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So I need to replace my wife's desktop. She does not do anything too heavy duty with it but I want to get her something that will last a while. I am looking at the bottom end I-mac or a PC. At this point I am wondering if the Mac is worth the $400 different than the PC.

Anyone have any experience with this?
 

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I've had experience with it. IMO it's not worth the huge price disparity. A good PC (not a Compaq or HP) will be hundreds of dollars cheaper (as you already noticed) and will work JUST FINE for most any purpose outside of gaming. Macs will also work well for most purposes, but they're crazy expensive. If she's already familiar with a PC, get a PC.
 

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I have a mac and run winderz on it

I work with fellers who run Linux in VMs on their Macs.

I personally will only buy Dell or Mac. YMMV, but I have had the best success with these machines in the last 10 years

-Jay
 

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I think this is a case of getting what you pay for. Apple builds a higher-quality machine. If you find a comparably-built PC, you'll pay a comparable price. As for the OS, it's largely a matter of taste but there is the issue of malware. It's pretty nice not having to mess with anti-virus tools, etc.
 

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divegeek said:
As for the OS, it's largely a matter of taste but there is the issue of malware. It's pretty nice not having to mess with anti-virus tools, etc.
I for one am tired of all the virus BS I have to deal with on PC's. McAfee always likes to pop up and update, or run a virus scan whenever I am doing something important. I love it when my PC can barely run because of that. I hate when Windows shuts my computer down to update itself. There will be some lame pop-up window appear BEHIND the window I am on so I don't know it's there, telling me it's going to shut down. Then BAM! Computer shuts down. Anything I didn't have saved is lost. My computer is supposed to have a notification to tell me when it needs to be plugged in because the battery is low. It doesn't really tell me. If I don't watch the battery icon like a hawk, it powers down without telling me. I want a Mac. Anyone want to pitch in to the mqondo Mac fund?
 

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divegeek said:
I think this is a case of getting what you pay for. Apple builds a higher-quality machine. If you find a comparably-built PC, you'll pay a comparable price. As for the OS, it's largely a matter of taste but there is the issue of malware. It's pretty nice not having to mess with anti-virus tools, etc.
I have to echo this. Now a days everyone uses the same parts. If you want a comparable high quality PC then I would recommend PC Laptops. Good service options and they do use good parts. Consequently they also cost well above most Laptop PC brands.

You'll hear a few people echo that you can use Windows with a a Mac but I've never really understood this option. If I need a Windows OS for some of my tools why not just buy a Windows PC instead of buying a laptop and paying for the OS I want.

As far as malware is concerned PCs are obviously a bigger target for the simple reason that they are used more often and almost exclusively for business applications. Of course with Apple starting to win over a portion of the market share malware is also being targeted at Apple computers/Apple Software and Quicktime in particular has been newsworthy for having large holes as of late. They are also easily preventable and I recommend getting a low profile, low resource scanner like avast. (http://www.avast.com) and not something bloated like Norton or McAfee. Alternative benefit of Avast is that it updates definitions everyday instead of once a week or once every two weeks.

Of course the biggest danger facing any computer user is a loss of data. You must (read: I'm warning you) have a backup solution in place from Day 1. If your going with a windows system I recommend getting all applications installed and creating an image of your system using the built in backup utilities. This will allow quick restore should you need to nuke your machine. Additionally an external HD, Network Storage Device, or Online backup solution is a must and the first two options can be used with Windows Built in Backup Utilities. Which in Win 7 are very nice.
 

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mqondo said:
I for one am tired of all the virus BS I have to deal with on PC's. McAfee always likes to pop up and update, or run a virus scan whenever I am doing something important. I love it when my PC can barely run because of that.
Get rid of McAfee and get a decent free scanner like avast: http://www.avast.com

mqondo said:
I hate when Windows shuts my computer down to update itself. There will be some lame pop-up window appear BEHIND the window I am on so I don't know it's there, telling me it's going to shut down. Then BAM! Computer shuts down. Anything I didn't have saved is lost.
Turn off Automatic Installation of Updates and set it to notify only.

mqondo said:
My computer is supposed to have a notification to tell me when it needs to be plugged in because the battery is low. It doesn't really tell me. If I don't watch the battery icon like a hawk, it powers down without telling me. I want a Mac. Anyone want to pitch in to the mqondo Mac fund?
What OS are you running? Are you relying on 3rd party software for this notification like Dell Support Tools? Is it causing loss of data? If so you should set it to hibernate or sleep if less then 5 minutes of power left. The laptop should also be set for different power levels so that at 25% battery it also dims the screen more to decrease power consumption. I'm afraid a MAC won't fix this problem though.... they use batteries also. :wink:
 

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Nuttycomputer said:
Of course the biggest danger facing any computer user is a loss of data. You must (read: I'm warning you) have a backup solution in place from Day 1.
This is a good argument for going with the Mac. Time Machine is excellent. Not quite as good as the GridBackup tool that I'm writing, but really great.
 

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divegeek said:
Nuttycomputer said:
Of course the biggest danger facing any computer user is a loss of data. You must (read: I'm warning you) have a backup solution in place from Day 1.
This is a good argument for going with the Mac. Time Machine is excellent. Not quite as good as the GridBackup tool that I'm writing, but really great.
Not to get into a Mac vs. PC debate since I believe they both have their places but I don't find TimeMachine that impressive. I was just glad to see the Mac come out with some decent backup tools that have been severely lacking for some time. Windows has had decent backup programs on their OS for a long time and I see little difference between TimeMachine and utilities Windows has had since Win 2000. In fact I'm suprised PC Fanboys didn't finally point at Mac and go: "See! See! They copy each other" etc.

