From PC to Mac: 1 year later

Discussion in 'Macintosh' started by muzikool, Aug 15, 2005.

  1. muzikool

    muzikool Act your wage. Political User

    It's been just over a year since I moved from a PC to a Mac as my main home computer. I thought I'd chronicle a bit of my experience for enterainment/informational purposes. Perhaps it will even be helpful for others who might consider switching to, or at least owning, a Mac.

    Before acquiring the Mac, I had used PCs since my family first owned a 486. I went through Windows 3.1/95/98/NT4/2000/ME/XP. I still use a PC every day at work and I am one of the network admins at my place of employment. Until last year I had very limited experience with Macs. By no means am I anti-Microsoft or one who would suggest "Buy a Mac" for every situation. :p

    Original Configuration
    1.8GHz PowerMac G5 - now 2 years old
    512 MB PC3200 DDR SDRAM
    140GB Seagate SATA HD
    OS X 10.3 Panther

    (How I came about owning the G5 can be found in this thread.)

    Experience with Software
    OS X 10.3 Panther was the most recent OS at the time, and I became familiar with it very quickly. For the most part it was very intuitive, which is often a selling point for Mac computers. In terms of general use, I found that I could do most things close to the same way as they are done on a PC. Learning to use Command+key instead of CTRL+key for keyboard functions was what took me the longest to get used to... probably about a week. I also started out with a Logitech MX700 mouse, so there was no need to worry about the lack of a right-click or scroll wheel.

    I was pleased to discover the usual method for installing and uninstalling apps in OS X. All of the contents of an application are usually packaged together and all you see is the application's icon. Drag that to the Applications folder and you've installed it. Drag it to the trash to get rid of it. No registry entries? I liked that a lot.

    Any software I needed was available and worked just as expected. I had MS Office X for Mac with Word, Excel and PowerPoint... no problems there and all the files were cross-platform compatible. Also, using ZIP files between Mac and PC worked perfectly, so that's a good way to transfer multiple files. I quickly learned that the "lack of software" argument for Macs is no longer true. There is a ton of software, both to purchase and freeware, that will let you do just about anything you want. Note that I am not a gamer, so I can't provide an opinion regarding game availability for the Mac.

    I installed iLife '05 and I've really enjoyed the software. I use iPhoto as my image program, and I've used it jointly with iDVD to create a DVD slideshow. I've also ripped audio from some music DVDs I have and burned that audio onto CDs -- a gut-wrenching experience on my old PC, done easily with Apple's software. iTunes is obviously my music player of choice. I love how the iLife apps work together with each other and with OS X.

    OS X has an integrated Firewall and it is pretty straightfoward to configure. No need for antivirus software -- another beautiful thing.

    Hardware Experience
    I love the look of the G5. As a guy I must admit that it's just a masculine-looking machine. Very simple, very clean. There aren't 5 bays in the front, but I've got a SuperDrive and don't need the extra slots. There are several extra PCI slots, room for 2 more hard drives, and 8 RAM slots. The side of the case is extremely easy to take off, and the inside is very open and very clean. Everything is easy to reach and there are no cables running in the way anywhere.

    The computer usually runs very quiet because the fans are independent of each other. If a certain zone heats up then that zones fan(s) come on. The system speed is excellent -- from boot to desktop is about 10 seconds, including login time.

    Any hardware I've attached works immediately after I plug it in. My iPod mini obviously works, but I've also got an Epson all-in-one, the Logitech mouse, two Canon digital cameras, a Logitech microphone and a Belkin router. Hardware identification is extremely quick and usually requires no interaction from me.

    Experience with Stability
    I do not remember a single time when my Mac froze and I had to reboot it. The only times I remember it being necessary to reboot was after installing certain updates, such as 10.3.x OS updates. I've had Safari crash and close maybe 10-15 times in a year, and iTunes less than 10. Force Quit works better and faster than End Task.

    OS X manages memory like a champ. I've had very few instances of a process hogging memory to the point that I had to end the process.

