Choices of MAC
Now that you have decided that you are going to get a Mac, it’s time to figure out which Mac is the right one for you. There really isn’t a wrong choice here, it’s more a matter of getting the best use out of your money and not over or under-spending your hard-earned cash.
Here are some questions to ask yourself to help narrow it down
1. Do you need portability?
2. What are you going to use your Mac for?
3. What is your Budget?
4. Intel or Power PC?
Starting with Question number 1. Do you need portability?
This is fairly straightforward but I think you should really take some time to
consider this question rather than just jump into it, for example here is a list of Pros
and Cons for each choice.
Laptops are ultra-portable, great for the person on the move or even just carrying it around the house. Why not surf the Web from your couch?
Laptops take up very little space and are great for small work areas or even people who want to use them on a boat, motor-home or maybe a dorm-room situation.
Laptops require no setup, everything is built-in and ready to go.
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Laptops generally cost more than Desktops and can sometimes have less raw power, speed, space compared to their Desktop equivalent.
Laptops are generally harder and more expensive to upgrade because of all the miniaturized components that go into them.
Desktops have the rawest power and performance for the money.
Desktops can be upgraded easier and usually for less than a Laptop.
Desktops take up more space and usually require a bit of setup like keyboards, mice, speakers and monitors to a plugin.
Desktops always require household power, no power-no computer.
Question 2. What are you going to use your Mac for?
It’s important that you match your computer to your needs or requirements. Higher
end Macs have more then just enhanced specifications, they tend to have more
feature geared towards the professional user.
PowerBooks and MacBook Pros have PC Card slots for even more connectivity.
PowerBooks and MacBooks support the Apple 30 inch Dual-Port DVI monitor.
They also have high-end video cards capable of supporting multiple monitors each with their own desktop.
Another cool feature is the ability to plugin a USB keyboard to a PowerBook or MacBook with the lid closed and use an external monitor saving your Laptops built- in monitor life-span and at the same time giving you a home Desktop experience with your Laptop.
A PowerMac Desktop is also setup for ultimate performance, It has the most upgradability of any Mac, the fastest processors, tons of room for ram and hard drives, support for multiple Dual-port DVI monitors, PCI slots for audio and video cards, faster ports, buses and drives.
An iBook, Mac mini and iMac may not share all of these features so make sure to decide what you need and don’t need for your computing needs.
Question 3. What is your Budget?
If money was no object who wouldn’t pickup a new MacBook Pro? The reality is
money is usually the first thing we consider when making a purchase, well at least
for me it does.
Don’t worry Apple has some excellent entry level products that include everything
that most people are looking for and then some! For example, even iBooks ship with
DVD burners, Built-in WiFi and Bluetooth, tons of connectivity ports and host of
software that will put a Windows PC to shame.
If you are going to be using your new Mac for basic uses like email, Web-surfing,
Word-porcessing and other basic picture, music, video and Web uses then really any
new Mac will be more then adequate.
Question 4. Intel or Power PC?
At this time Apple is going through a significant processor architecture change.
Apple has made the commitment to change all of its G4 and G5 computers from the
Power PC Chip architecture to Intel’s X86 Chip PC based architecture over the course
of this year. You might ask why Apple is making this change? PC based Chips have
experienced leaps and bounds as far as performance goes so it only makes sense
for Apple to ensure they are not limiting performance by solely using Power PC
Chips. Now that Apple is supporting the PC based Chip architecture, they have the
ability to use any Chip they want and at this time the Intel Chip seems to be the
What does this all mean?
In a nutshell it means that not all programs written for OSX will run on an Intel
based Mac at this time. Only programs that have been updated to support both
Power PC and X86 chip-sets will run natively on all Macs, this type of program is
called a Universal application. To help ease the transition Apple has created a piece
of software called Rosetta that is designed to work transparently translating
program code from Power PC to the new Intel language. The downside to this is
that not all Power PC programs will run in Rosetta and those that do run lack the
performance of the Universal applications.
More and more programs are getting updated to Universal everyday, just make sure
that if you are planning on getting a New Intel Mac then also make sure the
programs you need to run will at least run with Rosetta support.
One other new and interesting advantage to getting an Intel based Mac is the
possibility of running Windows just as if you where suing a PC. This could be a big
plus for anyone who needs to run Windows applications.
Apple is always outdoing themselves making better and faster machines. My
personal opinion is that any relatively new Mac with a G4, G5 or Intel Chip is going
to be a great investment, I would even go so far as saying that given the choice of
an outdated Mac or a top of the line PC, I would go for the Mac any day!!