Taking the Mac-Intel Plunge: Our Guide to Getting You Started

Review: Not sure if you should make the switch? We tell you all you need to know. (PCMag.com)

A year ago, the thought of spending my hard-earned money on a Mac was laughable. The components were slower, specifically the G4 and G5 processors, than those found on Windows PCs. Also, the idea of abandoning my native Windows language and adopting OS X was unsettling.

How things have changed: Over the past few months, Apple laptops and desktops have gotten Intel makeovers, so now it runs just as fast as any Windows-based PC.

The bigger news is that Apple is sanctioning the coexistence of Windows XP on a Mac-Intel. Id say those are two compelling reasons to go out and get a Mac.

If youre a first time computer buyer or if youre like me—a Windows user thinking of making the switch—a Mac-Intel is looking very attractive right now.

In addition to the faster, more capable, Intel processors, Apple computers are less prone—not completely immune, as Apple might have you think—to virus attacks. (The bulk of virus attacks are mainly targeted towards Windows.)

Apples operating system, OS X, is also more visually appealing than Windows XP and is easy to use, whether youre connecting to a mixed (Windows and Mac) network, attaching a printer, or connecting to the Web.

You also get the coveted iLife 06 suite, a very advanced multimedia software suite, which eliminates the need to spend money on a separate photo, video or music editing programs.

There are over 1,700 applications, including professional suites like Final Cut Studio that are "Universal Binary". For those not up to speed, "Universal Binary" applications are applications rewritten so that it speaks correctly to the new Intel hardware.

Not a big deal for most of us, but its good to know that most Mac software is now running optimally with a Mac-Intel. (For an in-depth list, go to http://guide.apple.com/universal/.)

You have several Mac-Intels to choose from. The iMac 20-inch is an absolutely gorgeous desktop suitable for any home office or dorm room. It maximizes the area on your desk by putting all the hardware into a brightly lit, 20-inch LCD panel.

/zimages/2/28571.gifRead the full story on PCMag.com: Taking the Mac-Intel Plunge: Our Guide To Getting You Started

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