Poster: Daniel Roe @ Mon Apr 28, 2008 3:41 pm
Okay I decided I'd talk about the new Psystar fake Macintosh.
I've been a Mac user long before I got into the IT business, which means I hated Mac, because as a kid, all my friends could play these cool games and all I could do was productive things like edit video, program, view porn, etc.--all of which could be done on a PC. I actually learned all the "incredible" things I now know for lack of anything better to do because I owned a Mac (and No, it wasn't worth it).
Now that I'm older and hopefully wiser, I still use Macs because of the OS. It's got a very secure hodgepodge of stolen open source software at its core (which they call Darwin), making it extremely solid and versatile. The current version of Windows was from-scratch in the late 1990's. UNIX (which is what darwin is based on) has been in development since 1979.
I say this with all honesty and not as a fanboy: OS X, at its core, makes Windows look like a fucking joke. Don't believe me? Try running two different video cards made by two different vendors. I don't mean Intel, either, I mean accelerated--just one of a gajillion things that actually works on Mac like it should on Windows. Oh, PS, how's that Vista DRM working out for you?
There are reasons I use OS X over *nix, too. There's the UI... but who cares? It also has MS office, photoshop, and all that cool stuff that EVERYONE in my field (or former field, I guess) uses. It'll be a wonderful world when *nix gets any decent multimedia or productivity software, but that is not the world we live in today. Seriously, you think I like paying this much for hardware?? I'd much rather use something free than not free.
Another truism is that Macs are overpriced and their hardware lock-in is how Apple makes all their money. It's not just the systems themselves, it's also the fact that upgrading it is a royal pain.
Apple and Apple fanboys persistently proclaim that the reason for Apple's "amazing" hardware experience is the fact that they control the hardware vendors. That claim is a bunch of shit.
Apple's "user experience," from a hardware glitch standpoint, is very similar to that of any Dell or Compaq. They make the same mistakes, and now they even use the same hardware, so there's no way anyone can claim that there is a quality difference between Dell and Mac hardware.
As far as mistakes go, let's name a few: For starters, the 2600XT video card that Apple uses in their aluminum iMac line (current, as of this post) caused terrible (yet trippy) display problems even outside of gaming, leading to complete freezes requiring hard-restarts. Apple sent out a software patch a week or two later which presumably fixed the problem but really probably clocked down the GPU and modified the video drivers. Not good enough? Well they turned around and included the same flawed card in their flagship "Professional" line, the Mac Pro. Guess what? Same issues: Lockups, heat problems, coma (inability to wake from sleep).
Then there was the issue with the 6800 Ultra driver not being placed on the OS install/maintainence DVD prior to 10.3.5; which basically means if you bought the card, you couldn't boot off any earlier version of the OS, including the install CD that came with your computer. That means if your hard drive died, guess what? You can't replace it (unless you took certain steps, which I ended up writing an article about which was featured on most Mac tech websites at the time).
With Apple in control over every single part that goes into their computers, they should know exactly what's going on and should have tested everything thoroughly. How can these issues slip through the cracks when there are so few items to test? More than likely, Apple throws together the hardware packages a couple months before release based on profit margins rather than quality. I would not be surprised if ATi had a glut of 2600XT chips they wanted to get rid of and cut Apple a deal to clear their stock (because PC users, who have a choice in these matters, wouldn't use such an underpowered, overpriced, bug-prone GPU). Moreover, when issues like this arise, they don't bother contacting their customers. Nobody from Apple bothered saying anything about any of the aforementioned problems, when they could've sent out an email or had Software Update pop up a message about it. Not a peep, which is probably why many Mac users still think their machines are immune to problems. Now, even Mac Rumors rarely publishes serious issues with Apple hardware.
Let's get back to Psystar, shall we?
Psystar is a company that has released a $400 PC which is capable of running OS X with very little alteration of the OS. The PC has better technical specs than that of a Mac Mini (Apple's least expensive Mac) and is $200 cheaper. Mac fanboys are going crazy over this, saying 1) people who buy the computer are going to be sued by Apple. 2) The computer cannot be updated through Apple's "Software Update" application 3) something about how the computer is a POS, even though it has the exact same hardware.
1) No, nobody will get sued by Apple except for maybe Psystar. I'm sure Apple doesn't want to enter a battle they can't win on this issue, and it may be that Psystar is legally in the clear. The buyers of the machine, however, have nothing to fear legally.
2) Actually, unless Apple designs their updates specifically to break these machines (which they may, in time), they'll be fine after an update, they just can't do it automatically.
3) Like I said, the hardware is the same, it's just sold for cheaper. In fact, it's better, in a way, because you can put any video card you want in the thing, including an 8800GT. A cheap Mac that can play games too? WOW WHAT A CONCEPT!
Psystar also sells other models, some of which are almost as powerful as Apple's "pro" line and cost far less than an iMac (mid-range).
I certainly don't blame Apple for screwing their customers out of their beer money. That's the job of any good corporation. My problem is with these Apple nuts holding Apple's standard up like Jobs is the second coming. Anything mentioning Apple as something other than a 'visionary beacon of goodness in the land of evil and complicated computer gadgetry' is just ignorant tripe and obviously Microsoft FUD™. Grow up you mongrels. Hell, who am I talking to, that line about "overpriced" probably just cut the daily hits of this website in half, we're down to 4 and a half now, right? Anybody?