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  1. Thread AuthorThread Author   #1  
    Devin C's Avatar
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    Default First Time Mac Buyer here... Have a few questions...

    Hello,

    All my life, I've been using a Windows PC. Well, I think I've decided to make the switch to buying a Mac. Currently I'm looking at getting a MacBook Pro, however, I have a few questions as I've never had or used one before.

    1) Is the learning curve hard for going from Windows to Apple?
    2) I know they're a bit too expensive, but does the product justify the high price? Do they break easy and have you had any major problems with them?
    3) Are Macs good for gaming? I know its not going to be a highspeed alienware computer, but can they hold their own on some online games (ie: WoW on high settings, games like Battlefield 3 on low)

    4 Retina display or not? I'm currently looking at getting a MacBook pro with a retina display. Is it really worth it? Maybe its because I'm used to the standard Windows screens, but I've seen some video and pictures and I'm in awe. Is it best to just get a regular MacBook Pro, or is it worth the bump getting one with a Retina display?

    Thanks for taking the time and helping me out with this
  2. #2  
    NPBeck79's Avatar
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    Default First Time Mac Buyer here... Have a few questions...

    Hi Devin and Merry Christmas.

    Here is my opinion as an owner of an iMac late 2009 and a MacBook mid 2010.

    1. I also went from windows to Mac three years ago. It will take you about a week and that's it. Mac OS is simple and straight forward and, at many levels, makes the user's life easier. You will, however, need to spend some time familiarizing yourself with what is new or different on your desktop. And if you are willing do also google things on your way I think that a week is more than enough to resolve 90% of your major questions. And now with mountain lion, in case you own an iPhone or iPad you will feel like you have a very familiar environment in front of you. In a nutshell, I don't think that you will find major obstacles in going from windows to Mac. And as it is said, once you go Mac you never go back

    2. This question is the most important one. When buying a Mac you will be amazed by the whole thing. In a few words, once you open the box you will get the feeling that you got what you paid for. And without second thought, you will need to step on it or use a hammer to break it. But let's go inside the Mac: six months after purchasing my iMac I experienced a hard drive failure. And since replacing units in a Mac will cost you a lot of money if you take it to the experts, I changed the hard drive myself. Now, here is the catch: you will need a lot of time and at times Luck to make it happen. In addition, when I opened my iMac I realized that it came with a seagate HD. For me, paying a bunch of money would mean that at least I would get a better HD, such as a western digital. Not to mention that after installing my WD HD the fans went crazy and had to do extensive research on how to adjust them (which resulted in purchasing a program that slows them down). In addition, I recently upgraded my MacBook Ram from 2 to 4 GB. To my surprise, the original Ram was a no-name Chinese-like brand. Once again, I was hoping to see a Kingston or equivalent. So, overall, I think that you will get a very solid and beautiful pc that could had been better inside as well.

    3. Unfortunately, I am not a gamer.. So, maybe another member of the forum can give you a good overview here.

    4. Undoubtedly, the retina just kicks a@@! But, but, but! If you are not a dedicated gamer or/and a professional that works with images, photos, designs, or similar stuff, I do not see the reason to spend so much... Then again, if you can afford it, the retina is a killer. I think that it is totally up to your wallet and the usage you will do.

    Hope this helps in a way.

    Enjoy your new Mac! Just buy the damn thing lol!
  3. #3  
    Karenkcoulter's Avatar

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    Default First Time Mac Buyer here... Have a few questions...

    Quote Originally Posted by Devin C View Post
    Hello,

    All my life, I've been using a Windows PC. Well, I think I've decided to make the switch to buying a Mac. Currently I'm looking at getting a MacBook Pro, however, I have a few questions as I've never had or used one before.

    1) Is the learning curve hard for going from Windows to Apple?
    2) I know they're a bit too expensive, but does the product justify the high price? Do they break easy and have you had any major problems with them?
    3) Are Macs good for gaming? I know its not going to be a highspeed alienware computer, but can they hold their own on some online games (ie: WoW on high settings, games like Battlefield 3 on low)

    4 Retina display or not? I'm currently looking at getting a MacBook pro with a retina display. Is it really worth it? Maybe its because I'm used to the standard Windows screens, but I've seen some video and pictures and I'm in awe. Is it best to just get a regular MacBook Pro, or is it worth the bump getting one with a Retina display?