    No viruses. No spyware. No defragmenting. Maintenance is almost non-existent.

    Experience with Upgrades
    I upgraded from 10.3 to 10.4 when Tiger was released earlier this year. I backed up data to DVDs, performed a clean install and was running 10.4 in about 30 minutes. I never had issues after the upgrade. OS X 10.4 Tiger is a solid OS and has some awesome improvements over Panther. Upgrading was easy and I probably would have been fine performing a true upgrade, instead of clean install. I chose the clean route mainly because that's what I was used to with Windows.

    I also upgraded my RAM to 1.5 GB. I did it because I found a great deal on two 512MB sticks, and because I figured I'd see an improvement with iPhoto and iDVD. I also wanted to take advantage of more than 2 of 8 slots! ;) I learned that you have to upgrade the RAM in pairs, but that wasn't a big deal since I have so much room for expansion. Installing the RAM was extremely easy because the slots are so accessible. It took about 2 minutes to do. OS X has put the RAM to good use and I'm glad that I made the upgrade.

    Overall User Experience
    OS X is the heart of a Mac system. Most people do enjoy looking at the different Mac computers, and I enjoy looking at mine. But what I really enjoy is using OS X. I use Windows XP every day, but I don't enjoy using it like I do OS X. I practically look for reasons to use my Mac at home! I love the interface of the OS, Dashboard, Spotlight, Safari, the iLife apps and the widget animations. It's a great user experience.

    Overall, I can do things easier on my Mac than I could on my PC. Pretty much anything can be done on both so long as you have the right hardware and software, but based on what I've tried to do on both I've found the Mac and OS X makes it easier to accomplish these things.

    If I didn't use a Windows-based PC anymore then I wouldn't miss it. I want to buy my parents an iMac G5 because they are always asking me why Windows gave them this error or if they should run a virus scan. The argument that computer illiterate users are to blame doesn't fly with me. Apple has made OS X in a way that both power users and the computer illiterate can both appreciate, and use.

    I am thankful that I have a computer that I love to use, and that having that computer actually helped me get the job I have now. It was a huge benefit that I had knowledge of Mac computers and the operating system because the company I work for has a creative department.

    If you actually read all my ramblings then I'm interested in your feedback. It should probably go without saying, but please don't post any anti-Apple or anti-MS opinions. :)

    THE END :p
    Geffy likes this.
  2. Sazar

    Sazar F@H - Is it in you? Staff Member Political User Folding Team

    Between Austin and Tampa
    Nice little post :)

  3. Perris Calderon

    Perris Calderon Moderator Staff Member Political User

    new york
    that's a great post...always interested in the switch to mac stories, thanx for sharing
  4. muzikool

    muzikool Act your wage. Political User

    Thanks guys. I've got some pics posted in another thread, but my desk is a bit more organized now so I will take another. :)
  5. NetRyder

    NetRyder Tech Junkie Folding Team

    New York City
  6. muzikool

    muzikool Act your wage. Political User

    Yeah, I remember doing that, too... kind of a "first impressions" type thing. :)

    I've been in two different stores in Dallas, but neither are the size of that one nor of others that I've seen in pictures. It's a fun place until you see the price tags on some of the stuff. :yowch:
  7. SPeedY_B

    SPeedY_B I may actually be insane.

    Midlands, England
    Very nice post, sums up switching over pretty well.
  8. muzikool

    muzikool Act your wage. Political User

    Thanks, Dave. :)
  9. lancer

    lancer There is no answer! Political User Folding Team

    FL, USA
    Very interesting, been thinking for a while now about getting a mac for making animations and music.

    As a dumb pc user, i see mhz as so important, but can you tell me is 1.8ghz enough on a mac, or is it like equal to say 3ghz, whats the ratio do you know?

    Also is it also true that less on a mac i.e. mem and cpu is actually more?

    Hope you know what i'm trying to ask.

