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  1. #1
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    Best Desktop out there?

    I'm curious to know what the best desktop computer is right now.

    PC or Mac?
    Best config for the latest games and Digital Painting?
    Best price?
    A computer that has atleast 1 USB port in the front?(I hate trying to reach the back of my computer)

    I heard recently about external video cards. Are they getting too powerfull to be just cards anymore? Please explain!?

    Are Mac's truly safer than PC's when it comes to virus's and internet bugs?
    "If one advances confidently in the direction of
    his dreams, and endeavors to live the life he
    has imagined, he will meet with a success
    unexpected in common hours."
    - H.D. Thoreau


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  3. #2
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    Yo , you were full of help.

    Everybody has an opinion, just wondering what the peeps here think.
    I hear one thing from computer geeks I know , then read somthing different on all the websites out there. I assume most websites get paid to hype certain brands.

    Thatt's why I'm asking.
    "If one advances confidently in the direction of
    his dreams, and endeavors to live the life he
    has imagined, he will meet with a success
    unexpected in common hours."
    - H.D. Thoreau

  4. #3
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    Maybe I can offer my 2 cents, Otis.

    I, though not a professional, would have to suggest a Mac. Granted, you'll have a hard time playing some games, but the amount of time you will not spend with typical sustem housekeeping (virus scanning, spyware removal, etc. ) will really pay off in the long-run.

    That being said, the G5 desktop may be a bit much in terms of price, but I think that it's upgradability options, and longevity are pretty much at the top of the curve in terms of consumer desktops. Otherwise, their new iMac G5's are pretty nice, and easy to set up, use, and maintain, although obviously not as upgradable.

    The other, and probably most affordable option for the lack of headache that it takes, is getting a beefy dell, and packing it full of ram. That is, after all, what will make the difference as far as digital painting and gaming performance are concerned. Also, dell will also sell you the whole desktop package, incl. Monitor, keyboard, etc. Mind you, these are somewhat superfluos considering that the actual computer is the important part, but they're nice to not have to worry about.

    Otherwise, I think in terms of sheer dollars and cents, it's probably cheaper to build a system, but granted, this can often be more headache than it's worth, if you're like me, only a casual computer nerd, and a designer foremost.

    If you do want to tackle the potentially daunting task of building one, www.NewEgg.com can't be beat. They have every part necessary to build a top notch machine.

  5. #4
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    I would have to recommend against buying HP. all the HP products i, or friends, have had have been lousy. Building your own system would be cheaper (at least it is over here) and you get EXACTLY what you want. in case you cant tell, i'm recommending PCs here. ive had macs and PCs, and theres no way i would own a mac these days.
    ...so what if i'm bored, and ordinary?...

    currently playing: Super Mario 64 DS, ICO (grrrr....)

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    at work, we use dells [aside from our own hybrids] and we also did at my old workplace. both were related to games and graphics.. if you have any interest in pc games, get a pc best part about non-macs are you can swap out parts easily, upgrade, etc. i've had the same desktop for 6 years, and after a couple upgrades [adding hard drives, new processor, new ram, new video card] i think it'll still be a couple more years til i give it up.

    some new machines have usb ports in the front, or on the keyboard, as well as audio ports too.

    good luck!
    ~ lau

  7. #6
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    I hate the Mac OS GUI, so I do not want to use Macs. PCs also have a lot of options for the different components it's made of, but that might be becoming true for the Mac as well; I don't keep up with tech news so I'm not sure.

  8. #7
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    I've used both PCs and Macs, but I bought a PC because of the price.
    PCs (running Windows) have more problems with spyware because
    1) More people write spyware for Windows because it's the dominant OS.
    2) Internet Explorer is integrated so tightly with Windows-->allows spyware to get access to places it shouldn't.
    3) Windows sets you up as the Administrator by default-->--also allows spyware to get access to places it shouldn't.
    I solve these problems by using Firefox (free), McAfee, and Kerio Firewall (free).
    I also have a couple of free programs that search for and remove spyware, but I hardly have to use them since I don't get spyware anymore.

    emily

  9. #8
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    I assume we're talking about digital art.

    If you have no preferences and have the $$$....I'd suggest a Mac.

