Leaving Wintel Behind
Michael Zuhlke - 2000.12.19
Fifteen months ago, I decided to leave the Wintel world and purchase a Rev. A Blueberry iBook. Now, a year later, I recently traded up to a new 400 MHz FireWire PowerBook. While I had many reasons to purchase a Mac, I shall only mention a few.
In the many years prior to the switch, I was an avid gamer. In order to keep up with the growing system demands for the newest game releases, I found myself having to learn the PC architecture so I could change out obsolete parts and replace them with newer versions. The only complete PC I ever purchased was a 486SX 25 MHz. From then on, I upgraded various components roughly once every year and a half to keep up with the games I wanted to play. Now that I look back on it, even though each upgrade was certainly cheaper than buying a whole new computer, over that time period, I ended up spending quite a bit of money.
Fifteen months ago I was again at the point where my 32 MB TNT2 video card, 5 GB hard drive, and Celeron 433 MHz CPU were not enough (in my opinion). It was then that I saw how I had become caught in the endless loop of upgrading to sustain my gaming hobby. This didn't even include the cost of upgrading the operating system!
I had to reassess what I wanted out of a computer, and I decided a large desktop machine for playing games was neither necessary nor financially justifiable any more. I looked to the Macintosh, because playing every single new game was no longer a requirement for me. Many of the most popular games from the Wintel world were coming out for the Mac, and they would certainly be enough for me. While I never had many problems with the Windows interface or with the OS crashing often, I knew too well that when it did crash, I almost always had to jump through hoops to find and fix the problem or wipe the drive and reinstall.
With my iBook, a crash simply meant I needed to shut down and restart. It was not necessary to go into a registry to look for problems or to fool with the hardware. This translated to less down time.
Since portability was now a must, even if I purchased a Wintel laptop, I would be limiting the upgrades I could do by myself. The argument that Wintel PCs are more upgradable, and therefore more versatile, went out the window. With FireWire and USB standard on practically all Macs now, the only thing you cannot do with a Mac is play every single game which comes out. Even with a Wintel PC, unless you have the money to burn so you can stay on the cutting edge of PC gaming, you won't be able to play every single newly released game anyway, so why even own a Wintel PC?
Now that OS X is just around the corner, I can safely say Apple is poised to pass Wintel PCs in operating system quality and stability. This, coupled with the superior quality of the Mac hardware and beautiful exterior design, will make the Macintosh my computer of choice for quite a long time.
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