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  • vladik007 - Thursday, March 31, 2005 - link

    " highly paid Windows admin / Cisco Engineer "

    geeez ... new low bottom.
  • MarshallG - Monday, February 28, 2005 - link

    I was thinking about getting a Mini Mac. But with a 1.25 GHz CPU, it's about 1/4 the machine that Anand tested.

    Will I be disapointed by its performance at the same kinds of tasks Anand mentioned? I realize that I'll have to upgrade to maybe 1 GB of RAM.
  • BikeMike - Sunday, January 30, 2005 - link

    re: OSX dialogue keyboard shortcuts - like in Word, where 'd' means 'don't save' and 'return' & 'enter' apply to the highlighted button, many OSX apps do not require a modifier key, such as 'alt' or 'command'. The experience of discovery is guesswork, yes, but if you don't look for a modifier key, you get better at guessing. For example, in iTunes dialogues, 'y' means, you guessed it, 'yes'. Reply
  • pyramiddown - Saturday, January 29, 2005 - link

    Ctrl-Tab to switch tabs in Firefox Reply
  • OmnisAudis - Wednesday, January 26, 2005 - link

    Great article! very long winded, but awesome. I am a long time Mac user, with an XP machine at home and an iBook at work.

    I thought it was very interesting you found nothing snazzy about iCal. It is my FAV Apple app!! It is the most powerful, easy to use calendar I've come across. And it seems to be able to do things that XP Outlook can't. For one thing, I can publish a calendar so that other users can subsribe to it. When I make a change to that calendar, they see those changes.

    I can have TONS of calendars. In outlook, my boss can only have one (and view others). At my work place, we have 20 productions going on. It would be great if he could generate a calander that we could subscribe to for each show. As changes occur, we would get them without a memo going out, and everyone updating their calendars.

    Plus, I can subscribe to a season calendar of the Yankees! So as I publish calendars for visiting artists, and I subscribe to one for entertainment.

    I'll stop now. But I think you should revist iCal. Look at it from a multi-user point of view.

    Thanks for the objective article. I've learned a few things about OS-X!
  • KingKuei - Sunday, January 16, 2005 - link


    Wait til you see Tiger...

    Updated Safari with significantly improved speed and capabilities.

    Add the Spotlight feature (comprehensive demo at MacWorld Expo --> don't miss the jab at Bill Gates when the Spotlight feature crashes... one word: backup)

    Dashboard (sorry to the company that made it, but the feature is coming free to Tiger and I can't wait!)

    And for the first time, fully takes advantage of the 64-bit processing core of the G5.

    Anand, I dare you to write a follow-up review on that dual-2Ghz of your's when Tiger ships ON SCHEDULE later this year!
  • macgeek - Saturday, January 01, 2005 - link

    It is go glaringly obvious to any Mac user that you did understand half of what you were writing about. Just a few glaring omissions from your article:

    * Unix-based, and you have full control of Unix through the terminal.

    * No spyware or viruses - I don't even run anti-virus because there has NEVER been a virus for OS X. NOT ONE!!!

    * Why do you think Office 2004 sucks? Probably because it's made by Microsoft! Ever heard of OpenOffice?

    * Address Book - not only is it integrated into mail, but it's integrated into OS X.

    * Guess you didn't spend much time looking for it, because you could have had Trillian for Mac OS X as well.

    * Browsers - Yeah, Safari needs some work, but you've got quite a few to choose from. Oh, and Safari isn't the Lincoln Tunnel of security holes that IE is either. And if you so choose, you can simply drag Safari to the trash can and never use it again. Now try that with IE.

    * ipfw vs. Windows Firewall - Puuhhlleeeeasseee!! What does microsoft give you? A firewall that a third-grader could get through and that allows EVERYTHING OUT!!!!! I quite like having the ability to customize ipfw in terminal to have a firewall that is truly an industrial strength firewall.

    * Root authentication - whenever a program needs to install or modify system files, you have to authenticate as root. Too bad that when you're logged on as an Admin in Windows it's "anything goes" and you have no choice when that nasty website throws a dll file into the Windows directory.

    * No mention of any Apple Pro Apps like Final Cut HD. I've seen what happens to P4 systems when they try to render video in Adobe Premiere - they crash. You have to drop at least an extra $1000 for a Canopus or high-end Matrox capture card to have a chance of competing with a dual G5 system. My PowerBook G4 1.5 GHz renders video better than my P4 3.4 with 1GB of HyperX PC3500.

    * No mention of integrated Bluetooth, or how simple it is to configure networking, or of integrated Firewire 800.

    Shoddy research, and a poor attempt overall. It's easy to see that you liked the G5, but you didn't even scratch the surface before you wrote that article. And if you honestly think that OS X crashes as much as Windows, you REALLY must not have known what you were doing.

    And I qualify this as my day job is as a highly paid Windows admin / Cisco Engineer. I know Windows XP / 2k / 2k Server and Win2k3 inside and out, and they can't touch the possibilities of OS X. The only area that I'll give you is gaming. That's why I have a top-o-the-line AMD.
  • hopejr - Monday, November 08, 2004 - link

    I'm quite impressed with this article. I'm a recent switcher (august 04) and can say that I much rather OS X to any other OS that I've used (every single released version of windows from 1.03 to Longhorn 4074, many Linux distros, and mac os from system 6 to OS X Panther).
    I didn't go for a beefed up PowerMac G5, but I did buy a 12" iBook G4 with student discount (April 04 model). I've found that these are the cheapest decent notebooks out (as I can't stand celerons :P), and for a 12" at just AU$1520, I think it was a bargain (most PC 12" laptops are twice that much with almost identical specs).
    I also like the fact that I have seemless networking with my Windows machines. Another thing I like is that I can do all the stuff I need to do on linux (for University) on my iBook because of its unix base.
    In regard to the point someone made (i can't remember which post) about this article testing multitasking on a dual processor environment, I find that my single processor G4 laptop is still much better at multitasking than the latest Windows PC with hyperthreading, or even an AMD64, that I've used. Maybe that's just me though :P.
    I've found that I'm more productive on OS X compared to windows, especially with all those keyboard shortcuts.
    BTW, post #207 is right about the choice mac users have to make, I make those choices now, and know exactly when I want a program to close, or when I just want to close a window. I also find command-H and command-option-H very useful with reducing screen clutter.
    I haven't always liked Macs. I hated them mainly because the classic OS was a pain to use in my opinion with little control over it (I am a DOS user, so I like being in control of my machine using a command prompt). When OS X came out (especially Panther), my hatred disappeared.
  • macgruder - Saturday, November 06, 2004 - link

    Pretty good and fair review.

    I wish people would stop saying an App should quit when you close the last window. This is not useful in many situations. e.g. I'm in Photoshop, I have a window open, and I'm done with it, but am going to continue working. Close the windows, oops Photoshop quits.

    Mac users are used to making the following choice:
    a. I want to close a window (command-W)
    b. I want to quit the App. (command-Q)

    These are 2 distinct actions. To me closing a window is just that, and shouldn't be connected to the independent action of quitting an app. If I'm done and I have ten windows open, I just command-Q, and the windows(if not saved) close automatically anyway. As far as I can see Windows seems to be forcing you (correct me if I'm wrong) to do an unconnected action, when you may not want to.
  • Humancodex - Friday, November 05, 2004 - link

    I make a link of the article to: (french) in forum "switch", everybody like your "objectivité", and like you to push the Mac test trial more often! Reply
  • swiedem - Wednesday, October 20, 2004 - link

    Valid questions, GoodWatch. For too many years, our network centered around a Novell server (on Dell iron) with ZENworks managing desktop software deployment, and the primary business computer was an IBM RS/4000 on AIX running Xymox facility scheduling and management software. The rest of the machinery in the building has migrated from dedicated hardware to a mix of Macs and PCs doing video post production and basic desktop business tasks. Infrastructure was always considered a non-performing asset by management so very little has changed there in the last 10 years. Thankfully, a few well timed lighting storms took out enough network equipment to demonstrate that a broken network meant the connected machinery couldn't talk.

    As time moved on, the old RS running at a blazing 150mhz had to go, and ZENworks stopped working as we deployed more XP machines. Microsoft was clearly being as deadly as possible to the Novell environment with each upgrade. The primary AIX business computer was updated with a Windows 2000 Citrix server running the updated version of Xymox called Xytech coupled to a PC SQL server.

    Funny story was the business application vendor said they could work with Sybase or MS SQL, so we bought Sybase for OS X and put that on an Xserve. The cost of MS SQL was enough to take your breath away compared to Sybase on OS X. That database server ran great while every PC SQL server near the Internet was getting killed by the Slammer worm. The whole Xserve/Sybase install was about $5k plus or minus. The new Xytech installation using Sybase was buggy and didn't communicate well with converted databases migrated from the old AIX machine. Turns out the application vendor said "oops, we haven't updated our app for sybase v.4" (they were testing on Sybase v.3 - duh) and they weren't likely to repair the Sybase functionality. We had to get the PC server with MS SQL. That cost us well over $14k all in, mostly for licensing and didn't run as well as Sybase on the G4 Xserve (2ghz DP). That Xserve became the Communigate mail server (insert plug: Sybase license for sale). the Microsoft licensing fees included the free terminal services used by Citrix that suddenly wasn't free anymore.

    Our post production business model was also moving rapidly from tape to spinning disk, so we started applying data solutions to media. There's the answer to your first question - our servers are mostly for file storage of massive proportions, not applications. There's really only one app server and it's not in the primary workflow. One thing to understand about the video post production machinery business is time moves very slowly. This isn't Adobe Premiere, this is $140,000 editing workstations, $80,000 video cameras with $50,000 lenses, $70,000 video recorders etc. We have ridiculous investments in operating environments stuck on a certain level of OS that can't move, otherwise the application will break. There's also the issue of people not wanting to change, but that's a second ridiculous issue on top of the first.

    As XP machines were deploying to the business desktops, the damnedest worms and viruses were coming out of nowhere. Well, we did know where it was coming from - clients walking in with PC laptops seeding trouble to the network, handing us disks with worms etc. We had a technical gathering where every ubergeek came in with their own WiFi laptop. We spent the next two weeks reloading Windows everywhere because we couldn't remove the worms planted by these people. It was bad. We have a mixture of lazy people plugging things into the network without regard to security, turning off virus scanning because it 'slows the machine down' and just plain people in denial over what security risks are at hand. We also had to visit all the XP machines regularly to get them working because they were plain crap. Didn't matter if it was a Dell or Compaq or whatever. It made us lament the passing of Windows 98.

    There was a pattern here. All the effort and defenses and failures were happening to the Windows machines and we didn't hear a peep out of any Macs in the building. They just worked. The cost of maintaining the Microsoft based systems was making us rethink everything, especially since just owning PCs was costing us more than we ever imagined in licenses, defense systems and labor. If everything was a Mac, we wouldn't even need a firewall. Really. The only machines we own directly connected to the Internet are Macs. They've all basically been there since 1996 (five of them - multihome web server, mail1, mail2, dns1 and dns2) and have never been hacked, bugged or wormed. They get hammered and stalled occasionally, but they pop right back up. Everything else is behind the firewall. We connected one PC to the Internet for a short period of time and it was immediately hacked twice, once by the Chinese and once it started yelling at us in Arabic. Sheesh.

    Doesn't matter if PCs cost a little less out of the box, you absolutely have a lot less money in your pocket at the end of a year when you're done fooling with PCs compared to the same number of Macs, especially since every Mac we've ever owned has outlasted 2.7 PCs. In the last two years, we've thrown out about 150 PCs. Can't upgrade them, can't fix them and they weren't THAT old (3-4 years or so). On the other hand, we have groups of 3, 6, 8 and 12 year old Macs that STILL WORK. That's their biggest downfall - Macs get way too old and won't die, so they don't get replaced.

    Finally, management agreed to doing a few right things which are still being deployed; managable networking (HP ProCurve gigabit switches replacing 3Com HUBS, for chrissake), making VLANs for clients (isolation), VLANs for WiFi nodes (screw WEP), decent redundant firewalls, antivirus filtering at the firewall, Communigate Pro mail server (Xserve) running POP, IMAP, and MAPI, taking Explorer off the desktops and deploying FireFox (HUGE difference in spyware), installing Xserve G5/Xraid (3.5TB) to replace Novell for file storage (also runs LDAP, FTP, Web, Samba, DNS, Retrospect Server and a few other things). All our new computer deployments use Ghost for PCs and Apple Remote Desktop v2 for Macs. We're going to deploy an Active Directory solution on top of everything else and really get the roving profiles working. As a note, we have about 28 audio and video editing workstations with large local spinning disk arrays, so no media goes directly over the network - yet.

    We tested the Xserve G5 against every other server we owned and it kicked their collective asses. The graphics and DVD department shoves gigs and gigs of stuff around every day through that machine. The Xserve is amazing and barely breaks a sweat. It's been in for about 8 months and a week hardly goes by without someone in that area running up to you and telling you how great the Xserve is. How often does THAT happen?

    In parallel with this is the deployment of Mac laptops and desktops. After the aforementioned three month whining period, the new Mac users have absolutely no use for the PC. Even the ones you dragged kicking and screaming to their new OS X desktop have become evangelists.

    Idunno. It seems fairly clear to me but I tend to use what's functionally better within a given set of circumstances. Having lived with computers for a long time (I come from the planet CP/M) you have an innate sense of what will blow up in your face and what won't. No amount of ridicule about being in the extremem minority will offset what works for you. Minority doesn't bother me. My old Beta machine still makes much better recordings than any VHS and my old home movies look better for it. I just ran some old web server logs; five years ago, about 4% of our web hits came from Macs. As of today, 31.2% of the hits are from Macs.

    Time's a changing?
  • GoodWatch - Tuesday, October 19, 2004 - link

    In an answer to # 202 and 203.
    Although I must admit that buying a Mac to use alongside my PC is high on my wishlist (please don’t vomit), so no comments here, I do want to ask a few questions. What DO you guys use network servers for? (Honest question, no hidden agenda). As I read that Apple servers run circles around even the beefiest Dell servers (we use Dell servers by the way) you must use them mostly as application servers. We use IBM iSeries machines (AS/400’s) for that. The network servers are mostly file and print servers where disc throughput is more important than sheer processor power. One cluster for all the SQL jobs and two applications, one small server to do all schedule and monitoring jobs and one server to do two very specific tasks. We will add a dedicated terminal server to that because we want to consolidate the way we work with remote access through VPN. That’s it. Currently we are building a new desktop environment for the ca. 120 PC’s that are used. Deployment via RIS (and network booting). Need an extra PC? Boot from the network and about 15 minutes later it is up and running. Access to public networks is through a sturdy firewall and proxy server. Hardly any serious virus outbreaks up to now. (Aided by the fact we use Lotus Notes as e-mail platform). Users cannot install software and cannot tamper with crucial settings. We are with two persons running a complex network and we can manage perfectly. Most chores are done through an excellent remote control program which automatically pushes it’s agent to the workstation you have to work on. Reading all that misery about managing Windows PC’s makes me think most guys just to a lousy job (no insult intended).
    Just point me to a viable Linux alternative for Scada and OA based proces control (both server and client please) and perhaps I will look into it :-)

    Take care,


  • hh - Tuesday, October 19, 2004 - link

    > Monday I’ll go to my CEO and tell him we will
    > scrap 140 perfectly good PC’s...etc...

    If you had a solid, well researched business case that supported that conclusion, you shouldn't be afraid of doing just that (although in your specific circumstances, I think its highly unlikely, because you're "stuck").

    > ...The biggest tasks, like rewriting our
    > dot Net apps and our Windows based technical
    > automation in the field gave me a headache
    > while writing this and made me stop.

    Your business is now "stuck" with Microsoft because your past business decisions were to adopt their proprietary products instead of investing in open standards that would strategically keep your options more open. IMO, its a shortsighted approach, probably because no one bothered to research the business case and the long term risks of being screwed by a Monopolist. You're not alone - - our IT Dept HQ has made the same choice, and we're not allowed to outsource them...they're riding the gravy train at my business unit's expense.

    My advice would be to pursue recommending a strategy of transition away from expensive, proprietary products and into more competitive open standards. The transition cost is managable when systems need major rewrites for upgrades anyway...look around at your local politics to see if the proper buzzeords are 'Technology Investment' or whatever.

  • swiedem - Tuesday, October 19, 2004 - link

    OS X is what Linux wants to be - elegant right out of the box with frightening power and capability. Most PC users believe their OS in the colorful clown suit is better than someone else's OS in the colorful clown suit. Once someone recognizes the difference between form and function, the Mac takes on a whole different perspective. Anand looked for himself and understood those differences.

    It's always refreshing to see someone break out and try something new. Even I learned some things. As usual, this kind of thing brings out people spitting poison and venom, people with little stomach for examining something disruptive to their lives. Disruption is good.

    We were getting REAL tired of chasing the same Windows specific issues all the time on all 100 PCs at work. REAL tired. So, we started deploying OS X Macs, especially laptops. The initial reaction to Mac newbies is "oh god, a Maaaaaaaaac?" Whine whine whine for a solid three weeks. After three weeks they sort of stopped whining and told you about issues they worked around themselves. They think they're pointing out Mac deficiencies and I think they're learning (they can't find their documents folder, so you rename "Documents" to "My Documents" and they can see it fine). That goes on for another three or four weeks. Then, you don't hear anything for a month or so. We heard from them every other DAY when they had a PC, so that was refreshing. At some point, the magic moment hits where they swallow the Kool Aid - usually about three months out. They LOVE their Mac and never want a PC on their desk again. They don't need it, they don't want it, they feel cheap and dirty if they have to work on one like you just threw up on their keyboard. Some even start smirking and gloating at PC users in the company. I wish they wouldn't do that, but they somehow feel newly annointed. Half of them start asking about which Mac they should get for HOME and they're dead serious. Talk about a flip. It's happened to most of the 14 people we've migrated from PCs to OS X Macs so far and we're still deploying new ones.

    The comment about the "Finder" and "Explorer" where "one company copied (or poked fun at) another" needs clarification. Explorer poked fun at Navigator. The Finder has been around waaaaaayyy before Explorer and was the GUI retrofit on top of a nearly finished OS that became the Macintosh. The whole GUI was just another application - Finder.

    In the classic Mac, the Finder application is required to be launched upon startup. You could quit the Finder and it would simply start again unless other applications were running. With other apps running, you didn't even need the Finder if you didn't need desktop navigation. It was a resource saving trick to quit the Finder once an application was running, like old video editing software.

    An even cooler trick was to make the Mac run a single application almost like a service. You could take any application, tag it with the Finder's creator codes, rename it "Finder", stick it in the System Folder and the Mac would run that application unconditionally upon booting. It was great for web, mail or DNS servers that would never go down.

    My bias; I know the Mac very well and I know Windows pretty well - not every trick in the book but fluent. I support both Macs and PCs at work and just don't understand the world's sad devotion to Windows. Anyone who says a Microsoft based PC is cheaper than a current Mac apparently doesn't need to PC to do very much. The PC servers we've installed cost just as much as the Mac Xserve and quickly got wildly expensive when the Microsoft tax was added.

    Oh, go ahead and blah blah about 64 bit Athlon or whatever. Check the clustered super computer charts and see how the averages fall. An off the shelf Apple G5 smokes the fanciest Dell/HP x86 server in every case and costs a fraction as much to get it working.

    The old Classic Macintosh was a train wreck compared to OS X and most of the venom about the Mac platform must be people working from memory. Take a hint and look at one built this century.
  • victorpanlilio - Friday, October 15, 2004 - link

    Frans wrote in #198: what DID you recommend, switching to an all Windows based LAN

    Actually, recommendation #1 was to expand using NetWare for file/print, #2 was to augment the LAN using UNIX servers. They went with #1 to supplement the AS/400 and the project was implemented ahead of schedule and under budget by the VAR I recommended. BTW, their desktop HW was all IBM PS/2, and I didn't even work for IBM by then, but if OS/2 had the application support they needed, I would've recommended that as well.

    I've never tried Stella Artois myself, actually. In fact, I'm not even much of a beer drinker. *hic* :-D

    So if any of you maniacs are planning on doing any drinking this weekend, make sure to do it far away from the hardware! :-D
  • pecosbill - Friday, October 15, 2004 - link

    So much for being able to use muscle memory (wrt my blank post).

    Comments on the article:

    Mail App: I sugest you do a Rebuild Mailbox once and a while on each selected mailbox in the drawer (they are separate mailboxes). And, any time Mail crashes, run that command on the active mailbox when you bring it back up.

    IE: A lot of the so called compatibility issues can be laid at M$ feet as they are the ones who did things non-standard. Everywhere I read about how standards compliant Safari is. Yes, it needs a speed boost. As its relatively new, I hope they can get some more speed out of it. And, as another user posted, try Camino (though I've read it's not as fast as FireFox) but the UI is far better.

    Office and other MacBU stuff from Redmond: Years ago, M$ came out with an SDK for Windows code that simplified porting Windows code to Macintosh. Glue, of sorts. Problem with it was the resultant app is MUCH slower than had it been written for the Mac in the first place. As for the cross platform app, Omnis Studio, it runs MUCH slower on the Mac than the PC even when the Mac has faster hardware. The cause? Poorly optimized code on the Mac or CodeWarrior doesn't optimize nearly as well for the Mac. I'm betting the former. If people don't take the time to opimize their code, it shows.

    Games: What exactly can Apple do? The only thing I can think of to get developers to write the Mac apps in parallel is for Apple to commission it. Even then that creates more challenges trying to stay in sync. If you really want to do games, isn't that what a PlayStation is for? (I'm not a gamer; who has time?)

    Conclusion needs Windows bashing: I use it at work (for years) and am constantly dismayed. Everything Anand said about the WindowsUI is right. It's a pain to use. And, with all the different hardware out there, it's a shock it works at all. Why can't Notepad support drag and drop? Why is the DOS prompt née Command prompt such a pain to use? I want EVERY window the same until I say otherwise. Speaking of that, UNIX (which DOS later strived to copy after CP/M died), is worlds more powerful.
  • pecosbill - Friday, October 15, 2004 - link

  • GoodWatch - Friday, October 15, 2004 - link

    Hi Vic, one for the road then: what DID you recommend, switching to an all Windows based LAN? Ha, ha, ha! Stella Artois is the Windows of lagers, no big deal then and ‘good enough’, ha, ha, ha!

    Take care buddy,

  • victorpanlilio - Friday, October 15, 2004 - link

    Frans wrote: I may sound harsh and peed-off but I am not, really :-) No really! Ever managed SCADA or OA based technical automation? Hmmmmm, guess we made the wrong decision again

    Nope. SCADA is pretty standard for process control -- I worked in an oil refinery (electrical engineering dept) for two years and the Foxboro people put in a state-of-the-art control center for the gas liquids storage plant; this was before Windows came on the scene. We used mostly HP computers. My closest encounter with AS/400 was years later, reviewing RFP responses for a law firm that was looking to upgrade its AS/400 vs expanding their LAN (they were using the AS/400 as a file server, not just as a database engine). Long story short, they followed the path I recommended, and were so pleased with the results that they invited me to apply for the position of IT Manager, which I declined because I did not have enough relevant experience.

    Anyway, to bring this discussion back to Anand's article, it's good to see people taking another look at Macs now that OS X offers a user-friendly desktop Unix environment. Perhaps we will see OS X added to a few enterprise environments, who knows? AT&T is evaluating it along with Linux, for the desktop. I doubt that they will suddenly transition from their 70,000 Windows PCs but since they are the birthplace of Unix, some deployment of Unix or its derivatives would only be returning to their roots.

    Have agreat weekend, all. Anand still hasn't told us if he's tried Stella Artois... :-)
  • GoodWatch - Friday, October 15, 2004 - link

    In a reaction on post #195 and to end this slow chat: apart from stating that 100 million+ Windows users must be wrong (irony), where did I so adamantly defend Windows? We use Linux for our proxy and reversed proxy server and the platform we run our business on is an IBM iSeries 820 (you're old enough to know I'm talking about an AS/400). You're drawing too much conclusions and do that too soon. And as long you haven't been able to take a look at how we run our network, you cannot draw a conclusion on that either. I may sound harsh and peed-off but I am not, really :-) No really! Ever managed SCADA or OA based technical automation? Hmmmmm, guess we made a wrong decision again.

    Have a nice day Vic,


    P.S. And I love Macs and the OS. It's an example how to do some things right.
  • victorpanlilio - Friday, October 15, 2004 - link

    Frans wrote in #194: Of course such a remark is meaningless because it’s just that, a remark.

    The remark, my friend, is based on 17+ years of experience.

    Frans also wrote: For all I know your company used crap PC’s.

    Frans, you obviously didn't read ANY of my earlier posts. I have worked for IBM, DEC, Compaq, and Fujitsu. I have worked with PCs for over 20 years. I first started using PCs in 1983 when I was at Royal Dutch/Shell, a company that is not exactly known to buy crap PCs. In fact, I used the original IBM PC and XT, and I still have an original IBM PC on a shelf in my garage.

    You also wrote: The reason that PC’s are the vehicle of choice for most corporate networks is very simple: it came about in 1980/1981 and put on the market by a firm of great repute, IBM.

    Oh, I agree completely. The corporate personal computers made by IBM are of generally good quality, and I speak as someone who worked for IBM and marketed, supported, and configured IBM personal systems in the late '80's/early 90's. I think that, overall, IBM makes good products in almost every sector they participate in. If OS/2 had gotten more use in corporations than Windows, we might have avoided the security mess we're in today. IBM has a lot of experience building secure, networked computer systems. Microsoft didn't even "get" the Internet until the mid-90's, and the security architecture of Windows was not originally geared to withstand the kind of attacks one finds on the Net. In short, what's wrong with PCs these days is not the hardware at all, but the most popular operating system being run on them. Do not confuse the two issues.