    I would get a mac only because I need it for some of the software that runs better on it....eg, Final Cut Pro. My personal preference is a PC. I've been using it from a very young age and I'm very used to windows (since 3.11) and so far it works for me. Also because I'm more familiar with the hardware and the prices (I upgrade parts on an average of 6-9 months and overhaul the system once every 2 to 2.5 years). So the PC is the way to go for me. Emily's reasons are the same as mine......PCs are cheaper....and cheaper by a lot in Singapore (hence I can afford to upgrade every now and then).

    Macs however have better color reproduction. Colors just seem richer on Macs, It could be the monitors or it could be the way the CPU and GPU handles the colors. I really don't know.


    I just think whatever suits you fine and helps you work faster is the way to go. Its PCs for me, Macs for some other folks who like em.
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  10. #9
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    I just went from 8 years behind a PC over to a MAC and I have to say I wish I had done it sooner. The stability blows my mind, there is no possible way my dell could keep up with my G4.

  11. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by Presence
    I just went from 8 years behind a PC over to a MAC and I have to say I wish I had done it sooner. The stability blows my mind, there is no possible way my dell could keep up with my G4.
    Almost the same scenario here, and I second your feeling. I've got a dual proc G4 and it's REALLY nice. Will I ever sacrifice the stability of OS X for windows? Unquestionably no. Once you go Mac you'll NEVER go back.
    -Mike

  12. #11
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    Ah, not in my case......I used Macs and I used PCs.....I'm still building PCs instead of getting Macs.

    Its an Apple and Orange question (no pun intended). Either you like em or not. I prefer to see either one as tools needed for the trade and I'll swap around whenever I need to.....



    Preference of course would be the PC, but that doesn't mean I'm writing off the Mac.
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  13. #12
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    G5 Dual Processor ALL THE WAY!!!!

    I used PC's for years, got my first MAC G5 and the word PC doesn't even register on the map for me..

    Stability -
    Amazing and Logical user interface-
    Simple and smart-
    HASSLE FREE !-
    spyware ??? virus ??? you'll never know they existed if you get a MAC
    Adobe products Mac Native
    Plug stuff in and it works-
    everything works, never any hassles..easy !

    and I'm not knocking PC's, but ever since getting a MAC its been a pleasure to use. kinda like buying a new fully automatic car with all options included and the thrill of driving it (and ease of use).
    blog

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    I don't know what happend to guys like you gruve24, but whatever it is, it sure has a way of destroying hearts...

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    I haven't had a problem with Windows stability for years...Windows XP works great. I believe that most stability issues on (a properly updated) XP machine today is either caused by the user, or bad hardware. Windows doesn't take care of itself...it is still a mess at the bottom...just a little better than what it used to be. As long as you don't screw things up by installing lots of weird programs...as long as you run an antivirus program (and make sure it updates its virus definitions) and have some kind of firewall...and of course as long as you don't install lots of random crap...then you will be just fine.

    I don't know how macs are when it comes to stability...I've never really used one, and I can't see why I should - they are much more expensive and can do a lot less...but they do look pretty good, and I wouldn't say no if I got one for free (or really cheap, if I needed a new computer)

  15. #14
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    Thanks for the comments. I'm on a PC right now, and for some reason, the system just seems like it isn't running as fast as it used to. I've got no spyware on it, just scanned for viruses, and it's clean. But I'm never sure how "clean" it really is. The fact (myth) that Macs can't get virus's or spyware absolutly amazes me.

    It just seems like the longer you own a computer, the slower it gets no matter how well you maintain it. I think i would go for a Dell if they didn't have to come with monitors.
    "If one advances confidently in the direction of
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    has imagined, he will meet with a success
    unexpected in common hours."
    - H.D. Thoreau

  16. #15
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    If I were to get a new desktop PC today, I believe I would go for a package of some sort, but probably not by one of the big names...more like...I let the store put it together for me. Either that, or I would get some bad-ass hardware (mostly stuff that eliminates noise...I love how silent my laptop is and would like my desktop computer to be equally silent) and put it together myself.

  17. #16
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    Hi Otis,

    I think the best thing is to try out both and decide then. I´m using professionally Macs and PC´s for years and they both have their merits. If you´re into games I´d say still the PC is the best thing - for me playing mostly RPG´s and Strategy it even hasn´t got to be the newest one.

    To your question about the front USB - it really doesn´t matter. For a PC they are cheap to get later if your comp isn´t equipped with them. Or you take a USB-hub for a Mac to get the ports as near to you as you like.

