Switching to Apple - advice?

Posted:
in Current Mac Hardware edited January 2014
I've owned nothing but PC's for 20 years, and am seriously considering making the switch to an apple machine instead of upgrading my Gateway desktop.



I haven't yet decided on a desktop or notebook -- I'm open to all kinds of hardware.



I guess my primary question is, why is the eMac so much cheaper than everything else? I'm speaking of the base price and the price of RAM that can be added at apple.com's store, since RAM is just about the most important thing to me. Perhaps the discrepancy is due in part simply to the case and outer design, i.e. the eMac lacks the sleekness of the PowerMacs (who's physical attractiveness, I must admit, was a big part of the initial allure. Shallow, I know).



This would be a home computer, used for surfing the web, desktop publishing, and website authoring (html from scratch, though).



I'm open to all answers, comments and suggestions, if anyone has the time. I will read (if not reply to) every post and email.



Thanks.



Dave

Comments

  • Reply 1 of 20
    flounderflounder Posts: 2,674member
    Well, I really have no idea how much you want to spend.

    Currently The ibooks and the top of the line powermac are the best buys. The eMac is a decent buy too. The iMac, while very cool, sadly has pretty craptacular price/performance.



    The biggest thing to know is not to buy your ram from apple. They always have, and always will, rip you off.



    Order ram from another company (people will have a myriad of suggestions) at the same time you order your comp so you can upgrade it as soon as it arrives.



    Welcome to the board!
  • Reply 2 of 20
    Quote:

    Originally posted by Flounder

    Well, I really have no idea how much you want to spend.

    Currently The ibooks and the top of the line powermac are the best buys. The eMac is a decent buy too. The iMac, while very cool, sadly has pretty craptacular price/performance.



    The biggest thing to know is not to buy your ram from apple. They always have, and always will, rip you off.



    Order ram from another company (people will have a myriad of suggestions) at the same time you order your comp so you can upgrade it as soon as it arrives.



    Welcome to the board!




    quit picking on my superiour iMac!



    I have the 17" widescreen, and it is nice.... right now on ichat, safari, itunes, and also compiling gimp in the backround,and it is nice. (1mhz machine)
  • Reply 3 of 20
    lucaluca Posts: 3,833member
    Quote:

    Originally posted by The General

    (1mhz machine)



    Ah, just like the Apple II!



    I guess the iMac is good if you can afford it. But the eMac is SO MUCH LESS that it makes you wonder if it's really worth it. Combined with the fact that you can get a single 1 GHz PowerMac, with a stock configuration as good as or better than the 17" iMac and full expansion capabilities, for about a grand nowadays, it really hurts the iMacs. I'd say $1000 for a 1 GHz PowerMac + $400 for a 17" LCD is a good deal.
  • Reply 4 of 20
    flounderflounder Posts: 2,674member
    exactly, I'm not saying the iMac is bad.

    It's a great machine!

    The value just isn't there though. The thing is, if you don't really need to be budget conscious, you might as well get a powermac. If you are, you're in eMac land (if we're talking desktops here).

    The iMac is just left in the lurch most of the time.



    Ok, sorry about hijacking the thread. I'll stop now.
  • Reply 5 of 20
    neutrino23neutrino23 Posts: 1,515member
    You are really asking a very big question which is to lay out the features and benefits of the whole Apple product line.



    As you move up the line from the eMac to the iMac you get the LCD display, a little faster system bus and faster HD. The convenience of the LCD is the big draw.



    Going to the PowerMac G4/G5 tower you get faster bus, more memory capacity, the option to install PCI cards, the option to install a second HD, Gigabit Ethernet, bluetooth and overall more robust construction.



    If you go for an iBook or PowerBook then the main draw is, of course, portability. If you get the fastest 14" iBook then the processors are about equal. PowerBooks include Bluetooth and WiFi. These are optional in the iBooks



    For the applications you mention the eMac should do just fine. Especially now that Panther is out the eMac should be great. I think that most Macs produced in the last few years have enough power to accomplish most computational tasks. The Finder has required a lot of power to operate smoothly. Panther's Finder works better on slower computers than previous versions of OS X. Almost all other resources (networking, Applesript) have been fast even since OS X 10.1.



    Hope this helps. To look at the details go to Apple's site, click on hardware in the main menu then choose any particular product and then click "Tech Specs". This will give you the details for each product.



    If you live near an Apple Store go and check out all the products side-by-side.
  • Reply 6 of 20
    Hi Dave,



    Like you I've been using PC's for a while (since 1991). I owned Macs off and on (had one continuously since 1994.)



