Time to make the switch?

Posted:
in Genius Bar edited January 2014
Hi everyone... been noseying round the appleinsider site a bit, now I've signed up and I'm ready to ask a few questions



I've been using MS windows based PCs for years. Very, very occasionally looked at MacOS, but not really for more than a few minutes.



The head of our section at work has been a big apple fan for years and years, and has been trying to get us to go over to "the light side" for ages. A month ago, he bought a new Mac Mini for his office, and gave us his old 866Mhz (i think) G4 tower with Tiger on it to have a fiddle around with. I played around with it for a bit, and as I'm sure you're probably able to work out, was impressed with it, so much that he's let me order a Mac Mini for my desk at work. That's on order - should hopefully arrive within the next few days.



ANYWAY, to get to the point. There's no chance at all that I'm ever going to be able to switch over from Windows to MacOS 100% at work, because I work in a PC Hardware Maintenance section, and the vast, vast majority of computers we get in for repair are intel/AMD systems. I'll just have two computers on my desk.



However, I'm running a WinXP based Pentium 4 1.7GHz PC at home at the moment. I've been putting off an upgrade for ages. Considering the vast majority of the time I only use the PC for internet stuff, MS Office, Photoshop and Premiere Elements, I don't really care about the lower amount of software there is out for the Mac.... to a certain extent.



I just need to know if there are Mac alternatives to the PC programs that I use reasonably regularly.



I was disappointed to find out that there wasn't a version of Premiere Elements on the Mac. Is there a decent Mac equivalent in a similar price range?



There's a freeware program that I currently use for video converting and trimming, called VirtualDub. Anyone familiar with it? If so, is there a Mac equivalent?



Amiga Emulator - ok, I could probably live without this because it is only a novelty, and I could use it on my Dell notebook, but it would be nice to know if there was a decent Mac equivalent.



To get on to my other question - Obviously I'm going to need to upgrade my technology soon. As much as I'd like a powermac, it's out of my price range. So, what I'd like to know is - is it advisable to wait until Apple start using intel CPUs before I get an iMac, and also, how upgradable are the current generations of iMac? Is it possible to stick another (3.5") Hard Drive in there. If not, do they have firewire800?



Thanks for being patient with my long message!



Cheers



Mike

Comments

  • Reply 1 of 9
    Hey Mike,



    Glad to see you contemplating the switch. I'll answer what I'm comfortable with and let someone else fill in the rest for you.



    First off, for the most part, unless you're a CAD person or a heavy gamer, the myth that you can't "DO" anything on a Mac has been wiped away. So, I am sure that whatever programs you're trying to find Mac equivalents for, you'll probably be able to, and in some cases, you might find the stuff for Mac to be a little better.



    As far as your question about getting an iMac - it boils down to necessity really. Do you NEED the computer now? If so, you should probaly spring for it. The latest iMac is a great, powerful machine with built-in wireless and bluetooth and PCI-Express graphics. There have been a ton of estimates as to when the Intel iMacs will be out, but the hard truth is no one on this board is 100% positive. It could be 6 months ... it could be 12. We're just not sure. If it was me ... I'd buy now and get aquainted with the Mac platform and software and when the Intel iMacs roll out, give them a few months to find all the kinks, sell your iMac and get another. Apple's tend to hold their resell value really, really well.



    The iMac is not upgradable on the inside. If you want a bigger hard drive than the 160GB or the 250GB that come standard in the 17" and 20" models respectively, you'll have to shell out the extra dough for a 500GB. If you want more HDD space, they come with USB 2.0, so you could hook an external drive up without a problem. FireWire 400 is on the new iMac ... I don't think 800 made the cut ... for whatever reason.



    I hope that helps a little. I'm not familiar enugh with the apps you listed to be able to give you any alternatives so I will leave that for someone more experienced than I.



    Good luck on the Mac experience....



    Chris
  • Reply 2 of 9
    brussellbrussell Posts: 9,812member
    It might not be a bad idea for you to wait for the Intel switch, because, in all likelihood, you'll be able to run Windows on an Intel Mac if you need to. The first Intel Macs are likely to come in January at the earliest, and June at the latest.



    Adobe Premiere: Macs come with iMovie and iDVD. I'm not familiar with Virtualdub, but there are free video conversion tools on the Mac, like Handbrake. To look for other Mac software, check out VersionTracker. A search on "Amiga" yielded a number of emulators.
  • Reply 3 of 9
    Quote:

    Originally posted by BRussell

    It might not be a bad idea for you to wait for the Intel switch, because, in all likelihood, you'll be able to run Windows on an Intel Mac if you need to. The first Intel Macs are likely to come in January at the earliest, and June at the latest.



    Adobe Premiere: Macs come with iMovie and iDVD. I'm not familiar with Virtualdub, but there are free video conversion tools on the Mac, like Handbrake. To look for other Mac software, check out VersionTracker. A search on "Amiga" yielded a number of emulators.




    Do you think Apple would allow dual-boot Windows on their hardware??? I'm not quite sure how iSteve would handle that. Anyway, you can always go get VirtualPC for the mac right now and it'll run all the windows stuff you want and be pretty happy with it. I had XP SP2 running on my iMac G4 for a while and found out that it took up a lot of space and that I really never used it. But ... it's purely a matter of opinion I think. With 1 GB of RAM and a 1GHz G4, VPC worked fairly well.



