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Buying a Mac for the first time

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Re: Buying a Mac for the first time

Postby Petro » Fri Mar 30, 2012 8:48 am

fisticuffs wrote:I think the price issue also gets thrown out of proportion because Apple doesn't make any inferior laptops while just about everybody else does. When you're comparing based on pure specs with a low end Toshiba from Best Buy you're not getting the whole story. The Mac has better parts all around. Better display, better case, better track pad, better mother board, better RAM, better drives, and often times better processors (although you can get the latest Intel's on a cheap board in a $600 Toshiba). There's is a Mac tax it's just no where near as huge as most people seem to think it is. Twice, and three times get thrown around a lot in these threads a lot and that's simply not true. For the components you'd be lucky to save 10% buying a PC and then as stated earlier that PC would be worthless in a year while the Mac would go for damn near what you paid for it.


The easiest apples to apples (pardon my pun, it was originally unintentional - I'm leaving it anyway) comparison is to build a dell precision workstation or an HP Z-series workstation with the same specs as a Mac Pro (assuming they ever refresh them again)
- the Mac's often cheaper.

I'll be the first to admit that I might've heard music the first time I cracked open a Mac Pro and saw those gorgeous black PCBs, machined aluminum parts and the custom heatsink/fan that was actually powered through it's daughterboard to eliminate an unkempt-looking power connector.
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Re: Buying a Mac for the first time

Postby fisticuffs » Fri Mar 30, 2012 8:53 am

I'll be the first to admit that I might've heard music the first time I cracked open a Mac Pro and saw those gorgeous black PCBs, machined aluminum parts and the custom heatsink/fan that was actually powered through it's daughterboard to eliminate an unkempt-looking power connector.


My second Mac was a dual G5 tower. I wanted to put rims on it it was such a Cadillac. There aren't many PC's on Earth than can compete with a Mac pro but that's too much computer for anyone not making a living doing photo, video or audio.
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Re: Buying a Mac for the first time

Postby Athena » Fri Mar 30, 2012 10:04 am

Buying a refurbished computer is a great deal. You get a discount as well as a guarantee that the computer has been checked after it was fixed to be sure it was working. You don't always get that with a brand new computer. I bought my current laptop as a refurbished one and haven't had any problems beyond the over-heating design problem that Gateway laptops have. I don't believe that Macs have the same issues, at least not the way most PC laptops do.

As for Mac versus PC, I bought a PC laptop because I play games and have a strict budget. If you don't do either of those things, then a Mac is nice. You don't have to do the careful comparison shopping because all Macs are built well. If your priority is price then you can certainly find a cheaper PC than a Mac, but you're going to have to do more research to be sure you don't end up with something terribly slow that overheats and can't be upgraded.
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Re: Buying a Mac for the first time

Postby Henry Vilas » Fri Mar 30, 2012 11:47 am

Apple hit by China Foxconn factory report

Consider how expensive Apple products would be if those who manufactured and assembled them were paid living wages.
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Re: Buying a Mac for the first time

Postby Petro » Fri Mar 30, 2012 12:01 pm

Henry Vilas wrote:Apple hit by China Foxconn factory report

Consider how expensive Apple products would be if those who manufactured and assembled them were paid living wages.


Foxconn clients (Wikipedia):

Acer Inc. (Taiwan)
Amazon.com (United States)
Apple Inc. (United States)
Cisco (United States)
Dell (United States)
Hewlett-Packard (United States)
Intel (United States)
Microsoft (United States)
Motorola Mobility (United States)
Nintendo (Japan)
Nokia (Finland)
Samsung Electronics (South Korea)
Sony (Japan)
Toshiba (Japan)
Vizio (United States)

Of course, Apple's the only one auditing Foxconn - so, they get the blame.
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Re: Buying a Mac for the first time

Postby chainsawcurtis » Fri Mar 30, 2012 6:31 pm

All my macs have been desktops but I've been using them since the mid nineties and I'm sold.

