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Should I get a Mac or PC?

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Should I get a Mac or PC?

What computer should I get next? I would love your help choosing. I posed the question on this Facebook Thread – but it is hard to layout the whole picture in such few words.

Currently I use a Dell Precision 17” high resolution laptop (fully loaded – well 2 years ago it was anyway…) Every time I am about to purchase I consider buying a Mac.  And every time I have ended up staying with PCs.  I had considered getting a desktop, but I realize I much prefer laptops.

Why I have stayed (Pros to PC):

– I have all the software already

– I am familiar and comfortable with using it

– Overall they are reliable – well besides that blue screen I get maybe once every 6 months – or the occasional virus/malware issues

Why I might want to switch to Mac (Pros to Mac/Cons to PC):

– I always hear how I would LOVE using a Mac

– Viruses and malware

– Many say Photoshop runs better on a Mac

– Would love a lighter, sleeker 17” laptop

– Those commercials are just too funny

And why I never have switched and would still be nervous to make the change (Cons to Mac):

– Much of the software is not Mac compatible:

  1. Camtasia (which I use to record all the photoshop video tutorials you watch here)
  2. Windows Live Writer (how I am writing this blog post right now – it is awesome!)
  3. Thunderbird for email (there may be a Mac version but would my emails transfer)

– Some software is compatible – but would require I purchase a Mac version or give up my PC license.

  1. Photoshop is my biggest problem – since I do trainings, I need to sometimes use older versions. Well if I transfer my license it would be for CS4.  I would not have access to older versions – as you cannot download past versions for Mac when you have the PC disks.  Also, I need to test action sets in older versions.  As of now I have v7, CS, CS2, CS3, CS4 and elements 5 and 7. I could keep them on my PC laptop, but then, if I need to use it for training or testing, why bother getting a Mac?
  2. Lightroom – similar issue as Photoshop but not used nearly as much for my MCP work so transfer is less of an issue.
  3. Would need to purchase new version of Word and Excel for Mac.

– Setting up, transferring info (an issue when I get a new computer no matter what – but more complex going PC to Mac).

– Might need the PC side on my Mac – as I could get Vista, parallels and then load on my Photoshop versions.  But I would need to re-purchase photoshop for the Mac side –since they do not have dual platform licenses.  And I would need to get virus protection and spyware programs then too.

– Learning curve – getting use to the new keys and commands as well as the new operating system

After reading my Pros and Cons, what do you think I should do? If you vote switch to Mac explain how I can overcome the Cons?  Please vote and leave comments as to why you voted the way you did.

[poll id=”19″]

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71 Comments

  1. honey
    June 8, 2009 at 2:33 pm —

    you can switch platforms on lightroom and i am sure you will find other ways to work your blog.

  2. honey
    June 8, 2009 at 2:27 pm —

    As far as the word & excel … my imac opens them and for new documents I use iwork. I would transfer my platform for mac under cs4, then do all of your other testing on pc. OR fins someone with the older versions and install them on your mac. They can be installed up to 2 times … one of us guys who xoxoxo you have to have a copy hanging around for you! So Mac users who have a newer version and are willing to send Jodi your older versions … Anyone??

  3. June 8, 2009 at 2:15 pm —

    I just called adobe and there is NO WAY to get Mac versions of the software for older versions of Photoshop – which I need for training and testing.

    And if I transfer my license – it renders the PC versions useless anyway. If I do not transfer – I have to spend $700 to get a second license of Photoshop CS4. And then I still need to keep the windows ones. This is not an easy choice.

    ** Ugh. That really doesn’t sound right to me base on the experience of other “switchers,” but I’m perfectly willing to be wrong. Assuming it just can’t be done:

    If my business required me to have both / several versions, I’d spring for the extra license even if it were a to stretch the budget a little (not break it mind you). I just made the hard choice to plunk down for a 200mm f2 when I have a perfectly fine 70-200 f2.8 and an 85 f1.4 because 60% of my events for the rest of this year are low-light, no-flash allowed in venues where I need more than 85mm. I feel your pain.

    ——-

    Jim – I appreciate your well thought out comment.

    Here is the deal:

    – I called – adobe is not able to move anything other than my current version to Mac – so CS3 and below would be useless to me. I need them for training and testing. Yes – I could have testers – BUT many times I need to make the action using the older version as it is not backward compatible but is forward compatible. So if made in CS2 – will work in CS4. If made in CS4 – may not work in CS2, etc.

    ** Same answer as above. Plus, I didn’t think of needing the software to create rather than just test.

    – Adobe is really by far the BIGGEST thing holding me back – I am not sure how to get around this – if I had a way to get photoshop 7, CS, CS2, CS3 and CS4 all for Mac, I would probably just make the switch and buy other replacement software for other stuff. But adobe is telling me it is impossible. Only solution they had was to put older versions on a PC partition of a Mac. Then buy a FULL new license for CS4. At that point – I would be using the PC side of the mac a lot – and it defeats the purpose I believe…

    Thoughts?

