The Low End Mac Mailbag

On the Irrational Rantings of an Intel Hater

- 2007.10.15

We received a lot of emails - a lot of long emails - regrading Bastard Offspring: Are Intel Macs Real Macs? (since removed at the request of Nadav Ben Ami/Erik Grunberg). With today's mailbag column, we're putting the debate to rest. dk - Tip Jar

Irrational Hatred of Intel Macs

From Gary Kohl:


Thought you might be interested in this Apple Forum Thread, started by Nadav. It gives some insight into where he's coming from.

I'm "bicomputational". I finally lost interest in the thread and a similar one Nadav has on Apple's Forums as he continues to rant as he has done in this article. I don't mind a good debate, but you can't debate with zealots, especially ones who seem to be learning on the fly. I can and have been wrong - both in fact and opinion - I don't need to read articles from people who never will be [wrong], and I hope that in the future you will choose to print more reasoned articles than this.

Do love the site though and greatly appreciate all of your work, it's just that this one bothered me.


Thanks for writing. The Low End Mac Mailbag (along with My Turn and on rare occasion My First Mac) is a place where we receive feedback from our readers: some praise, some corrections, some condemnation, and some rants. Except when we receive massive amounts of email on a subject, we publish about 75% of what we receive. (Most of the rest are link corrections, point out typos, or ask questions that are quickly and easily answered privately.)

My purpose in posting Nadav's emails was to show the kind of irrational thinking people sometimes exhibit. (Not just Mac users!) He holds a dogmatic position that PowerPC is the superior CPU architecture and from that must believe that it is the best in the real world - an argument I tried to demolish with the benchmarks from Bare Feats and Primate Labs. His argument had no hard facts, only claims that "RISC is better than CISC" and "AMD is better than Intel".

Of course, the beauty of any conspiracy theory is that it can never be disproved. You just extend the theory or question the data that contradicts it. And that's part of the reason Nadav's rants deserve to be put in the light - so others can see them and see through them.


Playing Games Not the Measure of Computing Power

From Bill d'Anacortes:

Yo Dan,

You have done an admirable job responding to Erik. Erik has problems. He wants them to be your problems.

Erik thinks gamers are the sole determinate and driving force of computers. He is wrong. For most of us, paying the mortgage or elegance of experience is far more important. I have read your advise here and seen it elsewhere as well. If gaming is your thing, get a Nintendo, Play Station, or X-Box.

Erik plays a game none of us need to play anymore.

Bill d'Anacortes


I don't game. My Macs are tools, not toys. I use them to write, edit, publish, design, research, handle my music and digital photo collections, email, and crunch numbers. If I want to play games, my wife and I pull out Skip-Bo, Phase 10, Uno, or a regular deck of cards. Or we have friends over for even more fun.

When I did play games on my computers, it was mostly to unwind at the end of the day. I remember long nights playing The Bard's Tale on my Zenith PC after a long day at Radio Shack. I remember hours spent exploring and mapping Wizardry. I can't imagine how much time I spent playing euchre online in Yahoo! Games over the years. Now that I have a life, the only games I play are Sudoku and Solitaire on my Palm.

I don't understand the fascination some people have with gaming hardware. Three or four expansion slots not enough? Overclocking beyond reason? Investing hundreds of dollars in a video card that will boost you from 60 frames per second to 75, even though your screen may not refresh that fast and your eye sees anything above about 20 fps as smooth movement. And the time (not to mention money) they spend playing their 3D shoots and online multiplayer games - I'd rather have a real life, thank you very much.

Gaming has its place, but for some people it becomes an obsession, and that just isn't healthy.


PowerPC and Intel Macs Coexist Nicely

From Dan Palka:


The views expressed by Mr. Grunberg in the "Bastard Offspring" article are disappointing. While I can sympathize with the nostalgia for the good old PowerPC vs. Intel days, it's time for everyone to accept that PowerPC was a technological dead-end for Apple. Switching to Intel has ridden ourselves of that stagnant platform feeling. More exciting hardware and software is being developed for the Macintosh than ever before. Apple's stock is at it's highest point ever, and record amount of Apple product is moving off store shelves.

