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millennium | Consumer Macs are crap again - or why I bought a PC.
A Weblog by Ben Goodger

August 14, 2009

My iMac, which 3 years ago was state of the art, now struggles to build Chrome in less than an hour. Sad? No, that’s progress.

What is sad is that the current top of the line iMac is not much better - the best config iMac (3.06GHz/24″/8GB RAM) is still shipping with the archaic Core 2 Duo.

In 2009, now that the Core i7 is out, no one should be selling a high end consumer system powered by the Core 2 Duo - it’s junk fit for the garbage can.  And yet here Apple is charging $3200 for one. Not since the days of PowerPC has Apple been so behind in CPU horsepower.

Well sure you might say, the iMac is consumer grade not pro-grade - not meant for developers compiling software - that’s the realm of the Mac Pro[1]. But why not? When I bought my iMac in late 2006, it was actually the fastest thing you could buy full stop (except maybe for some crazy $1500 Xeons). I was buying something that not only looked good and was space saving, but something I couldn’t complain about when I used it for work. Intel’s kept up its end of the bargain, developing the amazing new Nehalem CPUs, which deliver simply astounding multitasking performance. But despite being available for almost a year now, Apple has yet to ship it in a consumer line system.

Where does this leave me? With a loud, ugly Windows workstation again. I am not happy about it. But it’s fast enough for me to get work done on.

[1] The Mac Pro might be a contender if it wasn’t so brazenly overpriced.  The Windows system I bought can now be had for ~$1500, a system whose Chrome build performance can only be matched by spending about $6000 on an equivalent Mac Pro. Come on Apple, not all developers are zillionaires comfortable with dropping the price of a brand new Nissan Versa (w/Cash For Clunkers) on something that will be a paperweight in a couple of years.

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