Batting for the Other Team

by garth on October 5, 2006

It’s time to come out of the closet.

I use a Macintosh at home.

At first, it was just a Mac Mini used for the occasional build and test of Juice. Then my PC started flaking out, and I had to pull half of the memory out. Its performance became awful. Unfortunately, at three years old it was too hard to swap out just a few bits: I was going to have to get a whole new machine.

I spent a few months locked up in analysis paralysis over the four digit upgrade whilst also wrangling a five digit kitchen upgrade, planning a six digit forced rebuild on the back of the house, and helping customers figure out seven digit upgrades to their IT environments.

I eventually decided that if I had to choose two items out of good, cheap, and shipping before 2020, I was going to compromise on the price.

That, in combination with accidentally subjecting myself to three contiguous hours in a reality distortion field chasing down a friend’s recommendation that I find out about Time Machine, made for a decision I hadn’t anticipated.

I ended up getting a Mac Pro.

To my surprise, I’ve taken to Mac OS X quickly. I thought I’d be switching back to XP under Parallels a lot, but so far it hasn’t been necessary: I spend all my time in Aperture and Firefox. I’m already trying to use Expose on my XP based work laptop and wishing it had the Dock.

A Mac Pro might seem overkill for browsing the ‘net, but photo management is already making good use of my investment. Video might even make the beast seem slow, which leads me to another reason I bought the Mac Pro: I don’t want to get painted into another architectural corner like last time.

One of the claimed benefits of the Mac Pro’s more expensive server chipsets is extended system life: server manufacturers would much rather upgrade parts in an existing production line than start from scratch with a new motherboard. It looks like I’ll be able to upgrade to eight cores pretty soon, I can quadruple my memory whenever that becomes affordable, and I sincerely doubt my gaming requirements will stress 16 lanes of PCI Express anytime soon. Bwa ha ha. Which reminds me:

My other important use case was being able to run PC games. Boot Camp has turned out better than I’d hoped. Half Life 2 is so smooth (with full detail!) I’m getting motion sickness if I play too long. I’m looking forward to Portal turning my guts inside out.

Overall, I’m happier with my Mac Pro than I expected to be. A lot of that is thanks to Aperture, about which I’ll definitely be ranting soon, and the rest is due to a solid and easy operating system on some kick-arse hardware I won’t have to fuss with for ages. Life is good.