I Switched

I have a new computer sitting on my desk. It is beautiful. It has a 27″ display. It is an iMac.

I didn’t lose any of my papers or documents or anything, not like poor Ellen. What happened is, I needed a new computer. I have taken up semi-serious photography-related tasks on a near-five-year-old laptop with a dual-core 2 GHz CPU, a 32-bit OS, and 2 GB of RAM. It’s served me well for three post-China years, but working with Lightroom has finally become a pain and a struggle.

I’ve had the ‘I should get a new computer’ bug in my head for well over a year. Every time it appears, I do some research, balk at the amount of money I’m spending, and delay the purchase. Last week, I got the bug again and decided since it wasn’t going away, I should appease my inner consumer and pull the trigger.

Why a Mac? It’s a combination of things. My rational brain will tell you that you cannot find a better value for a computer, PC or Mac, with a 27″ monitor. That much is true. But we are human beings and rationality is only part of our decision-making process. I am no different 🙂

I bought an iPhone in the summer of 2010 and an iPad in the spring of 2011. Before those purchases, and ever since then, I’ve been reading an increasing amount of Apple-related tech blogs, or, tech blogs whose primary focus seems to be Apple-related hagiographies. Many of these bloggers are opinionated assholes, but it’s hard to argue with most of their logic. I have grown to see companies — namely, Aple — in the same kind of light as a few of them have. All of this stuff contributes to the overall ‘feeling’ when purchasing a product. Call it marketing, call it branding, whatever. I’m human!

So combine ‘I need a new computer’ with ‘I want a good value’ and all this feel-good Apple bullshit is in my head and I began looking at Macs. I considered a Mac Mini with a 24″ monitor, a 21.5″ iMac, and a custom-built PC with 24″ monitor. The PC usually comes out less expensive, spec-wise … until you add in a monitor, OS, keyboard, mouse, etc. Then its price rises considerably, to the point where an iMac is a better value or the difference is negligible.

Why not a laptop? First, I need power & speed, and those will cost more, unacceptably more, in a portable package. Also, I need a permanent display that won’t change with a viewing angle (which is the case with laptop screens). Second, I don’t really need a portable computer — I have my iPad + iPhone combo, which have both served me well when traveling. If I absolutely need to do some work on the road, an occasion that is so rare as to be laughable, I have a laptop through my job that I can take.

I like to tell myself that I did save some money. The default 27″ iMac comes with 4 GB of RAM. You can upgrade to 16 GB for $500 … or you can buy 16 GB worth of RAM from Crucial for $100 and install it yourself. Installing RAM on an iMac is painless, so I decided to go that route.

My 18-year-old self would hang his head in shame if he knew I bought an iMac. When the first one came out in 1998, my girlfriend at the time was really excited about those candy-colored computers. Being a build-your-own PC enthusiast and Apple hater (why did everyone think they were so much better for ‘creative’ tasks??!) I scoffed. The damn things didn’t even have floppy drives. But that was then and this is now. Now I have a 27″ iMac, quad-core 2.7 GHz CPU, 1 TB hard drive, and 16 GB of RAM all running on a 64-bit OS.

Oh, and did I mention that 27″ screen? It’s fucking gorgeous.


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