PC's are cheap. I consider the life of a typical PC anywhere between 2 to 3 years. And that includes probably a RAM and possibly video card update in the mean time. After 2 to 3 years, it's cheaper to just buy a new one than keep trying to upgrade.
So what is the life of a Mac? They aren't as cheap as the PC so I would hope they would last a bit longer. And I am sure upgrading components isn't as easy either. But I have never owned one, so what do I know.
[Bear edit: I corrected the title before some zealot pointed out that MAC is a network identifier and Mac is short for Macintosh. You should see the flame-fests that ensue over this triviality. :roll: ] [ September 23, 2004: Message edited by: Bear Bibeault ]
The Mac is indeed a dream machine for Java development. It has a beautiful, highly functional GUI, and an easily accessible Unix command line - in BSD Unix, the gold standard of Unixes. Apple seems very committed to the Java platform.
I just replaced a 1998 PowerBook, so that gives you some idea of their life. A 2000 G4 is still my wife's primary desktop machine, though it might get replaced soon by my 2002 model, if I buy a new G5. (I've been doing a fair amount of video stuff recently, for which power is still useful.)
One of the differences is that upgrades to the OS don't require upgrades to the hardware. A lot of people found that switching from Win2k to WinXP, things got a lot slower and they had to buy a new machine. In contrast, when I upgraded from 10.1 to 10.2, my machine actually got faster, and I understand that the same happened for people who upgraded to 10.3 (I'm currently happy in 10.2).
I just went through this. My circa 2000 laptop is barely alive any more, after several years of abuse (including a 2 year old dancing on it!).
Before that, though, all I'd buy was a mac. I still have one sitting at home that rarely gets powered up, but has photoshop and many other goodies. If I ever get around to it, I'll put Linux on it. But I digress.
For a new machine, my choices were either the mac or a machine with XP. Or pay a pile extra for Win2K. Neither option was appealing.
Hmm. OSX is BSD-based. It comes with Java support. Heck, it has X11 support. Eclipse and OSX are beautiful. It comes with apache as the web sharing layer. Plug and play really works.
And the powerbook G4 comes in a sleek, machined-aluminum shell. Much more durable than any PC laptop you'll find without paying a pile for a "ruggedized" box. (Remember the 2 year old dancing on my last machine.)
Hardware upgrades on desktops are a cinch--much easier than any PC I've seen even the new Dells (which are very nice indeed).
Upgrades on laptops are just as easy. Take out the battery, unscrew a panel, and slip in a SO-DIMM.
Anyway, to sum up: I found my way home. cd, so to speak. I bought the PBG4.
A piece of advice: Don't pay to have them add extra memory at apple. get it from an online reseller. It's much cheaper. For $500 extra I could have ordered it with 1GB. Instead, I let them send me the 256MB version and bought a 1GB dimm from http://eshop.macsales.com for $250 and popped it in next to the 256 MB to have a 1.25GB machine.
"Write beautiful code; then profile that beautiful code and make little bits of it uglier but faster." --The JavaPerformanceTuning.com team, Newsletter 039.