Just because the platform has moved on to x86, doesn't mean we have to dispose of, or forget about, all the great PowerPC systems that preceded it. My Mac Pro Quad Xeon and Power Mac 8600/200 share desk space and work well together. I would even say they complement each other, both testaments to Apple engineering and innovation.

While you and I - and many more - value our classic Macs, we shouldn't feel that Intel Macs are somehow not really Macs. As you mentioned, they still contain the many proprietary Apple touches that always made the Macintosh insanely great.

Dan Palka


Right you are. Erik Grunberg reminds me of a religious zealot or conspiracy theorist - all the evidence has to be subjugated to his core belief.


Deluded Criticism of Intel Macs

From Ed Hurtley:

This is a reply to the "Bastard Offspring: Are Intel Mac Real Macs?" article.

Holy cow is Mr. Grunberg deluded: He claims an A+ certification, but I can attest to the fact that A+ means nothing. I run an on-site computer consulting company, and when I hire technicians, I don't even take an A+ certification into consideration any more. I've seen many extremely well qualified technicians who didn't have one, and many horrible technicians who did.

QUOTE: As to the Intel PC Macs - and I shall call them Intel PC Macs because that's what they are - they aren't Macs, they are not pure Macs, they have Intel chips in them and as far as I know, as an A+ certified tech with PC hardware, the x86 architecture is flawed and very archaic. As of now you think I am anti-Intel, well I am. I am more pro-AMD since their processors are similar or close to RISC than the Intels are, which is why AMD is faster and more powerful than Intel.

x86 is archaic. So is PowerPC. You complain about it being horrible, but then mention how AMD is better. AMD uses the exact same instruction set! If x86 is archaic and flawed, then AMD's implementation is just as archaic and flawed. Both AMD and Intel's actual cores have been RISC-like at their core since the late '90s. And "faster and more powerful"? By whose measurement? AMD's yet-to-be-released Barcelona core just barely equals the about-to-be-replaced Intel cores. AMD was better for a number of years (the Pentium 4 vs. Athlon 64 years), but Intel has been firmly in the lead since the release of Core 2. I'm not saying Intel's architecture is perfect, but it still works.

I agree with Dan's assessment that if you consider current Macs to be "not real Macs", then neither were PowerPC Macs. The problem with purists is that their arguments aren't always valid. (I always found the arguments of neo-Nazis about how immigrants should leave, because America should be for the "native" "master race" funny, since whites aren't the natives.)

QUOTE: In my opinion, the Intel processors whether Core Duo or 4 quad or whatever will never stand up to the power of the PowerPC and AMD.

QUOTE: This is a known fact.

Uh, "In my opinion" and "This is a known fact" are exact opposites. They are perfectly contradictory. "Will never stand up"? It already does. Look at real benchmarks (, for example,) and you'll see that the most powerful cores available are the current quad-core Xeons. More powerful than any PowerPC, more powerful than any AMD chip. Only IBM's extreme-multi-core POWER chips (which draw more power just for the processor than for an entire Mac Pro, by the way) have more horsepower.

Yeah, if IBM were to dedicate actual engineering resource to "desktop" CPUs, they could quite easily compete with Intel and AMD. But they don't. They proved that when they didn't hit 3 GHz G5s for Apple (even the 2.7 GHz and 2.5 GHz dual-core chips are only officially available at 2.0 GHz - Apple was "overclocking" to reach those speeds), yet they were willing to deliver G5-derived processors for Microsoft that have 3 cores at 3.2 GHz. They don't care about desktop computers. They care solely about servers and 'embedded' devices. Freescale only cares about "embedded" devices.

