How I Became a PC: Five Steps from Mac to Microsoft


----------------

If you follow me on Twitter, you might have noticed that I’ve been changing the computer regime over here. It isn’t that I don’t love the shininess of my MacBook. It isn’t that, given the money and all that, I’d just go out and buy a top-of-the-line Mac… because, honestly, I’d consider it. As important as specs are to me, the shininess of the Mac is hard to resist… or would be, if the following things weren’t a factor. The more I’ve thought about it, the less sense it makes for me to get another Mac, in spite of the fact that’s just about all I’ve used since the late 90s.

So how does a decades-long Mac user end up putting together a PC? The progression was slow, but read on and learn. Most of these are pretty geek specific.

  • Price me out. My MacBook can’t hold its weight anymore. A new MacBook starts at about $1,000. Other laptops, however, with far better specs, running Windows or Linux, can be purchased for half that much. So, with the Mac, what I’m really paying for is the logo and the shiny factor, not the performance factor. And since I’m doing a lot of graphic design these days, not to mention gaming (which will be addressed below), specs are a lot more important than they used to be. There’s a point where you examine the specs of the machines side by side and really have to ask yourself how much the Apple software is worth. Because that’s where the price tag is. Oh, sure, there’s the iPad. But seriously, there’s no way that can hold up for what I need. At the moment, the iPad is a sort of peripheral gadget–you either have a use for it (and the extra money to buy it), or you don’t.
  • Annoy me with video and gaming. Essentially, the MacBook hates Hulu. We troubleshot this for a few days and, after thinking it was our network, discovered the computer just can’t handle video playback. Since Hulu is one of the primary methods of television delivery, this is beyond annoying. The staggering and starting, the general grumpiness, just doesn’t cut it. Add to that the fact that, even when it was new, World of Warcraft looked like crap on it (“Wow, honey—Dalaran looks so beautiful from here!” “… all I see is a big purple nothing… oh wait that… oh, no, that’s nothing… just more blobs”) since I had to keep the settings so low to even manage my way around. With Cataclysm coming out there’s just no way it’ll cope. In fact, the latest patch simply refuses to work on my MacBook. So what’s a gal supposed to do?
  • Make it impossible for me to breathe new life into it. Yeah, yeah, I know. You don’t buy a Mac if you plan upgrades beyond memory. These things are made sleek, sure, but they’re also made to be almost impenetrable save by their genius staff. But even if I wanted to go in and improve the performance and extend the life of my computer (because that’s what I’d like to do, given a choice), I can’t. It means the only other option—if I want a better performing Mac—is to suck it up and buy a new one. And we’ve already established that I don’t have that kind of money.
  • Make it difficult for the gimpier geeks. I’ve got carpal tunnel. I can’t use a normal keyboard. Typing on the MacBook is a special kind of torture for me, so I have to buy ergonomic in order to avoid the pain. Does Apple have a version of their delightful aluminum keyboard with a gentle, ergonomic curve to it? Nope. And the newest Magic Mouse… don’t get me started on the kind of pain involved using that (seriously, did they try to make it painful? Is this some strange torture device?). And as far as dictation software goes, up until a few months ago the only option was MacSpeech which, in my opinion, is nowhere as good as Dragon—even though they’re built on the same engine. Now there’s a Dragon for Mac. But on Windows, Dragon costs about $40-$50, while the Mac version is $179.99+.
  • Lose exclusivity to Scrivener. The one program I kept my MacBook around for—beyond gaming and music and everything—was Scrivener. For novel-writing types, like myself, Scrivener is simply a dream come true. I’m not organized by nature, but the software has a way of giving me just enough in the way of organization to really impact my writing process. Since I started using Scrivener in 2007, I’ve written six novels (even sold one). And until recently, Scrivener was Mac only. However, this past week Scrivener for Windows went into Beta. For me, that’s the last bastion, the last hold out. Now there’s nothing holding me back from going PC.

So, clearly the evidence is against the Mac here. Instead of buying and out-of-the-box deal, we’re building a computer (because, taking a page from Apple, many desktops and laptops out there–like Dell–are just as bad when it comes to the difficulty of upgrading). Between the generosity of friends of ours and various parts we’ve accumulated, we have the makings of a pretty sweet little PC. And sure, Vista used to be a huge deterrent in the Windows world, but since we’re building our computer, that won’t be an issue.

The new computer will kick the ass of my MacBook (which isn’t really a fair fight, considering this will be a desktop)—but it will also allow me to improve upon it for years, saving potentially hundreds of dollars; I’ll be able to play WoW with my husband again, write to my heart’s content on Scrivener while using a great ergonomic keyboard, and mod the heck out of the case (steampunk, anyone?). Not to mention it feels very empowering to know the ins and outs of your computer, and being able to root around inside of it.

Yes, I will miss the world of Mac. I will probably stand longingly at the windows of the Apple Store from time to time, and think of bygone days. But until I can justify a purchase like that, let alone the lack of flexibility among other things, I’d say I’ll be hanging out in the world of the PC for a while yet.

[Image: CC Robert S. Donovan via Flickr]







117 Responses to How I Became a PC: Five Steps from Mac to Microsoft

  1. #1, #2: MacBook *Pro*.
    #3, #4: problems for all laptops.

    For me, the OS is everything, but I can see that if all you want is Hulu, WoW, and Scrivener, it's a different story. I'm sure you made the right decision for your personal needs, but (as you mentioned), you're comparing an entry-level laptop to a custom-built desktop.

    • My $549 Toshiba laptop plays Hulu videos with no waiting or stuttering, and while I haven’t played WoW on it, I have played Lord of the Rings Online with medium-high graphics settings with no lag issues.

      It’s also three years old. It came loaded with Vista. It was cheap. And it works beautifully. No, it’s not just that she’s comparing an entry-level laptop with a custom-built desktop.

    • My $549 Toshiba laptop plays Hulu videos with no waiting or stuttering, and while I haven't played WoW on it, I have played Lord of the Rings Online with medium-high graphics settings with no lag issues.

      It's also three years old. It came loaded with Vista. It was cheap. And it works beautifully. No, it's not just that she's comparing an entry-level laptop with a custom-built desktop.

      • It's not "Video", there, it's "Flash". Flash has always had streaming issues on Mac and Linux. Not quite sure why, but it might be because Adobe just doesn't give two shits.

        BTW, I never had those problems on any of my Macs for the past five years, but I understand some people do. I believe it's been fixed as of 10.1.

  2. As for the price thing – you've also got to think about how long Macbooks last compared to other notebooks. You'll soon find that any laptop with as solid a feel as the Macbook, which lasts as long, usually costs around the same as a Macbook anyway.

