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Is the Mac right for me?

by Lee Koo (ADMIN) CNET staff/forum admin / March 22, 2007 5:08 AM PDT

I've got very interested in photography to the extent that I want to use it as a source of income on the side when I retire. I have all PCs but recently got a demonstration of an iMac. I was swayed, but need to really research the differences before I spend that kind of money. I looked at a 24-inch iMac, basically set up for photography, therefore any Microsoft Office needs would not be an issue for a computer with such 'big guns'. Should I continue down this road, or focus back to a PC. I don't want to be crashing often, and the Mac guys say it won't happen (wrong people to ask). Need feed back from users to be more confident. Any guidance would be appreciated.

Submitted by: Chaz

Answer voted most helpful by our members:


To be honest about this, my PCs (there are 7 of them here) lock up or crash about once a year, and I believe that the whole idea that a quality PC is less stable than a Mac is a myth. The marketing side of me loves the ?Mac vs. PC? commercials ... they are great commercials, well done, funny, and they do a good job of selling Macs ... but they present one very simplified and dumbed down side of a situation that is not nearly so simple as the commercials portray.

So let me first make a comment on Mac vs. PC: Macs are made, entirely, by one company, on whom you are almost totally dependent for everything. They are of generally high quality, but they are also generally quite expensive. PCs are made by .... well, by everyone including your neighbor?s teenage son in the garage or on the kitchen table, and both the price and quality can vary all over the place. A kit of haphazardly matched surplus last-generation ultra-parts obtained for $89 (after two dozen rebates) from JungleAnimalDirect and assembled by a high school student who is doing this for the second time and thinks he now knows it all is not going to have the same quality as a $2,000 Dell XPS system, but they are both ?PCs?. So when we talk about the stability of a system and how often it crashes, I come back to the point that a quality PC is as good as a Mac.

Another point that is related here is that Macs now use Intel CPUs and chipsets, they use PCI, they use AGP and USB, they can actually run ... directly ... Microsoft Windows XP instead of the Mac OS. The Mac, in other words, IS a PC, just one that can use the Mac OS, which a non-Mac PC cannot. Mac hardware is, again, no more stable than quality PC hardware. Because, in fact, they are at this point pretty much the same thing, from a hardware perspective.

So let?s talk about your primary interest, digital photography. There is nothing about any PC that is hardware specific to photography. And as to software, there are tons and tons of digital photography applications available for the PC, and tons for the Mac OS as well. Of course if you are really, really serious about doing professional level photography on a computer (Mac or PC), you are probably talking about using Adobe full-version Photoshop, which is available on both platforms (and, again, the Mac can run Windows XP if you want to go that route (although the Mac may well not be the best platform for XP)).

So the real issues with Mac vs. PC are going to come down to the following items:

? If you buy a PC, you have to select a source for the PC, and all PCs are not created equal. The issue, from a quality, reliability, stability and cost perspective is not so much Mac vs. PC as PC vs. PC

? You can run XP on a Mac, but a Mac is not the optimum Windows XP platform, and switching back and forth between different OS?, while entirely possible, is a pain (Currently, you can?t officially run Vista on a Mac as far as I know, but I am certain that this will change at some point)

? While some products (including Photoshop) are available for both the Windows and the Mac platform, for the most part the two platforms have different software offerings. There is no argument that some of the Apple software for multimedia (photography and video) is very good, and you can?t run the Apple software on a PC. So if you want to use the Apple software, your decision is pretty clear. But there is a lot more software (superb, good, bad and yes, ugly) for the PC, so determining the software that you want to use is a key element in making this decision

? Unless you plan to use this computer only for your digital photography, there are probably two orders of magnitude more software, overall, for PCs vs. Macs. So keep in mind, also, the entire universe of what you will be using this computer for. Very few computers are used for only one single application.

The problems that people have with PCs come down to the fact that a typical PC system is made up of hardware and software from dozens or even hundreds of different firms, and that even with billions of PCs on the planet, the exact combination of both all of the hardware and all of the software found in any one PC is probably completely unique. On top of that, because PCs running Windows are 90% of the installed base of personal computers, they are the preferred target for virus and malware authors. It is the abundance and variety of both hardware and software offerings that gives PCs their versatility and low cost, but, at the same time, it?s that exact combination that also causes most of the problems that people have with PCs. You can?t have the good without the bad ... they go together. If you go with a Mac, you can avoid some of the pitfalls that exist in the PC world, but at the same time you will be avoiding a lot of the benefits as well, and precluding yourself from running most of the software that is currently being written (at least without switching operating systems and converting the Mac back into what is probably a sub-optimal PC).

In the end, however, it?s an individual choice that only the person actually using the system can really make.

Barry Watzman

Submitted by: Barry W. (CNET member Watzman)

If you have any additional advice or recommendations for Chaz, let's hear them. Click on the "Reply" link to post. Thanks!