As for L3 cache: Yes, L3 helps, all other things being equal. But they're not. A processor needs data; that's how it works. You feed it from the onboard data cache (called the "L1" cache, usually) that is integrated into the processor design. If the required data isn't in the L1 cache, it goes out via layers until it reaches the hard disk. First come the caches, then the main memory, then the hard disk. Most modern processors have the L2 cache as an 'external' cache on the same silicon as the main CPU. It is in the same piece of silicon, but it is still 'external'. It is not truly integrated throughout the core the way an L1 cache is.

Before L2 caches went onto the processor die, they were physically separate chips mounted on the same board as the CPU. Before that, they were mounted on a separate slot on the motherboard. The farther it is from the processor core, the slower it is. So cache on the same die is the fastest, separate chips on the same board are slower (usually 1/2 speed or less) and ones on the motherboard are slower still (maximum speed is the speed of the processor's front side bus). Since processors acquired on-die L2 caches, some computers used what had formerly been an L2 cache and turned it into an extra layer, the L3 cache. This L3 cache suffers from the same detriments as the previous L2 cache did in relation to its location. An L3 cache on the processor board probably operates at 1/2 or less the main processor speed.

The problem is that more faster cache is significantly preferred to less faster cache, even if it is offset by significantly more slower cache. This is shown by Intel themselves. When they moved from a 0.25 micron process to a 0.18 micron process on their Pentium III, they moved from a separated 512 KB L2 cache at 1/2 processor speed to an on-die 256 KB L2 cache at full processor speed. All other things being equal (processor front side bus speed, processor main speed) the new processors were noticeably faster. Even though they only had 1/2 the cache. Yes, if they had kept the 512 KB cache as an L3 cache, if would have been faster still. But they opted to save money, since the processor['s onboard L2 cache] was "fast enough."

On the Macs mentioned, the L2 cache is a full-speed 256 KB L2 cache, with a 2 MB half-or-less-speed L3 cache. If you replace it with an equal-speed processor that has a 1 MB L2 cache, but no L3 cache, it will be faster. The significant increase in L2 cache size will cause it.

Sorry, Mr. Grunberg, but you have shown that you just have an innate aversion to Intel and Microsoft, and you will find any excuse, technically accurate or not, to despise them.

QUOTE At least with the PowerPC technology, the better technology, we did not have to worry about viruses entering our machines, and if there were any viruses it would only be macro viruses in Word.

Really? Since when does having an Intel processor alone increase virus risk? You name one virus that affects only Intel processors and is impossible for it to infect PowerPC. (By the way, the latest Intel and AMD processors include the capability to deny execution to insecure code, something PowerPC does not have.) Mac OS X is the cause for the lack of viruses, not PowerPC. If someone writes an OS X virus, it will be just as easy to make it affect PowerPC as Intel. The increase in "virus threats" on OS X is not due to Intel chips, but due to the increased popularity of OS X. (I recall back in the early '90s that viruses were significantly more common on Macintoshes than on DOS/Windows machines...)

QUOTE: Personally, I think Apple should have gone with AMD, since they are the most powerful processors out there, and for gamers especially. AMD is a mixture of RISC and CISC technology, similar to PowerPC, and I have great respect for AMD. One day AMD will put Intel out of business; maybe not now, but it will happen someday.

Again, Intel is just as much a "mixture" of RISC and CISC. (In fact, there is no real "CISC" any more. The instructions themselves are the same instruction set as the CISC 386, but their execution in the core is anything but CISC. In addition, 64-bit x86 isn't really CISC at all. It is a completely new instruction set that piggybacks on x86's legacy. And all the vector extensions (MMX, SSE-SSE4) are also completely 'new' instruction sets, not limited at all by the "legacy" of x86. (That was one of the things Intel did right on the Pentium 4. The essentially completely abandoned the old x86 floating point model in favor of SSE3. It made legacy code very slow, but new SSE3 code beat old x86 floating point code by multiple times.)

