Which Computer Should I Buy? Apple or PC ?

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I’ve never shied away from a riveting debate, but I’m not sure if I can handle this one …

But, since I need your help …

In a short while I’m going to be on the market for a new computer.

I’ve thought about buying a Mac, but I’m not sure if it is worth the extra expense.

Since I have some of the smartest readers in the world, I thought I’d ask you to help me decide – Apple or PC?  By the way, I’ll be buying a laptop.

A change is needed.

I’ve had a lot of trouble with my Toshiba laptop.  I’ve glared at the blue screen of death far too many times.

Dad always told me that you get what you pay for.

I guess that’s why my $400 laptop has been giving me issues after a couple of years.

In Favor of Buying a Personal Computer:

  1. Price – I can get a lot more computer for the same price as an Apple.  When you line up a laptop pc and a Mac spec by spec, you get an awful lot more computer with a PC.
  2. My buying philosophy – Generally, I try a cheaper product to see if it will do the job and then upgrade if (and only if) it is under performing.  I’ve convinced myself that since I’ll be doing more work on a computer, I’ll need to pay more like $1,000-$1,500 for a laptop (instead of the $500 range).
  3. Compatibility Issues – I don’t even know if this is an actual issue or assumed one.  I’ve got programs on my computer and a monitor that I question the compatibility with a Mac.  I’m just afraid that either I’m going to have to do a lot of work to confirm what is compatible, and I’m not sure if it’s worth the effort.
  4. Compatibility Convenience – Yes, I think this is different than #3.  There are some conveniences that come from using what the majority of the world uses.
  5. This old dog doesn’t want to learn new tricks. Plain and simple: I like what I know.  I sometimes find it frustrating trying to learn new things when I already know how to do old things.

In Favor of Buying a Mac:

  1. Quality – From what I’ve heard, people with Macs experience far fewer issues with stability.  I find technical glitches and computer problems extremely frustrating, so I would be willing to pay a premium to have to avoid such issues.
  2. Size – Those itty bitty Mac laptops would be much nicer to carry than a massive laptop.
  3. User testimonials – I often here “I love my Mac”, “Best thing I ever did was to switch,” and “I would never go back to a PC.”  How can you argue with user testimonials?

Here are my questions for any readers who are able to answer them:

Here’s the MacBook Pro that I’m looking at and a sample Toshiba laptop.

Why all the Mac LUV?  I’ve heard so many people talk about how they love the Apple computers, but I’m not sure why?  It is like some type of ethereal spiritual experience that is impossible to put into words?  Get concrete.  What is it you love about Macs?

Are there any folks who tried the Mac and went back to a PC?  Obviously, those who are still using a Mac are those who like it.  However, I’d like to know if someone’s bought one and decided it didn’t measure up to their expectations.

Comments

  1. says

    I used to build my own PCs and my first laptop was a Dell. For the time being, I will only buy a Mac. It took me a long time to get there, but until a PC convinces me otherwise, there’s one word that keeps me on my mac: reliability.

    I had my Windows machines for years. My laptop I had for 4 years before the battery finally gave up and wouldn’t charge up anymore. That laptop cost as much as my MacBook (I don’t have a pro). During that 4 years, I can’t even count the number of times I had to wipe the system and reinstall windows. You can’t get away from the BSOD.

    I’ve now had my MacBook for over 3 years. I have *never* had to reinstall the operating system. It’s crashed one time. And by crash, you just get a gray screen and you’re told you need to restart. It seems much friendlier than the BSOD! :) The one thing I know about my mac is that it just works.

    A lesser but also intriguing reason is that – at least for the time being – you don’t really have to worry about viruses. Now, if you’re savvy enough on a PC you can keep your computer free of them, but most viruses simply don’t work on a Mac. In Paraguay viruses are epidemics, but I was unafraid. I could even see the virus files on people’s thumb drives and could delete them (I should have started charging for that) without risk of contamination. This will probably change over the years though.

    I won’t be offended if you go with a PC, but as a user of both I would go with the MacBook Pro (I’m trying to pay off my debt so I can save up and by that computer!)

    -j

    • says

      Jason,
      If I get a PC I just won’t tell you :).

      Reliability is what I’ve heard over and over again for a Mac. That does seem to be a HUGE benefit.

      Thanks for sharing your experiences.

