I switched to Apple in 2013 back when I grew weary of the never ending and stupid changes in Linux desktop environments; in particular, Ubuntu’s switch to Unity (which didn’t stand the test of time, I see). The one thing back then which its desktop environment (GNOME 2.x) did for me, at least, was prepare me for OS X (now macOS). Its file manager was about as useless as the Mac Finder, so that got me used to not expecting much in that department, and it was generally in the “less is more” camp with Apple. Before that I used various KDE-based Linux distributions, but eventually I gravitated to Ubuntu as I began to be less fussy about things such as useful default file managers.
My Late 2013 15″ MacBook Pro (a.k.a. “Ol’ Bessie”) is starting to struggle, albeit mostly when I want to run Parallels to fire up a Windows 10 virtual machine in order to work from home. If it wasn’t for having to do that, I’d probably be a happy little camper for the most part. But the noisy fan under heavy loads (not just when using Parallels), and hearing about all the problems with Apple computers getting rather noisy and too hot, means that I just cannot bring myself anymore to pay top dollar for inferior hardware.
I briefly considered getting a Mac Mini (like I did originally back in 2013 before returning it for a refund because of video issues) but they’re also cramped little boxes which get too hot and have noisy fans under load. There’s always an iMac but I already have a Dell 27″ monitor which I’m quite happy with, and I’m reluctant to pay extra for a screen that I don’t need. I’m also not paying A$1,050 for a 2 TB SSD, which I’m pretty sure wouldn’t be a Samsung 970 Evo Plus!
The problem with Apple’s hardware is mostly their own fault because of its obsession with reducing size at the expense of adequate cooling. However, Apple is also flogging a dead horse by stubbornly remaining with Intel, whose mobile offerings are now struggling to match AMD. This guy says it best:
“AMD’s Precision Boost, unlike Intel’s Turbo Boost, does not have a duration limit. So, much like a GPU, Ryzen third-gen will keep boosting for as long as it can within its thermal and power budgets. In other words, these things are designed to redline.”
“…for the first time in over a decade, AMD is essentially on top of the consumer CPU race, and much like in the Athon 64 days, Intel has no meaningful response on their roadmap…”
A friend of mine at work said that his daughter recently bought a 13″ MacBook Pro and commented on how hot it can get, too. I mostly run my laptop in “clamshell mode” and don’t actually use it like a laptop 99% of the time, but I still don’t want the thing overheating on my desk. I have the option of salary packaging a laptop, too, which will save me around 40% of the cost, but even if I could save a couple of grand, I still wouldn’t want to buy a MacBook Pro today; the hardware is just overpriced garbage.
So, I’m now contemplating building my own box at a fraction of the cost (prices are from scorptec.com.au and were current as of 25-March-2020):
- $349 – AMD Ryzen 5 3600 3.6 GHz 6-core processor
- $259 – Gigabyte B450 AORUS PRO ATX AM4 motherboard
- $249 – G.Skill Ripjaws V Series 32 GB (2 x 16) DDR4-3200 memory
- $218 – Crucial P1 1 TB M.2-2280 NVME solid state drive
- $145 – Gigabyte GeForce GT 1030 2 GB Silent low profile video card
- $169 – Corsair RM550x Gold 550W power supply
- $109 – Corsair 110Q Mid-Tower Quiet ATX case
- $25 – LG GH24NSD1 24x SATA DVD-RW drive
- $1,523 in total
I’ll sleep on it some more and see if Apple miraculously comes out with a decent mid-level computer that’s not a compact little furnace. I may be waiting a long time for that day to come, sadly.
Besides, it will be easier returning to Windows after all these years, having walked away when Windows Vista came out. Microsoft have lifted their game considerably since then, and I’m quite happy with it at work. There’s even a Windows Subsystem for Linux, Internet Explorer is almost dead and buried, and pretty soon there will be an equivalent to Spotlight, which I couldn’t live without. Things are looking pretty good for Windows users now, and I’m looking forward to coming back to my first operating system.
- 24/May/2020: Here’s another good reason to bring my time with Apple to an end: An important message from Louis Rossmann.
- 25/May/2020: A sign of the times: Linus Torvalds drops Intel and adopts 32-core AMD Ryzen Threadripper on personal PC.