    You then wrote: Monday I’ll go to my CEO and tell him we will scrap 140 perfectly good PC’s, sell our Windows 2003 network servers (the one’s we just installed), or install Linux on them and tell him never to bring in his Windows laptop again and I’ll burn all our software licenses and programs

    Frans, I work for a Microsoft Business Partner, and I have a Dell PowerEdge Win2K3 server at home. This does not blind me to the security failings of Windows. As for your dismissive attitude towards Linux, why did the Munich city council decicde to dump Windows for Linux on the 14,000 PCs used by the city services, even when Microsoft's CEO Steve Ballmer offered to undercut any proposed Linux implementation?

    You also wrote: the biggest tasks, like rewriting our dot Net apps and our Windows based technical automation in the field

    Well, it's obvious then why you are so adamant about defending Windows. You are so heavily invested in the technology that you have to justify your choices no matter what valid criticisms may be leveled. And besides, from a business point of view, if that is how your company makes its money, who am I to point out that there might be *technically* superior alternatives? What is really important here is to recognize that, having made a decision to go with a particular architecture (in your case x86/Win/.NET/C#) you now have to follow through, or else you face a substantial re-engineering effort. Unless application design is sufficiently abstracted from underlying technology and made portable (e.g. model-driven architecture) that's what you're faced with.

    Anyway, just to help you calm down and ease your headache, I should add that while we run Windows 2003 internally, we keep our options flexible, and much of our app development is PHP, MySQL, Apache on OpenBSD rather than .NET or J2EE.

    As for the US elections -- democracy works if the electorate is able to make sound judgments based on good information. If the voting is based on personality contests and not on issues, then it could be argued that the choice of the electorate is no different from an audience choosing their favorite celebrity.

    Best regards, my friend.
  • GoodWatch - Friday, October 15, 2004 - link

    In #190 Victor wrote a lot about PC’s. His experience is that not even Windows is a bad choice but PC’s break down more often than Mac’s as well! Amazing! It gets worse and worse and there is really nothing positive to say about PC’s. Of course such a remark is meaningless because it’s just that, a remark. For all I know your company used crap PC’s. I could sum up all kinds of figures from my own experience but I have a hunch that is in vain and that all what I say falls on deaf ears. So be it. The reason that PC’s are the vehicle of choice for most corporate networks is very simple: it came about in 1980/1981 and put on the market by a firm of great repute, IBM. There was no alternative then. (Apple ][ machines in a network perhaps?).

    Monday I’ll go to my CEO and tell him we will scrap 140 perfectly good PC’s, sell our Windows 2003 network servers (the one’s we just installed), or install Linux on them and tell him never to bring in his Windows laptop again and I’ll burn all our software licenses and programs. Before that, I’ve arranged for all our users to follow a Mac course and told them to forget everything they ever learned about their Windows based programs. After that we will buy 140 Macs and I’ll try to find an alternative for our terminal emulation (our core platform is an IBM iSeries 820) and a firm who can rewrite our custom made apps. Then I’ll try to secure a good deal on Office 2004 for Mac to replace those trashed Windows Office versions. The biggest tasks, like rewriting our dot Net apps and our Windows based technical automation in the field gave me a headache while writing this and made me stop.

    Now I only need a good Mac to calculate the payback time on all the above (a mere Wintel PC cannot perform this gargantuan task) and another job please.

    Following your logic: after the US Elections are over one can state that the man who gotthe job was elected by a majority who were all wrong. Interesting.

    I’ll stop now,

  • victorpanlilio - Friday, October 15, 2004 - link

    dt107 also wrote in #188: I would like a new G5 and I would like my photoshop filters to work a bit faster, but until these machines actually die there is absolutely no need to replace them

    In this respect, Macs are more environmentally friendly, since they are replaced less often. Fewer resources consumed to produce them, lower power consumption throughout their life, and fewer resources spent dealing with abandoned machines.

    Hmm... sounds like a household appliance, if you ask me. ;-)
  • victorpanlilio - Friday, October 15, 2004 - link

    A follow-up to dt107's observations in #188:

    True story: earlier this year, two families that know I "work with computers" asked me what to do about all the spyware etc. that had virtually reduced their PCs to unusable slag heaps. I visited them both (these were not free visits, I got paid well), cleaned up the crap on their PCs, and told them what they needed to do to stay out of trouble on the Internet. Long story short, within two weeks their PCs were acting up again, and they were fed up big time. Both families bought their first Macs, and I helped one of them set up an eMac and an HP laser printer, and I took away the PC to fix when I had time (I reimaged the HD). They sent me email saying "No rush to get the PC back, we don't miss it." The other family, which bought a 17-inch iMac, has now added an iBook G4 and AirPort Extreme wireless network to their home. I get the occasional email with a question about this or that, but both families are now essentially self-sufficient as far as their computer maintenance goes, and they're teaching themselves about MacOS X and its great bundled applications and have even started editing video and making slideshows on DVD, which they never even attempted on their Windows PCs because they were too busy dealing with security hassles and such...

    Meanwhile, an eWeek senior editor wrote:

    Mac Takes Honors as Best Unix Desktop
    Somewhere along the line, we over in the Linux/Unix/AIX/Solaris world seem to have forgotten that Macs are now Unix workstations. Under every bright, shiny Mac desktop beats a Unix heart named Darwin. Darwin, in turn, is built on top of Mach 3.0 operating-system services, which run on top of the 4.4 BSD Unix operating system... Now, as someone with more then 20 years in Unix/Linux, I appreciate what the KDE/GNOME designers are doing, and I know lots of other Linux and Solaris power users do, too... while Linux and KDE make up my preferred desktop, I think there can be really no question that the best Unix desktop for most users is Mac OS X and Aqua.

    Little wonder, then, that Tim Berners-Lee (inventor of the web) uses MacOS X.
  • victorpanlilio - Friday, October 15, 2004 - link

    dt107 wrote in #188: But the underlying reason is the support contract. No consultant ever got rich by recommending macs. Recommend PCs and there's a gravy train till the day you die.

    So funny because so true, based on my 17 years of experience supporting PCs and Macs, in large corporate and academic environments. I now work for a small company that looks after the IT needs of other small to medium size business firms. I tend to see a lot more break-fix and security-related work on the PC side. The Mac side of our business is mostly about HW upgrades, SW installation and configuration, training, and so on. The PC side of the business sees a lot of security remediation, spyware removal, patching, hardware repair and replacement, and suchlike. Needless to say, our revenue from PC care and feeding is more predictable and it is constantly increasing, with every new round of Windows holes that are exploited. Windows means recurring costs for our clients, and recurring income for us. It's sort of like a racket, if you will. We're hardly alone:

    Geek Squad has hands full with malware
  • victorpanlilio - Friday, October 15, 2004 - link

    Frans wrote: Thank you for so eloquently proving my point. So I guess the 100 million + Windows users are all wrong? Wow!

    There are way more than 100 million Windows sufferers in the world. I am one of them. But in addition to my PC, which I keep fully patched, I also have several Macs. The funny thing about your logic, Frans, is that it is no different from the logic implicit in "Eat at Joe's Diner -- A Million Flies Can't Be Wrong"

    In the end, the main reason there are so many Windows users in is because, for many people, Windows is "good enough" at least until the aggravation and inconvenience of dealing with its many security holes becomes literally too much. People have been led to believe that the Mac is not really a much better alternative in many ways; they are misled. Let me quote from Walt Mossberg's Oct 14 Personal Technology column in the Wall Street Journal:
    "The Mac operating system is better and more modern than Windows, in my opinion. The Mac's free, built-in Web browser and e-mail program are better than their free, built-in counterparts on Windows. The Mac comes with an integrated suite of photo, music, video and DVD software that can't be matched on Windows."

    Now, as for your logic...

    If 100 million people say a foolish thing, it is still a foolish thing. If 100 million people choose to use a massively vulnerable OS, it is still a massively vulnerable OS, and what's more, organized crime will use this huge installed base to build vast botnets of zombies to unleash all manner of evil on the world community. "Good enough" for the millions translates into "good enough to hijack" for organized crime. Sorry to put it so bluntly, but I deal with Windows network (in)security as part of my livelihood.
  • gankaku - Thursday, October 14, 2004 - link

    Mac users are often fanatical about their choice of computer hardware and software because we came so very close to losing it all.

    In the mid-nineties, Apple couldn't sell many computers, had warehouses full of them. Apple was bleeding red ink (they lost more than $1 billion in one year, I can't remember which). Every corporate decision seemed to be the wrong one (need I mention Copland?) Although it was probably overstated, the media were describing Apple as doomed, and with every drop of ink, it was becoming a self-fulfilling prophesy.

    As luck would have it, Steve Jobs came back, from NeXT, just in the nick of time. He stopped the bleeding... Cleaned house. Hired people who have vision and a desire to change the world. And slowly, bit by bit, we started to see signs that Apple was not only going to survive, but it might possibly do something great again.

    That's where we are now. I think it's taken all these years just to get Apple back to the place it should have been in 1995. I would once again describe it as a great company.

    And now we get to sit back and watch, to see what happens next. It's at once entertaining and satisfying.

  • dt107 - Thursday, October 14, 2004 - link

    As a long term Macie I was dreading reading this article but persevered. At the end of page two I was feeling a little nervous that this would be a hatchet job. However by the time I had gone a couple of more pages I was warming nicely to the tone of the piece.

    At the end I was very happy. It is well thought through (one or two little errors that have been pointed out by others) and overall presents what I would call a very enlightened view.

    The fact that Arnand is carrying on with his mac experience says more than the article alone.

    The same cannot be said for some of the comments posted afterwards.
    Many of the claimed "facts" put forward by the mac detracters are as factual as the poodle in the microwave.

    My own two-pennorth (I'm British) goes like this.

    I first got into computers in 1967 - they were huge and required punched paper tape to input data and programs. I then went into Avionics and became an end user - didn't have to fiddle. After that I went into TV and finally ended up as a film dubbing editor (from which I retired about 6 years ago). In the interim I worked in an office environment that had both a mac and PC network (separated).
    There were about 30 macs and about 60 PCs. A team of 5-10 support people were employed full time to look after the PCs.

    A man came in once every two weeks for half a day to look after the macs.

    Now work out the costs there. Yes the macs were probably twice as expensive to buy as the PCs but in terms of salaries alone the macs paid for themselves in less than a month.

    So why is the PC so entrenched in the corporate world? - the initial answer is obvious, they are cheaper to buy.

    But the underlying reason is the support contract. No consultant ever got rich by recommending macs. Recommend PCs and there's a gravy train till the day you die.

    I now work as a mac support engineer/consultant for a major mac retailer. They sell every mac they can almost on the day it arrives from Apple.

    I have very little support work on.

    My main customer base is the home user. I spend most of my time with them teaching them how to use their mac, how to get the best out of it. How to be productive.

    At home I am writing this on a 5 year old mac. My wife uses a similar vintage powerbook, my youngest daughter has a first edition imac in her room. My eldest daughter has just taken a brand new eMac to university. At school they use (used) PCs, my wife is a teacher, see is more or less forced to use a PC. At home they use macs because they are more productive, they don't have to worry about all the malware that arrives in the mail every day, they can just get on.

    - Oh yes, and we're all using OS9 (except for the emac). It doesn't crash - not on our machines anyway. Our network is robust and doesn't crash either.

    Yes I would like a new G5 and I would like my photoshop filters to work a bit faster, but untill these machines actually die there is absolutely no need to replace them.

    Just to reiterate Arnand, a very good article written with honesty.
    Shame about some of the comments afterwards.
  • Malkir - Thursday, October 14, 2004 - link

    I was intrigued by this article. I am a Mac user and I definitely agree with a lot of what is written in the article. I switched from Windows several months ago. I don't claim to be a Mac fanatic; but, I do find the Mac to be a much more pleasant operating system than Windows. As Anand mentioned, the customization of the operating GUI is an added plus. He also mentioned the drawback in speed. I agree with this in some respects. However, in my experience with sheer number crunching (i.e. gene sequencing or massive calculations), the Power series of chips is way faster-especially in parallel (i.e. less excess heat production, sheer number crunching, etc.). However, as much as I would like to see another permanent fellow Mac user, I wonder whether Anand took away the impression that the Mac system is geared toward-not so much snappy performance-but more of a feel-good, all out excellent computer experience (??). Perhaps, for those who are not inclined to look for a nice GUI and great aesthetics overall, Windows is better. At the same time, I find the Mac an excellent alternative to Windows. The attention paid to subtle things that Anand mentioned so often really goes a long way. Great article. Reply
  • ishan - Thursday, October 14, 2004 - link

    Nice article, but more mention (and use) of the iApps would have helped to emphasize the quality and integration of the software bundle that comes with Macintosh computers. I use both Macs and Windows-based PCs, and I favor the Mac, but the speed of scrolling in Windows has always impressed me. OTOH, text rendering is not as legible, particularly at small point sizes, so even though you can scroll faster, you can't skim it quickly while scrolling. Six of one...

  • GoodWatch - Thursday, October 14, 2004 - link

    Thank you for so eloquently proving my point. So I guess the 100 million + Windows users are all wrong? Wow!

    Take care,


  • hh - Thursday, October 14, 2004 - link


    > I noticed from quite a number of posts that
    > PC users seemingly have to spend a lot of
    > time, effort and money to of viri,
    > mal- and spyware....But if you do it clever
    > and make sure everything runs on a schedule
    > and has it’s automatic update features...

    True, although this does require tht you're philisophically be willing to take the risk of incurring incompatibility problems after the latest OS Security patch is installed. If you're still so blindly trusting, good for you (I am not). It also infers that you're willing to pay more to have an always-on IP connection so as to let installs autonimously run overnight.

    > All the other financial arguments (a Mac
    > is cheaper in the long run) are wasted on
    > a silly fool like me. For me using my
    > (private) PC is a hobby, not an investment.
    > Djeez Louise, amortizing capital costs? It’s
    > just a computer! Hobbies cost money, period.

    Just because its a hobby doesn't mean that it has to be a financial black hole.

    And if money wasn't a factor, then we would have never seen the heralding of the sub-$1000 PC and more recently, the $500 PC, nor would we have ever heard the 'Macs are too expensive' mantra.

    In any event, all my point was is that there's more than one way to measure "cost". I'm not saying that my way is the only right way to look at a PC purchase, but just using it to illustrate that there are alternatives to just comparing initial purchase prices.

    Overall, I believe that there's surprising financial parallels between PC and automobile purchases: notice how many people today no longer think of a car by its total price, but instead by its $259 monthly payment.

    > Now, who want me to sell his 20” iMac G5
    > with 2 Gigs of memory :-)

    IMO, getting just 1.5GB is a better value: buy the base 512MB model and for $260, add a 1GB chip from And if you use an Apple Credit Account, your payments can be "as low as $42 per month" :-)


  • victorpanlilio - Thursday, October 14, 2004 - link

    GoodWatch wrote in #180: What I do not understand however is why Mac users always deem it necessary to defend their platform so strongly

    'Good enough' works for most people -- at least, until it turns into a spyware-ridden hairball. ;-)

    Let me use a travel analogy. As I'd mentioned in an earlier post, what Anand has written is the equivalent of a travelogue. If, say, one has never been to Maui, one cannot grasp the meaning of 'Maui no ka oi' :-) OTOH, people who have been to Maui can discuss the merits of staying in Kihei vs. Lahaina vs. Wailea...

    Microsoft announced patches for 21 new vulnerabilities today. Ladies and gentlemen, start testing...
  • OperaLover - Wednesday, October 13, 2004 - link

    (quote from the article)
    Having used Opera, I could hardly tell any performance difference in rendering speed in comparison to IE. It was the lack of any appreciable difference coupled with no real application level benefits over IE that kept me from using it on the PC.

    Anand, you've written a great review, but I don't understand how you can say this about Opera. Opera has so many more day-to-day useful features that IE simply does not provide, that I have to wonder how long you actually used it for. Perhaps you used it back in the 3.0 days when it was just starting to get its legs, but current versions are a complete dream for anyone even remotely serious about their web browsing. Roughly 90% of the best features of Firefox were in Opera 5 or earlier (including the ability to save your browsing state - no other browser I've tried can do that even now). Pure rendering speed may be pretty much the same as IE, but there are many other speed factors in web browsing, like the speed of switching windows, or reloading cached pages. In my experience, Opera has the "fastest back button in the west", and one of the most responsive caches. I imagine from what you've said of MacOS X's caching, this can only be better. I can't speak for the Mac version, as I've never used it, but I think you should try it out and see if it addresses your speed concerns. Also, take some time to look through the options - some of Opera's best features only emerge with a little configuration.
  • gast2 - Wednesday, October 13, 2004 - link

    "What I do not understand however is why Mac users always deem it necessary to defend their platform so strongly. If it is the best, as you said, then there is nothing to worry?"

    I can't speak for all Mac users but personaly I'm not worried at all about the future of the Mac platform. Apple has enough money to stay in business for many years to come. And the company is very profitable.

    I admit that I do defend the Mac platform as often as I can but most of the time it is just to correct the misconceptions about the Mac. I argue once in a while at work with the boss of our IT dept. because we switched from Mac to PC 2 years ago and since then we have problems. I was able to do some things on the old PM 9600 233 mhz with 352 megs of RAM that I cannot do right now on our PC 2.2 ghz with 2.5 gigs of RAM. Maybe the problem is not the platform, maybe it is the software that we use. I don't know for sure but one thing that I know is that I have been forced to work on a PC because the new IT boss didn't know the Mac. He didn't choose the PC because it was less expensive, no the upgrade path was the same price for both platforms. Maybe I would have understood if the choice was for economic reason. All I know is that today we are less productive because we have to work on Windows. Am I bitter? Yes of course. I really miss the Mac. Am I a die-hard Mac fan? Yes. Almost everything is less complicated on the Mac side. Is the Mac a religion for Mac users? For a vast majority of them, I would say yes. Should all PC users switch to the Mac? That would be great but I don't think that there is a slight chance that something like that could happen. But what I really hope is that some PC users see the Mac as an interesting option against all the bad things that can happen in the PC world.
  • GoodWatch - Wednesday, October 13, 2004 - link

    Nice comment, and that from a person who said, and I quote: “Of course, it's much much faster on the PC but I still prefer the slugginess of my old G3”. No, just joking. Beauty is in the eye of the beholder is what I wanted to use as a witty reposte, but that will back-fire as well ‘cause those Macs ARE so damn beautiful.

    Look, to me my lowly PC is good enough. It performs all it’s tasks with verve and I don’t know any better. I’m used to it and all the quirks (if any) mentioned before don’t bother me. I’m on Windows XP Pro from the start and it is as stable as it can get. But, and this is something I admit strongly, the current PC model poses a bit more of a challenge than perhaps a Mac. There is more ‘under the hood’ that one has to know about. It should be more like your average TV. Simple and straightforward to use. What I do not understand however is why Mac users always deem it necessary to defend their platform so strongly. If it is the best, as you said, then there is nothing to worry?

    Nice talking to you,


    P.S. I’m from The Netherlands where smoking pot is legal, heh, heh, heh…. En jij misschien ook, gast2
  • gast2 - Wednesday, October 13, 2004 - link

    "You cannot open a Mac magazine, view reports or browse newsgroup posts without reading the same message over and over again: PC’s and Micro$oft are spawned from the realm of evil and the Apple Mac is the Holy Grail."

    I must admit that Mac guys are really devoted to their platform but there is a reason for that ... the Mac is simply better.
  • GoodWatch - Wednesday, October 13, 2004 - link

    I noticed from quite a number of posts that PC users seemingly have to spend a lot of time, effort and money to keep their “second rate rigs that pale in comparison to even the lowest Mac” free of viri, mal- and spyware. And that is one of the main reasons for not buying such a retched contraption. (This all is mild pun). Agreed, if you experience none of those problems, ever, than there is nothing that can compete with that. Nothing cheaper than free of charge. All the programs needed to wage this unfair battle can be found in some kind of free version, so money needn’t be an issue. Then there is the time and effort argument. Yes, is costs time and effort to install even 1 program, let alone 3 (Antivirus, Firewall and Spyware killer), no argument here. But if you do it clever and make sure everything runs on a schedule and has it’s automatic update features turned ON, the maintenance is no big deal anymore. Set it and forget it, so to speak.

    All the other financial arguments (a Mac is cheaper in the long run) are wasted on a silly fool like me. For me using my (private) PC is a hobby, not an investment. Djeez Louise, amortizing capital costs? It’s just a computer! Hobbies cost money, period.

    “Someone more open minded than most PC guys” was another pearl I found. You cannot open a Mac magazine, view reports or browse newsgroup posts without reading the same message over and over again: PC’s and Micro$oft are spawned from the realm of evil and the Apple Mac is the Holy Grail. Open minded? Out of the box thinking?

    Now, who want me to sell his 20” iMac G5 with 2 Gigs of memory :-)

    Take care,

  • gast2 - Wednesday, October 13, 2004 - link

    Just read the article. Some facts are not accurate but it's nice to read the impressions of someone more open-minded than most PC guys.

    At my job, I'm working on a PC for 2 years now and I still miss the old PM 9600 on a daily basis. By chance, I have some Macs at home and I prefer to use OS X on a dinosaur like a beige G3 233 mhz than the Windows experience of a 2.2 ghz. Of course, it's much much faster on the PC but I still prefer the slugginess of my old G3. The Mac is so much more easy to use. I don't have to worry about the viruses, the spywares, the malwares and all the junkware of the PC world.

    I just hope that more PC guys will open their eyes to the Mac in the future. I'm sure that many of them would never look back once they switched.
  • hh - Wednesday, October 13, 2004 - link

    172 by Digsa:

    > I really respected this article for its honesty of approach. I was really impressed.

    Same here. My compliments to the article's author: well done and fairly presented.

    > I suppose my one crucial point is this - if we all keep open minds about the possibilities for
    > innovation from different computer systems, and don't let the zealots on both sides take
    > over the asylum, then we are all winners. Because the market in ideas can function without
    > prejudice, and a good technology implementation can be seen for what it is - rather than
    > through the prism of reality distortion fields or slick marketing.

    Well stated. An example of this diversity is within my comments to FF, below:

    - - -

    151 by FinalFantasy:

    > I still say Macs are expensive computers that people pay money for cus it's a "Mac"…

    Probably true to a degree, but so what? Afterall, we all often are willing to pay more for 'Brand Name Recognition', and it doesn't matter if we’re talking about PC’s or a cup of coffee from Starbucks.

    If you don't want to spend your money this way, then don't - - but please allow me the freedom to spend my own money as I wish, be it a fancy PC or a fancy luxury car or whatever. Please don't advocationally force us all to drive tincan KIA’s just because it is all that you want to drive (or can afford).

    > The only way I see a Mac being useful, is if they were a cheaper alternative to a PC...

    Please broaden your perspectives: cost isn't everything. (How about happiness?)

    And even if "cost" is your only metric, perhaps the Mac is cheaper if you use a different measuring stick.

    For example, if we look 12 inches beyond just the initial purchase price, we start to see the lifecycle costs. If a Mac has a longer useful life, then its capital cost gets amortized across more months and it effectively becaomes cheaper. Similarly, if it costs you less time/money to maintain it on a monthly basis (everything from the cost of electricity and waste heat to the value of your labor to stay protected with up-to-date virus definitions, firewalls, spyware scrubbers, pop-up blockers, security patches, etc, etc), the cost comparison numbers change again (and probably again in the Mac's favor...I really hate the amount of time it takes me to maintain my WinXP laptop at work).

    The real crux of the question here is if you're open-minded enough to even consider spending more upfront for a product that may be less expensive in the long run, and what factors you include in the lifecycle cost analysis to determine this.

    It doesn't matter if we're talking computers or automobiles: afterall, how many of us have paid extra for a car to get it in the color that we wanted? It appears that an intangible such as happiness can even have a cash value assigned to it.

    > reality Macs should be a lot cheaper than a PC's not more expensive than one!

    Incorrect. The unfortunate reality is that mainstream products have advantages in economy of scale in manufacturing: a niche product will always cost more even at the same level of content because they have fewer units produced to amortize their fixed manufacturing costs across. These fundamentals apply to all manufacturing, not just Apple and the PC marketplace.

  • fxparis - Wednesday, October 13, 2004 - link

    FinalFantasy also wrote in #151: " a lot a stupidities "

    it doesn't matter for him. but please FinalWhoever don't misinform people that need fair information to make their choice ! specially when it come to audio video pro

    some young people will make a living from it. and they'll make a better living if they choose Mac since the beginning to work.
    it's IMPORTANT !
  • chrisnorth - Tuesday, October 12, 2004 - link

    Regarding post #172 by Digstra, RIGHT ON! I think you have said, eloquently, what I was thinking. Of course, an open mind means that people need to recognize the good and the bad; nothing is perfect including OS X and the Mac. Having said all that, using XP may be subjecting yourself to unnessissary torture :-) Reply
  • melgross - Tuesday, October 12, 2004 - link

    Student/Teacher Office for the Mac sells for $135-150, and you don't have to show that you are anything other than willing to pay for it.

    About security. While I completely agree with those who say that we should all get a router, firewall, virus protection, and several spy-ware prevention programs, it just doesn't work for the average person.

    When I help someone with a PC who has a seriously infected machine, I find several things of interest.

    Most have an anti-virus program, but have let their subscription lapse. When I mention this, they get angry about the idea that they should HAVE to pay for a subscription. They feel as though they shouldn't have to pay for something on a yearly basis to use something that they have already bought.

    The idea of getting two or three anti-spy-ware programs is also something that they can't understand, or like. When I explain that even having these programs doesn't mean that they won't still get infected, even though the probability is much less, they are bewildered. They don't WANT to understand that they have to be proactive about these problems.

    They just want to use their machines.