  2. says

    I just wanted to offer a counterpoint :)

    The one thing that *drives me crazy* about Apple is that everything is proprietary. For example, you can’t just plug an extra monitor in (at least on mine you can’t), you have to buy a specific adapter. I can’t tell if that’s brilliant or evil.

    I also have no desire for an iPhone, so I think I still have a bit of reason. ;)

    -j

    • says

      Jason – my Macs (multiple ones) all drive Samsung monitors. Yes, there was a small cost for the adapters, $15 or so. They also use the standard printer and hard drives. Not sure what else you want to put in these. Most users are not tinkerers looking to install extra video cards, etc. (Disclaimer – I have a PC desktop, which was awful out of the box running Vista. It’s now a linux box and I use it to image Hard Drives for my TiVos. So yes, I am a geek, too.)

      • says

        Joe, what I mean is that lots of what Apple makes is Apple-specific. If you buy an iPod, you need a specific iPod cable (I have an iPod). Most other mp3 players and tons of phones I’ve seen use a standard USB cable. My PC had a standard serial jack, where the mac has a special video plug that you need adapters for (I needed 2…one for my monitor and another for my TV). I guess I’m complaining about it, but at the same time the product is so superior (like you said) that I go along with it.

        I like your price breakdown. It’s really true. It costs more up front, but in the long-run the value is much higher. If you buy a $400 laptop, that’s exactly what you get – a cheap laptop.

        -j

  3. says

    I was looking for an appropriate moment to tell my story. Einstein said God speaks to us through coincidences, I found my place pretty quickly.
    4 months ago, I took a 3 year old laptop PC and completely wiped the drive, putting back the OS from the install discs. I sent that to my sister (in NY) who never had a computer. She fell in love with the freedom of having the world at her fingertips, it opened doors that were closed to her. But. Even with the newly imaged drive, it started to crash, to the point where she felt she needed to buy anything but another PC. (Yes, I loaded it with Norton to protect from viruses) Given her tiny apartment, we decided on the iMac. This past Friday I drove it down to her, having installed the stuff I knew she’d been using to help her get a fast start. I set it up to open iTunes when it booted, and “Born to Run” came on. She was so overwhelmed she actually started crying. The iMac happens to have wonderful sound that my regular Macs don’t even have.
    Say what you will about Mac Fan-boys, the Mac design is superior. Until a year ago, I had only vintage 2003 Macs in my house and they worked like a charm. I upgraded to a new Mac Pro last summer as I wanted better video encoding ability, but short of that, an 8 year old Mac still works like a charm.
    It will run Microsoft Office (or the free Open Office) and most Mac version’ed windows applications. Staples has an ad focusing on the price difference. You know what? The Mac is so superior that my daughter (at 11) kicked in half the price of the $1000 Macbook. My employer assigns Dell Laptops to us. Current one is now 3 years old and my IT guys are replacing it with another Dell. I am paying for SSD (a solid state drive) out of my pocket. The kid’s Mac boots in about 35 seconds. From cold start my current work PC takes nearly 10 minutes to start, log in, and connect to net. The SSD will help, but I’d have paid for a Mac if they’d have allowed it.
    The real question is this: Have you ever heard one person utter the words “I love my PC”?
    I’m a numbers guy, you know that. $1200 (say) Mac, vs $600 PC. Right off the bat, the PC is a 3 year product at best. $200/yr. The Mac is easily a 5yr product with residual value even then, which we’ll ignore for now. Good luck finding a used Macbook for less than a few hundred dollars. The cost per year turns out the same or less. $200!
    The PC from my sister? Not worth the cost of shipping.
    Last – if you ever “need” to run windows, it can be done. The Mac will let you run Windows if you buy and install a licensed copy. Easy now that Macs use Intel.

    • says

      Joe,
      Thanks for the feedback. I wonder if I’d cry the first time I start up a Mac. Perhaps I should buy one just to find out.

      So, is there anyone who is willing to say, “I love my PC?”

  4. says

    I’ve occasionally considered buying a Mac but have yet to do so. I simply cannot justify the cost of a Mac when set against a comparably equipped PC. My current notebook is a Lenovo ThinkPad T500, which I’ve had for over a year and with which I have been extremely pleased. I ordered it when Lenovo had a nice sale going, and it cost less than half what a comparably equipped Macbook Pro would have cost. Also, I use Nota Bene software, and to run it on a Mac I would have to make the additional purchase of a Windows OS.