    Hmmm. . .

    Get the mac, spring for CS4 and keep your PC on the side for developing in the older applications.

    -or-

    Ebay (but legitimate) copies of the older versions and transfer your CS4 license to Mac once you have the older versions in place.

  4. June 8, 2009 at 2:14 pm —

    P.S. I just spoke at the A Woman Inspired Conference today and mentioned your Free Actions…so a bunch of ladies will be headed your way! Blessings!

  5. June 8, 2009 at 2:13 pm —

    This is a tough call but I voted for keeping with a PC. It is a fairly significant transfer for the majority of us but for someone using this as their source of income, I think it introduces a lot of risk. If the PC works, why change?

  6. June 8, 2009 at 2:13 pm —

    LOL…I am dying here as I could almost have written this post! I did take the plunge and have a big white box with an iMac sitting behind me as I type this on my PC.

    I had all the same issues, but just decided to go for it!

    I haven’t even taken it out of the box yet, but am excited about this new adventure! I am sure it will be rough for a while, but will be worth the switch.

  7. June 8, 2009 at 2:04 pm —

    If you have the money, go Mac. If you don’t (like me), sit on the sidelines a bit longer. I don’t have Photoshop yet, either… so your post made me think that I really should wait to go Mac first before buying it… save myself from the hassle of having to get it again. I have so many files on PC… and use so many programs… it is just unimaginable dealing with the MESS…

    But I do want a Mac someday. Maybe when I can afford it to sit right beside my PC and I can just play with both until I’m fluent in the Mac.

  8. June 8, 2009 at 2:00 pm —

    To be honest, Jodi, I think you’ve answered your own question. Someone who does just photography or graphic design only needs the current version of Photoshop, not every single version created. You, however, do. It is imperative to your business! Staying with PC makes the most sense. I will give you the pro-PC side of the coin. Macs are great, don’t get me wrong, I have used them before. They do a great job, but I have always purchased PCs for the same reasons that have held you back.

    Let’s look at your Pros for going to Mac.

    “- I always hear how I would LOVE using a Mac”

    Sounds like you have been talking to people who like their Macs, and that’s great. But I would submit to you that many people who talk up Macs do so as “fans” which we know is short for “fanatic.” I know one guy who talks up Macs as “better than anything PC could ever have.” That is a plain ridiculous statement! Macs have a lot of great features, but PCs are certainly not slouches.

    “- Viruses and malware”

    This is a big point that Mac users like to talk up, but the practical reality is that any decent Internet Security software will keep you safe. I have used Norton Internet Security for over 6 years now, and have had precisely 0 virus infections. Have you been infected in the past few years personally? If not, then why panic over it now? Having good Internet Security, along with common sense in your downloads and what programs you install will make this a non-issue.

    “- Many say Photoshop runs better on a Mac”

    I would say that sounds like fanboyism. What makes it run better on a Mac? The difference is usually that Macs have all the equipment to run Photoshop well standard in their basic machines, whereas you can buy stripped down versions of PCs without proper video cards. Of course a Mac is going to run Photoshop better than a 5 year old PC with onboard 64 MB shared system memory graphics. However, if you buy a brand new system with a 512 MB video accelerator and get a decent processor and BUS speed, Photoshop will run just as well on a PC…and for a lot less money.

    “- Would love a lighter, sleeker 17” laptop”

    That’s a personal decision…can’t help you there. 🙂

    “- Those commercials are just too funny”

    In general, the most practical decisions are on price and reliability of equipment. I might support a business if I like their advertising, but not if their product makes no practical sense. I would say that an emotional response to advertising would be a bad way to make a practical decision. 🙂

    As far as learning curve, that seems like a minor issue…it’s a 1-time learning process and then done.

    Personally, I have a 3 Ghz Duo-core processor with 4 GB of RAM, 1333 BUS, along with a 512-MB video accelerator card, powering two 22-inch monitors. Photoshop runs like lightning on it, and I can Photoshop, Lightroom, Firefox, and Winamp to listen to music simultaneously with no slowdown. Minus the monitors, which I already had, the whole system cost me $1050 through Dell. I would like you to just dream about getting that kind of system in a Mac for less than $1800…because a dream is the only way you would get it. 🙂

    If you buy a PC with the powerful equipment you need, it will run your software just as well, cost less, and negate dual platform, compatibility, and “simulation” issues. Did I mention it would cost less? 🙂

    You have to make the decision that is right for you, but to be honest, it sounds like the practical decision is obvious here. Macs are great and they do have their advantages, but in your position, it sounds like the PC has more pros than the Macs.

