Tuesday, June 28, 2011

An honest look at the Mac vs PC discussion

I have a PC.  I've always had a PC.  I recently experienced terminally slow upload speeds and inquired of my Faceboook friends to see if they had an ideas of why this might be happening.  I received a few helpful replies, as well as a couple "Get a Mac"-type suggestions.  I am not interested in getting a Mac and I'm fairly certain the slow upload speeds are the cable company's problem, not my PC's problem.  But, after talking with a few people and reading a few articles, I'm curious and want to hear your pros and cons of PC vs Mac.

Since I have never used a Mac, I'd love for you to explain to me what you think makes a Mac so much better than a PC.  I'd also love to hear from people that have used both and choose to continue using a PC.  I read through this article and like the unbiased way that the author views the machines.  In the end it seems that it's a toss-up between the two machines.  His conclusion is that if you want a quicker machine and/or do a lot of creative editing then a Mac is your machine.  If you don't mind a slower machine that is more versatile, go with a PC.

What are your (respectful) thoughts?

(Any comments deemed inappropriate will be deleted.  We're here to have a nice discussion, not sling digital mud at each other.)





  1. First a little background - I started my computer life with the Vic20 then progressed to a Colecovision Adam, PC (Tandy and a host of others), Amiga 500, Windows (from 3.1 on up), and Mac. I've used just about everything else thats out there through work (Linux, etc). My degree was in Computer Information Systems and immediately went to work at an ISP working my way up to a Sys Admin. So I am a full fledged card carrying nerd.

    Anyway. Being the designated nerd of my mostly non-computery family that meant one thing - tech support. Whenever anyone had any problems they would call me and I would have to talk them through fixing things or even drive over. It was a constant stream of viruses, hardware failure, problems installing things, conflicts, etc. - HOURS every month.

    I was in the market for a laptop and decided to see what the buzz was about and got a MacBook. They do have a bit of a learning curve (or un-learning curve more appropriately) so for a week or so they are a bit jarring - just learning the hows, whys and such. For example when downloading and installing a program - more often than not you download the file and drag it into your applications folder - that's it.

    So from there I talked my parents into getting one - and they very quickly fell in love with it. My sister then bought one and eventually my parents upgraded and sold their first one to my brother. All of them love them and wouldn't go back.

    Now for the point to all this - back to tech support. Since they all converted to Mac I went from the hours of tech support every month to probably less than 5 minutes - and I've yet to have to go "on site" to fix something. If I would have known the dramatic difference I would have bought them all Macs YEARS earlier :)

    As far as viruses - currently there are next to none - it isn't something you even have to think about. That will change eventually as more and more people get Macs - but for now it's all good.

  2. (continued)

    I leave my MacBook on all the time, it only gets rebooted when there is an OS update that requires one. Looking at it my current uptime is 35 days, 20 hours and 10 minutes. I've got 26 programs running in the background and it is all working fine and smoothly (and that includes a lot of "big" programs like Word, Excel, etc)

    Now why are they more reliable/easier to support? Precisely the reason a lot of hard core PC users don't like them - very little customization. Go to an Apple store and you will have only a handful of computers - a few sizes of each model. Ordering from the website you have a TINY bit more options in that you can up the memory or HD size but that is about it.

    So that means that programmers know what hardware is inside your computer, what OS it is running, so on and so forth. They can focus on making sure it works as best as it possibly can on those few models - not having to program for the lowest common denominator like they do in the PC world with a thousand different video cards, different processors, etc.

    Along those lines since they provide both the hardware and the OS - you never run into an issue of "oh thats a problem with Windows" or "oh thats a hardware issue you need to call XYZ" - you have one place to go to. I've had a couple of times where I had to go in for support and had nothing but excellent experiences.

    As far as price yes they are a bit more, but I think it is worth it for the quality of product you are getting, but also the resale value is through the roof - if you would upgrade every year I would wager you could get a new computer every year for less than $100. Example - Last November my dad bought a Mac Mini. There was a fairly good sale at MacMall on the latest model. He used it a little but once they bought an iPad he used that for everything he was using the Mini for (surfing, streaming radio, etc), so they decided to sell it a couple of months ago. I put it on eBay for them and it sold for $50 MORE than they paid for it.

    Well that is enough for now :)

  3. Impressively well-written and thoroughly appreciated. Thank you, Chris!

    I have read that the reason for the lack of viruses is that up until now, Mac users have been such a low percentage that they weren't targeted. If that's the case, I would expect to see Mac attacks going up. But, Mac users seems to, in general, be more computer savvy, so they would be more likely to maintain their firewalls, antivirus, etc.

    Being a PC user, I very rarely have problems. I can't remember the last time I had to have my brother-in-law come in to fix something. I'm curious what kinds of problems you were fixing on the PCs. Are they issues that I likely encounter and fix on my own, or hardware problems?

  4. Some people are just prone to problems - my family doubly so :)

    I personally never had too many major issues with my last real windows machine - when I had it working as I wanted it I would leave well enough alone.

    Full disclaimer - I actually have an all -in-one Windows 7 machine we bought to try a touch screen software package for Joseph - We just use it as a monitor for the MacBook now and i have a Windows 98 machine in my MAME cabinet that has been working like a champ, but it isn't hooked to the internet so I don't have to worry about it too much.

    As far as problems my family had it has been probably two years now but lets see my brother was Mr. Virus - he would end up with a new one every couple of weeks it seemed like - I seem to remember him having a lot of compatibility issues as well (programs not working after updates, files working in one program and not another, etc). My sister always had tons of networking issues and web browser related stuff, and my parents were more a constant stream of How To questions - from basic "how do I send a picture" stuff on up.

  5. we have both a PC and a MAC in our home. in terms of computers crashing or having problems, the PC has been more problematic.

    overall use is fairly similar. I am a creative type and need a MAC for the work I do. I wouldn't necessarily recommend it for the average person - though it is very user friendly, the expense is probably not worth it.

    what do you use the computer for? if it is mostly for surfing the internet, I would stick with a PC, there is no reason to fork over the extra money.

    I love my MAC and can't function without it, but if it weren't for the type of work I do, I would not spend the extra money on one.

  6. Thanks Cheree! I use the computer for regular home use... Email, Facebook, news-reading, watching videos, listening to music, occasional game-playing. I've never found my PC to be the least bit inadequate, which is why the "Macs rule" philosophy has always intrigued me.