(Note: Please keep your advice and opinions objective. We are here to help this member with your knowledge and guidance. Let's not turn this into a heated PC vs. Mac flame war. Respect each other, and keep it civil. Thank you.)
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Macs for media
by scotlandyardus / March 23, 2007 9:39 AM PDT

If nine out of ten professional photographers use Mac for editing, I think that's a pretty good recommendation. How do I know this? I'm a magazine publisher (topselling newsstand high quality publication). All of the professional photographers that we use edit on Macs. The art directors use Macs. The differences between Mac and Windows for photography: ease of use, intuitive functions, sophisticated tools, no crashes.

I used Windows in the front office for four years. After continual crashes, error messages and admonitions to send error reports to Microsoft on the myriad things that went wrong, I just switched to a duo core Mac. I'm up and running in seconds, not multiminutes, I have no more crashes and I can edit photos and videos with a sandwich, not a manual, in one hand. My MacBook Pro also has a copy of Windows XP Pro and the Parallels application for using Windows. I use it to access my office machine when I have to. I have no connection to Mac except for the money I give them when I buy a computer. It's a rather larger sum than I would wish but in the professional art and photography world, this time you really do get what you pay for.
user name:

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Switching to MAC for Photo editing and filing.
by 3john1 / March 30, 2007 9:37 AM PDT
In reply to: Macs for media

This was exactly my experience with Windows XP. After a procedure a techie at HP's India Call Center recomended for a problem I was having backing up my data that partitioned my hard drive, I bought a Mac.

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9 out of 10 ?
by PhotoMan / March 30, 2007 11:23 AM PDT
In reply to: Macs for media

I am a pro (over 30 years) photographer and was there in the "beginning" . The only reason that many (and I seriously doubt it's anywhere near 9 out of 10) photographers used Mac's (or Apple I,II, Lisa etc) and Photoshop is that those manufactures gave the products away for free to the training institutions / schools back in the "beginning". It was a fantastic marketing stratagy and cornered the graphics / printing market overnight for many years as it is always easier to upgrade than learn / purchase a new system (PC).

Please do not think that I am "bashing" Macs or Photoshop but there are less expensive alternatives out there that will do the job just as well. I have PS CS2 and Illy CS2 on my PC (yes, I have used Macs) but use them only to convert files for the "old world" printers that have not kept up with the times. All my graphics / photo work is done with Corel at a fraction of the cost of Adobe products. I, and many other professionals, have yet to find anything that can't be done in Corel that Adobe can do. Both Adobe and Corel are great programs but Corel is less than half the price of a PS and Illy combo.

In dollars and cents, you can put together a PC that is far superior in speed, memory and video to a Mac at the same price or equal to a Mac at a savings of 25%-35% (been there, done that, with top quality components). Security on a Mac is nothing to brag better or worse than a PC. It's all in the firewall, anti-virus etc where it counts. Sure there have been fewer attacks on Apple OS's...there's no real market for hackers to really bother with it BUT even that has been changing lately judging by the dozens and dozens of security patches and updates lately.

If someone gave me a top notch Mac, I'd use it for some work...but for the price of it and PS / Illy, I'd rather build a PC with Corel and spend the savings on new lenses for my cameras.

PS: If you do get a Mac and Photoshop, you WILL be very happy....but you might miss not having that F2.8 lens you've been drooling over.


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Reply to Chaz
by dowlingwj / March 30, 2007 4:08 PM PDT
In reply to: 9 out of 10 ?

Like you I am: retired, a lifetime photographer, attempting to sell my pictures on the net, I use Adobe photoshop CS (the first Ed), and have been using photoshop since 1998 I started with PS 4 LE that came with a Nikon scanner at that time. I have been up grading (and experiencing the pain) ever since. The suggestion to use Corel should be taken seriously since it is scary when you think about where Adobe seems to be taking the graphics industry. But the Industry can probably afford it!
I havn't ever used a Mac but have specified my last two PC's myself. I believe you need as fast a processor and as much memory as you can afford large hard drives and a good graphics card too. I use layers in photoshop and often find myself with 1Gb+ files.I like to print big pictures 90cm x 90cm etc. But if you don't want to go beyond say A3+ you can work with much smaller file sizes and still use numerous layers.
If you only want to print your pics from the last outing on the home printer then forget most of the above but may be remember, Corel or some other programme ,speed and memory.(there were a couple of good programs that came with the Canon 350D)
Cheers Bill.
P.S. I get the ocasional crash or lock up necessitating switching off at the wall too.
You may like to type photographersblue into your browser some time.

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Old School
by death2spam / April 2, 2007 6:43 AM PDT
In reply to: 9 out of 10 ?