QUOTE: First and foremost, if IBM opened up its architecture for cloning - hence the IBM compatibles, then one day someone who is brighter and smarter than Steve Jobs will do the same for Apple.

IBM did not open their architecture for cloning. They did their darndest to prevent cloning. When they failed (they sued Compaq multiple times), they tried to change the architecture completely with the introduction of the PS/2. They failed. Also note that IBM has been out of the PC business for a few years now. IBM is not making any money off the "IBM compatible" market they "created". Not the best example for Apple to follow, is it?

QUOTE: As for the G5 processor? I liked this also, except for the fact that it was a heater of a processor, but that is not Apple's fault, it is the chip designer's, as IBM and Freescale could have made their processors to run really cool, but they didn't. Since I really never bothered with a G5, I can't really comment on them, except for the fact that the expansion was not so good - 3 PCI type slots (type=PCI-X, PCIe, etc.) while the last G4s have 4 PCI slots and one AGP slot. Personally, I like the AGP slot, and it should not be abandoned for PCIe, which to me is archaic from the PC technology.

Do you have any idea what AGP is? It's 32-bit PCI operating at 66 MHz, then "double clocked" or higher. That's it. AGP is 100% "conventional PCI" underneath. PCI Express is brand new serial technology. I'm sorry, but this paragraph alone shows that you have no idea what you are talking about.

For reference, I am also an A+ certified technician. I also have Server+, Network+, and various Microsoft certifications. I have been using computers since 1986 and worked for Intel's server division. (I have no explicit loyalty to Intel, as our own division used non- Intel products when they were better; and I bought an AMD-based computer to replace my Intel computer while I still worked there.)


Wow, there's a lot of good information in your email.

Any high school student can take a class at the local tech center and learn enough to become A+ certified. What really matters isn't book knowledge and passing tests but how well you troubleshoot in the real world. Instead of following a logic tree of diagnosis, real world experience teaches you where to start - and what to try if and when you run stuck. Jerry Pournelle calls it the "consistent application of logic," and it's the best way to solve any problem.

Today's Core architecture is as different from the earlier Pentiums as the 80386 was from the original 8086, the first Intel x86 CPU to break with 64 KB memory banks as the only memory model. Not only has Intel learned from RISC, they've even produced some of the best RISC chips in certain eras (such as their i860 from 1989).

What Intel has learned from its ventures into RISC and its venture into into mega-CISC (a.k.a. Itanium) is that no CPU that isn't x86 compatible is going to survive against the Wintel juggernaut. People want computers that will run their legacy software, which has been a big obstacle to switching to the Mac OS.

PowerPC was the last alternative architecture to survive in the personal computing world, and by abandoning it for x86 Apple not only gained a huge increase in computing power, but more importantly they made it possible to Windows users to bring over Windows and their legacy software, eliminating the biggest obstacle to switching to a different computing platform.

The result: Apple has pretty much doubled unit sales.

You can't argue with that kind of success.


Downhill Trends in Low End Mac Content

From Patrick:

Hi Dan,

I've been avidly reading Low End Mac for the past six or seven years, and as a rule I've been consistently impressed by the standard of editorial and op-ed you've maintained during that time. I'm accustomed to reading Intelligent, thoughtful and reasoned pieces on your site. In fact with the exception of a personal dislike for one or two contributors' writing styles (which after all is a matter of subjective taste on my part, and easily remedied by simply not clicking links with certain bylines), I've always been confident in the past of finding something worth reading whenever I visit LEM.

In recent weeks however there's been a disturbing downward trend in the standard of output from the site. Most surprisingly of all the worst examples have appeared under your own byline: a name I had come to rely on as a concrete sign of a worthwhile article . . . until I read 'Disadvantage Macintosh' that is. The article appeared on first reading to stem entirely from a misinterpretation about a flaw in a local print shop's CD reading equipment. In all fairness, you did later print the flood of mailbag responses debunking this article, but surely a little research before you wrote the original piece would have revealed the actual cause of your problem? I was baffled and disappointed at the time by your choice to write something which essentially read as a frustrated rant and which is so plainly misdirected in the cause of its frustration (blaming iPhoto for an assumed inability that turns out not to have been the cause of the problem.)