    Sure, Macs might cost twice as much as a Windows laptop, but they also tend to last twice as long, so it's pretty much an even keel, to be honest.

    • this all depends on the person using the laptop as well. one of my friends got a new mac a year or so ago and its already starting to crap out on them and my laptop which is two years old is still running as good as the day i bought it, and at almost a quarter of the price. and before anyone says its because they say that it might be because i treat it better its not that. i don't treat my laptop like complete crap, but i get pretty close, i'm rough and i toss it around alot. and my find has tried to be a careful as possible from the day she got it.

      • I'm pretty sure they must've got a defective Mac then, because the ones I've seen have had second-to-none build quality and all of my friends' Macs have long-outlasted my friends' Windows/Linux laptops by at least a year or two.

        • there's a lot of problems i can see with the new unibody design, beyond upgradeability: you cannot easily open anything up to clean out dust, which will accumulate in fans and eventually cause them to stop working. this in turn can quickly cause (very expensive) parts to overheat and die. also, if a battery fails, and especially if it starts leaking, you cannot remove it, thus causing way more damage. and if some other easily-replaceable part fails (hard drive, RAM, optical drive), you MUST take it to an Apple store or send it in, instead of just fixing it yourself (which may or may not be an inconvenience, but i'd at least like the option of just fixing it myself instead of waiting two weeks to send it back and forth through the mail and potentially paying more for the repair than is necessary).

        • There's no such thing as a defective Mac, not because they are all invincible, but because of the opposite.

          I was a lifelong mac user who also switched, largely because today's macs are designed to be replaced, not upgraded. "Defective" would imply something apart from the norm, but that's not how the mac works.

          Consider my MBP which I finally ditched last year, and the things it needed: three replacements of the optical drive, two logic board replacements, cosmetic repairs, fan replacements, thermal paste replacements. Now, it didn't get most of those things because I didn't buy AppleCare, as I couldn't stand to add 300 dollars to the already high sticker price. I was able to get one optical drive and the first logic board replaced within the first year, but after that, I was SOL. (I replaced the optical drive once myself as well after).

          As a college student, many of my friends have macs now. And they are always taking trips to the nearby Apple store to get things fixed (under warranty, sure, but why?) My Thinkpad that I bought three years ago to phase in as a replacement for my MBP? "Set it and forget it." I've had no problems yet.

          Finally last year, I bought a 300 dollar Dell netbook, and hackintoshed it for OS X. It's beautiful. It works. It doesn't have shoddy hardware. And it runs OS X. I have the best of both worlds, for a measly 300 bucks.

        • Nathan, it sounds like you had a defective MBP then :P

          Ignoring batteries and hard drives – they're going to die/crash on any laptop, they're all the same parts after all – I had to replace just the logic board on my old MBP of four years, back when it was still under warranty. Unless you're doing something extra stupid like, I don't know, picking up the laptop while a disc's spinning up, I don't know how you got such super shitty luck – but with a track record as good as theirs, I'd say you're the common denominator here.

    • When comparing apples to apples in terms of people (I don’t compare dude who throws laptop onto his bed to gingerly touching girl), I’ve noticed very similar failure rates, especially when it comes to major components. Perhaps a little lower for Mac hdd’s (most common failure) but considering that drives in laptops are all basically the same, I attribute that to handling of something sleek and white versus grey and rubbery.

    • When comparing apples to apples in terms of people (I don't compare dude who throws laptop onto his bed to gingerly touching girl), I've noticed very similar failure rates, especially when it comes to major components. Perhaps a little lower for Mac hdd's (most common failure) but considering that drives in laptops are all basically the same, I attribute that to handling of something sleek and white versus grey and rubbery.

    • Not true, macs do not last any longer, thats false information fed to you buy the Apple corporation, find me a 3rd part site that shows this to be true. You cant.

  3. Oh boy, I am glad that you had finally seen the light. You definitely hit it on the right spot; buying an overpriced Mac is not worth it, you are just buying the logo. And who says laptops are not durable or Macs are virus free?

  4. In my opinion, stating that a laptop half the price will outperform performance wise is not true. The specs may be better but the Operating System is what will hurt your performance.

    If you have a MacBook and a Window Laptop running side by side for about a year, the MacBook will run as well as it has since the day it was purchased while the Windows Laptop will struggle to open Firefox

    Apple's products are not expensive because of their shiny logo. Their operating system is built to run on the hardware that is used to put these machine's together.

    I am not bashing you for going with a non Apple Laptop, everyone has their preference… I was only addressing the performance part of your post.

    • What utter tripe, windows can run on pc's and laptop's for years. I build multi platform applications that often run off servers running windows perfectly and efficiently for years. Your comment is purely speculative, coming from a point of view of someone who obviously isn't sensible enough to run a windows machine. Try not going to so many dodgy porn websites and clicking on the links that tell you they will scan your pc as you have a virus lol.

      • A bogged-down computer is reflective of the person using it, not the computer itself; some people just overload their computers with too much data. That bogged-down Mac would probably be even worse if it was a PC.

        Here’s a comparison: The same person uses both a Mac and a Windows machine. They have the same level of conscientiousness when loading software/files onto their computer and do not overload the PC while barely touching the Mac. That person is me and I can tell you that the Windows machine (newer than the Mac) is running stupidly slow, despite having a better processor, harddrive and RAM.

        • I don't shut down or format my computer as a general rule. Well now that I'm not traveling so much, I guess I can, but I couldn't on the road the last few years. While my computer did noticeably slow after dropping it (and after installing a virus scanner) nothing else seems to change its rate of operation. I'm pretty sure I'm not change biased because I can still play all the same games at the same settings with the same degree of lag.

          And… I do go to dodgy websites.

        • No, OSX will not run as slow over time like windows does, its not the same technology! i would stack my HP running Slackware against any mac after 10 years with no format. Thats a more relevant statement. Like i said above, all you people running OSX that think its gods gift to the computing world need to realize its not special, its Just NeXTOS/BSD <– thats the OS steve jobs made when he left Apple. Your running a dumbed down Linux distro and you think its the best ever, lol

    • I've seen bogged-down macs before, too; so your argument is not bullet-proof.

      You said: "All macs don't get bogged down with time"
      and I replied: "I have seen a bogged down mac"

      So your statement has been contradicted.

      • A bogged-down computer is reflective of the person using it, not the computer itself; some people just overload their computers with too much data. That bogged-down Mac would probably be even worse if it was a PC.

        Here's a comparison: The same person uses both a Mac and a Windows machine. They have the same level of conscientiousness when loading software/files onto their computer and do not overload the PC while barely touching the Mac. That person is me and I can tell you that the Windows machine (newer than the Mac) is running stupidly slow, despite having a better processor, harddrive and RAM.