    If you rarely buy anything, go to obscure sites (and with the new fly-by trojans...), not open e-mails, etc., you won't likely get infected. I suspect that those who have all of the protections, and claim to never get infected, don't really do as much as they have us think they do. I don't see Anand web surfing frivolously, downloading questionable files from newsgroups, and subscribing to porno sites etc.

    Most people do at least some of those things.

    No matter how you look at it, OS X is far more secure, for the average person, than XP. If we all played by the rules, and Microsoft did the right thing, it might be different.

    One reason that SP 2 is having as many problems as it has been, is because even though it's got a number of services turned off by default, when you use .net, or need certain services from office etc. they have to be turned on again. OS X doesn't need most of those services to accomplish the same things. FreeBSD is also one of the most secure UNIX variants. Linux, by the way, is turning out to be not that much more secure than XP is, going by all of the successful exploits reported.
  • Digsa - Tuesday, October 12, 2004 - link

    Just wanted to say that - as a long-time Mac user - I really respected this article for its honesty of approach. I was really impressed. While of course I might quibble here and there about some things (Windows security, adware and virus issues were strangely absent;-)) I can genuinely trust the writer's attempts at balance, and I give his opinions the weight they deserve. he's done a fine job.

    At the moment I am travelling in the opposite direction to the author - I've just started using an XP machine for course work - and this article has helped me to see my experience in a more balanced light. Some of the criticisms he has - and my own criticisms when using XP - are based upon long-established working habits and prejudices. The clever trick is to see through those prejudices to look to the root of the system. What is the system trying to achieve? Does it do it better or worse? Honestly?

    OS X is a wonderful system, and I recommend those who haven't looked at it to do so. I'm enjoying the journey of discovery with XP - and trying to keep an open mind when it does something I'm unaccustomed to. However, the best lesson is perspective. If we don't give the other system a proper try, how can we make justified comments upon it. The author of this piece set out to do just that - and the results speak for themselves.

    I suppose my one crucial point is this - if we all keep open minds about the possibilities for innovation from different computer systems, and don't let the zealots on both sides take over the asylum, then we are all winners. Because the market in ideas can function without prejudice, and a good technology implementation can be seen for what it is - rather than through the prism of reality distortion fields or slick marketing.
  • chrisnorth - Tuesday, October 12, 2004 - link

    In reply to post #167 by Victor, thanks for the commentary.

    Yes, I could have been much more specific. So perhaps I should have reworded my thoughts to read "10 most popular software requests" or some such thing. Also, I was playing "Devil's Advocate" to some degree as I believe a somewhat critical eye represents the best approach when you want to improve something.

    I agree, Mellel is a first rate word processor and an excellent deal. I've been using it since its early days. I think it cost $19.95 when I purchased it. Instead of BBEdit, I use skEdit, which is reasonably capable and has great potential. As for Filemaker Pro, it is an expensive option as is Keynote, given that they represent the equivalent of only a single module each from the Office suite. Mesa 3 from P&L software is a top rate spreadsheet and at $30.00 a great value.

    Hadn't heard of Blogwave Studio. I use the freeware MacJournal, which is an excellent Journal hampered only by its limited functionality. Haven't heard of Quicksilver, and can't use it anyway since I'm waiting for Tiger before upgrading from Jaguar. As for the other suggestions, been there and not terribly impressed generally.

    Any other thoughts on great Mac software deals anyone?
  • victorpanlilio - Tuesday, October 12, 2004 - link

    FinalFantasy wrote in #169: are a hehe ;D

    My 4-1/2 year old son likes to have me pretend I'm one... :-)

    I'm just a regular guy who thought he had finally overcome his addiction to discussion forums...not... well, it's better than video lottery terminals, I suppose. Anyhoo, I'll probably wind down my posts because I *really* need to get a life... :-)

    If this were a group in physical space and I'd just won at the VLT I'd invite y'all for a round of brewskis... make that a keg, on me. Oops, maybe not everyone here is of drinking age... :-D

    Hey Anand, ever tried Stella Artois?
  • FinalFantasy - Tuesday, October 12, 2004 - link are a ;D Reply
  • victorpanlilio - Tuesday, October 12, 2004 - link

    Re: inexpensive alternative to MS Office

    If you really need ALL the functions of Office, the total cost of the apps listed above would exceed the price of Office 2004 for the Mac (C$560 Std, C$700 Pro). So, at this time there seems to be no inexpensive substitute. One avenue you might try is to enrol in a community college course and use student status to purchase Student/Teacher Edition of Office (about C$225), which would allow you to install on up to 3 machines.
  • victorpanlilio - Tuesday, October 12, 2004 - link

    Chris North wrote in #166: How about the top ten most needed apps on the Mac

    Top ten most needed from what perspective? CAD? Web design? Database development? 3D Rendering? Business intelligence? Customer relationship management? Seismic data interpretation? Medical imaging? Small business collaboration?

    Anyway, some suggestions based on your list:

    Advanced inexpensive OS X native CSS Editor

    Advanced inexpensive OS X Native XML Editor
    Hmm... they all seem to be Java-based, so no go...

    However, for text editing, instead of BBEdit, try

    OS X advanced personal journal with photo and file wells
    BlogWave Studio,

    OS X native advanced but inexpensive alternative to Photoshop
    Stone Design Stone Studio,

    OS X native advanced but inexpensive alternate to MS Office
    Word: Mellel,
    Excel: MarinerCalc,
    PowerPoint: Keynote,
    Access: FileMaker Pro,

    Oh, and if you're on OS X 10.3, you should try QuickSilver:
  • chrisnorth - Monday, October 11, 2004 - link

    Further to my last post, here's a thought for Anand: If you are looking for a followup article to do on Macs, how about the top ten most needed apps on the Mac? You could take a poll or something then describe where the biggest deficiencies lie and which apps would best fill them. Maybe, you could help convince a few companies like Jasc, or Xara to port their products.

    Here is a quick list to start with:
    Advanced inexpensive OS X native CSS Editor
    Advanced inexpensive OS X Native XML Editor
    OS X advanced personal journal with photo and file wells.
    OS X native advanced but inexpensive alternative to Photoshop
    OS X native advanced but inexpensive alternate to MS Office.

    Please no multi-platform java apps.

    Just a thought...
  • victorpanlilio - Monday, October 11, 2004 - link

    Chris North wrote in #164: I believe that the real high cost of the Mac is found in the need to buy expensive software

    Well, it depends on what you need to do. AutoCAD (PC-only) is C$4700, which is not exactly what I would call inexpensive. Its Mac counterpart, PowerCADD 6, while not equivalent feature-for-feature, costs much less (C$1300). MacOS X comes bundled with XCode, a complete dev environment. How much does Visual Studio .NET cost? Paint Shop Pro may indeed offer "better bang for the buck" -- but the Gimp is free, even better, yet Photoshop is the most widely used professional image editing app in the world, not counting the pirated copies floating around. Having said that...

    One of my concerns with the direction Apple is taking has to do with the upgradability of their high-end machines. PowerMac G5 towers can only hold two SATA drives without resorting to 3rd party solutions to cram more drives in. PC workstations often have room for 3 or 4 internal hard drives. The much-maligned PowerMac G4 towers could hold four drives (although the earlier models required an add-on ATA controller in a PCI slot). I also don't see how G5 processors can be upgraded, since they are so tightly integrated with the cooling system. On G4 towers, CPU upgrades involve just replacing the processor daughtercard. OTOH, MacOS X seems to get faster with every release, unlike a certain other operating system we all know and love... ;-)

    This week, Bill Gates will announce Windows XP Reloaded.

    I wonder if it will be immune to spyware...
  • chrisnorth - Monday, October 11, 2004 - link

    As a long time Mac user, I thought that this was a reasonably fair and unbiased article. Anyone who thinks that one computer platform is the be-all and end-all is nuts. I tend to prefer Macs, but Anand was right in many of his observations. Macs ARE more expansive without a doubt and his observation that it's the little apps that make the difference is dead on! Yeah, I can get Office and Dreamweaver, Photoshop and GoLive on the Mac, but what I really want is Jasc's Paintshop Pro, and EditPlus because they offer a better bang for the buck. I'm stuck with more expensive options. The one Mac app that really illustrates this better than any other is BBEdit. In my opinion, the $30.00 EditPlus on the PC is better, but it isn't available, so I've got to fork out an obscene $179.00 for the same functionality from BBEdit.

    Now there are loads of shareware apps being made for OS X. Some are really great, but many are crap. I believe that the real high cost of the Mac is found in the need to buy expensive software. The lack of a practicla upgrade path is another expense. Mac users will tell you that their machines last longer and my long lived Macs support this, but it sure would be nice to buy a new motherboard and processor for $500.00 instead of a new machine for $2500.00.

    Ultimately, I love Macs and use mine all the time, while the PC sits unused in the basement. But to dismiss real problems with the platform is like sticking your head in the sand. Great article Anand!
  • victorpanlilio - Monday, October 11, 2004 - link

    Dennis Travis wrote in #161: If you read carefully he really likes it and OSX also and is still using it daily for a lot of his work

    Well, that's true, but for some reason, this bothers many people who want to find some reason -- any reason, really -- to not evaluate the Mac as a potential part of their learning experience. Gamers, for example. This is curious, to say the least, especially considering that the platform Microsoft is using to develop for the nex-gen XBox is the G5, not an AMD or Intel box. One would think that, if nothing else, curiosity might persuade some folks to check the Mac out on that basis alone.
  • ceneone - Monday, October 11, 2004 - link

    I'm commenting with respect to web browsers and speed. I sincerely must disagree. I've used a number of browsers with my Mac PowerBook G4. Even with only a 400MHz model, but with DSL 6.0Mbps. IE was one of the slowest browser in the speed catergory of AOL. For the most of the time Safari or Firefox clocked over 3.0Mbps, with Safari clocking 3.7Mbps, each rendering the fast webpages. Then Omniweb 4.5/5.0, Camino, Mozilla/Netscape 7.0, IE, Opera 7.54 for Mac and finally AOL around 700+ kbps.
  • Dennis Travis - Monday, October 11, 2004 - link

    I can believe people are still trying to say what Anand said. All Anands Mac article is was "A Month with the Mac". It was not a test, benchmark, it was his hands on with the G5 for a month. If you read carefully he really likes it and OSX also and is still using it daily for a lot of his work. The article was nothing else but that. I wish people would read.

    Going to read the Star Wars article now! Thanks Victor for the URL!!!

  • victorpanlilio - Monday, October 11, 2004 - link

    FinalFantasy also wrote: "for people like myself and 100,000 other people, the Mac is useless"

    Only 100,000 other people? There are more than 100,000 AutoCAD users in the world, my friend. But just so I can more clearly understand what you're trying to get at, let's suppose that, as you say, most "basic" computer users just "want to play games, surf the net, use M$ Office, and listen to music" -- then for 3 out of 4 of those categories (not games), even the eMac would suffice. For that matter, so would a half-decent whitebox Celeron. The difference is that the Windows PC, while cheaper, would be vulnerable to malware that the eMac would just shrug off. And so your "basic" user finds out that surfing the Net is not exactly a pleasant experience anymore:
    "In June, Philippe Ombredanne, a systems administrator and programmer from Menlo Park, Calif., bought a new computer. He said he was feeling lazy so he put off installing security software for a day. When he woke up, the computer was infected with one virus and about 30 spyware or adware programs, forcing him to erase data and programs from his hard drive and reinstall everything from scratch. "A vanilla computer with no protection has no chance on the Internet anymore," he said."

    Unless that computer happens to be a Mac running OS X. :-)
  • victorpanlilio - Monday, October 11, 2004 - link

    FinalFantasy wrote: they will want to play games, surf the net, use M$ Office, and listen to music


    Let's just tackle two of your points, Office and surfing.

    Highly critical' security flaw found in Office
    A vulnerability has been found in a Microsoft's popular Office Suite - MS Word in particular - that could give a malicious third party control of your machine...

    There is currently NO PATCH for the above vulnerability -- on Windows. The Mac version of Office (2004) is not affected by it. You did know there is a version of Office for the Mac, and that in some ways it's better than its counterpart on Windows?

    Surfing the net:
    Computer Users Face New Scourge


    Experts estimate that tens of thousands of spyware and adware programs circulate on the Internet. For now, the problem of such unauthorized software almost exclusively affects Microsoft Windows users. It's by far the most popular operating system and the same features that make it so versatile also make it easier for intruders to secretly run programs on it.

    Microsoft Corp. Chairman Bill Gates in a speech to Silicon Valley technologists this month, said that while he's never had a virus infect his computer, he's been surprised to find many spyware and adware programs that he never authorized on it. He said he has directed the company to launch a new project to create a "cure."

    You also wrote: "For every John D. Lowry that uses a Mac platform for "some" project...there are 100,000 people using a PC."

    Sure. Your statement is just a variation on "Eat at Joe's Diner -- A Million Flies Can't Be Wrong"

    Your unassailable logic is impressive. :-D
  • FinalFantasy - Monday, October 11, 2004 - link

    victorpanlilio caught me with my pants down man. I really don't have time to pull up links, quotes, reference etc. As far as you Mac facts go (e.g. for use on restoring the Star Wars triology) you've got me beat.

    But my Ace card is that Anand was writing this article to appeal to everyday PC users/gamers. For John D. Lowry, the Mac platform he used is phenominal, but for people like myself and 100,000 other people, the Mac is useless. The PC can perform 100% of the task I want to perform where as the Mac will only perform about 20-30% of the operations I want to perform. Not everyone is going to need a computer that can digitally restore the Star Wars triology or other projects of that magnitude. 80% of "basic" PC buyers (counted for people/corp buying PCs not the quantity of PCs sold) they will want to play games, surf the net, use M$ Office, and listen to music. The PC has the Mac beat on games, M$ Office (compatibility and ease of use) and the PC wins in 2 of the 4 categories, the Mac wins 1 and they tie in 1.

    Remember...not everyone is going to need a Mac to digitally restore a Star Wars Triology ...hehe...most people just need it to play games and be compatible with M$ products, as M$ products are basically the standard around the world.

    For every John D. Lowry that uses a Mac platform for "some" project...there are 100,000 people using a PC.
  • victorpanlilio - Monday, October 11, 2004 - link

    FinalFantasy also wrote: The only way I see a Mac being useful, is if they were a cheaper alternative to a PC instead of being a more expensive computer that is sold by name/brand

    Please share your amazing insight with John D. Lowry, whose firm restored the Star Wars trilogy recently released on DVD:


    To clean the films Lowry pushed high-definition scans of the original negatives provided by LucasFilm through his proprietary software running on 600 dual-processor Power Mac G5 computers, each with Mac OS X, 4 gigs of RAM and connected via gigabit Ethernet to a 378-terabyte storage array.

    “We find that Macs hold up incredibly well, much better than PCs,” he says. “We put them in their own room with their own air-conditioning, as they generate a fair bit of heat.”

    Hmm.. I guess he doesn't worry about malware attacks, either.
  • victorpanlilio - Monday, October 11, 2004 - link

    FinalFantasy wrote: Macs are expensive computers that people pay money for cus it's a "Mac", like people buying a "Dell" or an "HP". Mac does a good job at making people waste money.

    Hmm, as someone who used to work for IBM, DEC, Compaq, and Fujitsu, I take exception to the idea that buying from a Tier 1 PC vendor is a waste of money. When you deploy 1500-2500 PCs in a large corporation, you first test your in-house apps on sample configs from the vendor, to see if there are any gotchas. Vendor commits to keeping the config the same, so that from start to finish of the deploy, your disk images work. This stability is very important to large corporations, because it saves money. People who have never worked on large-scale PC deployments fail to recognize the importance of these considerations. Apple is now beginning to address deployment and asset management issues in large enterprises with utilities such as Apple Remote Desktop 2.0, but it still has a ways to go -- ACLs would be really nice to have in MacOS X Server 10.3.5, as well as OS-level file locking.
  • victorpanlilio - Monday, October 11, 2004 - link

    To amplify on my earlier post re: the Witty worm:

    Witty was less than 700 bytes in size. See Bruce Schneier's commentary:

    From the CAIDA analysis of Witty: When users participating in the best security practice that can be reasonably expected get infected with a virulent and damaging worm, we need to reconsider the notion that end user behavior can solve or even effectively mitigate the malicious software problem and turn our attention toward both preventing software vulnerabilities in the first place and developing large-scale, robust and reliable infrastructure that can mitigate current security problems without relying on end user intervention.

    It could be reasonably argued that increasing the installed base of MacOS X would help to address this situation. News reports of Bill Gates' home PCs being attacked by malware do not inspire confidence that adding more Windows PCs, regardless of their speed relative to Macs, would improve overall Internet security.

    Maybe it's why Anand finally decided to try a Mac. Hmm...
  • victorpanlilio - Monday, October 11, 2004 - link

    FinalFantasy also wrote in #151: a PC can do everything a Mac does and more

    Well, in at least one sense, you are correct. A Windows PC can be attacked more, and it can spread the infection a lot faster. See my post #152. :-)
  • victorpanlilio - Monday, October 11, 2004 - link

    FinalFantasy wrote in #151: I still say Macs are expensive computers that people pay money for cus it's a "Mac", like people buying a "Dell" or an "HP". Mac does a good job at making people waste money.

    You make some pretty bold assertions with no factual sources to back them up. We are supposed to take you at your word when you don't even have the courage to use your real name? :-D
  • victorpanlilio - Monday, October 11, 2004 - link

    CindyRodriguez also wrote in 149: I think the percentage of Mac OS X users is over half now.. still a significant number of potential targets

    Allow me to expand a bit on this. No system is invulnerable, but even if the MacOS X user base were to increase significantly, it is unlikely that it will be attacked *proportionally*, because of key differences in the OS X security model compared with Windows. The Witty Worm was designed to attack a very specific type of target, about 12,000 Windows nodes running a specific security product -- and it took them ALL out in under 45 minutes, with no action on the part of the user required. If Witty had exploited Messenger service in NT4/2K/XP, the consequences would've been catastrophic for Windows PC users:

    from which I quote:

    The patch model for Internet security has failed spectacularly. To remedy this, there have been a number of suggestions for ways to try to shoehorn end users into becoming security experts, including making them financially liable for the consequences of their computers being hijacked by malware or miscreants. Notwithstanding the fundamental inequities involved in encouraging people sign on to the Internet with a single click, and then requiring them to fix flaws in software marketed to them as secure with technical skills they do not possess, many users do choose to protect themselves at their own expense by purchasing antivirus and firewall software. Making this choice is the gold-standard for end user behavior -- they recognize both that security is important and that they do not possess the skills necessary to effect it themselves. When users participating in the best security practice that can be reasonably expected get infected with a virulent and damaging worm, we need to reconsider the notion that end user behavior can solve or even effectively mitigate the malicious software problem and turn our attention toward both preventing software vulnerabilities in the first place and developing large-scale, robust and reliable infrastructure that can mitigate current security problems without relying on end user intervention.

    So, given that patching is at best a stop-gap, wouldn't it make sense to choose a more secure system to begin with? Richard Clarke, Bruce Schneier, and Richard Forno seem to think so.

    In this context, Anand's observation that "Apple has developed a very strong platform" takes on new significance.
  • FinalFantasy - Monday, October 11, 2004 - link

    I still say Macs are expensive computers that people pay money for cus it's a "Mac", like people buying a "Dell" or an "HP". Mac does a good job at making people waste money.

    The only way I see a Mac being useful, is if they were a cheaper alternative to a PC instead of being a more expensive computer that is sold by name/ reality Macs should be a lot cheaper than a PC's not more expensive than one! They do nothing a PC can't do, but a PC can do everything a Mac does and more and for cheaper (Not 100% true, but pretty close to it).

    They don't play games well, a cheaper custom built PC will perform just as well, if not better, than a Mac in encoding/editing test/ don't need to water cool your system, you don't need dual processors...a lone AMD64 or P4 w/HT will multi-task better then a water-cooled dualie G5. Could you imagine if a Windows OS was made to take advantage of/made for dual AMD64's or dual P4's w/HT...

    The point i'm trying to make is...IF YOU COULD, not saying it's possible, but if you could make a PC w/dual AMD64's or P4's w/HT, w/water cooling and comparable amount of RAM...the PC would be way cheaper and run a hell of a lot faster then the Mac in any benchmark. Now imagine overclocking a machine like that? Does a Mac allow users to change clock frequencies, memory timings etc?

    Excuse spelling errors etc.
  • victorpanlilio - Monday, October 11, 2004 - link

    CindyRodriguez wrote in 149: It's a dummy Office 2004 demo that was circulating on limewire. It relied on people to download a 108 K copy of office (yes, a 108 K copy of Office) from somewhere other than Microsoft and run it. Duh. Some people apparently don't deserve to have data.

    Well, in all fairness, the 108K might have been a stub loader that pulls down the actuall installer, like the 137K Office 2000 SP3 updater for Windows. But getting any software off LimeWire is just asking for trouble, and this particular Trojan wipes out the home directory of the currently logged in user, leaving the OS and applications intact -- they'd lose their pictures, music, etc. They wouldn't have to reimage the HD, but if they don't have backups of their data... they can pay $$$ for a recovery service. No matter how you look at it, no system is invulnerable, but the news is filled with stories of people with even well-protected PCs getting hit where it hurts. One of them is Bill Gates.
  • CindyRodriguez - Monday, October 11, 2004 - link

    FinalFantasy: "My friends husbands Mac just got a trojan horse the other day...when more people start writing viruses, "

    That's amazing, what did it do? What was it called? Was it the one identified by Intego (antivirus) software which didn't do anything malicous?,2125,63000,00.html...
    It was a concept that can't even replicate its self.

    Maybe you are talking about the other one (yes, the only other one).
    It's a dummy Office 2004 demo that was circulating on limewire. It relied on people to download a 108 K copy of office (yes, a 108 K copy of Office) from somewhere other than Microsoft and run it. Duh. Some people apparently don't deserve to have data.

    The fact is, OS X is secure by design. Apple ships it with no services running by default. They hide insecure services like telnetd from users. I agree that there is a low profile aspect to the amount of hack attempts but it's more than that. There are over 25,000,000 Mac users in the world. Anyone who says that 25,000,000 nodes isn't a big enough target for hackers is pulling your leg. (caveat: Not all those nodes run OS X.. I think the percentage of Mac OS X users is over half now.. still a significant number of potential targets)

    TM8000: "When you actually do video editing or other heavy usage, the mac will not loose much speed, but since hyperthreading was introduced, pc's also keep their responsiveness under load.

    Also, since macs only come in cute design, lots of male professionals would not want to be seen behind one. A black mac could cure this, but those have not been build for at least 5 years. "

    HT typically accounts for about +15% to -10% performance increase from what I've seen, I wouldn't consider it on par with SMP. One thing that kills me is that Windows chokes on anything when you are running an install. On OS X (when I'm setting up an image) I often run several installers at once and continue to work.
    Since when are new Macs "cute"? G5s are big Aluminum cheeze graters (and they are freaking heavy). Sounds like you are still used to fruity iMacs. ;-)

    Zak: "he biggest problem with the article I sa so far is overlooking the iApps. Also, the apps equivalents are not correct."

    Sorry Zak, Anand DID cover the iApps though not all of them. He covered the ones that he needed to look at as someone who was using the machine for typical day to day stuff. Granted GarageBand is pretty damn cool for a bundled app, but it's not the thing you boot up while you are working on an article. I agree that his comparisons to PC counterparts was questionable but I think he compared the iApp to the one app he used on Windows. Again, valid in the context of the story.
    (see, I'm fair and balanced ;-)

    Reflex: "Windows 1.0 existed in 1985 and allowed 'multitasking', which was actually 'task switching'. The MacOS up until X never had pre-emptive multitasking, which is what Anand was reffering to. It used task switching, which is not the same thing.

    Windows95 was the first version of Windows to support pre-emptive multi-tasking, although it was poorly implemented. The NT line has had it from the beginning, as has OS X from Apple. "

    That's a bit misleading. Task switching and multitasking are pretty different. Task switching is simply flipping through multiple tasks without the ability to run them concurrently.
    The Mac OS had something called the switcher that allowed for task switching. I could be wrong here but I'm too lazy to do all the research. I believe multi-finder is from way back around Os 3 or 4. OS 6 debuted something called multi-finder which allowed for cooperative multitasking. Macs remained cooperatively multitasking until OS X, though the kernel in later versions actually used to preempt greedy applications when they would refuse to give up any or enough cycles. The kernel would actually throttle greedy apps when multiple programs were running. In essence it was Apple's attempt to impose preemptive multitasking on a cooperative system.
    In my experience, OS 8 and OS 9s multitasking was as good or better than Win95 which was supposedly preemptive (though it wasn't really). It was way to easy to have one app hang up 95. 98 was closer. Overall, I think 98 did a better job, but there were plenty of times when 98[se] would choke.

    DMR9748: "He writes that Apples make up 2% of the computer market. No one wants to impact such a small number of people in such a huge market. You gain no fame for affecting 2 computers out of a hundred. If Apple had 50% of the market, then you would have the same issues with viruses computer users would. "
    No it wouldn't. It would have more, but the OS is designed differently than XP. You can't run arbitrary code the modifies the system without authenticating as an administrator. You also don't boot OS X up with a load of stupid services running in the background (thank god SP2 finally appears to disable messenger by default.. bout time!)

    "99% of viruses requires user interaction in order to infect a computer."
    No, that's not true.. well maybe it is when you have something like 80,000+ viruses/trojans, but some the most malicious worms of the last couple years have spread by exploiting remote services on Windows. You didn't need to do anything, just be unpatched on the net.

    "MAC worksation costs 2400 to 3000 dollars"
    What's a Media Access Control Workstation and why do they cost so much?
  • CindyRodriguez - Monday, October 11, 2004 - link

    I'm sorry to do this to you, but you asked for it.

