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The Inadvertent Mac Switcher

Two nights ago, at the (hopeful) nadir of several difficult weeks -- my desktop PC died.

Bricked. Kaput.

Fortunately the data survived, and I've begun migrating it to my trusty PowerBook G4 Titanium. For a five year-old, merely 1 gigahertz machine, I love it. It does everything I ask of it, it will probably run the new Mac OS X upgrade somewhat decently, and it can even boot into OS 9 if I'm feeling nostalgic.

Unfortunately, I'm an inveterate gamer and the laptop is more sluggish than I'd like. So while I'll be a Mac-only guy for the next month or so, ultimately a new machine is going to have to come into the household.

Modern Macs can dual-boot into Windows, of course, but to turn them into a truly modern gaming machine may be more than I can afford. (F'r instance, I don't think the current iMac has a powerful enough video card to support modern 3D gaming at its LCD panel's native resolution.)

I'm enjoying being in a Mac environment full time. However, for all of Apple's John Hodgman-driven marketing success in attracting PC users, there's that one category of user out there -- the gamer -- who isn't being served by their current mix of products. A comparatively cheap, scratch-built gaming PC may be in my future, sitting next to the PowerBook just as the dead one did.

Macworld Expo is coming up soon. Will Steve Jobs offer me a new reason to switch for good?


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I'm not a gamer, but I understand that high-end gaming puts about as much demand on a system as anything short of trying to calculate pi to a record number of decimal places. I'm puzzled that Apple hasn't seen fit to tap into that market, given its historic edge in graphics over the PC. Our artists use Macs, and were it up to our design desk, they would, too.

So, my newest Mac, well... work's latest Mac that they've entrusted to me, I think would be a pretty capable gaming machine. Though I have to admit I've not tried to play any games on it yet. Actually, I only boot into Windows to "play" Outlook when there is something with our Exchange Mail/Calendaring servers I can't manipulate outside of Outlook.

The specs are nice however, and for what I use it for (PowerPoint, Word, Excel, OmniGraffle, OmniOutliner, and of course Firefox) my productivity has increased by quite a bit over the first gen Mac Book Pro I had. This box, well, not this box I'm typing on, it is an old PowerBook G4 Aluminum... but my new laptop is a 2.6Ghz Intel Core 2 Duo, 4GB of RAM, 200GB 7200rpm Hard Drive, and an nVidia 8600M GT 512mb. Per the stats it should be able to handle just about any game out that isn't cutting edge.

About $3k with educator discount... or employee discount if your company participates.