    • She clearly stated she will game a lot. OSX 3D performance is a lot worse than WIndows one. Mac will run slower in games than Windows computer with exactly the same specs.

    • She clearly stated she will game a lot. OSX 3D performance is a lot worse than WIndows one. Mac will run slower in games than Windows computer with exactly the same specs.

    • She clearly stated she will game a lot. OSX 3D performance is a lot worse than WIndows one. Mac will run slower in games than Windows computer with exactly the same specs.

    • Your statements about running two machines side by side one with windows other mac and after a year blah blah, is true. but what if the other machine is running Linux?? Do you even know what OSX is? its not built to run on the hardware Apple forces you to buy in order to run OS, OSX will run on my pc just fine, but Apple makes it illegal to run it outside of a Apple product according to the terms of service. OSX is NeXTOS/BSD with an Apple logo on it, thats it! Seriously, your all using a dumbed down Linux distro and think its special.

  5. I think it's a bit dishonest (as others have mentioned) to compare a MacBook (if you didn't really mean MacBook Pro) to a custom Windows desktop. What are the specs on your MacBook? What are the specs on your machine-to-be? It would have been more honest for you to say, "It doesn't do what I need it to do."

    Fair point about the laptop keyboard, but the same is true (as already commented) about any laptop. If you can point me to an ergonomically correct *laptop* of any OS persuasion, then please do so. Also… are you aware that any USB keyboard and mouse will work on a Mac? I'm typing this on a Dell keyboard as we speak, connected to a Mac mini.

    And who says you can't steampunk out an Apple laptop?

    @"Steve Jobs": I support AV software for Mac and Windows, and have for more than 3 years. Do you know how many legitimate Mac virus detections / removals I have ever had to deal with? 0. How many Windows viruses? Way more than 0.

    • yes, but i'm sure Apple has an IT department just like any other company that deals with stuff like viruses. so you're right, Jobs probably hasn't had to remove a virus…himself.

    • That's not a testimony in favor of Mac; rather the opposite, because it means there aren't enough of them out there to bother with.

      It's easy for me to upgrade and repair my PC, both desktop and laptop; parts and software are freely available and fairly cheap, and it doesn't void my warranty.

      On the other hand, you are dead on about the laptop keyboards. An ergonomic keyboard would almost certainly increase the thickness of the machine, and for some reason manufacturers are heading towards laptops thin enough to cut your finger on. I found switching between keyboards to be more painful than using the one built-in, so I switched the desktop ergonomic one back to the marginal one that came from Dell.

  6. I can't completely agree with your reasoning. Well more like some of your reasons just don't make a case against a Mac and for PC. Some of your reasons are just against laptops in general (for yourself).

    The first thing you mention is the price. In fact I can agree with the price being kind of high, but what every single person seems to never ever consider is the fact that you are buying a Mac with Mac OS X. There are no other computers on the market that come with their own OS. Microsoft doesn't make their own computers, they only make the OS. In fact when you factor in the cost of the OS things can change. Mac OS X is just Mac OS X, there is no Home, Professional, or Ultimate edition. It is the best edition made available to all current Macs. The OS has always been the main reason to buy a Mac. For me it just works better.

    Your third reason isn't completely valid either. On all Macbooks the RAM and the Hard drive are easily changeable. Now the fact that you're building your own desktop is a completely different story and in that instance of course you can upgrade as you see fit. But regardless of Mac or PC laptops, upgrading is limited to RAM, hard drive, and occasionally the disc drive.

    The fourth reason is similar to the third. There aren't any laptops with ergo keyboards on them as it is, so this point isn't a valid point against Macs since it applies to both Mac and PC laptops.

    All I'm saying is that if the article was about switching from a laptop to a desktop then I would find your reasons more reasonable, but in this instance it seems more like a clever title to get people to read the article. I mean it's why I clicked on it.

    • In regard to OS' the while ultimate/home/professional wasn't a case of bad/better/best. It was, unlike Apple standardisation, allowing consumers to select one most appropriate to their needs.
      Some people like single option designs, others like variability. Just friends on what you're after.

      • Not to mention there are definite features that the "better" versions use that no regular user will ever use. Domain logins? Remote desktop to your PC? most people have no clue what these are, and *that* is why microsoft gives you the option not to pay for them, rather than making everyone buy the ultimate version.

        • My only problem with Microsoft creating different version is just that I've talked to countless people who are worried about not having all the features available to them. They would have to read various articles or documents to find out what one version has that another doesn't. Now for people like us that's something we'd do naturally, but for regular users that's something that can become overwhelming. Buddy of mine got a netbook with Windows 7 Starter. She didn't think it was a big deal until she found out she couldn't even change the background wallpaper. My point is just that it sucks to think that there is a better version than what you have. This society is all about having the best of the best… but that's a totally different problem altogether.

        • Jack, that is something I don't think is a problem. A person having to check out what a different version does? Awesome! Because then they might start to think about what they are going to be using for, does the computer meet their needs, are they paying hundreds of extra dollars for stuff they don't need. I think it's a good thing.

    • Actually, every laptop I've ever bought has included Windows latest OS. My $500 Acer laptop included Windows Vista, which I've had absolutely zero problems with in the last 1.5 years. The OS may not be custom to the particular machine, but claiming that Mac OS X is worth $500? That's absurd. And it is not *necessarily* the "best" edition available to all current Macs; it is the *only* edition available to all current Macs. That's an important difference.

      • It included Windows Vista Ultimate? I mean if it really did then awesome, but from all the laptops I've ever looked at or worked on they've always been a variety of Home to Home Premium. I never said that Mac OS X is worth $500, but that doesn't mean it doesn't have it's own worth. Looking at the official Microsoft website a full retail version of Windows 7 Ultimate costs 319.99. You don't find that absurd either? If Mac OS X cost that much, then factoring in that cost and subtracting it from each computer offered by Apple then becomes a fairly reasonably priced computer. Apple believes, or at least says that it's the best OS that is available (for their computer). They don't feel a need to make different versions that have reduced functionality. I'm not saying this because I necessarily think it's true, it's just how Apple explains it's product. I mean come on, no company is going to say, "This is the only edition available. Good luck!" Of course they're going to call it the best regardless of if it really is or not.

        • If you can subtract the cost of the OS from an Apple machine, you can very well subtract that cost out of a Windows machine. So even if the Windows OS were to cost $320, you are STILL paying half the price for the laptop compared to a MacBook with similar specced hardware. So using your logic, you're paying $180 for hardware and $320 for the OS? That makes the price discrepancy between the PC and the Mac even more ridiculous. This is a flawed argument.

