Mac - Intel: Why hold off on a purchase? Why switch to Wintel?

Discussion in 'Apple' started by Tim Murray, Jun 6, 2005.

  1. Tim Murray

    Tim Murray Guest

    I've read quite a few posts where some have said they were about to make a
    purchase, but because of the Intel news, have decided to either hold off on a
    purchase, or decided to switch to Wintel.

    My question is: Why?

    Take yourself back in time, and say that you were using a 68k-based Mac and
    you are looking to upgrade. You had just heard the news about something
    called PowerPC and RISC. Your aging 68k is slowing you down, and you really
    need a better machine.

    Now let's say that you have a crystal ball and you knew the future (our
    past). Would you not have upgraded?

    I can see waiting weeks or even months for a new line of machines to come
    out, but when you measure wait time in years I think it's overboard.

    My point is that Microsoft, Intel, Motorola, and Apple have all put us
    through several upgrade cycles, and in credit to the all of them, none of the
    platform changes caused Y2K-like meltdowns. Sure, you may need to buy
    software upgrades, but there is a good chance you would have done that

    My wife needs a new computer, and I would not feel uncomfortable at all
    buying a present-day Mac. Apple knows that they are on a tightrope, and I
    have a feeling they will pull it off.
    Tim Murray, Jun 6, 2005
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  2. Well, let's look at it another way. The PowerPC 601 was a lousy chip. It
    was essentially just a proof-of-concept oof the PPC architecture. It took a
    couple of iterations to get it right. Meanwhile, I got a 68040 desktop for
    a _very_ good price, with an excellent pre-X OS, (8.6, as I recall), and
    all my software still worked fine and did everything I needed. I never
    upgraded to 9. After all the dust settled, X was released and in 10.2, I
    bought a dual-G3 tower. That was years after the PPC was introduced. My
    aging 68040 didn't slow _me_ down, but your mileage varied. The Mac OS is
    _really_ excellent, and using 8.6 didn't slow me down either. Eventually,
    as browsers left me behind, I felt the need to upgrade, but my 'real'
    software that I needed for work kept up with me just fine.

    My wife just bought an iMac G5 to replace her blue and white G3, and we've
    still got our iBook from a purchase several years ago. We're not planning
    on another computer purchase in the next few years, without regard to the
    switch to Intel. If I _did_ want to upgrade, I'd wait maybe a month and see
    what happens to prices, to see if people do stop buying _a_whole_year_
    ahead of any possible release, but I wouldn't bet on it. If prices really
    tanked, I'd snap up the fastest, most loaded computer I could find and just
    coast on in for a few more years on a PPC, while all the bleeders get cut
    on the leading edge of Intel and Leopard.

    I think the claims of switches to Windows are just junior high angst, like
    when OS 9 went away and the dreaded command line interface and file
    associations by the .threeletters were the rage of choice -- remember all
    that hue and cry?
    That's been my experience. Our OS and software are remarkably resilient,
    unlike Windows crap. Using the same apps for years without upgrades drives
    the software makers out of business or over to the darkside, I'm sorry to
    say, but it's certainly been good to me.
    In Jobs I trust. If Apple went out of business this year, we'd still have a
    couple or three years of use out of our computers before we felt any need
    to switch over to our gentoo CD permanently. :->
    Phil Stripling, Jun 6, 2005
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  3. Tim Murray

    Erik Guest

    I think what's flipping people out is that there was a lot "us vs.
    them" hype regarding PowerPC and Pentium processors. At least from my
    perspective. Having a PowerPC helped make the Mac different and was
    supposed to be a superior design anyway (or so the story went). I know
    a couple people who view this as a step backward as a result.

    In the end, it's all about how well everything performs; how well the
    job gets done. And, from what I've heard, the high-end Macs are
    staying with the G5s (at least for now). I guess the processor doesn't
    matter as long as the overal design is strong.

    Erik, Jun 6, 2005
  4. Tim Murray

    Andy Hewitt Guest

    Indeed, the main issue with PCs is their patched together with string
    hardware design. In some ways it has been a strength - cheapness,
    versatility, and upgradability are all key to the PC platform. However,
    they can also lack conformity, reliability and performance, as you run a
    risk of using incompatible parts, and software can never run optimally
    if it has to accommodate for so many hardware configurations.

    Macs OTOH have a fixed set of hardware, that you know will work with the
    software to the optimum. The downside is flexiblity, but IMHO Apple have
    got it right, and their machines have been good allrounders anyway.

    I doubt very much that the Intel processor is the only reason PCs are
    generally slower, MHz for MHz, than a Mac. If they had the same
    integrated circuit board as Macs, they might just be as good.

    Who knows, this might also open up another world of software for us too.

