What I decided… Mac versus PC?

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Last week I did this poll on my blog asking readers if I should get a Mac or stay with PC.  No surprise that Mac won in the polls. I still have the poll open if you want to vote.

I have not made a firm decision, but if you take the time to read the whole post on my pros and cons, and also the comment section, you will see that the comments tell more the whole story.

My ultimate dilemma of switching has not been solved.  After talking to Apple, Adobe and reading comments, nobody has found a way for me to overcome the biggest obstacle of switching.  I do Photoshop Training and design products (actions) for Photoshop.  As a result I need older versions. I have versions of Photoshop back to v7 and have CS, CS2, CS3, and CS4, and also have 2 versions of Elements installed.  If I could get all of these for Mac, I would probably make the switch.  I cannot.  Adobe said they only sell CS4 (and I can transfer my license for that).  CS3 I probably can still find.  But CS2, CS, v7, older elements for Mac… Well good luck is basically what Adobe said.

Apple’s solution was just put all of this on a Windows side to a Mac.  That just seems crazy.  I mean a few programs – maybe.  All this – ridiculous.  Plus I would want CS4 on the Mac side which means spending $700 for a new license for the Mac side (as I could not transfer if using the others on my old PC or on the PC side of a Mac), plus windows for Mac, a program to switch.  All this plus the Mac.  So… anyone see where this is going yet?

Some readers said HIRE them as testers.  Great idea – BUT it does not solve the training issue and usually when an Action does not work well in an older version (from being created in a new one) guess how you fix it?  You write it from the oldest version you want it working in.  Yep.

So at this point, unless someone magically comes along and can solve these issues for me, I think I am too rooted and invested in the PC side of things. And as such likely to stay where I am.  Yes – you Mac people can laugh if I get a virus or when spyware hits, but other than that, nothing really is “broken” about my current situation.  And so far the idea of getting a Mac appears it may be “broken.”

Now – for those of you PC gurus - who wants to help me configure a Dell Desktop that will rock a Mac back to where it came from :).   I love laptops – but I am thinking a networked situation with a more powerful desktop with a better backup system may help my business and productivity.

Thanks everyone!

Jodi

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 What I decided... Mac versus PC?

Jodi Friedman, MCP Actions

Jodi Friedman is the founder of MCP Actions. She designs popular Photoshop actions and Lightroom presets that make editing faster, easier and more fun.

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43 Comments and 4 Replies



  1. 1

    I had the same exact thoughts about switching to a Mac. I would have to purchase new software for the Mac so it would cost me so much more than just the computer…

  2. 2
    Krista Lund says:

    I was just faced with this dilemma not too long ago and the only reason to not switch to MAC is for PSCS4. I did switch to MAC and man! was it/ it is a BIG Learning curve! I run PSCS4 through Windows and it is a bit of a pain. I don’t know if I will ever purchase the MAC version of PSCS4 or just learn to live with it.

  3. 3
    No one says:

    Easy solution:
    switch to mac and develop for the new versios of Photoshop
    .

  4. 4

    I’m sure you can find old Photoshop disks on Ebay. They should be pretty cheap, too.

  5. 5

    Jodi what about getting that software where you can run Windows on the Mac? Basically you can run two operating systems for those programs that won’t transfer over and see it all on your mac. I think it’s called Parallels Desktop 4.0, here’s the link:

    http://store.apple.com/us/product/TS967LL/A?fnode=MTY1NDA1Mw&mco=Mjc4MjAyMQ

    you don’t have to reboot to access XP…..you should look into it :)

  6. 6
    Puna says:

    Good for you. Makes the most sense to me.

  7. 7
    Jodi says:

    Katie – yes – but then why switch if I am on a PC side to a Mac – still can get viruses and malware that way. Just does not seem to make sense.

