Wednesday, March 04

Cool

A Mac That Doesn't Suck?

Note:  This isn't a Mac vs. PC rant, so much as a lament that Apple have an operating system that almost perfectly fits my needs, but runs on hardware that doesn't remotely.

New Mac range out - new Mini, new iMac, new Pro.

Mini - Finally has halfway decent graphics - Nvidia 9400M, but no dedicated video memory.  On the other hand, main memory is DDR3, so there's plenty of bandwidth, more than the CPU itself can use.  On the third hand, that means that the memory is twice as expensive as DDR2 would be.  On the fourth hand, six months ago it would have been more like four times, so maybe the time has come.

Base model is $1049 in Australia, better model $1399 for a dual-core, 2GB/320GB config, which is more than I paid for my new PC - which was a quad-core, 8GB/1.5TB system* (with a very nice and rather expensive Lian-li case and Corsair power supply).  But MacOS + iLife is a huge improvement over Vista and, well, the whole lot of nothing that comes with Vista.  iWork is a $99 add-on, which makes it cheaper than even the home edition of Office.  Overpriced hardware, but great software makes it a qualified win.

iMac - I don't want, nor do I have room for, a monitor that is permanently affixed to an unmodifiable and underpowered hardware platform.  Fail.

Pro - Nehalem Xeons, yay!  Starting price of $4,499 for a single-CPU machine, more than the old dual-CPU system, boo.  I don't think so, Apple peeps.  Also, if the specs are correct, the single-CPU system has only four memory slots, and the dual-CPU system eight - on systems with three and six memory channels, respectively.  That's something you only see on the budget range PC Nehalem motherboards, and the Mac Pro is anything but a budget item.  Fail.

But one out of three ain't bad; I might finally be picking up a Mini.  Uh-oh.  Naming time...

Update: Mac Mini?  Has to be Taiga.

* And is now a quad-core, 8GB/4.5TB system with a 1GB Radeon 4850.  Oh, and three DVD burners.

Posted by: Pixy Misa at 01:51 AM | Comments (7) | Add Comment | Trackbacks (Suck)
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1 Not to get into the whole MAC vs PC thing - or to seem too much like an Apple Fan Boy - I don't think Apple had you in mind when designing the iMac!

Posted by: Stephen Macklin at Wednesday, March 04 2009 03:54 AM (UquFN)

2 I know.  I fall somewhere between the iMac and the Mac Pro.  sad

Posted by: Pixy Misa at Wednesday, March 04 2009 09:33 AM (PiXy!)

3 US$2900 for that single-CPU "Pro" seems unreasonably expensive, even if it is a Xeon. I can't believe that the performance would justify the price.

Posted by: Steven Den Beste at Wednesday, March 04 2009 10:25 AM (+rSRq)

4 You can get an equivalent PC for half that.  Though the Mac Pro is very nicely engineered - except, that is, for the memory slot count on the new models, which was specified  by a retarded hamster.

Indeed, my three PCs put together cost me less than a single entry-level Mac Pro.

Posted by: Pixy Misa at Wednesday, March 04 2009 12:14 PM (PiXy!)

5 I've fallen into the same gap. Needing more than an Imac but wanting a Pro. But the price tag leaving me gasping either way.

The Mini is tempting. Even though I recently upgraded to a quad core box. My old Mini is in need of refreshing and the specs on the new one are pretty much just right. Finally a halfway decent video card.

Still a premium for being able to run OS X.

The amusing thing is the low end Macbook sports a firewire port where the Macbook 13s don't. Go figure ??

I'd consider a refurbed Mac Pro since its usually at a reasonable discount. Desktop machines are less likely to see a hardlife like laptops do.

Posted by: Andrew at Wednesday, March 04 2009 04:23 PM (/uGTr)

6

It's the OSX tax. Apple charges for OSX but the money that brings in doesn't come close to paying for the development cost. So they support their OS development with a surcharge on hardware, and that's why their hardware has always been relatively expensive.

And now that they're selling exactly the same hardware as everyone else, it's blatantly obvious.

Posted by: Steven Den Beste at Wednesday, March 04 2009 06:22 PM (+rSRq)

7 Every once in a while, some piece of the Mac lineup is honestly competitively priced. It generally doesn't last long, and you go back to paying a premium for the OS, the industrial design, and long-standing features like target disk mode. (and, yes, the often-inconvenient neat-freak design features like putting all the ports on one side, without enough room between USB ports to plug in anything even slightly oversized; it's like designing a house for curb appeal)

Right now, if I spec out a Windows laptop that I'd be willing to buy, it ends up costing about the same as a Mac laptop that I'd be willing to buy. Mostly because so many Windows laptop makers have such poor quality control that they make Apple's legendary "never buy a .0 version" QA look good. About the only other company I'm still willing to buy a laptop (or ten) from is Lenovo.

And I have to say it: Apple makes the most reliable Windows Vista laptops. I've been running Vista Ultimate on my MacBook since it came out, and I've never had any of the problems other people have with Vista. Apple's limited range of hardware components allowed them to provide solid driver support, which makes a huge difference for Vista.

-j

Posted by: J Greely at Wednesday, March 04 2009 10:16 PM (2XtN5)

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