Stacie's getting a Dell. Yes, soon the great and powerful Dell Dude will be bringing a shiny new PC to our house, much like a silicon Santa dropping a large lead box down our chimney.
Shocked? I wouldn't be surprised. I've been a Mac evangelist for a long time, often convincing family/friends to buy Macs. I still do. Keep in mind that I still own Macs and am even fortunate enough to use one at work. However, they don't really make a Mac that's a reasonable proposition for Stacie.
So what's her problem, anyway? iMacs and Macbooks are good enough for many folks, what's the deal? Stacie, as you probably know, is an avid World of Warcraft player. True, this game doesn't tax a PC like many 3d games do, but it certainly performs better with a modern system with a discreet graphics card. Her current iMac has such a configuration. Now, it overheats under the strain of running the game at full tilt plus en extra display. Clearly she needs to do something before the logic board melts. Today, if you want a graphics card on an iMac, you have to buy to more expensive ($1700 and up) 24" to even get that as an option. Her old one had this as an option on the more middle of the road 20" mac. So it's either a near-$2k iMac or a Mac Pro workstation/tower (what I use). Um, not really in the cards right now. The lower end iMacs and Mac Mini just don't cut it for most games. Clearly, Stacie would be an ideal customer for the mythical midrange Mac Tower. Probably something in between a Mac Pro and an iMac. Apple doesn't seem all that interested in offering such a thing, so that left us in PCville. Plus, I've grown accustomed to having a system that doesn't require the replacement of the display every time I want to upgrade the CPU.
We were able to get a Dell desktop with the newer/fast Intel Core i7 processor, 6 gb of RAM, and the same video card that's in the $2k iMac. All for about a grand. And it'll be faster, plus she can add a faster video card later if she wants something better. The obvious downside is that she'll be running Windows. This isn't as big a deal for her. On her home computer, she mainly plays WoW, surfs the web, and does Office stuff. Seems like Windows will do the job for her, though she'd still rather be on the Mac OS. I, on the other hand, play WoW, use the Web, and do audio/video editing, along with some photo stuff. The Mac software serves me very well there and I'm still quite happy with my giant Mac tower. Sure, it's more Mac than I need, but until Apple decides to cater to people like me, I'm either buying one of these or leaving the Mac fold.
The Dell hasn't arrived yet, but it'll be interesting to see how it goes. I'll report back and let y'all know how Stacie's liking it.