does it make sense to pay the premium (mac vs. pc)?

so my hp computer completely shut down a couple weeks ago and I’m back on the hunt for the best deal on a laptop for design work. Of course, being in a design environment, the overwhelming pressure is to pay the premium for a mac because it is a bit more designer oriented. I think this point made sense when design was seperated from other industries by format and type, but now that software’s more integrated across platforms, is the designer orientation of a mac really that big of an advantage?

-If my design work is around Adobe CS, Video Editing, and Rhino and, does it make sense to pay the premium for a Macbook? If so, is the NVidia 9400 graphics card of the macbook going to limit me a oppose to the macbook pro?

-secondly, is a virtual mac or pc platform a reasonable option (i.e. virtual windows for running rhino or virt mac os on a pc) or do you lose too much performance?

Lastly, coming from a pc, how much hackability am I going to lose with a mac?

If anybody has any personal recommendations or supportable reasons why a certain make and model makes the most sense to them(in terms of performance and cost) I’d love to hear it.

I just got a new macbook and I am loving it. I think the best thing to do is to go for a macbook, and use boot camp to install windows. That way you don’t lose any speed through virtualization.

I think the biggest problem with trying to load OS X on a PC is that you have to worry about hardware compatibilities and it can be difficult to hunt down drivers to get everything to work.

If you can afford a Bently, and you want a Bently. but a Bently! you will be happiest in the end.

I love Macs, I would take one in a second if it met my power requirements and my budget. They’re 100% simply out of my price range. I like Mac like I enjoy vintage Aston Martins, etc. the “someday…” idea.

I choose the custom-built PC route, and any Mac would cost maybe three to four times more for an equivalent amount of power.

As mentioned before…

-Intel Core 2 Duo (3 GHz x 2)
-8 GB of DDR2 RAM
-NVIDIA GeForce 9500GT w/512MB Video Card
-2 TB of Hard Disk space
-SoundBlaster Audigy SE Sound Card
-Windows Vista 64-bit
-Intel Motherboard
-easily runs Photoshop CS4 64-bit, Illustrator CS4, iTunes 64-bit, AliasStudio 2009, Showcase 2009, etc)
-Apple aluminum thin keyboard
-32" 720p HDTV widescreen LCD Monitor
-Wacom Intuos3 tablet

Under $700 (minus the monitor and wacom)

niiice setup

any recommendations on a laptop equivelent taylor?

and on the mac, were there clear advantages of the new macbook over the older model? (i.e., was it the graphics card that did it for you?

I was in the same situation a week ago. I work on an imac at work and I love it. But to me the biggest advantage the imac has over other desktops is that the imac has “spaces” and allows me to have the equivalent of 6 screens.

I don’t know if the macbook pro has the spaces or not, but after researching for days upon days, and listening to the b.s. that the sales people from Best Buy had to say about macs, I decided to buy a dell Precision M440 with a high rez screen (not LED), which is probably the only major advantage the macbook pro has over other computers. However, the pc market has started developing LED screens with 1080p resolution, better than the macbook pro (look at the Dell XPS 16, among others).

But the overriding factor for me was price. The Dell saved me $1,200.00 over the macbook pro, and I can still buy a Cintiq 12wx and Sketchbook Pro for the same price as the macbook pro.

For what its worth, all the hype of the macs over pc’s is evident from my coworker who bought a macbook specifically for the name. He only runs windows apps and NEVER runs OS X. So to me, what’s the point? I hate working in Word and Excel on my imac.

If you go the PC route, buy a lower cost laptop and then buy the upgraded video card. You’ll still save some cash.

The upside to the macbook pro:

less than 1 inch thick
up to 8 hr battery life
LED screen
Large touchpad
solid aluminum contruction

The downside:

You’ll only have one arm and one leg to work with after buying it.

right on thirdnorth,
so im looking at a refurbed 2.4mghz alum macbook and running bootcamp for rhino/solidworks and using a non apple lcd at the desk for the size. you have any recommendations for smaller pcs that i could do the same set up for at a lower price?

and the 1 arm 1 leg thing? im geussing your referring to the apple iron grip?

seems to be universal consensus, if you can afford it, get a strong macbook pro.
I made a lot of sacrifices to be able to get a customized mbp (such as eating cup noodle for a month) and they were all worth it!

With bootcamp (I use solidworks a lot), there is no reason other than price to choose a pc over a mac.

btw, teh new PC commercials are just ridiculous… anybody seen them?

I would have to disagree. I have found the newer Macs to be less dependable than the older ones while still carrying that same premium price. The last 2 places I’ve worked have had fatal crashes with G5’s and niggling crashes on a regular basis. These are $3000 + workstations. Now, I can’t attest to the newest macbooks, but had to troubleshoot 2 macbook pros last year that had fatal crashes with the logic board. $500 to fix each.

I’m not a PC evangelist, but hell if I’m paying somewhere around $3000 (decked out) for something that crashes just as much and actually seems to be more likely to die all-together. $1200 sounds more reasonable to me and I don’t feel like I’m being taken for the proverbial ride. Apple used to have some substance to their image, but I don’t buy it anymore.