    Besides, how many jumped ship when they found out that PPCs were being
    produced by IBM?
    Andy Hewitt, Jun 6, 2005
  5. Tim Murray

    Chris Moore Guest

    My big problem is I think the x86 chip is at the end of it's lifespan.
    I don't know if Steve Jobs specified the x86 as Apples future, I know
    todays presentation was run on Pentiums and every website that
    specifies a processor says x86, but when production does start will it
    be with Celeron/Pentiums or Xeon/Itaniums? Maybe Pentiums to start with
    then a little later say "Gee, you should trade in your old Pentium G6
    for our new 64bit G7." I was sold on 64bit once, now I'm supposed to
    embrace 32bit? Sigh, now I guess I'll never get my 970MP's.
    Chris Moore, Jun 6, 2005
  6. Tim Murray

    Daniel Cohen Guest

    Yes, but your wife *needs* a new computer.

    Whereas I was thinking of upgrading my iBook G3 and PowerMac G4 to a
    Powerbook G4 and PowerMac or iMac G5. I don't *need* to do it, it was
    more a way of buying myself a present with some spare money I have. I'm
    no longer sure that I should do this, I'll have to think hard about how
    much use I would make of the extra power for the next three years, and
    what I might want to do in three years' time.
    Daniel Cohen, Jun 6, 2005
  7. Tim Murray

    Erik Guest


    There's been some discussion on that one, at least where I am. Jobs
    showed off a Pentium 4, but someone said it was a quad processor unit.
    I've no proof of this whatsoever, and it may have been a temporary
    delusion on my friend's part. And I can't remember the schematic Jobs
    showed off at his keynote.

    Over at Slashdot, they were hypothesizing that Apple was going to
    ressurect the Itanium processors that Intel crashed and burned on some
    time back. That would keep Mac OS X 64bit and still keep with Intel.
    And Itaniums are said to be both big- and little-endian depending on
    what is needed.

    I think the 32bit stuff is going to the laptops and low end Macs, which
    were 32-bit to begin with anyway. With all the 64-bit hype that went
    (and goes) on, I think we'll see a phasing in of 64-bit systems once
    they're ready to convert the high-end systems from PowerPC.

    Of course, this is all conjecture.

    Erik, Jun 6, 2005
  8. Tim Murray

    Guardsman Guest

    Chris Moore writes:

    c> My big problem is I think the x86 chip is at the end of it's lifespan.
    c> I don't know if Steve Jobs specified the x86 as Apples future, I know
    c> todays presentation was run on Pentiums and every website that
    c> specifies a processor says x86, but when production does start will it
    c> be with Celeron/Pentiums or Xeon/Itaniums? Maybe Pentiums to start with
    c> then a little later say "Gee, you should trade in your old Pentium G6
    c> for our new 64bit G7." I was sold on 64bit once, now I'm supposed to
    c> embrace 32bit? Sigh, now I guess I'll never get my 970MP's.

    Maybe you didn't know but just like PowerPC, x86 has also
    been extended for 64 bits (read up on "x86_64", "AMD64", or "EM64T").
    People have been running 64-bit x86 systems for just as long as the G5
    has been out. Even Intel hasn't been able to kill the x86
    architecture. It shouldn't be surprising if Apple's x86 port is
    already 64-bit.

    There's no reason to suspect Apple is going to Itanium for
    64-bit support.
    Guardsman, Jun 7, 2005
  9. I would be uncomfortable, only because I expect great new versions of
    the Mini and iBook in the next few weeks and would wait for that.
    hoarse with no name, Jun 7, 2005
  10. This rumor got started due to a typo in a news account. They put a
    hyphen in somewhere which went 'pentium 4-processor' instead of 'pentium
    4 processor'.

    I'm reading universal_binary.pdf right now, the official guide from
    Apple itself and it is clearly going to be x86, not the Itanic. Chapter
    3 is devoted entirely to the big vs little endian issue. Its x86, count
    on it.
    hoarse with no name, Jun 7, 2005
  11. What if Jobs had instead announced a 7Ghz G6 with a time horizon of two
    John Steinberg, Jun 7, 2005
  12. Tim Murray

    Guest Guest

    That may be one definition. A more common one is that pointers
    are 64 bit so that one can address well above 4gig of memory.
    Guest, Jun 7, 2005
  13. Tim Murray

    Daniel Cohen Guest

    I would regard that as an upgrade rather than a major change, and it
    wouldn't be a reason for holding off. I would expect that if I bought a
    G5 now its second-hand value would hold up to the extent that has always
    happened, whereas I suspect that in two years' time the second-hand
    value of G4 and G5 machines will have dropped sharply.

    As I said, buying new Mac(s) is a luxury I can afford. If I *needed* to
    change, it would be a different matter.
    Daniel Cohen, Jun 7, 2005
  14. Tim Murray

    Ilgaz Ocal Guest


    I may count this mac as high end as its a desktop g5.

    Let me say my part. Blizzard gets money from wow ppc users yes? As they
    are not stupid as Apple, they will keep coding the WoW. I don't do
    monster thing :) Its same deal for ww2 online I play too.

    I don't see anything would happen to licensed customers of any software.