    I´m using with my own PC WIN2000 and it´s very stabile - just one crashdown in the past 2 years (I blame it on Arcanum) and I´ve got a quite complicated setup with two graphic cards, SCSI card and some other stuff. What I experienced here at work with our webmonkeys the XP is working well and stable, too. Of cuorse the Max OSX is imho more intuitive but unfortunately they lost some of the advantages Mac had (simple installing and deinstalling procedures). If properly set up it really is stable, too. We´ve got some of our Macs here set up in OSX and they don´t make any trouble. I will install it on the rest of our newer Macs in the next time and am sure we´ll be working more stable than with the latest OS 9.22. A big advantage is that there are simply very few people programming virusses etc. for Macs. Insofar they are safer than most PC´s (that can be secured of course, too).

    In my opinion a Mac is a good machine for working with if you don´t want to care about installing hardware and playing the newest games. Here they last for about 4 years before exchanged for a newer model. PC´s are more easily upgraded and overall cheaper. You´ve got to care more for "keeping them clean" and have the danger of virusses, trojans etc. 2D-working is good on both of them, gaming is better on the PC, stability is in my experience more a matter of maintenance than the system.

    So like it was said it´s Apple or Orange - best thing is to try out both and get clear for what you´re really looking for. I´m using both and both professionally so in the end it´s a matter of taste and price (american prices I don´t know).

    Hope I could help or confuse you

    Fipse

    P.S.: I think even more important than the choice of PC is imo the choice of monitor.
    <Insert witty remark here>

  18. #17
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    As a long time PC user (windows and linux) and Mac OS pre-X hater I have to say that the first day I used Mac OS X I was completely sold, most stable and comfortable desktop I've ever used. I bought a powerbook this year because I wanted a portable after using a Mac at work for a while, since then it has become my main desktop and my PC box is collecting dust most of the time. I don't even boot it into windows anymore, just linux. The next computer I'll buy will be a dual G5 to replace my PC, need to save some money though.

    If you don't mind games I'd totally recommend a Mac (powermac G5, the G4s will be outdated soon). If you want to play the latest games you have no choice but to get a PC as it's already been said, sadly, Mac's are not even a competition for PCs in that area.

  19. #18
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    yo bro, if you invest a lil time on research and taking apart your old PC...

    you could build your own supercomputer...
    I'm never gonna buy a new PC again...just parts lol...

    Cases/powersupplies cost like 50-80 bucks
    Processor/MB between 500-800
    Graphics Card 300-700
    etc
    a good place to browse would be the Technical/hardware forums at CGtalk..

  20. #19
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    I would recommend buying a PC. In fact, I don't know why anyone would want a mac other than for the monitor. PC's have been consistently performing better in photoshop benchmarks than Mac's. The only thing a mac has a pc beat at, to my knowledge, is in video editting. Even sound is rendered faster on a PC.

    Not to mention, PCs are full customizable to YOUR needs. If you want a digital art machine, pick up a nice LCD monitor and a graphics card tailored to 2D performance, maybe a 1.8 ghz to 2.4 ghz cpu and you've already built something more powerful than a mac for 1/3 the price!

    For gaming, replace the 2d card for a middle class 3D card, and you can play games that will be coming out for the next 2-3 years, and you will still get as good/better performance in your digital art software, plus better running 3D modelling programs.

    For any build of a PC, 512mb DDR333 is the minimum you should have. I would recommend 1ghz of ram of DDR333 or higher.

    Or if you have enough money.. Intel Quad Xeon with four 3.2ghz cpu's, and RADEON X850 with 4ghz of ram. That thing could take over the world
    "There is a distinction between fact and truth. Truth has an element of revelation about it. If something is true, it does more than strike one as merely being so." -Lucian Freud

  21. #20
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    i know nothing about macs, but i will agree with an earlier statement that i havent had a stability issue with XP ever. the Home edition is a bit too user friendly for my tastes, i prefer the pro edition.
    i also agree that building your own computer is the way to go. but, if you really have no skills in the area, you can probly find a local computer shop, or an online shop to build one for you that will be much better, and usually more affordable than say a Dell or something like that. most definately it will be more bang for your buck at least.

    you want at least a 3.02 ghz processor, 1gig of ram, 80gig HDD (at least)
    and a decent vid card, i would suggest a geforce 6800 GT.

    have you tried reformatting your harddrive? sounds like its due for a clean sweep. that usually helps your performance out. if you have a CD burner, you can back up all your important files. i would even say, if you have large graphic files, invest in a DVD burner (theyre reletively cheap now) for those bigger files.

