Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Recovering from Mac, Part 5

If I haven't convinced you that getting out of the Mac bubble is a good idea by now, then maybe you're comfortable in that bubble. And that's okay because so was I.

Like I said, one of the things that turned me was the realization that Mac marketing was not telling me the truth about what I was buying. The other thing that convinced me was the cost and value of the alternatives.

The easiest way to do the price comparison is to go to the apple.com/store online shop and take a look at their most powerful Mac Pro or the second to most powerful, and build something that gets close enough to those tech specs. Finding D.I.Y. kits helps a lot.

Here's a quick example.

The Mac Pro specs, copypasta from their store site today:
  • Two 2.4GHz Quad-Core Intel Xeon “Westmere” processors
  • 6GB (six 1GB) memory
  • 1TB hard 
  • 8x double-layer SuperDrive
  • ATI Radeon HD 5770 with 1GB GDDR5  
  • Free shipping!
  • $3,499.00
Sounds like a good machine! Keyboard and mouse included. No monitor or monitor adapter.

A D.I.Y. kit from tigerdirect.com:
  • AMD FX-8120 3.10 GHz Eight Core AM3+ CPU
  • 22x DVD-R drive + HD DVD playback
  • 8GB memory
  • 120gb SSD drive
  • 2tb hard drive
  • ATI Radeon HD 5770 with 1GB GDDR5  
  • Viewsonic 22" Screen 
  • Keyboard, mouse
  • $1147.00
In case you're not good with numbers and comparison shopping, let me break it down for you.
 Faster CPU (+ 700mhz)
  • Faster DVD (+ 4x) plus hd/dvd upscaling
  • More RAM (+2gb) with fewer memory slots used
  • 120gb SSD hard drive for OS (faster response time)
  • Twice the harddrive space (2tb > 1tb)
  • Same graphics card
  • 22" LED monitor approved by me - see my post on my new viewsonic ;-)
  • keyboard and mouse of your choice
  • $2352 in your pocket.
Put another way, Apple charges two grand for the privilege of owning a Mac. Is it worth it?

It's difficult to say if it's worth it or not. It's up to you. For me, being a Mac owner was not worth a two thousand dollar markup. But hey, I'm a girl, we're sensible shoppers supposedly so maybe for you it's worth not having to learn a new computer.

Then again, how many Macs will you buy in your life time? I was paying off my Mac loan even after my Mac itself had died, if you can believe that. Granted, I'm a poor artist so that didn't help, but do you have any idea how it feels to send in a bill payment to a company that just told you at their Genius Bar that your computer can't be fixed so you should get a new one?  And then to make matters worse, when you take it to your PC-building friend who insists he doesn't even know Macs, he was able to fix it in afternoon?

Feels bad, man.

For the record, I built a $300 machine for a friend who somehow manages to be poorer than me. Within thirty minutes of having the computer built (which took a little longer than it should have because it was the first one I personally built without any help), she had a beautiful computer up and running and was literally editing HD footage on it. Specifically, on an AMD motherboard and CPU, with a built in video chipset.  She didn't even have a video card, and she was editing 1080 HD on Linux.  Let me repeat the price.  $300.  Granted, she didn't have to get a new monitor or keyboard or mouse, so that offset the price, but $300 for an HD editing computer is basically, fucking amazing.

So, fuck Mac, fuck Windows, and learn Linux. You will be so glad you did.

And that's my series on recovering from Mac.  Hope it was informative, and I hope it didn't sound like I was trying to sell you anything.  Like I said, if Mac is working for you then stay with it.  It's not worth bringing your life to a halt to save two thousand dollars at some time in the future.  But future proof yourself by starting to get to know Linux. The sooner you do, the sooner you'll be able to jump ship.

Oh and by the way, you'll love not being part of the Mac cult any more. You won't notice at first, but trust me after you get out, you look back and wonder what you were ever, ever thinking.  Don't be too hard on yourself. You didn't know any better.  I know I didn't!  :)

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