Used Macs are all the time on Craigslist, eBay etc. To see if you are getting a good deal try this site - http://www.mac2sell.net. Type in the specs and it'll tell you the current going price. I recently bought an eMac G5 for $100 and a G5 tower with a monitor for $150. The deals are out there.

Get an intel mac if you want to use the latest browsers and Flash browser adjuncts that let you watch videos et al. Non intel laptops are pretty reasonable right now.
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Re: Buying a Mac for the first time

Postby Petro » Sat Mar 31, 2012 4:25 am

A 6+ year old laptop is always gonna be pretty cheap.

A PPC mac has been EOL for quite some time now, I would advise anyone to avoid buying it unless they knew precisely what they were getting themselves into. Apple made the jump to Intel in 2006 and all G5 support was dropped after Leopard. (Two versions ago, that is.)
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Re: Buying a Mac for the first time

Postby Mean Scenester » Tue Apr 03, 2012 9:18 am

I work as a system administrator for an office that runs roughly 70/30 PCs vs. Macs. I consider myself platform agnostic in that I have a Windows desktop machine, a MacBook and an old laptop running Linux (Ubuntu). I'm here to tell you to ignore anyone who makes the blanket claim that one is vastly superior to anything else. Bullshit. Like most brand or platform evangelists, they're all just tools. Pick the one that suits you best and don't look back.

A few additional notes:

1) Anyone who calls Windows a clunky OS probably hasn't logged any time to speak of using Windows 7. It is, in my opinion, by far the best OS Microsoft has ever produced. Most average users won't care, but the fact is there are a lot of system administration tasks and/or features that are considerably more intuitive on Windows machines. Sorry, but that's fact. If you don't believe it, you probably have no use for these, and that's fine. Yes, Internet Explorer is still a big ol' piece of shit, but as far as I'm concerned, so is Safari. That's why God gave us Chrome and Firefox.

2) Macs are great when they're running properly. God help you if you have a hardware problem. Anything more than swapping out RAM means you're at the mercy of an Apple-certified repair facility. They do break. I can't count the number of times I had to haul one in for a problem that, on a Windows machine, would be a $100 part and 10 minutes of my time to fix. Get the AppleCare plan (3-year warranty). Apple's default 1-year warranty is an industry joke. Way to have faith in your product, guys.

3) Despite what the fanbois and fangrrrls want you to think, Apple's upgrade path is far closer to the old Microsoft that Microsoft is now. Snow Leopard and Lion both had some pretty serious bugs and by-design drawbacks from a system administration perspective. Again, most people who aren't configuring these things for enterprise network operations won't care, but them's the facts. Lion is a pretty worthless upgrade that drops legacy support for a lot of older applications (Rosetta is dead for no good reason). If you're starting fresh, you won't really care.

4) In my opinion, the MacBook Air is insanely overpriced. If you want the lightest laptop imaginable, it's your best option. If you need storage space, go with a MacBook. I've seen problems with the Air that I believe are the result of overheating due to 3 pounds worth of shit being stuffed into a 1.5 pound bag. Again, warranty.

5) Aside from screen size and sexy aluminum casing, there's not a hell of a lot of difference between the MacBook Pro and MacBook under the hood. If a 13.3" screen is sufficient for you, you'll save yourself a chunk of change foregoing the Pro.

6) This is the first time I've ever heard anyone describe 1280x800 resolution as "low." Maybe I'm just a cave fish from a bygone era. Frankly, the fact that Apple pulls this crap in an attempt to upsell you to the more expensive model is just one more thing to dislike about the company's current business model. Higher resolution demands more processing power, by the way, so it's a trade-off in system resources.

Good luck.
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Re: Buying a Mac for the first time

Postby fisticuffs » Tue Apr 03, 2012 9:28 am

5) Aside from screen size and sexy aluminum casing, there's not a hell of a lot of difference between the MacBook Pro and MacBook under the hood. If a 13.3" screen is sufficient for you, you'll save yourself a chunk of change foregoing the Pro.