  8. 8
    Ken Burg says:

    Jodi, the software dilemma is exactly what kept me from Mac for years. I finally decided to switch… a YEAR before buying my first Mac. This gave me a year to accumulate software, look for bargains, closeouts, etc. By the time I got the computer most of the major software was on place, even if it wasn’t the latest version. I knew I could get a free or low cost upgrade once I was up and running. Of course, I only needed one version of Photoshop.

    I’ve done consulting, installs and troubleshooting for years for computer owners. In cases like yours, when people are looking for help with a buying decision, I usually recommend staying with the platform you’re already using. The choice is less a matter of religion to me and more a matter of which tool is best for the job at hand. Money aside, you don’t have the luxury of time to get acclimated to a different system. I would recommend, after your new Windows computer purchase, perhaps buying something like a Mac Mini or entry level Macbook. This will allow you to get familiar with the system outside of your business. If and when you decide to make the switch completely, a Macbook could be used as a nice, small, non-business laptop; a Mini could be set-up as a media center computer hooked up to your TV.

    I have a feeling you’ve already come to the same conclusion. Enjoy your new computer!

    • admin says:

      Ken – great suggestions – I really appreciate it! And yes – pretty much same conclusion. Basically unless adobe contacts me and says we see your problem and will send you mac versions of everything – LOL.

  9. 9
    Jason woods says:

    Hey Jodi, if you need guidance on building a PC, email me and I will help you out.
    My previous career, I was a network engineer. Depending on how much u want to spend
    You can totally rock out the dell to blow the mac out of the water!!

    • admin says:

      Jason – thanks – yes I want your help and $$$ is actually not a huge object. I mean I do not need a 10 thousand dollar computer – LOL – but I would want something that kicks – you know what…

      Emailing you now.

      Jodi

  10. 10
    Tina Harden Photogaphy says:

    I want the Challenge of learning new things on my PC not the Challenge of learning the things I already know on a Mac… No time for that not to mention the money and the software replacement and the fact that the I wouldn’t want to run parallel. I’m a PC! LOL

  11. 11
    Amy says:

    Could you get the mac versions of all the photoshop software on eBay? I did a quick search and it seems there all all the versions you need on there :) Good luck with your final decision!

  12. 12
    Janis says:

    If you’re willing to spend the time searching you can usually find most of the older versions of the software on Amazon or eBay. Usually they’re overstock items or surplus that stores are now trying to clear out so they’re still new and come with everything you need. I’ve found both PS6 and PSE6 in a matter of minutes this morning:

    http://cgi.ebay.com/Adobe-Photoshop-Elements-6-Mac-OS-X-BRAND-NEW_W0QQitemZ190313191141QQcmdZViewItemQQptZUS_Software?hash=item2c4f8cd6e5&_trksid=p3286.c0.m14&_trkparms=65%3A12%7C66%3A2%7C39%3A1%7C72%3A1234%7C240%3A1318%7C301%3A0%7C293%3A1%7C294%3A50

    http://www.amazon.com/gp/offer-listing/B00004YNJI/ref=dp_olp_used?ie=UTF8&qid=1244905958&sr=1-22&condition=used

    I hope those links actually work. Obviously, it will cost you more to get started but I think in the long run, it would
    be worth it.

    Good luck!

  13. 13
    Michelle says:

    I think for your particular situation you are very wise to stick with PC… this coming from a MAC user. ;)

  14. 14
    Jodi Bell says:

    Unfortunately, that is the biggest hurdle to overcome – the expense of it all. I went through this myself, but was sure i was financially ready to invest (or should I say “reinvest”) in the programs, etc. before doing so. I think when that time comes, you will be glad you made the switch (I would never go back to a PC, personally after having my Mac). Until then, I say “don’t fix what isn’t broke”! If the PC serves your needs, go for it. :o)

  15. 15
    Jolie says:

    So you are stuck in PC (microsoft) H E Double Hockey Sticks essentially forever? :-P Is a viable solution for you to go MAC with what you can and keep your PC for the older stuff? A pain, but as time goes on the hopefully you won’t need those older versions.

