Tuesday, 26 April 2016

My new Computer is a PC!

The title of this post might not seem very controversial, but for someone like me who has been a die-in-the-wool Mac user for the last 20 years, it’s something akin to sacrilege!

I’ve wanted to upgrade my existing iMac for a few years now. It was a very old Intel iMac 20” – one of the original white models, that was struggling to run my Adobe products with its maxed out 4Gb of RAM and 2Ghz processor. I couldn’t upgrade it to the latest OS, and had to make a cup of coffee waiting for the machine to start up. So yeah, it was time for a change. Get a new Mac then, right?

Generally, the answer would have been yes – without hesitation. But a couple of things had happened in the last year that gave me serious pause. First, for over a year now I have been using a PC at my graphic design day-job. And really enjoying it. It didn’t take me long at all to get used the Windows operating environment, and the machine is super quick and incredibly stable. More stable, in fact, than the new iMac I was using in my previous job. 

Second, and perhaps more telling, was Apple’s decisions around some of their software and hardware that I’m not particularly happy with. I’m not going to lie – Apple’s decision to stop supporting Aperture upset me – a lot. I still don’t really understand their reasoning and am quite angry about it. Which may seem very petty, and maybe it is. But it has also come on the back of what I see as a major lack of interest shown by Apple to their desktop computer users. It seems to me (and others), that Apple are far more concerned with selling the next iteration of the iPhone and iPad than they are with the iMac – and from Apple’s perspective, probably with good reason. They don’t sell 6 million iMac’s in the first week of a new release, but are practically guaranteed these sales figures when the next iPhone is released. So fair enough – for Apple it makes perfect business sense.

But I’m still of an age where I want to work from a home desktop computer for most of my design and photography work. I need to see that there is a future in my chosen system, and I just don’t get that anymore from Apple.

I decided, therefore, to take a very serious look at Windows PC desktops. And the more I looked into it, the more excited I got about actually being able to build my own system – from scratch, with individual components I could hand-pick myself depending on my budget. The complete antithesis of Apple’s pre-configured iMac.

As a photographer and graphic designer, I’m not intimidated by technology, or a hands-on, do-it-yourself type of approach. In fact, I prefer it. So in the end, the decision was actually quite easy, and I literally gave my iMac away while I began my search for the computer parts I would need for a custom build.

All the components laid out on the table before the big build.

Budget is always the biggest constraint in any technology purchase. There is the system I would like to have, and then there’s the system I can afford. After a lot of reading, internet searching and online watching, I decided to go with an AMD system that represented best-bang-for-the-buck. I purchased the AMD A8 7600 3.8Ghz Kaveri APU with a Gigabyte FM2+ motherboard supporting 4k displays, 8 Sata3 6Gb connections, USB 3.1 and 16GB’s of RAM, with a 240GB SSD drive for the operating system (Windows 10) and a Western Digital Black 1TB HDD for extra storage. I also installed a DVD optical drive, internal card reader, and went with a 20” Asus LCD monitor. All for about $850NZ. And the fun part – my son and I got to build it ourselves!

Because it was our first ever PC build, we took it slowly – checking everything three or four times to make sure we got it right. So the build took us about three hours. But it was three hours well spent, and when we fired it up and installed the OS, everything worked perfectly.

The inside of the case all complete and cable-managed.

The allure of Apple is not as strong for me as it used to be. I was a die-hard iPhone user, now I have a Samsung Android phone. I was a card-carrying iMac disciple, now I’ve build my own PC. And I don’t even own an iPad (although my wife does). My 16 year old daughter has just started her first ever part time job, working at McDonalds, and she’s saving up for – guess what – an Apple iPhone. Probably the new i7. 

Me? Well, I think she’s crazy (but all her friends have them – so there you go). The next phone I get will almost certainly be running Android– or maybe even Windows? Guess that makes me an ex-Apple fan boy? Truth be told, I can’t ever see myself going back! Alas, poor Apple, I knew it well…..


  1. Many would agree with your assessment of Apple's priorities. For several years now Apple's commitment to their Mac products has been on the wane - very little innovation, and the software is definitely being developed by the "B" team. We remember when Apple gear "just worked", but that is no longer the case. One can't help feeling that Apple has moved most of its talent into the IOS side of the business. Couple that drift in quality and innovation with Apple's ongoing arrogance toward its user population and you have a recipe for lots of disenchanted Mac people. Meanwhile, the Windows platform, after some rocky patches, is looking pretty good. I still don't like some of Microsoft's policies, but Apple is getting more and more like the company that it once derided.

  2. Hi Keith
    Sad, but true. Wish it wasn't so - as someone who has used and sworn by Apple their whole career.
    Thanks for posting

  3. I can totally agree with you Wayne, i used Apple products for years, but when i recently upgraded my phone, I went Android with an HTC phone, Tablet i brought an Android powered Samsung, and when my 9yr old Macbook died earlier this year i replaced it with a Windows 10 machine, that offered more than a top end Macbook pro for 1/2 the price.
    The focus on iOS devices by Cuppertino certainly has left a lot of long time mac users unhappy

  4. Hey Hayden - Sounds like we have a lot in common! :-)
    If you'd have told me two years years ago that I would become a Windows/Android user I wouldn't have believed you. And if you'd also told me that I'd be using a m/4 3rds system over a DSLR I would have called you crazy...


Thanks for your reply. I really appreciate you taking the time to comment on this post. I will get back to you as soon as I can.
Thanks again