    "ALl it takes is one air cooled 2.4ghz Athlon64 to match a DUAL WATER COOLED 2.5ghz G5. "

    The 2.5 GHz is liquid cooled because the heat density is signficantly higher than the Athlon64. The .09 micron G5 produces less waste heat than the Athlon64 BUT the die size is about around half of an Athlon 64. The .09 micron PPC 970 is about 65^mm.
    You are inferring that the 970 runs hotter but this is NOT the case, it just produces more heat per area so it needs a more efficient cooling system. And this affects performance how?

    "Not to mention a single air cooled 2.4 A64 is cheaper. "

    Gee really? I would have never guessed that a single processor consumer machine would cost less than a dual processor machine with PCI-X and just about every other goodie under the sun built in.

    "And that barefeats article is so laughable, one of the shadiest configurations of hardware i've ever seen... not trustable at all. "

    I didn't quote bare feats so why are you directing this at me?
    I'm not going to get into a benchmark war because those are best left to people with genital size issues. I was clear in previous posts that I KNOW and athlon64 is faster for a lot of tasks. It's faster when ultra low latency memory access is critical.

    "And where the hell did you pull the PPC970 does more ops per clock than an Athlon64 info? It has a 16 stage integer pipe, gee, hmm, thats 25% more than an athlon64. Now I know your going to say it can have 200 operations in flight, but... "

    Sorry skid. What the hell does the length of the integer pipe or the number of inflight operations have to do WITH WHAT I SAID? Duh. I said more ops per clock. The PPC 970 can execute up to 8 operations per clock cycle. It's a very wide core. How many can the hammer core execute? That's all I said, i didn't say it had a shorter pipe, I didn't say it had more or less in flight instructions.
    BTW, mentioning the large number of in flight instructions undercuts your argument that the processor can't keep it's self fed with data doesn't it? You don't suppose there is a reason why it can have over 200 in flight instructions?


    You do realize that this article was produced BEFORE Hannible was albe to see real documentation or talk to ibm, right? He posted a follow up correcting some of his misperceptions.
    Maybe you could have used this one if you really wanted accurate info:
    In that article, Hannible prediced we wouldn't see a G5 until early 2004. ;-)
    Those early articles are factual on some points, but Hannible admitted he was mistaken on other points because he had to guess about some aspects of the PPC 970.

    "Your "facts" are terribly flawed and I just had to post about this because somehow no one else did. "

    That's funny, I feel the exact same way about your 'facts'.

    "The PPC970 is the best chip the Mac has ever had, but its clock is not high enough, its too hot, and its operations per clock are no where near the G4, and behind the A64. "

    How terribly insightful. The latest chip for the Mac platform is the best they've ever had. Who'd have guessed. It's too hot though it runs cooler than P4s and desktop Athlon64s? It's operations for clock are no where near the G4?? They are WAY past the G4.


    Again, you post an article that was written based on guesswork before the processor was even released. Great detective work sherlock.

    "I realize this probably comes off as a massive PC-bias attack on you, but honestly, get your facts straight before you start praising the great PPC970 chip on a HARDWARE website, where people KNOW whats up."

    Well there's knowing and there's knowing isn't there?
  • victorpanlilio - Monday, October 11, 2004 - link

    I had written in #146: "We should all be concerned that the average PC user is not as well protected against malware attacks as they should be."

    To illustrate my point further:

    Exhibit A:
    Computer Users Face new Scourge

    Exhibit B:
    Geek Squad has hands full with malware

    A fair and balanced article on the experience of using MacOS X should underline the fact that it is free of the aggravation and inconvenience of dealing with these types of malware attacks. As I've pointed out above, we can argue about why this is the case, but there is no arguing the fact.

    Quote from Exhibit B: "One nightmarish hard disk took him eight hours to clean up"

    8 hours x C$95/hour = C$760. Depending on the age of the affected machine, it might make more sense to buy a new one.
  • victorpanlilio - Monday, October 11, 2004 - link

    fxparis wrote in 142: I just " fear " that those leeches dedicated to hassle other people work and life have many skills and adaptation potentiality when it comes to "mal-programming"

    Oh, those leeches are clever, alright. But since the antivirus companies suspect that organized crime is behind many of the blended threats now appearing, it makes sense for criminals to recruit the largest number of bot zombies for their purposes. And the most vulnerable systems, in the largest numbers, are PCs. We should all be concerned that the average PC user is not as well protected against malware attacks as they should be.
  • raveng4 - Monday, October 11, 2004 - link

    If you are having difficulty maintaining your Gf's mac you must be doing something wrong. You CAN use just about any non apple hardware for it. Most if not all wireless devices are Mac compatible. Most PCI Cards I've used are just plug and play on the Mac so I'm nost sure why you are having such problems.

    As for this article I find it prett well balanced.
  • victorpanlilio - Monday, October 11, 2004 - link

    ss84 wrote in 139: So basically, the cheapest mac you can buy, that runs osx decently, costs 1300 dollars.

    No, as one commenter posted above, even the eMac would be suitable for "normal" computing tasks, and it starts at US$799. I just recently showed an eMac user (and his unit was an older 800MHz one, not the current 1.25GHz G4 model) how to turn his edited home videos into a DVD. At home I run OS X 10.3.5 on a G4 tower that's only 400MHz, with a 16MB ATI Rage128, and it's still fine for what I do (Photoshop retouching, a bit of video editing). I also have a 2.4GHz P4 Dell PowerEdge server for testing Win2K3 Enterprise. The Mac has no antivirus software; neither does the Dell -- but the Dell is fully patched, and I don't run IE on it except for Windows updates.

    You also wrote: In an office environment, I cant think of anything that a mac can bring to the table that would offset the huge cost associated with each machine when compared to a windows machine that is suitable for the same task.

    I respectfully beg to differ.

    Re: "I can't think of anything" -- perhaps you might want to try thinking "outside the box" (literally). I derive part of my income from defending corporate Windows networks from malware. The billable hours required to do this are not at all trivial, given the increasing cooperation between spammers and virus writers -- blended threats are now the norm, not the exception. You can literally plug a modern Mac directly into the Internet (cable, DSL, whatever) and it will be fine. OTOH, I have plenty of experience with unprotected and misconfigured PCs in home and business settings, that were taken over by various kinds of nasty malware.

    Even Bill Gates' own home PCs were hit (see ZDNet news story linked in an earlier post), so the Chief Software Architect of Microsoft has declared that MS will do something about it.

    I recall a recent incident at a home building company, where I support the Macs in the marketing department. While the rest of the company was offline due to a worm that had gotten onto the corporate network from a laptop that carried the infection from home, the Mac users just kept working away, undisturbed by the support tech who was dashing madly from one PC to another to load a scan and remove tool -- and I had done exactly the same thing weeks earlier at another, all-Windows office. In short, we should not just look at hardware cost, look at the TCO (total cost of ownership). At C$95/hour for tech support, any price delta between Mac and PC hardware in an office-type environment can be quickly eroded by just one piece of malware running loose behind the defense perimeter. Since there are currently ZERO viruses for MacOS X, antivirus software and tech support to deal with malware intrusions are variable costs a business running on Macs does not have to deal with. Also, see my earlier post about the ratio of support techs to machines -- 1:208 for Macs, 1:70 for PCs, and this is based on my experience in large companies. Do the math. The costs for the "cheaper" PC quickly add up. I say this as someone who has worked in large PC companies (IBM, DEC, Compaq, Fujitsu) for much of his career.
  • ProviaFan - Monday, October 11, 2004 - link

    I think the whole pre-emptive multitasking thing may be a case of confusing the definitions or concepts in an attempt to explain why both Windows 9x/ME and OS 9 and earlier all could be crashed very easily by improperly written applications, while Windows NT/2000/XP and OS X are much more resilent. While I am not so sure of the proper terminology myself, I _thought_ the problems came from lack of (or improper implementation of?) protected memory, rather than inability to multitask. Reply
  • fxparis - Monday, October 11, 2004 - link

    victorpanlilio wrote in 135 (among interesting precisions) that our Macs are " inherently more secure than Window "

    I just " fear " that those leeches dedicated to hassle other people work and life have many skills and adaptation potentiality when it comes to "mal-programming"

    I hope HE is right and I am wrong
  • emboss - Monday, October 11, 2004 - link

    Err, oops, sorry 'bout that.

    Actually 9x does have pre-emtive multitasking, and it's dead easy to prove. Write a program like this:

    int main(void)
    while (1==1)
    return 1;

    Under a non-preemtive system, such as Windows 3 or earlier, this will hang the system. Running such a program under windows 9x will just result in a hung program (obviously) but the system will still be fine. On a Cray, of course, the application will finish running in under two seconds ;)

    I have no idea why MS says 9x doesn't pre-emtively multitask, except possibly to try to convince people to upgrade to a NT-kerneled OS (which had pre-emtive multitasking from the beginning).
  • emboss - Monday, October 11, 2004 - link

  • ss284 - Monday, October 11, 2004 - link

    So basically, the cheapest mac you can buy, that runs osx decently, costs 1300 dollars. What about the majority of people who dont have that much money to spend on a computer? Apple gives them no other option. I would not consider 1400 a decent price, especially in a corporate environment, where $800 workstations are more than enough for almost any sort of office work. In an office environment, I cant think of anything that a mac can bring to the table that would offset the huge cost associated with each machine when compared to a windows machine that is suitable for the same task. Reply
  • mxzrider - Monday, October 11, 2004 - link

    i have both mac and pc (pc has windows and mandrake) i can live with out either. i use my mac (ppc g4) for video editing, but i am getting in premier, media 100 8 is getting really old. so i might sell my mac cuz it is dirt slow compared to my 800$ pc. i got hte g4 right before the g5 came out.(piss me off). but i can type faster the the apple can keep up. so i might go in to my 5 year old cusins room. or sell it for 1500 and get a new pc. i have floated farther and farther away from mac.Maybe becuase i dont do as much video editing much any more.
  • victorpanlilio - Sunday, October 10, 2004 - link

    GoodWatch wrote in #134: I’m just waiting for the first port of OS X to the Intel platform

    *sigh* Don't. Apple still makes most of its income from selling HW, not SW, and though it could be argued tongue in cheek that Macs are just expensive dongles for some really world-class apps, MacOS X is optimized for the PPC architecture -- even though its Darwin OS core is synced with an x86 version, OS X on x86 will likely not be sold to the public as long as Steve Jobs is CEO of Apple. Just imagine the developer revolt that would ensue.
  • bebopredux - Sunday, October 10, 2004 - link

    Being a PC only ( well, OK, Debian Linux too ) user for the past 7 years I always heard the MacHeads claim a superior system. I admit to really wanting a Mac in addition to my PC.
    Luckily I won a Mac G5 with a 23" Cinema Display this past May! I was thrilled to say the least. I have been impressed. Why? Being a "computer guy" I am always getting nagged by friends and family to help with their PC woes. I have been overwhelmed lately with the endless spyware, adware and browser hijacks occuring with Windows machines. A lot of the help is for elderly people who have made the jump to computing. I admire them for this. However, it is an absolute jungle for these people. IE6 is a dog now infested with fleas and ticks. These people have given up surfing the web because of this. Firefox and Mozilla help but, compared with Macs, PC's are a a bitch to surf with lately if you don't have the know how.
    I have taken to suggesting people buy Macs now for this reason alone. iLife is a very simple and easy to master suite that does all they need to do. Safari, IMO is a pleasant surprise.
    Bottom line? Macs make it easier to work and play rather than be under the hood all the time scanning for spyware etc;.
    This was a good article but, I found it to be nitpicking. Everyone, and I mean EVERYONE who comes over to my house and tries the Mac wants one now. I do web desing and graphics work on my PC. I am accustomed to it.
    I think it's a smart thing to learn all the OS'es you can! I use Linux, OSX and XP on a daily basis. I am teaching my kids all 3 too ( as well as BeOS!! ). Truthfully, I wish Macs were less expensive. They are very nice machines and the OS is stellar and less prone to Windows assaults which, lately, is becoming a HUGE hassle akin to an epidemic.
    The correct answer is that Windows and Macs are both great. However, Windows seems to be asleep lately with regards to security.
  • victorpanlilio - Sunday, October 10, 2004 - link

    fxparis wrote in #131 - do you want all those malware and viruses attak us too if our platform grows too much ??

    This is a very common misconception, even among Mac users. Security through obscurity doesn't work, and while no system is invulnerable to attack, some systems are more vulnerable than others, because of tradeoffs in operating system architecture. According to Symantec, in the first half of 2004 there was a 400% increase in viruses for Windows, compared with the same period in 2003. There are currently ZERO viruses for MacOS X. We can argue about why this is, but there is no arguing the fact. I had mentioned Richard Clarke, past chief information security officer (CISO) for the US government. On a recent speaking tour of Australia and New Zealand, he was interviewed about how he avoids viruses, spyware, etc. His answer? Well, he uses an Apple PowerBook. It is also instructive that Richard Forno, past CISO of Network Solutions, and Bruce Schneier, founder and current CTO of Counterpane Internet Security and designer of the Blowfish encryption algorithm, both use MacOS X as their preferred OS. I think they understand that MacOS X, while not invulnerable, is nonetheless inherently more secure than Windows. This article gives a high-level overview of MacOS X security architecture:

    So -- one clear benefit that comes with every modern Mac, from the base eMac to the dual-2.5GHz G5 PowerMac, is a robust, modern, secure operating system. You can buy any current Mac, plug it directly into the Internet, and it will shrug off malware attacks that would turn an unprotected Windows PC into a bot zombie in under twenty minutes. And if your Windows is pre-SP2 XP, make sure you test for the GDI+ vulnerability, or else simply looking at a poisoned JPEG could allow your PC to be owned. As if this isn't bad enough, if you currently use Office on Windows, you should avoid downloading Word documents from untrusted sources:

    'Highly critical' security flaw found in Office,3902039...
    A vulnerability has been found in a Microsoft's popular Office Suite - MS Word in particular - that could give a malicious third party control of your machine...

    There is currently NO PATCH for the above vulnerability.

    And BTW, Microsoft intends to patch only IE6 for WinXP, so if you're on Win2K, you really ought to replace IE with Firefox (what the U.S. Computer Emergency Response Team suggests).

    I know this is mostly a hardware measurebator site, but Anand might have mentioned that not having to worry too much about malware is an integral part of the MacOS X user experience.
  • GoodWatch - Sunday, October 10, 2004 - link

    Well, that whole exercise is what I once proposed to the Editor in Chief of one of Holland’s larger PC magazines with one extra step: let a WinTel and an Apple user swap machines for a month and write an article on this. Anyway, despite the very predictable reactions of Mac users slash owners it is still a nice article. I’m very sorry to say this, but there’s always the same whining from the Mac camp, despite the fact that those machines are more than computers, they are works of art. I manage a company network with about 120 PC’s, all running on Windows 2000 Pro, fully patched. Before that, we ran Windows 95. If the environment is controlled, crashes are rare. Our main server is an IBM iSeries 820, with tailor-made software. Our average un-planned downtime over the last 5 years was 6.5 hours, the current planned downtime is <10 hours per year. But that is complete besides the point of course.

    I’m just waiting for the first port of OS X to the Intel platform. Not emulation but the actual GUI running on the same flavor of Linux (Unix?) Apple is using. Can is be done? Yes. Will Apple allow this? No.

    Take care,


  • forkazoo - Sunday, October 10, 2004 - link

    Oh, and regarding Mac OS X's MS Office... Well, isn't it obviouys that MS has a vested interest in making it seem like apps run slower on OS X than they do on windows? Fortunately, my day-to day useage involves a lot of X-Code, and almost never touching any Office-type apps, so I don't have much familiarity with them, but yeeesh. Did you try Open Office, or AppleWorks? My iBook came with AppleWorks, and I use it for occasional Word Processing. Never really had any issues...

    Oh, and don't forget X-Code! I much prefer it to MS Visual Studio, and it comes for free with the system. FREE. What technology enthusiast doesn't dig that? Oh, and appleScript. I used to be a mad AppleScripter back in the classic OS days, but I haven't tinkered with it much lately. What does Windows have to compete with AS? Active PERL is probably the closest thing I can think of... ::shudder:: That is no great useability win for Windows.

    By way of balance to my comments - one thing I want to complain about. OS-X has a GUI that uses a bunch of "idle"GPU power. Except if you want to run Lightwave, or something like that, it isn't idle any more, which can result in horrible slowdown. Under Mac OS X.2 on my G3, I can't have a tool windo overlap the main Lightwave window because the slowdown (thanks in no small part to the drop shadow on top of the 3D scene) is absolutely horrible. 3D performance for "real work" is why I use my Win2k box so much. 2D video runs fine on my Mac, and 3D is fine for full screen stuff with no GUI to interfere, but You can take my Athlon 64 away from me only if you you pry it from my cold dead hands.
  • forkazoo - Sunday, October 10, 2004 - link

    I have a few comments about the article. A lot of this has already been covered, but I'd like to expound a bit. The issue with .app bundles has clearly already been brought up, and the article has been edited, but I'm amazed that this was considered an OS-X weakness. IMHO, this is one of the best features. I say this as a guy who has Sun, SGI, Linux, Windows, Mac, and VAX boxen in the house. On my Windows box, if I install something, and then want to get rid of it, I have to worry about registry entries, and stashed dll's in my Windows directory. Even on debian, I am slightly worried about what exactly my system is doing when I install a package. (Though, obviously, not like I am with Windows!) On my Mac, all I have to do is double click. It Just Works. Thanks to the app bundle strategy, everything is Right There. The only reason you feel a disconnect with the OS is because you feel it is supposed to be more complicated. It doesn't need to be. I can even open up a Terminal window, and cd right into the app bundle to check things out, and access the binary executable directly. (Can also do it through Finder with a right-click) Second to the Mac for software installs is my SGI, but even then, I don't know 100% sure where the SGI software installer is putting things, unless I intentionally check.

    Second, I want to say that Safari's slowness has never bothered me. I'm typing this on a 1 GHz iBook with only 256 MB of RAM, and I wasn't aware of the slowness until right now. I tested it, and yes, it could be faster. But, I NEVER NOTICED. I'll tell you why. 99% of my web browsing starts at a place like, or google. I open all relevant links in the background, while I'm reading the main page, thanks to tabs. Thus, all or must of the web pages are done loading by the time I look at them. I don't imagine this is an especially unusual mode of operation. How often do you do a google search, and only see a single potentially relevant link? I usually see two or three, or at least see one before I open finish reading the page, so it is ready when I get there.

    Oh, and the review didn't even mention the use of a command line. My favorite terminal app is still kterm under KDE, but OS X's is soooo much better than the windows piece of doo doo that I was surprised not to see it mentioned in a user-experience review on a technical site. Seriously, compared to cmd.exe, is like a warm wet blowjob after having to wrestle biting homosexual midgets in a tub of shattered glass. sure, you can get bash for windows, but it isn't built in, and the basic terminal emulator still cripples useability. Those windows midgets have sharp teeth, too.
  • fxparis - Sunday, October 10, 2004 - link

    dear co- mac users

    please stop that proselytism about our loving platform, stop bashing, flaming ,

    - is is not worth it : they won't understand...
    - do you want all those malware and viruses attak us too if our platform grows too much ??
    - let everybody be happy in his own world
    - we share something precious / let it stay rare
  • Beckinsale - Sunday, October 10, 2004 - link

    Oh, and you don't need to rely on Windows' cache to pop up apps instantaneously. I use TrayIt! to minimize unused apps (Photoshop, SmartFTP) to system tray. So the apps is still running, using as much mem as Windows allows.

    Oh, well written article btw. I use Macs in school myself.
  • Beckinsale - Sunday, October 10, 2004 - link

    I'm a keyboard shortcut junkie as well. New Explorer window - Win+E. I can even download WinKey to customize the underused WinKey. I've been using it for years. Photoshop, Ctrl+Win+P. Calculator, Win+A. Notepad, Win+N. Then there's also Logitech keyboard. One button for FireFox. Then there's the buttons on the mouse. Center button to close apps, button 4 to double click, blahblah. Then there's also Alt+[some alphabet] to get you to certain fields in a window.

    In all, if you're a keyboard shortcut junkie, you won't be disappointed in Windows.
  • zinfandel - Sunday, October 10, 2004 - link

    FYI, new folder keyboard shortcut for Windows:

    Alt-F, W, N
  • gankaku - Sunday, October 10, 2004 - link

    #125 @ phlipper8

    Actually, the current Mac OS is only 32-bit. But only for a little while longer. The next Mac OS update, called Tiger (OS X; 10.4) will be a true 64-bit system, and it's due to arrive early in 2005 (rumor sites suggest March).

    Some rumor sites are also calling for speed enhancements in the 30 - 40 per cent range.
  • gankaku - Sunday, October 10, 2004 - link

    #119... dmr9748

    I hope you're OK with a good debate. I don't take it personally, and I hope you don't either.

    Anyway... Even someone who loves using Apple computers, like I do, has to admit that you can often get a much faster machine in many categories by buying something from a reputable PC manufacturer. Apple doesn't compete with Dell on bargain basement boxes. Apple doesn't make low-end server, so if you need one, try HP. Apple doesn't come close to making a good gaming machine for less than about $2500, so save your money for Alienware. In these categories, Apple doesn't compete.

    Instead, Apple has gone after several niche markets, and the truth surprises a lot of PC owners, who are still stuck in a mid-nineties mindset, when Apple was seldom competitive in ANY category for cost or speed. In 2004, in these niche categories, Apple is more than competitive.

    At the introductory level, you have the eMac. It's not particularly fast, or even all that attractive. But if you're an unsophisticated computer user, it's a smart buy. Why? Because it's well-equipped (notice, again, I didn't say fast) with everything you need to go online, or live a digital lifestyle. Because it comes loaded with software that will allow you to do almost anything, from playing and buying music, to editing photos and movies, to having video iChats with the grandkids. It runs OS X, which almost never crashes, and it isn't affected by viruses — even when the owner does something stupid. So... not a good 'puter for the Anandtech reader, but maybe a great computer for his grandparents!

    So, for some people, the eMac is a very good buy.

    At the next level, the new iMac is out, garnering a coveted five stars out of five from PC magazine. It's also not a computer for the Anandtech generation, who are keen on squeezing every last ounce of performance from their system.

    But for people who value style and sophistication, what a fantastic computer! It's whisper quiet. It's very fast, especially for people who want to edit photos, make family movies, or play The Sims with their kids. In fact, using Apple software that is optimized for the G5, this all-in-one computer can probably go toe-to-toe with a 3 GHz P-IV when doing similar tasks, like editing movies or producing DVD slideshows.

    And it's gorgeous. The screen is bright, bold and beautiful. For people who care about such things, the new iMac would look great in a designer living room, or a gourmet kitchen. It's only 2-inches thick, and the attention to detail is simply grand.

    The new iMac isn't cheap, (starting at $1299) but it is a great value. Try to find a similar all-in-one on the PC side, and you end up at Gateway with their Profile series. (I hope this link works).

    For $1400, you get an all-in-one that matches the mid-range iMac spec for spec... the only problem is that it's butt-ugly!

    So you see, pound for pound, inch for inch, Apple actually offers a better value in this small category.

    And so it goes. The PowerMacs are designed as highend workstations for serious graphic design, film editing, and scientific number crunching. Even when they come with a shitty graphics card, or serial ATA drives at 7200 RPM (instead of SCSI), the PowerMacs are a good deal, because they are as fast and as stable as a dual Xeon or dual Opteron workstation for most tasks. In fact, for film work, or the biological sciences, the only PCs that can actually compete with a PowerMac are dual opterons.

    Again, I'm talking about a narrow category. If you're a gamer, for the same money, you can get an Alienware box that will leave the best PowerMac eating dust. But if you're a scientist probing the complexities of proteins, you can save time and money by going with Apple.

    That point is lost on most PC users. Today, fast Macs are very FAST. Yet too many PC users think of dual G4 PowerMacs running at 800 Mhz when they think of Macs, and benchmark after benchmark over the last few years showing that Apple computers were almost embarrassingly slow.

    The G5 changed all that. It's fabricated by IBM, and even at relatively slow clock speeds of 2.0 - 2.5 GHz, it screams. PC users still don't realize that. In fair comparisons, you have to pit the fastest PC box you can build or buy to stay competitive with the PowerMac. So we're talking $4000 and $5000 PCs to go toe-to-toe with the dual 2.5 Ghz PowerMac. Even Anand doesn't seem to quite understand. Early on he suggests that a $3000 PC workstation will come with better hardware than the PowerMac. He's right. You'll get a kick-ass graphics card, and maybe a 10,000 RPM hard drive, as well as a few other goodies. But he's also wrong. Overall, the PowerMac will rule when playing to a Mac's strengths. So you run BLAST for genome sequencing, software optimized for the G5, the PC will be blown out of the water. When you run Adobe Premiere vs Final Cut Pro for film editing, it's no contest. Even with the less-than-stellar components, the PowerMac is faster.

    Few bottlenecks slow down the PowerMac. They are superbly engineered computers that excel at high-performance computing. So, Mac users who buy PowerMacs do so to save money. For film editing, for genome sequencing, for supercomputer clusters.

    And that's why I initially took you to task for your comment on Apple servers. They don't compete at the lowend. So the Dell you cited wasn't the comparison that I was suggesting, and I should have been clearer in my description.

    At the mid-range, you buy a fully-loaded Xserve from Apple at about $4600. That comes with dual G5s running at 2.0 Ghz, and about two gigs of RAM. On the Dell site, to find something similar, I configured a 1U PowerEdge server, added in two gigs of RAM, dual Xeon chips at 3.6 GHz, and so on. The final cost: $7,515!

    Of course, I expect that most PCers would expect the Xserve to be blasted out of the water. Well, no. Not in high-performance computing, which tries to grab every last ounce of system performance. Here's an example, pitting a fast PowerMac (2Ghz dualie) against a dual Xeon system (3.06 GHz, Linux)... and it wasn't even close.

