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New iMac v latest windows desktops-To Mac or not to Mac?
Thread poster: Sandra Kirley

Sandra Kirley  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 08:31
Danish to English
+ ...
Nov 1, 2013

I know this is an age-old question, but responses have changed over time in line with technology.

I find myself in the position that I need to update my main hardware. I have been replacing my old PC on average every 3-5 years - same old issues - despite anti-virus software, I still get viruses, compatibility issues, strange blue "crash dump" screens. In short, my windows PCs have been reset to factory settings and "fixed" more times than I can remember - and every time this affects workflow and every crash always happens during a tight deadline - of course.

So I am looking for something sturdier and be more reliable.
This has of course led me to think about a Mac. Although fairly seduced by the sheer simplicity of use of the Iphone, I am still in two minds whether it is worth switching if all you are doing is buying the extra stuff to make it mimic a Windows PC - is it worth the hassle? Does it REALLY work with Trados - i.e. does it slow performance when having to split the PC with Parallels say? Does the different keyboard affect basic windows commands in Trados as someone once claimed it did or has that been ironed out? What else are Macs good for if the bulk of your work is done in windows? As in what would be the added benefits from having a MAC that I would enjoy outside Windows? I get the odd big Indesign file to translate - and would love to work directly with graphic designers, but not sure if that still means I have to buy the graphic design software to "translate" in it, even with a Mac?

Price is no longer that different - some of the top notch all in one PCs are near enough the same price as the new 21 inch iMac - once you throw in all the additional software you still need for a PC (antivirus, protection plan, backup, Livedrive cloud storage etc, etc). I tend to work with big files, so need an i5 processor - which bumps up the cost of a PC but a Mac comes with automatically, so again, cost is not that big a difference - you are talking a couple of hundred quid - but is it likely to last that much longer? I don't buy into all that Apple hype - I just want a reliable desktop - and if that's a Mac then great - but if I can get a PC that is going to last as long and have as few problems, then I will save myself that money.

Would love to hear from anyone in a similar situation who either carried on with a newer windows or "made the switch", someone who also uses Trados 2011.
Thanks!
Sandra


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LilianNekipelov  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 03:31
Russian to English
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I would strongly advise against Mac for anything related to Nov 1, 2013

translation, or word processing. It is a great system for graphic design, any type of movie-making and with regard to many other video-related functions, but is is not perfect as far as any type of word-processing is concerned, in my opinion. It is at least 30% worse -- less convenient, than PC.

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Michael Joseph Wdowiak Beijer  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 08:31
Member (2009)
Dutch to English
+ ...
which version of Windows are you on? Nov 1, 2013

Hi Sandra,

Just a quick question before the Macheads pile on and start preaching. What version of Windows are you currently using? I have found 7, and 8 to be very stable. I have also not gotten any kind of virus or spyware in years. I have Avast Internet Security, HitMan Pro and Malwarebytes.

Also, in order to run all the Windows stuff you are still going to need, you'll probably have to add quite a few (costly) extras to your iMac to get decent performance out of your apps inside Parallels, such as a large SSD, around 12-16 GBs of RAM, etc.

Michael


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Jacques DP  Identity Verified
Switzerland
Local time: 09:31
Member (2003)
English to French
Good and bad Nov 1, 2013

Hi,

As you can see from the many threads about this, there is no one definite answer to your question.

Also, answers tend to be ideological, as people readily transform into evangelists for reasons that pertain to psychology/sociology.

And at some stage you have a guy called Hans, who will come to the thread and tell you that you should get a Mac and then give up on Trados and do everything with Cafetran (sic).

As someone who was in your exact situation and made the switch, here are a few non-ideological considerations.

As a piece of hardware the iMac is great: all-in-one (no mess on your floor), well built, silent, elegant. In my case this was the deciding factor.

The main problem I have with the two OS setup is that many things that you would do very quickly and without thinking about them in Windows (switching apps, copy-pasting, moving files around in file explorer, etc.), now exist in two versions (Windows and OS X), and you have to switch all the time between the two. I am good at picking up new habits, but I have to say this is a pain and a waste of time and mental effort. I noticed this particularly when using again my portable computer (Windows only), as it was much simpler.

I have considered using it as a PC (Windows only with Boot Camp). But I preferred to keep the current setup. There are many good things with OS X, among which the Time Machine.

That being said, Windows in Parallels really works, no performance issue, virtually no bugs, and very stable. (I use Windows 7 in Parallels with ample RAM, in my case 12GB, no SSD.)


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Tom in London
United Kingdom
Local time: 08:31
Member (2008)
Italian to English
How can you say that? Nov 1, 2013

LilianBNekipelo wrote:

translation, or word processing. It is a great system for graphic design, any type of movie-making and with regard to many other video-related functions, but is is not perfect as far as any type of word-processing is concerned, in my opinion. It is at least 30% worse -- less convenient, than PC.


How can you say that? I use MS Office for Mac, and numerous other applications, on a daily basis with no issues whatsoever.


