My first experiences with a personal computer (Windows)
I’ve gained plenty of valuable knowledge about technology throughout the years, and today I’m going to share my story about how, and why I made the switch from a PC to a Macintosh, and some of the pro’s and con’s of the Mac vs PC debate.
My first experience on a personal computer was primarily as a Windows user. It was the year 2000 when I received my first computer at age 7. It was a Windows 98 machine with dreadful specifications, but at the time, It was amazing! The i7 of its day.
From a very young age, I always enjoyed experimenting with the settings on my computer, and tweaking certain elements to improve its speed and overall quality of use. At age 7, I primarily used my pc for games, with the occasional word processing and some Microsoft paint. My interest in computers increased as the years went by, and so did my knowledge. I learned the basics of the Microsoft Office suite, then gradually went onto the likes of Adobe Photoshop. Through the ages of 10 yrs to 16 years old, I was using Windows machines daily for multiple hours at a time. I was either editing photographs, designing graphics for school, or discovering new layers of the Operating System. I acquired most of my knowledge through interests and research, but I did not use any formal learning aids. In my eyes, following your passion is the best way to learn. You make mistakes, learn by them, or uncover things you never knew existed.
My first experience with a Macintosh
Whenever I used a Mac, I would instantly fall in love. I remember my first experience with a Macintosh when I was twelve years old. I used an iMac G5 at school. I remember going away, and instantly wanting one. I made the trip to the Apple Store that weekend, because I wanted one for myself. At the time, the prices of between £1,000 to £2,500 seemed like the price of an average home, especially since I was very young.
Just over a year ago, my computer at the time was having problems with over-heating and the famous blue screen of death, so I thought it time to make the switch. I weighed up my options, did some research, and found the best option for me was the 21.5″ iMac. At the time it was just under £1,000, which is a lot of money for any student, but I had my heart set on it. I wanted one for improving my computing, and to experience the Apple ecosystem which I’ve always loved.
After weeks and weeks of debating, I ordered myself the 2009 iMac 27″ model, with a 2.8ghz Intel i7 processor. I chose the extra upgrade to the i7 processor instead of the standard i5 processors that the iMac’s come with. I had the extra funds, and I decided that future-proofing my Mac was necessary. I ordered my 27 inch iMac with 4GB of ram, a 1TB hard drive, and an ATI Radeon HD 4850 graphics card.
To me, it was a dream machine. The display was truly beautiful, considering I was upgrading from a 17-inch CRT display. It felt like winning the national lottery.
Upgrade differences between Mac vs PC
One of the main differences between Macintosh and Windows computers is the availability of upgrades. Nearly all Windows computers allow you to upgrade the components. On the other hand, the Macintosh is a proprietary system, and Apple designs all of its own hardware and software. This provides a higher quality user experience, but doesn’t always make upgrading components possible (with the Mac Pro, and minor RAM upgrades being the exception).
The main reason for these limitations is Apple’s OSX (operating system). OSX is specifically designed to work with Apple components that work together, using specific features of the operating system to give better usability, advanced features, and the best possible user experience. Apple also limits the components that can be changed, due to compatibility issues with PC parts, and Mac parts that are designed to run specifically on the Macintosh and OSX. In my eyes, limiting the amount of upgradable parts on the Mac is beneficial, because it stops user error, avoids problems arising with incompatibility, and ensures that the user gets the best experience possible. Not all PC parts work on the Macintosh, but the “Hackintosh” movement has shown that building a Mac from PC parts is possible.
One of the main upgrades I made to my Windows PC was the upgrade of my RAM (random access memory). I upgraded from 512Mb of RAM, to the motherboard’s capacity of 2GB. The upgrade was meant to ensure smooth operation of intense programs such as Photoshop, and other video editing programs. It was a complex task, requiring the use of multiple tools, and prior knowledge of computer components. In contrast, upgrading the RAM on an iMac consist of removing a panel on the underneath of the iMac, and inserting the RAM into the slots. This is considerably more user-friendly, and is less daunting to the average user.
Apple Support customer service experience
After having the iMac for around 8 weeks, I started having some problems. The Hard drive broke, it got replaced, and then I discovered the famous yellowing of the display. It went off to repair again, and came back with a broken LCD display; half was yellow, and half was white. After a long phone call to Apple Support, they decided the best option was to replace my iMac with the 2010 version, which came out not so long after I purchased my iMac. I got a specification bump from the 2.8 Ghz i7 processor to a 2.93 Ghz, with also a GPU upgrade to the 1GB Radeon HD 5750.
The quality of my iMac is phenomenal compared to my previous Windows machine. Everything “just works”. I am truly glad I made the switch. Everything is incredibly swift, snappy, and truly beautiful; even down to the “traffic light” system for closing the windows. The iMac is total eye candy. From the hardware, all the way down to every detail of the software.
Mac vs PC: Value and price
The purchase price of a Mac is relatively higher than a PC, and the average user may think twice about switching to a Mac. PC users will argue that they get more value from a PC, but with a Mac you get a complete package. Better hardware, incredible design, and a rock solid operating system. Mac OSX Lion is built on a UNIX foundation, and is much more stable than windows. In addition, buying a Mac will also open the gates to many creative and amazingly awesome applications (Apps), which you can not necessarily get on a PC. The price of a Mac may put a lot of new customers off, but there is no question that this argument has more considerations than just a price tag.
The important thing is that the Mac offers truly outstanding customer service, a quality finish product, and a OS which only some can dream of. It’s an incredible machine, which I highly recommend for anyone wanting to experience a refined operating system, or for people who are tired of the Windows problems we all have faced.
If you can justify the higher price of a Mac, either with your specific computing needs, or just with wanting a change like we all do from time to time, I highly recommend switching from a PC to a Mac. If you’re just using your computer for common tasks such as e-mail, or social networking, you wont harness the full power of the Mac. Therefore, in my eyes, the additional cost may not be worth making the switch.