Best Used Bang for Buck if I Finally SWITCH ?

I have recently started to use iTunes in a windows environment. Despite some problems, I would ultimately like to back up and/or collect music in an uncompressed format although this project is off to a slow start.

For many years I have used windows just to more easily integrate with the office, but now I have just had my SECOND Sony VAIO laptop die in < 12 months, which is particularly tedious at home where I am unable to check emails, surf audigon and other critically important things over the weekends and at night while I wait to have it shipped off and repaired.

With hopes of a more stable operating system, I am thinking of switching to a Mac, thinking that my music and photos etc should also live on the home machine and I can transfer documents if really necessary on a portable USB chip.

Could any of you please advise me if you have successfully switched over to Apple?

Have you had greater reliability with both hardward and software?

For a good all around at home PC for general purposes and primarily internet access, which used Apple would you suggest to get started?

I am not doing any CAD, heavy number crunching, video editing etc, but like any self respecting agoner, would like the highest performance with the most extraordinary discount from original retail price.
For the taks you've described I can't imagine you would find yourself in a position wherein you regret dumping MS.

I switched to Mac about six months ago and have yet to look back.
In six months of daily use, I have not once rebooted, defragged, despammed or despied. In fact the only "de" I have faced is de-light. As in, I have seen it.

Tradeoffs? Less bang for your buck from a hardcore performance standpoint with general software (limited to the context of MY iBook), less diy upgradeability, less support for older products. All imo, of course.

I would feel nervouse about buying used, but I don't have to pay your bills.
Any of the mac "G"3 and up would do good, MAC is much better than PC, if your over 15 and not a Gamer..MAC is by far the best format (I have windows now because of wife) but as a past manager of a printing company we used MAC's in our network and only has windows because so many that dont know computers accept that windows is better...its not.
Can't comment on apple vs PC functionality, but you will pay top dollar for apple hardware
Both platforms have their uses. I use PC everyday, but not by choice. I was raised on mac and that's where I did most of my video editing, digital imaging, and web design. Macs perform these functions better than PC. Mac don't crash nearly as much, atleast in my experience, and they seem to be much more user friendly. They are laid out quite a bit better than a PC. More expensive? Maybe a little, but I feel you get what you pay for. Especially if you are going for photos and music, I'd take Mac all day long. Another great thing, if you are on line, is that most viruses written, are written for PC, not mac. Compatability between mac and pc is very high. ALmost every type of file format is usable on both platforms. ALl the music files (especially if read by itunes), and all photo formats are transferable. So if you ever decided to go back to a pc, you could, without much trouble.
After a hard drive crash on my wife's PC, we decided to replace it with an iMac G5. She has been quite happy with it although, after using a Windows PC for a decade, the interface took a month or so to get used to. Maybe Apple is more intuitive but if Windows has become second nature, it does take time to switch. In particular, the standard one button Apple mouse has been quite annoying and probably should be replaced by a PC standard scroll mouse.

All important files readily transfer. Software tends to be somewhat more limited and expensive I assume due to smaller installed base. Only problem we have had is with bluetooth keyboard/mouse which I would not recommend. All in all, we are glad we bought it.

I would tend to agree with Faugusta about buying used. If you are on a budget, given what your stated use is, you might consider a new MacMini for $499 that you can use with your existing keyboard and monitor.
In my former life, I used to direct statewide projects in the public health arena. We had 4 Macs and three PC's in the office. Everyone I hired was predominantly a PC user, and every single one of them eventually preferred the Mac. Yes, for those PC users it was a learning curve to adjust to the Mac's easier interface, but once they did. they no longer were interested in using the PC's in the office. The Mac is the "Toyota/Honda" of the computer world. We never had a single problem with any of the Macs in 7 years, but the PC's all fell apart, had numerous bugs in the software, and were plagued by viruses. There's a good reason why Mac users are so dedicated about their computers.
I'm typing this on my Mac. The PC is behind me at my desk. I had the PC for consulting work where most people use PCs. My Mac is for my home studio. Get a Mac, you'll love it. If you want used, you might try an online source that I bought mine from:

This isn't an endorsement of this Web site, I only mention it to let you know that it exists. I have had no problems with the one I purchased from them.
Good luck.
I've bought Mac gear at, but these guys all seem to be Canadians, eh. The gear worked fine, though :o).

