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I have an 8yr old iMac I’ve been using and it is so very very slow. Unplanned, went to Best Buy to talk today and they weren’t interested in showing Macs at all, which is what I’m familiar with and partial to, but not necessarily set on.  (They also told me that Macs only go up to an i5 processor, which upon a quick search appears to be wrong.)
From reading through a number of threads here on Mac and PC, it looks like I can maintain your recommendations and save maybe around $1000 by going the PC route. ($1500-2000 vs $2600-3000).  As much as I love my mac, I’m feeling like from what I’m reading, I am paying extra for the name and familiarity.  I am an “average user,” and likely wouldn’t feel the need to upgrade if it wasn’t for photoshop. 
What am I missing? (Honestly I know almost nothing about these things, but I’m basing pricing off of your minimum recommendations. I don’t want to “waste” 1K but don’t want to regret switching away from Mac if I’m not considering something(s).)

Thank you!

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The guy ad Best Buy does not know what he is talking about. Or, more than likely, he only knew what Best Buy sells, and that's pre-configured iMacs only, which usually have the standard options. I'm currently running a i7 CPU in my iMac as I type this. ;)

Yes, Apple has never been inexpensive. Even from the first Macintosh from 1984, and that debuted at $2495 (or $2499) which in today's money is about $6,176.46! That is the average price of a just-released Macintosh Pro. (Or somewhere in that price-range.) Anyway, what is the difference besides familiarity? A closed system. Apple is in control of everything and what they say...goes. If they say we are enforcing 64-bit software for their new Operating System, software developers better have a 64-bit coding in the works. Basically, you play by Apple's rules or you don't play at all. Apple has been about the "Customer Experience" since the beginning. Some people balk at that level of control and want choices, others don't mind. I fix Windows Servers and Computers / Networks / Printers all day long. When I come home, I just want my computer to work. The internet is the same. Photoshop is the same, I just don't have to screw around with staying on top of updates, worrying about malware and trojans an all that, my computer just works. (Yes, Macs are not 100% immune to things like this, but since the Mac Operating System is based on a version of Unix, it's tougher to write them. Plus, Macs are as prominent as Windows computers, so if you are looking to catch a lot of fish, you aren't going for the rare kind, you want the masses.) Yes, there is a quirk every now and then, as Macs are slightly different with their versions of software, like Microsoft products, but they are minor. My wife, who is an Accountant, can't stand MS Excel on my Mac. It's just slightly different and she has to remember the Mac-specific shortcut keys that don't exist on a Windows Computer. That said, she is a professional numbers person and I get it. For me, I don't go into deep into Excel as she does, so for me it's "fine."

The other benefit, is the lack of hardware choices. That's right: Benefit. Meaning that since there is only a certain number of hardware devices in Apple's line-up, video cards, motherboard chip-sets, etc. etc. it's easier for software companies to develop things for Apple. When you only have 5 video cards to program for, instead of 100's or more, things are just easier. That's why I get so angry at Adobe when they screw up PS. They have programmed for Apple since their existence, they should know better by now. Anyway, I'm going to start digressing. 

The other nice thing is when it comes to repair. Apple, or an Apple Authorized Service Center are the ones fixing your computer. Not some HS kit at Best Buy (Geek Squad) who receives very little training and has a screwdriver toolkit off the sales floor. I speak from experience. I WAS ONE OF THOSE KIDS WAY-BACK-WHEN. Fortunately, I was in an Authorized Repair Shop and went through official Apple Hardware Training before I fixed the higher-end things.

With the Tariff's today, it's actually a bad time for people to purchase a new computer. They cost $300-$500 MORE now than they did from a year ago. All the stuff comes from China (components, parts, cases, power supplies, etc.) Fortunately, Apple's prices have remained constant. Of course, they weren't cheap to begin with. Switching back to a Windows computer is going to be a bit of pain-in-the-ass, as the file formats are different. You will need to purchase some translation software in order to write to a NTFS Partition, or use a FAT32 thumbdrive and manually move stuff over. Keep in mind, this translation software is not 100% bullet-proof. So don't get rid of your Mac for at least a year, just to make sure you have everything.

Now it comes down to the cost and how much you want to spend. With a Windows Computer, you are looking to spend between $1200-$1500 for something decent. Plus add the cost of a monitor, which is around $300-$500, depending on what you get and the size. So call it $2000 or so. That's right up there with stock Apple iMacs!

Remember those Tariffs that I mentioned? Last year's $500 models are today's $800-$1000 models. The "Cheap" ones of today are the really cheapie ones from last year, which expect to only last 12-16 months. Apple wants you to "Go Big or Go Home." Do not ever think about buying a 21.5" iMac...THOSE ARE A WASTE OF MONEY. It's the 27" iMac or nothing when it comes to their desktop line. Even a base model $1799 27" iMac is a better deal than a high-end 21.5" $1499 iMac.

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