Wednesday, January 18, 2006

This is not a good time to buy a Mac

Lusting after the new Mactel machines? Want more power? Want to trade get rid of your old jalopy Mac? Think this is a great time to buy a new Mac? Think again! Right now most applications are not ready for the Mactels. They will be running in Rosetta mode (think virtual machine.) There goes your speed bump. Your old jalopy Mac might be upgradable for a bit longer on the cheap. I just put a new graphics card, a new ATA controller in my Mac G4 sawtooth, and I had already added a 1.4 Ghz processor upgrade and 1.5G of RAM. Now, that baby screams! It is like an old six cylinder Nova with a new V-8 engine. I figure that boost will get me about 18 months more life. About then the Mactels will have a bigger market share, the inevitable bugs will have been worked out of them, they will be on their second rev, 10.5 will be out and PPC apps will be starting to fade away. So, neither a Mactel Mac, or a PPC Mac are good investments right now, in my opinion.

I think this will be very much like when the Motorola Complex Instruction Set Computers (CISC) based systems were phased out for the Power Mac, Power PC (PPC) Reduced Instruction Set Computers (RISC) based computers about ten years ago. After about two years new applications were no longer being introduced that were compatible with the old Quadra and earlier Motorola, CISC based Macs. New software versions were PPC-RISC only! Now we are transitioning from PPC-RISC to Intel (back to CISC again) and the same issues will be there. The sweet spot to migrate will be in 12-20 months. That is when my 1999 built Sawtooth G4 Power Mac will be ready to be put to pasture. Pretty good, eight productive years. Try doing that with a Wintel computer!

So, will we be able to get such a long life from the Mactels? Or, will they be more like the Wintels in upgradability? Time will tell.

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