Friday, October 06, 2006

What PCs Should We Buy? Your Advice Welcome...

We've been mulling over what new computers to get at 18DoughtyStreet when our new office is ready (the builders have been in for a month now getting it ready). None of us agree on the best make to get. I love Sony Vaios, Tim M is addicted to his Mac and the others all have different views too. So, dear reader, I thought I would consult you. We're going to get around a dozen computers which will be primarily used for routine things and Internet. So what do you think we should get? And don't bother suggesting Dells, as we haven't got three weeks to wait!

76 comments:

James Higham said...

Mac appears to be the way to go with its new operating system. It always was marginally superior anyway. Tim is right. By the way, I don't have one.

RogueyWon said...

If the machines are genuinely only going to be used for routine business (eg. MS Office, e-mail, web-browsing), then no need to go for anything particularly fancy. Macs have the "cool" factor, but are overkill for this situation. The Sony Vaio is similarly easy on the eyes and will give you almost as many style points, but again usually represents poor value for money for an "office" PC.

So long as you avoid just walking into PC World and picking something up (you'll probably get a previously returned-as-broken PC if you do that), most cheap and cheerful low or mid end machines should be perfectly suitable, regardless of brand. Just make sure you get machines with at least 512 megs of RAM - MS Office really can chug with anything less than that.

The only reason to go for anything higher specced is if you feel that you're going to have a pressing need to make the transition to Vista at some point before the end of these machines' life-cycle, which you should probably figure as being 4 to 5 years. Right now, I can't think of any reason why you would, but it's always hard to make predictions on matters like this with any real certainty.

Anonymous said...

Well without stating the obvious, it rather depends on the wishes of the people who will use them, however:

I would suggest desktop PCs (generally speaking, spare parts are easier/cheaper to get hold of than for Macs).

Even so in a large office its nice to have at last one Apple Mac - perhaps a Mac mini? They are very compact, cheap and can use the same keyboard/mouse/monitor as a PC.

There are numerous good PC manufacturers - just make you've read a couple of reviews of them before you buy, and shop around, that's what the internet is there for (froogle.co.uk, ebuyer.com etc.)

I don't use laptops heavily however were I to be buying a new one it would probably come down to a choice between Vaio and IBM Thinkpad (style vs. reliability/reputation).

(Worth also considering whether you need a centralised backup solution and/or some sort of networked storage - i.e. server or hardware device which everyone can write to).

BTW: Its almost certain that everyone who responds to this post will have a contradictory opinion.

Anonymous said...

Iain. If you mwant to buy a set of bargain desktops (and can live with using Linux) have a gander at : http://www.ebuyer.com/UK/product/89079/rb/22249732950
On the other hand, if you insist of using Windows stuff, from the same supplier : http://www.ebuyer.com/UK/product/102520/rb/22249886713
These have the advantage of being incredibly quiet in operation, which you may find an advantage in an office situation.

Mike said...

Yeah James is right... Get a load of Macs

Anonymous said...

Unless you have a genuine reason to buy a laptop, i.e. you don't have a PC at home, then I wouldn't reccomnend a Sony Vaio - I say this despite having one myself, its a great bit of kit but there is no point getting a laptop if you dont need one; if you don't need the portability then a desktop machine is definately the better choice - better value, bigger screen, better keyboard. (dont get sucked in to the whole GB and disk space debate, there isn't a PC on the market that doesn't have a good enough spec. to do the job!) Removing Dell from the options makes life difficult; Dell PC's are without doubt the best value and great qaulity. I'm 100% sure of that. I recieved mine at 10am on a Thursday after ordering at 3pm on a Tuesday though my Mothers took 8 working days! Acer PC's are excellent value and worth a shot (definatley represent the "cheap" end of the market), wont last you ten years but you'll replace in three anyway. HP make the best qaulity PC's without doubt so would be worth looking for some bargains from them. Apple make great iPods. iPods have saved Apple. iPods have saved Apple because their PC's are shite. In my opinion. Good luck. A Smith, IT Manager, Big Corporate PLC.

Anonymous said...