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Tom in London
United Kingdom
Local time: 08:31
Member (2008)
Italian to English
Don't buy a Mac **yet** Nov 1, 2013

Sandra - take the advice of a long-time Mac user:

Go ahead and get a Mac - you won't be sorry. Not least because with a minimal amount of regular "maintenance" you can easily do yourself, you will never need a so-called "computer technician" again. That alone will save you hours of time and money.

But don't buy a Mac YET, because Apple has just released a new operating system (Mavericks) that's still very much at the experimental stage and will not be stable and reliable for at least a couple of months. For that reason I would advise you to wait until after Christmas.

I'm still running the previous OS (Mountain Lion) which was a real turkey when it first came out but after 5 updates has become a delight to use. Something the same will happen to Mavericks.



[Edited at 2013-11-01 13:23 GMT]


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Sandra Kirley  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 08:31
Danish to English
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
thanks for your replies Nov 1, 2013

Thanks for your comments so far - I know there will always be two schools of thought on this subject! Tom can I ask you what RAM you have on your MAC? I've been advised that 8 GB would be more than enough?
So far the iMac is coming out cheaper than e.g. the new Lenovo all-in-one PC with the exact same spec (apart from 1 inch bigger screen size and a touch screen-but I can live without these) and that's including Parallels, a Microsoft package and additional cloud storage. So am a bit surprised. Seems PCs are only cheaper if you go for much lower RAM and processor. Either way - nuts and bolts compared the price difference no longer seems to be that big -unless I am missing something off the add-ons to the MAC list?
Sandra


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Michael Joseph Wdowiak Beijer  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 08:31
Member (2009)
Dutch to English
+ ...
Macs probably do make better all-in-one systems Nov 1, 2013

Hi Sandra,

You're probably right about the Mac being pretty the same price, if what you want is an all-in-one system. I'm not particularly impressed by the Windows all-in-ones. However, if you get a normal desktop and separate screen, then you are going to start noticing the price difference. You can get a much stronger PC desktop for your money. Of course, it won’t look as nice as a Mac, and there are more cables, etc.

Michael

[Edited at 2013-11-01 18:46 GMT]


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Tom in London
United Kingdom
Local time: 08:31
Member (2008)
Italian to English
RAM Nov 1, 2013

Sandra Kirley wrote:

Tom can I ask you what RAM you have on your MAC? I've been advised that 8 GB would be more than enough?

Sandra


Yes - 8GB is plenty.

My main set-up is a 13" MacBookPro from late 2009, which came with 4GB of RAM. Last year I upped the RAM to 8GB and replaced the hard drive with a bigger, faster one, which more or less gave me a new computer without buying a new computer

When I'm not away from home I plug in an elderly (2005) but still excellent 20" Apple Cinema Display and keep the MBPro in clamshell mode (i.e. closed). This gives me a big *non-shiny* screen to work on most of the time.

I can't stand shiny screens !

For translation my mainstay is (of course) MSOffice (Mac version).






[Edited at 2013-11-01 19:27 GMT]


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Suzan Hamer  Identity Verified
Netherlands
Local time: 09:31
English
+ ...
With Tom here. Nov 2, 2013

Tom in London wrote:

LilianBNekipelo wrote:

translation, or word processing. It is a great system for graphic design, any type of movie-making and with regard to many other video-related functions, but is is not perfect as far as any type of word-processing is concerned, in my opinion. It is at least 30% worse -- less convenient, than PC.


How can you say that? I use MS Office for Mac, and numerous other applications, on a daily basis with no issues whatsoever.


Hear hear.

Edited to agree with Jacques: "As a piece of hardware the iMac is great: all-in-one (no mess on your floor), well built, silent, elegant. In my case this was the deciding factor." It takes up so little space on my desk.

And to say that this is the end of my fourth year with my current iMac, OS 10. Because I'm such a techno-sissy, I also purchased the 3-year Apple Care plan at the time I bought the computer, and never had to use it. Never had any viruses (no anti-virus software either) and never has this current computer crashed. If there is ever any kind of odd problem (maybe once or twice in 4 years so far), all I have to do is turn the thing off, and when I turn it on again, everything works just fine. This in contrast to your: "I have been replacing my old PC on average every 3-5 years - same old issues - despite anti-virus software, I still get viruses, compatibility issues, strange blue "crash dump" screens. In short, my windows PCs have been reset to factory settings and "fixed" more times than I can remember..."

[Edited at 2013-11-02 12:40 GMT]


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Michael Joseph Wdowiak Beijer  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 08:31
Member (2009)
Dutch to English
+ ...
Are you a tinkerer? Nov 2, 2013

Cod psychological personality sketch:

I think that Macs and PCs might be better suited to two different types of people. I am aware that this is pretty subjective, and that my so-called argument will fall apart the moment anyone cares to even touch it with a feather, so feel free to completely disagree with me here.

I think that Mac people just want their Macs to work and don’t want to have to get their hands dirty. Once things work the way they want them to, they are quite happy to leave it at that. PC people, on the other hand, don’t mind taking a peek beneath the hood, and are often more prone to tinkering. Sometimes even just for fun. I obviously belong to this category.