    I was very impressed with the Dual G5 specs and bought one last month (standard configuration with 512MB), but retured it last Saturday. The G5 didn't live up to the hype. If you have only used Mac, by all means the G5 will seem very quick. But if you have a late model PC, that won't be the case.



    Annoying things about the G5:



    Noisy CPU's even after adding the CHUD utilities



    Lots of noise on the audio out (seem to mimic the CPU noise.)



    Lots strange system hangs before and after panther.



    Very sluggish managing lots of files (tried to delete 369 files and the Finder hung.)



    Going into sleep mode increased to 40 seconds after upgrading to Panther.



    Expensive and no way to upgrade later on (there might be ways to upgrade, but they won't be cheap.)



    Adding 164 songs to iTunes took 4 minuets! (I set iTunes not to copy the files, just the links to the files.)





    I spent a lot time using the G5 and after I started using my PC again this past week (2.8GHz P4), I can't believe how much faster the PC is at most of the same things. Managing my digital image files (have owned a digital camera for over 5 years) is way faster than the G5.



    For $3600 (that's with taxes and extended warrantee) it should have turned in much better performance. There was no way I could justify keeping it. I love many things about the Mac and I still have a G3 iMac that I got for $200 that is adequate for my "must have" Mac software I use. I did want to replace my PC with the Dual G5, but it became very clear that the PC is still much faster.



    I think the G5 is pretty much where the Pentium 60, 66 and 75 where when they came out. They weren't much faster than the 486's they replaced but as time went on, they started to really shine in the newer models. Plus there must be a lot of optimization that still needs to be done. I don't doubt that the G5 is the fastest personal computer, but that's when it's running another OS, not the Mac OS.



    My recommendations upgrading to Dual G5:



    Own a Mac >year old. . . . .Yes, upgrade you will be very happy.



    Make money with your Mac. . . . . . Yes, by all means, upgrade to the G5!



    Using a <1GHz PC. . . . . Yes, it will be faster in most areas



    Using a late model PC (> 2GHz). . . . . Depends on what you do, buy with a generous return policy if does not perform to your expectations (I'm glad that's what I did.)



    Manage lots of image files . . . . . PC will be faster and more choices in photo management software.



    Manage lots of image files and have a big budget . . . . Have both PC and G5.





    Again, I love the Mac and was hoping to dump my PC, but in the end there was no comparison. My PIII 500MHz laptop could display images as fast a G5 could. Will I buy and a Mac in the future? Yes! But Apple is going to have to get the performance up to par or produce a much less expensive system. If the Dual G4 sold for $1795 I might have kept it, but for 3 times the price of a PC and slower performance it just didn't make sense.



    Dave, these were my experiences. Since you are a PC user, I wanted you to know that switching over to an Apple system may not give you as big a performance boost as you would expect, and the OS has problems like Windows (just not as many.) Buy an older used system like I did, that way you can still enjoy the great things the Mac and OS X have to offer with costing you a lot.



    -Scott



    P.S.: Didn't return everything. Kept the NEC LDC1765 Flat screen monitor. It has a funky base, but a picture like a CRT monitor! Very nice, and am using it on my PC now.
  • Reply 7 of 20
    f1turbof1turbo Posts: 247member
    Scott,



    Your observations on the G5 being significantly slower than a single processor P4 are contrary to all other comments and reviews I've seen.



    Check out this link from PC Magazine, where the G5 was right in there even with dual 3.06 GHz Xeon machine: http://www.pcmag.com/article2/0,4149,1274182,00.asp



    I recently bought a G5 dualie as my first Mac and have been very happy with it. It is kind of loud (54 db at my seated position, about 3 feet from the G5), I think the staged fans may not be working properly in mine.



    Back to the original post: Check out printers and Mac drivers carefully. I use a networked Minolta 2300 DL Color Laser printer. No Mac drivers available or planned for this printer! So now I have this wonderful new computer, but can't print anything with it.
  • Reply 8 of 20
    Scott - what you write doesn't make sense - copying 160 files into iTuns took 4 minutes???? - I did the same over my home network and i did copy the actual fiels into my 1GhzTi PowerBook and it took me less time - on pather and Jaguar - your install must be duff! either that or you simply got lemon hardware.



