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Friday, April 4, 2014

19. Mac Vs PC

If you want to start an argument go into a room and shout “Apple rules and Microsoft stinks!” or vice-versa. Be ready for people to start ranting and raving with each other as there’s very strong fans on both sides of the aisle.

I realize that PC stands for Personal Computer but for the sake of this post “PC” will refer to computers running Windows. Apple computers will be simply referred to as “Macs.” “OS” will refer to operation system. So let’s compare Apple computers running Mac OS and PC’s running Windows OS shall we?

Customer Satisfaction
I believe the biggest difference between Macs and PCs is customer satisfaction. As of February 2014 PCMag readers chose seven years in a row Apple laptops over all other PCs. Apple laptops scored the highest for laptops less than a year old, work use, and home use categories.. In the desktops category Apple received the highest ratings for the overall, less than a year old, work use, and home use categories.

At a time when many PC manufacturers have shipped their service centers overseas the Apple Genius’s are still available at any Apple Store. Typically from experience you can usually see a technician (Apple Genius) within 24 hours. Repairs and work lasts less than a week.

It probably helps that if you have an issue with a Mac wether operating system or hardware you go to the Apple store. If you have an issue with a PC you have the option to take it back to the retailer, mail it off to the original supplier, or even get the run around as the retailer and manufacturer give you conflicting information.

Software and Security
There isn’t a lot of software out there for Macs while PCs have a lot of software options. Due largely to the popularity of the PC with gamers there are fewer options for Mac users. This has been changing over the years as games are now designed for both Windows OS and Mac OS. A search on Steam for Mac games resulted in 118 options while a search for PC games resulted in 317 options on April 1, 2014.

Security is also a big factor when looking at Macs or PCs. Since a majority of consumers or businesses use PCs viruses and malware are common threats to PCs while rarely harm Macs. This doesn’t mean that Mac users should completely ignore security. That said Harry McCraken made an observation in 2010 that still rings true “a Mac owner who runs no security software is vastly less likely to be the victim of a successful attack than a windows user who’s protected up to his eyeballs.”

The design as influenced by Apple CEO and founder Steve Jobs has given Macs the reputation for being “hip” and “trendy.” Macs starting in 1984 with the Macintosh with the CPU/monitor being housed in a single unit and then the iMac with translucent, candy colored shells in 1998 have been design-focused. Today PC makers are attempting to duplicate this design-orientation in their models. 

On the other hand PCs don’t come from a single manufacturer. There’s everything from Dell, HP, Compaq Acer Asus, eMachine, Gateway, Samsung, Sony, and Toshiba to more specialty gaming PCs like Alienware. If design isn’t a big deal to you then PCs are the route to go. Macs offer fewer models and follow with the Apple “less is more” motto approach to marketing.

This is probably the most frequently cited difference between Macs and PCs – the cost. There are very few Mac products that sell for less than $1200 while there are nearly a dozen of PCs that fall below that price range.

So does this mean that Macs are more expensive than PCs with similar specifications? Possibly. Macs, however, are built around higher-end computers with better and more costly components.

Overall, if you need a computer to perform basic functions like using email, surfing the net, and an occasional word processing function then buying a Mac might not be for you if you’re looking solely at the cost aspect of the comparison.

Software & Technical Specifications
This leads into the next item on the list – Software. Macs come with all the software that one might need. PCs on the other hand might require a virus program or Microsoft Office purchase. Of course, you can always get Open Office for free.

From a technical standpoint Macs have faster processors than PCs but tend to have better usage of RAM, Hard Disk space, more USB ports, and more HDMI ports. Macs do offer thunderbolt (video output), Firewire (data transfer), and Ethernet ports. Some Macs no longer come with CD/DVD drive capability and must be purchased separately. This makes iMacs significantly lighter and thinner on the other hand.

Typically Apple only has stores in large population centers. Of interest Macs still aren’t sold at Walmart – the world’s largest retailer. But you can find Macs for sell at your local Best Buy, Fry’s Electronics, Sears, etc. You can always order Macs on PCs on the other hand are pushed by companies who lease the Windows OS to a wide variety of companies who push their products out to as many stores as they possibly can. 

That said I’ve purchased 2 desktop PCs, 3 laptop PCs, and 2 laptop Macs. We currently use the 2 laptop Macs and I don’t ever plan on buying a PC again. As they saying goes “once you go Mac, you’ll never go back.” Unless of course someone is giving you a PC for free. 

In the end it is a personal choice as to what fits your needs. Saying one is better than the other is like saying oranges are better than… Well you get the picture. 

What do you think? Do you own a PC or Mac? Do you have a preference? Leave a comment!

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