    good luck mang
    -------
    I wont fail now

  22. #21
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    do some research, find some benchmarks for the applications you use, make certain that the applications you use are available for Mac (Photoshop, Painter, and Maya are made for Mac, but I don't believe 3D StudioMax is) then price out the systems. If you intend to play lots of games on the computer, buy the PC. Most Mac games come out months after the PC version if at all.

    my opinions start here:
    I bought an Apple powermac g3 233 back in 1997 and I still use it everyday with Painter 8. It's running OS 10.3 and has had the following upgrades: overclocked to 266 (woohoo, 33MHz!), 40GB drive and 416MB ram (yeah 3 different size sticks). It still runs ok, Photoshop brushes are laggy as hell, but everything in Painter works fine unless the brush is over size 80 on a 200dpi file or is liquid ink/watercolor.

    I have had only a handful of issues with it, one or two hard drive melt-downs back in the 0S 8/9 days, one Fujitsu drive died (the one that had a class action lawsuit against it, wish I knew beforehand), and a recent hard drive error that probably could have been fixed if I had owned Norton Disk Doctor. As it is, only the boot partition was affected so I reformatted that volume with no tears shed.

    Next month I intend to buy a dual 1.8GHz G5 for $2000.00. I did get a friend (no, he's not a teenager) who builds PC systems professionally price out a killer 2d/3d rig for me, but it still came close to two grand at wholesale prices. Compared to the technology Apple's pushing in the dual g5's it wasn't worth it for me.

    Read up on the current systems and compare. Ask me in another 7 years if I'm still running that g5.
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  23. #22
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    Honestly though guys I would not have been sold on the Mac if I didn't spend the amount of time I have in class. I think many PC owners contemplate just how the pricing for the Mac can be justified as well as how much better could it really be?

    I am in film full time so the Mac was a natural choice for me, FCP4, Motion, DVDStudio Pro etc are beyond words but if you are just looking for something to rock out a few photoshop filters and a couple of MS word papers, the build your own PC might be the way to go.

    Mac owners are more or less prosumers, most used Mac stories are from people who were going about normal day to day activities such as checking emails etc and they are using dual processor G5's, that is not what these are built for.

  24. #23
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    Quote Originally Posted by unshed
    I would recommend buying a PC. In fact, I don't know why anyone would want a mac other than for the monitor. PC's have been consistently performing better in photoshop benchmarks than Mac's. The only thing a mac has a pc beat at, to my knowledge, is in video editting. Even sound is rendered faster on a PC.

    Not to mention, PCs are full customizable to YOUR needs. If you want a digital art machine, pick up a nice LCD monitor and a graphics card tailored to 2D performance, maybe a 1.8 ghz to 2.4 ghz cpu and you've already built something more powerful than a mac for 1/3 the price!

    For gaming, replace the 2d card for a middle class 3D card, and you can play games that will be coming out for the next 2-3 years, and you will still get as good/better performance in your digital art software, plus better running 3D modelling programs.

    For any build of a PC, 512mb DDR333 is the minimum you should have. I would recommend 1ghz of ram of DDR333 or higher.

    Or if you have enough money.. Intel Quad Xeon with four 3.2ghz cpu's, and RADEON X850 with 4ghz of ram. That thing could take over the world
    wtf ru smoking? Performance rating for the G5 over PC's

  25. #24
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    I'm not gonna be much help, because, frankly- I'm an idiot when it comes to any sort of technical questions....but I use a mac (for just those reasons). I find a mac way user friendlier than an IBM.... I never had any problems in PS, Painter, Illustrator.... not even on my Powerbook!

    plus- goddamit, they just fuckin look great.....

    cheers,

    NIC

  26. #25
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    Quote Originally Posted by Undertow
    Just one note on this.....2Ghz PCs were out over 2 years ago. I'm running a P4-2.4 Northwood for almost 2 years now. The latest hardware benchmarks for macs should run next to the latest benchmarks for PCs in order to get an accurate reading. Of course its going to look superior compared to technologies that are 2 years old and ready to be abandoned. (side note, Prescott and AMD3000+ 3Ghz processors should become cheaper only by end 2005 when both chip makers come up with their new quad/multi core CPUs)

    I've never believed benchmarks from sites selling their own wares. I mean, if I were selling Macs, of course I would say its the best there is right now.