I'm with ya Photoman..I was there as well, and clearly remember when Apple ruled the graphics world. That is when Quark and Quark xpress were the gold standard of professional publication. The reason Macs are still prevailant in the professional world, is the same reason Nikon still hold the edge in professional photography. No professional photographer is going to argue that Nikon is superior to Canon, however many have untold thousands of dollars invested in Nikon one with hefty investments in hardware and software, is about to switch. If it ain't broke..well you get the picture. And please, no flames from Nikon fan-folks.

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regarding old school Nikon vs Canon
by 163man / April 2, 2007 11:00 PM PDT
In reply to: Old School

Not to be too picky but your comments about Nikon and the pro's is correct so far as the point about not making a switch due to the investment. But it's incorrect as to who is the big guy. Canon owns the pro market right now and has for several years. Nikon is actually less expensive to own as it's trying to regain market share. As a user of both (and several other brands) Like the Mac Vs PC debate which will never end, other camera systems are great and it's really a matter of personal taste. But next time your watching pro sports, news where photographers are present or a fashion shoot pay a attention to how many cameras you can count from any one brand. Canon will be the highest. Now even though I like both, I've also gotten to use the new Sigma and Fuji, both are great camera's but as you said the market will not convert over to them even as they may be less expensive because like computer users camera users can also be snobs. A hard core Nikon user would feel very self continuous shooting at a pro event with an Olympus or a Pentax.

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Time is Money
by gmm421 / April 7, 2007 12:49 AM PDT
In reply to: 9 out of 10 ?

I'm so tired of the money argument when Apple and PCs are compared. When you consider all the time involved (e.g., making PC hardware work with Windows, protecting Windows from viruses, spyware, etc.) how much money have you saved?

Why spend so much money on equipment that doesn't work unless hours are used trying to "make it go?" If you factor in the amount of time wasted, are you really saving money with a PC? I realize there are people who enjoy customizing computers, tweaking operating systems, and breathing life into old hardware. I did. As a tech-type who finds his spare time more scarce these days, please consider the cost of all of the time you spend to "make it go" when comparing Apples to Windows, then decide if you save money by building and maintaining a PC.

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What time ?
by PhotoMan / April 8, 2007 4:03 AM PDT
In reply to: Time is Money

When your Mac opens an email, it's pre scanned for naughty no-no's like a PC (if it doesn't you are asking for problems) and scans (ie system scans) are set up to run when the computer is not being used (like when you are asleep). There's no more time lost on a PC than there is on a Mac.

When it comes to problems "making things work", Apple has posted over 2 GIGABYTES worth of updates, security and 'make it work' patches since January,07 alone ! Hardly anything to brag about since Apple is the "manufacturer" of its' own products. PC's have more compatibality "problems" because the added software and hardware comes from all over the world....not just ONE address, like Apple.

It takes just about as much work to keep Mac up'n running as a PC. No computer, PC or Mac is perfect. Routine maintenance is a necessity for anyone using one. Those who don't practice it are asking for problems and don't respect their computer's needs.

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Macs - Media; Windows - Network admin
by cameroncole / April 1, 2007 4:45 AM PDT
In reply to: Macs for media

Well spoken scotlandyardus.

I've been a long-time Mac and Windows user.

I just want to identify one point that is essential for all photographers, and graphic designers. Mac OS has the ability to perform graphic calculations on the operating system level, not just the application level. All versions of Windows up until Windows XP didn't have this ability. This is most noticeable when graphics are being re-sized by the operating system. Windows XP doesn't have this ability. OS X has a graphics engine called "Quartz Extreme" which performs all of these calculations.

The benefits for photographers are that all pictures (both created, and photographed) are defined better by the operating system (not just on the application level). This means that system processing is not controlled (or should I say stolen) completely by one application.

This was a major issue that Microsoft dealt with in the latest version of Windows (Vista - which, was pretty much released for this very reason). Vista has this ability now, but it's memory requirements make the operating system very sluggish when performing simple graphical tasks (dragging windows, "windows switcher", etc.).

Vista is a work of beauty, but still has several issues, that need to be fixed by Microsoft before I take photography to windows.

Windows does have the advantage in the gaming realm, because they use Direct X to perform pre-defined graphical calculations (as opposed to OpenGL, which is going to be obsolete), but most game ports for Mac that are written for OpenGL perform well.

Macs do crash, but not nearly as often when multi-tasking while working with media. It's a much better platform for these tasks.

Windows is excellent for System Administration (network, etc.), gaming, and other tasks that the modern world is slave to due to the fact that Microsoft has such a significant share on the market (which I believe is a skewed number, and a different discussion altogether).

Macs are superior for graphical applications because of the software, and the operating system's ability to work with graphics.

Windows machines are superior for system administration, gaming, and general compatibility.