Iain I have two Macs and two Vaios, all of which are used heavily, so I feel well qualified to comment on this question.

My opinion is that Mac's are definitively better for Video, Picture Editing, Music and Publishing but that the Vaios beat them hands down for everything else, especially the Internet.

In the end I think that you might find, as I have, that it is horses for courses and a mixture of both platforms and machines is the best way forward.

Personally if I had to choose just one of my computers for sole use then it would have to be my Vaio TX3XP laptop, which can do anything that I ask of it yet weighs next to nothing and is small enough to take and use almost anywhere.Best computer I have ever had, but rather expensive to buy.

ian said...

There's nowhere near enough information in your original post (ie: what do you want to do with them) to provide an answer based on anything other than how they look. Therefore, on that basis, get a green one.

beethoven writes said...

When I ordered my Dell, I got it just three days later.

If I was going to buy a new machine now, I would buy a Toshiba laptop.

Strange, Petite Anglaise has a similar post at the moment and currently has over 130 responses on this matter....

Anonymous said...

Ring Point 4 at 08700124100
and ask for Patrick.
Or www.pointfour.co.uk or www.point4.co.uk
As a fan of yours Iain I use them for the whole works,Internet, support and virus etc. They are brilliant in this field and I think you would find them ideal.

Anonymous said...

for something good & cheap just get 10 from Dell. You don't need anything fancy.

Have a look here

http://www1.euro.dell.com/content/topics/segtopic.aspx/specialitems/dt_category_landing_page?c=uk&cs=ukbsdt1&l=en&s=bsd

The £149 one would be fine. Worth getting a Pentium rather than a Celeron though.

And a 19" TFT

Anonymous said...

Dimension 3100c

Intel® Pentium® 4 Processor 531 (3.00GHz, 800MHz, 1MB Cache)
Genuine Windows® XP Professional
48x CD-RW/DVD Combo Drive
19" Analogue Flat Panel Monitor
160GB SATA Hard Drive (7,200rpm)
Memory - Now 512MB (Was 256MB)

£299+vat

Anonymous said...

Also, if you're going to be using MS Office, I'd suggest rather than buying copies of Office 2003 now you try the Office 2007 Beta.

Why?

Well they've completely changed all the menus, so it takes a bit of getting used to (Microsoft say spending 15 minutes or so reading the tutorial/watching the demo), but its definitely a big improvement.

Sooner or later, even people who've resolutely stuck with Word 97 until now will probably have to upgrade and learn the new menus so there's no harm in having a head start.

The beta has now reached the stage where - in my opinion - its frankly sufficiently reliable for everyday use.

It is currently two rather hefty downloads (first I think is ~ 300mb and the second is ~450mb, you have to install Beta 2 then a 'Technical Refresh' over the top - *however* it doesn't expire - ie. you don't have to pay anything* - until 31 March 2007.

As for Vista: don't worry about it yet. There are some nice things in it but nothing of earth-shattering importance to most people. As 'rogueywon' suggests, the system requirements will be higher (at least 1gb RAM for example). In my experience, 'non-techy people' will often stick with the same OS for the lifetime of the machine, rather have the hassle/boredom/expense of upgrading it. And inevitably for the first few months there are likely to be all sorts of patches and security patches you'll have to apply to every machine at regular intervals - at least wait for the first Service Pack to appear..

Anonymous said...

It's got to be a brace of iMacs (or the lovely new black MacBook).

Anonymous said...

Got a Mac a couple of months ago and will never go back to PCs. The Imac is a thing of beauty and makes life so much simpler.

MayorWatch said...

Macs - it's the only sane answer!

Anonymous said...

Iain, You can have mine for nothing!

It's terminally crashed and has lost me two days this week trying to figure out what to do with all my stuff saved on it!

If you want it, it's yours!

See you in PC World in Longfield Rd! I'll be the one with the worried look and a fed-up wife!

Anonymous said...

I can recommend Apples, I have a 20" iMac Dual Core. Absolutely fantastic for surfing, but maybe a bit of overkill for an office machine. I think that Apples are more future proof, but you do pay a premium. I got mine through a deal at work.