  9. June 8, 2009 at 1:34 pm —

    With a mac, you can run parallels, and all your PC software will work with the mac. Talk to a Mac genius at your mac store and talk to him about parallels.

  10. Sari
    June 8, 2009 at 1:12 pm —

    I made the switch several years ago and couldn’t be happier, so my vote is to go to Mac. For all the old software that you absolutely MUST have, you should be able to just run your Windows software on your Mac using Paralles or Bootcamp, etc. I don’t have any Windows software that I care to use anymore but I know many just install Windows on the new Macs for situations like yours. I would also check out some of the Mac forums out there. They are wealth of information.

  11. June 8, 2009 at 1:02 pm —

    I just called adobe and there is NO WAY to get Mac versions of the software for older versions of Photoshop – which I need for training and testing.

    And if I transfer my license – it renders the PC versions useless anyway. If I do not transfer – I have to spend $700 to get a second license of Photoshop CS4. And then I still need to keep the windows ones. This is not an easy choice.

  12. June 8, 2009 at 1:01 pm —

    This is coming from a guy who built his own PC’s for many years as well as bought some of the the more popular brands.

    Get a Mac!

    Much of the software is not Mac compatible:

    1. Camtasia (which I use to record all the photoshop video tutorials you watch here)

    -Screenflow is much nicer than Camtasia and works on Mac.

    2. Windows Live Writer (how I am writing this blog post right now – it is awesome!)
    – There are tons of other ways to write a blog.

    3. Thunderbird for email (there may be a Mac version but would my emails transfer)
    -Yep, there’s a mac version and yep your emails will transfer.

    – Some software is compatible – but would require I purchase a Mac version or give up my PC license.

    I kept my PC around for about 6 months after I made the switch thinking “just in case.” I never turned it on again and gave it away.

    1. Photoshop is my biggest problem – since I do trainings, I need to sometimes use older versions. Well if I transfer my license it would be for CS4. I would not have access to older versions – as you cannot download past versions for Mac when you have the PC disks. Also, I need to test action sets in older versions. As of now I have v7, CS, CS2, CS3, CS4 and elements 5 and 7. I could keep them on my PC laptop, but then, if I need to use it for training or testing, why bother getting a Mac?

    – Technically, once you’ve upgraded to say CS4, you’re not supposed to run CS3 any longer either. That said, there is no reason you can’t switch your licenses for all the older versions if you have separate licenses.

    – Farm out the testing to a few trusted readers with the older versions of the software 😉

    2. Lightroom – similar issue as Photoshop but not used nearly as much for my MCP work so transfer is less of an issue.

    – I got Lightroom after making the switch, but there is a lot of info out there on moving a catalog from platform to platform.

    3. Would need to purchase new version of Word and Excel for Mac.
    -Yes, or you could use Open Office or even iWork. I have Office for Mac as well as iWork and there really isn’t much difference except iWork is a lot more reasonably priced.

    – Setting up, transferring info (an issue when I get a new computer no matter what – but more complex going PC to Mac).

    ** Get your Mac at an Apple Store and have them do the transfer for you. It really isn’t all that hard anyway, but totally pain free if you let them do it.

    – Might need the PC side on my Mac – as I could get Vista, parallels and then load on my Photoshop versions. But I would need to re-purchase photoshop for the Mac side –since they do not have dual platform licenses. And I would need to get virus protection and spyware programs then too.

    ** Don’t bother. You can do anything on a Mac that you can do on a PC with Mac native software.

    – Learning curve – getting use to the new keys and commands as well as the new operating system.

    ** OS X is pretty intuitive. Five minutes to learn that the close button is on the left and PC CNTRL = Mac CMD and you’re pretty much set.

    • June 8, 2009 at 1:09 pm —

      Jim – I appreciate your well thought out comment.

      Here is the deal:

      – I called – adobe is not able to move anything other than my current version to Mac – so CS3 and below would be useless to me. I need them for training and testing. Yes – I could have testers – BUT many times I need to make the action using the older version as it is not backward compatible but is forward compatible. So if made in CS2 – will work in CS4. If made in CS4 – may not work in CS2, etc.

      – Adobe is really by far the BIGGEST thing holding me back – I am not sure how to get around this – if I had a way to get photoshop 7, CS, CS2, CS3 and CS4 all for Mac, I would probably just make the switch and buy other replacement software for other stuff. But adobe is telling me it is impossible. Only solution they had was to put older versions on a PC partition of a Mac. Then buy a FULL new license for CS4. At that point – I would be using the PC side of the mac a lot – and it defeats the purpose I believe…

      Thoughts?