    From my experiance my work Dell 2 ghz PC is lots slower on many tasks compared the the GhzTi or my newer AL 1.25 Ghz PB. especially with multi tasking - one aspect of any unix system I have ever used compared to Windowz is how badly Windows multi-tasks compared to UNIX (including OS X) OSs. on my PC sometimes just copying files from the network or burning a CD or loading a script laden web page in IE can slow the machine to a grind - this never happens with any of my Macs!



    According to every single benchmark out there the Dual G5 is very competative compared to state of the art PCs so I can't see how your P4 2.8 can beat it....
  • Reply 9 of 20
    Quote:

    Originally posted by F1Turbo

    Scott,



    Your observations on the G5 being significantly slower than a single processor P4 are contrary to all other comments and reviews I've seen.



    Check out this link from PC Magazine, where the G5 was right in there even with dual 3.06 GHz Xeon machine: http://www.pcmag.com/article2/0,4149,1274182,00.asp



    I recently bought a G5 dualie as my first Mac and have been very happy with it. It is kind of loud (54 db at my seated position, about 3 feet from the G5), I think the staged fans may not be working properly in mine.





    Hi F1,



    I'm sure there are places where the G5 is faster. But for what I wanted to use the G5 for my PC is quicker.



    I like to display my digital photos and iPhoto and the other popular programs were clunky and it took longer on the G5 to display each 2000 x 1700 pixel image. The PC is quicker displaying these. I use ACDSee and Thumbplus for managing my pics. ACDSee just came out for Mac OS X. It would not load on the G5. I was able to get it to install on the G3 and copied over to the G5. When it would run it was slower than the PC version.



    Converting Vinyl over to MP3 is faster on the PC. On the G5 it took the G5 24 secs to save a entire album to a .WAV file. Takes 12 on the PC. Covering each separate file to MP3 was twice was a fast on the PC.



    The G5 was slower displaying files on my Linux server. This may be a Finder problem and may get tweaked. When selecting lots of files in a Finder window (about 30 files) it took about 15 seconds for the get info to come up. On the PC to change attribute on 1106 files it took about 10 seconds to come up with the dialog box.



    Again these are things that are important to me, and they just run better on the PC for moment. Maybe memory would have have made a difference, but the memory meeter never showed that I'd never used more than half the RAM.



    -Scott
  • Reply 10 of 20
    powerdocpowerdoc Posts: 8,123member
    Quote:

    Originally posted by scott_r

    Hi F1,



    I'm sure there are places where the G5 is faster. But for what I wanted to use the G5 for my PC is quicker.



    I like to display my digital photos and iPhoto and the other popular programs were clunky and it took longer on the G5 to display each 2000 x 1700 pixel image. The PC is quicker displaying these. I use ACDSee and Thumbplus for managing my pics. ACDSee just came out for Mac OS X. It would not load on the G5. I was able to get it to install on the G3 and copied over to the G5. When it would run it was slower than the PC version.



    Converting Vinyl over to MP3 is faster on the PC. On the G5 it took the G5 24 secs to save a entire album to a .WAV file. Takes 12 on the PC. Covering each separate file to MP3 was twice was a fast on the PC.



    The G5 was slower displaying files on my Linux server. This may be a Finder problem and may get tweaked. When selecting lots of files in a Finder window (about 30 files) it took about 15 seconds for the get info to come up. On the PC to change attribute on 1106 files it took about 10 seconds to come up with the dialog box.



    Again these are things that are important to me, and they just run better on the PC for moment. Maybe memory would have have made a difference, but the memory meeter never showed that I'd never used more than half the RAM.



    -Scott




    Quite a strange way to do benchmarking. The problem is that you don't have the right softwares. I photo is slow , i bought iview mediapro2, and it's a lot snappier for this job.



    The problem is that make a conclusion about the speed of your dual G5 at the light of your own particular usage is a bad advice.

    As others members here stated, several benchmarks where published, even if the dual G5 do not win all the benchs, he is very performant as stated PC mag linked in this post.



    To give an order of performance of the G5 (but it vary a lot depending of the applications) :

    1,6 : on par with a P4 2,5

    1,8 : on par with a P4 2,8

    dual 2 : faster than a dual xeon 3 ghz



    I will give just an advice for the G5, if you choose a single model, CTO for a radeon 9600 pro : it's a quiet video card (no fan), more performant than the geforce 5200 pro.
  • Reply 11 of 20
    sounds like the software you're using... personally itunes rocks on my g5 at work I use a pc and my powerbook at home. I have a fast PC a 2.8 p4 myself and the thing is a dawg... I mean slow compared to my dual at work I know after effects 5 isn't optomized on a mac but even on the g5 a lot of my stuff is practically real time.. I"m jonesed over that.
  • Reply 12 of 20
    resres Posts: 711member
    Quote:

    Originally posted by Powerdoc

    Quite a strange way to do benchmarking. The problem is that you don't have the right softwares. I photo is slow , i bought iview mediapro2, and it's a lot snappier for this job.