        • If you can subtract the cost of the OS from an Apple machine, you can very well subtract that cost out of a Windows machine. So even if the Windows OS were to cost $320, you are STILL paying half the price for the laptop compared to a MacBook with similar specced hardware. So using your logic, you're paying $180 for hardware and $320 for the OS? That makes the price discrepancy between the PC and the Mac even more ridiculous. This is a flawed argument.

  7. Wait. So why are you complaining about the cost of MacBooks if you’re going to turn around and build a frankenstein *desktop* PC?

    I mean, you realize that you can buy a previous-generation Mac Mini — which can easily handle Hulu — for $500, right?

    Everyone has a right to make their own decisions, but I can’t say that I understand this one. I quit a lifetime of building my own desktop PCs in order to switch to Macs, and I haven’t regretted it once.

  8. Wait. So why are you complaining about the cost of MacBooks if you're going to turn around and build a frankenstein *desktop* PC?

    I mean, you realize that you can buy a previous-generation Mac Mini — which can easily handle Hulu — for $500, right?

    Everyone has a right to make their own decisions, but I can't say that I understand this one. I quit a lifetime of building my own desktop PCs in order to switch to Macs, and I haven't regretted it once.

    • Laptops are really nice and all, but you are really never nostalgic for the real hand built days? Memory matching… IRQ assignments… (Okay, I admit I'm too young for the real hand built days) You really felt a connection to the box. You nurtured it over time. Sigh.

  9. I too made to heartwrenching decision to switch from MAC to PC when my desktop could not be upgraded anymore (either software or hard drive). I get a lot done on my PC, but I dearky miss my MAC everyday. Especially when I get crashes or freezes. I've already lost one motherboard. Be sure to back EVERYTHING up on a PC!

  10. Well, I think a more appropriate title would be "Why I changed my laptop". You only reference the Macbook. I would have to say, if you would compare some of the home computers (ready to go G5's), you would find that they are better handling than any home PC (right out the box). Macbooks are not built for playing games, or watching video. My Macbook g4 sucks in those aspects (macbooks generally don't come with a video card). But my Mac Pro g5 runs WOW, Hulu and any other site flawlessly.
    I mean, I can care either way, If price and games are more important, you definitely found the right computer for you and your needs… but you can't base an entire article on such little facts and comparisons. Especially since you're basing your comparison from a laptop to a desktop. Macbook are just as upgradable as any other laptop. Another thing you didn't mention, is which Macbook do you have? Are you confusing it with an iBook? Is it a G3, G4, Macbook Pro? If you're comparing a computer that is 6 years old, to a brand new computer, of course there is going to be a difference. Lots of things you failed to mention when making your case.

    • The author is not trying to convert you; rather, there was a few points that were stated that were relevant *to the author* in why they converted. That is all.

    • I think this proves my point from earlier: You actually think there's a chance her computer MIGHT be more than half a decade old. Would you even think that about a Windows user's laptop? Of course not.

      • in all fairness, Windows-based computers are not made of “inferior hardware” as you seem to be implying. you do realise that there are only about half a dozen computer manufacturers in the world, and the same factory that churns out HP’s and Dell’s also makes Apples, right? Foxconn, Quanta, ASUStek, Compal (and a couple others i can’t remember offhand) manufacture over 90% of the world’s computers. in fact, when the whole Foxconn-employee-suicide thing was going on about a year ago, Apple and HP were the two biggest names to look into the business practices of Foxconn, because they were the two biggest contracters of Foxconn!

        the only thing the “name brands” do (and i’m talking about the computer brands we know, like HP, Apple, Dell, Gateway, etc) is design the aesthetics, pick the hardware they want and contract it out to whichever overseas company bids the lowest. yes, Apple does produce their own OS…sort of. OS X is based on UNIX/BSD, which has been around for twenty-some years. Apple basically just coded the GUI and drivers and whatnot, but the underlying code is not theirs. i’m not saying OSX is a bad OS (it’s great, actually), but that Apple, for all intents and purposes, just “made it pretty”. the file system, docks, all of that have been around before Apple started using them.

      • in all fairness, Windows-based computers are not made of “inferior hardware” as you seem to be implying. you do realise that there are only about half a dozen computer manufacturers in the world, and the same factory that churns out HP’s and Dell’s also makes Apples, right? Foxconn, Quanta, ASUStek, Compal (and a couple others i can’t remember offhand) manufacture over 90% of the world’s computers. in fact, when the whole Foxconn-employee-suicide thing was going on about a year ago, Apple and HP were the two biggest names to look into the business practices of Foxconn, because they were the two biggest contracters of Foxconn!

        the only thing the “name brands” do (and i’m talking about the computer brands we know, like HP, Apple, Dell, Gateway, etc) is design the aesthetics, pick the hardware they want and contract it out to whichever overseas company bids the lowest. yes, Apple does produce their own OS…sort of. OS X is based on UNIX/BSD, which has been around for twenty-some years. Apple basically just coded the GUI and drivers and whatnot, but the underlying code is not theirs. i’m not saying OSX is a bad OS (it’s great, actually), but that Apple, for all intents and purposes, just “made it pretty”. the file system, docks, all of that have been around before Apple started using them.

      • in all fairness, Windows-based computers are not made of "inferior hardware" as you seem to be implying. you do realise that there are only about half a dozen computer manufacturers in the world, and the same factory that churns out HP's and Dell's also makes Apples, right? Foxconn, Quanta, ASUStek, Compal (and a couple others i can't remember offhand) manufacture over 90% of the world's computers. in fact, when the whole Foxconn-employee-suicide thing was going on about a year ago, Apple and HP were the two biggest names to look into the business practices of Foxconn, because they were the two biggest contracters of Foxconn!

        the only thing the "name brands" do (and i'm talking about the computer brands we know, like HP, Apple, Dell, Gateway, etc) is design the aesthetics, pick the hardware they want and contract it out to whichever overseas company bids the lowest. yes, Apple does produce their own OS…sort of. OS X is based on UNIX/BSD, which has been around for twenty-some years. Apple basically just coded the GUI and drivers and whatnot, but the underlying code is not theirs. i'm not saying OSX is a bad OS (it's great, actually), but that Apple, for all intents and purposes, just "made it pretty". the file system, docks, all of that have been around before Apple started using them.

        • Mmhmm, so tell me what Windows distributing companies are using the same casing as a Macbook?

          When I talk about build quality, I don't mean the processor, harddrive, RAM, etc itself. In fact, earlier on I said that my Windows computer actually has better hardware than my Mac, yet my Mac runs better. I'm TALKING about the "aesthetics" here. Which, if you actually pay any attention to an Apple product, you'd know is much more than simple aesthetics – it's a whole cohesive design that allows said hardware to function as best as possible while protecting it far better – for up to and over half a decade – than most Windows distributing companies bother with.