    Thanks for taking the time and helping me out with this
    1) I switched from a longtime Windows user to the Mac about 18 months ago. I had absolutely no trouble adjusting, but I would count myself among the very computer literate. Things are different but if you're willing to poke around, you shouldn't have any trouble.
    2) they are expensive but I'd say the cost is justified. I had a relatively high end multimedia HP 17" before switching to the MacBook, and the quality of the MacBook is so much better. They do not break easily and if something does go wrong, Apple's customer service is great. A simple quality example-that HP laptop was around an inch thick but I never wanted to pick it up one handed because it felt like the case would flex. With the much thinner MacBook I frequently pick it up one handed (open or closed) and I never feel any flex.
    3) most hardcore gamers would tell you to stick with Windows because many games are only ported to the Mac much later (if ever) than the Windows version comes out. I do know that WOW has a Mac version, not sure about Battlefield 3. Depending on which MacBook you get (you'd need one with a discrete graphics card not just the on board graphics), it should be fine playing WOW at reasonably high settings. You can also use Bootcamp on the Mac to create a Windows partition and dual boot so for games you could just go to the Windows side (you do need to have a valid Windows license) . If gaming is important to you, you can probably look to see the exact processor/graphics card/memory of the Mac you're planning to get, and then look up performance characteristics on gaming sites.
    4) retina is absolutely worth it. My original MacBook was not retina and still had a beautiful screen-great color, viewing angles, etc. it still looked much better than my well-equipped work Windows laptop. But after drooling over the retina screen (and that I have retina on my iPad and iPhone) on the MacBook for a few months, I pulled the trigger for the retina one and sold my other MacBook. The retina screen is beautiful. A couple of things to keep in mind though-in the retina one RAM is not upgradeable and neither is the hard drive, but in the regular one both the hard drive and RAM are easily user replaceable (and it doesn't void the warranty to do so). So you need to get the retina one with as much memory as you can afford since you cannot upgrade later. Also the retina one does not have a DVD drive if that's important to you. Also only the 15" retina has a discrete graphics card since you were asking about gaming.
  4. #4  
    Alli's Avatar
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    Default Re: First Time Mac Buyer here... Have a few questions...

    Unless you have a specific reason for switching to a Mac, you can't justify the cost. After two years, I still prefer the ease of Windows. Windows is far more intuitive, and doesn't give you the duplication that you wind up with in OS X. I got a Mac because I work for a developer and have to support Mac (same reason I own an Android phone).

    The hardware is stellar - definitely the best thing about a Mac. They are substantial and can take quite a bit of kicking around. And they are beautiful. I started with a gorgeous 11" MacBook Air, and recently went to a 13" MackBook Pro (needed the 1TB hard drive). Both were solid.

    If you want to play games, stick with Windows. If you want to edit video, you're better off with a Mac.

    As for retina display - do a blind test in the Apple store. Not everyone sees a difference, and if you don't plan on using a lot of graphic intensive applications, it's probably not worth the expense.
  5. #5  
    Fausty82's Avatar
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    Default Re: First Time Mac Buyer here... Have a few questions...

    Quote Originally Posted by Devin C View Post
    Hello,

    All my life, I've been using a Windows PC. Well, I think I've decided to make the switch to buying a Mac. Currently I'm looking at getting a MacBook Pro, however, I have a few questions as I've never had or used one before.

    1) Is the learning curve hard for going from Windows to Apple?
    2) I know they're a bit too expensive, but does the product justify the high price? Do they break easy and have you had any major problems with them?
    3) Are Macs good for gaming? I know its not going to be a highspeed alienware computer, but can they hold their own on some online games (ie: WoW on high settings, games like Battlefield 3 on low)

    4 Retina display or not? I'm currently looking at getting a MacBook pro with a retina display. Is it really worth it? Maybe its because I'm used to the standard Windows screens, but I've seen some video and pictures and I'm in awe. Is it best to just get a regular MacBook Pro, or is it worth the bump getting one with a Retina display?

    Thanks for taking the time and helping me out with this
    1. Wasnít much of an issue for me. I switched over 2 years ago and never looked back. The key (for me, anyway) was to stop using the Windows OS until I was familiar with OS X. I copied all my files to an external drive and then put the Windows computer in the closet. If I need a file or need to do something, I force myself to figure it out on my MBP. And thereís the issue of finding comparable programs for some functions... but overall, it was fairly straight-forward. The adjustment took about a week before I was really comfortable. And God only knows what kind of mess/learning curve the Windows world will get with that Windows 8/Metro thing.