I will say this, I?ve benchmarked the new operating system (Windows Vista) on my Intel-based Mac, and the benchmarks were actually better, than those of a PC with similar specifications. By controlling what hardware is installed in their computers, they have complete control over the hardware environment with which the OS works.

New emulators, and the ability for Macs to run Windows gives the company a huge advantage over Windows based PC's, but I don't see any reason to by a Mac to run Windows. Personally I have 8 computers; half are Macs, and half are Windows-based.

The no-virus/spyware thing is also a major benefit for a person like me (which in most cases is the cause for systems crashing)!

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also deciding between Mac & PC
by Cozmicdog / April 1, 2007 10:14 AM PDT

I have an Antique 64M ram Presario PC with 98SE which I have been willing to deal with its shortcomings. Call me sentimental, call me financially Strapped. However its time to move on.
In my search for the best computer for me to purchase I am asking for opinions on which would be best.
I am continuing my trade certificate for Computer Aided drafting / Design And Autocad 2007 compatibility is a must. AS well I seek out and will continue to seek out CAD studios, Apps, Etc and I do not know which computer hardware is the best.
I need to stay in a OS that I can completely understand, I monitor and personalize my computer and do not overly worry about crashing or security issues heavily using apps, patches,(this is why I've stuck with windows 98.)
I really cannot afford to go over $2000

although less important: I am still toying with C++ and would like to continue my hobby in playing with programs.

It seems that there is less availible Shareware and Freeware for Mac Os and I'm hoping that there not limitations with the MAC i'm not seeing.
Not concerned with photography, or portables' compatibility.

Mac? PC? any comments would be useful.
Please don't laugh at my Antique Computer, Its hard to let go.

Chris B

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Mac or PC for photography
by shaniroze / April 2, 2007 12:06 AM PDT

Notice that I said mac OR pc. Not versus. The Mac OS is a highly stable system, however, it will crash (kernel panic) when hardware is bad, particularly bad RAM. Get good RAM and lots of it, especially for Photoshop. Also know that Photoshop is for image editting and manipulation and is considered the best at what it does. However, as a photographer you will probably want to evaluate (then purchase) Aperture, made by Apple for the professional photographer. The second iteration of this software is absolutely awesome! iPhoto (part of the iLife suite) is alright for amateurs, but Aperture is what you want.
As for running Windows on Mac, do it! however, not only can you use Boot Camp to create a dual-boot, Mac-Windows machine, you might want to consider using Parallels Desktop, VMware Fusion or CrossOver, instead to run Mac and Win at the same time. (I prefer Parallels Desktip.) This way you can run the great Macintosh apps, then fire up Windows XP or Vista or 2000Pro (and more) when you want to use those few Windows specific applications that you might need. By the way, just because Windows has thousands more applications, most of those are on the low end and on the gaming side or are very specific to a particular niche - 95% of which you'll never use. Most businesses use no more than 20 applications on a single machine, and most businesses don't use half the power of MS Office. Save yourself money, don't buy MS Office. Get one of the inexpensive Office clones from Open Office Org (such as Neo Office) or something similar. As a photographer, you might prefer Pages (part of the iWork suite) for professional looking page layout without the huge expense - AND it can export as PDF, Word, HTML and other formats. Use that monetary savings to pump up the RAM in your machine.

The iMac 24" is considered an entry level 'Photoshop' machine. The Mac Pro is considered the machine for the professional; however, it isn't cheap and you have to add a monitor. Don't get a cheap PC monitor that can't be color adjusted! If you want professional results, get a professional display (which doesn't necessarily mean expensive -- check out the CNET reviews.)

'Nuff said. If you want more advice from a professional consultant in your area, check out

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4 Questions?
by waytron / April 2, 2007 10:44 PM PDT
In reply to: Macs for media

Well, after reading all of these posts, I have only 4 questions and a few comments:

1. If Mac is so perfect, why does it seem like every Mac user out there also seems to own at least one Windows PC?
2. If the Windows platform is so bad, then why did Apple find it necessary to make the Mac capable of running Windows?
3. What are you people doing with your PC?s to be experiencing so many crashes and problems? I can not even remember the last time I had a crash with any of my Windows XP computers.
4. What is the big WOW with the iMac built-in camera? Sony laptops have had built-in cameras for years.

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by tricov / April 3, 2007 12:03 PM PDT
In reply to: 4 Questions?

waytron as a new mac owner All I can tell you is I can burn a dvd or a c.d. while browsing the web listening to music, check email or play a slid show all at the same time. This machine isn't glitchy like my p.c. was. Also the OS is so simple to use & learn all my p.c. friends (2 of which own PC service co.) are switching after i let them check out my mac book pro.