Everyone has their off days, and as I said you did redeem this slip with the swiftly posted debunking article. Had it been the only example of slipping editorial standards, I'd have thought no more of it, but then today a far worse one appeared. I'm curious to know what on earth possessed you to devote time and space to "Bastard Offspring: Are Intel Mac Real Macs?" printing and responding to Mr. Grunberg's desperately ill informed rant about Intel chips in Macs (together with several paragraphs of unreadable garbage regarding a disagreement over the specs of his G4!).

While I wholeheartedly applaud your policy of always engaging with your audience on their own terms and cannot fault your own reasoned responses to Grunberg's muddled nonsense, I'm curious as to why you decided to post this conversation as a feature? I'm sure there may be a small minority of other people sharing his view, but (as Grunberg clearly demonstrates with his complete inability/unwillingness to engage with the issue on any level beyond blindly and repeatedly assertions) their positions are entrenched blinkered prejudice of the sort that's unlikely to be shifted. Moreover they are (in my limited personal experience) a vanishingly small minority, and the issue in question (are Intel Macs Macs?) was exhaustively covered on LEM and elsewhere in the immediate aftermath of Apple's announcement over two years ago! In short, the exchange between yourself and Grunberg didn't merit publication on the site (or - in my personal opinion - half as much of your time as you patiently devoted to it in responding, although I do admire you for your patience)

My apologies if this email reads as hectoring, or as an attack on either you or the site, it certainly isn't intended as such and I was hesitant to even write it at all. However the blunt truth is that you and Low End Mac have of late fallen a long way short of the exceptionally high standards I've come to expect from the site and its Editor in Chief. As a loyal reader and avid fan, I feel compelled to request that you address this slip in standards and return to form as the first rate news, opinion and commentary site I've known and enjoyed for the last several years.

Warm regards

- Patrick


Thanks for your loyalty to Low End Mac and your email. We are 100% committed to the Macintosh platform, but we're not religious about it. In our opinion, it's hands down the best operating system out there, but that doesn't mean it has no failings.

One of those failings is disk formats. Boot Camp requires that you put a DOS formatted partition on your hard drive, as Windows is incompatible with Apple's HFS+ format (without third-party software). This is true of hard drives, Zip drives, iPods used for data storage, and until recent years even applied to Mac servers and data CDs. So when I found that a freshly burned CD couldn't be read on a photo kiosk (I could be read on my Mac), I foolishly assumed it was a Mac vs. DOS format issue.

I was wrong, and it was a real learning experience. We learned that Tiger produces a hybrid CD that should work with any Mac, Windows PC, Linux computer, or photo kiosk, so the kiosk's inability to mount the disk was probably a hardware issue. And we learned that there is (or was) a flaw in iPhoto's export command: When you export to CD, it does things differently than when you export to a hard drive or flash drive. (They may have fixed this in iPhoto 08, but I'm still using iPhoto 06.)

I'm not afraid to admit my mistakes, and it's far from the first time I've had egg on my face in the 10+ years I've been publishing Low End Mac. And I'm sure it will happen again.

On the plus side, 2/3 as many people read the "debunking" as read the original article, and we were up front enough about it to add a note at the beginning of the original article explaining the problem. We try to learn from our mistakes.

As for the "Bastard Offspring" column, it was clearly marked as a mailbag column. We have not hesitated to publish articles critical of Apple and its decisions, and we try to balance the uninformed rantings with reasoned arguments explaining why they are wrong. We do this because such arguments are destructive to the Mac platform and propagate false beliefs that might keep people away from a change in CPU (or whatever).

Consider it something of the Mac equivalent of - we just want to debunk fallacious arguments that damage our platform of choice.