Aaron Murin-Heath said...

Go with Macs.

You're a media type now Iain, not an accountant.

Anonymous said...

Tony Blair once explained his priority in three words: education, education, education. I can tell you which computers to buy in three letters: M A C.

Aaron Murin-Heath said...

Oh.

If you insist on Windows based PC's, then, as William suggests, get a ThinkPad, the new Chinese built Lenovo laptops are actually better than the IBM originals.

The new 12" is a beaut.

Croydonian said...

The lower end Vaios are VERY unreliable and do not lend themselves to non-professional repair

Anonymous said...

I agree with everything william said.

Sabretache said...

I don't share your 'issue' with Dell.

I have a personal trading/research/backtesting set-up that comprises 3 x networked Dell desk-tops with multi Gb RAM each and running 10 screens + a b/u machine and a host of gizmos. Reliability and performance is paramount. I have NEVER had to wait longer than 3 days for a delivery. I had a mother board fail on one machine after 9 months; after a fiver's worth of TS phone time they had an engineer out to me (Middle of the Derbyshire Dales) next day and replaced it. I've also had one dodgy monitor collected and replaced by a courier the next day. A company so big is bound to have the odd glitch but for my money they make customer service an absolute priority; they don't waffle, and their kit is as good as any - FWIW.

Anonymous said...

Iain

It's got be Macs! I've used Macs for nearly 10 years, and I've NEVER had a virus. They don't crash. They look great. Their software is more intuitive. They network easily. They have great features, such as enabling one to look at all your windows simultaneously at the press of a button. They can handle PC files no problem. If you bought a dozen Mac Minis, they still wouldn't take up the space of one ugly PC. Each time I show a PC user one of my Macs, they always walk away impressed. OK, I'm nerdily evangelical, but for good reason.

Guy

Anonymous said...

http://www.meshcomputers.com/

I have used Mesh for years now - excellent build quality, easy to upgrade, good value for money and excellent customer service. No, I don't work for Mesh, nor am I in any way affiliated with them; just a satisfied customer.

In my opinion, since the advent of WinXP pound-for-pound desktop PCs are superior to Macs. I have used both for many years in a home and research capacity.

AC

Anonymous said...

Simple. Get a Mac.

No viruses. Surf the web and open email with impunity.

Macs don't crash. Be more productive.

You can do everything that you can do on a Windows PC - and more. MS Office is available for Mac and is actually superior to its Windows counterpart.

The operating system Mac OS X is years ahead of Windows XP and the forthcoming (whenever it arrives...) Vista. Everything that is promised in Windows Vista - Mac users have been doing since 2001. And more.

Networking is a cinch.

Total Cost of Ownership of Macs is less than for Windows PCs. Macs last longer than Windows PCs and require less support.

Macs are now comparable in price to PCs. In fact the latest Mac Pros and iMacs are cheaper than equivalent spec Dells.

And if you do need to run Windows you can now that Apple has moved to Intel chips. No other computer in the world can run OS X and Windows - the best of both worlds!

Iain, you own an iPod, no? Translate that seemless ease of use, intuitive interface, and industrial design into a desktop computer and you have a Mac. You'll wonder why you didn't get one sooner!

Getting a Mac isn't overkill it's a no-brainer. :o)

Check out The Wall Street Journal's Walt Mossberg's (America's most respected tech journo) review of last year's iMac:

http://ptech.wsj.com/archive/solution-20051130.html

And find out more here:

http://www.apple.com/getamac/

Ideally, pop into the Apple Store on Regent Street and have a play and ask questions.

PS - I don't work for Apple!

Anonymous said...

I bought thinkpad Z60M and its been outstanding. tough reliable and fast

Girlf bought Macbook and its been nothing but trouble.

Anonymous said...