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by MzSabina / April 3, 2007 12:16 PM PDT
In reply to: waytron

Like you, I am so used to running things like downloading and burning in the background while I go about doing whatever else I want, such as editing photos, whilie listening to music and having my email always on and set to check ever 15 minutes and atleast 2 or 3 different browsers open plus an FTP client and and probably illustrator or indesign. I guess I must be spoiled because every time I go to my brothers, who swears he has a super powerful top of the line PC, I invariably lock it up within 15 minutes, and he doesn't even have photoshop on there.

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depends on the quality
by ellis feigenbaum / April 8, 2007 6:16 PM PDT
In reply to: Ditto!!!

At the momemt im running a laptop, with a core 2 duo 5500 , 2 gigs ram and 512 on the graphics card, the motherboard and the chipset are intel the graphics card is nvidia. Even under the presuure of slide show ,disc burning and watching tv on the dual monitor display. I always use both monitors simultaneously, very often with 2 or 3 apps open on each monitor will often have an im programme running with inbuilt camera on for conferencing(ok sometimes its just chat with freinds) and it has yet to lock up.
I seriously beleive we have got beyond the point in time when one could say macs are better quality,and I beleive we are entering a phase where the software support for specific tasks will be the deciding factor as oppossed to hardware capabilities.If you need a computer for web browsing email and an oocasional letter you will never need really high quality machine, if you need one to render graphics well be prepared to spend some money but chosse the vendor and the o/s based on support for apllication specific needs.

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re: If the Mac is so perfect?
by twyrick / April 7, 2007 1:03 AM PDT
In reply to: 4 Questions?


1. Most Mac users also own a Windows PC of some sort, primarily because it's pretty cheap to do so. In my experience doing on-site computer service, I've run across quite a few "Mac users" who do also "happen to own a Windows box" - but it's typically a 6 year old Dell they got at someone's garage sale, or maybe an old Gateway or HP they bought before making the switch to their Mac. Used PCs have so little resale value most of the time, they figure it makes more sense to keep it as an extra computer than resell it. Plus, *some* Mac users like games -- and computer gaming is one area where Macs aren't very "strong". Many developers of great 3D games (like Half Life 2) have refused to write a native Mac version of the software. As more Mac owners buy the latest Macs with Intel CPUs in them, they'll start booting into XP to play these instead. But for now, many still use a PC when they want to play the games.

2. Apple resisted making their machines run Windows for YEARS ... But eventually, I think they realized that Motorola (who used to make their CPUs) just wasn't willing or able to compete directly with the "big players" (Intel and AMD) who were dominating them in releasing powerful processors for the dollar. If they wanted to offer a competitive computer in the marketplace, they had to go with the mainstream - or get left in the dust. They briefly tried a partnership with IBM (for the PowerPC G5 chips) - but IBM wasn't committed to updating it as quickly as Apple required. Once they moved to Intel (or even AMD if they went that route instead), running Windows was almost impossible NOT to allow, really. The machines were too similar to any other Windows PC from a hardware perspective.

3. A big one? Spyware! I lost count of how many PCs I've had to "fix" due to weird, random crashes and error messages, sluggish performance, etc. Every time, it was traced back to spyware that got in when they visited the wrong web page and something got downloaded automatically to their PC. Macs (so far) are pretty much virus and spyware free - which makes them FAR more stable in the real world.

4. The camera itself isn't such a "big deal" at all. It's more the "coolness factor" of what that allows. Apple developed some of the best video conferencing software in the business with their "iChat AV" software. Online chats with it are amazing. You can zoom the video window up to full screen and it still looks fluid and stays in synch with the audio. On a reasonably fast cable modem or DSL connection, you can conference together multiple parties too, and you can add movies in the background if you film yourself behind a "blue screen" or "green screen" backdrop. The list goes on. Basically, FAR superior to the typical stuff Windows users run for the purpose.

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Mac / PC
by cj.mckay / April 6, 2007 11:20 PM PDT
In reply to: Macs for media


I fully understand that some people have had nightmares with PCs which are prone to crashes and lockups which can result in interrupted work schedules and lost data. In my opinion this is almost always due to the PCs and their operating systems not being set up correctly in the first place.

Macs appeal to non-technical creative types for precisely the reason that you can pretty much switch them on and start working from day one without worrying about the hardware or software. I have heard the difference between Macs and PCs described as resembling the difference between a car with an automatic transmission and one with a manual. Some of us prefer the manual option - that is to say we want to be able to modify the settings on our computer and customize the specifics of the way that it works. PCs and their operating systems do allow for this whereas it is much harder to do this with a Mac.

With PCs a little knowledge goes a long way. I have built all of my PCs myself and, in so doing, have saved an awful lot of money and have learned to set up and maintain the machines myself without ever needing to pay a shop or an 'expert' to help me.

My home PCs still run Win98SE and they do so without any crashes or lockups because they are set up properly. Just learning a few little tricks will ensure a stable and error-free computing experience with a PC.

