Watts (chipotle) wrote,
Watts
chipotle

The denial tango

The question is who's really in denial over the PowerMac G5s announced today--Macintosh zealots who hope the machines will significantly improve the Mac market share, or PC zealots racing to poke holes in Apple's claims of the machines being the fastest personal computers.

So. No, I don't think Macs will stop losing market share. I'll be pleasantly surprised if they hold steady. (If the total size of the computer market holds steady, I think the Macintosh segment will grow, but that seems unlikely. People tend to forget that if your company's unit sales are growing at a slower rate than the market you're in is growing, you're "losing market share" yet still increasing your customer base.)

As for hole-poking, are the G5s the fastest personal computers? You got me. I'm sure the demos I saw today were stacked in favor of the G5, but they were no less impressive--watching Cubase on the Dell dual Xeon 3.06GHz machine stutter when it was doing realtime multitrack softsynth playback of a piece of the "Matrix" score when the dual 2GHz G5 machine went through it smoothly without hitting more than about 40% CPU utilization definitely says something.

A rhetorical question to rabid anti-Mac folks: Does my owning a Mac negatively affect your virility? Are you afraid using a one-button mouse for a measurable length of time will turn you into an art designer? From watching some forums (particularly those on the frequently overfrothed OSNews), the idea that Macs might actually become competitive in price and speed has sent the MACS ARE EVIL crowd into a blood frenzy.

The thing is, to some degree they're right. PowerMacs have always been designed as if they were computing with high-end workstations, even when the performance wasn't there to match. The PowerMac may be competitive with a Dell Precision Workstation, but it's not going to be too competitive with a Dell Dimension.*

But so what? It's a damn cool computer. I'm finding myself increasingly (if arguably irrationally) jazzed about the idea of doing Mac software development. I'm realizing that, for a long, long time now, I've missed having computers, in and of themselves, be fun.

And to me, that's worth a few extra bucks.

——

*Since the P4-based Dimension can't be dual processor, I priced out a system roughly comparable with the "midline" G5. The Mac is a 1.8GHz G5 with 512M PC3200 SDRAM, a 160GB Serial ATA HD, Radeon 9800 Pro video, and DVD-R/CD-RW drive for $2720; the Dell is a 2.8GHz P4 with 512M PC3200 SDRAM, 200GB Ultra ATA HD, Radeon 9800 Pro video, DVD-R/CD-RW drive, Gigabit ethernet card (an option you can't not have on the Mac), XP Professional and Microsoft Plus! Digital Media Edition to roughly match Apple's "iLife," for $2448.

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