Wednesday, April 05, 2006

Windows on a Mac, or The Final Nail in the Wintel Coffin

As an art student, I was educated on Macs, but I never could understand why all my colleagues were so in love with them. Yes, the colors on the display were more natural. Theoretically, they could crunch graphics faster than Wintel machines, but the Wintel machines had faster processors, so they seemed about equal to me. When the G2s in the lab broke (which they frequently did) you couldn't really fix them. When they became outdated, you couldn't go down to Staples and snag some new hardware for them.

Fast-forward to Christmas 2005. I have 16 hours of digital footage of my son that I need to edit down to a 45-minute DVD. The import process on my 3GHZ 1GB RAM Wintel box is going poorly. Video is coming in with huge green blocky artifacts, and Windows Movie Maker (or whatever it's called) is unusably slow. Even the mighty Adobe Premiere has been brought to its knees. Hours of trying to tweak out performance bottlenecks have proven fruitless. The Mac Mini on my desk (that I only use for cross-platform compatibility checks) is giving me a shy little wink.

"This thing has firewire? Ok, let's give it a whirl", I think to myself. Within minutes, I've got iMovie importing my footage flawlessly. Editing is a breeze with no signs of sluggishness in the UI. It just works. Granted, it took 14 hours to export a disc image from iDVD (a known issue), but I was asleep for most of it, so I didn't really care.

Fast-forward again to the present. I have a workstation at home that needs to be replaced (433 MHz PII with a fan that sounds like a llama giving birth), and the dual-core Macs are looking mighty sexy. That slick OSX interface is calling to me. The comparitively garish color pallete of my Wintel machine is beginning to finally destroy my retinas. Windows Vista will likely not ship until 2007. But I have all this Windows software... I can't afford to run out and buy Mac versions of Studio MX and Creative Suite (especially since CS2 will probably never be a Universal Binary).

Enter Apple Bootcamp. This has finalized my decision to buy a Mac. With Bootcamp, Apple is releasing an officially supported means of dual-booting your Intel-based Mac with Windows and OSX. This will allow me to continue to use my legacy Windows apps, while slowly migrating over to a total Mac environment. My wallet likes slow transitions.

I wonder how many other Windows users are in the same situation? The move to Intel chipsets and dual-booting with Windows seems like a smart strategy for Apple. With the ubiquity of Apple stores in major cities, it's now easier than ever to get supplies and support for Macs. The popularity of the iPod has done awesome things for the Apple brand.

It seems like a lot of pieces are coming together in Apple's favor. I, for one, am finally convinced.

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Anonymous Anonymous said...

I suppose the title of this post reflects your own situation, but just to clarify: Apple making it possible to run Windows on a Mac is not "the final nail in the Wintel coffin". Microsoft does not feel threatened by the microscopic market share of Apple users - if they did the tables would be turned and OSX would run on Windows-machines, not the other way around. Welcome to the frightening world of logic.

On the whole, it's pretty funny to see how Apple has now adapted nearly everything from the "useless" PC - processor technology, memory standard, graphic interface standard, graphic cards etc, and the Apple fanboys are still too insecure to stop with the sandbox mentality of "lol PC sux". We're driving the same car, and it used to be that our car sucked because you had a different engine. Now we have the same engine, and our car sucks because... it's blue?

8:21 AM  
Blogger tom said...

Ah, so I gave you the bait and you took it. Welcome to the frightening world of marketing. :)

Yeah, I was referring to my own situation, where a much more powerful machine running Windows couldn't handle the video I was trying to edit on it, while the lowly Mac Mini could. And to be fair, I think the Apple fanboys are really saying "Windows?? ROFLMAO."

9:12 AM  
Blogger Carl J. Stoneham said...

Anonymous, your comment about driving the same car is incorrect. Sure, it may be the same engine and drivetrain, but with the Mac...wait for it... it all works. Wintels certainly shouldn't be maligned because they've done wonders for the computing world (can anyone imagne a $100 Mac in a 3rd-world country?). But the bottom line is that Macs are phenomenally more stable, usually quiter and look much more elegant. Trust me, I know. I have both (starting the slow switch to Macs after 20 years of "pc"). If it was simply a matter of the color, you'd have a valid argument. Unfortunately, it's far more complicated. Welcome to the frightening world of reality.

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