    One thing I love about my Lenovo is that runs so cool. My previous notebook, an HP, after I had installed a 7200 rpm hard drive, had to have a desk fan pointed at it. The desk fan has been put away, and this is no insignificant issue during a South Carolina summer. :-)

    Another thing to keep in mind is that not all PC’s are created equally. Some due diligence is required to purchase a notebook that has a good track record. I’ve found the forums at notebookreview.com to be helpful.

    I’m not saying I will never switch to a Mac, but I’ve yet to be convinced to do so.

    • says

      Bill, I wish I knew if the crashiness was hardware or software. If Hardware, I’d chalk it up to my employer’s bad choices. What I do know is that I am refreshed every 3 years and every laptop has issues soon after I get it. (I am open to the possibility the IT guys load it with so much overhead my experience might be different otherwise, but don’t forget, I put the last one back to factory fresh state, boot time was still horrible.

      • says

        Hi Joe. I have no personal experience with Dells, so I can’t say. I upgrade about every four years and have experienced few problems with PC notebooks, having started with a Toshiba in 1997 as far as notebooks go.

        For most of us, and I’m sure you’re included in this group, we just want our computers to operate our programs well. Also, opportunity cost is always present. I like Apple products. I have an iPod and may get an iPad. If Apple could get the price of Macs down, they would certainly become more attractive to me. Yet I’m very satisfied with my Lenovo and probably will not be in the market for another notebook for at least three years. I’ll reassess then and may make the switch. If I were buying today, though, I would probably buy another ThinkPad.

        • says

          Bill,
          Thanks for your feedback. I usually buy a laptop every two years. I think that the hot and humid tropics are really hard on computers. Either that or I just don’t spend enough when I shop.

          You’re right I just need something that is reliable.

  5. Scott F says

    I have no opinion but want to be notified when other people comment so I can get an opinion! So I need to make this comment to get the notifications. :)

  6. Allen Guntz says

    Mac wins many times over in my experience. They may cost a bit more but when you consider all the software that comes standard on a Mac the difference soon goes away. And one of the biggest benefits is you don’t have to worry about picking up a virus. I have had Mac’s since the early 90′s and would not consider anything less and have never had any virus protection software on any of my Mac’s. Microsoft Office is all cross platform and never a problem Mac to PC and vice versa. I used to use PC’s at work but getting on a Mac is like a breath of fresh air. The MacBook Pro is a very good way to go. I would recommend getting the Applecare service also for unlimited superior service and if you ever have to use it you are talking to someone in the states. Anything can usually be fixed over phone support. Hope this helps.

    • says

      Hi Allen. The software that comes standard on a Mac makes a difference only if you want/need that software. I doubt what I really need comes standard on any computer, notably Nota Bene and Logos Bible Software. I’m working from an increasingly faulty memory, but when I was looking to buy a new computer in late 2009, I looked into buying a 15″ MBP. IIRC, the MBP would have cost around $2000. The comparably-equipped Lenovo T500 I bought was less than $1000. Admittedly, Lenovo was running a nice sale. Without the sale, the difference was more like $400. I’ve had no issues whatsoever with my Lenovo.

      It’s been almost ten years since I’ve had an issue with a virus, and Norton 360 has served me well over the past couple of years. It costs $35-$40 a year, catching a good price on Buy.com.

      You recommend Applecare service, but am I correct that the cost is $349 for three years? This is going to sound awfully cynical and snarky, and I don’t mean it to so sound, but if Macs are so reliable, why would one need to spend another $349? I don’t even buy extend warranties with the PC’s I’ve owned.

      Macs do have a nicer cases, aluminum as opposed to plastic, and that’s a nice plus. Macs have high end processors, whereas cheap PC’s use slower processors. Mac doesn’t make cheap notebooks, and one must keep that in mind when comparing Macs and PC’s.

      I wonder if we hear of fewer issues with Macs because there are significantly fewer Macs than PCs in use? Again, I’m not anti-Apple at all. If the price were more competitive, I would probably have one. The price difference is significant on a minister’s salary and reimbursement from a small church.