There is no more Macbook. There hasn't been for at least 2 years. They are all Pro's now. Not a big deal though. I don't disagree with anything you wrote but none of it seems relevant to the OP. And Apple Care is the one and only extended warranty I've ever purchased. The one time I used it they had excellent turnaround times and buffed all the scratches out of my laptop. it was like new when it came back.
And it's transferable if you buy one off eBay.
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Re: Buying a Mac for the first time

Postby Mean Scenester » Tue Apr 03, 2012 9:38 am

You're right. Mea culpa. Been awhile since I've shopped for anything with a smaller screen. I'd forgotten that the MacBook basically became the 13.3" Pro. As I recall the Pros started at 15" before that and were your only option for a larger screen. And, of course, the exterior is all the same. Fortunately, the 13.3" Pro is about the same cost as what the old MacBook was.

I didn't buy AppleCare when I bought my machine and I lucked out. My wife bought it on her MacBook and it saved her a few bucks when her battery up and died prematurely for whatever reason. However, I recently replaced a main logic board and cable on a two-year-old Air to the tune of $350. Most Mac repairs are going to eclipse the cost of the extended warranty. If it's going to be used heavily every day, I'd advocate for spending the extra money given what I've overseen in repairs (and costs). But, of course, warranties are designed to make the vendor money, so it's buyer's call, of course.

Oh, and screw both MS Office and iWork. I ditched Microsoft for Open Office ages ago and there's absolutely no reason to pay for this stuff anymore, in my opinion.

http://www.openoffice.org

I'm a fan of Google Docs as well.
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Re: Buying a Mac for the first time

Postby fisticuffs » Tue Apr 03, 2012 9:43 am

I've been doing the more graphically critical stuff in iWork. It just produces a more pleasant looking product but I've been slowly switching our company over to google docs. If for no other reason than it's collaborative. We don't need to fight over an excel sheet all day every day.
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Re: Buying a Mac for the first time

Postby Ducatista » Tue Apr 03, 2012 10:08 am

Just downloaded OpenOffice. Wouldn't open a Numbers file, which wouldn't be a deal killer, since I could just export my Numbers docs in Excel format if I wanted to make the switch. But when I opened an Excel file I found the environment to be just as craptactular as the Microsoft's. If it were between Excel and OO Calc, I'd go Oracle.
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Re: Buying a Mac for the first time

Postby Mean Scenester » Tue Apr 03, 2012 11:59 am

I'll cop to not having a ton of experience with iWork. For legacy users, I can see the benefit of sticking with what you know. For someone without a preexisting bias who wants the ability to occasionally knock out a doc or spreadsheet, well I guess I've never been sufficiently impressed with any so-called "productivity suite" UI to care one way or another.

I hate Microsoft's Office UI since 2007 and have never liked it on a Mac. I find Open Office to be closer to the old MS UI which I prefer, though I'll admit that's familiarity over any sort of "wow factor" at work. And for most functions and formatting, I default to hot keys whenever possible anyway.
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Re: Buying a Mac for the first time

Postby Petro » Wed Apr 04, 2012 7:35 am

OpenOffice is deprecated at this point. The bulk of the braintrust behind the OpenOffice effort went to LibreOffice when they forked over to it to move away from Oracle's rather grubby paws.

http://www.libreoffice.org/
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Re: Buying a Mac for the first time

Postby Stebben84 » Thu Apr 05, 2012 1:02 pm

I think Mac's used to be safer than they are now.

http://www.eweek.com/c/a/Security/Mac-B ... rs-699749/

More than 600,000 Apple Mac computers worldwide—more than half of them in the United States—have been hit by a new fast-moving variant of the Flashback Trojan malware that uses Javascript code rather than relying on user interaction, according to security researchers.
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