Mac vrs. Pentium

Jason L. Buberel jbuberel at uiuc.edu
Wed Feb 15 10:43:24 EST 1995

In article <3hrdlr$cu3 at bruce.uncg.edu>, kirchoff at goodall.uncg.edu (Bruce
K. Kirchoff) wrote:

>         I am in the market for a new computer.  As a long time IBM clone
> user I am hesitant to switch to Mac, but I want to consider all alternatives.
> Here is what I want to do with my computer.
> 1)  Run Adobie Photoshop to assemble photographic images (from an SEM and
>      light microscope) into plates, annotate the plates and print them
(to a camera
>      attached to the SEM) for publication.

For doing image processing work, your best bet (besides a $30,000 SGI
workstation) would be to get a power mac 8100/100MHz (or equivalent at the
time of purchase) and Adobe Photoshop 3.0.  Especially if you plan to use
any third party/custom phtoshop filters.  There is a whole industry worth
of these available for the Mac version of Photoshop that are not yet
available to the windows version.

> 2)  Capture images from a high resolution video camera (1000 lines TV,
>      attached to a light microscope.

There are quite a few options available here, although I don't know the
details.  Later this spring, Apple will be introducing the next line of
PowerMacs that will come with PCI bus slots (this is the standard
interface used in DOS machines).  This means you will be able to use PC
frame grabber boards in your power mac, as long as the manufacturer
updates their driver.  (The PCI-powerMacs will be using the new industry
standard Open Firmware spec for PCI card drivers).

If you will be doing any quantitative studies on captured images, there is
nothing better than NIH-Image for the PowerMac.  Written by Wayne Rasbad
of NIH, we use it to count silver grains for in situ hybridizaiton, and to
count Fos-IR cell bodies.  Programs of comparable function for Mac or PC
start at about $2000.  You can't beat that vaulue.  THe program even has
its own user-support mailing list, and can use most adobe phtotoshop plug

> 3)  Store and back up to tape many images.  I want a least a 1 gig drive
and a 
>      large tape back up system.

Since the Mac uses SCSI interfaces for hard disks, you can buy any SCSI
drive for your mac that you could get for your PC.  Some comanies now
offer SCSI-tower sized storage modules that have 8-10 gigs of HD space. 
In either platform, getting plenty of hard sisk space will not be a
problem.  The same goes for tape drives.  There are many available for
both platforms.

> 4)  Prepare multimedia presentation for use in class.

If you're serious about this, I would definitely give preference to the
mac and its quicktime technologies.  Titles designed around Quicktime on a
mac can be easily ported to QuickTime for windows.  Apple has also
released QuickTime VR, that you can use to paste together series of 2-D
phtographs into fully functional 3-D landscapes.  Also to be released will
be QuickTime 3-D, allowing any mac program to use/manipulate/render 3-D

> 5)  I will be connected to a network connected to the internet.

These days, almost all PCs come with EtherNet cards built in.  All
PowerMacs come with them.

> 6)  Run drawing programs such as Adobie Illistrator and Professional Draw.  I 
>      make diagrams for publication with these programs.

Again, any intesive graphics based work is still best done on a PowerMac. 
I frequently use the PowerMac version of Adobe Illustrator 5.5, and the
speed of screen redraws and zoom-ins is wonderful.

> 7)  Run normal world processing and database software.  My database (over
>      3000 references) is in a DOS program (Procite) and may be difficult
to convert.

As long as pro-cite can export your databse into some common format
(Refer/IBX or MEDLARS, etc.) you can import it into a mac-based reference
database.  EndNote Plus 2.0 is a good choice.  I just recently converted
about 5000 references from RefMan for PC to endNote for Mac.  It took me
about 15 minutes.  (The publishers of EndNote, Niles Inc. will send
registered users a free disk for transferring references into their

> 8)  Do all of the above with good performance.

The fastest desktop computer available today is the PowerMac 8100/110. 
Especially for doing digital image manipulation, you would be severely
handicapping youself by using a Pentium machine.

>         What computer would you recomend I purchase?  What options
> should I buy?  Do you have a favorite manufacturer for the video and frame
> grabber boards for the IBM (or Mac)?  I am interested in any information that
> might be helpful.
>         I will post a summary of the responses to this newsgroup.
>         Thanks in advance.
>                 Bruce Kirchoff

Hope this helps,


Jason L. Buberel
Graduate Student
Nueroscience Pgm
U of Illinois-UC

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