Hi again Dan,

Just to clarify I wasn't asking that you be slavishly devoted to the platform, or blinkered to its faults - far from it! I rely on the articulate and measured analysis at LEM, and have no time for fanboys whatever their ilk. Criticism is an important part of debate.

In the case of the "Disadvantage Macintosh" article however you leapt before you looked, and I've come to expect better than that from you and the site. All I'm asking in this respect is that you take the time to examine an issue fully before writing about it. Given that this article is the first in over six years to fall short of that standard I can only assume that it represents a slip in your usual standard.

I wasn't asking you to be infallible, merely that you endeavour to keep your journalism as measured and informed as I and others have come to expect.

I've already congratulated you for acknowledging your mistakes with the debunking column, my point was only that the original column let the site down, and could have been avoided if you'd investigated the issue fully before posting it, as proven by the number, and speed of responses debunking it - so many of us knew you'd been mistaken that you could surely have discovered that for yourself before posting if only you'd looked.

Similarly my issues with the "Bastard Offspring" column stem not from the column's apparent criticism of Apple or their products, but from the fact that the subject had already been amply and articulately covered, and that the other contributor had nothing of substance to add to the 2+ year old debate (a debate long since settled for anyone who has actually used an Intel Mac.) Put plainly Grunberg's arguments (such as they were) didn't merit the attention of the site or its readers. I would expect that few if any of your readers are even concerned with what CPU powers new Macs so long as the end result is a Mac. I myself use two Macs daily, one is a PowerPC driven 2.5f year old PowerBook G4, the other an almost brand new Core 2 MacBook Pro, they're barely distinguishable from each other.

Grunberg's correspondence with LEM amounts to the outpourings of an ill-informed zealot, and while I again applaud your patience in dealing with it, I was disappointed and confused that you felt it merited space on the site as an article. The article read as the equivalent of a discussion over whether or not my laptop is made of green cheese - while this might be worthwhile from the perspective of the loon you're humouring, it doesn't necessarily merit the attention of your readership.

Warm regards

- Patrick

PowerPC a Dead End?

From Tim Harness:

Good morning Mr. Knight,

PowerPC had a long way to go before becoming a dead end; unfortunately IBM did not see a need to emphasize low power/ mobile versions in a timely fashion. Apple's conversion to Intel is not the only price IBM is facing; Microsoft's write down of overheating Xboxes is attributable to the lack of a cool-running PowerPC. A Power6 desktop woulda' been so cool.



PowerPC has a future, and it's odd that Sony, Nintendo, and Microsoft (who'da thunk it!) would all embrace the architecture at the same time Apple, which helped create it, was abandoning it. PowerPC was a dead end for Apple because it was a low priority for IBM and Freescale. If they'd been serious about the personal computer industry, they would have done more with it. (Then again, both companies got burned by Apple's Mac cloning fiasco.)

At least now that Apple has moved to Intel we don't have to worry about the MHz Myth - we're using exactly the same CPUs as those Windows boxen. :-)


More from Nadav

From Erik Grunberg (a.k.a. Nadav):

Okay, let me ask you this. Why does Apple overprice their machines? I would get a Mac Pro though would never run Windows on it because Windows sucks. But my main question for the amount of power the Mac Pro has, I could pick up parts and build my own machine which would be equal to the performance. Luckily for me I have a friend, whom I also worked with at an IT company (I am A+ and NET+ certified) who has lots of spare parts, and I could just as well build a Mac-like Pro machine, though it would be in a PC ATX case.

The real bottom line question: I believe when Steve Jobs finally resigns and someone else who believes in open architecture comes on board, we might well again see the revival of Mac compatible machines. I mean, let's face it, not all of us have $2,500 for a new fancy computer. Take away the fancy case and Apple's touches, and it's no more than an Intel x86 box with the capability to run Mac OS X and Windows.