    2. The MacBook Pro line is a bit more expensive, but really, about on par with a top of the line Windows laptop. Quality parts, high-quality engineering... and no issues to report. Both MBPs that Iíve owned (and a MBAir that I had for a while) were perfect, and gave me no issues. Apple is great with the customer service and repair departments, too. If anything breaks in the warranty period, just take it back and get it fixed.

    3. Not much of a gamer, so I canít help you here...

    4. As Alli said, each person is different. When I switched, there was no retina MBP. But when it did come out, and I saw it, I was sold. My son bought my original MBP and I got the retina version. Itís great... the screen is beautiful. But you trade off the limited user upgrade-ability for the compactness and retina display (for example, RAM is soldered to the motherboard).
    Curmudgeon and Former Member/Participant
    iPhone 5S / iPad Mini Retina / 15" MacBook Pro Retina
  6. #6  
    SeanHRCC's Avatar
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    Default Re: First Time Mac Buyer here... Have a few questions...

    Cost - They are not cheap...they are the luxury side of the consumer electronics world. And in the same way you wouldn't buy a BMW if you were looking for a budget minded but well featured car, you would not buy a mac for the same reasons (it's not budget friendly, and most laptops offer the basics you find in a macbook or iMac). Are they worth it? To me, unquestionably...you get customer service that is equalled by NO ONE, you get a fit and finish that is top of the food chain when it comes to consumer electronics, and you get a system that not only stays reliable for many years, but also retains value like no other system you'll ever own.

    Gaming - I have an early 2011 MBP...it's built up a bit, but even in stock form, it was perfectly capable of running any game on the market and doing it well. Now that the newer models have come out, they should be able to mirror the same kind of performance. That said, Macs suffer from big negative in the gaming world...and that is support. New games on steam? You're lucky if 1 in 50 of them have mac support...old favorites? Again, you'll be on the losing side of trying to find titles every time vs. a Windows based machine.

    The beauty is though that Mac's (ALL of them) have a nifty little feature called Boot Camp...and with this feature, you can dual boot OSX and Windows on the same machine. Our iMac at home and both me and my wife's MBP's are currently running Windows 7 (mine on 8 now), and i have no problem playing Windows only games on any of the systems (as a matter of fact, i was playing Black Ops 2 over the weekend with my nephew on my MBP with a modded PS3 controller! lol...

    Now the cost to build a mac into a gaming rig is the same in many ways (because the components on many levels are the same you'd find in a windows based machine) and MUCH more expensive in many ways. In the end, it will cost more to make a mac a legitimate gaming computer than it would an equally powerful Windows based machine.

    Learning Curve - To me, a Mac is the easiest thing in the world to learn...the biggest hurdle is trying to move past old habits, and that is where you'll find the most frustration trying to make the transition. Buttons in different locations for very common functions, using "Finder" instead of "My Computer", etc etc etc...the operating system is literally a cake walk, but the habits will annoy you for at least a few weeks i would say.

    Retina Display - My wife recently sold her Macbook Pro (early 2011) and bought a 15" retina display model. The difference between her screen and mine are SUBSTANTIAL...but there is a line of "need" that should be defined. She is a film and tv producer, and also works in locations...she takes THOUSANDS of pictures, and she has started dabbling in post production (both film and photography)...personally, i have no need for the screen quality, my macbook pro with the normal screen is perfect for me and the quality is beautiful, but for her, she wanted to make sure she was seeing photos in their best presentation, working on them with the best color representation and thus, the retina display was warranted (she also wanted it, so that helped too, lol!)

    Your average user will not have a legitimate NEED for the retina display, and i cannot see that same person being unhappy with the non-retina display vs. the retina display...unless they just wanted the latest and greatest. Take this for example...you could have very powerful non-retina macbook pro built up with all kinds of awesome internal storage features (HDD + SSD), maxed out RAM, upgraded graphics card and whatever case and invisi-shield your heart could want...and you'd still be cheaper than the Macbook Pro with Retina display. That's not to say the Retina display is anything less than breath taking, but in the world of macs, there's a very focused audience that would "need" it.
    "Speed has never killed anyone; suddenly becoming stationary...that's what gets you." - Jeremy Clarkson

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