Buying a new computer

OK here’s the deal. My Powerbook G4, a 2004 model, is finally dead. I’m posting from my friends’ laptop that he let me borrow. I replaced the original HD around 2007 or 2008 and the replacement just died on me on Friday. The operating system was 10.4 Tiger. It just hangs on the Apple splash screen trying to startup. That means the HD is pretty much dead. I was getting warnings in the disk partitions menu for a while that the disk was dying so I knew the time was coming. I needed a new computer anyways because a 2010 upgrade was a must since you can’t really get any new Mac products because your system won’t be able to run it.

I went from a old school Mac user back in the 80’s to a PC user in the 90’s and a Mac user again in 2004. With all of that out of the way, I need some help choosing a computer. I’ve been out of the PC loop for the last 6 yrs. so I’ve pretty much lost a big chunk of knowledge in keeping up with the constantly changing specs.

All my work from the last 6 yrs. is stuck on that Powerbook HD. Not really because I do have backups on external HD’s but it’s configured for a Mac. I’m not too concerned with that as long as I have it. I’m pretty sure PC processors are faster than Macs as well as faster RAM and bigger HD’s for much cheaper. I’m more than likely going to get another laptop.

So my questions are:

  1. What are the best laptop PC specs at the moment? I want to do video editing and some gaming as well so what would be the best laptop to do this besides Alienware. Video Editing is the reason why I went back to Macs, so I’m going to need a good laptop to do this.

  2. Will I be able to use Mac products on a PC? I understand there’s Intel Macs, but I’m looking at the cost. I’m pretty sure PC don’t support Macs and don’t have to, I just want to make sure.

  3. I’ve come to find that Macs last longer and are more stable than PC’s. I’ve used them both so I’m just going by experience and I’ve heard it around the internet as well. I mean my shit was pretty stable and I never really worried too much about viruses. As a matter of fact, I never got one single virus on my Powerbook. Are PC’s still pretty vunerable?

  4. The operating systems. I’ve read so much about people complaining about Windows Vista and just countless complaints about the recent OS’s. What’s the deal with that?

A PC is really only as Vulnerable as you let it be honestly.

This is gonna be one of those topics everyone has an opinion about…

If you’ve been using a Mac since 2004 might as well stick with it imo. Seems like the easiest solution for amateur video editing.

Many of my friends in the industry who were really displeased with Vista were very happy with Windows 7. I’ve yet to use anything beyond Server 2003 though so I have no first hand experience.

i have macs, intel macs, pc’s and pc laptops. i do audio recording/editing and photo editing. ive had both go down on me in clutch situations, but 99% of the time they all work flawlessly. i will say this, though, my mac cost about 7k, and my laptop im posting on cost 300.

Finalcut works on pc’s:tup:

I know you said no alienware but for gaming laptops the m11 is the best deal you can get considering it’s specs. Toshiba satellites are another good option and have powerful speakers a rare thing for laptops.

Buy norton anti virus, get avast and avg which are free and you should be fine.

Windows 7 fixes most of the issues people has with vista which was a great OS to begin with it’s just a lot of misinformation being spread around and the fact that vista asks you a billion times are you sure you want to install this driver/program/ whatever that gave it it’s bad rep.

Depends on what type of specs you’re looking for really.

Also before I begin, there’s no way mac’s last longer than a PC. They’re both the same, just running different operating systems. The way you take care of any computer determines it’s longevity. Software and Hardware wise.

Most laptops today will probably come with these commonly used proccesors :AMd athlon x2, AMD phenom x4, Intel Pentium x2, intel core i3, i5, i7. The Athlon x2 and pentium x2 are going to be the lower end proccesors you find in cheaper laptops, but the phenom x4, core i5 and core i7 will be the higher end proccessors because they have more proccessing cores, usually 4. Computers with intel processors usually tend to be a tad higher since the proccesors are expppeeennnsive!

Most laptops today come with a minimum of 3Gb ram, most 4-6GB. Usually now ddr3 ram. Similar to DDr2, but less power hungry. Really anything 4Gb or more is good for heavy loads of photo/video/music editting. I’ve got 4Gb of ram in my custom built PC and never have issues.

The hard drive…you know…bigger is better, more storage, average of 320GB minimum for laptops, maybe 500-640GB for higher end laptops, and possibly 1TB here and there.

The graphics proccesor is a big thing if you’re doing lots of editing and wanting to play some light games. You wont get to play WoW or Crysis on max settings, but possibly low/medium settings for most games at decent/good FPS. You’ll want to look for a dedicated video card in a laptop. A GPU that’s “intergrated” or says “max of XXXXMB of video ram” is bad. They leech off your system’s memory for video ram. A dedicated card/GPU has it’s own memory dedicated soley for ther purpose of graphics only. Anything newer from ATI or Nvidia is always good. The 5000 series for ATI are excellent, and anything from the 300 series of Nvidia is good.

From memory, I think the “best” you can get in a store bought laptop mid range would be a ATI 5650, or a nvidia 330m. I think there are better nvidia GPU’s built in now, but I cant confirm anything, probably in the 400 series for mid range/high end laptops now.

Yep, Macs are really nicely built pieces of hardware, but they cost you a ton. PC’s may not look as great, or amazing, but in terms of hardware, a $500 PC can be comparable to a $1300 Mac, or 2x better.

I use and own both Mac’s and PC’s for lots of graphics designing and video editting, and I have to say, I really prefer the PC’s. I use software which work cross-platform for windows and OSX, but if I had to choose one and only one, I’d have to go for a PC.