          Once again, do you know any one with a laptop more than five years old? If so, how many of them are Macbooks and how many of them are Windows/Linux notebooks? Because out of my friends, the 3 with the oldest laptops (which still work faster than most of my other friends' laptops) are Macbook/iBook users.

  11. I will never be able to justify spending the ridiculous amounts of money that a Mac requires. I have used both Macs & PCs and between gaming (It took HOW long to get Steam on a Mac??) and overall performance numbers, I can build a $1000 PC that will run circles around a Mac that costs the same amount, AND if anything *does* go wrong with it, I can inexpensively replace the part as opposed to having to send it in and pray to god it's still in warranty (or god forbid it's not and spend another small fortune on getting the problem fixed or replaced).

    So good for you. You've learned the secrets to PCs – Build your own or have a friend do it and it will not only get you further, with less money, but you can fix it for less by a wide margin.

  12. Why are MAC vs. PC comments so lengthy?

    If I may summarize your excellent article: Keeping my MacBook. Building a kick-butt Windows desktop.

    Good choice. Can’t wait to read what you think after the new box is running.

  13. Why are MAC vs. PC comments so lengthy?

    If I may summarize your excellent article: Keeping my MacBook. Building a kick-butt Windows desktop.

    Good choice. Can’t wait to read what you think after the new box is running.

  14. Why are MAC vs. PC comments so lengthy?

    If I may summarize your excellent article: Keeping my MacBook. Building a kick-butt Windows desktop.

    Good choice. Can’t wait to read what you think after the new box is running.

  15. Why are MAC vs. PC comments so lengthy?

    If I may summarize your excellent article: Keeping my MacBook. Building a kick-butt Windows desktop.

    Good choice. Can’t wait to read what you think after the new box is running.

  16. Why are MAC vs. PC comments so lengthy?

    If I may summarize your excellent article: Keeping my MacBook. Building a kick-butt Windows desktop.

    Good choice. Can’t wait to read what you think after the new box is running.

  17. Why are MAC vs. PC comments so lengthy?

    If I may summarize your excellent article: Keeping my MacBook. Building a kick-butt Windows desktop.

    Good choice. Can't wait to read what you think after the new box is running.

  18. The very best PC desktop I ever owned was one I built myself in college. That box got regular upgrades and only stopped working in late 2005. Building your own computer is fun! Being able to pop open a panel or lift up a laptop keyboard and get inside the guts of the machine is wonderful. I'll never not use a computer I can't muck about in.

    Sorry about your carpal tunnel injury. Please me more careful when you use any computer to not put weight or stress on your wrist. Holding your hands above the keyboard as if you were playing a piano, with arm support nearer to your elbow will delay and hopefully prevent additional injury.

  19. As a very reasonable geek, I believe everyone should use the system that they like the best. Both Windows and Mac (and Linux) have their high and low points, and for every item in your list I could easily provide a pro-Mac counterpoint.

    At the end of the day though, it's not about pushing a platform – technology is only useful when it fits into the work and lives of the people using it. So, if going Windows is better for your needs, it makes perfect sense.

    Personally, my job is Windows support. I support about 100 users directly, exclusively running Windows (Vista currently). The constant – and I do mean CONSTANT – issues have, over the years, caused me to develop a very serious dislike for the platform. So, I am *more* than happy to pay a reasonable "Apple tax" to use OS X on my shiny MBP because it means I don't have to ever see the Windows logo on my machine.

    I love MS for guaranteeing me a job forever, but I hate that their stuff keeps me so damned busy.

    By the way, I'm in the Cataclysm beta and it runs just fine on my 2008 MBP. The graphics are set to the default. There's no issue at all, it looks and runs fine. That could be because I'm a developer and also running the latest 10.6.5 beta, so your mileage may vary there.

  20. You know the difference with Mac users and terrorists?
    You can actually negotiate with terrorists.
    I really liked this posts.
    If you want facebook+mail and maybe write down one or 2 things (like my mom), you can for sure have a mac.
    If you enjoy moding, updates, video games maybe Mac is not the best option.
    But hey, they are white…

  21. I bought an iBook G3 in 2003 and was still using it every single day in mid-2008 when someone stole it from my home (while I was there, no less). The idiot forgot to steal the power cable, and it was old enough that the battery wouldn't hold a charge, so they probably ended up trashing it, which adds injury to insult. I haven't been able to afford another Mac, and so have used a netbook ever since. But someday …

    • Don't worry. They probably bought a new power cord for it.

      Fortunately for me, I have a GPS tracking device installed into my laptop which when activated, I can track it within 10 feet. Doesn't work vertically however, so if it was a tracked to a multi-floored building, I would have to search every floor lol.

  22. Just about every Apple user I know is a serious fanatic regarding the product. It's like arguing with a signpost. It never moved me that much, and I've been writing code since the Z80.

  23. There is one thing worth mentioning: part of the price of Apple is not just the logo but the engineering. Cheap computers like Dells are cheap in part because they use cheaper parts. It's like buying a Honda Accord vs. a Chevy Aveo. You're not just paying for a Honda logo, you're getting a better engineered machine that will last longer, and the same is true for Apple. Dell has had problems because its machines break down, and like Hondas, Apples have a higher resale value.
    If you have carpal tunnel, get a better chair and desk, and design on a desktop, or consider a tablet.

    • To each their opinions. I Manage over 200 Dell computers at my job, and in the past 5 years, around 2 or 3% of them got hardware failures… so we're talking about 4 or 6 PCs on 200…

      I know plenty of people who got DOA Macs though ;)

    • with all due respect, this is simply not true. Apple does not design their processors, video cards, hard drives, etc. Apple specs a certain processor (say an Intel Core i7), and writes specific drivers for OS X to take advantage of everything that processor has to offer. but these are the exact same Intel processors available to anyone else that wants to buy them. if you have an Apple desktop and your processor burns out, you can go down to your local computer store, purchase the same Intel processor and stick it in your machine and it will work exactly the same as it did from the factory. the thing is, Apple writes drivers SPECIFICALLY for certain processors (the OS is expecting a certain amount of cores, cache size, frontside bus speed, etc), which is why they don’t offer much of a choice when buying.

      hardware manufacturers don’t generally make “Mac-specific” parts anymore…it’s too expensive and certainly not cost-effective. instead, Apple writes specific drivers for a small selection of hardware, which is why you don’t get a ton of choices when configuring a Mac. it’s efficient and there’s not really anything wrong with it, except that your choices are more limited when it comes to hardware selection. on the other hand, Windows works with all the hardware out there, but it may not work well all the time: MS engineers have to plan for everything that a hardware manufacturer MIGHT do, but they’re not always going to get it right. if, say, a video card manufacturer updates their driver and it the code does something Windows isn’t expecting it to do, then there can be conflicts.

      i don’t look at one method as better or worse, just a compromise: do you want a smaller selection that will probably work better, or do you want the biggest selection in the world, but potentially have to deal with code issues? personally, i chose the latter because i’d rather chose the exact hardware i want, knowing that eventually the issue will be resolved (although i may have to live with some wonky stuff for a month or so), but at the same time, i can fully understand wanting something that generally works out of the box.

      in the world of computers, it all depends on either what you’re willing to pay or put up with.

