I have never before considered buy a Mac as my primary home machine. For the longest time I required a Windows development evironment, and with the primarly web development I am doing at home, I still need an IE testing environment. Couple that with the increased cost and it just didn’t seem feasible.

Having said that, I now have 2 machines, and I am looking at adding a 3rd. 

My machines are:

  • Work laptop, running XP. Quite powerful, but I don’t have free reign to install all the software I would like on it.
  • Home desktop. About 4-5 years old now. P4 3.2 gHz, 2 gigs of ram, also running XP. 

My home has had some hard ware issues as of late, and needs to be replaced as my primary machine. I am planning on keeping it and would like to install a linux distro on it, I am leaning towards ubuntu. 

Now as more and more computing gets done at work, my home machine gets used for a good deal less. Programs that I run on it, and would like to continue running on it are pretty limited:

  • AMP – Apache, MySQl, PHP
  • Eclipse
  • iTunes
  • Firefox or Chrome
  • Photoshop
  • Premiere Pro (or Final Cut Pro, etc…)

When I look at that list, and see that my machine is mainly used for web surfing, listening to music, some web dev, and photo/video editing, I start to consider getting a Mac. It would be better for the photo/video editing, about the same for web browsing -maybe a little safer, and a little worse for web development. Although I could install the AMP on linux machine, it is not out of the question on a Mac. It would also be nice to have 3 different OSes for testing purposes.

Now having said all this, I stared looking at the Apple store and was somewhat shocked. It didn’t look like there was anything that fit the bill for me. Basically I was looking for a pretty powerful desktop machine for around $1,500 or less, as I could easily spec a Windows box for that. It looks like the only option is an iMac. I was hoping to not buy a monitor in the same purchase, and I don’t really like having my entire machine in one sleak case. I already have 20″, and 22″ Samsung monitors. I also have bad luck, and my stuff tends to break. The easier it is to replace components the better. So I’m feeling very iffy on an iMac. 

The Mac Pro is right out of what I am willing to spend on a box. So is a Mac Book Pro, and I don’t really want another laptop, but that seems like it may be a (very expensive) solution.

Now it has been suggested that I build myself a Hackintosh, but that kinda defeats the purpose. I want to get a Mac to have less hassel, and frankly a project like that is not the cards for me (and my lazy ass) at the moment.

So is it just the way things seem? Is there nothing in the Mac line that suits my needs? Is a Mac that much improved over a Windows box for photo/video editing? What would you Mac Afficeanados suggest in my case?