I don’t like buying a new computer. Spending all that money is the first thing that bothers me but there are other things too. I make my living on the silly machine so it has to be done sooner or later. I prefer later.

I bought my first computer back in 1996 (December 1995 technically but it didn’t arrive until the new year). It was a Power Computing Mac clone from back in the days when there were such things as Mac clones. It was a clone of the Macintosh 9500 model minus the three extra PCI slots. All together I dropped five grand on the thing including monitor, Syquest drive (how’s that for nostalgia), and eight (or was it sixteen) whole megs of ram. It was a nice machine. With upgrades to the ram, hard drive, and processor it lasted me until 2002. That baby was tricked out and smokin’. I didn’t really want to get rid of it because I had it just the way I liked it but it was time. It served me a good long while but I needed more power. Still, six years was a long life for a computer. Don’t let anyone tell you Macs aren’t a good value.

So in early 2002 I dropped three grand on my current machine. A dual processor (2x 1gig) “Quicksilver” Mac. It’s now maxed out with a gig and a half of ram and has all sorts of hard drive, SCSI, USB 2.0, and Firewire 800 upgrades. I have no problems with it. All these years later it’s still fast enough to get the job done. I work in Photoshop on it all day long pushing around big files with no trouble. Sure it’s not as fast as the beasts they got out there today but I don’t care. How fast does it need to be? Gaining two seconds on a “file rotate” command really doesn’t matter to me. Yet, I’m going to have to get a new machine sometime in the next couple of years. Oy!

I’m just starting to bump into things that I can’t run on my ol’ Mac. Fairly recently Mac switched to Intel processors inside their computers. This means nothing to me except now some programs, such as iMove 08, won’t run on my old style processors. I don’t even use iMovie but it’s a sign of things to come. Programs my “Quicksilver” can’t run are only going to multiply. It’s a matter of time before things reach critical mass.

I also want a new monitor though because I still have an old CRT tube style monitor and would like the extra room of an LCD monitor. Apple makes an amazing looking 30 inch monitor but it won’t run on my computer. The video card won’t support it. Dell makes what is supposed to be an amazing 30 inch LCD monitor (I’ve not actually seen that one) but it won’t run on my computer. Both monitors run about $1500-$1800 so they are too expensive for me anyway but having to buy a whole new computer to run them, $2500 minimum, makes it impossible to afford. I’ll have to set my sights on a smaller and cheaper model.

At least Apple makes it easy to transfer all my programs and settings onto a new computer. Just plug the two machines together with a Firewire cable and it’s a painless automatic process. I did that when I got my laptop in 2004 and it was easy breezy. I don’t make my living with the laptop so I don’t care as much about what it won’t run. As long as I can type and surf the web my laptop is good to go. No pressure.

The new Mac towers are really, really pumped up machines built for pushing around video and 3D animation. So at last we’re at the point where I don’t have to spend for the top of the line model (me being a graphics guy and not a video guy). My other two computers were top of the line because that meant more power and longevity. That still holds true but pushing around graphics programs is easy for today’s low end mac desktops. Tomorrow’s programs that demand better specs will still run fine on them. That is unless they start using some other processors and change the rules. Filth flarn filth flarn!