But I don't think I will return to the PC or x86 anymore, therefore I have no need for such a machine - even years down the road I won't, since I don't use Apple's expensive software, though maybe it's expensive because Apple attracts companies to buy their equipment, but you won't find the majority of PC users simply paying $2,500 for a machine just to run Mac OS X.

That's why I think this whole topic is meaningless. If I had an Athlon XP based processor (remember, I despise and hate Intel), then I could run Mac OS X on my system, albeit illegally. But since I have a MDD machine, I am happy with my Mac because I have a real Mac, and don't need a PC-Mac type machine.

I am always looking for expandability. Out of all the machines Apple has, the Mac Pro would be my only choice because of expandability. I feel sorry for those who bought iMacs with Intel processors and later on realize that just because it's an Intel processor doesn't mean it is "processor upgradable" I know. I have a P3 machine with an ABIT Logic board called BE6-II, and originally it ran a slot one 500 MHz processor - then I got the 1 GHz processor slot one cartridge and upgraded the memory to 768 MB. It is archaic and outdated, as it used the i440BX chipset at 133 MHz bus.

At least the PC world does not have to listen to the parent companies and whine that they can't upgrade their processors. I am hoping Apple will say that processors can be upgraded since it's X86 architecture now and not PPC architecture. I am sure if someone buys a Mac Pro today and its at 3 GHz speed and there is a 5 GHz processor for like $200, then I am sure that person should be able to upgrade and upgrade and upgrade year after year until the actual bus controller is exhausted. PCs have always been upgradable, whereas Apple dictated to the market: Hahah! U pay what you get, and no upgrade paths!

This of course, has to change esp. now that Intel lives inside the newly made Mac PC Pro and Mac PC iMac.

Again, I could build the same machine, but wait there is more! One thing I like about the G4s is that the architecture allows for 4 expansion cards + the 5th slot which houses the graphics card - nice, although PCs have 3 more slots.

The Power Mac G5 only allowed 3 PCI based upgrade cards, while the Mac Pro also built around the same case design - same thing: 3 slots, and that's it.

I bet I could build the same exact machine with the same processor and all the trimmings inside with an ABIT logic board and still possibly beat the hell out of the Apple hardware in performance and expandability. This would not be possible if the PowerPC was still in production, but now that Apple has moved to Intel - anything is now possible.

But I am waiting for AMD to bring out their killer chips which would make Intel cry. So you see, I am more of a PowerPC/AMD user than an Intel user because I have always resented Intel - prices are so high on their chips, I could get similar processing power from AMD, but at 3/4's the price.

Something to think about I guess. But, for now, I am going to stick with my MDD G4 DP 1.25 and make use of its abilities and as you said: It is still a great machine - who would say the G4 or Power4 processor is not a great processor for everyday tasks, just not good enough for robust gaming or video rendering? But, again, Dan - I, like you, use my machine for the following:

  1. Playing iTunes
  2. Burning DVDs and CDs
  3. Word processing
  4. Running utilities and tweaks
  5. Overall Internet surfing and watching streaming video, such as YouTube. com
  6. Exploring the ideas of SATA I/II technology and drives - replacing older PATA for SATA
  7. Though not really needed, processor upgrading which to me from a DP 1.25 to say the 1.42 DP is futile and not worth it unless I win from eBay a DP 1.42 processor card and heat sink and install that in place of the DP 1.25
  8. Learning about RAID-0 striping and mirroring

I have no interest in the following, which would justify the reason for getting a Mac Pro:

  1. I have no interest in high graphic based processor applications, such as CS3, Photoshop, video rendering using Final Cut Pro I or II, no interest in iLife, though I have interest in iWork 08.
  2. I have no interest in full blown photo studio based photography, nor am I a song writer and never will be (I hate to sing, except for older Socialist and older Soviet based songs - I am Ukrainian btw).
  3. I am not interested in gaming, as personally gaming on the Mac sucks compared to the PC, which the PC has always been the top leader in gaming and that's not going to change regardless if Steve Jobs puts in zillions of Intel chips in his Mac PCs.