My main recommendation, considering that these are likely to get a lot of use by someone, is to make sure they all have decent screens - you should really treat a 17" as minimum, and 19 is better still. Not that I expect many people are selling them anyway these days, but steer clear of the old CRT's and get flat panels. Other than that, plenty of RAM (512Mb minimum) is the main thing to get. Processors and whatnot matter little really, despite what Intel will try and tell you. If you want to connect many computers to the internet in one office, it's quite likely you'll want to run a network, so check that whatever you go for has an ethernet adapter built in (or a wireless card if you're going to run a wireless network) - also very useful for print sharing. Bundled software can also save you quite a bit if you dig for the right machine - most of it is rubbish, but many people sell computers without MS Office, and 12 licences for that doesn't come cheap.

Anonymous said...

Given that viruses are a real problem, and spyware, adware etc etc, I would go with a Mac. I have had them for three years running my business, and found that they are much more reliable than a PC. And never (touch wood) had a virus.

Anonymous said...

Just go with Mac - there's no contest. In anything to do with media, creativity etc, they win hands down. The new Intel-based Macs are superb - and you can run Windows programmes on them anyway. Tim Montogomerie is right - trust him.

Ricey said...

For desktop Sony Vaio works for me. Reliable, fast, high spec machines, but a tad expensive. For laptop you really cannot beat IBM\Lenovo ThinkPads, they are also expensive, but technology wise they're bulletproof.

Happy buying!

Jonathan Sheppard said...

Agree on Vaio for laptops. Love mine. IBM thinkpa is my second laptop nut doht think IBM make them now do they?

dizzy said...

errr let me build them

CityUnslicker said...

for laptops, toshiba are robust and cheap if not very fast.

compaq's have better screens but cost a bit more.

getting sony's is just showing off; just wait until you turn a profit.

Bryan Appleyard said...

You are insane if you don't buy Macs.

dizzy said...

If you must buy off thepeg them do not get Intel, get AMD64. Also, try to get some decent 400MHz+ DDR Ram. DOn;t worry too much about graphics cards, if the machine really is for the Internet only then a 64Meg shared video card on board the MOBO will do, try to get an Nvidia chipset though if you can.

I'll be brutally honest, bespoke systems will be cheaper, and they'll look far sexier.

Scipio said...

INHO - Don't go Mac, go PC - but try Linux!!! My wife has a vaio but it is an expensive kit loved by those into style over substance. I have a Samsung - which is fab! Just make sure it has a dual core processor - very quick!

Tory Ted said...

While they are a bit more expensive I'd reccomend going for Macs in the office. They're safe from 99.9% of viruses, stable and regularly updated and thanks to the new Intel chips you can now run XP (as well as Vista) on a Mac. If you do go for PCs then Vaios are probably the best you can get but I would reccomend keeping at least one glorious Mac in the office.

The Druid said...

I used to have a Sony Vaio. It was OK. Screen broke after three months and the replacement had dead pixels which left me thinking it had been recycled from another faulty machine. Sony's customer care is crap frankly. As is their sales dept. I spoke to them yesterday - in the dark ages.

I traded the Sony in for a MacBook Pro. Not a moments regret. So I'd say go with Apple. I switched after years spent firefighting PCs. Guess what no spyware and no virus problem. And generally they work as they are supposed to. Unlike M$ machines. OS X is superior to Windoze. In fact Vista copies many of its features - cheeky monkeys. Two other reasons. First they look damn good. Second networking is a piece of cake with these puppies. Get a Mac Mini and use it to run Itunes accross your network. I have one serving up music most of the day. Rocking. I could go on....

Anonymous said...

Depends what you want... I would seriously consider Linux for dirt cheap systems using Open Office for office applications, Gimp for graphics and all FREE!! Base PC for that? £300 .....

Richard Bailey said...

Iain, all this talk of expensive computers reminds me of the one question I have been wondering for sometime - who has put all the money up for this project? Who's money is going to by your Sony Miaow?

Fruning Graplecard said...

Just get one with a wipe clean keyboard.. for those late-night spills.

Anonymous said...

For God's sake, whatever you buy - DO NOT BUY MACS! Do you want to drive down the big open highway that everyone uses to reach the wide world, or bury your head in the sand in some obscure little cul-de-sac? To reach the world, buy PCs. Completely ignore the mad MAC geeks. They are a little community, entire in itself.