    The problem is that make a conclusion about the speed of your dual G5 at the light of your own particular usage is a bad advice.

    As others members here stated, several benchmarks where published, even if the dual G5 do not win all the benchs, he is very performant as stated PC mag linked in this post.



    To give an order of performance of the G5 (but it vary a lot depending of the applications) :

    1,6 : on par with a P4 2,5

    1,8 : on par with a P4 2,8

    dual 2 : faster than a dual xeon 3 ghz



    I will give just an advice for the G5, if you choose a single model, CTO for a radeon 9600 pro : it's a quiet video card (no fan), more performant than the geforce 5200 pro.




    As you say, it really depends on the programs, but I think you are over estimating the power of the G5. It is more on line with this:



    The 1.6 GHz G5 is on par with a P4 at 1.8 - 2.2GHz.

    The 1.8 GHz G5 is on par with a P4 2 - 2.4 GHz

    The Dual 2GHz G5 is on par with a Dual 3.06GHz Xeon when performing tasks that benefit from dual processors. (Note: a single 3.2GHz P4 system will usually outperform the Dual 2GHz G5 on games and some other programs.)
  • Reply 13 of 20
    sure sucks for anything graphical related (p4 xeon that is)
  • Reply 14 of 20
    Quote:

    Originally posted by Flounder

    Well, I really have no idea how much you want to spend.

    Currently The ibooks and the top of the line powermac are the best buys. The eMac is a decent buy too. The iMac, while very cool, sadly has pretty craptacular price/performance.



    The biggest thing to know is not to buy your ram from apple. They always have, and always will, rip you off.



    Order ram from another company

    ...



    Thanks to all who posted replies, esp. Flounder. I had no idea that Apple's RAM was overpriced. I've also never installed RAM myself - is it difficult?



    As for how much I plan to spend, I could probably do $2000 to $2500 during the holidays.



    Neutrino:
    Quote:

    You are really asking a very big question which is to lay out the features and benefits of the whole Apple product line.



    No, I'm not, but I did appreciate your reply very much.



    Thanks again.
  • Reply 15 of 20
    Quote:

    Originally posted by applelust

    Thanks to all who posted replies, esp. Flounder. I had no idea that Apple's RAM was overpriced. I've also never installed RAM myself - is it difficult?



    Actually installing RAM yourself is quite easy. It's also quite economical.



    Here's a link to show you how to do it.

    eMac: How to Install or Replace Memory



    8)



    As for the different model, you'll find incremental improvements with each model. Little things make the systems different. e.g. the type of ram, hd, display as mentioned.

    I personally think the eMac is perfect for the switch. It is powerful enough to do almost everything. And it's not too expensive. Switching is a big thing. I switched myself 18 months ago. When I was switching I was afraid that I would not be able to get use to the mac way. I was afraid that I was going to waste a lot of money when if I decided that I don't like it after all. Therefore I got myself an iBook which is similar to a eMac in some ways. Anyway, I've had it for 18 months and still loving it. If it's your first mac, I recommend that you get an entry level. You can use it for a while. maybe 1-2 years and then you can go hardcore and get something that's more expensive... that way, you'll be more comfortable with the switch...
  • Reply 16 of 20
    Quote:

    Originally posted by moliu

    Switching is a big thing... When I was switching I was afraid that I would not be able to get use to the mac way.



    Rubbish applelust, 'Switching' is easy. Granted, it has to be a consious decision: you can't just browse a shop and flit between a Dell, a Sony and an Apple, without recognising that Apple is different. But the 'Mac Way' is just using your a computer for all the things you have always used a computer. Productivity, web browsing, email, multimedia recording/creation/playback and everything else. Files and folders, windows and menus, networks and applications are concepts with which users in the WinWorld are equally familiar. The difference is, an Apple does everything better. Visiting forums like these, you'll get this 'Macs Rule' thing quite a lot. But two months after my Switch, I can truthfully say I get it. Multi-tasking is awsome. The operating system is intuitive and accessible. And, if you care about cool, Apple computers are damn sexy - not just for the way they look, but for the way you can use them. (Its so cool to walk into the library, flip open my screen, have Airport (wireless web access gizmo) locate the university network and for me to be online in less than a minute.) I haven't played with a top-of-the-line Win laptop for... ever, but I doubt one could simultaneously rip a CD, play a quicktime movie, wirelessly download content from the web, and play a song from iTunes while letting me toggle between Word and AppleInsider (while illuminating the keys as I type) like my new PowerBook can...



