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For the want of a Mac...
#1
This is going to be a long one, but perhaps if I write out my thoughts, it will help me make a better decision. Here it goes...

I'll cut to the chase. I want some kind of Mac computer, possibly an iMac. I shouldn't have sold off my old Mac Mini a few years ago. It would have made it easier to switch.

For those who don't follow the Spam Thread. let me get you caught up to speed on my current situation. I have my own Windows based PC that I have built myself nearly two years ago. It has an Intel Core i5-6100 dual-core CPU, GeForce 750Ti graphics, 8gb RAM, and a somewhat dated 500gb HDD. It's my first PC build and it came out great, though my cable management sucks. I haven't had any issues with my build, and I'm confident that I would be able to upgrade the system when needed.

For all the good my custom PC has brought, it still has brought on a bit of stress, no thanks to Microsoft. Windows 10 is becoming a mixed bag for me. The most recent OS updates brought along nasty bugs like users documents being deleted or Windows not remembering file type associations. I haven't encountered any of those problems myself, but compared to Windows 8, 10 doesn't seem to perform as well, especially during boot up. It also brings along features and apps I don't particularly care for like Cortana or the myriad of bloatware. Not all of it can be uninstalled of course... unless you use third party tricks to forcibly remove them. But I tend to stay away from such tools that mess with system files. 

There is of course, Windows 8.1, which is still supported with security fixes until 2023. I have this on my ancient Gateway laptop since Windows 10 is too much for it. I only have one Windows 8.1 license which is being used on said laptop. There is also Linux, which is starting to become more and more user friendly. Issues still abound if you ever need to use proprietary graphics drivers, and not all of my Steam games are Linux compatible.

I guess that is a good segue into explaining what I use my computer for. I don't do anything that requires lots of hardware power. My activities mainly consist of browsing the web, watching online video and playing casual type games and pinball simulators. The heaviest work I do is in video editing, and I do want to learn how to draw digitally as well. My current computer is obviously up to these tasks, but what if my computer gets hit with some nasty Windows 10 update bug in the future? Will Linux ever get to the point where I can drop Windows and skip macOS completely?

Given my current needs, I have considered either getting an all-in-one PC with downgraded specs to fit my workload and giving my current PC to my mom at home. She too has one of those AIO units from 2012, and it's an entry level AMD E-Series one. Windows 10 is getting too much for that old computer as well and my mom could really use a new PC.

Besides a Windows based AIO, there is of course, Apple. I understand that Apple really tries to nickel-and-dime their user base and marks up the prices on their tech far higher than their PC equivalents. They also like planned obsolescence, with every macOS release dropping several models of older Macs. In fact, my old mid-2011 Mini isn't compatible with Mojave. It can only run up to High Sierra. I would go the Hackintosh route, but it requires lots of terminal use, manual editing of config files, and just lots of tinkering to get macOS running on a non-Apple computer.

That is where my idea of just switching to the "dark side" comes from, I guess. For all the bad things Apple does, I still admire their product designs and macOS itself. I just got this feeling that an iMac would be a better fit for my computing needs. I still do have a lot of Mac software linked to my Apple account, and iMovie would be good enough for my video editing needs. As for audio/video capture, my current Honestech Vidbox has Mac drivers available. I would just need capture software to go with it. As for games, two of my pinball sims, Zaccaria Pinball and Pinball Arcade, do have Mac versions on the Steam store. I even have Pinball Arcade linked to my Apple account as well, but my Steam content won't transfer to that version. As for my Windows casual games, it's not that big of a deal if I can't get them to run on a Mac. I still intend on resurrecting my old XP box for older PC games someday and those games do run fine on that PC's old Radeon 9600XT AGP card.

I have a tough decision to make here. Either stick with what I have, get a Windows based AIO replacement, or start saving up for several months to buy the iMac. The model that I would particularly want is $1,499. I'd prefer the iMac have at least 8gb RAM, 1TB Fusion Drive, and dedicated graphics. I can configure the iMac to have 16GB RAM at order, and it's the only way to get 16GB since RAM is not upgradeable in iMacs. Given my daily use requirements and my low gaming requirements, 8gb would probably be enough.

I could go Low End Mac as an alternative, getting an older refurbished iMac or Mac Pro. But forward compatibility becomes an issue with the aforementioned macOS releases dropping older products from the support list.


If I go the Windows AIO route, I would have to get a possible downgrade in graphics quality of my pinball sims, but I would still be able to do everything else just fine. I would be willing to accept the tradeoff since I hardly play those pinball sims as much as I used to. The AIO would have to be capable of utilizing my video capture device, but I have seen AIOs that use Intel i5 CPUs.

And there you have it. Perhaps I'll just end up sticking with my current setup in the long run, but who knows what the future may bring?

Oh yes, forgot to mention. macOS' yearly updates tend to go far smoother than Windows' bi-annual ones, probably because Apple still has internal bug testers. Tongue

I also think macOS doesn't force ads into the OS like Windows 10 does. I'm starting to see ads in Control Panel, and the latest Insider previews are also testing ads in the Mail app. :/
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#2
On top of shoving ads and forced install of apps like Candy Crush and other UWP bloatware, yeah I do hold W10 with some contempt, not to mention those privacy issues where people are leery about what Microsoft does to every single keystroke you type. As if these multinational companies have gone the way of those Bangladeshi television networks whom the OFCOM in the UK has cited due to excessive product placement...

Yet I don't like Apple's immense avarice either, and if I am to revisit macOS some time, I'd rather Hackintosh even if it meant the additional legwork to be done with kexts and such. Not a problem on my end, but still tedious especially the casual computer user.