      My bottom-line advice is to look at the Mac offerings, find the one that specs out to suit you, and then compare a quality PC with similar specs. Put software and everything you can think of into the equation. For me, the Lenovo worked better. For someone else with different needs, the MBP will win out. The answer is not a simple one and won’t be the same for everyone. You can find really fine PC’s and Macs that will do the job.

      • says

        Bill,
        You bring up a good point about sales. Mac’s don’t go on sale right? However, I see great deals on personal computers. Definitely something to think about.

        • Andrew says

          Current Macs don’t often go on sale, but you can always find previous versions in the refurbished store for 10-20% under their previous sale price. You can sometimes find current returns in there as well.

          Ask around, you may know family or friends who have an employee purchase plan discount through their employer. These can often net a 14% discount.

          Finally, I have to say: they last and last. I had a blue and white G3 that was about a decade old when I sold it for $200. The current owner of the second-gen iMac I bought in 1998 or 1999 is still using it.

          To get an idea of the longevity of the machines, check out Low End Mac (lowendmac.com) There are discussions about using machines that are approaching 20 years old. Yeah, that’s a bit ridiculous, but it proves it can be done.

  7. says

    Macs are TERRIBLE! Save yourself some trouble and get a quad-core PC. Macs are overpriced and you’re limited to the programs you use. The only real efficient use for macs in graphics and film. Otherwise, it’s a waste of your money. Problem solved, buy an HP desktop!

    • says

      Jon,
      One questions – what is a quad-core PC?
      Since I need to transport the computer overseas I need to have a laptop (or a bigger carry-on bag).

      • says

        Hey Craig,

        A quad core is simply the power behind the computer. More cores=faster and more processing power. Right now, you can get a quad core laptop for under $999 and that will easily last you 5+ years. The world runs on PC, not MAC.

  8. Eric says

    I bought my wife a mac book and I do not like it at all.

    I’ve never had any serious issues with my HP laptop, never had to reinstall the OS or ran into trouble with viruses.

    Macs just aren’t worth the premium you pay and the hassle of getting your software to work on it.

  9. says

    I alluded to this above, and it’s not a PC vs. Mac issue: heat. How well does the computer handle heat, handling the heat internally so as not to shorten the life of components as well as how comfortable the computer is to the touch. My previous HP was nice and cool till I had to update to the latest BIOS due to installing a 7200 RPM hard drive. The computer would get uncomfortably hot when running basic office software. One of the things I love about my Lenovo is that it runs cool. It is very comfortable to use. That matters to me in our South Carolina summers.

    Another factor high on my list is the screen display: glossy or matte. Glossy gives you nice, rich, deep colors, great for doing photography or watching movies. Glossy screens also give a lot of glare, a real annoyance if you’re in an office with flourescent lights like my office or a lot of windows. I have a matte screen on my Lenovo and love it. The colors are fine, but the absence of glare fills me with relief! On the 13″ Mac the only choice is glossy, a deal-breaker for me. On the 15″ Mac, which is the sweet-spot size for me, you have an option to choose glossy or anti-glare (matte).

    It’s time to get some research going, Craig!

    Some Mac users complain about the heat their computers use, according to threads I’ve read on Notebook Review. See this, for instance: http://forum.notebookreview.com/apple-mac-os-x/560720-your-macbook-pro-temperature.html. Some attribute the heat of the casing to its being aluminum and are willing to put up with the heat for the hardiness of the aluminum instead of plastic. I grew up under a south Georgia sun on John Deere and Massey Ferguson tractors. I don’t want to deal with heat if I can help it, Mac or PC! It may not be a factor with anyone else. If I lived in Alaska, perhaps I would welcome the heat. ;-)

  10. Rendle says

    I am one of those mac geeks. I have used macs from the very beginning and have always preferred them. I work all day on a PC and can get along very well with both systems. I’m not sure what “more” you’re referring to when you compare what you get for the price, but the main thing I appreciate about my imac is the stability of the OS. My current G5 iMac is 6 years old and I finally had to replace the power supply just a couple of months ago. My Dell laptop that I have had for almost four years is limping along with broken hinges but still gets the job done. I have only needed 3 macs in the 18 years that I have owned them and have had no real trouble with any of them. If you look at the price per year I think Apple will come out less expensive, and if you want a computer that is ready to go out of the box (look at the included software) I think Apple wins again.

