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Thread: iMac vs. PC?

  1. #11
    Quote Originally Posted by smokey
    I'm thinking of getting a new Apple iMac with a 2.0 GHz processor, upgrade the memory from 1 gig to 2 gigs of RAM and a 20" screen. At Best Buy this would come to $1300. I currently have a Dell 2350 Dimension PC that works ok but is 5 years old. Is it really worth it to switch over to a Mac as many folks claim? I can get a regular PC quite a bit cheaper. I'm not into computer games and it would be for regular household usage. The iMac does look very cool and people that have them love them. Any comments appreciated...good or bad. Thanks.

    http://www.bestbuy.com/site/olspage....=1185267959940
    smokey,

    I have a different perspective for suggesting that you get an iMac than PC. Get the iMac because it is different and you will learn something new. In my opinion, the hardware costs of a Mac and PC are now very similar. If you get a PC with similar specifications as a Mac, including all the included software, the costs of a PC may actually be higher than a Mac.

    Thus, for example, a Dell XPS E4500 All-in-One TV Desktop is $1500 (Source). It has Intel Duo Core, 20" screen, 2 Gb RAM, 250 Gb drive, web cam, wireless, and vista home premium with TV tuner.

    The iMac that you cited (Source) costs $1200 and has Intel Duo Core, 20" screen, 1 Gb RAM, Superdrive (read/write CD/DVD), 250 Gb drive, firewire wireless, and web cam. If you add the extra Gb of RAM and Parallels to run Windows you can take advantage of your Windows software, you come close to $1500.

    For the same money, you will be getting both a Mac and a Windows desktop. If you are really dependent on Windows only software, such as games and Autocad, you can always boot the Mac up as a Windows computer and it is every bit as fast as a Dell or any other Windows machine. By the way, there are Mac only software that are great. Given this, it is difficult to understand why anybody would want to buy a Dell?

    Windows is definitely not the same as Mac OSX. I am struck by the esthetic and functional difference every time I use Windows. You will not understand what I mean by the esthetic differences until you have used a Mac for a while. Simply put, OSX is beautiful and you won't appreciate it until you go from a Mac to the Windows environment. The shock is jarring.

    The functional differences are equally drastic. All of a sudden, you find that the number of buttons that you push on the mouse has been reduced to one. What? How can you do so much with one button? Well, it not only is true but it is much better, in my opinion. If you want to do a right click, you can do it by holding the <control> key down while clicking. If you want, you can easily buy and use a multibutton mouse on the Mac.

    The fact that almost all Mac programs use the same keystrokes for special functions really integrates the experience. Many people don't realize that Microsoft Word and Excel were written originally for the Mac and one of the reasons why they are so popular is because they essentially copied many of the Mac interface. So, if you use these programs at all, migration to the Mac will not be hard and much of the Mac system will be intuitive.

    OSX, however, has been adding to the Mac standard in several distinct ways. First, in all programs that originate from Apple and many companies that make software for Mac only, pressing <Apple> will give you the text format window. This allows you to choose font and styles. Second, if you press <Apple>I, it will allow you to specify attributes of graphics and other objects. Third, they have now included a myriad of tools to display windows and Finder information, to the point that even I don't know how to use them. Finally, there are hundreds of third party and nearly free programs that allow you to extend all these tools, all aimed at giving users as much flexible control over how one navigates through the 100+ Gb of information that we have stored on our computers. Everybody who knows how to program the Mac has come out with a different way of displaying information on the Mac. That is a good thing.

    Wise.

  2. #12
    Quote Originally Posted by ScottS
    really, i was just fed up w/ pc problems, so i thought it would be solved by going to Mac. however, in only 6 weeks, it has locked up on me a few times, and the whole 'intuitive' hype is just that -- hype (to me, anyway). yes, it is easy, but so was pc b/c i was so used to it. plus, how can you judge 'intuitiveness' of a platform?
    I was aware of these problems and I waited until December 8, 2007 before placing my order, fully expecting to have new hardware and Leopard on my hard drive. Instead I ended up with old stock.
    The test of success is not what you do when you are on top. Success is how high you bounce when you hit the bottom
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  3. #13
    Senior Member smokey's Avatar
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    I bought an iMac last week. 2.4GHz processor, 2G memory, 250G hard drive, 20" screen; $1300. $80 more if I want iWorks (word processor, spreadsheet, etc). Not happy with it and it's going back. I'll eat the 10% restocking fee. Not even a stripped down word processor program comes with the iMac. The Safari browser has no drop box which I like to use on my pc to quickly access sites I've gone to, I downloaded the Firefox browser a couple days ago and it just quit on me now as I was on this site (second time in 5 days), two times error messages popped up claiming I didn't have enough memory to run Java, the computer wouldn't shut off one night, twice the iMac simply locked up on me....only had 2 or 3 windows open too, at 1280x800 resolution some text is so small it is completely illegible, regardless of the resolution often the images and text are a little fuzzy on most websites, if I increase the resolution the websites do not display properly, I adjusted the mouse to increase the tracking but I still don't find it to be as fast as my old Dell mouse. I do like the simplistic look of the whole computer, the flat keyboard, the quick start up cycle, no need for anti-virus software, the "tab" feature and the screen is nice too. However, at 20" I find much space is always unused and thus wasted on each side. The 20" diagonal screen is really 10.5" high and 17" wide but most websites use a display area that leaves about 2"-3" blank on each side of the page. At 2G,the speed is OK but doesn't blow me away. Overall I'm very disappointed in the iMac. By the way...I don't get the "intuitive" thing whatsoever.