I'll admit the UI probably isn't as pretty when your talking about TimeMachine versus Windows ShadowCopy and ImageBackup but I think they are two sides to the same coin.
 

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Nuttycomputer said:
divegeek said:
Nuttycomputer said:
Of course the biggest danger facing any computer user is a loss of data. You must (read: I'm warning you) have a backup solution in place from Day 1.
This is a good argument for going with the Mac. Time Machine is excellent. Not quite as good as the GridBackup tool that I'm writing, but really great.
Not to get into a Mac vs. PC debate since I believe they both have their places but I don't find TimeMachine that impressive.
What's impressive about TimeMachine isn't the UI for navigating (though that's moderately cool), but the zero-impact backup process.

Time Machine hooks into the file system through the new fsevents infrastructure, so that it can start up at any time and just retrieve an OS-provided list (more or less) of the files that have changed since the last backup. It doesn't have to scan your whole file system to figure out what has changed. This is something that basically cannot be done (yet) on any other OS.

My wife's laptop is configured to make hourly backups whenever she's on our home network, and not only does she not have to think about it, she doesn't even know it's happening.

I know you're thinking that ShadowCopy does this as well, and it almost does, but not quite. ShadowCopy uses block-level snapshotting rather than working at the filesystem level (similar to LVM snapshots on Linux). The effect is similar, but much more wasteful of backup storage and bandwidth because it back up ALL blocks (even including pagefiles and such), not just those containing useful data. Also, when using ShadowCopy on a disk that is close to full, the area used to store difference blocks can run out of room between snapshots, which makes a full backup necessary. The one thing ShadowCopy is better at is that it is a true "instant-in-time" snapshot. Apple would have to add volume-level snapshotting capabilities to HFS+ to achieve the same effect (or move to ZFS, which they've been looking at). But that's a distinction that is really more useful to system administrators than end-users.

Overall, for normal users, I think Apple's solution is far superior.
 

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divegeek said:
Time Machine hooks into the file system through the new fsevents infrastructure, so that it can start up at any time and just retrieve an OS-provided list (more or less) of the files that have changed since the last backup. It doesn't have to scan your whole file system to figure out what has changed. This is something that basically cannot be done (yet) on any other OS.
Ignoring windows shadow copy for a moment. In regards to the regular Windows Backup in Windows 7 (which may incorperate shadow copy, little fuzzy on the actual involved process) I don't think it scans the entire file system before determing what has changed. If it does it's significantly faster compared to what I'm used to XP doing with the archive bit process. These features are relatively transparent to the user and can be set everyday as well. It also includes running an image level backup at regular intervals. (A feature I particularly enjoy) It also manages your diskspace so as to automatically delete old backup data if the drive/partition your storing backups on starts getting full.

Either way divegeek atleast we can agree that a backup solution is necessary and that to each his own. It's almost like asking which kinda gun is better. The one your comfortable with and will use. :D
 

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I use my computer fairly frequently and I still don't know what most people keep on theirs that requires so much backing up. I encrypt my tax files and store them on various harddrives and I back up our family pictures whenever we add new ones. Other then that I don't have much to worry about. If you don't use your computer to "browse" all over the internet you will never have a virus even with a PC. I can count the sites I go to between both hands and I have never once gotten a virus. If you must go clicking all kinds of links and opening strange emails just get a good anti-virus and a simple free program like spybot or malwarebytes to keep your computer clean.

Also, it takes very little technical knowledge to assemble your own computer and you can do it for about half the cost. I just put together a new PC for myself for about $600 including the student version of Windows 7. Once I increased the processor speed a little (while keeping it well within the safe temperature range) I have the equivalent to a $1400 dollar computer from HP. You could read a few simple tutorials and order parts from newegg.com and save yourself a lot of money if you want to go that route. The added bonus is that it is much easier to upgrade a system you have built yourself and increase its lifespan.
 

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Well Time Machine is no hassle - simply plug in your backup drive and launch time machine..... it does the rest. No need to create an "image" of your hard drive or setup a nasty raid array when using OSX.

As to which operating system is better, that IS personal preference. However, OSX prompts you every time something is going to install on your machine and it automatically fetches an update list and ASKS if you want to get the update. None of that windows garbage of actually fetching the update then poking you in the kidney every 3 minutes telling you it's time to install.
 

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xRapidDavex said:
Well Time Machine is no hassle - simply plug in your backup drive and launch time machine..... it does the rest.
Yep. It's just a jump to the left, and then a step to the rig-

Wait, I'm thinking of something else, nevermind... :wink:
 

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I had my first call in to apple support after disk diagnostics yielded a pending failure earlier this week.

Their support is amazing. The "call back" phone tree sent me a call in less than 1 minute, I talked to a support engineer and got a ticket in about 3 minutes, and the engineer set me up with an appointment at the Gateway Apple store for 2 hrs later. I took my imac to the Apple store (I was running 15-20 min late), they accommodated me (without me even asking) by bumping me to the top of the queue.

Less than 24 hours later, I had new (and at no charge to me for the GB upgrade) HDD installed.

SUPER support experience. I was and am very impressed.

I realize you may have already made your purchase, but I was wowed (and I work in the tech support industry). Apple has some seriously good logistics in place to make stuff like this happen. True, I drove it to the Gateway, but they had the repair completed that night about 6 ish while I was at work. And they had 14 repairs ahead of mine that day.

-Jay
 
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