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Old May 21, 2010, 9:08 AM   #1
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Default Computer buying opinions/advice

I saw and read through some of the "Apple question" thread and thought it is better to start a new one for my question rather than adding on to that.

I have a Dell Pentium 4 machine running XP that is almost 6 years old. It is running OK, if slow, but I think it's time to consider an upgrade.

Generally I use a computer for the basic things -- e-mail, letters, internet, wireless music streaming, etc. On the photography side, I will probably be doing only some pretty basic editing. I am very inexperienced in this area and am not committed to any particular software. I suspect something like photoshop elements is probably more than I would need. I could see myself fooling around with HDR at some point, and one never knows where it will lead, but at this time I honestly don't see myself really getting into anything other than the basics.

In addition to the photography, I use some music programs for transcription/slow down of digital music files and a little recording every once in a while (usually only a few tracks).

So, the inevitable questions: (1) Mac or PC. I have always used only PCs (this is what I use at work) and generally had pretty good luck, but I am pretty tired of worrying about whether trying out some new downloaded program will negatively affect my machine and worrying what kind of registry havoc is going on that may come back and bite me. If a Mac would make my life simpler in this regard and would make using a computer fun, I might make the switch.

(2) If I get a Mac, which one (thinking iMac (desktop) here)? If I stay with a PC, what configuration (stick with Dell?)?

I'm sure everyone has his/her own opinion on the matter, so have at it. I'm just trying to get some thoughts from others, as it's better than talking to computer sales folks, many of whom seem to know less than I do, and have their own agenda in any event.

Thanks.

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Old May 21, 2010, 2:05 PM   #2
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If you already know how to use Windows and the Windows versions of the programs you use, you'd be better off sticking with Windows. For those who switch, there's a readjustment period, and that takes longer for some things than for others.

Plus, Macs cost more.

Dell is who I recommend. Their OptiPlex desktop computers are fast and reliable. You can still get Windows XP (which I highly recommend you do), but I don't know how much longer that will be true, so you might want to limit the time you sit on the fence.
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Old May 21, 2010, 7:03 PM   #3
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It is a very short re adjusting period if you are interested in going to a mac. I use both systems, and if it was not for work, I would use mac all the time. I just like how easy it is to get around with it.

But you may need software. The mac's iworks works well, but it is not office. But matches up against ms works well. And it is not to expensive, 70 dollars. I will most likely add Office 2010 to my mac when it comes out.

Iphoto is a decent photo manager and some nice feature. imovie is a decent movie editor. But aperture and finalcut is better.

So if you are switching you need to added the addition cost of the software.

If you are staying with pc, I do prefer XP over 7, if you can get it over 7. Work did not upgrade to vista or 7 because XP was a better operating system after the IT department tested them with all the software applications we use. And I had to uninstall vista on my sisiter in laws laptop and install XP because vista was really a pain and problems. My Brother is currently running 7 on his netbook, and is not all that happy with it.
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Old May 21, 2010, 7:46 PM   #4
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I agree about Windows Vista and Windows 7. I've used both on my desktop and wished I could stick with XP. Most applications run fine, but some vertical market applications and custom applications don't run well (which probably accounts for shoturtle's IT department passing them up), plus everytime Microsoft makes one thing easier they make two things harder. My dream OS would have been Windows 2000 with support for USB, but instead I got XP which I could live with. Everything since then has been unpleasent variations on the theme.

You won't find XP in Best Buy or Office Depot, but Dell's on-line store still has it (if you indicate that you're a small business.)

BTW, shoturtle, if Microsoft does upgrade Office for the Mac, it will be 2011, not 2010. 2010 is the Windows version. The Mac version is always a year later.
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Old May 21, 2010, 7:54 PM   #5
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I have been keeping up with mac, 2010 should be out in sept or oct.
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Old May 21, 2010, 8:08 PM   #6
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Thanks to you both. This is the first I've heard anything negative about Windows 7. I haven't been following it closely, but I thought the initial feedback was that Microsoft finally got it right. I guess not. We have Vista at work and it seems to work fine for what I'm doing, but my home machines all have XP. Won't Microsoft stop supporting XP with upgrades eventually?

The only things that really prevent me from making the switch to a Mac are the cost and potenitial initial frustration as I get used to the new OS. I need to figure out how much more $$ I would really wind up shelling out after taking into consideration software.
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Old May 21, 2010, 8:11 PM   #7
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Everytime I see someone on television saying that Windows 7 was their idea, I want to smack them.
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Old May 21, 2010, 8:13 PM   #8
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They are not going to stop supporting XP anytime soon. Allot of MAJOR US corporation still use XP and will not upgrade to 7. But getting them to support the regular consumer with XP will get a bit more difficult.

But back to the Mac and transition. Apples does a really nice thing for mac users, at apple stores, or mac authorized dealer, Apple provides free classes for apple software, and beginner classes for new user.
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Old May 21, 2010, 8:16 PM   #9
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On the software, 80 dollars for iwork, I added aperture for 170, I added snow leopard for 35. That was all the things I have on my 2 Macs. I may add office 2010 at the end of the year for 300. Not sure yet.

Iphoto, Imovie are free.
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Old May 21, 2010, 8:21 PM   #10
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But you do not need to go with apple software, you can get photoshop or what every you want also.
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