Any advice for me? My computer is dying and I need something new. I am hoping to do some stuff with music recording/video/photo in the next few years. Other than that I use the computer for word processing and internet. No gaming.
If you're getting a desktop, I'd vote for a PC. Invest in a monitor that seems ridiculously large, because once you start normalizing to that size, you'll wonder how you did without it. It's a work-productivity thing. Especially if you're running multiple applications at once, which by your description you will be doing. I'd go a step up from entry level if you want to run high-demand programs, or even two steps up if you want this computer to last a long while and you don't foresee yourself upgrading parts of your hardware from time to time (which a lot of PC users do).
If you're getting a laptop, get a macbook. They hold their value and utility the longest, their battery life/efficiency is best (it means you can escape to coffee shops to work, without being constrained by your battery life). You won't be tinkering with the hardware, so the macbook's "everything works" hardware-to-software dial is tight compared to some (though not all) PC laptops.
You might also want to consider your phone (android users lean PC, iphone users lean apple, because applications can more easily cooperate).
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If you get a PC, I'd wait until the end of the summer, when Windows 8 is released. Music wise, I don't know what's going to happen to a lot of new software with the advent of tablet computing interfaces. Windows will still have it's old way of doing things, but I'm wondering if many apps will be updated. Personally, I think it'd be a good step up. Most music software works better with midi controllers and mixers, but with touchscreens, that can all be digital too.
I wondered if Macs were still more secure, or if that has changed since more people have made the switch. For PC fans, what is the main draw for you? I know it used to be that software was more compatible between your computer and other people's, but I think that gap has been largely bridged.
Also, any particular reasons why I would not want to go laptop? I've always had a desktop, and I know in the old days I just didn't find laptops that useful for portability as they were still pretty heavy and there was a short battery life. I think that part has improved now by quite a bit.
I'm not really planning to do a lot of travelling with it, but I think it would be useful for presentations with a projector and also when there is family coming over, I'd rather the kids not feel free to use it all the time, so it's nice to have something you can just put away.
I sort of like the substantial feel of a desktop keyboard. I also have found in the past that laptops tend to overheat sometimes. I like being able to burn CDs with a double tray, although I realize that technology is on its way out (I still like having something tangible and quick like that though).
I'm also wondering about the shelf life of both (assuming that I didn't do a bunch of upgrading a desktop). It seems to me like a lot of people with laptops feel like they need to buy something new every 3 years or so as opposed to the 5 you may get out of a desktop. That may not be accurate though.
I have an iMac. Personally, I think they're great for video and graphics work. This comes from using both PC and Mac as a graphic artist in the printing industry. Macs are still more secure, but it always pays to have anti-virus software installed. Haven't had a laptop, so can't recommend any.
If you're going to be using programs like Excel, Word, etc., a lot a PC might be a better choice, but Mac does have equivalent programs available and you can even run a virtual Windows program on the Mac.
The Mac is probably going to be more expensive. My last iMac lasted 5 years with virtually no problems.
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