    • with all due respect, this is simply not true. Apple does not design their processors, video cards, hard drives, etc. Apple specs a certain processor (say an Intel Core i7), and writes specific drivers for OS X to take advantage of everything that processor has to offer. but these are the exact same Intel processors available to anyone else that wants to buy them. if you have an Apple desktop and your processor burns out, you can go down to your local computer store, purchase the same Intel processor and stick it in your machine and it will work exactly the same as it did from the factory. the thing is, Apple writes drivers SPECIFICALLY for certain processors (the OS is expecting a certain amount of cores, cache size, frontside bus speed, etc), which is why they don't offer much of a choice when buying.

      hardware manufacturers don't generally make "Mac-specific" parts anymore…it's too expensive and certainly not cost-effective. instead, Apple writes specific drivers for a small selection of hardware, which is why you don't get a ton of choices when configuring a Mac. it's efficient and there's not really anything wrong with it, except that your choices are more limited when it comes to hardware selection. on the other hand, Windows works with all the hardware out there, but it may not work well all the time: MS engineers have to plan for everything that a hardware manufacturer MIGHT do, but they're not always going to get it right. if, say, a video card manufacturer updates their driver and it the code does something Windows isn't expecting it to do, then there can be conflicts.

      i don't look at one method as better or worse, just a compromise: do you want a smaller selection that will probably work better, or do you want the biggest selection in the world, but potentially have to deal with code issues? personally, i chose the latter because i'd rather chose the exact hardware i want, knowing that eventually the issue will be resolved (although i may have to live with some wonky stuff for a month or so), but at the same time, i can fully understand wanting something that generally works out of the box.

      in the world of computers, it all depends on either what you're willing to pay or put up with.

  24. You must've bought some shitty specced macbook. I can play WoW on my mac, as all Blizzard Entertainment games work for both Windows and Mac OS, and Hulu works perfectly fine. Also, not to mention your article sounded like you were very upset while writing this, so you were very bias with nothing to support all the facts you stated.

    Next time, check your Processor and Memory before disregarding Mac laptops in general.

  25. As other's have pointed out, this is actually about moving from a low-end laptop to a high-end desktop. All laptops are relatively underpowered, more expensive, and less expandable than desktops. Making the argument — as you have — against laptops is an interesting stance to take, with so much attention on mobile computing.

    Since you preferred to have yet another Mac/PC circle jerk, I'd like to point out that apple hardware runs windows just fine, and actually much more stably than low-end hardware. And when I use any laptop for serious work (graphic design, web design, audio/video editing, extended writing) I *always* use an external monitor and keyboard, with a high-grade 3rd party mouse.

    I use a macbook pro as my main computer, and I don't give a crap about the logo. I use apple hardware because I prefer the unix-based OS, the hardware is extremely well-made, and I don't play WOW. Also — and most importantly — I've maintained computer labs that had PC and Apple hardware side-by-side, and I really hate repeatedly fixing computers. If you're planning on building and maintaining your own custom box, with the expectation of tweaking and optimizing it continuously, then you simply plan on having a different relationship to you tools, be it Windows or a Hackintosh box. Kudos to you.

    It's just too bad you couldn't have headlined the article more honestly (5 Steps Away from Mobile Computing). But I guess it wouldn't have gotten you nearly as many hits and comments, would it? And if people could have reasonable discussions about the real-world differences between hardware and OS options, I guess there'd be no reason for tech blogs.

  26. Good luck with that. I doubt you'll have much time to write novels with the Windows computer though. You'll be spending all your time trying to get drivers to install, dismissing the numerous notifications, running virus scans, hacking the registry to solve a completely random and sudden problem, rebooting after installing every program, trying to connect it to your wireless network, and waiting for it to boot up.

    I switched to Mac about 3 years ago from Windows, and I can't see myself going back anytime soon.

    • In the almost two years I've owned my Windows laptop, I've never had to install a driver with the exception of my (very old) HP printer, which is a separate peripheral. I've never had notifications, because I disabled them the day I got the computer. My virus scans run automatically, and I've never actually had a virus on my computer, or any of my previous Windows computers, because I'm not a complete Luddite. Most programs don't force me to restart my computer on install. It stays perpetually connected to my Internet, with the exception of when Verizon craps out and I need to reboot my modem. And it boots in under a minute. Maybe you should reconsider Windows since every argument you made is invalid.

    • Ah, no? I don't have any problems installing drivers, that's pretty 2005. I get exactly the same number of notifications on my PC as I do my Mac telling me to update iTunes (even after I tick "don't remind me again"). Virus scans run in the background. I've never hacked a registry. I can't remember the last time I've been told to reboot after installing a program. My wireless network connects fine, and my PC laptop (which is older than my Mac laptop) boots in about the same amount of time.

      The only problem I have on my PC is when Quicktime starts trying to take over everything.

  27. I switched from Macintosh in 1989 and have never looked back. Hypey company is mostly hype, with a high cost because their fanbois are so dedicated. Open source and white boxes are cheap, easily fixed and more fun.

    • Remember- Apple knows better than you what you want and need. You get what they say. Competition is irrelevant, which explains why they are overpriced.

      On the other hand, the PC platform has plenty of competition and therefore allows maximum value for the dollar, as well as easy service. It's also easy to choose an operating system. It's a shame Apple chooses to intentionally cripple OS X so that it will only run on a limited amount of "approved" hardware, while Windows and Linux runs on just about anything.

  28. It's really weird this whole Mac mentality. I work in a creative industry so Mac is the brand of choice. I tend to prefer PCs though, but can work on both.

    But Mac fans, they just seem to have blinders on. They'll say how great their machine is, make fun of PCs, and then half an hour later they'll be yelling at their computer for losing their work. Macs mess up too. The only reason why it seems like PCs mess up more is because there's a much broader range of specs, which means that the lower end is really low and crap. Oh, plus some poor OS releases (which are most often on the cheaper PCs these days). And it's those that go down.

  29. I think it's funny that people keep bringing up the fact that she's replacing a laptop with a custom desktop, when the fact is that you can build a kick-ass custom desktop for far under the cost of a new Macbook. Since one of the considerations she's using is cost (and Macbooks ARE overpriced, just like all of the other shiny Apple gadgets), and portability is not an issue, this is a valid comparison.