As I mentioned on Facebook Messenger, I think buying an A320-based board and a Ryzen 3 APU should give you a little more longevity even if you don't intend to do serious number crunching. My suggestion would be to replace the Core i3-6100 and H110 board with the aforementioned AMD config, take the old Intel-based stuff and use it for your mum's future rig. I dunno, just a thought as I mulled about doing that some time ago.
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#3
After thinking some more after our Facebook chat, I think the real reason why I wanted a Mac is how a lot of children's book illustrators and musicians prefer it as their computer choice and sometimes post pictures of their studio setups with an iMac prominent and they seem very happy with it. I have only come across one or two that use a Windows PC. Contrast with my earlier concerns about my own setup and how macOS tends to be far more stable, I guess I got a bit envious of artists and A/V producers that use Macs even though I have always known they can easily do such things on an equivalent PC for far less money. The design of Apple systems kind of sucks you in too, with their elegance compared to normally boxy PCs or plasticky laptops. The lack of cords is also appealing.

Behind this elegance is something more concerning. Apple as of late tends to take form over function. Right now there is a video going around on YouTube from an unboxing channel showing how extremely easy it is to bend the latest iPad Pro. All tablets can bend obviously, but apparently the new iPad Pro can be bent without much force due to thinner aluminum. And people are reporting their new iPad's are becoming slightly bent after packing them in their bags and even through general use. We also have the infamous MacBook Pro keyboard issues, iPhone Bendgate, and some Macs having severe throttling issues due to poor heat management. The final concern is the pre-built specs and the fact you can't upgrade them. If you want 32GB of RAM in your new iMac, you must state this during your initial order as you can't change it later. Same goes for the SSD and graphics. Initially, a Mac may seem like a great upgrade, but you never know how long Apple will support your fancy new computer and whether or not your choice of specs will become a bottleneck only a few years down the road.

Pearl is coming up to her second birthday in about a week or so, and other than the occasional Windows 10 headaches, she still runs very well for a dual core system. It's probably for the best that I stick with my current setup. I'd imagine I wouldn't really need to upgrade her for at least another year or two and if I were, I'd go with a slightly higher end Kaby Lake quad-core and add another 8GB RAM. I believe her board has Kaby Lake support. And if I were to get a new GPU, I'd try to find an affordable upgrade from my current card, preferably sticking with Nvidia. You really can't do this with Apple anymore.

If I were to build my mom a new rig, I may indeed go for a Ryzen build as Newegg has bundles with an APU and compatible board for a very low price. I'd do my research to see what APU would work best and make my parts list from there. As for an actual new computer, I'd probably focus on my laptop and getting her an SSD and a new battery. Greta's getting old but I can get a few more years out of her before moving on, provided her board doesn't go kaput.
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#4
(11-20-2018, 02:04 PM)cpd2009 Wrote: After thinking some more after our Facebook chat, I think the real reason why I wanted a Mac is how a lot of children's book illustrators and musicians prefer it as their computer choice and sometimes post pictures of their studio setups with an iMac prominent and they seem very happy with it. I have only come across one or two that use a Windows PC. Contrast with my earlier concerns about my own setup and how macOS tends to be far more stable, I guess I got a bit envious of artists and A/V producers that use Macs even though I have always known they can easily do such things on an equivalent PC for far less money. The design of Apple systems kind of sucks you in too, with their elegance compared to normally boxy PCs or plasticky laptops. The lack of cords is also appealing.

Behind this elegance is something more concerning. Apple as of late tends to take form over function. Right now there is a video going around on YouTube from an unboxing channel showing how extremely easy it is to bend the latest iPad Pro. All tablets can bend obviously, but apparently the new iPad Pro can be bent without much force due to thinner aluminium. And people are reporting their new iPad's are becoming slightly bent after packing them in their bags and even through general use. We also have the infamous MacBook Pro keyboard issues, iPhone Bendgate, and some Macs having severe throttling issues due to poor heat management. The final concern is the pre-built specs and the fact you can't upgrade them. If you want 32GB of RAM in your new iMac, you must state this during your initial order as you can't change it later. Same goes for the SSD and graphics. Initially, a Mac may seem like a great upgrade, but you never know how long Apple will support your fancy new computer and whether or not your choice of specs will become a bottleneck only a few years down the road.

Pearl is coming up to her second birthday in about a week or so, and other than the occasional Windows 10 headaches, she still runs very well for a dual core system. It's probably for the best that I stick with my current setup. I'd imagine I wouldn't really need to upgrade her for at least another year or two and if I were, I'd go with a slightly higher end Kaby Lake quad-core and add another 8GB RAM. I believe her board has Kaby Lake support. And if I were to get a new GPU, I'd try to find an affordable upgrade from my current card, preferably sticking with Nvidia. You really can't do this with Apple anymore.

If I were to build my mom a new rig, I may indeed go for a Ryzen build as Newegg has bundles with an APU and compatible board for a very low price. I'd do my research to see what APU would work best and make my parts list from there. As for an actual new computer, I'd probably focus on my laptop and getting her an SSD and a new battery. Greta's getting old but I can get a few more years out of her before moving on, provided her board doesn't go kaput.
Good choice, good choice. Aesthetically, they do look quite attractive to the point of imitation (e.g. Apple does a notch, others follow suit. Apple introduces the MBA, others come up with Ultrabooks...) but is it worth getting if the lack of long-term upgrades and usability even if notable authors and artists use and/or swear by it? That's bordering on AwesomeButImpractical territory to me.
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