    That's why Virginia Tech chose to go with Xserves to build their supercomputer. They didn't get a deal from Apple. VTech paid the full educational price! They chose Apple PowerMacs (and later, Xserves) because the complete G5 system offered superior performance —faster than a cluster built around AMD's Opteron... and much cheaper than a cluster built around the Itanium2. Price and speed... and Apple won!

    So... that's the deal. Apple competes in just a few categories, but they offer superb perfomance and speed within those categories.

    And very little of the proceeding goes into the many reasons why Apple lovers love Apple computers... the brilliant software and the fabulous OS! Anand seemed to enjoy his time using a PowerMac, and the software he used (Microsoft Office, Dreamweaver, and so on) isn't very good, even on a top-of-the-line Mac. Imagine how glowing the reviews would have been if he had used Final Cut and Logic and DVD Studio Pro.
  • phlipper8 - Sunday, October 10, 2004 - link

    Just one question. The author never mentioned the fact that he was using an actual 64 bit operating system, built specifically for a 64 bit machine. Could be the reason behind some of the good speed he noticed. Also, he needs to compare prices of comparable 64 bit windows systems. The pricing would be extremely comparable I would imagine. Reply
  • garfieldonline - Sunday, October 10, 2004 - link

    There are other values of Mac haven't been discussed here. For instance, itsnoise level. Granted, you can make your PC quiet too but at what cost? P4 and new processors are continuously getting hotter and hotter, and keeping them cool is a nightmere to system builders. Big fan and non-traditional cooling systems such as water coolers are options. Big fans causes noise, and for some, like me, would find it very distracting. It is very hard to concentrate when you are sitting next to a noisy machine.

    Until recently, to me, cooling is a weakness in case cooling. You put a fan to suck air from the front panel, exhuast hot to the back. A fan on the top of the CPU and a fan on the chipset. In nutshell, put a fan on whatever it is hot. When it may seem effective. But what about air turbulence?

    It is a double edges sword when you have the complete control of the system design (English isn't my first language) Apple engineers are allowed to take a look into the cooling system in more details. Result, they divided the machine in to cooling zones. Fans are all monitored and controlled. Not one or two fans in the system, but all nine fans (if my memory serves) The whole system is properly cooled but still manage to be quiet. Unlike PC, only the core components got cooled (CPU, GPU, Northbridge)

    As we all known, overheated system can cause stability problems, and I should know it. I used to have a SIS735 motherboard from ECS. SIS735 runs very hot at full load. Since the passive cooling for the chipset wasn't adaquate. The system tends to hang a lot. To getting the system cool is an expensive experience sometime. Not everyone has all the building kit at home. Thermal componetns, fans etc aint' cheap ... For some it is a hit & miss process. (Correct me if I am wrong. I think Dell got cooling problems with their new Prescott machines when they first launched.

    Non-traditional cooling ... first thing comes to my mind is price, and second is difficultly. My friend just tried installed one, and what a disaster! Result, a new machine. While on the topic of water cooling. Have anyone mention the new water cooling system in new Mac? It is an engineering marvel. The big and bulky water cooling systems used in PC is not on the same level, at least not on my book.

    Game is pushing PC design to its boundaries, and often people over-emphasize the framerate. At work, I don't really care about framerate (unless you are a game developer I guess) All I care is if a machine is stable, fast enough to get my job done quick. Many here already mentioned, Mac OSX is based on Unix, and hence inherites the stability of Unix. Time is all we fighting against. I remember few months ago, I walked back to my office, and turned on my P4 2.6GHz HT machine. I was greeted with a BSOD. How nice was it. It told me to take a walk.

    Standard ... As mentioned by the writing. The menu bar is always there on all Apple application. We PC uses like to "hunt" thing. It is "fun". But for new uses, espeically older user, this standard causes much less confusion in using a computer. From the support prospective, this is a great idea too. Try to get someone to work with Windows Multimedia Player 10 over the phone. Skinnable is great if you know you are way around. Otherwise, it is a nightmere to supporting staff. Tell them to go to FILE->OPEN? What FILE-OPEN, I can't see any ...

    I guess things can go on and , and I am not even I Mac user (in that sense, I sure someone can point out few mistake here and there in this post. Please do it kindly.)

  • victorpanlilio - Sunday, October 10, 2004 - link

    kmmatney wrote in #111: $2500 for a computer with no monitor and a crap video card. That's the "uncomfortable" part to me.

    What exactly do you plan to *do* with your computer anyway? Play games? Edit digital video? Render 3D animation? Write the next Nobel prize winner for literature? Sequence genes? Design buildings? Develop web applications? Analyze stocks? Visualize seismic data to find oil deposits?

    *cough* Let's try pricing an IBM Intellistation Pro. A single-CPU Opteron system starts at C$3489 from the IBM Canada web store. A single-CPU Xeon-based IBM Intellistation Z starts at C$3209. The dual-CPU capable HP xw6000 starts in a lower price range but only has 533MHz FSB. A Dell Precision 670 with dual 2.8GHz Xeons and configured similarly to an entry level Power Mac G5 is about C$2754 (forget about the single-CPU model with only a 40GB HD).

    A dual-CPU Power Mac G5 starts at C$2799, but this is with only 256MB PC3200 RAM (not enough), 80GB SATA HD, and a 64MB nVidia FX5200...

    Apple's pricing appears to be similar to that of the Tier 1 PC vendors, and in some cases a bit better. I'm sure others more knowledgeable can correct me if I'm wrong. In some recent reports, Dell and HP appear to be taking market share from the whitebox vendors -- in many cases, the price delta between the Tier 1 vendors and the smaller builders has all but vanished. It means that boutique vendors such as Voodoo, Alienware, BOXX, and Falcon are going to get squeezed on margins as well. Such is the risk of differentiating on "speeds and feeds" and then getting stomped on by large competitors with deeper pockets.
  • twilson - Sunday, October 10, 2004 - link

    Good article. Probably one of the best articles I have read. And it manages to remain objective.

    However the comments on Safari, are a bit misleading. When it comes to the speed of rendering a page, I believe Safari actually waits until the page is loaded (so that it can check/validate the content [how well it conforms to the W3C standard]). If you have a page that is written correctly/closer to the W3C standard you will find that Safari will in fact load it faster than IE. Also, the time it takes to render a page must from pressing ENTER to when it finishes loading activity (as opposed to having a screen full of info).

    You also refer to Safari's 'incompatibility' with Web sites. Yes this does appear to be the case. But in truth it is actually the web-sites "non-compliance" with the ratified W3C standards. Even the Anand homepage fails W3C HTML 4.01 vaildation (which it claims to be) with 367 errors.

    Safari is quite strict in it's adoption of these standards. If only IE was like Safari in that respect and we wouldn't have the badly written sites we have today. For example, in Safari if you browse a page with an error in a function of javascript, then none of that pages Javascript will work. This is better than IE's everything else works and you only learn that function is crap when you get to it.

    This all stems back to IE/Netscape fight when each side was introducing it's own object model for javascript and their own tags.

    Safari absolutely rules.
  • victorpanlilio - Sunday, October 10, 2004 - link

    Correction: I had written in post 120 "dmr9748 wrote in #117" and it should read "dmr9748 wrote in #119". My apologies. Reply
  • victorpanlilio - Sunday, October 10, 2004 - link

    dmr9748 wrote in #117: "The thing is when you when you think of MAC you think of one company"

    No, when I think of MAC I think Move, Add, Change, or MAC as in MAC address. I've worked for IBM, DEC, Compaq, and Fujitsu, and the corporate deployment projects I've been involved with are in the range of 1500-2500 PCs, so I think I can speak to the issue of volume purchasing, and yes, discounts are normally offered for large numbers of identically configured units. One concern a business may have about buying Macs for corporate use is that Apple is the sole hardware supplier, but this does not seem to bother Genentech, a leading biotech firm that runs its business on Macs. Of course, Genentech's CEO is on the Apple board, but I suspect that he isn't buying Macs for his company just because they look pretty.

    You wrote: "It is not that hard to get a bulk deal directly from the company that builds and distributes the entire machine."

    True enough, but Virginia Tech originally purchased their G5s at full retail from the Apple web store, with no volume discount, so the price on their cluster was even higher than it could've been, and yet the price/performance was better than the alternatives they had considered.

    You wrote: "The point that I am getting at is that you should not be suprised that Apple with allow people to purchase a large amount of MACs for a lower price than PC"

    See my statement above. What was your point again? Macs can be purchased directly from Apple. IBM Intellistations and Power5 blade servers can be purchased directly from IBM. I imagine that any savvy purchaser can negotiate a volume discount from either vendor. So?

    You wrote: "In a business you have to purchase machines that is easy to use for all levels of computer users, easy to manage, cost effective, and you can easily get people to control and maintain the system."

    I once worked for a large energy company that had over 2500 Macs. The support staff needed to answer help desk calls and do deskside visits? 12 people. That's 1 support person for every 208 machines, and this was without remote tools like SMS2003, pcAnywhere, or ZenWorks. In another large energy company I worked at, the ratio of support staff to PCs in an all-Windows shop was about 1:70. Do the math. If you're an IT Director who wants to build a large empire, which platform do you choose?

    Of course, now that vulnerabilities in Windows are becoming a huge headache, AT&T -- which has 70,000 PCs -- is doing its due diligence and looking at alternatives: MacOS X and Linux.

    You wrote: "Now, when you take a look at the numbers, 98% of the computer market consists of PCs and 2% are MACS."

    There are also more Chevys and Fords on the road, does this mean everyone should drive a Chevy or a Ford, or that Chevys and Fords are better cars than marques that have a smaller market share? Curious logic indeed. And since we're talking about numbers, why is it that, even with its tiny market share, Apple manages to win kudos from the likes of PC World, which named OS X best desktop OS of 2004, and from PC Magazine, which recently gave the iMac G5 a 5-star rating Editor's Choice rating? Do you suppose they've taken leave of their senses?

    You wrote: "The versatility of the PC is what really wins over MAC." Well, sort of. What "wins" is that even a whitebox Celeron is good enough for a lot of people's basic computing needs, and Apple chooses not to build stripped-down models. When I got my Honda Civic 8 years ago, I could still buy one without a radio; now I can't buy a Civic without a radio. I suppose if I wanted a really barebones car I could buy a Yugo or a Lada... :-D
  • dmr9748 - Sunday, October 10, 2004 - link

    #117 My opinions are backed by fact that is why I posted those links.

    So far, the "facts" that I have been confronted with are of listings of a supercomputer consisting of numerous clustered MAC computers that was purchased directly from Apple. It is not that hard to get a bulk deal directly from the company that builds and distributes the entire machine.

    The thing is when you when you think of MAC you think of one company. With your everyday computer, you have numreous other companies competing for your business. MAC has their own line of stores which makes things pretty easy. With the other end of the spectrum, you have to shop around for every little thing and prices as well as performance varies.

    Another you have to look at is the fact that since the PC part of the market is so big, not a lot of companies are going to give people huge bulk deals. The one example with NEC, for example, even though the cost is so high, a company will buy that large number of computers for that price. You have to look at this from various views. The most important view is that of a business.

    In a business you have to purchase machines that is easy to use for all levels of computer users, easy to manage, cost effective, and you can easily get people to control and maintain the system. Now, when you take a look at the numbers, 98% of the computer market consists of PCs and 2% are MACS. With that said, which would best fit this scenario?

    Since PCs statistically better for that scenario, you get those people that spend the extra money for NEC computers.

    I know we have seen companies bend over backwards for people but it usually happens in very few situations. Mostly when they are trying to take hold of a target market. If a company already has a hold of it, they will not barter on their price. Sort of like Walmart. Walrmart will come in and lower their prices to a point they are hurting but it hurts the surrounding stores as well to a point where the competition goes out of business. Once that happens, Walmart will jack the prices back up. The most famous company for doing that is Blockbuster.

    It is a standard business tactic that is seen in the computer industry everyday between Intel and AMD. It is almost the same between PC and MAC except MACs can be purchased direcly from Apple. I am not able to find an option to go to a retailer and purchase a barebones MAC. You buy a MAC you get everything. You buy a PC and it's like buying a car. You can upgrade parts or you can just leave them out. The versatility of the PC is what really wins over MAC.

    The point that I am getting at is that you should not be suprised that Apple with allow people to purchase a large amount of MACs for a lower price than PC. Also, you should not be suprised that PCs sell for a lesser price in smaller numbers. PC companies know they can sell their products in any volume. MACs, on the other hand, do not have a big enough hold on the market to say to a large company "we will not give you a special bulk deal." That does not help them get close to that 3% of the market.

    Like I said earlier, if both PCs and MACs had 50% of the market, things would be different.
  • ThatGuyPSU - Sunday, October 10, 2004 - link

    Cindy, you rock. Forget about calming down. You go with your bad self.

    Marry me? How about just a tryst then? (haha)

  • gankaku - Saturday, October 09, 2004 - link

    It appears that #112 isn't about to let facts get in the way of his opinions.

    So I agree with my learned colleagues. The Dell is, in fact, a cheaper server. You win.

    However... Kindly take a look at the next rankings for the Supercomputer list in November (I think). Two of the top 10 supercomputers (possibly two of the top 5) will be comprised of Apple Xserves. They will also be the least expensive clusters in the top 10, by a wide margin.
  • azkman - Saturday, October 09, 2004 - link

    You have to actually read the articles and the background, not just look at the pictures. Basically, VT built the number three supercomputer in the world with 1100 G5s for less than $7M. Number one and number two at the time both cost over $200M.

    Naturally, you will not accept this as proof. So to discontinue this pointless debate, I concede that the Dell server you chose is cheaper than the Apple server you chose.
  • dmr9748 - Saturday, October 09, 2004 - link

    You again failed to provide proof. The first site is a bunch of pictures. I have been to that campus and have met some of the people in those pictures. This is how funding works, if someone gives you money and says that you can only spend it on x, are you going to give up that funding? NO

    Now, let's take a look at comparing 2 exact same items. They will never perform the same. Do you know why? There is about a billion reasons why. The mos striaght and to the point example is the movie "Timeline." Look at post #97.

    The only one that came close to proving me wrong was the post. Problem is, he doesnt tell me what vendor he is going to except for dell and the things is I just did a price comparison on both those items. I have given the direct links to the vendors.

    With some of the last links you posted, go back to post #112.
  • rxmz - Saturday, October 09, 2004 - link

    Azkman has already answered #112 very well, but just a quick look at the Dell shows it only has 2 HD bays, neither front accessible nor hot swappable. It's not 64-bit, and doesn't have a 1GHz front-side bus. I'd guess there are other reasons it's not in the same comparison class as the Xserve G5, but I think that's plenty already. Reply
  • azkman - Saturday, October 09, 2004 - link

    Hard evidence for #112 (none from pro-apple sources):,1759,1369037,

    Specs do not equal performance. I haven't heard of any Dell supercomputers being built at breakthrough prices. I'd believe the jugdement and results of VT and the US Army over an arbitrary price comparison any day.
  • dmr9748 - Saturday, October 09, 2004 - link

    I just did a price comparison of my own between an xserve and a dell server.

    Here is the xserve for $2898.99

    I priced a rackmount server with the same specs on for $2021

    #95 Don't post an article that explains one system and then say it is more cost effective for what you get compared to another system when the article doesn't even mention a price for the system they are describing. Do not attack my post unless you have some hard evidence.

  • kmmatney - Saturday, October 09, 2004 - link

    reading all these comments from (most) the mac users that have posted makes me want a mac less and less.

    -- I second that one. $2500 for a computer with no monitor and a crap video card. That's the "uncomfortable" part to me.
  • victorpanlilio - Saturday, October 09, 2004 - link

    #109 dextrous wrote: reading all these comments from (most) the mac users that have posted makes me want a mac less and less.

    Care to elaborate? Using this same sort of reasoning, then all of the positive comments a people might happen to make about their own country should dissuade foreign tourists from visiting. And of course, such people should not object if their country is portrayed in a bad light by foreigners who know little or nothing about the country. What's more, the foreigners are afraid that a learning experience might actually force them to rethink their prejudices. To bring this discussion back on topic, what Anand has done is the equivalent of visiting a foreign country, sampling its cuisine, experiencing something of its culture, and so on. His "travelogue" describes his impressions. The forum participants chime in with their own dispatches from the field -- and those who have visited and perhaps lived in the foreign country for some time are in a better position to comment knowledgeably.
  • dextrous - Saturday, October 09, 2004 - link

    reading all these comments from (most) the mac users that have posted makes me want a mac less and less. Reply
  • victorpanlilio - Saturday, October 09, 2004 - link

    In #107 topcat903 wrote: "Basically, this article describes the "uncomfortable" feeling we get when we switch to something we are not used to."

    And if that's all it was, then the remedy is simple -- learn. But in the article, as well as in the comments, uncalled-for remarks about price etc. detract from the overall message that it is quite possible for a diehard but open-minded Windows PC user to discover genuinely superior things about MacOS X even without delving into applications that make best use of the platform.
  • topcat903 - Saturday, October 09, 2004 - link

    I don't think this article was to compare which system (hardware or software wise) is better. It was written to describe the "experience" one would feel when switching to another OS (heck, the same thing could be said about switching girlfriends or boyfriends).

    I started my computing days using the Apple IIe, then the first Mac...eventually I switched to the Windows platform, and recently since my wife got an iBook, I had to switch back to OS X.

    Basically, this article describles the "uncomfortable" feeling we get when we switch to something we are not used to...A feeling I experienced many times over. All the speed, power, and storage of a system could mean nothing to me if I don't know all the ins and outs of what I'm using to get what I needed done.

    Overall, the article was a good and interesting read...just wish there was more on the audio/video apps (where Apple truly excel), however I assume it's not what the author's primary use of the G5...but hopefully a start towards many more articles.
  • rxmz - Saturday, October 09, 2004 - link

    A quick FYI semi-related to Mac OS X scroll speed. Clicking in the empty area of a scroll bar jumps by a page, but clicking while holding down the "option" key jumps straight to that point (reversible via a system preference). This comes in very handy for long documents (or file listings), when you know about where you're trying to go.

    As an aside, the only app I have seen where this does NOT work is MS Word....
  • victorpanlilio - Saturday, October 09, 2004 - link

    Correction: In my post (#104) I listed "Bruce Forno" -- it should read "Richard Forno" in case people wish to verify in Google Reply
  • victorpanlilio - Saturday, October 09, 2004 - link

    WaltC wrote: "as far as "going and learning" about the Mac is concerned, I know all I care to know" -- which can be another way of saying, "I prefer to wallow in my current abysmal state of ignorance". OK Walt, I'll tweak your nose a bit -- the people listed below prefer MacOS X over WinXP:

    Tim Berners-Lee -- invented the web
    James Gosling -- invented Java (used to build his own PCs)
    Tim Bray -- co-invented XML
    Bruce Forno -- past CISO*, Network Solutions
    Bruce Schneier -- CTO**, Counterpane
    Richard Clarke -- past CISO, US Govt
    Bill Joy -- co-founder and past CTO, Sun Microsystems
    Tim O'Reilly -- CEO, O'Reilly and Associates

    You can easily confirm the above through Google.

    *CISO = Chief Information Security Officer
    **CTO = Chief Technology Officer

    Bill Gates' own home PCs were recently hit with malware:


    If the Chief Software Architect of Microsoft can't even maintain the security on his own personal machines, what can we expect of people who are running IE on pre-SP2 WinXP?

    At home, I have a Dell PowerEdge server I use for testing Win2K3 Enterprise, but I run OS X 10.3.5 on an 800MHz iBook G4 and a 4-yr old G4/400; the small company I currently work for runs Win2K3 and OpenBSD, and we're testing MacOS X Server 10.3.

    Try to be more open-minded and curious about things you don't know much about. Young children evince this quality in spades, until arrogant adults ruin it for them. Whatever shortcomings or gaps Anand's article may have, so long as he wishes to continue educating himself, he is to be commended. If the subsequent discussions in this forum could proceed in a spirit of learning rather than descend into declarations of omniscience, we might all benefit from the interchange. Tim Berners-Lee envisions the web as a place where learning can take place for everyone. It'd be great, I think, if we took him up on it.
  • ocelotwreak - Saturday, October 09, 2004 - link

    Dear Anand Lal Shimpi,

    Just wanted to send some kudos to you for a very well written and objective review of the state-of-the-Mac. I am a long time Mac user (as well as Windows, Linux, Solaris, Irix, MVS, and others for over 35 years), and have to admit I love the Mac. I use a 17" PowerBook for everything from writing huge Office documents to editing video using Final Cut Pro.

    You did an excellent job of pointing out the good with the warts. I concur with your dislikes, although I use MS Office on the Mac almost exclusively because I can get more done faster on the Mac than I can using Office on XP. I write 1000 page reports for a living, and I would shoot myself trying to get it done using Office on XP, which in comparison I find to be a totally psychotic experience!

    I concur that Mail is the weakest OS-X application, and also suffer the most crashes there, usually importing big Word attachments to emails. You missed the "fast user switching" option on Exposé, which is a real jaw-dropper the first time you show it to Windows (and Mac) folk. Also, try click-drag an image off your web page, Function F9 to tile all the windows, hover the dragged image over the window you want to go to, watch it automatically zoom to foreground, and then drop it into the now active app where you want it to end up, is another stunning productivity accelerator. (That requires more complexity to describe it than to just intuitively do it!)

    Keep up the good work! Regards,
    -Walter Cooke

  • brichpmr - Saturday, October 09, 2004 - link

    I admin XP all day long, #99, and I can tell you that context menu functions on OSX are easily the equal of XP. Aside from that, I generally replace whatever mouse comes with the PC too..

    By the way, a very nice shareware app on OSX, Fruit Menu, offers a large number of additional configurable context options for the right mouse button...check this kind of stuff's very cool.
  • WaltC - Saturday, October 09, 2004 - link

    #100....Heh...;) Thank you for commenting on my ignorance, but it appears to me you completely missed the point I was making about the one button mouse.

    First, the point was the same one Anand made, that what ships from Apple is not "the Microsoft 5-button Intellimouse optical" mouse, but a one-button mouse, instead.

    Second, thanks for educating me in that just like in WinXP, the "right mouse button" under OS X brings up a context menu of choices. So, apparently what you are saying is that OS X is exactly the same as WinXP in that regard, which I certainly did not know...;) Thank you for this information. My point was only that Anand did not specify in his article what it was that pressing the right mouse button under OS X did. Thank you for filling in that info...;) Was I also wrong in thinking that OS X provides a keypress & mouse button combo to bring up the OS X context menu you have assured me exists?

    Heh....;) Seriously, as far as "going and learning" about the Mac is concerned, I know all I care to know. But thanks anyway for the suggestion!

  • brichpmr - Saturday, October 09, 2004 - link

    #99, your post confirms that you need to go get educated about Macs...the sheer ignorance is staggering. Just one example....the Microsoft 5-button Intellimouse optical I use on Mac and PC platforms has the same functionality on both. Go learn, then come back... Reply
  • WaltC - Saturday, October 09, 2004 - link

    (Clipped from my comments in another forum)

    If you ask me, the article boils down to Anand desperately trying to rationalize his $3k 2GHz G5 purchase so that he can avoid hitting himself over the head with a baseball bat while cursing his own stupidity and asking himself "What was I thinking?"...;)

    Salient points to me were these:

    *While he mentions replacing the one-button mouse that Apple has locked itself into on the grounds that Steve Jobs is convinced Mac users are too challenged mentally to cope with the prospect of plural mouse buttons, he never actually makes any mention of what benefit, if any, he got from using a mouse with more than one button under OS X--not surprising, since OS X is written to support the standard shipping Mac hardware configuration. But as Anand most clearly specified a preference for keyboard controls anyway, it's a bit of a wonder to me why he bothered to replace the mouse at all. I think I read something awhile back about being able to use a key press plus the mono mouse button to duplicate the function of the second mouse button under OS X, but Anand doesn't bother to tell us what that function might be under OS X, unfortunately, if he knows, of course.

    *Talks about "replacing things" like the shipping ram and the 3d-card in his $3k G5 Mac, but doesn't bother to add the increased costs into the $3k price he repeats constantly throughout, nor does he tell us how much his two Cinema monitors added to the price (unless I missed that.)

    Adding in these costs would--what?--double the $3k price he mentions? What really mystifies me about the way the article is written is what might've prompted Anand to think that a 64mb, 4-pixel-per-clock 3d-card and 256mbs of ram per cpu would have been sufficient in the first place. I mean, if he had stated that he was unable to purchase the Mac from Apple direct with any greater hardware specs than what he got, then fine. But he doesn't say anything like that as I recall. Obviously he would not be content with those specs in his x86 box, so why would he be surprised they weren't enough for his G5 box?

    That is one of my pet peeves with this "impression" article as Anand has written it--he constantly states "$3k" throughout when the true cost of the system he's running is far, far higher. Like I say, though, it's probably just a part of his subconscious rationalization as to not wanting to face what his Mac G5 system *really* cost him...;)

    *He talks consistently about the "8GB" limit to memory in the G5 box, but *unless I am mistaken* that's a bit misleading as the limit is actually 4GBs--for each cpu--so with 8 gigs installed the actual limit is still 4GBs.

    *Would have been nice to see him examine his other shipping hardware config, apart from this barebones description:

    Dual 2GHz 0.13-micron G5 CPUs
    512MB CAS3 DDR400 SDRAM
    160GB SATA HDD
    ATI Radeon 9600 (64MB) to things like HD brand & performance, the brand of SATA controller on the motherboard, etc. He doesn't seem to want to get anymore specific about component identification and subsystem performance than Apple itself wants to get, and I have to say that bothers me.