    There really is very little difference in the user interface anymore now that Windows had spent some much of their design budget on copying Apple.

  11. says

    I can’t tell you how much I love my MacBookPro. I use it primarily for blogging and the like, but I know that it could do much more than I require of it. I’ve had it for 3 years and had no problems. As a matter of fact, we have my father’s old g4 (old mac desktop) and it would still run well if I plugged it in. I would recommend the iWork program as well (a program similar to Windows Office but for Mac,) because it can export any work you do (documents, spreadsheets, anything,) in any other format that you would like. It’s much easier to work with than any version of Windows I’ve ever come across. As a matter of fact, when I installed Windows for Mac, my speed dropped dramatically. So much so that I think I’m going to uninstall it.

    Good luck!

  12. Shawn says

    MAC.all.the.way. We now have 2 Macs in our household, the first we’ve had since ’06 and has required no servicing by my hubbie. My husband was frustrated with our old PC because he was always having to service it, etc, but he hasn’t had to touch my Mac since we purchased it.
    One thing to consider, we have a Mac laptop & desktop in our home and both were bought via online and they were re-furbished, translation= cheaper!
    There are a few nuances to get used to going from a pc to a mac like closing & minimizing windows are all found on the left upper corner rather than the right upper corner in pcs. Minor detail though.
    My husband also installed Windows for Mac which simply means I can alternate between my mac logon and my windows logon, depending on what I want to do. (Originally my mac didn’t have freecell game and by having windows, I was able to bounce back & forth). I now have freecell on my mac logon. I rarely go to the windows logon these days.
    The benefits of a Mac largely outweigh the initial cost of one. You should visit a Mac store and play around with one for a while…..you’ll be hooked. :)

    Good luck.

  13. says

    Macs are better. But PC might be just fine for your needs. I used to have a Mac at work and a PC at home and just appreciate both although Macs are definitely more reliable and friendly user once you worked with it for a couple hours.

  14. says

    A friend of mine who is a Mac devotee said Macs are less prone to being hacked or invaded by viruses, mostly because so many fewer people use them. Aside from that, I can’t bring myself to pay all that extra cash for the Mac. Unless I did work that required graphics or film editing, which Mac is supposed to be much better for. But I don’t. Mostly I need just a simple program to write with and, on occasion, an Excel spreadsheet or two.

  15. Reg says

    Craig,

    Love reading your blog. So excited when I saw your topic this morning because my husband and I are going to use tax refund $ to buy a new computer.

    I’ve been using a Mac since the late 80s — I was using it to design my H.S. newspaper at the time. I bought a Mac for college in 1990 and it was still working up until 6 years ago when it got wet in the box in my basement (granted, all I could do on it was very old version of word processing and spreadsheets, but it stilll worked!).

    My husband and I bought a laptop PC in 2003 and the screen went out a year later.

    Now that we’re in the market for a new computer, I’m thinking we’re going to spend the extra $ for a Mac. Two of my good friends in IT (that work on PCs all day) both swear by their personal Macs . . . that tells me something.

    I’m tired of the “blue screen of death,” viruses, problems, etc. I’m hoping that a new Mac will be worth the investment.

    Good luck with your decision!

  16. David Pierce says

    We have converted to Apple with no regrets. You will have compatability issues with your old software. And an adjustment period to relearn some things. The major benefit is the Mac OS is so much better than the MS Windows. I would think with your remote location that you would be looking for super reliability and lack of problems. Once you convert and get used to the new OS you will be forever grateful. The only thing to stop you is your need for the old software. You can put Windows on the Apple but that sort of defeats the main benefit of going Apple.

  17. says

    Interesting thread. I’ll weigh in. I’ve used PC’s since the mid-1980′s, never used a Mac. Two of my kids and a son-in-law are convinced the Mac is the best thing since sliced bread and maybe even before that.

    Mac’s is much better at being a consolidated tool. There are limited number of vendors that sell solutions for the Mac, and they work together very well. They are easier to use, easier to implement. As long as you stay in their own little world, life is wonderful. When you try to share files are devices with the Wintel (PC) world, you have to work as hard (sometimes harder) as you would if you’d been in the Wintel world to begin with.

    Price is higher. Sometimes, you have less choice in add-ons, but they have A LOT of applications that play very nicely together, so this may never be an issue. You can be relatively sure that the next iThing will work with your choice. And I REALLY, REALLY like the MacBook. No hard drive (all SSD/Flash).