  16. 16

    I just picked up a Dell a few days ago because my computer died. I needed to buy it in the store because it was quicker…the specs are Intel i7 Proccessor (faster processor for photoshop) 6 gigs of ram (trichannel 1 gig chips) and 512 meg memory card. The only thing I would reccomend that you do differently if you customize is strip the boot drive for faster performance (raid 0).

  17. 17

    I have 2 macs.. I started with a mac laptop, and windows desktop. I purchased cs3 for windows and the windows computer was way to slow without the option of an upgrade.. SO, my husband (network engineer) researched and researched and we decided to get the mac pro. It has way more space but it did give me the cs4 issue. You can upgrade your software w/ adobe (for a small fee) from windows to mac versions.

    techno nerd hubby said to pimp out a dell to match the macpro quad core blah blah it would cost essentially the same amount.. the mac monitor is really what seemed to tack on the $$$$, in comparison.

    all that being said I LOVE MACS but there is a huge learning curve and I wish I had stayed with windows.

  18. 18
    robin says:

    Check out Dell’s XPS line–for you, one of the higher end jobs, like the 630 or something. The cases are really roomy and easy to work in (these are gaming machines and gamers like to upgrade) and at the 630 level dual video cards start to be standard. I just bought an XPS 435 with the new Intel i920 processor, upped myself to 9GB of RAM (it can go to 24), and it’s awesome. And the service for the XPS systems is phenomenal–next business day, any problems, the guy comes to your house–no lugging it into the nearest apple store to wait on a “genius”.

  19. 19
    honey says:

    Jodi … if you switch platforms for cs4 you will run your main software on mac. Why would the other pc programs not install? Why couldn’t you run the test side on another laptop … having that many photoshops on one computer is bound to eat up a ton of space… you could be running and creating on cs4 and testing the actions in the other programs on your pc laptop.

  20. 20
    Shanna says:

    Jodi.. i switched to macs about 4-5 yrs ago.. this was a huge thing in my house b/c dh is a major major PC guy. I do not regret the switch one bit. I do run vmware fusion in case i ever need windows for something (testing in IE for web design,etc) it works.. perhaps a bit slower.. but it works. we also have a separate windows VM set up on our network which i can access through remote desktop and that works MUCH faster. Personally I did not find much of a learning curve when switching to a mac, but that’s just me. If you get a desktop, macs can use any monitor.. you don’t need one from apple.. same with the keyboard, mouse, etc.

    If you do decide to go with a mac… i have CS2 (the whole suite) sitting on my shelf collecting dust if interested. LMK. I am running CS4 now.

    Anyway, just thought i would offer my $0.02.

    Oh, one thing.. if you buy a mac, don’t upgrade the ram on apples website.. you can get the same ram for about 1/4th the price on newegg.com. :)

  21. 21
    Jill says:

    I am in the a similar situation (not quite as far into the business end but similar). What I’m doing is sticking with the PC and going super powerful. My husband set my desktop up as a network so I can still be on a laptop (mobility is necessary with a 4 year old). I love the networking idea because all of my storage is on the desktop (which is backed to carbonite instantly) and if my laptop crashes (which it has in the past), my files are still save.

    Good luck building your new mega machine!!

  22. 22
    Janet says:

    I just don’t understand why you need to keep working with the outdated software. Are you going to be using it forever? I would think the majority of your clients would be using newer versions. I won’t pretend that I know your business as well as you do though. :)

    • admin says:

      Janet – because a large % of my customers use CS3 still and many still on CS2 and even CS. Every once in a while a version even older. So to service them, I need to have a variety of versions of Photoshop. Probably when the next PS comes out I will drop supporting and worrying about 7 – but I would guess I will still try and make stuff work in CS when I can. Not all my sets do – many are just CS2 and up – but I do not know until I try.