But first of all, completely forget about computers, sit down with an old fashioned pen and a piece of paper and work out a specification for what you actually want your computers to do for you. Works wonders.

Slagella said...

It's got to be PC boxes powered by Linux unless you're seriously into wasting money. Why emulate Gordon Brown?

Anonymous said...

Macs are shite for anything but graphic work, and even then have been greatly overtaken by PC's if you want anything approaching acceptable cost to useablity to functionality, reliability and spec. Macs are for snobs who think they know what they are on about, but in reality are looking to be able to say...I use a mac. New Mac OS is also shite and more unreliable than xp. Saying that if you can some cheap ones running intel and windows they may be Okay, but are low spec and high price...relatively speaking.

Forget Dell, HP or Sony.

By far the best in terms of cost to reliability and spec, a mixture of all three, is Acer, or at a pinch Fujitsu Siemens. Great service, good spec and cheap too.

Don't be baffled by bullshit, and bullshitters, of which there are many.

Give me an email and you can buy directly on a trade account of mine with the countries biggest wholesale importers if you want, at no cost to you from me.

Benedict White said...

Well, you could buy them from the company I work for see http://www.cse-ltd.co.uk/

That said, if you are on the net most of the time I' recomend anything based on linux because of hack attacks, but I would also say that the person doing the work should choose the tool he is most comfortable with. There is no reason why one person should not have a Mac, another some WinTel machne and a third a linux box.

I assume you are all technicaly literate enough to know that if you want to share a document taht you can "save as" to a common format.

Oh, and MS Office costs lots, open office nil. Don't pay money for software because everyone else does.

Anonymous said...

Got my Dell within a week, but whatever don't get a Mac.

The only good use for a Mac is stress relief involving a sledgehammer.

Platform9 said...

heh heh. Don't get a mac Iain, you're a decent chap not a "media" person.

Machiavelli's Understudy said...

I used to work in IT. When I arrived at my new job (IT Manager), I found that the company was using a German company for their PCs. They were built okay, but the problem tended to lie with the support and with compatibility issues. That's the kicker in an emergency.

We'd have to wait up to three weeks sometimes just for a new component to arrive (under warranty- otherwise, I'd have bought a replacement for next day).

Clearly, this wasn't acceptable, so I went shopping around for new suppliers. In the end, I chose HP.

The systems we bought were perfect. They were robust, well-built, worked with everything we had and did everything we asked of them. The best thing about them though, was the warranty. For the price- just over £300 for the base unit- they came with a next business day warranty. Any problems and we'd just call HP or one of their service centres, who would in turn ensure that the working component was with us next day, returning the machine to normal.

HP's support and sales network is second to none.

On more than one occasion, their quality of service had saved our bacon!

So, with that in mind- don't go for shiniest or cheapest machine. You're running a professional organisation here, so make sure your IT systems are in the hands of capable people who can put things right at the last minute!

The problem with a manufacturer like Sony is that you can't always just get the systems you want and have the support you need for it.

Just my experience, anyway.

gammarama.co.uk said...

bloody hell! what answers... by the sounds of it money isn't much of an issue. If that is the case then the a Sony Vaio is a solid machine and will do the job. They tend not to be particularly upgradable in terms of adding more ram etc.

Avoid a mac unless you are planning a lot of multi-media type applications.

The best for your money, if you insist on avoiding dell... i would say go into your local computer shop (not a national chain) and get them to make you one from scratch. You could get them to just get the base units, and you then buy the monitor/speakers/mouse/keyboard for each computer of somewhere like ebuyer. That way you can have a good looking computer, that doesnt cost a fortune.

Jeremy Jacobs said...

Fujitsu/Siemens. Proper business computers which come with excellent support - i.e. not some half-wit in Bangalore who can't even speak English

Anonymous said...

Without doubt, top-of-the-range Sony Vaio PCs if you can afford them. Streets ahead of the rest.

I think the quality of the display is more imprtant than all the bells and whistles because you just have to look at it a lot so you might as well get something that you can see properly.

