Monday, January 02, 2012

A quick comparison

If you are not at all interested in computers then stop reading here! Otherwise you can read on and find out about my latest toy.

When I upgraded my desktop computer to one with Windows 7 and the latest Sandy Bridge processor, my netbook started to frustrate me. With its Atom processor and Windows XP it just felt so slow. Accomplishing simple tasks seemed to take forever and of course some applications wouln’t run under the native resolution of the 10.1 inch screen.

It was time for a change but what to buy? Another netbook would have been the cheapest option but then that would have brought no improvement so I started to look at notebooks instead. I certainly did not need a desktop replacement with a 15inch or even 17inch screen, something around the 11inch to 13inch screen size would fit the bill just nicely. 

The logical choice would have been a Windows 7 machine because then I could have then utilised all of the programs from my desktop on it. I therefore looked at offerings from all the reputable manufacturers including Dell, Samsung, Acer, HP and Sony. There were one or two models that caught my eye including those with a similar processor to my desktop.

Then I started to look at what Apple had to offer. When I bought my new desktop I was sorely tempted to buy an iMac. I love the form factor of that machine and the fact that it runs silently. I also like the Mac OS system which I’ve used on my son in laws iMac. 

Having owned four desktop Macs and two Mac laptops, I’d already enjoyed a long acquaintance with Mac OS going back to System 7. The only reasons I changed over to Windows were because in comparison, Macs became so expensive and I had ready access to Windows software at that time.

Macs, of similar specification, are now at about the same price as their Windows counterparts so it seemed a good time to consider a Mac notebook. To make the deal even sweeter Apple were offering worthwhile discounts on “Black Friday”, the 25th November.

There were two choices; the ultra thin and light MacBook Air and the more powerful MacBook Pro; both have sleek aluminium cases and look just fantastic switched on or off. I went for the MacBook Pro with its faster processor, larger hard drive, increased memory and 2inch larger screen. If you haven’t seen one of these in the flesh, pop into Carrefour or an Apple store nearby and you will experience the same lust as i did on my first encounter. Macs are just gorgeous machines full stop. Compare them with other machines in the shop to see what I mean – sleek aluminium versus cheap shiny plastic – no contest!

So what do I think of my new machine?

The system starts up really quickly (instantly if I just close the lid and put it to sleep) and the machine feels very nimble, maybe not as nimble as my desktop but then that has the next processor up and twice the RAM to play with. The screen is just incredible, perhaps not quite as sharp as the Dell IPS screen I use with my desktop. The operating system is a joy to behold and the iLife software which came with it is very comprehensive and well featured. Not having access to all the inner workings of the system and not getting those indecipherable error messages is a real boon. I doubt that I will have to spend the same amount of time tuning and repairing Mac OS X as I do with Windows 7.

The bottom line is that I would not be without my desktop for those times when I have a lot of photos to process or a video to put together but for everything else the MacBook is just perfect. Apart from anything else, it is more sociable to sit in the lounge with my wife that lock myself away in the spare room. Mrs W. sits on one sofa with her iPad and I on the other with my MacBook. Every now and then we can send each other messages – how sad is that!

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