    *The last point he makes is pretty much a clincher for me, though, in that he's honest about the G5 box simply not being able to take the place of his x86 box on several levels. So now, in addition to adding more ram per cpu and a decent middle of the road 3d card, along with his preference for twin Cinema displays, we also have to add the cost of a decent x86 box into the mix--and so we're actually talking maybe 2.5x the original $3k price Anand keeps repeating through the article (even though his system is now around $2400, the $3k range being reserved for Apple's so far no-show 2.5GHz G5 boxes--at least "no-show" from what I've read recently.)

    *A very minor point, certainly, but Anand should know that M$ is constantly criticized for building in too much functionality into its OS's, on the grounds that M$ is doing so to run other software companies out of business (a criticism I do not personally agree with.) Yet, when Apple does things like build in a whole lot of functionality into its OS, including its own browser, why it's just a "cool, wonderful thing"...;) In fairness to Apple, though, Apple has to do it since the platform cannot support enough independent developers to do it, unlike is the case for M$. Still, the double standard there is always amusing to read...;)

    *Last minor nitpick. I can tell Anand has been deeply engrossed within the online Mac community's propaganda mill, simply because he keeps talking about "DOS" and difficulties with x86 peripherals and drivers circa 1995 and earlier. I've had some experience myself with the Mac online community and know that many of them are locked into a perpetual loop which pretends that all that is x86-Windows is no different now than it was in 1995. These people frequently get stuck in delusionary time warps in which the only thing that has changed in the last decade is Apple, and its a bit sad to see that some of that prejudice is rubbing off on Anand--who, frankly, should know better than to allow it to influence him in the slightest--primarily because such assumptions about x86 hardware and software simply are not true.

    In summary, I agree with Anand's opening statements as to how "hard" it was for him to write this article, as for someone in his position as a medium-profile, computer-hardware Internet pundit, it must be really embarrassing to admit he got snookered by Apple's marketing claims to the extent that he actually shelled out $3k+ of his personal pocket money just to discover what he should already have known, that buying a Mac wasn't at all going to allow him to retire his x86-Windows box, for a number of compelling reasons. An expensive lesson to learn, certainly. I hope he'll do another article later called "After 6 months with a Mac," as I wouldn't be surprised to learn he'd sold it or donated it to charity by then...;)
  • gankaku - Saturday, October 09, 2004 - link

    #96 "I think that applies to servers too you know. If dmr9748 can spend peanuts to run a Linux server on 400MHz processors with 512MB memory to do what he needs done why does he even need to consider a Xeon or G5 Xserve?"

    Of course that's true. But the argument cuts both ways. Some time ago, I ran a web and mail server off a used iMac (400 MHz, with 320 MB RAM) that easily saturated a partial T1. The iMac cost about $600 Canadian. I took the server down awhile ago, but the iMac still chugs along happily, folding proteins for the betterment of humanity. :-)
  • saszmidt - Saturday, October 09, 2004 - link

    Good article! Thanks!

    One point though. You have interesting ideas of what constitutes reliable uptime. Several months is not a good value, though better than weeks. The only reason any unice box should go down is due to hardware failure. I don't care how many years later, it should still run.

    Anything else is a poorly built machine.

    Getting better uptime with XP than Linux just shows you either had poor hardware or did not know how to build a proper Linux server.

    Linux servers I build never crash. True, you can have some app that eats up all memory and eventually it will die. But that's not O/S related, that's just poorly written s/w. Linux deals with crashing apps much better than windows does any time of the day.

    Only getting a Linux box to run for months is indicative of not knowing your stuff. I.e. you did not put the same amount of effort into learning about it as you did with a windows box.

    You have s/w under Linux which will check for memory leaks, so that's not a valid excuse.

    Too many goofy windows admins try to build Linux boxes and then say goofy things like "pretty reliable - it ran for several months". Only because thats a WINDOWS standard.
  • kitsura - Saturday, October 09, 2004 - link

    I think you're missing the point its not a direct price to performance comparison.

    "I would rather blows 1 dollar on ebay to get a Tandy 1000 with word perfect 1.5 before I spend 2400 dollars on a machine that does exactly the same thing with the processing power to do more but is limitted by its impact on the computer market."

    I think that applies to servers too you know. If dmr9748 can spend peanuts to run a Linux server on 400MHz processors with 512MB memory to do what he needs done why does he even need to consider a Xeon or G5 Xserve?
  • gankaku - Saturday, October 09, 2004 - link

    #91: dmr9748: "Now, if a MAC worksation costs 2400 to 3000 dollars, I would hate to get a quote on a server."

    Truth to tell: You would save money, if you bought Apple Xserves. Similar server offerings from the big boys like Dell and HP simply cost more. The following is just one of several links I could send you to.
  • Lwood - Saturday, October 09, 2004 - link

    Thumbs up for this great article!

    Unfortunately, these "diehard A-user tries B"-articles always result in some kind of A-vs.-B flamewar. :-(

    Both PC and Mac each have their advantages and shortcommings - just pick the system that works best for you instead of flaming. Period.

    I have been a PC user since the days of the 8086, but the first notebook I have bought was in fact an Apple iBook.
    This decision was made mostly for two resons:
    I needed a notebook with decent battery life, and at the time (pre-Pentium-M) the PC offerings were seriously lacking in this respect.
    Also, the notebook needed to run some kind of UNIX-ish OS perfectly. Even today, Linux on notebooks involves too much gambling for my taste, so I went with Mac OS X.
    A pleasant side-effect was that I could use Logic 6, which is only available for Macs.

    While I am personally quite pleased with my iBook, I doubt that Apple will gain a major marketshare in the years to come.
    I think the main reasons for this are high pricetags combined with an obstinate refusal to sell default configurations with suitable GPUs and RAM ammount.
    This just does not make sense (even much less than the 1-button-mouse), especially when you consider that Mac OS X puts quite a heavy load on the GPU, compared to other operating systems.

    Steve, wake up!
    It's easy to demo Tiger's fantastic GPU effects with a GF 6800 and gigabytes of RAM, but it's just as easy to scare away potential customers by offering truly moronic hardware configurations at high prices.
  • GTMan - Saturday, October 09, 2004 - link

    Did the performance in Office improve after switching to the 9800 (ie. the slow response to bolding)? What about the Exposé performance?

    The OS X display is completely PostScript since OS X is basically an updated version of NeXTStep. So the video card's ability to quickly render postscript would have a huge impact on operations involving updating screen graphics.

    In comparison to the PC where office applications will run fine on any cheap video card I think an OS X machine's performance even in office applications will probably very quite a bit depending on the video card. Just a guess though.
  • xype - Saturday, October 09, 2004 - link

    I agree that Anand might have missed a few details, but the article was well balanced and well written. I do believe we can expect more Mac articles from Anandtech and it only shows that those in "the industry" are taking Macs serious again. That's way more than one could expect when OS 9 was around and it's nice to see someone with an open mind approaching the issue.

    I am looking forward to a review of 10.4 and some shorter articles on tinkering with Apple hardware. And, hey, even if the articles only makes a few of the high-end PC users consider going into the Apple store near them and have a look, it did more than any pro-Mac or pro-PC article did.

    In an industry changing as fast as the computer one, keeping an open mind is essential and Anandtech helps users a lot there. Kudos.
  • dmr9748 - Saturday, October 09, 2004 - link

    Ok. I have read to the beginning of the second page of the comments and people are not looking at what he wrote. Some of you are complaining because he wrote that he spent 3000 dollars for this system but you missed the fact that the price has dropped since then and he posted that price.

    He writes that Apples make up 2% of the computer market. No one wants to impact such a small number of people in such a huge market. You gain no fame for affecting 2 computers out of a hundred. If Apple had 50% of the market, then you would have the same issues with viruses computer users would.

    I use Windows XP Pro. I have never purchased a virus scanning program. If you use common sense and good judgement, you will never get a virus. 99% of viruses requires user interaction in order to infect a computer. If you are worried that you may have a virus, you can go to websites that will scan your computer for free. If you have something, look up the information on how to remove it or download a removal tool.

    Comparing RAM to Virus scanning software is comparing Oranges to a Spoon. Two different items that do completely different things.

    RAM is required to run a computer where virus scanning software is not.

    Another thing, when you think "workstation" in a corporate environment, you don't think "lots of power." You think that when you think "server." Instead, you should be thinking "security." I will give a user a winterm or a linterm workstation before I give them anything else. I certainly will never pay 3000, 2000, or even 1000 dollars for a workstation. If I am in an environment that does not have the bandwidth for terminal services, then I will get them 400 windows workstations.

    In windows, a computer with 1 gig of processing power with 256 megs of ram and 64 meg video card has no problems being a workstation. A workstation you do work such as creating documents, presentations, and some database work. A workstation with 2 2.5 gig processors is overkill and if that is what it takes to run Microsoft Office products on an MAC, I would take the windows computer and keep 2 grand and use it for something else.

    As a reminder, as Mr. Shimpi wrote in his article and I have written at the top of this post, the price tag of 3000 dollars is outdated, the price dropped only by 600 dollars.

    Now, if a MAC worksation costs 2400 to 3000 dollars, I would hate to get a quote on a server.

    The article did mention the hardware that he used because that is what you want to do when you do an article, describe what you are using. He mostly talks about the OS because that is really the most appealing part of the system that he is describing.

    The article is posted on a site that mostly describes components for performance. The majority of people online who are looking for performance are gamers. So, you have to ask yourself this: "Why would a person write an article about a MAC that has x hardware that costs more than windows pc hardware WHEN THE THING DOESNT PLAY ANY GAMES?!?!?!??!?!?!" and "Why would anyone purchase a 2400 dollar computer to put words on paper?"

    He doesn't go into talking about installing massive upgrades because he is talking about a workstation, now a server or a gaming machine. Thus, hardware really doesn't have that big of an impact here. The only impact that it does make is "why put so much power into something that just puts words on paper?"

    I would rather blows 1 dollar on ebay to get a Tandy 1000 with word perfect 1.5 before I spend 2400 dollars on a machine that does exactly the same thing with the processing power to do more but is limitted by its impact on the computer market.

    Do you know why he is not putting lots of effort into researching MACs? Because he is nice enough to do an article for the "little guys" of the computer market and smart enough to know that 98% is bigger than 2%.

    He tried to appease the 2% with an article, which after such criticism from that 2%, I don't forsee another article pertaining to MACs being on this site for quite some time.

    Shimpi, despite what the little people say, that was a great article. Keep up the good work.
  • Dennis Travis - Saturday, October 09, 2004 - link

    #88 Think it's Cooperative Multitasking. Is that the word you were looking foR?
    I agree on the edit here in comments. So many times I have posted something and hit send and later seen it was wrong.

    Anand, Well done! You did a great job on your Mac article. Thanks so much for being open minded!!!


  • stupidkiwi - Saturday, October 09, 2004 - link

    Overall a good article, but having only just migrated from the Windows XP world, I can look at this from a similar place at a similar time.

    What worries me is the lack of weight given to the fact that the writer has knowledge of hardware and accesss to hardware we mortals do not have.

    I went through five computer setups trying to get one system to work with my new copy of XP Pro. Thats about $5000 US in cost. Not one worked. I finally had to pay another $6000 US for a server setup (dual 2ghz AMD, with 3 Gb Registered Ram, and every first class piece of hardware). I had the system put together for me as I don't have knowledge of the top 20 pieces of hardware at any one time. It ran XP Pro.

    It ran like a dog. A 1Ghz PC could outstrip it running Win ME. It ran out of memory on a clean boot by surfing the web. It would become so unstable that I had to reinstall XP Pro once every week.

    I may not know about the best hardware but I know how to test hardware to see if it has any bugs or not. the parts of the system ran beautifully when tested in the machine and in other machines.

    I have many other machines in my business and it seems to be a hit and miss affair with all of them. 50% work first time and never have problems with XP pro, the other 50% are never stable for long and need constant servicing.

    I don't much care if a top techie can get an expensive PC to run faster than an off the shelf G5. I am now very happy to be on a fast stable system. 1.33 Ghz 15" Powerbook. In the past 2 months I have not once gone back to use my XP Pro desktop machine, or any other PC in my company.

    My comment for games is, I use ALL computers for work. They are too expensive to continually upgrade for games. My Gamecube and PS2 work well as games machines and they help me seperate work time from play time.
  • Reflex - Saturday, October 09, 2004 - link

    #83: You are correct, I was glazing over when I wrote that. Wish there was an edit function.

    There is another term for it, but it completely slips my mind. My point, however, is the same: Apple did not have pre-emptive multi tasking until OS X.
  • HCT297 - Saturday, October 09, 2004 - link

    KOTOR, Halo, BF1942, Splinter Cell, Medal of Honor, Call of Duty, UT2K4, all the Blizzard games, Neverwinter Nights, Baldur's Gate, Max Payne, half a dozen Sims games...

    are these considered good games, fun to play? has even more listed..

    Aspyr and Westlake and Blizzard seem to keep the list growing every year.
  • saechaka - Saturday, October 09, 2004 - link

    #82 your funny. lol. i think i should start looking at popular mechanics for benchmarks of hardware and not anandtech more.

    by the way, great article.
  • WJS - Saturday, October 09, 2004 - link

    Excellent article - I don't think you could expect anything fairer or more balanced from a Windows guy.

    Try using Exposé in combination with drag-n-drop and spring-loaded folders, a feature you didn't mention. You can drag an image off a Web page and put it away multiple folder levels deep, for instance. Just start dragging the image and, without letting go of the mouse button, hit the F11 key to get rid of all windows, then hover the icon over a drive icon or a folder icon. It will snap open after an adjustable pause. Keep going until you get to where you want to store the image, then let go.

    I often use Exposé to work back and forth between several applications. For example, if I want to make selections from a big InDesign document and collect them in a Word document, I drag the selected text or image, then hit F9 to se the Word document window, then drop the item right where I want it.

    Here's a hot flash - Exposé is just at the beginning - I've seen some features in a Tiger (10.4) beta that blow me away.

    Cheers :-> Bill
  • victorpanlilio - Saturday, October 09, 2004 - link

    A good overview of caching, etc. in MacOS X:

    In the interest of keeping this forum useful for those who might be curious to learn more about OS X, let's refrain from feeding trolls. If the point of the discussion is to dispel ignorance, clear up misunderstanding, and grow the individual and collective knowledge of forum participants, then so much the better.
  • Dennis Travis - Saturday, October 09, 2004 - link

    #78. 95/98 are not premptive multisking at all. Only NT, 2k, SP have premptive multitasking.
  • gankaku - Saturday, October 09, 2004 - link

    #53... skiboysteve... you need to revisit your opinions on the G5 being a slow chip. It's competitive with AMDs offerings, and faster than just about anything Intel can produce.

    Of course, I'm talking about serious computing, not just games (where any PC will pound a Mac), and not just bakeoffs between Word for Mac vs Word for Windows.

    You might be surprised at how fast a G5 actually is. Have a look at this benchmark, between an HP workstation (dual Xeons at 3.06 GHz, Linux) and a dual PowerMac at 2 Ghz. Running serious scientific programs like BLAST and HMMer... I'll give you a hint. The HP was creamed.

    It wasn't run by a Mac mag, or a PC mag. Nope. Just Popular Mechanics, and they were surprised, too. The PowerMac is an amazing computer that is more than $1000 cheaper than the HP workstations it bested.

    No wonder the world's fastest clusters, offering the best bang for the bucks, are made with Apple XServes. Of course, the best thing is that a 64-bit OS for the masses is just around the corner, with some early reports suggesting another 30 - 40 per cent increase in speed just from upgrading to Tiger. Ohhh.... gives you goosebumps, doesn't it!

    So... for your edification:
  • gankaku - Saturday, October 09, 2004 - link

    This is a fair and balanced article, and I have little to complain about as a Mac diehard. Anand is wrong about a few things, and points out a few problems that, in fact, have easy solutions (ex: he says you can't navigate a "save sheet" with keyboard shortcuts; though you can, of course). But all in all, it seems thorough and thoughtful.

    Another small point. This review has just been published, but it's based on Anand's experiences back in March, or 8 months ago. He does mention this fact at the beginning, but I don't think he should be moaning about this being a $3,000 machine. It's not any more, it's a $2500 machine. That's a small but important point.

    He does mention that OS X can be slow in a few mundane areas, and points to scrolling as one concrete example. But if memory serves - and I know you will all correct me if I'm wrong - isn't this by design? Doesn't the Mac OS slow scrolling so you can actually see the pages (in Word, for example) that you're scrolling through.

    As well, he states correctly that this machine is fast, fast, fast when it comes to multitasking, a point that more Mac reviewers should be at pains to assert.

    But honestly, for me, the real surprise is that he likes the PowerMac and OS X as much as he does! Didn't anyone here have the same thought?

    I mean Anand talks about using Microsoft Word and Excel, and Macromedia Dreamweaver extensively, and in my opinion, these are the three slowest Mac applications I have ever seen... By a wide, wide margin! And they're the apps that crash most often (for me). (In fairness, Anand also uses Photoshop a lot, which runs nicely on a Mac).

    That Anand spent his time surrounded by mediocre apps - and still enjoyed himself - blows me away. Imagine how glowing this review would be if he used the iLife apps, the various incarnations of Final Cut, DVD Studio Pro, Shake, the Logic family, or Motion. All world class, best of breed. Apple apps on Apple hardware is computing nirvana!

    Poor Anand: He missed out on ALL the best parts!
  • iisabrane - Saturday, October 09, 2004 - link

    I thought this article was well written and informative. I have a XP desktop and a 12" Powerbook G4 I take around with me to classes(I'm a college student). People here seem to be very biased with their individual computers but having both, my opinion differs a little bit.

    I think XP is a great OS which is many times better than the Windows of old. It offers great ease, is fairly stable, and has the most software and hardware compatibility of all the OS'es out there. Sure it has its shortcomings and problems, but nothing is perfect.

    Mac OSX is a very simple and powerful OS that I think is also very easy to get used to. The integration of everything into a convenient package with very good built in software is a big draw for the Mac.

    Now, I love games. I'm not a hardcore gamer, but I do enjoy playing games for a few hours here and there. Because of this, I use my desktop to play to my hearts delight. The fact is that the PC is basically the only computer platform for games. With such small numbers of people using anything other than Windows, there isn't a real reason for companies to appeal to MAC, Linux, and other OS users. On top of that, the hardware for PC's is much faster and there is a lot more competition to keep prices low. As far as desktops go, I think PC's are probably a better solutiong. But that's just my opinion.

    As for my G4, I love its simplicity and hell, it looks sexy. You can't deny that everything Apple makes is really slick. Anyways, it has great 1st party programs and like the reviewer says, its great for multitasking. Also, I DO think that OSX is a lot more stable than Windows XP. It might just be my luck but i've had my powerbook crash just once in its 1+ years of work and that crash was only after I got it back from Apple. (Apple's Applecare program is pretty awesome by the way). I've had XP crash on me a lot more often than that. Anyways, I think Apple Laptops are very well made and the prices are comparable to PC's out there (not including those crazy Dell Deals from like Fatwallet). A new ibook these days will run you about a grand, which is a good price I think

    Anyways a summary of my comment is:
    PC's: Cheaper, Faster, Less Stable and Secure, GAMES!
    Apple: More Expensive, More stable, Looks sexier, Much simpler

    OH yeah, Apple stuff is crazy overpriced. They want like 30 bucks for replacement feet on my powerbook. 30 DOLLARS for 5 little rubber feet that are half a cm in diameter. Ridiculous. Anyways, thanks for reading
  • Poser - Saturday, October 09, 2004 - link

    If Apple would go either of two routes, I might be interested in the OS:

    1. Mac clones.
    2. Port the OS to run on PC hardware. Sell it as standalone software.

    As odd as it may sound, Apple's long been a monopolist, albeit a monopolist of the niche called the "mac platform." Personally, I'm not willing to pay a monopolist's price for a full system -- it's grating enough to pay a monopolist's price for just a standalone OS (i.e. Win XP). If they either break the system monopoly by allowing clones, or by porting the OS to standard hardware I really would be interested. As is, the price/performance ratio is NEVER going to be good enough to be interesting. Moreover, with their system monopoly, they're damning themselves to a niche which they show no interest in escaping from.
  • Reflex - Friday, October 08, 2004 - link

    #31: Just had to correct this bit of misinformation....

    Windows 1.0 existed in 1985 and allowed 'multitasking', which was actually 'task switching'. The MacOS up until X never had pre-emptive multitasking, which is what Anand was reffering to. It used task switching, which is not the same thing.

    Windows95 was the first version of Windows to support pre-emptive multi-tasking, although it was poorly implemented. The NT line has had it from the beginning, as has OS X from Apple.

    And finally, Quarterdeck was acquired by Symantec, not Microsoft. They merged their utilities into the Norton suite.
  • kingtj - Friday, October 08, 2004 - link

    Overall, I thought this was a great article too! I've been a long-time Windows/DOS (and even OS/2) user, with the occasional Linux box or partition - and yes, i even owned a Mac Performa tower in the mid 90's for a little while (but disliked it).

    I rediscovered the Mac when I got to use a G4 tower with OS X 10.2 at a company I worked for. I was immediately impressed with the fact that they had a Unix type OS at the core of it, yet succeeded in making a usable and beautiful GUI to go on top of it seamlessly. (If only Linux could eventually get there!)

    Suffice it to say that despite it being a big financial "hit", I bit the bullet and purchased both a G5 dual 2.0Ghz tower and an aluminum Powerbook laptop in the last year or so - and I use them almost daily, along-side my Athlon 64 tower PC running XP Pro.

    I guess I have a few misc. thoughts to add, related to the article. For one, yes, gaming is abysmal on the Mac if you're mainly concerned with playing whatever the latest game out is. Being in my early 30's though, my "need" for the latest and greatest games has waned a bit. I just want to find 3 or 4 really good games that I truly enjoy playing over and over, and keep them installed on my machine. With a Mac, you almost never get a new game first, but you benefit from the fact that nobody will waste their time porting over PC games unless they're decidedly "cream of the crop".

    I've got UT2004, Halo, Medal of Honor, Spiderman, Spy Hunter, Tony Hawk Pro Skater 3 and 4, Tiger Woods PGA Golf from EA Sports, Jedi Academy, Warcraft 3 with the Frozen Throne expansion, Call of Duty, and much more. I don't feel like my Mac lacks good games at all. It just lacks new titles released in a timely manner.

    Also, I look at my Mac systems much like I would any other tools. When you want to screw in a phillips screw, nothing beats a good phillips screwdriver. You might get the job done with a slotted one, but it won't be the best option. By the same token, your hammer is great for hammering in nails, but probably useless on those screws. One of the big "plusses" I saw to the Mac was its video editing ability. I bought a Sony camcorder before I owned a Mac, and working with DV video on my PC was typically an exercise in frustration. "Movie Maker" included with XP was basically a joke. (How do you make a DVD from that app, natively, anyway?) 3rd. parts apps like Pinnacle Studio had promise, but crashed all the time and required loads of update patches. On my G5, video editing is truly enjoyable by comparison. The included apps are quite usable, and even impressive with $99 or so spent on good add-on packs to add new transitions and effects. If you want to get more serious, you can do simply awesome things for $299 with Apple Motion, or Final Cut Express. No searching for hard-to-find device drivers to make the camcorder work either. Just plug it into a firewire port and it's ready! On the other hand, if I was doing CAD design, I'd probably feel forced to dump my Mac and fire up the PC - since AutoDesk doesn't seem to make a single Mac native application!
  • gdbje - Friday, October 08, 2004 - link

    Overall a great artile and probably one of the best I have ever read coming from a windows user. The only things that I wish the author would have touched on is the lack of spyware and adware on a OS X machine. Also the fact that you don't have to worry about get a virus on the OS X platform. I really enjoy the fact that I can click on every piece of junk mail that I get and never have to worry about what will happen. Reply
  • addragyn - Friday, October 08, 2004 - link

    RE: Safari's Speed

    There is a delay built into the browser.

    You can reduce it -

    David Hyatt is a Safari developer @ Apple, he covered this on his blog -
  • Zak - Friday, October 08, 2004 - link

    The biggest problem with the article I sa so far is overlooking the iApps. Also, the apps equivalents are not correct. Entourage is Outlook counterpart and there is Acrobat Reader for OSX as well. Other than that it's a good article, but it's clear that Anand missed some things and got some others wrong, like the mentioned mouse cable, etc.

  • azkman - Friday, October 08, 2004 - link

    This was a very good editorial/experience piece. Compared to other articles by Windows-users trying Macs, it was very open-minded. However, I have to agree with some of the earlier posters. The hardware used was dated, and the reviewer did not mention some of the key strengths of the Mac platform.

    It seems to me that Windows-users are fixated on certain characteristics and define a computer by MHz, framerate, etc, and this came out to a certain degree in the review. The author readily admits that he is used to writing hardware pieces for this type of audience, and again, I applaud him for his open-mindedness.

    Here is some information for posters and readers who want to learn more about Apple's computers and understand the overall value equation:

    price -
    performance -
    proof -,1759,1369037,

    Applications & tools included in the price (beyond normal MS Windows offerings):
    video conferencing (high quality, easy to set-up, easy to use)
    music creation
    jukebox / music management / cd burning
    photo management
    movie editing
    dvd authoring & burning
    all-purpose search tool
    PDF export from any printable page
    font management
    full development environment (c, c++, objective c, java, scripting...)
    full unix shell, w/ x11

    Yes, I know a few of these applications are included with Windows, but I work in a tech-savvy Windows-dominant company and none of my co-workers use the bundled programs. In fact, most of them don't video conference or edit videos.

    Anyway, the Mac is really an "experience" in that the traditional concept of a computer disappears and the Mac becomes an extension of what the user wants to do. That is of course unless the user wants to work specifically with Windows issues. The value of a Mac comes from its ability to empower the user to do terrific things straight out of the box without thinking about things like viruses and security while also being a supercomputer-class piece of equipment.
  • rxmz - Friday, October 08, 2004 - link

    Thanks, very good article.