    Hardware performances on both CPUs are about the same for the time frame they were released in. Just like ATI and Nvidia are fussing so much over their polygons and triangles..... they're about the same for the price you're paying, you're pretty much getting what they are ready to release into the market. Only thing is who are you giving your money to.

    But the biggest difference and issues are with the OS. Honestly Mac OSes crash on about the same freq as Windows based OS for me. Don't ask me how I trash my computers....but both crash. Of course in terms of stability, Mac OS had the precedence of "crashing less" when compared to the much misunderstood Windows OS during its evolution. So there is a false impression that current Mac OSes are more stable.....fact is both are about the same....Windows really came a long way.

    The comparisons can go on. and on and on and on. But the biggest issue is whether or not you like the feel of the Mac interface vs the Windows interface. Its as simple as that to me. I just learn to use both.



    On the other note, Macs are more expensive hardware wise coz Apple packs in all the latest goodies (for that time frame) so you can be sure you're getting top notch shit! If you break it down to PC parts...sure PC parts are cheaper in a sense.....but then it wouldn't be as "integrated" as Macs. If you like your computer neat and tidy so you can have more space for other junk - errr drawing tools - then you may want to sink more money into a Mac.

    Also Macs tend to be more maintenence free. Sorry guys, but it does take a fair bit of intimate carnal knowledge for PC users to get the juice out of your machine. The frequent virus and spyware scans, firewalls, stuff like that. Macs don't need as much care, but if you're a mac programmer they're powerful to tweak around.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Undertow
    yeah, im sure those figures are 100% accurate and have not been tweaked at all by apple to make their computers look better.
    ...so what if i'm bored, and ordinary?...

    currently playing: Super Mario 64 DS, ICO (grrrr....)

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    A third party test for Nil.

    http://www.barefeats.com/pentium4.html

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    I like how respectful that kid is, especially when you cando a quick search and find, in my opinion, less bias benchmarks.

    keep in mind benchmarks need to benchmark the system, not just the CPU, which is what Presence posted..

    as for this whole thread at this point:

    <- waiting to go off
    "There is a distinction between fact and truth. Truth has an element of revelation about it. If something is true, it does more than strike one as merely being so." -Lucian Freud

  30. #29
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    I haven't read all the replies, but I'll throw in my two cents too.

    As a long time PC user (and Windows hater), a ex-avid gamer, and a recent Mac convert, I'd probably suggest a PC for you. The main reason I suggest it is Games. You mentioned games, so I'm assuming gaming is moderately important to you. I'm honestly not sure what the current state of the Mac game scene is (any long time Mac users feel free to contradict/update my opinion here), but, while it's definately getting better, Mac games were always the bastard child of the computer gaming industry. Most games are/were developed primarily for PC and if you're lucky, you got a Mac port.

    Dispite my long and tumultuous relationship with Microsoft operating systems, I will definately say that I think they finally got it right with Windows XP. Overall, it's been a very stable system for me. Not just more stable than previous Windows systems (cause that's not saying much), but actually stable in general.

    Being a programmer and long time linux/*nix advocate, I really do like the new Macs. And most of the people I know that use them for graphics applications love them too. And while I expect there to be more and more utility applications available for purchase/download as OSX matures, there are already a wealth of stable and feature rich applications available for Windows environments that I know I took for granted when switching to my mac.

    Also take into account your familiarity with the OS. Are you willing to learn a new paradigm for working with your computer, or do you just want something faster and you want to be able to use it effortlessly right away?

    So, dispite my current love for Apple and their products, I'd probably reccommend a PC to you.

    However, if gaming isnt' a high priority to you, and you're willing to jump into the learning curve of OSX, Macs have some really nice features. And as for the virus issue, Macs are really not much less vulnerable to them, it's just that there are far fewer virii written targetting Mac applications. (Quite a lot of virii writers just have a love affair with stomping on bit bad MS. ).

    So yeah, take from that what you will.
    "Every generation sees the past though the lens of its own time." - Thom Hartmann

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    Because I like gaming...Macs are out. And for everyone saying pcs cant keep up with their mac, thats just silly.

    I know Jason has recommended the Boxx systems, and I've heard lots of good reviews on them. There are many smaller companies that build custom systems, I would go with those. Or build your own.

    But if you want to talk about balls to the walls performance, here you go! dual video cards anyone?
    Motivation...gone.

    Sketchbook be here...

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