Reepi the Apple-Dog and switching
I took some time today (all of about ten seconds) to … ahem … affix my last Apple sticker onto our Taco Terrier Reepicheep. He then decided it would be fun to attack our other dog, Caspian, while sporting the new logo on his stomach.
I spent a lot of time at the beginning of this year trying to figure out a way to justify the purchase of a Mac. When Apple announced that all Macs would use an Intel processor at WWDC 05, I was busy trying to get Windows XP to look like OS X using a combination of tools (mostly from Stardock).
The announcement of Parallels Desktop for Mac finally put the goal of using a Mac for everyday use without having to change jobs to a graphic designer or Mac programmer in sight. All I had to do was, in essence, wait.
I was waiting for a few things to take place. First of all, I wanted a seamless Windows experience. I didn’t want Bootcamp, and I didn’t want a windowed version of Windows running inside OS X. I wanted Windows windows to appear beside OS X windows. I wanted to seamlessly run my development applications (such as Visual Studio and Optimum) alongside iPhoto and iCal. Finally, when Coherence was announced, I decided it was time to begin the quest to buy a Mac.
The poor performance of my primary Windows machine conveniently gave me a great “in” to begin researching the cost of a replacement computer.
Not wanting to waste copious amounts of money simply to get a “stylish” computer, I began the part of buying something you want that consists of justifying every amount you can spend.
For one, I already had two nice Dell 20″ monitors (see pic) that worked just fine. I wanted to get a setup that would allow me to continue using my two monitors as, I reasoned, I already paid for them. That left me with two options: the first was to get a Mac Pro. This was a problem as it was way beyond the amount of money I could throw at the new purchase. The other was to get a Mac Mini, which has no support for dual monitors (while I know that Matrox makes a dual monitor solution that can be used with a Mac Mini, I had no desire to settle for what is essentially a, well, hack. I wanted native support, baby!)
Realistically, that left me with no Mac.
I tried to price out the different Mac Pro models, but try as I might, there was no way I’d be able to afford one. I decided that the only way to get my Mac was to get an iMac and sell one of the Dell monitors.
After that was decided, I went about comparing the price(s) of a similarly equipped Dell to an iMac. Now, the ace I had up my sleeve (or at least the one I thought was up my sleeve) was my student discount which, for all intents and purposes, knocked about $100 to $200 off of the total price.
I ran the numbers through both the Dell and Apple websites, and found the comparable Dell to be about $200 more expensive than what I thought was my price for the iMac. However, I reasoned that the iMac’s design, having everything all in one package, would definitely be worth the extra money. On top of that, I really wanted the Mac and didn’t really want the Dell. Of course, I could have built a computer using parts off of Pricewatch for even less than Dell offered, but that wouldn’t be fair to the Mac … I can’t build one of those! :-)
Finally, in April of 2007, I visited the Apple webstore with intent to buy. Right before checking out, and with a 20″ iMac already in my virtual shopping cart, I decided to look at the “refurbished” section of the Apple store.
And that’s when things got good!
I found a 20″ iMac for about $100 less than even my student discount could provide. I quickly tried to add it to my shopping cart, but it was too late … in the short amount of time between seeing and clicking, it had already been purchased. Unfortunately, there weren’t any more iMacs below the 24″ model available. The 24″ model was selling for $1700, which was (and is) still a great deal. However, it was a bit out of budget for me.
I bought it anyway.
When I did get the computer a few days later, it came with the upgraded video card (256MB), the upgraded processor (2.33GHz), and one 1GB SODIMM instead of two 512MB SODIMMs (this was important to me because I needed 2GB to run the Windows VM effectively).
In future posts, I’ll relay my experience(s) migrating from an all-Windows environment to the new Mac environment. As it stands now, I have a lot to learn about the culture surrounding my new computer!