  23. 23
    Tina says:

    Or you can always download any version of Photoshop from Pirate Bay. Kidding!

  24. 24
    Paul Kremer says:

    I have a Dell that I just purchased in January. I was able to get XP installed, so none of that Vista stuff! I loaded it up with a super fast 3.0 Ghz DuoCore processor, 4 GB RAM, and a 512 MB video accelerator! This thing screams! To each their own, I have no problems with Mac and may own one someday, but for right now, my needs are full met with my PC. Get the desktop, you won’t be sorry.

  25. 25
    Alisha Shaw says:

    I too keep older software versions of PSE and CS for clients and LOVE my new DELL. EVEN with Vista-I know!! LOL Took about a week to get all the plugins to make all the programs I had compatible, but no additional learning curve and I can still teach those with MAC’s easily enough. Best of luck! Being able to continue your work seamlessly-ish is totally worth staying with a PC IMHO

  26. 26
    Melinda says:

    I’m PC and love it…
    I think you have too much invested.

  27. 27
    Aurelie says:

    Hi Jodi,

    There is a program called virtual box which is free:
    http://www.virtualbox.org/

    You can run your copy of Windows and Photoshop on it. If you ever get viruses it will just be on the virtual box and not on your computer.

  28. 28
    Brad says:

    Jodi, it’s just not worth it to go over to the Mac. I think you know that already, and the advantages that a Mac has are not near the headaches you would face in switching. Bottom line – this is your business your dealing with, and the risks are not worth it. As much as I love my Mac, if I were in your shoes, I would stay with the PC. One word of caution, Dell’s quality has slipped in the last year or two. Numerous reliability issues have surfaced as well as a rapid decline in support, which surprised me actually (because that’s what they were always great at). I would suggest also looking at HP’s higher end machines. HP has continued to keep their business and workstation systems reliable. They’re more expensive than Dell (though not by a lot), and you can customize the configuration to get a great video card, high-speed (7200 rpm) SATA drives, etc. I would suggest looking at DROBO as an external drive unit for backing up your system (they have redundant drive configurations and are highly endorsed by many pro photographers like Scott Kelby, Terry White, Matt Kloskowski, etc). Hope this info is useful to you!

  29. 29
    Kylie M says:

    Jodi

    You don’t have to purchase the new software for Mac. You just need to buy the upgrade to say CS4 and do what they call a ‘platform change’. You buy the upgrade for Mac then ring them and they walk you through the installation. I’ve just done it in January, Adobe were fantastic – it’s not an issue at all. Don’t let that put you off buying a Mac.

    Kylie

  30. 30
    Elizabeth R says:

    Jodi,
    I just changed from a PC to a Mac 6 months ago. The learning curve is huge, but now I am happy with the Mac and glad I changed.

  31. 31
    Kara says:

    I have HP laptop and just do my RAW editing on it, and love it! I also have an HP desktop and the thing flies, but I also had a friend put more RAM on it :) I think you should stick with PC, mainly because there’s not much the Mac offers that the PC doesn’t (ok, no viruses but I’ve been on a virus-free PC for 4 years now with no issues). The programs run identically on both platforms the shortcuts are a lot different and many accounting programs don’t run on Mac (and why would you buy a computer just to run a different OS on it?) When you’re talking high-end machines, it’s the same nikon vs. canon debate, when you get to that level, there’s no a huge difference at all, just preference. I don’t think you should buy into the Mac hype because they just market them that they’re for creative industries, just like canon L glass is the pro glass, nikon pro glass is just as good (or better :P). Soup up a PC and be proud :)

  32. 32
    Lori M. says:

    Jodi – what laptop do you use for editing? I have a Dell laptop and a custom-built desktop with a nice 22″ monitor. It is very fast and works well but would like to have the mobility with a laptop at times when editing. I would like to use the laptop some for editing but have always been afraid to for color reasons. Any suggestions on that??

