To Buy a Mac or Wait for Intel
To Buy a Mac or Wait for Intel
By J.D. BIERSDORFER
Published: August 11, 2005
To Buy a Mac Now
Or Wait Awhile
Q. I want to buy a new iMac now, but was wondering if I should wait until the new Intel-based versions appear. Is there any reason to wait?
A. Apple Computer's recent announcement that it was changing the processors inside its Macintosh computers means some big changes when the company switches to Intel-based chips from the current PowerPC processors made by I.B.M. and Motorola. Apple plans to release some Macs with Intel processors starting in 2006, and hopes to have most new Macs running the chips by 2007.
Such a change typically means that programs and software written to run on one type of processor must be rewritten or modified to work on a different processor. Some companies may create a version of a program that runs on both PowerPC and Intel chips, while others may sell the versions separately.
To help with the transition, Apple has developed a program called Rosetta that allows many programs written for its old PowerPC chips to run on its new Intel-based processors. Because of the code translation being performed, Rosetta may make the older programs run a bit slower and some processor-intensive programs like software for 3-D rendering and graphics-laden games may not work at all with it.
The decision to upgrade to a new iMac now or later depends on a number of factors. If your Mac is old and slow and you wanted to upgrade it anyway, buying a new machine now could save you a year's worth of frustration, and it would most likely suffice for most standard tasks for years.
If you regularly use the old Mac OS 9 versions of programs on your current computer and need to keep using them, consider buying a new machine now, as the Rosetta software for the Intel-based Macs is not intended to run those older programs.
If your current computer is meeting all your basic needs and you can get by on it for another year, though, waiting may not be a bad idea. Moving to a new processor will have its bumps, but will keep obsolescence that much farther in the future.
Personally, I would not wait -and I speak from experience as I did not wait. Apple changes models as fast as everybody else - the difference being changes to a specific model. Many Macs just received upgrades recently (as example), yet the model names are the same.
Right, but if all the software they start releasing is made for the new Intel based chips and not the PowerPC.. then that would suck
With the universal binaries that Apple is pushing for software developers to use this will never be an issue, there will always be a PPC and x86 program out since xcode can compile into both formats with ease. In fact it'll be more of an issue if you wait for an intel mac. Since when that comes out software that is still optomized for the G4/G5 cpu's won't be coded properly x86 and will have to be emulated through rosetta which is not going to be much fun for altivec heavy apps.
Originally Posted by Thesifer
Basically if you need a comp now buy it. The mactels might start trickling over in a few months but there is a reason why the pro models are seeing the transition last, its to give developers time to get out x86 compiled programs. Even if Apple has all x86 based systems by 07, there will be probably a 1-2 year transitions for developers and for the weening off rosetta if not longer.