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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.

  • jaragon13
    Obviously,with two 8800 GTX's,I don't see why you wouldn't want to play Crysis,Battlefield 2,Call of Duty 4,etc.,all day long....
    Reply
  • kidswithguns
    Can I play PC games on an Mac system? I never used a Mac before. I couldn't find a main point in your post. Who should move to Mac? A casual user? Entertainment purpose? Servers?
    What Mac can do, that Windows can't?
    What Windows can, that Mac can't?
    You are getting really excited with this, and wrote a really long article, but I couldn't see a big point, that could move me from Windows to a Mac.
    Maybe Mac is really something. But I don't think it's some breaking news, that make me have to say WOW!
    I noticed your hardwares, most of them for server purposes, so, Is that mean Mac is a good way for servers? I thought i would learn the different between Mac and Windows from this article, but I mistaked....
    Maybe I did, mostly about the interface? (The way how it looks).
    Someone knows more about Mac please explain?
    Reply
  • tuannguyen
    kidswithgunsCan I play PC games http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Personal_computer_game on an Mac system? I never used a Mac before. I couldn't find a main point in your post. Who should move to Mac? A casual user? Entertainment purpose? Servers?What Mac can do, that Windows can't?What Windows can, that Mac can't?You are getting really excited with this, and wrote a really long article, but I couldn't see a big point, that could move me from Windows to a Mac.Maybe Mac is really something. But I don't think it's some breaking news, that make me have to say WOW!I noticed your hardwares, most of them for server purposes, so, Is that mean Mac is a good way for servers? I thought i would learn the different between Mac and Windows from this article, but I mistaked....Maybe I did, mostly about the interface? (The way how it looks).Someone knows more about Mac please explain?
    Well, essentially what I wanted to get at was that I just found myself getting a lot more done on a Mac, everything is well unified, and Apple does a great job of integrating hardware, software and services. I mentioned about the Remote app on the iPhone allowing you to use your phone as a remote control for iTunes, which is pretty darn cool. As well, the apps that ship with iLife has a great synergy too.

    I'll cover more about how it all ties in together in a follow up article. This article was for me to set the ground work really. I didn't want to publish an article that was insanely long and had too many pages to click. :)

    You'll see me go through some of the magic that makes all these apps work well together on a Mac in an article coming soon.

    / Tuan
    Reply
  • randomizer
    Expose always seemed messy to me, but I rarely have enough windows open to need it anyway. It's definitely simpler and faster to use than Vista's scrolling... thing... whatever it is called again. Flip 3D, that's it.

    Looking forward to the Ubuntu setup guide. I can never get my NVIDIA drivers working because my chair to keyboard interface is constantly malfunctioning.

    @jaragon13: Some people actually have a job :kaola:
    Reply
  • warezme
    judging by the title, you didn't really go Mac..., you just added a Mac. If Mac was all that you wouldn't need to keep a PC.
    Reply
  • apache_lives
    Wow this article felt like a total ego trip

    heres what hardware i was using two years ago:
    Intel Idontgiveacrap-eron 4 with HT
    16 giveacraps of ram
    bla bla bla

    on a totally different note, the computer i use the most in my house is a ~8 year old windows 98 based pc - Tutalain Celeron 1100a @ 1.46, 512 SDR, Voodoo2 SLI, SB AWE32 etc - more fun in old classic games then the newer modern games i think, CARAMAGEDDON NUT!!!!!!

    I know for a fact that nether MAC's nor XP/Vista machines can play these games!
    Reply
  • This was a waist of my life, I need to bill tomshardware for this.
    Reply
  • randomizer
    warezmejudging by the title, you didn't really go Mac..., you just added a Mac. If Mac was all that you wouldn't need to keep a PC.If PC was all that you wouldn't need to get a Mac in the first place. In the end it comes down to preference and/or use. Buying a Mac would be a waste of money for me because I wouldn't know what to do with it, but that doesn't make it inherently useless. It's my fault :D
    apache_livesI know for a fact that nether MAC's nor XP/Vista machines can play these games!I got a 1997 Star Trek game to work on Vista, I think you should give it a go. Admittedly I got occasional BSODs when trying 6xAA at 640x480 but dropping to 4xAA mostly fixed that up.
    Reply
  • apache_lives
    XP and Glide never really shared that love windows 9x did, and EA never really made a decent patch for Need for Speed 3 to work with XP properly even.

    Dos box gives some relief but in the end, the 9x machine is easier when its native etc.
    Reply
  • hairycat101
    Macs will never game like Windows unless the gaming community gives up Direct X. You can game with a macintrash... you just have to do it from a windows boot.
    Reply