My MacBook is three years old right now and still runs great. It’s never needed a repair (once I thought the casing melted, turns out I spilled Coke underneath it…).

Of course it can’t do 3D, so I’ll be buying an iMac once Snow Leopard launches.

I was actually referring to the price, it’ll cost you an arm and a leg for the macbook pro, but you bring up a good point about all the proprietary junk that comes along with it.

Don’t get me wrong, I like the macs, but I’m just not sold on it being the only option for designers. They have a great marketing plan, but unless you’re buying it on your employer’s dime, I can think of a lot of other things to do with your $. Including watching Blu-Ray movies on your PC while on a 14-day cruise to Italy with all the leftover cash, something you can’t do on a MBP.

Sure the PC commercials suck, but so do Mountain Dew ads. Apple has turned the laptop into a fashion piece. Most people (not all) buy it for the fashion. Does it really cost $1,700 more to machine a block of alum? The components don’t really add that much extra value over PC models. They are definitely pretty. If the design is that important, spend the money. As for me, when price gets more in line with function, I’ll buy a mac.

Btw, I’m not a Dell advocate either, I just thought they offered a better value for the money. But since I researched Dell more than the others, and you mentioned a refurb mac, here’s a refurb Dell alternative to the 17-inch Macbook Pro:
MBP 17:
2.9Ghz Processor 6mb L2 Cache, 1066Hz FSB
4 GB DDR3 RAM, 1066Hz FSB
128 Solid State Hard Drive
1920x1200 RGB LED 17-in screen
Backlit Keyboard
Extended Warranty
= $3,748.00

Dell Precision M4400
2.9Ghz Processor 6mb L2 Cache, 1066Hz FSB
4 GB DDR3 RAM, 800Hz FSB
128 Solid State Hard Drive
1920x1200 RGB LED 15.4-in screen
Backlit Keyboard
Extended Warranty
= $2,115.00
Upgrade to a 2.53 Ghz Quad-Core Processor with 12 MB L2 Cache and you still spend $1,000 less than you would for the MBP. And they weigh about the same 6.5-2 lbs.

As a small business, macs are prohibitively expensive for us - and they can cost a 1/3 more the UK than in the USA! We stick to pc and upgrade what we have every 2 or 3 years. I’ve never had any problem with the longevity of pcs, my last laptop ran for five years before it died.

Sorry, that quote was for a new Dell Precision M4400, not a refurb. And the graphics card is NVIDIA Quadro FX 770M, 512MB.

Also, the price with the 1290x1200 RGB LED screen is $2,414.00.

Refurbs run between $1,200 and $1,800.00

My apologies for the inaccuracy.

and if anything goes wrong, just google it and fix it yourself. I’ve never ever had a problem with a pc that I haven’t been able to fix myself. I can’t say if it’s the same with mac, because I dont know, but I’m confident with what I’m using.

Recovering X-mac culty here. Now I build my own workstation using top quality parts. Better than any mac or off the shelf PC out there. More $ in my pocket to spend on meaningful things that directly help my design work. Components are so easy to plug these days that you got to be crazy to pay premium for a badge.

As has come up a trillion times before - buying a Mac means you’re paying for the OSX experience more than the hardware. So if you buy a Mac and spend 90% of the time in Windows, does it really justify it?

I definately recommend the Macbook to a lot of students who will have a machine for 4-5 years. OSX means they can stay mostly virus and hassle free, and dual booting means they can still run any required Windows apps.

In the professional environment, I don’t see the same rationale. Price and functionality is more important than UI prettiness. Plus the cost savings means more frequent upgrades are an option.

If you’re not an idiot, you never click on every link you get sent and you use a good antivirus you won’t get one on a pc either. Never had a virus. But I can’t say the same for our father in law. Everytime we stay there my partner spends at least six hours getting his darn pc back into a useable state! :laughing: May be a mac would be a good idea for him!

I worked in IT for 4 years in college and lets just say the average 18 year old sorority girl doesn’t know the difference on what she should or should not click.

How about this though: I just spent $400 on a Dell Mini 9 (Netbook) which is now up and running OSX.


Maybe you don’t have to pay all that premium after all…

Design oriented or not, the mac is just a better machine and worth every penny in my opinion.

Design oriented or not, the mac is just a better machine and worth every penny in my opinion.

This is what, we as designers, aim for.

The internal mechanisms are the same (actually less powerful)

But the user experience is more important, so people will actually believe that the product is just “better”

“Better” the blanket term that does not convey any specifics whatsoever - not taking account price or performance. But rather the experience.

This water is “better” than the other bottled water (because of the packaging)

Don’t believe the apple tax hysteria. The difference between apple machines and windows pc’s is that apple don’t do really cheap machines. That’s not the same as saying that macs are overpriced. Spec a pc like a mac and the price difference isn’t that much, if any.

Whether you buy a windows laptop or a mac, you will have to pay for real quality

Or you can do like the tech savvy Giampaolo and buy an overpriced HP: Microsoft's latest ad attacks Mac aesthetics, computing power | AppleInsider