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Why I Went Mac But Still Keep My PC

Hardcore PC Days

I’ll be honest, I’ve been a PC user for the longest time, since the 286 days. Those were great ! I even had a yellow monochrome monitor. My favorite years with the PC however, is no doubt the "Windows XP" years. This version of Windows was one of the best, if not the best — so far — of any consumer operating system from Microsoft.

When Windows Vista launched, I hesitated to upgrade because there were really very few new drivers available. That and I customized my XP setup so much that it was just daunting to think about wiping my computer and restarting from scratch. After getting to use several Windows Vista-based PCs, I just couldn’t see the need to go through the trouble. There wasn’t anything in Vista that I couldn’t do faster on my XP box.

I built my machine nearly two years ago and it’s still going pretty strong today. Here’s my current Windows XP PC.

ProcessorAMD Dual Core Opteron @ 2.93 GHz
MotherboardMSI K8N Neo nForce 4
MemoryCorsair XMS DDR 2GBx2
StorageWD Raptor 36 GB x 2 and Seagate Barracuda 320 GB
GraphicsNVIDIA GeForce 8800 GTX x 2
SoundM-Audio Revolution 7.1
Resolution2560x1600
OSMicrosoft Windows XP SP2

Now this PC runs pretty much everything I want — except... I haven’t touched it in nearly six months. I’ve gone Mac.

Just in case some believe that I’m not really a hardcore PC guy, here’s my system before the one listed above :

ProcessorDual AMD Athlon MPs 1.5GHz
MotherboardTyan Thunder 2462NG
MemoryCorsair Registered ECC PC2100 1 GB x 4
StorageSeagate Cheetah FC X15 18 GB x 5 and a DPT SmartRAID FC-AL 2 Gbit RAID controller with 162 MB cache
GraphicsTyan Tachyon 9700 Pro
SoundCreative Labs SB Audigy
Resolution1920x1200
OSMicrosoft Windows 2000 Professional

15,000 RPM of goodness

It was an extensive RAID setup, with hardware usually not found in a consumer-level system. FC-AL, or fibre-channel arbitrated loop, was something I thoroughly enjoyed using. Prior to it, my desktop used hardware RAID Ultra-320 SCSI. Everything ran on SCSI, even my optical drives. I used Plextor drives exclusively since it was the best makers of CD drives and its drives were well known for being reliable and top performers.

In fact, I was so into extreme hardware, I even had a Sun StorEdge A1000 array. With drives runninng attached to an Adaptec SPEC 2 quad-channel SCSI RAID controller, we are talking about some serious performance. Excessive ? Yeah, pretty excessive, but hey this is Tom’s Hardware we’re talking about here.

Sun's StorEdge A1000 Array

The above computer is now roughly six years old, but it was a screamer at the time. But as time went by I ended up simplifying everything. All the upkeep was a chore. I had two Linux servers running 24/7 backed up by twin APC Smart-UPS 1500. Yeah — I definitely miss those days.