So really it is up to you. Do you want to pay a fortune for a Mac which is basically a PC under the skin anyway? Or should you learn a few basic set-up and maintenance tips so that you can instead operate a much cheaper and more powerful PC with near-total stability?

In reality, I think a lot of creatives are drawn to Macs for two reasons - reasons which have little to do with actual function: 1)Macs look pretty ....2)Everyone else in their industry seems to have one.

If I can run an office full of PCs, some of which are still operating with Win98 - and get extremely low rates of crashes or problems then anybody can. It only requires the sort of level of skills you would need to set the timer on a video recorder.

But then again - most people used to say that even setting the timer on a VCR was too difficult for them back when VCRs were more common.

Its a shame that as technology moves forward some people's attitudes just fall back. In this technological world it pays great dividends to be one of the people who understands the way that things work. A little knowledge can save you a lot of time and money.


Chris J.

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Wow! Very interesting...
by jackies35 / May 13, 2007 11:53 PM PDT
In reply to: Mac / PC

You stated in a previous tread:

Mac / PC
by cj.mckay - 4/7/07 6:20 AM
In reply to: Macs for media by scotlandyardus

I fully understand that some people have had nightmares with PCs which are prone to crashes and lockups which can result in interrupted work schedules and lost data. In my opinion this is almost always due to the PCs and their operating systems not being set up correctly in the first place.

Macs appeal to non-technical creative types for precisely the reason that you can pretty much switch them on and start working from day one without worrying about the hardware or software. I have heard the difference between Macs and PCs described as resembling the difference between a car with an automatic transmission and one with a manual. Some of us prefer the manual option - that is to say we want to be able to modify the settings on our computer and customize the specifics of the way that it works. PCs and their operating systems do allow for this whereas it is much harder to do this with a Mac.

With PCs a little knowledge goes a long way. I have built all of my PCs myself and, in so doing, have saved an awful lot of money and have learned to set up and maintain the machines myself without ever needing to pay a shop or an 'expert' to help me.

My home PCs still run Win98SE and they do so without any crashes or lockups because they are set up properly. Just learning a few little tricks will ensure a stable and error-free computing experience with a PC.

I remember in the past I had to help my mom and dad setup and program a vcr. I do agree with you partially. My mom got the process down pack but my dad didn't give fart about learning anything. When He wants something done, he wants it done in now!

As an IT person, I live and breathe PCs all day. However, when i get home, I have a MacBook, which is so user friendly, I fell in love...

At work, I am called numerous times to help and assist other workers with their PCs. So what, I am a geek and a programmer. However, its to tetious to do the same tips and trick on over 400 hundred computers.

With the MacBook (i am trying to convince the company to make the switch), I don't have to remember or use any of my expert tips and trick. Would you believe 87% of the employees would like to see the PCs removed and replaced with a Mac??

Also, would you believe 80% of the employees here have a Mac at home?

We all learned and loved the PCs but the constant crashes, error message, etc... is unbelieveable!! This is coming from an Expert!!

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Mac's and Crashes
by PhotoMan / May 14, 2007 2:15 AM PDT

I am a photographer and graphics artist with my own business. I agree with you that a Mac is best for someone that does "not wish to know" and will accept whatever setup the app decides upon, without question. That is why I use a PC (I have used Mac's in the past). A properly set up computer and a bit of common sense will go a long way.

To say that I've never had a crash or lockup would be ludicrus. My last lockup was about three months ago when I was draging an EPS file between Corel, Photoshop CS2 and AI CS2 (all open on the screen at the same time).

I question your percentages regarding Mac's though. If 80% of the people where you work have a Mac at home, then you must have only about a half dozen employees and work for Apple....given the roughly 3% market share Mac's have compared to the PC market. I, and others in my profession, see Mac's and PC's in the printing business all the time and Mac's get rebooted just as often as PC's. Most use PC's on the more complex jobs as they are more customizable for specific tasks and leave the easier jobs for the Mac.

I am by no means a computer expert but I do have eyes and can see what is being used in the working world.

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Mac & PC
by WAArnold / April 8, 2007 3:20 AM PDT
In reply to: Macs for media

Precisly what Barry was saying, you get what you pay for. You paid mucho bucks for that Mac and the Mac software. Given the same Mucho bucks for the PC you would have just as good a machine. I started with Apple years ago. After the many, many, many, you gotta buy another card, and that nice program isn't available for the Apple/MAC, I switched and haven't regretted it at all. Would I go back to Apple/Mac, absolutely not. My PC has served me well. Yes there has been some downs but, don't tell me you haven't had your down's with MAC, I know better.