And that asking system is also a victim of Vista suffering from a ton of misinformation since you can turn that crap off in the control panel. Apple did a very good job slandering the Vista OS which is a really good OS. The fact that everyone loves Windows 7 is hilarious since it’s just an amped up Vista with the stuff people didn’t like just turned off.

thats true, i still run vista on all my pc’s just with everything turned off. i have run into buffer issues with audio playback, but never during recording, so its cool to have a portable system that fits in a handbag.
btw, those buffer issues have all been due to excessive use of plugins just for fun.

If you’re running Vista, the performance gains and speed increases of windows 7 will blow you away. I’ve been running every operating system since Dos and windows 3.1, and man windows 7 is fast.

I figured the opinions were going to factor in and was ready.

The only reason why I was thinking of changing back to PC is simply the cost of getting a new Mac.

I didn’t mean no alienware, I meant what other options are there besides alienware. I knew alienware was the obvious choice.

I don’t want to get into a debate, I just want to get a new computer. From my experiences my PC’s have lasted me years and so has my Mac which has been a better part of the decade. I just felt my work environment was more stable with the Mac and when I searched different topics I even heard some PC users agreeing to other posters about that subject. IMO they are not the same but I digress from that.

What’s going to affect my choice is the fact that I have a lot of work that was done on a Mac. If price is going to hinder me than PC is definetly on the horizon for me. I’ll just have to find a way to port the information that means the most to me.

I take care of my computers like I’d take care of a baby. I noticed in a few replies people insutated that care might be an issue, which isn’t the case with me. I noticed I had to keep a closer eye on my PC much closer than I did with my Mac. You even said yourself that Macs are nicely built pieces of hardware and I would completely agree.

You know what, I think I might just print out your reply to study it and take with me to the store thanks.

don’t wanna hijack your thread, but is there any best time to buy a new laptop? Say, the beginning of the new year, to buy the “outdated” last year models for a cheaper price?

Usually black friday or boxing day for you Canadians/UK’ers is a good time to get a steal, but they’re usually “last years” models with crappier CPU’s, ram, and HDD. Although there are plenty of good current laptop deals during these times too.

Honestly, just go to and look at their laptop section, you can find online coupons and codes to get laptops at INSANE deals. I’ve bought tons of stuff I’ve found off dealzon and saved hundreds. You’ll find black friday blow out deals on recent PCs and laptops everyday with

I like a few brands, usually I recommend them to friends and family because I’ve owned them for years and can speak for their quality and build:


Acer and Aus are both taiwanese companies that have been in the PC business forever. They used to only build parts and motherboards for computers, but within the past 5 years or so, they’ve been producing more and more of their own brand of complete laptop and desktop PC’s.

All of them are good brands. Of course if you talk to people or google, you will read good and bad things about them. All I can say is, even the best brands have the occasional issue or flaw, no one is perfect, so you never know when you’ll get a bad one out of a million good ones.

Asus makes a g73 laptop which would be the ultimate. It’s about $1300 at bestbuy.

17" screen, forgot the resolution.
Core i7 920, 1.6ghz but can turbo boost to 2.6/8? ghz.
4Gb ram
ATI 5870 dedicated 1GB graphics

It’s a thick and heavy, but really sexy since it’s modeled after some fighter bomber plane. It’ll be overkill, but definitely handle anything you throw at it, even intense PC gaming for most games at highest settings.

I have a ati 5770 in my gaming PC and it handles all my games fine, so far I don’t have to run anything at medium or low since my FPS are still extremely high or decent enough to enjoy.

damn that’s intense, thanks for all the lengthy info :). I as will will print out your post while walking around best buy. My price range is around 500, just need something for light gaming, video editing, and ps lol

Just frequent slickdeals if your looking for bang for the buck.

For $500 the best specs you’ll probably find are:

AMD Athlon x2/Turion x2, Or Pentium dual core. IF YOU’RE LUCKY, a Core i3 on sale or clearance.
3-4GB ram (most likely 4GB)
320GB, 500GB if lucky.
Intel intergrated 4500HD graphics (crap), nvidia 310m(Okayish), ATI 4250 (Okayish)

Online from you might find better specs with a coupon or something, although you are buying online which makes return/exchanges a hassle. I’ve bought 3-4 laptops over the years online, they’ve all come safe though, accidents and jerky delivery guys can happen though.

Well I’m going to the Apple Store later today to check out some computers. I bounced back and forth all week debating on Mac or PC and will prolly stay with a Mac regardless of price. Thanks for the replies guys, I appreciate it.

Stick with Mac, you can dual boot it and run windows 7 on it. Best of both worlds then.

Yeah, for the sake of compatibility it’s probably best if you stick to Macs. Without knowing exactly what kind of data you have backed up (e.g. configuration files for specific programs) it’s hard to recommend a Windows alternative.

If you do plan on getting a non-apple branded laptop Asus and Toshiba seem to be the most reliable (and reasonable from a price/performace view) manufacturers at the moment.

Dealzon is great. I got $300 off my HP Envy 14 during Black Friday. I wish I would have read this thread before buying my new laptop though.

I was going to go with an Asus with the specs you posted (or in the same ballpark) but I felt umcomfortable buying something that expensive with a brand I wasn’t too familiar with.

I think I need an upgrade with the graphics card (?) though. The frame rate seems to drop a ton and lag while I’m playing L4D2. How do I find out if it’s a connection or graphics card issue?

Sorry to hijack, Will Gotti. :angel:

Personally I would stick with Mac and dual boot windows if I really needed to use windows software. I know you said you’d probably go with Mac but if you change your mind and go the PC route, you can use MacDrive to enable your PC to read Mac-formatted volumes.