    Don’t believe the myth that you don’t need Firewalls/Virus Protection. At a hacker’s convention, hackers were testing new releases of Mac vs. PC. The Mac fell first. If you value your privacy and your data, invest in firewall/virus protection regardless which option you take.

    PC’s on the other hand have been around forever (well, since 1981 anyway). The crashes and blue-screen-of-death issues happen less with reliable PCs and typically happen when you start adding all various vendors of tools/appliances. You can’t do that (as easily) with Mac, so they don’t have the problem.

    You’ll have an easier time adding strange stuff in a Wintel world. Buy a new printer, monitor, hard drive, you’ll get all the required cables and software. You can integrate the new iThing, it may take some add-on software that you’ll have to find and download. It may not look/feel the same and working with the iOldthing and the new iThing may not be as seamless, but you’ll save money.

    Good luck with your decision.

  18. Emily says

    I love my MAC! I bought it the week after I came home from PNG. I was a student, and I bought the basic macbook. With my student discount, I got a free ipod (merry Christmas mom) and a free printer (merry Christmas dad). This is my fifth year using thus computer, and just last week I started having problems with the battery.

    Five years.

    My dad uses a pc for work and has gone through 3 pc’s since I got mine. He kept his computer in a clean dry cool office, I kept mine anywhere but. The church buys his computers, and they would have saved a ton if they had invested in a MAC.
    As far as compatibility goes, an $80 software install was all we ever needed. The great thing about MAC compatibility is that virus’s aren’t an issue. I will be loyal to the macs, not because of some silly branding, but because of the positive experience I’ve had with my computer and with my family’s positive experience with the Apple store staff. As always with electronics, id buy the extended warranty. But I don’t think you’ll need it :-)

  19. says

    One thing that seems to be lost in the discussion is that there is not the Mac brand on one side and the “PC” brand on the other. There are quite a few manufacturers who make PC’s, and there are quality makes and not-so-good makes. If you want a quality PC, buy a Lenovo ThinkPad. If you want a quality computer that runs Apple’s OS, well, you have to buy the proprietary Mac. Whenever I start thinking about switching to a Mac, I start running numbers and considering opportunity cost. I’ve been using computers since the old Apple IIE’s, back in the mid-1980′s, so this is nothing new to me. Folks love their Macs, as testimonies show here. On a minister’s income with a small professional reimbursement, I simply have trouble joining the Mac bandwagon.

    Plus, I’m starting to get put out with Apple’s pulling iPad/iPhone apps that reflect a cultural point of view that contradicts their cultural liberalism, namely the Manhattan Declaration and the Exodus apps. The homosexual community protested those apps as offensive, so Apple pulled them: http://www.citizenlink.com/2011/03/apple-yanks-another-christian-app-from-online-store/. That sort of thing, while not directly appertaining to the better computer to buy, simply puts a bad taste in my mouth. If it continues, I’ll be looking at other tablets instead of the iPad whenever I get ready to pursue one.

  20. says

    Craig – I’m not usually into brands, but I have to say I’ve been incredibly happy ever since switching to a Mac. I had a PowerBook for about 5 years and just bought a MacBook Pro. I use it all the time and it is not only incredibly reliable, but it’s fun to use. There’s something about the design that just makes using it enjoyable. Plus, the customer service is world-class. I’ve had a couple of reasons to contact customer service and each time they just blew me away with their professionalism, expertise, and enthusiasm to solve my problems. I could never envision switching away from a Mac.

  21. says

    I don’t think it matters which one. We have 1 Macbook pro and 1 Macbook. Love them

    If you get a Windows machine … make sure you buy antivirus and keep it current

  22. Christopher says

    You can’t go wrong with the mac! It really is user-friendly and very powerful. If you can take the time to get used to your programs run with mac OS instead of using windows… I am sure you will be happy. You hardly ever hear of people switching to mac…and then going back to windows because they were dissatisfied. Its just a price thing really… Mac has the name and quality to back it up…therefore their prices stay up! Oh well, we can hope for a day when their products become cheaper.
    If you don’t want the hassle of changing your programs a bit (there are however, options, often times for you to just reload your software, because Mac OS is a bigger market than it used to be- that is for the newer programs), then make sure you get windows 7. This is by far the best and most reliable running system for PC’s, yet.
    -oh, and one more thing… if you buy a mac and don’t like the running system… you can install windows on your mac!!