To sum up this whole thing: For what my needs are right now I don't see the reason for me to go with a Mac PC (Intel Mac PC), and since the chances of me running Winbloz Vista (which sucks also and horribly designed) or Winbloz XP on my system is possibly never going to happen again, I don't need Boot Camp either. Again, I don't like the iMacs because they suffer in expandability. The processors now that they are Intel should and must be allowed an upgrade path. I don't believe in buying new machines, but rather expanding and upgrading them, and in the PC market this is a common everyday practice because IBM was forced to give up being proprietary and decided to release to the public (the world) the x86 technology and thus sparked the PC revolution with the IBM compatibles - still reigning even today!

No computer today should be made proprietary, and no company has the right to tell the customer that your machine is not processor upgradable when in fact it can be, but the said parent company won't support such an upgrade - it would rather see its clients bankrupt because they would be forced to by a new computer each year or every 3 years - I bet you $100 (not really a bet) that as soon as Apple unveils even more powerful Mac PCs the GHz speed of those who have the computers now will want more - and shell tons of money just to be on par with the "latest and greatest"

That motto has been dead now for years!

I just want you to know that I am not some teenage kid who is a loud mouth talking dirty. I am in fact, maybe close to your age. I am 30 years old, and I have been around this stuff since the beginning of the computer age. My first system - and its still running to this day - was and still is a TI-99/4A of which because of my love for that system is why I gained a lot of experience later on with computers in general.



Whew, you cover a lot of territory.

Sure, anyone can build a superfast PC for less than the cost of a Mac Pro. Anyone. But that's not the point: Apple is selling you a fully built and configured computer with a great operating system and some great included apps. It's that integration of hardware, operating system, and software that creates the best Macintosh experience, and that's why people are willing to pay Apple's price for hardware. More people than ever.

If you think the Mac Pro is overpriced, compare it to what you can configure from Dell with the same computing power. Time and again people have made the comparison and found the Apple less costly.

The Macintosh platform has survived for 23 years on proprietary hardware, and Apple is #3 or #4 in the US market since the switch to Intel. Saying Apple is doomed because it makes "the whole widget" is like arguing that Mercedes-Benz or BMW is doomed because their cars cost more than something cheaper. People are willing to pay more for a better user experience, whether that's a car, audio system, large screen TV, or personal computer.

You don't like Macs without expansion slots or CPU upgrades? Well, that's your choice, but most people never use a single expansion slot in their Windows PCs, and Apple long ago abandoned 6-slot computers with hardly a complaint from the Mac user community. In theory, it's nice. In practice, most people would find one expansion slot plenty (and never use it).

Likewise, most people never upgrade their computers. They stick with the OS that came with it, only install more RAM if some program absolutely requires it, never replace the CPU, and stay with whatever hard drive and video card came standard. Only hobbyists, power users, and dedicated gamers play the upgrade game, tweaking their old systems with USB 2.0 cards, better graphics cards, SATA cards, bigger and faster hard drives, maximum RAM, etc. We are just a small part of the market - and a very vocal part.

At Low End Mac, we believe in getting the most out of what you have, upgrading it as necessary, and only replacing it when you have to - and even then looking at used, close-out, or refurbished Macs because most people don't need to be at the bleeding edge. We're about computing value, we value the Macintosh experience, and we generally find that the best Mac values are not the top-end models, but Apple realizes that some people are willing to pay a huge premium for 10-15% more power.

People like you and I will continue to tinker with our G4 Power Macs until there's a compelling reason to replace them. I'm sure that will happen for me within the next two years, but for everything I do except video, I have more than enough power in my tower.


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Dan Knight has been publishing Low End Mac since April 1997. Mailbag columns come from email responses to his Mac Musings, Mac Daniel, Online Tech Journal, and other columns on the site.

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