As you know, in any used market, it is a Real Good Idea to know your stuff before you plunk your money down. You can do a lot of reading up at these sites, among others :

I switched to Macs way back at MS-DOS 3.0...
You'll never press
ever again!
i Switched a year ago and being on line is actually something I enjoy rather than dread.
After 20 years with PCs, I went to Mac and it is like upgrading from coach to first class. It is a much smaller world, higher quality, better service and fewer problems. Look beyond the initital purchase price at the cost of an operating system over a few years. If you place any value on your time and you are willing to pay a little to avoid computer glitches then you will find Macs a bargain.

I believe the best value are the reconditioned units sold by Apple on their web site -- you can get a really nice current model G5 for like $899 -- incredible deal. You can get an eMac G4 for a few hundred less.

I would do that over a mac-mini as you have to add $200 - $400 to get them well-equiped. I would not got with a G3 -- you want to be able to run the just-released Tiger operating system and a G3 will struggle too much. And why not set youself up for a few years in the future for just a little more.

I do not know any one who has gone back from Mac to PC -- that speaks for itself. Take the plunge and enjoy that "first class" seat every time you sit down at the computer.
One word: THINKPAD. get the T-series or the X-sedries, much better build, albiet at a higher price (but still worth it).

I spoke to the IBM reseller about a thinkpad today.

Not an expert, but my sense is that 15" is that max screen size and video performance gets a bit pricey?


your argument is tempting, but I am wondering if the real cost of upgrading is replacing Office etc, given that I have a zillion files in Word, excel and Powerpoint?
I use MS OFFICE alot as well. And with this software (and others) the same logic about the hardware applies. The Microsoft team that developed the MAC version admitted that it is a nicer program than the original MS version. It can be designed to higher performance because there is a single maker of the hardware (Apple) so the programmers do not have to build in functionality for numerous hardware possibilities. You will have to upgrade but you will get value for your money. BTW the files are 100% compatible back and forth.

Also, take a look at the new operating system Tiger on the Apple web site. It has features that I believe are worth the switch alone. MS is coming out with a similar upgrade but not until Dec 2006. The more you look the more you will be tempted. Anyway, they are both so much better than just a few years ago. You have some great options.
I'd never trade PC's flexibility to MAC's "reliability". Get a good, I mean - good (have I mentioned "good"?) hardware, install XP Pro, and then tell me you have to reboot your PC every minute. Most PCs are mass market crap from hardware perspective, so why would you expect them to perform better then $200 home theatre? MAC has consistent quality just because it's made by... MAC, don't compare it to Wal-Mart or "white box" PCs, but rather to ones made by IBM or the like - expensive and of high quality. As for Windows, again, it's a trade off - you either get simplicity, which is often perceived as reliability; or - flexibility.

Disclaimer: unfortunately I don't have any connection to Microsoft.
Hello - rabid Mac guy here. First, lets debunk the whole thing about more programs. There are about 10,000 programs for the mac - maybe more. Safe to say that most of them are as specialized or useless as the 10,000+ for the PC.

MSFT, Adobe and all the heavies make their key apps for both, There are utilities to do everything for both. There are at least five browsers for the Mac... What the hardcore PC types don't know - and fail to tell you - is that Mac OS X is Unix based - so the cultural, philosophical influence is from Unix which is a truly enormous body of work and along with Linux where most of the talent is sitting. MSFT inspires no one

Now lets talk about Mac hardware. The key here is integration between hardware and software. besides which, till you meet him, you cannot possibly imagine anyone as demanding, as persnickety, as hard to satisfy as Steve Jobs. The man hates crap and he won't put his name on it

As far as what to buy. I would bite the bullet and buy new with the three year AppleCare warranty program or refurbished from Apple or Small Dog.

But if you insist... For audio only I would think about a late model G4 Powerbook - maybe a 1 or 1.25Ghz machine with Airport. Advantage is that its small, quiet and its always nice to have a portable. Stick with the Panther (10.3x) OS for another rev or two - in fact there is no real reason for you to go to Tiger to start.

If you have a nice DVI or VGA monitor you like you could start with a MacMini. Just spend the money to get at least 512 and preferably 1Gb RAM. You are in for a grand with the 80Gb HD, the bluetooth/airport card so you can sync your cellphone and do AirExpress and the extended warranty.

BTW don't worry about the fact that Mac is going to change to Intel. The Macintosh experience is about the software - the hardware is simply engineered and built to BMW standards because Steve wouldn't have it any other way - it will get faster in the future like it always has.