    • says

      I agree that I’ve never heard of anyone switching back to a PC after having a Mac – they mustbe doing something right!
      I don’t have a Mac though, which is because they are so much more expensive. I think if Macs were a similar price to PCs, or even just a little less money, more people would have them for sure.
      I do think that a lot of people worry about changing programmes and a number of them not being compatible etc. But as you have stated, it’s not the worst thing in the world and can be resolved! I think for a number of people though, who aren’t big with technology, struggle.
      I would love a Mac and definately will get one in the future, but for now I have a PC, which is fine for the moment.
      We wrote an article on Macs Vs PCs a little while back, it goes through all the strengths and weaknesses for both!

  23. says

    There’s a learning curve, possibly larger than you expect. And there are some minor nuisances. However, I’d never go back to the PC. You can’t beat Apple’s customer service, and…well, I’m typing this on an iMac that’s so superannuated it can’t run the newest OS, and it’s still trouble-free. At home or at at the office, PCs have always been one headache after another.

  24. Henry says

    Hello,

    I lurk around here now and then, but this is one thing I just had to put my two cents in for.

    On the software side, many of the comments left here reflect the experiences of people who switched to Macs a few years ago – meaning they switched from either Windows XP or Windows Vista. Windows 7 is an extremely superior experience to either of those (check the reviews) and even manages to have great start-up times. Does it match the reliability and consistency of the Mac OS? Perhaps not – but the difference is certainly much smaller than it used to be.

    On the hardware side, there is no comparison. Like Bill mentioned, there are different kinds of PCs, and you can get a Dell for half the price or a Thinkpad for the same (both with better specs). Given the pace of technological advancement these days, I would personally rather buy a cheaper computer and be able to upgrade again in two years than try to buy a very nice computer and keep it for 4. About 9 months ago I purchased a Dell Inspiron 14R for < $500 that has an i3 processor (the new Intel series) and it does admirably.

    Regarding anti-virus, reviews show Microsoft Security Essentials (free anti-virus) to generally be better than paid (Norton/McAfee). Just a side note.

    If you are not doing processor-intensive tasks (gaming or video/audio processing) and need something to be reliable for several years, then get the Mac. But if you either need the power or are want to upgrade in < 3 years, the PC is the best bang for your buck. Just get a good brand.

  25. TMS says

    My wife and I both have PC and Mac laptops. Our Dell laptops served us very well over the years with only minor occasional problems. Only one exception – a Dell laptop I bought in 2008 had the video processor go south – otherwise I loved the thing and wish I still had it.

    We both now have Dell laptops and Apple laptops. The Apples work fine, but there are things about them that we both find extremely annoying – being longtime Windows users.

    And personally – I have had to restart my brand new Macbook due to some sort of freezup WAY more times than I ever had to with any PC I ever owned.

    Apples are good computers, but they ain’t the Holy Grail of computers by any means.

  26. Ray says

    I’m a computer professional (B.S. Comp Sci, MA Computer Resource Mgt, 25+ years experience) and also a computer geek (e.g., love to play around w/computers after work too). I’ve been predominantly a PC user, but recently took the MAC plung after admiring and desiring Apple products since my college days. The premium cost of Apple computers was always the barrier, along with compatibility concerns. Two Christmas’ ago, I bought iPODs for my boys, and when playing with theirs, was amazed at how easy it was to use and install new apps — they just worked. I decided to then get and iPhone 4 and it’s been a dream. I wanted to tinker around with writing iPhone and iPAD apps, but discovered I needed to have an Intel based MAC to do so and began researching which to buy. I ended up getting an iMAC 27 (last years model, but new/factory sealed) from an online store for around $1200. I’ve not had any problems and am amazed at it’s capabilities — definitely worth the money — no virus or spyware problems either.

    You have to decide what your primary computer requirements are and see if an Apple computer can meet those needs. I’d have to guess that anything you can do in a PC can be done on a MAC, you might have to switch to a different program though. There are some things I do that require a PC, and for that, I have a PC (keep your old laptop handy). However, I’m making a shift towards Apple products (unless there’s some sort of market shift) due to the overall lower hassles and cost to own. If your needs can be met with an iPAD, you should consider those as the price points are much lower than MAC Book Pros. I can say, if you want lite — a MAC Air model is very nice — they just don’t have the processing power of the MAC Books, but are cheaper too.