  30. Sometimes you have to buy based on price. I use a PC laptop because my workplace supplies it. When I bought with my own $ I bought Mac. There's something to be said for the logo–specifically design is really important to me. I want beautiful and artfully designed things around me, especially when I work on them a lot. That goes for the hardware and the software. My current PC is grinding to a halt from cruft, despite my 0% fragmentation and removal of memory-resident programs. That never happened on my Macs. Yes, go to a PC for a while. But I expect you will pine. And someday you will come back and as soon as you stroke the case and click on the windows just for the fun of it, you'll probably wonder how you ever could ever have left. :0)

  31. fantastic article! i get so irritated with the "switching from PC to Mac", it's refreshing to hear someone go the other way! and in a non-confrontational way, to boot! the fact of the matter is that Macs are PC's, and vice-versa. in fact, there are only a few companies in the world that manufacture basically all of the computers we use. Foxconn and ASUS, who manufacture the majority of Macs (last time i checked, anyway) also manufacture HP, Dell, Gateway, etc etc. Apple, Dell and most other computer companies that we see on the shelves really only design the aesthetics and maybe write code if they produce software or an OS. the fact is, you can run OSX on a "Windows" computer, although Apple seems to write code for very specific hardware parts, which is probably part of the reason they don't want people digging around in their laptops (although from a marketing standpoint, i'm sure planned obsolescence has a lot more to do with it). and OSX, quite honestly, doesn't usually run well on a Windows machine, unless you've built one up using the same type of motherboard/chipset/processor combo that is used in a Mac (and that OSX is expecting). i think too many people have forgotten that OSX is based on UNIX/BSD, which will run on pretty much anything. Apple's biggest advancement wasn't the underlying code, but the GUI, specific drivers and a few other things (perhaps the file system).

    as for laptops, there are some that do allow (and in fact almost encourage) upgrading. my Lenovo has three hatches on the bottom: one covers the HDD, one covers the WiFi card and the other large one covers both the RAM and processor area of the motherboard. they are all easily upgradeable (and they don't have those "Warranty Void if Removed" stickers). the cool part is that the user manual actually gives you instructions on how to access and install upgraded parts! i think it's really irritating when a company doesn't want you to access easy-upgradeable components, and with the newer MacBook Pro's i also don't like the fact that you can't even open up any part of the bottom to clean out dust, which WILL eventually get sucked into and clog up fans and components! EVERY computer needs to have its insides cleaned out once in a while; if dust is allowed to clog up fans, those fans stop working and parts burn out. then those parts need to be replaced, which is an inconvenience at the least. i like being able to open up almost the entire bottom of my laptop once in a while and blowing out the dust with compressed air, and last time i checked, MacBooks don't have any magical dust-repelling abilities.

    don't get me wrong, i think Apple makes a nice computer. they also make a nice OS. but they are far from perfect, at least from a computer geek perspective. people need to start realising there's a huge difference in "perceived value" and "real value" (and for the record, there are plenty of Windows machines that fall under the "really overpriced" category: Alienware comes to mind).

  32. As an admin, I'd go a PC over a Mac any day of the week (and having just replaced the HDD on my daughters MacBook on the weekend – would extend that to lappys as well).

    As far as OS goes, they both have their good and bad points, but really, a Mac can only run OS X (whichever flavour you like – well unless you have an non-intel based one..) whereas with a PC, you can run Windows (almost any flavour), Ubuntu, Linux, etc, etc, etc.

    • Oh and I should add – off the dozen + iMac's our company has purchased over the past 3 years, every one of them has failed. Problems ranging from HDD fails (most frequent) to popped capacitors (2nd most frequent due to shitty airflow designs and seen most often when the video starts to go), to failed superdrive motors. Wonder why corporates don't go Mac? Very flakey hardware and a non-existent support model is the key here.

    • Macs can run all the operating systems you just listed (and listing both "Ubuntu" and "Linux" is kind of redundant).

      I've got Ubuntu, Windows 7, Chrome OS, and of course Mac OS X, all installed on my iMac.

      So that argument is dead.

      • Really? You can install Windows out of the box onto your iMac, without any emulator or other software? You could format your hard drive and install Windows exclusively, without Boot Camp or some other crutch?

        • How is Boot Camp a crutch? It's not emulation, it's not even virtualization, it only creates a separate partition to install Windows onto so you can have the benefit of both Mac OS X and Windows. So how is it a crutch?

  33. Wait so you're building a desktop and complaining about the upgradability of your MacBook? Even Mac desktops are fairly easy to upgrade when the time comes.

    From half of your complaints the article would be more accurately titled, How I became a desktop user: 5 easy steps from laptop to desktop.

  34. I just did the opposite…went from PC to "Hackintosh" (no way i pay 5g for a machine I can build for $600)….Could not be happier. 6 months of MAC cancelled 20 odd years of PC use . Same machine, same specs, same hardware MAC 0 Crashes – Win (Vista, XP, 7) countless crashes.

    My OSX is working perfectly fine, is on 24/7, handles all I throw at it and then some, converts multiple video files (2gb average) with no issues while it crashed most of the times on Win7 Ultimate forcing me to reboot and looste the work, had a couple of application crashes including one on Imovie right after i was almost done editing the end titles and when I restarted the app (not the pc, key part here) the changes where there without me saving, forget that on a PC.

    But anyway both machines have their good and bad stuff….like someone said is how much you are willing to pay or how much crap you are willing to put up with that should make you chose what's right for you. I reached the point where I'd rather spend the time using my computer rather than trying to make it run like it should. Tired of BSOD, tired of having to upgrade drivers and download security fixes every 3 days, tired of rebooting when installing a game or an application (who say it does not must have not much software other than Office)…basically tired of PC…

    • My MBP has had more crashes than my Win7 machine has. In fact, I can't remember when my Win7 machine crashed last.

      On top of that. I never have to reboot my Win7 machine, video drivers no longer require a reboot! Waaaaah Security fixes require me to reboot my Windows machine, guess what, so do Mac Updates and they seem to pop up more and more frequently now. Hell, I have to log out just to switch video cards in my MBP if I ever want to play games.

      Drivers? Really? I've plugged more devices and have them work in my Win7 machine than my MBP.

      Don't get me started on the things OS X does that is extremely backwards.
      Like the pop up boxes, you can't tab over by default to select the option, you must change it in the keyboard settings first. There's no cut and paste. You can't sort files/folders A-Z with Folders appearing first (you need Pathfinder ($40) if you want to do this). A weird mouse acceleration curve for external mice.

      I've also had my MBP's hard drive lock up while actively using it for up to 30 seconds before it would respond again. Apple released a patch for that after 2 months of not using my MBP. Now my stupid screen is flickering.

