Hey, I realize that switcher stories are getting so common these days, weâ€™re all at risk of fatigue from the influx of new Mac fans and fanatics among us. Forgive me then for adding a few words more in the rising tide of Mac market share. When I quite literally blew up my home-built PC a few weeks backâ€”with a dramatic flameout of the PSU and a roomful of acrid smoke–I was driven to make my “second-tier” switcher commitment. I am now officially a “switched-again” Mac user.
I got my 2Ghz MacBook as my first Mac in May, but in truth I’ve primarily used this machine as a desktop, KVM’d next to my home-built XP machine. Real multi-taskers use separate machines. Despite (or perhaps because of) over a decade of masochistic personal Windows malaise, I was struggling to get myself even to attempt Microsoft OS on my Mac. I’d upgraded to a 100gb 7200rpm drive, but I couldn’t convince myself that Parallels or Boot Camp would beat the sheer convenience of hitting the scroll lock key and moving over the to other box. My original plan was not to deepen my Mac ties until Leopard came out, then think about a MacBook Pro or Mac Pro, and let Windows run in its own isolated tier.
That was all fine until the IDE controller on my PC motherboard failed. I spent an ungodly amount of time swapping cables, PCI IDE controllers, and drives in this machineâ€”to no availâ€”until I left a power cable a bit too loose, turned it on, and sent the soul of my old machine to that great clustered network in the sky. So I had no PC â€“ my main server in my home â€“ and I had a laptop I was using as a desktop. At first, I figured the choice was between these options:
- Gearhead mode. Rebuild the PC and beef it up a bit with a dual core processor, new graphics, faster RAM. Cost with parts recycling would be, say, $1200 US for a very fast machine. Time was also an issue, as work is busy, and a death in the family had complicated life a bit.
- Resistance is futile mode. Admit defeat, and cover the need with a commodity Wintel machine for about the same or fewer dollars.
Then, a third option presented itself: Mac geek mode. I could sell my MacBook (several buyers instantly presented themselves as soon as I thought of this), and trade up to a Mac Pro which would be the Windows server of my dreams and the Mac of my dreams. So for my second switch, I picked up a 2.66Ghz Mac Pro tower.
As Keanu would say, â€œwhooooooaaaaaaaaaguhhhhhhhhhh.â€ Iâ€™ve had it about 2 weeks so far, and it is plain and simple the most astonishingly wonderful machine Iâ€™ve ever used. I know a lot of home builder enthusiasts who think Macs are the Antichrist’s own computer and would consider it a ridiculous compromise to buy a machine like this. I even priced the parts for a dual dual-core Xeon, but it was either a wash or actually cheaper to buy the Mac Pro with all hardware being equal.
My argument is that the Mac Pro’s sophisticated design is a fine salute to the selfsame craft that motivates the DIY’er and commands the respect of anyone who values the elegant fusion of design and technology. For me, the Intel Mac platform is a computing hobbyist’s dream platform. The big deal for me is that this high end Mac has rekindled my enthusiasm for computing like nothing else has been able to do for years and years. It’s a rebirth, and I am switched-again.