scanner drivers have been loaded, tested, and work great!
CS3 loaded and works great!
MS Ofc 2003 (Word & Excel) loaded and works great!
Reloaded Avast and it works great!

Now for the other stuff….

Eye-one display 2 failed ….
Spyder 2 failed ….
There’s no way in hell that I like the “new improved” email and will just continue to use the old system on my XP Pro machines.  Very minor problem…

Did some more research and found that Spyder 3 has been released (yes it runs on VISTA 32/64) so just ordered it $198 w/shipping.

All told this little experiment has cost me the price of VISTA Ultimate ($250) and a new color calibration tool ($198).

The system has been up and running now for 2 days and it appears to be running faster than it ever did in x64.  I opened CS3, loaded all the updates, set my preferences, open a couple images and just generally kicked the tires a bit this afternoon.  I’m impressed!  If thing keep going the way they are I think I’ll finally have a decent stable system to do my work on.

Tomorrow I still have to load LR and 1 or 2 other programs.

One of the great things that happened when I ordered this system from Dell last year is that it came without any bloat-ware – I installed all the programs I wanted and didn’t have to uninstall any that normally comes with the computer.  Might have helped that I ordered this through their small business section…..

Okay enough for now.  As I told a good friend of mine earlier this evening I’d rate the experience so far at around 9.25 out of 10.

Thank you all for all the responses and advice given, it looks like I’ll be sticking with the PC after all!

Best to all

don
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