YOUSE GET'S WHAT YOUSE PAYS FER (No I didn't use spell checker)

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MAC is the Embedded Platform
by martyh / April 9, 2007 8:19 AM PDT
In reply to: Macs for media

The argument that Macs must be better because more artists or photographers use them is based upon a common mistake in logic. It assumes that the majority must be right, which history clearly refutes.

The principle reason why more artists and photographers use Macs is because everyone else does. New artists and photographers assume that the majority must be right so they jump on the bandwagon, increasing the fallacy.

So how did Macs get the majority in the first place? By being the first, and thus the best, many years ago. There's no question that the Mac used to be the only serious game in town for artists and photographers. But the PC has caught up so that the artist on the PC can do anything his Mac brother can do. The problem, however, is that Mac is so embedded that it's easier for the ad agency, the service bureau and others to simply cater to the Mac users. So the PC artist who goes to work at an ad agency goes to his desk and finds a Mac sitting there by default. And the PC artist who wants to send his files to a service bureau has to worry about font and conversion problems because the service bureau doesn't consider his occasional jobs worth the cost of outfitting a PC with all the hardware, software and fonts to handle his jobs.

Fortunately, that barrier isn't nearly as high as it once was, but it's enough to discourage some from going to a PC. But a photographer doesn't have that hurdle to worry about anyway. So I think the advice to consider the specific software and needs is more sound than the idea of following the crowd.

Remember, only a decade ago people were still using that logic to say, "No one ever got fired for buying IBM."

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Yes to the iMac
by TtfnJohn / March 23, 2007 10:02 AM PDT

The Mac guys were right about it crashing. It's so rare that I doubt you'll run into it.

And with all due respect to Windows users and Linux users (like me) the Mac is head and shoulders the best platform for editing photos, videos (if you ever have that itch) or just about any serious artistic work.



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Why Mac over PC if using the same editing program?
by Rob10 / March 30, 2007 11:06 PM PDT
In reply to: Yes to the iMac

I am a 5 year PC user and waiting for new Macs to come out with Leopard to make the "switch". I've never used a Mac before and have had vey few issues with viruses and major crashes, but just tired of the way Windows seems counter-intuitive in many ways. I am looking to use it for lower power, home photo and video editing.

It sounds like most folks are using Pro software like Photoshop for their editing (as opposed to iPhoto). If that's the case, why is it easier to use Photoshop on a Mac than use Photoshop on a PC? I would probably only go as far as PS Elements myself.

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Graphics, Photos, Mac and PC
by marybryan / April 7, 2007 12:57 AM PDT
In reply to: Yes to the iMac

I have been a graphics designer on my own for now 5 years. I got here by way of using PC's and Corel. In the 10+ years of doing design and photo work, Corel has been by far, easier, more intuitive and faster to create/edit graphic design and images.

Now I'm using a program called Xara for most of my design, but go back to my old copy of Corel 7/Photopaint on a regular basis to clean up images and photos. Really the only time I go to Photoshop nowadays is to create transparent gifs (images that have no backgrounds), but that is really it. And, I have found that Xara and Corel actually do a lot that Photoshop won't and in real time with easier undos and modifications.

My biggest complaints for using Photoshop have been the many extra steps you have to go through to achieve the same effect, plus the incredible bloating Photoshop does to files that are often 98% smaller in Xara and Corel. As many of the printers that I have submitted designs to over the years have required mac driven eps, I have learned in both of my programs how to create files that can be transmitted via email - they're almost all mac users, but have seen the pdf light and some are converting. Most are quite amazed at the file size, without loss of composition or resolution.

I've kept on the PC path for several reasons. One, 100% of my client base is PC, and for them to be able to view files I create, it makes much more sense to be able to send them a PDF in a file size that won't choke the ISP line and take years to open or needing a special program to view proofs.

The other reasons are that I can go to the office supply store and try a new program any time I want, can get any kind of peripheral (printer, scanner, and Camera) from low end to high end and be assurred it will work with my system and not be proprietary.

I've been working my desktop for SEVEN years now. It has been upgraded here and there, but all in all, my HP has given me 7 very, very reliable, solid and enjoyable years...

So, PC can be a great thing even in my Mac driven industry. You just need to be willing, and look at the even bigger pictures - compatiblity, expansion, sharing with others and backing up files (Adobe PS pics 10 vs. Xara or Photopaint pics 1000).

The biggest caveat for most pc users, especially those who don't spend hours on their box is knowing all of the IMPORTANT sytems maintenance things - defrags, cleanups, firewalls, anti virus etc...these are very important and do require user intervention from time to time. But done and done before the blue screen of death, can help to have a smooth experience.

There is a need I find here to educate every computer user, Mac and PC, on all of the house cleaning to ensure a solid, steady experience. I am getting more and more clients who need to be shown how to accept firewall warnings, system and program updates, and set up virus programs. (I had one client who always got the updates, but never ran a scan - it was not pretty). Like your body, if you keep your bones healthy, get regular checkups, and eat well, you'll have a better body for a longer time.

