Thursday, June 24, 2010

New computer, part 2

So I think we can all agree I need a new computer. The question is: which one?

The Pro is too big, too expensive, and too much.

I was leaning toward a Mini, because then I would be able to upgrade the computer separately from the monitor. They're one in the iMac. But once I bought all the peripherals, it would end up costing about the same as an iMac, and be less powerful.

The Mini has an integrated graphics card, which means that any graphics rendering takes power away from the CPU. Sometimes I edit PDFs that are over 50 Mb, alongside Word files that are up to 100 Mb, or PowerPoint files of similar size. I'm not a gamer, but the work I do can be graphics intensive. My guess is that the integrated graphics card won't do it for me.

So the iMac. (It's nice* how Apple keeps your options limited, isn't it?) The 21 1/5" screen is too small, so 27". Do I go for the i5/i7 quad processor? Everything I've read says that if you have the $ (and I do), to go for the i5/i7 instead of the core 2.

The Mac Buyer's Guide says the iMac is ripe for an update, having been last updated in October '09. Of course, the last update had issues with the 27" screens, so I don't know if I'd want to buy a just-updated model anyway. (They also had issues with the i7 processor, but all these problems seem to be resolved now.) Also, the rumors for the update are about a touch screen. I don't give a damn about a touch screen, and in fact, I prefer not to have one. I use a COMPUTER, not a f-ing KIOSK**.

So someone recommended a refurbished i5, priced at $1650. There's an i7 for $1850 which, with tax, still comes out to under $2000 (and $350 off the regular price). Free shipping, comes with wireless keyboard and mouse, running OSX 10.6, 4 Gb RAM (I could upgrade to 16 if needed).

Of course, this is going to require additional purchases. I'll need a desk to put it on and a fancy new chair to sit in while I use it. Then do I want to spring for iWork? It's nice, but I already have Office (not as nice, but required). And someone said a second monitor would be nice...

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*Apple has this philosophy that they know you better than you do. Every year, they tell you what you want, and like zombies, you go out and buy it. I'm not saying you're an idiot for buying an iPhone, I'm just saying think about it first, and realize that by buying it, you're ceding a certain amount of control over the way you use your smartphone.

**This is another way Apple pisses me off. I'm not a consumer, I'm a producer. I don't want a machine that will only serve to force more ads at me and try to weasel more money out of my. I'm buying your product. Be happy about it and stop trying to get more of my money. Your product is expensive enough already.***

***It may sound like I'm terribly dissatisfied with the Apple products, and in some ways I am. I'm angry at the way they design devices that are dumbed-down (iOS) and geared toward money extraction, and then they overprice them. I'm also angry at the way they so obviously care more about the money extraction than the hardware development. (iPhone 4 got its own event, while the upgrades to the actual computers hardly even got an announcement, and they seem to be ignoring the Mac OS in favor of iOS.) But that's not to say there are better alternatives. Windows has been dumbed-down in order to compete, so now it's hard to use AND hard to customize. Plus, Microsoft has its own issues, like forcing Internet Explorer and Office on an unsuspecting public, developing software with bugs, and susceptibility to viruses. Linux might be nice, if I wanted to spend all my time programming, and ChromeOS might be a decent option for my next laptop, but for now, it's MacOSX for me.

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