    I agree with some earlier posts that the Unix aspect of Mac OS X is a big advantage over Windows. I have a company web server and mail server (with IMAP and web mail access) running on the same G4 tower that is used as a desktop (not an ideal setup, I know, but it has to suffice for now ;-). I have PostgreSQL, cvs, and Subversion installed on my PowerBook. I can ssh to the office to administer the mail or web server. The Unix foundation is a terrific aspect of the OS.

    Anand, you might want to take a look at Camino for web browsing. And if you have a chance, check out the capabilities of AppleScript; it's cool now and only going to get more accessible to non-power users when Tiger comes out.
  • mjtomlin - Friday, October 08, 2004 - link

    oops one other point to make on the GUI responsiveness ...

    OS X GUI is timed. Things happen at a constant rate based on time not on CPU speed ... a lot of bench-markers like to use the scrolling test ... to see which system is faster. This is not a vaild test, because Mac OS X times the speed. This is actually a feature of the system. The whole point of scrolling was to quickly skim through a document. If the system scrolls through the document too fast, how do you know what you're missing?

    A lot of the GUI is designed like this ... that is, someone actually thought about the purpose of the feature and made sure it remained useful.

    To get to the end of a document, just drag the scroll bar down to the bottom or press the "end" key on the keyboard ... you'll be there in less than a second, that was those were designed for.
  • mjtomlin - Friday, October 08, 2004 - link

    A couple of points...

    #1 - i thought it was a fairly good article. You have to remember he was not writing a definitive guide to OS X/PowerMac. This was his take on the system from a Windows user perspective. There is obviously going to be a lot of details left out and many misunderstood "features"

    #2 - poster #60 regarding patching security issues... Apple has been releasing security fixes for OS X ever since it was released. I believe we're up to a couple a month in fact. Most OS X users update their systems without incident and continue on... The biggest difference between OS X security patches and those for Windows is that all the security fixes for OS X are for issues that have NOT been exploited yet.


    But because of OS X's open source base (Darwin/BSD) most security issues are discovered before they're ever exploited. The opposite of this is true under Windows.

    #3 Dual CP's are not necessarily faster than a single CPU ... You have to remember, this is only true if the application that you're running is multi-threaded. And the OS itself is highly tuned for multi-tasking.

    The GPU in the PowerMac does the screen drawing, so it doesn't make a difference how many CPU's are in the system.

    #4 GUI responsiveness ... OS X using buffering to draw the GUI, Windows does not. This is obvious as seen under slower systems when trying to move windows around... XP will leave screen "artifacts" (garbage) ... OS X windows appear to "jerk" and "jump"

    the end.
  • shuste73 - Friday, October 08, 2004 - link

    I'm a Linux user (Slackware), and one of the biggest challenges to Linux continues to be the very people that are trying to promote it - poor, misguided zealots that reflect poorly on the entire community.

    Judging from the feedback to this article, I see that the Mac users are generally no different. It's a shame.

    I thought the article was very good, personally, from the perspective of a long-time Microsoft user-turned-Slacker.
  • indd - Friday, October 08, 2004 - link

    Although this is experiential writing I'm really surprised at the understatement of the difference between the OS's. The effort Apple has put into usability results in a very solid feel for the OS. Windows really feels very unsophisticated in comparison, especially in error handling.

    Which brings me to the fact that I'm disappointed to see the page on crashing so glossed over. Need examples of the Mac crashing to back it up! It really appeared like something was omitted here.

    Reading the article leaves me with the feeling he really loves Windows, and still brought a lot of old anti-mac feelings into the experience. I don't want to sound harsh here, just relating my reactions to the article.

    At least he tried :)
  • asimuth - Friday, October 08, 2004 - link

    One of the hardest things I have ever tried to do was explain to someone why I use a Mac and why it is a different experience. In the end the explanation always comes down to "it is the little things". Your article was the best review I have read. You had a clearly stated experiential bias and you refused to let past predjudices get in the way of a thgoughful review.

    As a softcore geek I am disappointed that my platform of choice did not knock it out of the ballpark for you. Having said that, I think your criticisms are very valid. I will certainly want to refer people to this article to give them some idea of why I'm a Mac user.

    In my working life I am the development manager for a small software company - windows only. You cannot imagine how frustrating it is to be without the small thoughtful additions that make my OSX experience.

    : )
  • BopTop - Friday, October 08, 2004 - link

    Great article, I haven't touched an apple computer since the powerpc days.
    An article like this will always have detractors, that apple hardware and pc hardware weren't comparable, dual cpu or single, etc. All I can say is re-read the first page - this wasn't to compare hardware, or really software. It was to compare the "experience" of using a system that has a different work method.
    That's exactly what the article did, and did it excellently.
  • jjf - Friday, October 08, 2004 - link

    I've always had multiple computers on my desk, be they PC, Mac, Amiga, SGI or Linux. I've been using dual CPU machines for years. The extra horsepower matters on any platform. I have both MacOS 9 and OS X on my dual G4 450. I'm in 9 most of the time because I haven't been ready to spend the money to upgrade all my Adobe apps to OS X versions. Setting up this dual G5 induced some serious lust.
    OS X is really amazing. I recently migrated a PC user to a dual G5 system - fresh from Apple. If this slick system doesn't make you feel like you're living in the future, I don't know what will. His 20" display is killer. The hard disk was fast, so fast that I was sure he'd bought a RAID. But no, it was just ATA.
    To migrate his email, I installed Eudora and imported all his Outlook Express, moved the mbox files to the Mac, then used "Eudora Mailbox Cleaner" to import the mboxes into, then imported all that into Entourage. He wanted Outlook-like features. Worked like a champ, nested folders, attachments and all. Importing his 7,000+ photos was a snap in iPhoto. No glitches in moving all his Word documents. Alas, there's no Access for Mac.
    Another aspect not mentioned in this article is the tremendous amount of software that has been easily ported from Linux to OS X. The Mac market is no longer dependent on its own freeware community. If an MacOS 9 partition is available, OS X can run old apps. With emulators, you can pretend you're a PC. And there's no mention of how nicely scriptable most apps are. It's like the old days of Amiga ARexx, your scripts can ask apps to do almost anything. Then there's .Mac, Apple's for-pay web service that syncs your email, calendar and address book to a web or other devices.
  • T8000 - Friday, October 08, 2004 - link

    It is difficult to compare speed for mac versus pc, as the mac just feels slower. I also had several macs when they where still beige (or black) and according to this review, that experience still stands.

    When you actually do video editing or other heavy usage, the mac will not loose much speed, but since hyperthreading was introduced, pc's also keep their responsiveness under load.

    Also, since macs only come in cute design, lots of male professionals would not want to be seen behind one. A black mac could cure this, but those have not been build for at least 5 years.

    15 years ago, when the first Powerbook was introduced, Apple was ahead of its time, but today, I would say the mac can be great for first time users and for loyal Apple users, however it is just not ready for the average user anymore.
  • toocoolracing - Friday, October 08, 2004 - link

    Hi I enjoyed your article from a PC users perspective. I would consider myself an intermediate Mac user and don't really use PC's other than as required at work. Though I sometimes "fix" friends and relatives PC issues. There's more similarities than differences.

    I thought you did a nice job with the article and did a nice comparison. It can't be easy to switch to a foreign platform and delve in to it as deeply as you did with what seemed to be a pretty open mind. I love the Mac and wouldn't relish the idea of delving into Windows or Linux. I'm not a tech head, but not a novice either. Nice job and I appreciate your compliments of the Mac.
  • srain315 - Friday, October 08, 2004 - link

    I was very surprised to hear IE rated over Firefox. In my experience, Firefox blows IE out of the water! (Not just tabs, also extensions and Speed.)

    Some Googling showed me that a fast fox is a hit-or-miss proposition. For those experiencing a slow fox, I found the following link to help you tweak it:

    Don't forget that you can type "about:config" in the address bar to change Firefox variables.

    Best of luck!
  • vedin - Friday, October 08, 2004 - link

    I have only one question. Outside of some really serious Photoshop effects, and some enconding..what's the purpose of having a dual 2.5ghz G5 if you don't use it primarily for gaming? Perhaps you spend 4 hours a day encoding and such? If so, why are you using a desktop? It just..seems odd to me to have that much power for a mundane computer. There again, I wouldn't spend more than 1500 dollars on an outragiously fast gaming machine. But I don't do encoding, I don't own Photoshop, and if I did, I wouldn't spend much time doing much with either. Reply
  • FinalFantasy - Friday, October 08, 2004 - link

    Everyone...remember...this article was written from a non-Mac users point of view for the everyday PC people! This article was not written to be 110% correct or to please Mac people. It was written to relate to people like me who could give a squat about a Mac, but sometimes wonder "what the hell is the purpose of one of those machines?".

    Here's a simple solution to all of this guys and gals...

    Mac people stick to Mac's...

    and PC people stick to PC's

    A person who was born and raised on a PC is not going to get the purpose a of Mac. Personally I see no use for them. From seeing a friend who has a Mac and hearing her stories about it and from my knowledge of them (I'll admit, it's limited...I'm not like "Crazy" Cindy...j/k) They:

    1) Are overpriced
    2) Not nearly as easy to upgrade
    4) Did I say overpriced? (Price:Performance ratio is way better on a PC)
    5) Are not compatible with a lot of softwares, hardware etc (The M$ Office for Mac works like crap)

    My friends husbands Mac just got a trojan horse the other day...when more people start writing viruses, OS exploits and such for the Mac platform and the Mac's security is severly comprimised (remember security is one of the biggest draws of the Mac) no one is going to want to buy one. Period. MAC IS NOT GOING TO KNOW WHAT TO DO WHEN THEY ARE GOING TO HAVE TO START PACTHING THEIR OS BECAUSE SOMEONE ACTUALLY TOOK THE TIME TO FIND AN EXPLOIT IN THEIR SYSTEM. Macs are so useless that no one even wants to sit down and write a virus or trojan for it really.

    The only thing Macs are good for is making money and keeping it in their hands, where as with a PC it made for the "people"/users who can goto or Fry's or BB (if you will) and upgrade their system and buy parts from pratically from any company! Any upgrades done with a Mac are done through Mac giving you a very limited selection.

    That's just my 2 cents...

    Flame away.
  • vedin - Friday, October 08, 2004 - link

  • Cygni - Friday, October 08, 2004 - link

    Ive got a 15in G4 Powerbook with Panther as my primary laptop. All of my other computers have some form of Windows or Linux on them, and most of them a combo. Ive used both Apple's and PC's for years, starting with an Apple II.

    IMHO, OS X was a huge leap forward for Apple, and the G5 also seems to be a big step in the right direction. But that doesnt mean that it is anywhere near flawless. There are some primary problems with it: the handling of files, folders, and programs is simply not intutive to me, just as Anand pointed out. Things seem really disorganized at times. There are 2 other complaints I have with MacOS X, and they are the classis complaints against MacOS. 1) Programs dont close when you close their window, and often stay running without you knowing. This has KIND OF been fixed in OS X, but it can still be difficult to tell. 2) WHERE ARE MY OPTIONS MENUS? Im not talking about the way the OS looks or handles, im talking about for programs and hardware and the like. If anyone has attempted to make a mixed Mac OS / XP or Mac OS / Linux network (especially wireless), you probably know what im saying here.

    In the end, XP has tons of problems. Just as many as MacOS. MacOS has some things that it really shines doing, but it also has some problems. XP handles lots of stuff well, but also has some problems. In the end, both just seem to be copying each other back and forth, so its probably going to a neutral middle ground soon anyway, heh.

    By the way... some Mac people like to point some things out which are urban legend bs.

    One) "Windows is nothing but a copy of MacOS." Actually, MacOS is nothing but a snatch of original work done by Xerox, with a dash of OS/2 and Amiga, and even some cross polenation with Win. Windows is a combo of the exact same stuff. Different interpretations of the same semi-stolen matterial. Nobody is "morally" higher here.
    Two) "Macs are somehow better at graphical editing/music recording." Time to lay that to rest. It was a gap in software thats now gone.
    Three) "My Mac can do anything your PC can do." Seriously, its a myth. My XP cant do everything Linux can do. So what, no OS is perfect.
    Four) "OS X is more stable than XP." My PowerBook has just about the same number of crashes as my XP computers... not very often.
  • jjf - Friday, October 08, 2004 - link

  • abEeyore - Friday, October 08, 2004 - link

    He said it at the beginning of the article, he's a Windows user. If you are choosing between OS X and Windows, it can be a tough choice. x86 is cheap, and reliable, and XP is a usable OS.

    I'm a *nix user though, and I will never, ever go back to Windows (except for games).

    Trying to get any kind of work done in Windows is agonizing. To get anything at all done I either have to contend with PuTTY (ugh!) or install CYGWIN or VM-Ware and Linux.

    OSX is FreeBSD with a pretty face. It's binary paths are slightly non-standard (as are everyones), and the old StartUpItem sytax was clunky, but in general, the only truly evil thing about it was NetInfo - which they are killing off... but then I don't like Solaris either.

    As far as Safari, it has caching issues. Rendering speed improved dramatically as soon as I disable caching, but your average user would never have found that.

    I can sympathize with his perceived disconnect from the file system, mostly because I now feel that way about windows.

    The byzantine maze of the registry with it's 10's of thousands of keys of questionable value, and the file system's seemingly non-existent organizational structure, and genuinely non-existent GUI independent index.

    Apple has always targeted low-skill users, and that has lead to its polished interface. It now has SERIOUS power behind too, and that is it's most compelling aspect (for me).

    The article was good, for what it is, but passed over much of the best that OSX has to offer. It's networking, both over and under the skin is far more robust than windows (mostly thanks to *nix), background services are nearly bulletproof, and BASH and applescript provide an incredibly powerful and flexible scripting without the terrifying security holes in VB Script.

    To be fair, the entry level skills for these features are NOT low, but like vi, or emacs, there is just no way to go back once you get there...and OS X does a very good job of managing that complexity but letting you grow into those features if you want to - or letting you ignore them without leaving the OS feeling crippled.

    Mac v. Windows is a deeply religious debate. In the final analysis, we like what we know, and changing platforms is hard no matter which way you go, because the fundamental assumptions change.

    Unless you are a die hard Windows power user, with no Linux leanings at all, I'd recommend giving OS X a look. G5's won't change the world, but they are quick, and the architecture has a solid map for future growh, even without the PPC-980 on the hoizon.

    If you want to hedge your bets, spring for an ibook, or a PowerBook. All of their new ones are respectably fast, if a little light on factory RAM, look good, have great battery life, and they hold their value amazingly well if you decide you dont like them.

    My .02
  • brichpmr - Friday, October 08, 2004 - link

    #53, I can't prove or disprove your statements; but the bottom line for me as a dual platform user, is that OSX is a very cool computing environment that gets better with every point release; it's very stable, malware free (so far) and lets a bunch of us earn a handsome income, even in a Windows-dominated a workhorse machine, the numbers become secondary to a user's productivity...the Mac is very productivity-friendly. I won't even mention how much fun it is to run F1 Championship Season in 1280 by 1024 with a nice Logitech force-feed wheel...whoever thinks the Mac can't play good games needs to re-think! Reply
  • gherald - Friday, October 08, 2004 - link

    To #48 who says: "If a lot of PC users would open their minds and try using a Mac for 30 days: they would appreciate what us mac users like about the platform."

    My answer is: The usefulness of this article is that we don't HAVE to spend time and money doing that. We get to read about someone else doing it -- someone who's opinion we trust.

    This is the most fair minded Mac review I have ever seen. Kudos to Anand for giving us insights on a platform that is too expensive for most of us to afford to try out on our own.

    The $3000 price tag is interesting. I recently built 2 AMD64 machines for somewhat less money: A 3400 for windows, and a 3200 for Linux. There is no doubt in my mind that this was the best value, especially since I play a number of windows-only games but prefer Linux for everything else. I don't think the Mac even comes close to beating the power, compatibility, and flexibility of such an approach, at least for my purposes.
  • skiboysteve - Friday, October 08, 2004 - link

    cindy are you kidding me?

    ALl it takes is one air cooled 2.4ghz Athlon64 to match a DUAL WATER COOLED 2.5ghz G5.

    Not to mention a single air cooled 2.4 A64 is cheaper.

    And that barefeats article is so laughable, one of the shadiest configurations of hardware i've ever seen... not trustable at all.

    I dont have the info in front of me, but there was a G5 bench mark from an actual hardware website worth something and the G5 got smoked on single proc. and only matched with dual.

    And where the hell did you pull the PPC970 does more ops per clcok than an Athlon64 info? It has a 16 stage integer pipe, gee, hmm, thats 25% more than an athlon64. Now I know your going to say it can have 200 operations in flight, but... "So while the 970 may be theoretically able to accommodate a whopping 200 instructions in varying stages of fetch, decode, execution and completion, the reality is probably that under most circumstances a decent number of its valuable execution slots will be empty on any given cycle due to dispatch, scheduling, and completion limitations."

    The problem with the PPC970 is its long pipe wide execution scheme would be good but it doesnt have enough resources to fill the wide ass pipe and all the execution units, which is exactly as expected becasue its a cut power4 chip. "The 970's integer hardware was designed to deliver 64-bit integer performance, and it was also designed with the ridiculously large caches of the Power4 in mind. When it you decrease the cache sizes to desktop computing levels and run 32-bit code on it, it starts to look less impressive next to the P4."

    Your "facts" are terribly flawed and I just had to post about this because somehow no one else did.

    The PPC970 is the best chip the Mac has ever had, but its clock is not high enough, its too hot, and its operations per clock are no where near the G4, and behind the A64.


    I realize this probably comes off as a massive PC-bias attack on you, but honestly, get your facts straight before you start praising the great PPC970 chip on a HARDWARE website, where people KNOW whats up.
  • Sakamura - Friday, October 08, 2004 - link

    1st post. Mac user. Reader of AnandTech for a long time for PC needs and other cross-platform niceness.

    For the few answers I can provide that aren't already addressed in the 5x messages prior to mine:

    - Applications are "packages" like explained. Some do use the Library to install ... And some ask for a admin password to add their kext in the system library. It all depends on the app.
    - Caching is indeed very optimized. Still no Ext4 but very optimized. Thanks to BSD base.
    - Search engine is not cached. It's a system service that allows you to sort and classify any sort of data. That's the same sorting algorithm that determines if a mail is spam or not. This is also used in file search, text search, dictionary and whatnot.
    - User interface is not meant to be snappy. Strangely enough, I have almost the same user interface speed on my G3/400 than on a G5. But then, the actual work does slow down to a crawl when doing processor intensive tasks. Alas, today, this means Mail, Safari, Quicktime. But nonetheless other than the actual "work" being done on something, the interface remains decently fast all the time.

    Great article, nice points.
    Have a nice day
  • CU - Friday, October 08, 2004 - link

    You can run X11 and all the open source stuff on Windows to. You just install cygwin. Don't some dist. offer running linux inside windows also. Reply
  • jecastej - Friday, October 08, 2004 - link

    44 - "price to performance" is perfect if you need to justify a purchase to your office or IT department. Which maybe is the 98% of the cases.

    It may look like luxury but sometimes is necessary to value other human needs. Business creative environments benefit from aesthetics. Apple's software/hardware provides an alternative at a reasonable price to performance ratio. Won't kill to have this option.
  • punko - Friday, October 08, 2004 - link


    And I thought Coke vs. Pepsi was bad.

    All I can say is that as a computer user from way back (punch cards and PDP-11's anyone?) I have never owned or used a Mac (other than to print false birth certificates in high school to go to bars) but I have occasionally wondered what it would be like to have one.

    Anand has a better understanding of the total breadth of the PC environment, and so is a perfect lens with which to view the Mac world from a PC user perspective.

    All the bile and venom swishing around here in the comment trenches isn't worth worrying about.

    Great article Anand. I know more is coming down the pipeline concerning the Macs; and even though I am dreaming of a AMD64 upgrade, I will read and consider the informed opinion of a knowledgable computer user.


  • rvirmani - Friday, October 08, 2004 - link

    About as objective an article as you can expect from a hard core PC user (who makes most of his income from the PC World).

    I switched to the Mac 2 years ago, and went through the adjustment.

    I think the key thing I want to point out is:
    1) less irritation on a day to day basis
    2) My system has never crashed ( although I do fix the "permissions" on a weekly basis using the built in disk utility

    3) The other benefits of the mac are the iapps (Which Anand did not get around to looking at)

    4) I use a Power Mac G4 with 2 Gig of Ram and it is plenty fast for day to day things like MS Office and Web research.

    I think the "performance" mentality of many PC enthusiasts is really the biggest barrier (I like not worrying or thinking about the hardware too much).

    5) OSX is much better at multi-tasking - even on a single processor machine.

    If a lot of PC users would open their minds and try using a Mac for 30 days: they would appreciate what us mac users like about the platform.

    A good start for Anand, and I look forward to more explorations of the Mac platform.

  • sprockkets - Friday, October 08, 2004 - link

    err... that was 256MB of memory with 233MB used due to a shared SiS740 chipset in my Shuttle system and 165MB in swap, was running transcode and a few other smiple apps, such as Konqueror. Reply
  • sprockkets - Friday, October 08, 2004 - link

    I find that browsing is fastest with Opera on any platform, yet it was almost as fast with IE and Firefox on a new install of Windows XP home. I only put 256MB of RAM in it yet it boots and runs applications quite nicely. I notice the delays in web pages when using FireFox in Linux, though I could care less (has 256MB too with.

    The bottom line is, you shouldn't have to use 1GB to 2 or even 4 GB of ram just to get a nice response time. That and dual 2.0GHZ is still available. That and browsing and multitasking shouldn't require DUAL 3.0GHZ PPC processors.

    Another point, if Mac OSX was made for an X86 processor, I would buy it. But since it isn't, and SuSE 9.1 is free anyhow, with just as customizeable KDE or GNOME desktops, not to mention light and fast IceWM desktop, why bother.

    Off topic, but doesn't Windows NT5 varients shut down after 45 days of uptime?
  • vroem - Friday, October 08, 2004 - link

    "Well, to install an application, you simply drag the application's installer to any folder on your hard drive and it's "installed". Doing so actually triggers a number of files to be copied to various places on your drive, but the fact that you are separated from that process, it really made me feel like I wasn't in control of my system."

    You are thinking to much!
    The thing you copy to your disk is the application not an 'installer'. Nothing happens in the background.

    For the windows users: in OS X an application is a "package". For the user it's a file, for the system it's a directory that contains everything to run like dylibs (mac-dlls).

    The application package is not supposed to change. Settings are ONLY created in the right folder in 'Library' in the users home folder. Deleting the relevant settings file resets the program's settings to the defaults.
  • Kishkumen - Friday, October 08, 2004 - link

    #34 - The phrase of the day is "price to performance" ratio. In fact #35 has some good information on the performance part of the equation. has some good information for the price part of the equation. Look into it. A single Pentium 4 or Athlon 64 seems to perform quite well compared to dual 2.5 PPCs, but you're right, it's not about MHz. Perhaps I should say that Apple uses dual PPCs out of necessity due to IBM's inability to scale performance sufficientely per single PPC chip. In other words, if that's not clear enough, dual Xeon and Opterons are unnecessary for your typical x86 based workstation. Thus, better "price to performance" ratio. Now if you start beating us over the head again with this or that benchmark that the PPC "wins", again, don't forget the price part.

    Now, we have been going back and forth with the CPUs of the different platforms. We haven't even discussed video cards, hard drive performance/cost, cost of proprietary cables, etc. Say it again with me now, just so you don't forget what the argument is about..."price to performance".
  • cosmotic - Friday, October 08, 2004 - link

    37: Moving windows on a Mac is much faster than windows since its all in the GPU. Did you mean resizing?

    38: I all those third party themes (and defualt windows theme) look like crap. They are all afterthoughts. And sorry I cant spell. And as for my feelings, using a G4 400 makes me feel better than using an athlonxp 2500+...

    If your looking for a responsive UI, get BeOS. If your looking for smooth pretty UI, try MacOSX's tripple buffered glory.
  • Boonesmi - Friday, October 08, 2004 - link

    ive used a couple g5's in the last several months. i wasnt disapointed with them at all. but if i had $3000 to waste on a new toy, no way would it be a new g5.

    my main rig is a dual opteron (less then half the cost of a new G5 to put it together) and when switching back and forth between the systems its clear to me that the dual opteron is superior (and not by a small margin)

    granted the apps i run and the work i do arent the same as everyone else... im sure there are situations where a G5 would be better
  • darthlupin - Friday, October 08, 2004 - link

    The one thing that has been missing from the article, and mostly glossed over in the comments is how Mac OS X is really a *nix with a great front end. If you install the "Developer Tools" (which comes with OS X on a separate CD and can also be downloaded), you then have access to GNU tools such as make and gcc, and Perl(though that may be native,) as well as XCode which has plenty of advanced features. That means that you now have access to almost every open source project out there. I guess Anand isn't into that kind of stuff, but any Linux user should appreciate it immediately.

    Once you really get to know it, and I don't mean getting to know Finder / Aqua, but the whole package, OS X really makes Windows look like a toy. (Without meaning any offence to the diehard Windows fans.) Talking about keyboard shortcuts on Mac OS X for 17 pages, (though I do appreciate them highly,) is like talking about the automatic coffe cup holder and reclining leather seats on your Abrams tank. I.e. that's not to say that they don't deserve mention, just that they don't scratch the surface of what you can do with it.

    If you're a Linux person, it's a very short hop to switch to OS X, (a fully functioning X11 can be installed separately,) and the laptops aren't nearly as expensive, (though still much more expensive than the equivalent Dell.)
  • Micah - Friday, October 08, 2004 - link

    I have found that upgrading and maintaining my girlfriend's Mac and getting things (especially hardware) working requires spending 1 of 2 things:

    1) Lots of $$! If you want a part, then Apple surely makes it. It will definitely look cool and work perfectly, but it will also cost 2-4x as much as the equivalent x86 part. Just look at Airport & Airport Extreme base-stations versus a Netgear or Linksys 802.11 wireless router.