Anonymous said...

Conclusive enough for you, Iain?

Infoholic UK said...

I'm with ac - if you're going PC rather than Mac, then Mesh give you more bang per buck than anyone else. In our department (IT, big investment bank), everyone is buying Mesh for home use.

I'd recommend the low end AMD64 dual core chips - fast without the premium of cutting edge.

Anonymous said...

I agree with Machiavelli's understudy. You can't beat HP.

Anonymous said...

Gotta be macs. Any other choice and the cogniscienti will be questioning your discriminatory faculties.

Besides being neater, more intuitive, more flexible, better OS and software, with a much lower obsolescence factor, highly unlikely to crash or freeze and don't behave like virus magnets, they also have one great benefit.

They allow you to sneer at Bill Gates and all his works - which quite often don't. Work, that is.

I switched four years back and my blood pressure has been much more stable since.

Anonymous said...

Get RM's ecoquiet PCs - use only a third of the energy of a normal PC, and they are MADE IN DIDCOT!

Anonymous said...

Ian I have bought plenty of sony stuff in the pastbut NEVER EVER AGAIN A LAPTOP!

Mine is 3 years old and cost me 1700 pounds...So far 3 hard disks replaced, two power supplies, one port doesnt work and now the keyboard is stopping working on some keys!!

Good luck

Anonymous said...

The crucial thing is the operating system. All machines these days use Intel processors, so they have quite a lot in common, physically at least.

Sony, Dell, Acer, Toshiba, Fujitsu, Siemens, Research Machines, Compaq, HP, Mesh (who?)... they are all really just clones of each other. They all operate MS Windows, the favourite plaything of the hackers and virus-makers of this world. Any of them will serve you equally well if reinstalling your system software to get rid of otherwise un-get-rid-of-able viruses, or just plain old crashes on a daily basis, due to a truly, deeply, lousy operating system (courtesy of Bill Gates) is your idea of fun.

On the other hand, if you want a computer that is immune to viruses, constructed to both look and work beautifully, and has an operating system that is generally recognised as knocking Windows into a cocked hat, you just have to get a Mac. And, incidentally, all current Macs can now run Windows and Windows-based software as well as the Mac OS in any case... if you're a glutton for punishment.

Choosing a Mac is ESPECIALLY important when it comes to the internet, where I imagine you will be spending a lot of your time. The only way in for all these multiple thousands of viruses that arrive from the internet is by way of Windows, the operating system of choice for masochists. Running a Windows machine connected to the internet is like hanging out a big neon sign saying, "I'm an idiot, please wreck my computer."

No, if you want to go online (and who doesn't these days) the only sane way forward is with a virus-immune Mac--which is to say, any Mac.

What about Vista, I hear the MS fan club ask? Well, it ain't here yet, and with MS's track record for delivery, it may well not be for months (or even years) to come. Meanwhile Apple's current OS (10.4.8) already does at least everything promised by Vista, and Apple's OS 10.5, due about the end of the year, is set, by all accounts, to consign Vista to the dustbin of history in any case--probably even before Vista ships. Always remember what Vista stands for: "Vastly Inferior System To Apple".

On Linux: Just great, if you're a professional computer programmer, and don't want to run any off-the-peg applications like MS Office (which, incidentally, works better on a Mac than a Windows machine anyway. Ironically.)

Finally:

Caveat emptor #1: Always remember that most of the loudest advocates for Windows are technical support people who would be out of a job if everyone had a Mac.

Caveat emptor #2: I would automatically discount anyone tells you the "Homemade One PC" is the greatest thing since sliced bread, and then offers to build or sell you one.

Caveat emptor #3: Anyone who reckons 512 Mb is plenty RAM is living in the computing dark ages. When memory is so cheap, at least 1 Gb is the least you should consider... or you'll live (probably by the folowing week) to wish you had.

Caveat emptor #4: Sorry Dicdot, but world capital of quality advanced high technology you are not. (By the way, for 'made in Didcot' read 'assembled in Didcot from parts made in China, etc.')

Anonymous said...