  4. #14
    Member Thusa's Avatar
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    ive got a windows bias over mac so know that before reading on.

    ive heard alot of these discussions over time and never once have i heard a well educated explaniation as to why mac is superior to PC. generally people who argue for it (in my eyes) dont know enough about a computers functionality to truely experience a mac or PC.

    it comes down to this: are you going to want to upgrade your machine and push it to the limits to see what it is capable of? or do you just want to do the mundane surf the web, listen to songs, smile at photos.. stuff like that.

    this is just my opinion since ive never met anyone who actually knew their mac. its funny now that i think about, never met anyone who has put together a mac by hand, but met dozens who put their own PC together.

    i cant understand why people make the decisions they do with computers. is it purely uneducation in the field mixed with all the propoganda? (pc vs mac commercials) lol
    T-10 complete, May 8th 2005(Mother's Day)
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  5. #15
    Smokey, I'm sorry your experience was not a good one. I switched several years ago and am glad I did. Safari is different than IE, you have to start typing a few letters for the address to come up, such sci. for this entire address you're looking at now.

    Extra screen space does take a little getting used to, but I find it handy for several applications running at once, such as Safari and a webcam chat. Others that have made the switch can relate, but you may want to check into a few the crashes with Apple before returning.
    C2/3 quad since February 20, 1985.

  6. #16
    Senior Member smokey's Avatar
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    Trainman, I just don't see how the extra space on each side of the screen is an asset. I think it is easier, faster, more visible and organized to have the buttons on a PC tool bar at the bottom of the screen clearly indicate what programs/windows you have open. It seems on the iMac the windows/programs are strewn about on the screen (like a messy desk) and covering up each other up. I end up sliding the windows around looking for a corner of another window to click on to see what it is. It just doesn't time efficient and certainly not "intuitive".

  7. #17
    Smokey, that sucks that you had a crappy experience - that's not fun for anybody. I understand you've switched back to Windows now and this is an old thread so I'm just adding this here in case future users look up this thread. I don't like leaving it with misconceptions in it:

    "I bought an iMac last week [...] Not happy with it and it's going back."

    For anybody else considering switching - please give it at least 2-3 months before you give up. Switching any major piece of technology - hell, even buying a new microwave - means you have to take time to learn its quirks and the ways it's different to your old machine. Windows and OS X are different in LOTS of ways and computers are probably the most complicated bits of technology we use so it'll take ages to feel like you're used to it. Depending on which country you're in, you may be able to buy an old second hand model or rent a computer to start with to see if OS X is for you.

    "Not even a stripped down word processor program comes with the iMac."

    Actually there's a completely functional word processor, it just has the very stupid name of "Text Editor" so you probably assumed (very logically) that it was only for plain text. It's able to open most MS Word documents as well as simpler formats, and does all the word processing functions most people would need such as bold/underline/italics, headings, setting page and margin size, change text size/colour/font, insert and use basic tables, and the other standard stuff. For anything fancier, I'd very much recommend Pages which comes as part of iWork.

    "The Safari browser has no drop box which I like to use on my pc to quickly access sites I've gone to"

    The quickest way to do this in Safari is to start typing a few letters from the site name, or make a bookmark of the site. You can also pick "Show All History" from the "History" menu to see every site you've visited in the past, organised by date.

    There's also now a new beta version of Safari 4.0 - this wasn't available a year ago when you wrote this - which has a Top Sites function. It automatically shows you the 12 sites you're using most often, by showing you thumbnail pictures of the website which makes it easy to pick out the one you want. It also tells you if the website's updated since you visited it by putting stars in the top right corner of the picture.

    "two times error messages popped up claiming I didn't have enough memory to run Java, the computer wouldn't shut off one night, twice the iMac simply locked up on me...."

    You automatically get several months of telephone support whenever you buy a new Mac computer, and their telephone support is actually helpful. Whenever something like this happens I suggest you phone the support and see if they can help you sort out what's going on - these are certainly things that should NOT happen and they're NOT things that happen on a machine that's working properly.