    2) Lots of time! In this way, the Mac seems to me a lot like Linux. I think a lot of 3rd party hardware out there works with Mac. Their towers come with PCI slots, for example. However, you still have to find the correct drivers or determine if the drivers are already built-in.

    Just recently we went wireless in our apartment. I had to find a wireless PCI card based on a specific chipset for her Mac. Just like most Anandtech readers, I'm used to calling places and asking them to read product serial numbers to me to make sure that I get just the right model/revision/color/batch/stepping/whatever. However, that's usually a case of performance perfectionism. With the Mac, it was a case of getting the right chipset/revision/firmware or it just doesn't work, period. The only other time I've had to worry about that was with Linux.

    So, I guess that my experiences with upgrading and maintaining the Mac have really soured me on it. Moreover, it has soured my girlfriend on them. She is really tired of having to do lots of research in order to find a non-Apple (read: affordable) piece of hardware that works with her Mac. She wants to be able to pick a box off the shelf at Best Buy and just be ready to go.

    Mac promises ease-of-use, and it truly delivers...if you're willing to pay the big bucks.
  • offtangent - Friday, October 08, 2004 - link

    Flamers ... bear in mind that he did buy this machine, so I dont see why he cant complain about it, if he chooses to.

    As for the barefeats article, demonstrating how the latest 2.5GHz dual-G5s beat the Opterons & Xeons that were released last year is hardly any feat!
  • L1FE - Friday, October 08, 2004 - link

    For bob's sake people, it's not a benchmarking comparison but an editorial on his experience with the OS. And #33 how about you benchmark your "FEAL"ings on Mac since you obviously cared about that from your original complaint. And then you go on to say that it looks better than on a Windows machine when there are so many mods (win blinds) that look just as polished OSX. If I had an unlimited amount of cash, I'd buy a MAC. Until then I'll stick with my cheap PC and upgrade according to my needs. Nice editorial btw.

    P.S. It's FEEL. If you're going to emphasize it, at least spell it correctly.
  • CindyRodriguez - Friday, October 08, 2004 - link

    as for sluggish interfaces and choppy windows resizes... my Athlon 3000+ OC'ed with a Radeon 9800Pro isn't smooth as silk when resizing windows. I think overall, the interface of Windows IS more responsive than OS X but I think boasting that windows takes a half or quarter second less to do something is worth squat at the end of the day.
    Now Fedora Core 2.. on my Athlon, that's how I want OS X to respond.. but i prefer microkernels over monolithic kernels from an architectural standpoint.. and X is dog slow for stuff like moveing windows.

    Also, as for OS X's sluggishness, remember that it's a display PDF interface. You can print ANYTHING out to PDF. You get real alpha channels. You get WYSIWYG output on postscript printers. it may not be as snappy as other OSes but there is a lot of value that replaces those fractions of a second.

    My one big (major) complaint about the Finder is that it is WAY too slow when you are browsing remote AFP directories (or other network volumes, but AFP stands out).. especially over slow links. I'd like to see the Finder recognize slow links and simply list the files/dirs.. and then maybe download custom icons in the background.
  • CU - Friday, October 08, 2004 - link

    OS 9 did not support preemptive mult threading. I think that is what caused multi-tasking to be so slow on OS9. I have used OS9 and it is not something I won't to repeat. I use OSX at work and while it is way better than OX9, I still like XP better. The dock is nothing special. Win98 maybe even 95 I cannot remeber has the quick launch bar that can be put on every side of the screen. You can even have more than one. It will also auto hide. The dock did not impress me but it is so needed for OSX since it lacks any other way to get to application easily. Using Expose to get to your HD and then clicking through folders to get to the application you want to run is so Windows 3.1. The start menu in windows seems to be the best solution so far if you use lots of application. I have also noticed the scrolling issue in Safari that he mentioned. It is very bad on my Powerbook 1.25ghz 1gig of ram. I don't understand how you can have problems having lots of windows open in XP and not OSX. XP can group all like windows together in the taskbar and you can increase the size of the taskbar to have the screen if needed (not very usefull though). It also puts arrows on the side of it so you can view more windows that are open. In OSX the dock just starts getting way to small since that is where your App shortcuts are at also. The dock is already not large enough to hold all the shortcuts I need. Command-H doesn't always help because that hides the app and not just the current window. My Powerbook also crashes more than my PC at home but not by much. But I overclock everything in my PC and run games on it. Anyway it was good read. Reply
  • jecastej - Friday, October 08, 2004 - link

    Sorry, they updated the review with G5 2.5, dual Xeon and dual opteron. New path:
  • CindyRodriguez - Friday, October 08, 2004 - link

    I'm not looking for Anand to praise the Mac, I'm looking for a good article and sorry, i'm not seeing it. If Anand lauded praise on the Mac and got all the details about the machine and the OS wrong, I'd be complaining about that too.

    This is an experience piece, but as I said, I'd have appreciated it much more if would wrote it as a newbie then actually learned about it to comment out the junk.

    #27 Your explanation for why Apple is "forced" to make dual machines is laughable. It's merely a matter of MHz? The PPC 970 is shipping at 2.5 GHz while the Athlon64/Opteron is shipping at 2.4 GHz. AMD has Apple/ibm beat on memory performance but a 970 can perform more operations per clock than a *hammer core. They are both good chips.
    Not only that, Apple initally released the line with two single processor models and one dual, then they moved to two duals, then they moved all dual as they speed bumped 25%.
    The reality is more along the lines of.. the machine is designed for dual cpus so the cost of nearly doubling performance is minimal compared to a PC where you need a lower volume dual board with a potentially different chipset and dual ram banks for opterons.

    #22 You brought up an excellent point. With the release of 10.3, the official gcc tree had NO optimizations for the PPC 970. The IBM Design lead for the 970 told arstechnica that they modified gcc to optomize the G5 a bit like a Power4 and a bit like a G4 because it shared characteristics of both chips, but it was more different than just the amalgam of them.
    Current OS X software is horribly under-optomized for the G5. Our researchers have been using IBMs xlc and xlf compilers with real PPC 970 and G5 support and his code is way faster than gcc code. Initially they were seeing an average speed up of 30-40 percent but he recently told us that some code is running twice as fast.
  • cosmotic - Friday, October 08, 2004 - link

    You didn't compare things like ... benchmarks to the speed of a PC... Granted the Mac *feals* sluggish, look at benchmarks and real-world preeformance of things like PS Filters, rendering, etc.

    Also, your forgetting that Mac's come with Firewire 800, optical audio in/out, etc. PC Workstatioins don't come with this.

    As for OS Sluggishness, Many times Apple traded performance for smoothness. How often do you resize a window or minimize or whatever and theres a redraw issue on a PC... ALL THE TIME. Not so on a mac. All windows are stored in VRAM and thats where windows draw to then are compositited. On Windows, when a window needs to be redrawn because its now visble, the OS asks the app to draw, which is far less "smooth" than on a mac. Also, compare the text on a Mac to text on a PC. The text looks a LOT better on a Mac.

    Much of the greatness of using a mac is the overall feal. Anand, how does it FEAL to use a mac over a long period of time? You dont get fustrated, things dont get corrupted, you dont need to reinstall, etc. It may not be as snappy on a clean install, but a Mac's performance doesnt degrade like a Windows machine.

  • jecastej - Friday, October 08, 2004 - link

    Now the top of the line G5 2.5 ghz comes with the Radeon 9600 XT with 128 mb.

    And this site (barefeats) provides some informal benchmarks comparing the G5 2.0 with a dual opteron 2.0, price too.
  • Yeah - Friday, October 08, 2004 - link

    One thing that made me laugh a bit after reading the first part was how Anand mentioned how he was an old DOS guru but then went so far as to say that: I quote

    It is somewhat ironic that I would praise Apple for the multi-tasking capabilities built into OS X, given that the Mac OS trailed Windows in its support for preemptive multi-tasking.

    I remember working at Babbages when the first version of 'multitasking for DOS' came from a company called Quarterdeck the same people who develloped emm386 (extended memory manager for pc's and DOS) I think the name of it was DOS X windows or something like that. The reason that Microsoft came out with windows (which I also remember when it first came out after DOS 6.62). Was because the MAC system was Already Capable of running multiple programs at once and soon after, Microsoft Acquired Quaterdeck and Windows was borne. How could Anand forget that part of history? I am a PC user not a Mac user and even I know that MAC lead the multitasking industry.
  • manno - Friday, October 08, 2004 - link

    CindyRodriguez, thanks for elaborating on the program installs.

    Anand and thanks for the awesome review. I'm a die-hard cheap bastard. That's a non-biased die hard cheap bastard mind you. I still use a win 2k equipped Pentium 3 700. I'm sure I'll upgrade some day and this article is going to be the reason while I'll even consider making my next system a Mac.

    As for the people flaming the review out there I think you need to realize that he's taking the perspective of an independent reviewer, not the perspective of Apple's/Microsoft's marketing department. The purpose of the review wasn't to slam, or praise the system. (While you may have been hoping that's what it did, to justify your close minded view of the world) It was to give you an assessment of what it is to use a Mac from a PC users perspective. In addition to that he's writing to a MUCH savvier audience than most so he can take some liberty in pointing out certain caveats (like the fact that it took him time to adjust to the short cut keys in Mail) and understand that we're not going to look at them as black-marks against the system, but realize that's just him reporting the situation.

    If he had come out and told me how piss-poor the Mac was, or how Apple's Jobsian vision of the future is the new ray of hope in the computer industry, I would of probably completely ignored the article. But I found it to be a very candid review on the G5. That in it, and of itself makes it a very rare thing on the web these days., and seem to be part of a dwindling few places you can get good factual (not opinion based) reporting now-a-days. and I appreciate it.

    Again thanks for the review, it was extremely helpful.
  • MaxxPower - Friday, October 08, 2004 - link

    The 9600 shipped with the G5's are not full fledged PRO's per ATI specification. They are underclocked to just over 350 MHZ core plus they offer only half what the PC version offers in terms of VRAM. Keeping in mind that the non-pro PC versions of 9600 are clocked around 325, with at least 128 MB of ram, the 9600 shipped with the G5's are somewhere between a pro and a regular version. Reply
  • Marsumane - Friday, October 08, 2004 - link

    My god, almost all of these replies are angry, frusterated, or just totally objective mac users. Reply
  • Kishkumen - Friday, October 08, 2004 - link

    #20 - Again, what? I didn't say anything about comparing architectures. You we're arguing that PPC based workstations maintain a similar price to performance ratio for x86 workstations. That's not even close to being true. I am sure that some people do use Xeon's and Opterons for workstations, but in my experience those tend to be pretty high end and are typically used for servers such as those that powers Anandtech. It seems to me that Apple uses dual CPUs for their workstations more out of necessity to keep performance up due to an inability on the part of IBM to ramp up clock speed. Don't get me wrong, I'm a big fan of the Power PC architecture, but your equivalent price to performance argument of the two platforms is flawed. Reply
  • brichpmr - Friday, October 08, 2004 - link

    I enjoyed the article, although I think Anand has just scratched the surface in terms of cool apps available for Panther. Also, I'm running a 1.33 ghz G4 tower with 1.5 gig ram and don't find Office 2004 to be slugish at all....keeping in mund that 60% of my work day is spent on a WinXP box. As others will remark, the current lack of malware on the Mac platform is a real differentiator that saves me time and money, and like many of you, my time is pretty valuable. I hope Anand will continue to explore the OSX experience and share his's great to have viable alternatives to what comes from Redmond. Reply
  • adt6247 - Friday, October 08, 2004 - link

    #20 -- This was an article about Anand's "experience", which is hard to define. It wasn't a straight apples-to-apples comparison. He was going on his perception -- the perception of a PC user.

    Frankly, I'd love to own a Mac. I could never bring myself to buy an iMac (integrated monitor == BAD), and even the dual 1.8 is out of my price range. I'm more of a Linux kinda guy myself, but what I'd like a Mac for is professional audio/video apps, like ProTools. And OSX being BSD under the hood, I'd find it much more comfortable than Windows.
  • jecastej - Friday, October 08, 2004 - link

    What I like about this article is the safe felling / deep thinking analisis. Not anybody hating anybody else because he/she picks a different flavor.

    As a Mac user who works in computer graphics who also uses a PC at work I constantly feel that the Mac is like a taboo for the PC world, and it should not be. I don't hate PCs, I just still prefer a Mac. And as a matter of fact I'm constantly reading articles in websites like Anandtech, because what I really love is technology and freedom.

    If something else came out that I liked better and I could buy it I want to be free to choose, and to change my mind at any time.

    So this is the intention of this community: That the user takes better well informed decisions.
  • jediknight - Friday, October 08, 2004 - link

    #14: Not quite..
    1) Save memory use for 20 tabs vs. 20 windows
    2) BUT, lose functionality to compare two webpages at the same time. The fact that a modal dialog in one tab stops you from switching tabs is very annoying.
    3) Without extensions, switching between tabs uses a "dumb" behaviour.

    Not to say that I don't like Firefox, but I don't find tabbed browsing to be as big a deal as some make it out to be.
  • GL - Friday, October 08, 2004 - link


    I don't think Anand is being forced to upgrade. Any level-headed Mac user understands what he means regarding performance: his system is not Snappy (TM)! There are a few specific tasks, such as resizing a window, that are just sluggish under OS X. There are 2 ways to address this issue. One is by beefing up your hardware. Another is by optimizing your software.

    OS X still has a ways to go before being fully optimized. In fact, the software is quite unoptimized which is why it can drag down a dual 2.0 GHz rig. The software code itself can be tightened up, and the compiler can be greatly improved. You have to remember that Apple uses gcc which has never been known to generate optimal PowerPC binaries, and they also use Objective-C which has not had as much attention given to it for performance improvements as other languages. 10.4 will be compiled with the newest gcc which has been tuned better to the PowerPC 970 and Objective-C.

    With respect to text rendering speed, which may be at the heart of a lot of problems such as the Safari rendering speed, apparently optimizations are in the pipeline. Perhaps someone more "in the know" can elaborate or shoot down this, but I've heard that all text is rendered as bezier paths in OS X. Moreover, Quartz2D Extreme, while accelerating bezier path drawing quite nicely, did not speed up text rendering as much as it should have given that the text was just a special case of drawing bezier paths. This performance discrepancy is supposed to be addressed in 10.4.

    Apple has consistently improved the speed of OS X by noticeable amounts with each point release. 10.3 was quite a bit faster than 10.2 which was quite a bit faster than 10.1 which was tremendously faster than 10.0. 10.4 is expected to keep up this tradition, and from what I've been told, it does address graphics rendering speed. Mind you this is speculation as I haven't used Tiger 10.4 and those that have are under NDA.

    If I were Anand, I'd wait it out. I've used the new dual 2.5. It is noticeably faster than the dual 2.0. However, it is ever so slightly wanting in the Snappiness department. I suspect a dual 3.0 would finally be Snappy. At the same time, software improvements that should appear at the time the 3.0 is introduced might mean that you don't need such brute force to be Snappy. So Anand's dual 2.0 rig might inherit the Snappiness at some point in the not-so-distant future:-)

    BTW, good job on the article Anand. With this subject, you really have to walk a fine line, and I think you did just that.
  • wilburpan - Friday, October 08, 2004 - link

    Disclaimer: I've been a huge Mac fan since back in the day that 128 MB of RAM was considered enough for anyone. Overall, I thought this article was very well balanced in terms of how a Windows oriented user would look at a Mac system. There are two issues that I do have, however:

    1. "...we know our Windows servers, and we know what hardware works best under them, and thus, once assembled and properly maintained, we had no real issues with them." Using familiarity with Windows as a reason for preferring how Windows does things is not quite a valid argument. Substitute the word "BeOS" (to pick a neutral term) for Windows in the above sentence, and you'll see what I mean. For me, I am used to having the close window button in the upper left hand corner. Saying that this is an advantage for OS X because Windows puts the close window control on the other side would be equally invalid.

    2. The issue of viruses and security is never raised. Regardless of the "security through obscurity" arguments people have raised, the fact remains that by their nature, OS X and other *nix-based OS'es are more secure than Windows. Of course, you can obtain a virus program and a firewall program and spend time maintaning those and reset the Windows defaults, but in OS X, you don't have to worry about those things. The criticism is often raised (justifiably) that Macs come underpowered, especially regarding the amount of RAM they are configured with, and complaints are made about the need to spend extra money for RAM. Why similar criticisms about the need to spend extra money for a virus program for Windows aren't similarly raised, especially since the cost of virus programs often are recurring (see Norton AntiVirus' subscription payments for virus definition updates).
  • CindyRodriguez - Friday, October 08, 2004 - link

    #16.. you've never seen a Xeon or Opteron workstation? How many dual P4 or dual Athlon64 boxes have you seen? And don't get me started on comparative performance. G5 are faster than either in some benchmarks and they are slower in others. The PPC 970 is a good chip and if you are going to make comparisons vs. comparitive x86 hardware you should be fair.
    I imagine I've not shown you any problems with the article because you don't know the subject matter. I'm in a PC/Mac support office and we're all having a good chuckle about it.

    #18.. My point isn't that it's a day outdated. My point is that Anand is doing a 1 month look back on a machine that was pulled off the market 3 months ago. My complaint is that though he acknowledges early that the machine has been rev'ed, he carries a tone through the piece that this is the latest greatest and it's not. Look at a dual 2.5 GHz G5 for $3K and compare it do a dual 2.4 GHz Opteron from a good vendor with a warranty and compare those too machines on price and performance. The Opteron will beat it in a lot of benchmarks (due to the rockin low latency mem controller) but It won't destroy the mac on price and I can still find benchmarks where the mac is faster.

    My impression of the article is, Anand didn't bother to do any research and he provides backhanded digs when he has anything nice to say. I understand that the article is the Mac from a PC users perspective, but it would have been much better if he would have written the article as the novice, then did the research and fact checked it as a journalist.
  • raulmot - Friday, October 08, 2004 - link


    You should try using the Mozilla Camino browser if you want a Mozilla based browser with the look and feel of OSX. It was built specifically for the Mac. Firefox added Mac support more as an afterthought.

    That said, I don't use a Mac and don't know what your experience would be like, but I am an avid Firefox user and understand Camino may be more what you're looking for.
  • brain29 - Friday, October 08, 2004 - link

    Of course the article is outdated. Even if he had written it yesterday it would have been outdated. Technology moves very fast nowadays. What's rediculous is that he has had his machine for however long and already you have given him reason to have to spend another 3 grand to upgrade. I know that if I spent that kind of money and found out that they upgraded my system. I'd be pissed. That's one reason I will probably never switch. I don't want to drop that cash on a rig and then be forced to do it again in 2 years. The thing that makes Mac's run so sweet, (proprietary hardware) is the thing that keeps me from gettin one. Ironic? Reply
  • GL - Friday, October 08, 2004 - link

    Calm down Cindy,

    Regarding the .app bundles, you are correct. But I suspect Anand was misled by the installation of Office 2004. In grand Microsoft tradition, they decide to play by a different set of rules. Office installs as Anand suggests. But it's the only application that I know does. The rest are .app bundles like you say.


    Here's a keyboard tip. When you get to a dialog, you typically see 3 options: Cancel, an alternate choice (glowing but not highlighted, i.e. Do Not Save), and the default choice (highlighted, i.e. Save). Escape is for Cancel. Spacebar is for the alternate choice. Return is for the default choice.
  • Kishkumen - Friday, October 08, 2004 - link

    #11 - Whoa, what? Since when is a G5 processor equivalent to a Xeon or Opteron? Anandtech is reviewing a workstation, not server.

    So far your quasi-flames have yet to convince me of one thing contrary to what Anand said in the article. In your own words you're nit-picking, not providing well-supported arguments to the contrary.
  • webchimp - Friday, October 08, 2004 - link

    When you compared multitasking performance on a Mac to a Windows PC, was the Windows PC also a dual processor machine?

    One of the major benefits of multiple processors is multitasking performance and it would be unfair to compare a single processor PC to a multi processor PC regardless of the particular CPU and OS.
  • insomn - Friday, October 08, 2004 - link

    "When writing an article (especially big NDA launches), I'd have around 20 IE windows open"

    20 IE windows = 1 firefox window.
  • CindyRodriguez - Friday, October 08, 2004 - link

    I'll try to only comment on the big stuff.
    Anand doesn't get the application install process at all. He's overthinking it way too much. Things don't have to be 'windows complicated' in OS X.

    In a drag and drop install, you aren't copying the "Application Installer" over to the hard drive. You're actually copying the Application its self over.

    Applications in OS X are actually bundles. They appear as binaries but they are actually directories with a hidden .app suffix on them. Select any OS X native App and control-click or rightclick on it. A contextual menu will pop up, select "Show Package Contents". This is the whole application.

    Contrary to what Mr. Shimpi said, there is no process were files are auto-magically copied to hidden and forbiden regions of your hard drive when you copy an application bundle from the installer disk to your hard drive. The application is entirely selfcontained so you are actually dragging everything over in one fell swoop. There is no disconnect because what you see in the install is what you get, a simple copy. OS X bundles are actually incredibly elegant ways to package applications.

    Some applications do require some additional files to be installed into the OS and this is where Anand was getting confused. Not all application installs in OS X are simple drag-drops. Many use more familiar installer shells. Some Drag and Drop installs also contain self repairing, Office is one example. Though the install is simply a copy, the application does require some files (like fonts for example) to be installed into the OS. This occurs when the application is first run, not when you copy the application over. On subsequent launches, if any of the required support files have been removed, they are reinstalled in much the same way. This is also a very nice feature.
  • Chuckles - Friday, October 08, 2004 - link

    With regard to your trouble opening folders and applications using the keyboard:
    Command-o opens whatever you have highlighted. I had never heard of Command-Shift-Down Arrow opening stuff before this.
  • CindyRodriguez - Friday, October 08, 2004 - link

    Argh.. I could only get through the first two pages before I was ready to pull my hair out.

    * The article is outdated even though it was published today. Apple rev'ed that machine in July.
    * G5s are expensive but so are similarly configured PCs. A dual opteron or dual Xeon from a real vendor with a real warranty will cost you just as much or more than the G5. I've actually spec'ed out dual G5s next to dual Xeons and dual Opterons and contrary to what Mr. Shimpi says.. do don't get "much more". Do it your self everyone.. but remember that a dual 2GHz isn't a $3K computer anymore.
    * Your overview of the Mac on page 2 is wrong. Apple didn't ship a Radeon 9600. The rev one shipped with a Radeon 9600Pro. That may seem like picking nits.. but I bet you'd consider is significant if I offered you a free 9600Pro or a free 9600 but not both.
    * Anand tells us in Page 2 to look at the specs to see how mediocre they are.. but he forgets to remind us that this computer is a Rev 1, not a rev 2.
    * Anand apparently didn't bother to look at Apple's new DVI monitors. He asserts that you loose the cable clutter cutting benefits of ADC but this isn't true. There is STILL only one cable to the DVI monitor. The cable breaks out to power/usb/dvi at the computer end.. in fact, Apple's new cable now includes firewire.
    * Once again, to pick nits.. the mouse cable on an apple mouse is short to plug into the keyboard not the monitor. Apple keyboards have always had pass through ports for the mouse.

    I'll try to trudge through the rest when I get time.. but it's pretty painful so far.
  • knutp - Friday, October 08, 2004 - link

    Sure there is a 2004 version of the Office pacage. Remember that this is a version only suited for Mac OS.
  • KutterMax - Friday, October 08, 2004 - link

    One aspect not touched on in the review is some of the other applications included with the G5, that being iMovie, iPhoto, and iDVD.

    I'm a PC user but my wife has her own G5. She does a lot of work with digital photography and video and uses these apps a ton. They seem to work really well and integrate nicely together. $3000 is a lot to justify for a machine, but certainly these apps add some value. Further, an iMac G5, which would be about half the price, would also include these same apps and provides a little more value for the money (but only a single processor).
  • ksherman - Friday, October 08, 2004 - link

    the current version of the MS Office is 2003, not 2004... But a very god article indeed... Though i dont think ill be slapping down $3000 down for anything except a down payment on a car! :) I do agree that the slow downs that exist are crazy, given such an expensive computer. The fact that over 1GB memory is practically REQUIRED is a bit of an annoyance. But thats the price for a sexy OS! Reply
  • sgd2z - Friday, October 08, 2004 - link

  • ThatGuyPSU - Friday, October 08, 2004 - link

    Thanks, Provia. I realized that after I hit Post Comment. Regardless, MS Office 2004 for the PC doesn't exist and probably won't since we're just about at the end of 2004. If anything, you'll see an MS Office 2005. Reply
  • ProviaFan - Friday, October 08, 2004 - link

    #3 - Office XP was also known as Office 2002, and that was for Windows. Reply
  • ProviaFan - Friday, October 08, 2004 - link

    Excellent article!

    One question, though... I wasn't aware of an Office 2004 being available for Windows. I presume you must be in on the beta?
  • ThatGuyPSU - Friday, October 08, 2004 - link

    You guys need to get better fact checkers. There's no such product as Microsoft Office 2004 for the PC.

    Over the past few years, PC versions have been odd numbered years while Mac versions have been even numbered years.
  • jtntwozz - Friday, October 08, 2004 - link

    hi my first post*welcome!!*

    i love this article.. i think its very well written, well done anandtech! i think its a great, unbiased article from a windows user's perspective which is very important as many of us use windows.. i would like a similar article on linux.. a guide exactly like this, excluding the hardware.. just an beginner's guide to linux.. start with the installation of a particular distro.. and exlpain some productivity programs... etc.. that would be totally kool:P
  • ksherman - Friday, October 08, 2004 - link

    Yeah, its here!! been waitin for this for a long time!! Ill let you know what i think after i read it!


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