I am on the verge of making a choice I never really thought I’d make. I have nearly decided that my next computer will be a Mac. An Apple Macintosh!
In case you are wondering how I’m arriving at this eventuality, let me give you one bit of interesting information. I do not even own an iPod. Even though I’m considering buying one within the next few months, I think it’s safe to say I am not a fan-boy. Well, unless you think rather intensly about the fact that I have an old NeXT computer sitting in a box in my basement.
The driver of this whole decision is frustration. I do a lot of computer tweaking at home. I’ve built a NAS (I really need to post something about this). I watch and listen through an Xbox. I have a machine dedicated to ripping discs, downloading content, and serving content on the web. Through all of this I have wrestled countless, unintuitive hours with my Windows machines trying to get hardware and software to work just as I need it to. There has to be a better way!
The more I read, the more I think the better way might just be the Apple way. Perhaps more importantly, I’m reading of an underground surge in the adoption of the OSX platform among hackers. Mac users are always the most pompous in the room, and most are just part of a cult. But underneath there lies some truth to the ravings. And some, the hackers, are worth listening to, even if it requires a bit of a reality filter.
My first big hurdle to conversion is finding the right hardware configuration for me. My needs lie somewhere between the Mac mini and the Mac Pro. I don’t like the aesthetics of the iMac one bit. First on the hardware requirements list: dual monitors.
I’m running dual monitors on my Windows box. I like dual monitors. They are fun. And I already own them (an 18“ and 19” LCD). I would like to make use of this investment when I buy a new machine. Here are the options I’ve found under the Mac umbrella:
- Mac mini - While dual monitors with the mini are possible, there are significant enough problems that I don't think I'd like the solution. Buying a mini would nesessitate the purchase of a new single monitor solution (likely 25"+) and the sale of my current monitors. I'm not entirely sure the mini supports the resolution required by a monitor of that size.
- iMac - Well, I'm not a big fan of the look of the iMac. Not at all. Theoretically, a second monitor can be placed next to this beast, but, man, would it be ugly.
- Mac Pro - I would probably be willing to run off to another country with this system. Yeah, it can run as many monitors as I'd ever need. But it costs some money.
- MacBook - The MacBook could run a second monitor, but I'd be stuck with a 13" widescreen display using the laptop LCD as one of the monitors. Oh, and I think the MacBooks have the super glossy reflective displays, which I don't really like. The MacBook Pro starts providing some usable monitor real estate, but at that price I'd probably just prefer to get the Mac Pro.
With regard to my dual monitor requirements, I’m really not sure which option is best. I’d like to get a look at the plain old MacBooks and see if the small screen would bother me during everyday use. If a plain MacBook won’t cut it for this or other reasons, well, it might be time to research a monitor upgrade for the mini. I really don’t need the Mac Pro. Seriously.