    Quote:

    Originally posted by moliu

    I was afraid that I was going to waste a lot of money when if I decided that I don't like it after all.



    Money, I agree, is a big thing. You will always pay more for Apple products. But can you find a 'comparable' product to, for example, my new PowerBook: 1" thin + beautifully styled; 80GB 5400RPM HD; 1.25GHz G4 Processor (MHz Myth); DVD-burning SuperDrive; built-in Bluetooth + Airport Extreme; 15.2" widescreen LCD etc etc... ? Do you mind spending money on quality?



    Quote:

    Originally posted by moliu

    If it's your first mac, I recommend that you get an entry level.



    Rubbish Get a machine that suits your needs. If you're a Power user, get something with 'Power' in the title



    Anyway, in deciding what Apple computer to go for:



    1) Desktop or NoteBook? (Where/how have you used your current computer? Where/how do you intend to use your new one? Will your situation have changed in 18 months?)



    2) Casual or Power user? (Really, really think about this. Especially with Macs it is easy to *lust* for the best of the best. Will you use this computer for work or play? Will it be your only computer? Do you really have use for Bluetooth, Airport, a SuperDrive, an Apple mouse, an Apple monitor etc etc? What peripherals do you own? Will you buy a printer/scanner/digital camera/DV camera in the next 18 months?)



    3) Compatibility. BEFORE ANYONE SAYS ANYTHING. Macs integrate easily with everything. The 'buts' are that you'll need to spend a little more time and money. (Yes you can use MS Office - but you'll need to buy the Mac version. You might need to fiddle around with authentications and whatever to access networks. This is only a mega issue if you have already invested in a lot of specialised software that you will have to re-purchase for your new computer; or you are an avid gamer who will get pissed off at having to wait for 2-3 years for now's great games to get ported to the Mac (if ever) Grrr ).



    4) How much $$$ you got to play with? (If you like computers and what you can do with them, spend as much as you can to get the best you can afford. If not, define a budget and stick to it.



    Ah.. OK. I'm tired of typing now. Happy Choosing.



    vv I just noticed my sign-off... vv Yeah, watch out for the new PB. they got problems . I do have confidence in my replacement really... \
  • Reply 17 of 20
    Be sure to get a TFT display and BBEdit - the best application to do HTML from scratch. it's just plain cool!
  • Reply 18 of 20
    Quote:

    Originally posted by scott_r

    Hi Dave,



    Annoying things about the G5:



    Very sluggish managing lots of files (tried to delete 369 files and the Finder hung.)



    Never had that problem on my 1ghz imac





    Adding 164 songs to iTunes took 4 minuets! (I set iTunes not to copy the files, just the links to the files.)



    I have added 5 gigs of songs into itunes even copying accrossing local network doesnt take that long(again with 1ghz imac and even 450 mhz cube)







    I think the G5 is pretty much where the Pentium 60, 66 and 75 where when they came out. They weren't much faster than the 486's they replaced but as time went on, they started to really shine in the newer models. Plus there must be a lot of optimization that still needs to be done. I don't doubt that the G5 is the fastest personal computer, but that's when it's running another OS, not the Mac OS.





    your machine must have been borked, or you must have borked it...
  • Reply 19 of 20
    lol, my G5 is bloody fast. i'm an IT pro. i deal with machines all day, all platforms. the G5 is fast, compared to anything.



    as for the plusses or minuses of switching to Macs.



    you'll find that after a few months, once you stop trying to fight your machine, it works well with you. the OS works with you, instead of against you, and your computer becomes a seemless extension of your thought process.







    it makes computing fun again.
  • Reply 20 of 20
    Quote:

    Originally posted by alcimedes

    lol, my G5 is bloody fast. i'm an IT pro. i deal with machines all day, all platforms. the G5 is fast, compared to anything.



    as for the plusses or minuses of switching to Macs.



    you'll find that after a few months, once you stop trying to fight your machine, it works well with you. the OS works with you, instead of against you, and your computer becomes a seemless extension of your thought process.







    it makes computing fun again.




    I told you'd get this 'Macs Rule' thing.



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