Just compare the difference in atmosphere between an Apple Store and a good old-fashioned computer shop on the high street, selling PCs (if you can still find one, that is). There is a world of difference between these two; from the type of people working there and the clientele to the products.

If you have several CAT tools installed on your computer, have Olifant and Xbench installed, have a favourite text editor and know what UTF-8 is – I would suggest getting a PC.

If you have no idea what any of this means and find yourself getting mildly annoyed by my post, I would suggest getting a Mac.

Michael

[Edited at 2013-11-02 16:12 GMT]


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Neil Coffey  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 08:31
French to English
+ ...
Probably won't regret it... though it does depend on what's right for you... Nov 2, 2013

I switched to Mac a few months ago, partly because:

- I was starting to get a bit sick of various aspects of Windows
- I'd already started to buy into the Apple ecosystem a little bit having an iPhone and iPad
- I liked the retina display of the new Mac Book Pros
- other people I know with Macs had had good experiences
- I didn't have much specific reason to use Windows -- just one or two programs that I thought could probably be used under Parallels or VMWare etc

But... it does depend a bit on whether these kind of criteria apply to you, I suppose. Is your universe heavily Windows-based and are you happy with Windows?

I must admit that I personally have not had any issues at all doing translation work on my Mac: Office 365 and Pages on the retina screen are the best experience I've had yet editing documents. I find the multi-desktop and 'control panel' system (which gives you an instant graphical overview of everything you have open) work really well for translation where e.g. you might have a couple of documents open in Word, then a couple of browser windows open with Termium etc.

The little Windows software I use works absolutely fine in Parallels -- in fact, Windows actually runs better in Parallels on my Mac than on the original PC that I copied the installation from. So I *assume* there wouldn't be an issue with TRADOS per se if you need to use it (I confess I don't). And I personally find that the integration between Mac/iPhone/iPad (so things like calendar synching, editing a doc in Pages on the iPad then having it automatically synched to the Mac when you get home) works pretty well for my needs. Different people will find that more or less useful, I guess. The Time Capsule backup system also seems to work pretty well on the whole, and it's quite a nice, seamless solution.

My only slight regret is that the 256 GB hard disk (actually a flash disk, which works really well) is a little small by today's standards-- especially when you have a Windows installation on the machine in addition to the native OS-- but it was the largest available when I bought my machine.

So unless you have any particular reason holding you back, and especially if you've already got an iPhone/iPad, I'd be tempted to say go for it...!


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Neil Coffey  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 08:31
French to English
+ ...
Mavericks Nov 2, 2013

Tom in London wrote:
But don't buy a Mac YET, because Apple has just released a new operating system (Mavericks) that's still very much at the experimental stage and will not be stable and reliable for at least a couple of months.


Hi Tom --

They've just released the first *public* version of Mavericks, but it was released to developers back in June or so, so it's had a good few months of bedding down by now. Expect the odd temporary niggle and the odd temporary incompatibility with specific less common software. Nothing to make you delay buying a machine, I don't think.


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Tom in London
United Kingdom
Local time: 08:31
Member (2008)
Italian to English
I know, because.... Nov 2, 2013

Neil Coffey wrote:

They've just released the first *public* version of Mavericks, but it was released to developers back in June or so, so it's had a good few months of bedding down by now. Expect the odd temporary niggle and the odd temporary incompatibility with specific less common software. Nothing to make you delay buying a machine, I don't think.


I know, Neil, because as a "Level 4" contributor to the Apple discussion forums I was invited by Apple to test the beta version of Mavericks. But testers can only do generic checks and cannot cover all eventualities.

I can assure you that as it currently stands I would *not* adopt Mavericks for any serious purpose. Version 0.1 of Mavericks is still very buggy and many problems, - some of them very serious, such as with the Mail application, memory leaks, battery drainage, unexpected wiping of external drives etc. - are being reported on a daily basis.

I've seen something similar happen with every new version of the MacOS. It takes about 5 updates and then everything is running smoothly. Personally I'm going to stay away from Mavericks for a good while yet, and although I was thinking of buying an extra Mac I won't be doing so until 2014.

To get a flavour of the things that are being reported, just Google for "mavericks problems".

[Edited at 2013-11-02 16:40 GMT]


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neilmac  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 09:31
Spanish to English
+ ...
Horses for courses Nov 2, 2013

LilianBNekipelo wrote:

translation, or word processing. It is a great system for graphic design, any type of movie-making and with regard to many other video-related functions, but is is not perfect as far as any type of word-processing is concerned, in my opinion. It is at least 30% worse -- less convenient, than PC.


I totally agree. The Mac simply wasn't designed with translators in mind. It's lovely, but the lack of compatibility with many "industry standard" software packages (like my electronic dictionaries, which don't work on more recent Windows systems either) mean that I ruled it as an option out long ago. My friend/colleague uses one but she had so many snags and hassles with translations that in the end I gave her a reconditioned PC with Windows XP on it so we could keep working together smoothly.
I have 2 PCs in full working order myself, so that if one of them ever crashes, I can switch to the backup PC. The backup PC is an old one I had reconditioned and it didn't cost too much.
I also have a couple of laptops just in case.


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