........as they say, no one ever got fired for buying IBM. Find an IBM Dealer who understands networking and who you can beat up when it all crashes first thing on a Monday morning!

Sir-C4' said...

Always go for RAM over processor speed as RAM provides faster loading time than the CPU speed.

Anonymous said...

Don't buy Sony Vaio - you cannot get parts. Sony is a disaster on spares - I waited 4 months to repair a display.

Buy IBM thinkpad if you want laptops - and run Linux - use MythTV.

If you want desktops - build them using aluminium case and quality Mobos and design them for your needs. They can be built fairly quickly by any techie and tailored to need.

Anonymous said...

Make sure you get Seasonic PSUs for stability, high Bus Speed, good graphics card and use RAID as backup with Samsung or Maxtor HDDs and Eizo monitors.........Cherry keyboards...........look at overclockers.co.uk for some zippy kit.

Use Hauppauge PVR cards to record TV and have firewire to link in the DV cameras.

Linux has some nice video-editing software, but stay away from Pinnacle which has some crappy s/ware

Anonymous said...

You may have a problem buying an IBM PC as some are now siggesting.

IBM stopped making PCs a couple of years ago.

Anonymous said...

I hope you've put some thought into computer security. A good router with a solid firewall and if you're going to have wireless don't forget to use a %hyT.@* password.

Regards

Average guy on the street said...

"And don't bother suggesting Dells, as we haven't got three weeks to wait!"

Weeks? I think years would be more appropriate!

Anonymous said...

IBM stopped making PCs a couple of years ago.

Yes but Lenovo has the right to the IBM TM "Thinkpad" and the T40 is superb - and it is the same machine - some of us line up on EBay to get Thinkpads as they are super for Linux..................then again you could visit

www.emperor.com which has a UK branch.

If you run Linux you can run Windows programs under VMWare and it is much better than using Windows OS

Anonymous said...

rick

I'm curious. Why does the website of a gold mining company based in Fiji help nice Mr. Dale decide which side to support in the PC vs Mac war? and surely there must be a middle way?

Anonymous said...

I have to say you've opened a can of worms which makes Tories vs Labour look like a pleasant game of tiddlywinks!!

All the Mac zealots commenting on how their O/S is /immune/ to virus are talking out of their arses - which is fairly typical of Mac users... The shiny interface dazzles their little brains into thinking whatever Steve Jobs says!! :)

OSX is NOT immune to viri or worms - it is simply not such a large target as Windows. Lets face it, over 90% of the computers in the world run Windows. Why is that? Because its got more software available for it - good software and bad software. If OSX ever got onto to more than about 1% of the computers in the world then perhaps black-hats would start targetting it, then we'd find out how /immune/ it is!! Immune my arse!

Additionally Apple have been having serious QA issues of late - broken ipods returned by the boxful, new powerbooks with multiple faults etc etc. Avoid.

What do you want your PCs to be? Do you want flashy?, boring?, reliable?, is cost a worry? Do you need Laptops?

Unless you are a /design freak/ to whom a shiny shiny pretty thing is most important, avoid a Mac!

Anonymous said...

Get Macs, Iain. Much more reliable and secure and "future-proof", and you won't even need MS Office as the free and compatible OpenOffice now ports to OS X. Miles better than buying some overpriced Billybox off a salesdroid in a hut on a retail park, let alone those awful Dells with minimal customer service and non-standard bits. Plus you'll find no shortage of Mac wonks reading this blog.

Devil's Kitchen said...

Iain,

I am an avid Mac user and have been for some years. However, this is because, despite using PCs previously, I found Macs to be so much easier to use and to maintain.

There is relatively little to choose between them these days, in terms of cost or anything else EXCEPT that Mac networking is much more reliable. I have a network of both Macs and PCs and it is the PCs that we have problems with (they will simply stop seeing the Macs or PCs or both, for no reason at all). Further, the restrictive file permissions in Windows tend to be problematic.