Maybe this will help those of you on the fence, but I'm proof that if you want to be relevant to the majority, you have to be engaged in it too.

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by PhotoMan / April 9, 2007 3:04 PM PDT

Hear, Hear !

I've been a pro photographer for over 30 years and bangin' the keyboard for the last 20. I've used Timex, Commodore, Apple, Lisa, Mac , IBM and PC's. Ive got three versions of Photoshop (5,7, CS2), Illustrator CS2, 4 versions of Corel Graphics Suite ("The Rock"-V9,11,12 X3) and Painter 9 on the computer as well as a half dozen other graphics apps (you use whichever program, or combination of programs you need to in order to get the clients' job done).

Corel and my PC are my bread & butter for the same reasons that you have so very well stated !

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To Mac or not To Mac...
by jackintucson / March 23, 2007 10:19 AM PDT

Hi Chaz,

As a certified photographer, I faced the same dilemma fifteen years ago. Back then I would have said go Mac. But today, I say stay with the PC until you find out if this is what you really want to do. Selling photos is NOT easy. You have to really do your homework. Hone your skills for awhile. Get a good photo app like Adobe's Photoshop CS2 or CS3. Learn how to manipulate the photos on the PC. Make sure you are going to be willing to invest the time it will take to get those salable shots. Once you get all your flying ducks in a your hardware.

Good Luck!

Jack (aka..jackintucson)

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A slight lean towards Mac (yes, I have one)
by NM_Bill / March 23, 2007 10:20 AM PDT

You'll probably assume Adobe Photoshop as a necessity. Either platform for that.

Need much compatible communication with the e-world in general? A slight lean towards a PC.

Maximum flexibility? Mac provides/allows dual platform use. I use Microsoft Office 2004 for Mac (to be upgraded later this year.)

I lean towards Mac programs for stability & plug & play being the norm. I had to use MS at work for years before getting a Mac. At something like 85% market penetration, MS is the norm. I prefer a few of their features over Mac. Beyond that point of stupidity years back when the then Apple CEO signed off on the look & feel GUI in return for a measly 25 million loan during a cash crunch (whereas founders Steve & Steve politely asked Xerox for the privilege), it is obvious that now the two steal look & feel from one another.

My take on the decision? Back to the slight lean towards Mac. Yes, a lot less freezing/crashing. Minimize MS use to avoid focused exposure to the many bad guys.

I would never attempt to cram the decision on anyone. There are certainly many more MS gurus around than Mac. A recent demo swayed you? Stop back in an Apple store & let those guys earn their pay. Be politely demanding. Your time is not to be wasted on seeing what games teens like. Ask specifically for demo of iPhoto type features. They hire only relatively speaking, experts. Any should be familiar with Photoshop if not the creative suite in general. You deserve to take some of their time, not just parents with the kids (not sure who dragged whom along.)

Just encouraging an open mind. Best of luck as to both some semi-pro photo income & the platform you will us (not the mention all today's varying camera resources.)

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Mac vs. PC
by mdstevnz / March 23, 2007 10:27 AM PDT

The Mac guys know what they are talking about! The Macs do not crash and have the problems which PC's have.
I have had over (8)PC's but will never buy another PC. I will buy Mac's next time.
Macs are the ultimate choice of Graphic, Photo, Designers, Animators and Video folks. A person will not go wrong going Mac/Apple.

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Macs DO crash
by cdhanks / March 30, 2007 9:45 AM PDT
In reply to: Mac vs. PC

Use both PC and iMac Intel 20". Had the Mac about 5 weeks - it has crashed/locked up around 5 times, had to power off and restart. My Dell - Zero. Don't listen to the Mac sales geeks, if you are used to Windows, the Mac OS seems clunky and slow to figure out. Some things work similar to Windows, others seem to have no rhyme or reason to their workings. Example, with Windows, if you want to print some text from a document or web page, simply highlight it and select File, Print and "Selection" and just the highlighted text prints. Haven't found a way to do that on a Mac, have to highlight, copy, open a text file and paste, then print. If it is possible to do it on a Mac, it is not apparent. Lots of other anomalies like this. Another could not get my Epson R1800 print over Firewire, even after over an hour with tech support and downloading the latest drivers. Works ok with the USB cable. Connected the Firewire to my Dell - bang, works first try. The sales rep said I would hate the iMac the first 2 weeks then would love it. Wrong, I still hate it and wished I had stuck with PCs.

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by macrhino / March 30, 2007 9:59 AM PDT
In reply to: Macs DO crash

Saying that you crashed a Mac 5 times says much much more about the user than about the Mac. Its like saying everytime I drive a Volvo I have an accident. Is it the driver or the Volvo. I vote the driver. IS it the Mac or the user?...

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