    If you end up buying a MAC, buy the Apple Care. Since your spending that much money — the insurance is worth it. Speaking of insurance, I hope you backup you data regularly to a separate drive. I’ve had a file server for years now (an old PC with Linux OS installed) and don’t keep data on my work computers that I don’t mind reloading or loosing. Backups should only be the data you can’t replace (e.g., photos, creative work, etc.) and not system or software files.

    I don’t know what your old laptop problems are, but if it’s software related — an option is to save off your important data to a separate drive/computer and then re-load the operating system from scratch (you should have recovery disks). Having an alternate computer on-hand to do your work is advisable so that you don’t put yourself into a crisis by not having working computer to use for your home/business activities.

  27. Anne says

    I own a PC. I always have. I love my Dell laptop because it’s plenty light (3.9lbs with a 13″ very flat LED screen), I bought it refurbished for $800, upgraded to max memory for Windows 7 (I replaced the sticks myself), it powers my 22″ external monitor beautifully, and the only issue I’ve had is that I had to replace a faulty hard drive. But at least I could do that myself by buying whatever hard drive I wanted, slipping out the old one, and putting in the new one. Having built my own PCs in the past, I need this ability to get in there myself. And yes, I do actually use Photoshop and Illustrator on here ;)

    I’ve used plenty of Macs for work and while I have no problem with them at all, I still do not understand why they are so much pricier. And frankly the ones on campus were always unbelievably slow compared to the PCs. My husband has a Macbook. It sure looks more stylish than my laptop, yet it runs slower (it’s not older than my PC), overheats, and he has had more problems with it than I’ve had with mine.

    I used to own an iPhone (traded it for an Android), and my husband has the newest iPhone, and also an iPad that I do use. And I still don’t get it. I really don’t. I’ll probably always own PCs and upgrade them as needed.

  28. Laura says

    I don’t know if you have already decided on this issue, but I have used both and think it depends on your needs. I LOVE Macs. I have and iMac and a MacBook Pro. We also have a media computer my husband built that runs Windows 7 and several PC laptops. We don’t have any issues with our Macs, the other computers all freeze and crash pretty often. My MacBook Pro gets really hot when I’m using it. It is a bit annoying, but it isn’t really something that would deter me from using it. I find it difficult to find my way around our PCs. The way the Mac is laid out just makes more sense to me. My sister, on the other hand, hates her iMac. She bought it and didn’t know anything about it. So I went to visit her and opened a new window in her web browser and she was shocked because she thought that wasn’t possible (she REALLY doesn’t know how to use a computer) and she was getting upset because things weren’t working the way she wanted in other programs she was running (which could all be fixed by changing it in the Preferences menu).
    Bottom line- will YOU be happy learning to use a Mac? It IS different from a PC. I am sure you are computer savvy enough to figure it out, but will that just be a nuisance to you?
    One other thing to consider- Macs actually hold some value. We have sold older Macs for several hundred dollars on craigslist when a PC that was just as old would have been difficult to give away.

  29. wassgha says

    If you ask about my love for Macs (I don’t have any but I’ll buy one soon), I think its more like “respect” and “duty” than “love”. I think that I should support Apple because they invented the PC, they invented the graphical interface, they invented the current laptop design that every laptop manufacturer uses… I everybody should stop using cheap Windows PCs that will break in like 5 months and try to invest more in their PCs buying a quality Apple product.

    • says

      With all due respect, wassgha, I think you’re mistaken on almost all accounts, but your last statement is particularly over the top, in my opinion. I taught basic computer programming in something like 1985 on an Apple IIe, but I have always owned Windows computers. I’ve never had one that “broke in 5 months.” In fact, I used them and passed them on to others when I upgraded. My current Lenovo ThinkPad is two and a half years old and running strong with never a moment’s worth of problems, and it cost about half (I bought it on sale) what a comparable MacBook Pro would have cost. Macs are great, but if you go to notebookreview.com and check the Apple forum, you’ll find they have their issues, too. Plenty of folks have gone from Macs to PC’s as well as from PC’s to Macs.

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