  13. Stacey Haslem
    June 8, 2009 at 12:48 pm —

    I recently switched to a Mac also. I love, love, love it. But as others have noted, I didn’t have all the cons that you listed above. I had a couple of programs that I love that are dedicated to the PC. I ended up partitioning part of my hard drive to run Windows that I purchased for about $100. That would be an option for you, but you do have to restart your computer in the Windows mode. And like you pointed out then you aren’t getting the intended use of your Mac. It took me years to decide to switch to Mac. I have to say that I don’t regret it a single bit. Good luck making a decision!

  14. June 8, 2009 at 12:45 pm —

    But for all of you saying Mac – how would you handle the issues of the following – especially 1, 2 and 3 of each catagory.

    – Much of the software is not Mac compatible:

    1. Camtasia (which I use to record all the photoshop video tutorials you watch here)
    2. Windows Live Writer (how I am writing this blog post right now – it is awesome!)
    3. Thunderbird for email (there may be a Mac version but would my emails transfer)

    – Some software is compatible – but would require I purchase a Mac version or give up my PC license.

    1. Photoshop is my biggest problem – since I do trainings, I need to sometimes use older versions. Well if I transfer my license it would be for CS4. I would not have access to older versions – as you cannot download past versions for Mac when you have the PC disks. Also, I need to test action sets in older versions. As of now I have v7, CS, CS2, CS3, CS4 and elements 5 and 7. I could keep them on my PC laptop, but then, if I need to use it for training or testing, why bother getting a Mac?
    2. Lightroom – similar issue as Photoshop but not used nearly as much for my MCP work so transfer is less of an issue.
    3. Would need to purchase new version of Word and Excel for Mac.

    – Setting up, transferring info (an issue when I get a new computer no matter what – but more complex going PC to Mac).

    – Might need the PC side on my Mac – as I could get Vista, parallels and then load on my Photoshop versions. But I would need to re-purchase photoshop for the Mac side –since they do not have dual platform licenses. And I would need to get virus protection and spyware programs then too.

    – Learning curve – getting use to the new keys and commands as well as the new operating system

  15. June 8, 2009 at 12:43 pm —

    Switching to a Mac is not going to be as hard as it sounds. Either way, you are still buying a new computer and anything on your old computer will eventually stopped being used. Just don’t think of it as an immediate switch, but a transition from one to the other. As long as you keep your PC for a while and can still access your old programs when you need to, make the switch. You will love it!

  16. June 8, 2009 at 12:28 pm —

    I voted for keeping the PC….about 4 years ago I bought a MAC (on my son’s pleading). I loved it for pictures…….except!…..it kept crashing. It was worse than my PC.
    I still think maybe I should switch, but am too scared. And it sounds like your business relies on the PC.
    My regular business relied on my PC, but was assured I could use the same software on the Mac……wrong. It was the wrong version, not quite right, or just didn’t run, no matter what they said.
    I bought a pc laptop to use just for my other business, but soon discovered that moving back and forth made no sense.
    I’ve never looked back (well, that’s not true, I love the commercials, and it always make me think….maybe….)

  17. June 8, 2009 at 12:21 pm —

    I’m in the same boat. I may end up following the previous suggestion – that is getting a mac dedicated to my photo business and keeping my dell laptop for software and apps that I still need access to. However, I also recognize that this is a short term solution unless I intend on spending the money to maintain both systems. Eventually one of them is going to age out of usefulness if I don’t keep it and it’s software up to date. It’s not an easy choice.

  18. June 8, 2009 at 12:17 pm —

    I made the switch from PC to Mac about 3 months ago, and although there was a learning curve (less than a week of frustration and confusion, lol) i have never regretted switching. I had some similar cons, but it was still worth the switch. For teaching I would just run bootcamp so you have access to the older versions of PS.

  19. June 8, 2009 at 12:00 pm —

    I voted for Mac because I made the switch a few months back and am so happy… however, your reasons are compelling for sticking with PC. I felt like since I was a newbie photographer I could make the switch with few repercussions… it sounds like it would affect you all over the place. Who needs that? 😉

    Carey Shumacher at Barefoot Memories Photography in San Diego has both and says they’re both great. Maybe you should shoot her an email begging for her opinion. 🙂 She’s nice. I bet she’d reply! 😉

  20. honey
    June 8, 2009 at 11:56 am —

    Just made the switch and I am loving it. I switched my cs4 platform and Adobe was great about it. The only things I cared about was my ps software and your actions. I debated the macbook pro but decided on a super loaded imac more features, less moola. I am in love with him and want to have his babies. You can always use your older software on your dell laptop … I plan to give my old pc to the kids & use some of my older software on it now & then. The mac is made for what you do. You and Mac belong together. It takes one day to figure out the system … you have to learn to think simply and it just works.
    Good luck with your decision Jodi!!!

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Should I get a Mac or PC?