    • "6 months of MAC cancelled 20 odd years of PC use"

      Synonymous with "6 months of meth use cancelled 20 odd years of productivity"

  35. Macs will always be slower for games. OpenGL runs much slower than DirectX, and that's why required game specs are always higher for the Mac.

  36. As someone who debated a long time on whether or not to buy a Mac, and essentially bought another PC for half the price, I loved this article.

  37. Hulu works fine on my Mac, and that kind of thing screams software problem. I'm not going to pick at your reasoning, because it's a choice we all make. My choice was all about stability. In two years, my Mac has not crashed once, and no program has failed. I don't think you'll get that with XP…wait…Vista….wait…Windows 7. Hopefully Scrivener has the resources to keep up with the MS OS product life cycle.

    • Are you kidding me?XP was released in 2001, Vista was released in 2006 and 7 was released in 2009.Don't let it fool you; Mac OS X is pretty much the equivalent of "Windows" now, not "Windows 95", "Windows Vista", etc. The "95", "Vista", etc part are now the cat-name releases. They're far more than service packs – there's no way you can compare Cheetah to Snow Leopard, both in aesthetics and in their functionality. Also, they cost money, which, even if you do not agree they are separate OSes, means to the consumer they may as well be one. Also, I use Tiger and that means I can't use pretty much any new program, which tend to require at least Leopard – more similar to the XP/Vista divide and service pack divides, no?And since 2001, there's been 8 of them – more than two times the amount of Microsoft's OS. I might've defended Macs thus far in this article's comments, but let's not go fooling ourselves here.

  38. basically it comes down to the internet. Downloading and visiting random shady websites is what cause PC's to have a bad reputation. I worked with servers and PC's that have never been connected to the internet and they all work great

    • I download and visit shady websites on both my 4 year old Mac and my 2 year old Windows machine. The Mac has held up far better.

      Essentially, all you're saying is; In a world free of bacteria/viruses, AIDs wouldn't be a problem. Which is pretty obvious.

      But the world isn't like that, and for most computer-users, the world isn't unconnected to the internet, either.

  39. Besides ergonomic keyboards, also check out mechanical keyboards. I'm a software programmer and after so many years I can't believe I didn't get into using them earlier. They have many different types of switches that actuate with different grams of force. After a full day of coding, my hands are still strong. Anyways if you wish to learn more about mechanical keyboards, you can find a guide by googling mechanical keyboard.

  40. As a former Mac user I must say that this article is the clearest explanation I have ever seen of why I gave up on the Mac – I salute the writer for a job so well done !
    I must also add that for me the proverbial 'last straw' was when Intel CPUs took over; pardon me, but that Mac is really a PC, why the denial ?
    The love affair was never about speed either because if a person is really honest they can easily see the PCs are always faster – but they don't have the Apple OS, right ?
    BUT WAIT !
    I can have my muffins WITH frosting if I want by simply taking my fully legal OSX and using it via simple instructions to make a nice, fully upgradeable Hackintosh PC; no need to keep the outdated Mac h/w as it is – I can just erase it and make a nice Linux thing out of it, or donate it someplace.

    My question is:
    How can it be that so many people remain ignorant (or in denial ?) of their chosen platform's recorded history ?
    When the Steve went on TV in a big splash with his 'best buddy' Uncle Bill to kiss his feet and thank him for saving Apple via a bushel of 'goodwill' bux, it was GAME OVER.
    IP ? What IP ? WHOSE IP ? Not just Apple's anymore. Betrayal complete.
    How come so many devoted Apple users just forget that this is 100% why their computers are now Intel-based PCs with a subordinated, changed OS.
    Phooey, I say.

    • In regard to your questions: Just because that went down does not mean they are not still two distinct computer platforms with their own pros and cons. It is the pros and cons of the actual machines/OS people argue about, not the business dealings.

  41. Sorry to admit I've been thinking about this article for a day or so; might I suggest that the real title of the article should have been "I am a geek at heart and want to get back to building my own PC", but then it wouldn't have had such an attention grabbing title. Which I guess is why this post is so annoying, why do you need to justify giving up your laptop (regardless of manufacturer label) when what you want is a behemoth of a machine that is ready to eat notebooks/laptops/etc for dinner; so in all fairness the title should be "I am giving up on notebooks in favor of building a desktop" which is going the other way in terms of computer adoption.
    Having said that I am the owner of all things Apple plus I have a monster PC desktop and everything lives in harmony. Good luck with the building.

  42. I enjoyed the comments far more than the article; there are sound arguments to both parts but as a geek and passionate lover of computers, operating systems, and technology in general for more than two decades I can say without hesitation that learning about these fascinating machines and applying that knowledge to perhaps build your own is the best thing you can invest on.

    This not only applies to computers, to all technology as well. How many times have you gotten into a car and have had no idea of even the most basic principles behind it? We will always find ourselves in trouble if we only use what is presented to us as our best interest and don't make an effort to be informed.

    The best choice regarding OS for me was to switch to Linux. It is no longer only for avid nerds as myself; it is now a very user friendly system with a lot of community support. I even made a SERVO with Linux that automatically doles out food and fresh water to my cats while I am away on weekends with very basic knowledge and it works great! Windows will be my second favorite, because it is like having a whole warehouse of possibilities open to you, to break or make into something great or the worst this world has seen. OSX in my experiences with it is extremely limited by their own branding; but to some it has all they need or care about.

    Sometimes I think it is insanely ridiculous how people fight over Mac and Windows machines, while all they really have to do with ANY computer is to learn about it to change it into whatever they want. No Mac is impenetrable, no Windows is unmanageable; as the right tools and unyielding curiosity will prove if you only dare to question what everyone else tells you.

  43. Also notice her 'custom-build' isn't a kickass high-end machine; rather, it's from cast-off parts scrounged from her friends (if I interpreted "Between the generosity of friends of ours and various parts we’ve accumulated…" correctly).

  44. Yes, its cool to be a Mac-hater in certain circles. But if you compare just the raw specs, you're not really comparing the computers. A Yugo and a Mercedes both have 4 tires, seat belts and a heater, but they are hardly comparable. When was the last time you saw a Yugo on the road? But a 25 year old Mercedes is hardly a scarce sight. Not that you can't find a decent PC with top quality components – you can. But you'll pay nearly as much as you would for the Mac. The $499 laptop with the cheap chassis, hard drive, crappy touch pad, bad keyboard and mediocre screen isn't the same as a Macbook just because it has the same amount of ram and similar processor clock speed.

    You'll be back!

  45. You have carpel tunnel and you still game a lot? You're a glutton for punishment! I'm not aware of any laptop with a curvy keyboard, but can't you use any USB, bluetooth or wireless keyboard (with a dongle) on a mac? You lost me with the keyboard bit.