As you may know from reading my previous blogs, I bought a new Mac Mini a couple months ago. The last couple months since then have been a wild, but incredibly enjoyable adventure. I've talked in the past about why I felt that the Macintosh OS X operating system was superior to Windows XP from a software point of view. I have not talked in the past about the hardware side of things. Today that changes, due to a very important event. Earlier this week, I ordered a refurbished PowerMac G5 and yesterday (on my birthday!) it arrived. (Yes, Mom, I bought another computer!) Oh my God, this thing is the most beautifully designed computer I have ever seen! I am in love!
Apple has been known for pioneering the latest technologies in their computers, long before regular 'Wintel' PCs did. They were the first to go fully USB, They were the first to sell 64 bit computers, and they were the first to sell dual processor computers. Apple has been selling dual processor computers as standard equipment for several years now. Big name PC vendors like Dell are just now starting to come out with equivalent dual processor computers. Here are some things I've found only in my brief experience with a PowerMac that show how vastly superior its design is to regular PCs.
- A 'screwless' case design. With the PowerMac, you just flip a switch in the back and the side panel literally just falls off. No need to dig out the screw driver, remove screws, try not to lose them, no more sliding out the side panel. Very simple.
- Silent operation! My Athlon 64 computer sounds like a airplane taking off when it starts up. All the fans make a horrible racket. The PowerMac is totally silent when it runs.
- Solid construction. The PowerMac is made entirely of metal. It's very solid, very clean looking and very professional looking. Most PCs are an ugly mixture of metal and plastic.
- Very modular fan assembly. The entire fan assembly inside the PowerMac is a single large piece of plastic. It just slides in and out with no need to manually connect and disconnect power cables each time. The power is integrated into the fan assembly. Just pull it out and it unplugs the power. Just slap it in and it plugs in the power and lines up perfectly. To modify the fans in a PC usually requires removing 4 small screws per fan, disconnecting the power, removing the fan, replacing the fan, reinserting the screws, and reconnecting the power. Many possible points of failure there that could cause your fans to not work and have your entire computer overhead and destroy itself.
- Ridiculously easy hard drive installation. In the PowerMac, all you need to do to install a hard drive is grabe the four mounting guides (conveniently stored right next to where the hard drive mounts inside the case). Screw them into the 4 corners of the hard drive and slide the hard drive in. It locks into the case automatically with no screws. Then, once the hard drive is in, the data and power cables for the hard drive are already mounted exactly where they should be. There's no chance of error here. The data cable is located right underneath the data plug in the hard drive. The power cable is located right underneath the power plug on the hard drive. In a PC, you have to an elaborate procedure of setting tiny little easy to lose jumpers on the hard drive, finding the right screws for the hard drive, mounting them to rails, sliding the rails into the PC, running a data cable to the hard drive, running a power cable to the hard drive, hoping that you connected everything right and crossing your fingers when the computer boots up. Plus you tend to have these big ugly cables stretched all over the innards of the computer. Ugly!
After seeing how well this thing is designed, I question why I ever put up with PCs in the first place. OS X made me question PC software. The PowerMac made me question PC hardware.