  10. paul2-0-0-2

    paul2-0-0-2 Moderator

    Good read from what i'v read (Y) tempted to get Mac myself just Msn putting me off :speechless:
  11. muzikool

    muzikool Act your wage. Political User

    I actually meant to include something along those lines in my post.

    My 1.8GHZ G5 processor is equivalent to a 2.8 GHz Pentium 4 and the Athlon 2600+ and Athlon 64 2800+ -- here is a table of comparisons.

    PowerPC processors are just measured differently, just as Athlon and Intel processors are measured differently. As far as RAM goes, most of the time it is cross-platform compatible and so 512MB PC3200 SDRAM = 512MB PC3200 SDRAM. It's the way the memory is managed that is different between Windows and OS X. I feel that the way OS X handles memory is superior to how Windows does. I think Speedy can provide a better explanation as to why that is... if you're interested. :)
  12. muzikool

    muzikool Act your wage. Political User

    You have an MSN contract or something?
  13. lancer

    lancer There is no answer! Political User Folding Team

    FL, USA

    And why the hell would msn dissuade you?
  14. paul2-0-0-2

    paul2-0-0-2 Moderator

    Cause only reason i come on a Computer for is to chat on Msn 99% of the time and i always thought Msn on a Mac was crap :rolleyes:
  15. Petros

    Petros Thief IV

    Pacific Northwest

    It is, although I haven't tried the new one yet...hard drive is down on my mac.
  16. ming

    ming OSNN Advanced

    Mind you, the AMD64 2800+ run at the same frequency as the G5. :D

    You'll never find a P4 in my house, they're just too power consuming. But you will definitely find a PM when I'm ready to purchase a new laptop though. ;)
  17. Geffy

    Geffy Moderator Folding Team

    United Kingdom
    Yeah, Mac MSN Messenger users really are second class citizens when it comes to features. Check out for fairly current information about the state of MSN Messenger on the Mac. Honestly though it doesnt stop you, there are other clients out there and at present time I am very happy with an application called Proteus, which is made better by installing Growl as you then get the popup messages telling you a contact has come online and such.

    I switched to Mac (iBook G4) in January of this year and have only had one problem with my iBook, its Logic/Motherboard went a bit silly and had to go into servicing, that took about a month to get done, but I was living out in Scarborough at the time and there was a shortage of them due to a manufacturing issue in which my iBook was affected. Since then I have had no problems with it. The transition from Panther to Tiger by way of an upgrade went alright, but there were a few hiccups, my printer didnt want to be recognised and the HP printer driver installer couldnt seem to clean up the old drivers. Doing a clean install sorted that out, and I think gave me a better system overall, it just cleaned out all the rubbish of useless applications I had tried/tested and just generally played around with when I first got my iBook. As muzikool said I just love using it, I hardly ever use my desktop machine anymore except for things that will only run on it and so on.

    One thing muzikool said was that you dont have the 'registry' on a Mac, this isnt strictly true, applications are able to create what are called property list (plist) files which store application settings and so on, these are kept under the users Library folder and are usually named com.domain.application.plist or something like that so its usually very easy to find the plist of any specific application.

    Regarding memory management, OSX being a derivative of FreeBSD uses the same memory management methods

    enjoy... I am reading it ;)
    Last edited: Aug 16, 2005
  18. muzikool

    muzikool Act your wage. Political User

    That is true, and I'm sure you'd agree that it's not nearly as complex as the Windows registry. It's especially easy in Tiger to do a Spotlight search for the app name to display all preference files, etc. and delete those as well.
  19. Xie

    Xie - geek - Subscribed User Folding Team

    NY, USA
    Nice write up. Though it hasn't been a year yet I've found that I like my Mac [mini] for everything but gaming so far. :) Though I would do more gaming on it (I do some) if it had a better video card.
  20. Geffy

    Geffy Moderator Folding Team

    United Kingdom
    I have played Quake III a bit on my iBook on my lan at uni, that was fun and there are apparently Mac versions of Generals and Battlefield 1942, but I dont know how well the iBook would handle that.