From PC to Mac ... and back again

I grew up with PCs.

Actually, I grew up with my parents, younger sister and an imaginary friend called Rupert … but that’s beside the point. Where was I? Ah …

Yes, I’ve grown up with PCs. My first ‘real’ computer was an Amstrad CPC-664. While my friends were busy playing games on their Amigas and Ataris, I was learning BASIC on the 664. Fun, eh? The Amstrad was soon replaced with a 286 PC running a curious operating system called ‘Microsoft Windows 286’. It would never catch on. :o). In fact it was useless, so I ignored it – returned to DOS, and continued playing with programs using QuickBASIC.

I’m not going to give you a blow-by-blow account of every PC I’ve ever owned, but I’ve had quite a few over the years. It’s only in the last five years, as I began working in a more creative AV environment that I discovered Apple, and Mac OSX. I have to admit, I was completely taken in by Steve Jobs’ Reality Distortion Field – and continue to be taken in by it. The Mac is a fantastic platform for creative work, and the operating systems is years ahead of Windows. The Mac was the first computer I sat down to use, and didn’t have the overwhelming urge to dive into the system settings and tweak everything to my preferences. Everything was just so easy to figure out and use that I just wanted to get on with the important job of actually using the software.

I’ve been using Macs for almost three years now, and about a year ago I even replaced my home PC with a G5 iMac. All went well until I began to realise the things I couldn’t do on a Mac. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not thinking of getting rid of the Mac. In fact, therein lies of the problem. I don’t want to give up the Mac – but I want to get back to doing so many things that only the PC can offer. I’ve spent 6 years working in VB and ASP, and have started the move to the .NET platform. It seems a waste to throw all that experience away and learn Cocoa or Carbon – just so I can continue development on the Mac platform.

The other thing I’ve missed over the last two years is PC gaming. I’ve tried the consoles (XBox and Gamecube), and even the Nintendo DS … but it’s nothing compared to the sheer range of game genres and performance you get from a PC.

They say you can’t have your cake and eat it … but I disagree.

It’s time to go… [CUE: Back To The Future music] … Back To The PC!

Intel Core 2 Duo System

… and if you’re going to go back, it’s best to do it in style. Yes, that is a Core 2 Duo. A 2.4Ghz to be exact. Combined with a nVidia GeForce 7900 GTX, I expect I’ll need to wear goggles when I use this thing!

There’s a home for this beast next to my iMac – so hopefully I can continue to enjoy the benefits of OSX. In fact, to highlight the difference, you may notice the PC is a nice jet black to contrast the iMac. How very Zen :o)

I’ve had no end of trouble getting this thing up and running … and not for the usual reasons. I have everything ready … except the motherboard. The company I ordered it from have sent me the wrong one – one which doesn’t support the Core 2 Duo CPU – so I’ve had a very traumatic weekend. So many new toys, but I can’t plug any of them in! Nghh!

Hopefully the motherboard thing will be sorted by Tuesday, and I’ll be up and running by then. I’ve bought Oblivion to christen the system with. Its an amazing looking game, and apparently one of the most grueling games for any PC to run. Bring it on!

So then. There we have it. I’ve gone full circle – learnt a lot on the way – and now feel I’ve finally got a setup that meets my needs: PC for games and development, the Mac for everything else.

Once it’s up and running I’ll let you know how it performs. Until then, I’ve gotta go. I feel the need to go and sit in front of this beast. Maybe tap the keys and pretend it’s all working. TTFN.