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Reader Comment: sticking with Mac vs transitioning to a PC

Reader Albert L writes:

I understand that this may be contrary to your current commercial/economic interests, but I’d like your take on the tradeoffs of switching from a Mac to a PC, and/or if you know where I can find information on the subject. There likely are other readers of your MacPerformanceGuide who, like me, would appreciate learning your thoughts on this.

With the introduction of the new iMac, it’s obvious that Apple is shifting from producing useful creative tools to producing cute, mass-market, media-consuming toys:

https://www.theguardian.com/technology/2021/may/18/apple-24in-imac-m1-review-screen-colours-45k-display

I currently am using a 2010 Mac Pro with dual 3.46 Ghz 6-core Intel Xeon processors running High Sierra (Version 10.13.6). To upgrade to Mojave, I’d have to replace the current graphics card (ATI Radeon HD 5770 1024 MB) with one that is Metal-capable. Apple no longer supports High Sierra and will stop supporting Mojave on November 30, 2021. It thus doesn’t seem to make sense to spend $300+ on replacing the graphics card.

My 2010 Mac Pro has 22 TB of internal hard drives (8 TB, 8 TB, 3 TB, 3TB), two 240 GB SSD’s on an internal PCIe card, and 96 GB of RAM with another 32 GB waiting in the wings. An additional 36+ TB of external hard drives are on a variety of FireWire 800 and USB 3 enclosures and docks.

“Upgrading” to the 2019 Mac Pro and Big Sur (or later) would kill a lot of my costly (and very useful) peripherals and software (much of which is 32-Bit) and I’d have to replace them.

Before I go through the hassle and expense of doing that, I want to learn as much as I can about what I’d gain and lose if I spent the same amount of money on switching from a Mac to a PC.

In view of your refreshingly honest practice of pointing out the worms in Apple products, I'd appreciate learning your thoughts on the subject.

MPG: if all you do is sit inside Photoshop or similar programs, it could make sense. And it could make sense for certain specialized situations. But in general, soon the next generation of Apple M1 CPUs should blow away the fastest PC performance. So if the argument is about price/performance, I’m not buying it for any general usage case.

Yes, the current M1 Macs are shiny consumer objects that won’t please us pro users, but the performance and glitter will delight the target customer base, just like iPhones.

But when an iMac 5K/6K with double the performance cores and at least 64GB memory support arrives, I’ll be a buyer. Even though I’d prefer not to buy anything at all from Apple. In life, one has to choose among least offensive solutions.

What would switching involve?

The hardware cost is all but irrelevenat: for most users, the biggest expenses is the one of having to relearn things. For the single-application user, that’s seemingly not an issue. Now go figure out what anti-virus to use, how to backup, how to configure mail, and 50 other things you’ll have to relearn, new apps and tools you have to discover and learn. Then you’ll find 20 things you miss. What was gained, exactly? Except a lot of unnecessary work.

For me recoding scripts and tools would mean months of headaches and a shit-ton of work and aggravation. All the dozens of little time savers I do would need reinventing.

I would never recoup 1% of the time and aggravation of switching to PC.

Taking one of the smallest things: just having to deal with a "\" instead of a "/" and drive letters instead of paths is a cloud of mosquitoes for someone used to Unix like me—even keyboard habits have to be relearned. Unix shells don’t solve everything. The irritation of a half-assed 1980's system would never go away; it would be a permanent hair shirt.

There are so many headaches with PCs you'll just be trading one set of aggravations for a larger and more troublesome set. Those who claim it’s better invariably have lower expectations and selective attention along with a dash of cognitive dissonance and confirmation bias. Oh, and then there is the virus scene.

MacOS has lots of issues, and I bitch about it because it impairs my work. But Windows is no garden of eden.

Garden paths can lead to swamps. And greener grass might be astroturf.

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