    As far as Premiere Elements goes ... iMovie HD is pretty sound, but I'd play with it first and make sure that's what you're looking for. If you need something with a little more power, you can have Fincal Cut Express HD preinstalled on a new iMac for $299



    Again ... I firmly believe it all boils down to NEED and WANT. If you NEED to upgrade, then there's no reason for you to hold out. My personal opinion is that with the new changes to the iMac and PowerMac, those will probably be the last to switch over. If it's purely a case of "I'm a potential switcher and wanna know if the Mac will do everything I want it to do the way I want it done...", then spend some time at the Apple store playing around and checking out the software. You'll find iMovie and FC Ex or Pro on nearly every computer.
  • Reply 4 of 9
    brussellbrussell Posts: 9,812member
    Quote:

    Originally posted by AgNuke1707

    Do you think Apple would allow dual-boot Windows on their hardware???



    They won't try to stop it.

    Quote:

    As for Mac users running Windows on Intel Macs, Schiller said Apple won't intentionally stop users from doing this. However, Apple will not provide any support, let alone a method, for running Windows.



    "That doesn't preclude someone from running [Windows] on a Mac. They probably will," he said.



    Quote:

    I'm not quite sure how iSteve would handle that. Anyway, you can always go get VirtualPC for the mac right now and it'll run all the windows stuff you want and be pretty happy with it.



    I could see a native-speed virtual PC in the future. If MS could sell Windows to more Mac users, why not?
  • Reply 5 of 9
    Thanks for all your advice guys, it's really appreciated!



    As I work for a university, I get around 10% off Apple puchases anyway 8)



    I don't *need* to upgrade right now - I'm just putting up with what I have for the moment, even though it drags a bit. Like I said, I've got a Mac mini on order for work, so I'll play with that, and see what I end up with. I'm waiting eagerly for it to arrive, so I can have a play around with it!



    I'll also hopefully borrow it to take home over the xmas break. The real test is to convince Mrs Fishcake that MacOS is the way forward



    I also just remembered that I have a Pocket PC, so I'll probably have to run WinXP in some way or other on it anyway.



    So, apart from http://www.apple.com/downloads/macosx/ are there any other decent sites dedicated to mac freeware?



    I've got so many other things I need to find out how to do, but it's unfair of me to ask you too many things, when I could probably google for most of them.



    Once again, many thanks. I'll stick around, and who knows, one day I may even be the one giving out advice!
  • Reply 6 of 9
    mr. hmr. h Posts: 4,698member
    Hi Mike,



    Welcome to Mac OS :-)



    Here's a few things that should help you:



    As BRussell said, you can find software at VersionTracker. He mentioned that a search there for Amiga yielded a few results that you may be interested in.



    Other helpful sites:



    MacUpdate

    MacOSXHints



    Useful video stuff:



    ffmpegX

    3ivx (decodes/encodes DivX, but does it better than the "official" DivX codec)

    VLC

    MPlayer

    Windows Media plugins for QuickTime (These aren't essential, but you may find it useful to have support for Windows Media in all QuickTime based applications (such as iMovie, iDVD, iTunes etc.), which these components provide)



    Also, QuickTime Pro can be surprisingly powerful for editing video once you've learnt all of the keyboard shortcuts.



    As far as buy now/wait for Intel, I'd say it's probably better to just get an iMac right now and keep your old Wintel machine for Windows tasks. The iMac is by far the best value Mac Apple have ever made.



    There will be some benefits of an Intel mac; as others have said, if once they come out you can't resist, Macs hold their value well, so you could just sell the iMac to finance the purchase.



    You can't add an internal hard drive to the iMac, but if you really feel like it, you could always take the back off the machine and replace the hard drive that it shipped with. Having said that, there is FireWire 400 for an external hard drive. If you do get an external HD, try and get a FireWire one, as this is faster than USB 2.0, despite the "headline" data-rates of the two standards.
  • Reply 7 of 9
    Oh yeah, versiontracker. Sorry, didn't read it properly



    That actually looks like a really good site for windows software too. Bookmarked that, thanks!
  • Reply 8 of 9
    gongon Posts: 2,437member
    Since you just got a mini, I'd wait and only go for upgrade later. It'll depend a bit on how your budget is determined at work, what hardware (such as displays) you have available "free" and so on. In some circumstances you are best off waiting for a green light and then getting as much hardware as you can in one go, while somewhere else only the grand total matters, and you'll want to wait for the right moment and possibly plan for multiple rounds of purchasing... the way most folks buy for personal use.



    The general direction of your questions and description of your job makes me think you might be best off with a headless machine. Right now that means mini or Powermac, but many (including myself) are keeping their fingers crossed for a midrange headless with some of the Powermac upgradability and performance, and a price halfway between the mini and the PM. Basically something to compete directly with the majority of Windows PC market.



    Or if you are not bothered by internal display, you can indeed get the iMac, which is in pretty good shape right now.



    Video is the last thing to worry about. I'm not a video guy, but video is one of the key things the Mac is known for. Between iMovie and FCP Express, either one is surely good for you.
  • Reply 9 of 9
    Hi Gon,



    Sorry, not sure if I made myself clear enough. I'll be keeping the Mini for use at work, but stuff about video editing is for myself at home. I just get a preferential price rate because I'm employed by a university, even if i'm buying it for myself. Hooray!



    I'm pretty much of the same opinion as you - i'd like a lower spec powermac ideally. As someone that's been tinkering around with PCs for years, i'd like easy upgradeability, and I like every single item to be easily changeable. Plus I would like to have 2 hard drives - one for video and the other one for everything else.
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