I would tend towards the following, depending on what you need them for. You should have at least one (but probably two or three) high-powered machine for any Photoshopping or video-editing that needs to be done. This should be a Mac Pro (don't get the Apple flat screens to go with it: I use a 20" HP one which is very good). The industry-standard for video-editing is rapidly moving towards Final Cut Pro, which is an Apple product, although for your purposes iMovie (which is free with the OS will probably do the trick) for a little while.

For the rest of your office, well, it's more or less up to you. But, I would personally recommend iMacs or Mac Minis, with a couple of portables (MacBooks?) thrown in.

Why would I go with Apple?

If you mix platforms, you are more likely to have problems: so, stay with Apple (although they do network with PCs).

Apple's Open Source architecture means that there are a lot of developers out there producing software which is free (or very cheap). Someone has already mentioned the free Open Office (although the native Neo Office is rather better at present).

There is even a free Open Source photo editor (the GIMP), a free Open Source vector editor (Inkscape) and a free Open Source DTP app (Scribus). In short, pretty much everything that you will need.

Next, the Mac OS still does not suffer from viruses and malware in the way that Windows does (no one sensible thinks that it is invulnerable, but it is certainly fundamentally more secure at present). Actually, I don't know of any Mac OS viruses "in the wild".

Further, Macs are incredibly easy to set up and maintain (it is part of what I do for a living). You have had the following advice:

iPods have saved Apple because their PC's are shite. In my opinion. Good luck. A Smith, IT Manager, Big Corporate PLC.

Now, unless you have the funds to piss away on an IT Manager and not on your programmes, then I suggest that you avoid Windows. Remember, IT managers like Windows because if people switched to Macs, many of these IT managers would be out of a job.

In 1997, yes, Apple's PCs were underpowered and overpriced. Now, they are not; they are using cutting-edge Intel chips and their own architecture design; the PCs have come down in price considerably (they are less than half what they used to be) and, whatever anyone else tells you, the price compares very favourably with similarly speched Windows machines.

Apple is my recommendation for the above reasons (and more) and I really do not think that you will regret it. No one else that I have persuaded onto Apple ever has (and a couple, who are particularly obsessed, thank me almost every time that we meet).

And if you have problems, well, I'll come down and sort them out for you (for a small fee, of course).

Regards,

DK

Anonymous said...

Sweet jesus! The next time I read someone say you must get macs so you can use XXXXX whatever the hell it is - open office, open source software, open wanky this that or the other, my head is going to explode. If you want a good choice of software then DO NOT BUY A MAC. There are 100x as many pieces of software, commercial OR open souce for windows as there are for Mac.

Devil's Kitchen said...

No there are not, Anon. If you want to use MS Ofice, for god's sake, do so: it is available for Mac (as are all of the other graphical packages which started on Mac). It's just that Open Office is free.

As for PCs, the industry standard video software is not available for PC -- it is Apple software. Nor, in fact, is the industry standard audio software, for that matter.

Stop trotting out your ignorant mantras and actually update yourself on the software world: things have moved on since 1994.

DK

Roger Thornhill said...

Ian,

I am sure you are bored by now, but here is my $0.02.

It has to be Mac. Anyone who says PC has little experience of Mac..and an axe to grind. They are also ergonomically and asthetically challenged with a need to get satisfaction from coaxing a clunky bag of bolts into action on a regular basis.

I have over 20 years experience in developing software for the international capital markets on "big iron" - machines that live in controlled environments. PCs are a crock, fit only for people who do not know better. I do NOT trust them. Macs are intuitive, robust, ergonomic. I use Microsoft Office and the Mac version is better than the Windows version and that is what Microsoft says!

You have Office, industry standard media tools, robust reliable guts (my laptop is rebooted once a month or even less frequently), very fast and now cost-effective products (the Apple laptop, deskside and desktop is a better deal than the Dell equivalents as of last month).

As I say, there is already one ugly lump at my desk (me), so why add to it by buying a PC. Get a Mac and add some beauty to your life.

p.s. I second DK's comment.

Anonymous said...

get a load of Macs Iain. No viruses, no spyware and all the other hassles of running a Windows PC. And underneath the bonnet they are running a super multitasking variant of Unix.

plus they look cooler too.