    I can'T say buy mac from now on. If its Intel, there are companies
    there. Microsoft (30 years+ expertise), Taiwan, Dell, Asus (for DIY

    Apple declared its dead :) I mean, something like it.. I can't easily
    comment on such stupid crap. My english not enough. Foreigner :)

    Ilgaz Ocal, Jun 7, 2005
  15. I'd label that a pipe dream in light of what IBM has demonstrated over
    the last few years. That Apple could not deliver a G5 laptop was quite
    irksome and punishes the bottom line while angering the flock. IBM's
    incremental speed bumps were starting to look quite bad.
    Change is inevitable and with that some anxiety is to be expected. I
    suspect there's quite a lot of that going around today. "What will
    this mean for Apple short term? Should I hold off for a year or two to
    upgrade? Apple has screwed the pooch this time. It's over, I'm buying
    a Dell!," etc.

    You'll note the anxiety level has an inverse proportionality to what
    people know and what people think they know. Nevertheless, this is big
    news and recent hardware buyers might understandably be in a state of
    mild panic, even if there's no real reason to be based upon the
    expected roadmap. Yes, in two years time your new machine will look
    like day old sushi, but that was and is always the case.
    It's unlikely that they knew what was to unfold at the WWDC. If they
    had C|Net would have broken the story well before. Likely you're
    projecting after the fact. I do believe there will be some short term
    fallout in hardware sales, and you might wonder how IBM will deliver
    during this transitional phase. But before we run around with our hair
    on fire, let's take a deep breath and absorb, learn, and read.

    BTW, a couple of months ago my wife and I were visiting friends at a
    suburban NY Hilton hotel on a Sunday. As luck would have it, there was
    a mandatory meeting for a number of the Apple retail store managers
    there in one of the conference rooms, and I lingered for a while at the
    closed doors to listen.

    I did not glean any truly exciting info, but I will say Apple is
    /really/ working their retail node. At the break, while we were
    relaxing in the indoor pool, the Apple crew shuffled out of the meeting
    room looking as forlorn and dejected as many democrats were after the
    last presidential election. These were not happy campers.

    Given the age we're living in, where better deals for Macs are only a
    surf and a checkout away, I've always thought the Apple stores
    inhabited a curious space. Our local stores are often quite busy,
    their demos appear to be well attended, and at least one local store
    appears to have added a lot of new staff, so even if it's just the iPod
    rush (and that section of the stores is almost always busiest) it
    appears they are doing okay, but I'll await the 10-Qs before
    speculating any further.
    John Steinberg, Jun 7, 2005
  16. Tim Murray

    Tim Murray Guest

    The crowds in most malls I visit are typically centered in the food court ...
    with the exception being the Apple stores.

    The Apple stores in the two upscale malls around here are always busy, and
    not everyone gathers around the iPods. Customers are walking out the door
    with computers in tow.
    Tim Murray, Jun 7, 2005
  17. Tim Murray

    Tim Murray Guest

    Close enough for the definition of "present day" for me. But yes, the
    announcement will most certainly cause some new models and price reductions
    in the near future.
    Tim Murray, Jun 7, 2005
  18. Tim Murray

    Erik Guest

    I'll admit I flipped out a little when I heard the news. It was just
    one of those things you could bank on never being true. And since I
    have no magic insight into what's going on or where it's all heading,
    I've resigned myself to the assumption that Jobs & Co. know what
    they're doing and that this was necessary to move forward.

    The potential ramifications are interesting, though:

    The PowerPC was never hack-proof per se, but x86 processors have had
    hackers and hobbyists working on it for quite some time. I'm sure many
    are rubbing their hands in glee at the idea of cracking Mac OS X and
    putting it on their Dells or Gateways.

    I've been told that OpenFirmware is going away. This kind of makes
    sense: OpenFirmware is an open, known quantity. Apple probably wants
    something less known to protect the OS. And I think Intel is
    incorporating DRM into their CPUs, so maybe there's something going on

    It's a big step (and interesting) because Apple is going to a processor
    that has been a playground to others for quite some time.

    Erik, Jun 7, 2005
  19. Tim Murray

    Erik Guest

    I'm not suggesting, just making a wild guess. If OpenFirmware is going
    away, though, and if Apple decides not to use the standard PC BIOS
    offerings, then they have to make their own version. This new,
    proprietary version (if it comes to that), won't be as well known to
    potential crackers as either OpenFirmware or BIOS, thus adding a
    (temporary) layer of defense against them.

    That's the idea, anyway. I have no clue what Apple will come up with.
    I'm just some guy :)

    Erik, Jun 7, 2005
  20. Tim Murray

    Guardsman Guest

    Richard Tomkins writes:

    r> What really makes a CPU 32 bit or 64 bit is the size of the registers that
    r> work on the data.
    r> In the G5, data is moved around as 64 bits, so it is 64 bit.
    r> Pentium with 64 bit extensions moves data around in 32 bit sizes, so it is
    r> still 32 bits.

    You're wrong. The x86-64 architecture has 64-bit general
    purpose registers (and more of them). Its regular instructions (mov,
    add, ..) work on 64-bit data.
    Guardsman, Jun 7, 2005
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