  33. 33
    Jodi says:

    My laptop is a Dell Precision M6300. I calibrate the monitor and it is fine.

  34. 34
    Karen says:

    I used “Boot Camp” on my mac for a while with my PC version of photoshop before I could afford to make the switch. It worked great while I had it! You may want to check it out. You can run anything windows on it and it turns your mac into a pc screen while you are in the mode. Just google “boot camp” for macs.

  35. 35
    MIchelle says:

    I’m a Mac user BUT I understand your situation. A word of warning though — I’d stay away from Dell. I had 2 Dell laptops that died within a year of purchase. Being without my laptop for service for 2 weeks was not acceptable. In talking to other people, it seems that everyone else who has a Dell has a lot of problems as well. I’d look into a different PC… if you just can’t make the planets align for a Mac. Once you go Mac, you will never go back. It’s worth the investment and time for the switch over.

    For training…. it’s probably time everyone makes an upgrade. If they are using programs that date that far back, then they will be limited and restricted in what they can do. Time for everyone to make an upgrade. If people still have v7 and even CS… it’s time.

  36. 36
    Michele says:

    I have a Gateway that has 4mg ram, but otherwise not much extra. I have been worried whether the color I see on my laptop is even close to what I would get. Recently I had some photos developed by Color Inc…….the photos look fantastic, and exactly as they do on my laptop monitor.
    This has saved me money, as I was about to buy a good monitor to hook up my laptop, but for now I am very happy and very surprised!

  37. 37
    Michele says:

    Jodi…..if you are interested in a Dell Vostro, right now there is a coupon for 46% off any 1720 over $1500! I just played with it, and adding a ton would be around $2,000 or so……and 46% off! At least that’s what it looks like.

  38. 38
    Jodi says:

    what is the code – not sure if I can build it as much as I want – but I can try – is it for business system or home?

  39. 39

    You could probably buy old versions of PS online. I have several old versions for the Mac. I’m sure if you searched, people would be happy to practically give them away. I don’t know if they would work or even be legal unless they were already installed on an old computer though. You’d have to research that one.

    It also it depends on who your customer is. If more of them use a PC it makes sense for you to stay on that platform. You could always keep your old PC for the older PS versions and move forward on the Mac. You might regret not having one in the future when more people switch over. Most of the big time Photoshop gurus are on Macs, I’d personally want to be in with that crowd:-) Your customer base might change also, but it could be better… who knows?

    Good luck!

  40. 40
    christy says:

    i just made the switch. everyone said it was a “must” in this industry…”so much better…completely worth the money, the new programs, the switch over, and the stress of learning”.
    i wouldnt do it again. there are a lot of great features of my mac, but adobe was difficult to work with (still waiting for an $800 refund after 2 months of calling since they sent me the upgrade cause they said it would work, but it didnt since i was switching platforms) and on the imac (if youre getting that) my monitor was HORRIBLE to callibrate! its so “latest and greatest” with its pretty colors, but when you print, it doesnt look the same and since there is no contrast button on the front like with a typical pc-combatible monitor, i had a really hard time.

  41. 41
    aa says:

    So you are stuck in PC (microsoft) H E Double Hockey Sticks essentially forever? :-P Is a viable solution for you to go MAC with what you can and keep your PC for the older stuff? A pain, but as time goes on the hopefully you won’t need those older versions.

  42. 42

    I love, love, love that last photo.

  43. 43
    Valerie says:

    Jodi…my college son is an engineering student who really researched PC’s when buying his latest laptop. He needs amazing graphics and speed for some of his design programs(and gaming). The Dell laptops have been disappointing for durability in our house. We have had great HP experiences – but Chase did the research and went with the ASUS brand. He has the power of a desktop with the convenience of a laptop. The company has been making the insides for the other companies for years. He has been loving it. I would check it out. Best wishes on the decision.



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