    "only had 2 or 3 windows open too, at 1280x800 resolution some text is so small it is completely illegible,"

    With a big screen with a high resolution like this it's often a problem. Using System Preferences to reduce the screen resolution by 2-3 steps can be helpful if everything is too small, and there are other things which make text larger if it's only in a few places or a few programs that it's too small to see. You can find some tips at: http://atmac.org/series-simple-accessibility-hints/

    "regardless of the resolution often the images and text are a little fuzzy on most websites"

    I'm not sure what could be going on here, except if the monitor was faulty. If it was only happening in Safari it's another thing that Apple support phone may have been able to troubleshoot - it's not one I've come across before.

    "I adjusted the mouse to increase the tracking but I still don't find it to be as fast as my old Dell mouse."

    The way OS X handles mouse acceleration is different to the way Windows does and that can make the mouse feel "weird" for a while. If you don't just want to wait and get used to it, there's a problem called (If I recall correctly) USB OverDrive which can reset the acceleration so it matches the way Windows does it.

    "at 20" I find much space is always unused and thus wasted on each side. The 20" diagonal screen is really 10.5" high and 17" wide but most websites use a display area that leaves about 2"-3" blank on each side of the page."

    This depends on how you use your screen, really. Most of the time I suspect OS X users will have more than one program (or more than one website window) open and use them side by side which would use up all of the space. I personally get easily confused when there's more than one window so I tend to make the windows fill the whole screen. It's easy to use a Mac with pretty much any screen whose size suits you also, as long as you don't buy one of the Mac computers which have a built in screen - obviously those aren't as adjustable.

    "I just don't see how the extra space on each side of the screen is an asset. I think it is easier, faster, more visible and organized to have the buttons on a PC tool bar at the bottom of the screen clearly indicate what programs/windows you have open."

    The Dock at the bottom of your screen should clearly indicate which programs you have open, and using Exposé can also show you which programs/windows you have open in a visual way - Press F9 I think to show/hide application windows and F10 for all windows.

    You can also use command-tab to switch between programs.

    "It seems on the iMac the windows/programs are strewn about on the screen (like a messy desk) and covering up each other up."

    You can hide all the programs except the one you're using right now by opening the application menu (the one with the name the same as the application you're using) and selecting "Hide Others", or switch to a program you do want to hide and select "Hide" from the applications menu. That way you can only have the ones visible that you want. Also set up Spaces (a new thing in Leopard - check the System Preferences for the Expose & Spaces pane) and put different programs in different spaces so they don't all end up on top of each other.

    "I end up sliding the windows around looking for a corner of another window to click on to see what it is. It just doesn't time efficient and certainly not "intuitive"."

    That would certainly be a frustrating way to do it, I thoroughly agree!

    "By the way...I don't get the "intuitive" thing whatsoever."

    It is rather a vague word. My personal take on "intuitive" is that it's meaning is that once you've got your head around the basic way OS X works, you can intuit any new programs. Justs open a new program and all the keystrokes and other things you already know will work the same way you'd expect in the new program, if something in one program looks like something in another program it works the same way, you can drag and drop almost anything to almost anywhere, that sort of stuff.

    But if you've never used OS X and your only computing habits are from using Windows, then OS X is not the same as Windows and so at the start it *won't* feel intuitive to you. I think Apple are wrong in not making this clear.

    Once again I'm sorry you had a crappy experience - nobody deserves to have that happen. I hope that whatever computer setup you have now is working well for you.

    Cheers,
    Ricky Buchanan

  8. #18
    Senior Member Katilea's Avatar
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    I was also surprised to read about someones mac locking up all the time.

    I had windows as my desktop for years but had an old clamshell ibook which i got off ebay for just £200. I had it 5 years, its 8 years old.. still works. Needed repair once, used a free download called applejack to sort it. Never had a virus on it or an antivirus program on it!

    Granted its old now by todays standards when people seem to be replacing them every year and doesnt have as much power but I only use it for chatting in evening if i cant sit up in chair due to back problems.

    I now have iMac as my main desktop which is used everyday for writing letters, emails, photo and video editing, chatting etc. I've had this machine a year and not had one single problem with it. Doesnt take 15 minutes on start up to download antivirus everyday, hasnt even got an anti-virus on it, i was told I didnt need it if i wasnt gonna add windows.

    It still starts up quicker even though I have it start up browser from where i left off everytime and it starts up my accessibility program (keystrokes) and mail automatically for me.

    If this goes 5 years without breaking down like the iBook did I will be thrilled and it will have been well worth the money! No windows PC i have had has ever lasted longer than a few years. I think 3 yrs has been my best.

    My reason for switching to mac as my main computer too was accessibility, but it depends what you want it for?

  9. #19
    Quote Originally Posted by Katilea View Post
    hasnt even got an anti-virus on it, i was told I didnt need it if i wasnt gonna add windows.
    Actually, that is no longer true. Macs have now gained sufficient popularity that they have also become targets for malware. It is recommended that you have an antivirus program and keep it up to date.

  10. #20
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    I too switched to the Imac about a year and a half ago, and it was well worth it. When I had a PC, i use to viruses on my PC all the time. It hasn't happened on my imac yet. It is so much easier to use. It does look better. I would personally recommend the IMac over a PC anyday.

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