Linked by David Adams on Mon 25th May 2009 21:22 UTC
OSNews, Generic OSes Over the years, we've occasionally run an "Ask OSNews" feature, wherein a reader asks us a question and we answer it publicly. Lately I've really been enjoying Slate's Dear Prudence advice column and the ever-interesting Straight Dope, and I thought we should see if we can get more OSNews readers to submit questions, and turn Ask OSNews into a more-regular thing. If your question falls outside of our domain expertise, we'll try to track down an expert to help out. And of course, our responses will always be supplemented by further advice from OSNews readers in the comments. Questions are welcome on any topic ranging from OSes and computing to science and geek culture. Contact us with your questions. (Please include "Ask OSNews" in the subject). Today's question is from a young student in Hungary who's seduced by the faraway siren song of Apple's marketing and wonders, "should I switch?"
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RE[2]: Depends on the price
by puenktchen on Tue 26th May 2009 09:25 UTC in reply to "RE: Depends on the price"
Member since:

In Europe, a low-end desktop computer bought on a comparison web site is €200. An iMac is €2000.

wtf? an imac sells for 1000 € and your low-end desktop simply doesn't compares to it.

That's a huge difference, and most of the time, a low-end computer will do the job (using a web browser, running MS Office).

if that are your only needs, get an old imac g3 for maybe 50€. or an imac g4 for maybe 100 € if you want some luxury and the ability to run leopard.

Edited 2009-05-26 09:26 UTC

Reply Parent Score: 2

RE[3]: Depends on the price
by Liquidator on Tue 26th May 2009 09:30 in reply to "RE[2]: Depends on the price"
Liquidator Member since:

an imac sells for 1000 €

Only if it's a previous generation of Macs and on eBay.

if you want [...] the ability to run leopard.

I don't like OS X ;)

Reply Parent Score: 1

RE[3]: Depends on the price
by r_a_trip on Tue 26th May 2009 13:29 in reply to "RE[2]: Depends on the price"
r_a_trip Member since:

wtf? an imac sells for 1000 € and your low-end desktop simply doesn't compares to it.

On a characteristic for characteristic basis it probably doesn't come even close. The big question you have to ask yourself, is do I need all the characteristics of an Apple machine?

Apples have:

Excellent aesthetics
Durable design to last the ages
Limited, therefore well supported, hardware
High end components
Stable and easy UNIX operating system (plus option to run Windows)
Excellent productivity suites
A hefty pricetag for all the premium goodness

Apple also has tendency to drop current technology like a hot potatoe if tomorrows technology is deemed better and their customers are expected to follow (purchase newer Apple kit) or be left behind with obsoleted equipment.

Low end desktops have:

Crappy aesthetics (debatable)
Less durable design (debatable)
Huge choice in hardware, therefore sometimes less well supported
Choice of high end or low end components
Huge choice in available operating systems
Excellent productivity suites
Modest price tags, because of the advantages of scale

Generic x86 hardware can be upgraded piece meal (most of the time) within current budget constraints.

At the end of the day, we use computers to accomplish tasks. Doesn't matter if we program, surf the web, draw pictures, write, make web pages, chat or game. First we need to look at what we want to do with the machine and then we need to establish the set of minimal requirements a machine needs to have to be able to do all the desired tasks.

The big question then becomes what does that premium Mac do that the generic x86 doesn't and is the extra expense to be made for the Mac justifiable for the purpose of the tasks we need to do.

In my case the Mac has lost this inventory time and again.

Do I need stunning aesthetics to complete my tasks? No, as long as the box doesn't have flashing lights, it can look like a beige, silver or black breadbox.

Do I need durable design to last the ages? No. I don't frisbee with my equipment, so it doesn't need to be indestructible. It just has to last as long as I am willing to use the hardware and that is directly related to how fast it becomes obsolete performance/compatibility wise.

Am I willing to accept limited choice in hardware? No. I like to be able to compose my own mix of hardware characteristics. Apple is pretty much a done deal, take it or leave it.

High end components. Well, todays high end (and expensive) components, are tomorrows budget parts. Getting a high end machine will only last you nominally longer before it becomes obsolete. As an average user, I've never been able to justify buying the latest and greatest rationally. Certainly not when looking at the price/performance ratio. When it is about the brag factor, then one might have a point.

Stable and easy to use UNIX operating system. If one isn't too computer savvy, OS X is an excellent choice. I liked what I saw in a Hackintosh VMWare setup, but for me, UNIX-like Linux gives me everything that OS X has, maybe not as slick or quite as easy, but then again I manage pretty well and Linux doesn't need specific pricy hardware to run. Also, since the advent of Windows XP SP2 and Vista/Windows 7, Windows has become a decent platform.

Productivity suites. A dime a dozen. All major platforms are plenty stocked.

The hefty price tag. Well, from a price/performance ratio, Apple always lost the deal with me. I have enough skills to keep an OS running well and I refuse to believe that there are OSes that never screw up. So practically Apple delivers more than I need. Which is why the budget PC with Linux is a better fit for me than a higher priced Mac.

To bring in the annoying car analogy... Ferrari cars are a pinnacle of luxury, but it is a safe bet to assume there are more Peugeot 206's on the road than ferrari's. Plus the Peugeot will leave more money in your bank account to do other stuff.

Reply Parent Score: 0