Mac vs. PC, Update on The Continuing Debate

I am sure you have heard of these “Mac vs PC” debate and you are probably in one of these camps. This article is not meant to incite a flame war, but to update on the current situation of PC and Mac and helping you to decide which you should get for your next computer.

In this article, Mac refers to Apple Macintosh (be it MacBook Pro, Air, iMac or any other Apple manufactured computer) while PC mentioned here refers to any computer other than an Apple Macintosh, be it Dell, Hewlett-Packard, laptop, desktop, etc.

Build

The biggest difference between Macs and PCs are the way they’re built. Apples are built to be all-inclusive and everything, right down to the screw, are controlled by Apple. The advantage of this is that Apple can control the quality of each machine sold to the customers. When you get a Mac, you can trust that the hardware is of a sturdy build.

mac-vs-pc-mba

PCs are more a mix and match machine. Be it laptop or desktop, there are thousands of different models that you can choose from, and each with a different build. Even for laptops with the same hardware specification, there are different models from different brands. The good thing about this is choices. You are sure to find a PC with the build you want at the price range you can afford. On the other hand, having too many choices also mean that there are too much noise that you need to filter away.

Stability

In terms of hardware stability, there is not much differences between a Mac and a PC. Both can last as long (or as short), depending on how you use and take care of it. Some people will argue that Mac can last longer than PC, but that is mainly personal opinion. I have seen PCs (laptops/desktops) that are around in 5 -8 years and are still running without any glitch.

Repair

For Mac, repair is not a straightforward task. You might be able to fix simple issue, but for major problems, you always have to go back to Apple’s Genius Bar or authorized Apple repair shop. Depending on how you see it, it can be both a bane and boon. Apple’s Genius Bar takes care of all the repair, so you know your Mac is in good hands. However, since they are not available everywhere, you might have to travel a distance away just to get your Mac repaired. In addition, after the first year of free warranty, the AppleCare Protection Plan doesn’t come cheap.

mac-vs-pc-repair

For PC, you can almost find a PC service center everywhere, and you’ll usually be able to find someone with a cousin, father, sister, or uncle who can fix it for you. Even if you need to change the parts, they are readily available.

Upgrades

Upgrading the hardware parts in Mac is difficult, to the point of almost impossible. The latest release of MacBook Pro and Air come with fixed soldered parts that you can’t change (easily) once it is shipped. Even for older Mac that are upgradeable, it will only work with specific parts designed for Apple computer, and not those parts you buy from any PC retailer.

Most laptops allow you to swap out the memory RAM and hard disk and for a desktop, you can even build the whole machine from scratch, using only the parts that you want and need. When it comes to upgrade, there are so many different ways that you can carry out.

OS X vs. Windows vs. Linux

mac-vs-pc-software

All Macs run the OS X operating system while most PCs run Windows. Linux is used by a small group of home users and works in PC as well. For techs-enthusiasts, it is also possible to install Windows and Linux in Mac, or OS X in PC, though the steps can be very technical and if not done properly, the machine will be bricked. Windows and Linux can generally adapt well in Mac (hardware), but for OS X to work in PC, you have to use specific compatible parts.

The Mac OS X is generally said to be easy to use and pick up. However, the interfaces between OS X and Windows are completely different. If you are used to Windows, you will have start from scratch and re-learn how to use a computer.

Viruses/Hacking

Viruses attack is still a major issue in Windows. Not that OS X and Linux don’t suffer from virus attack, but the majority of the virus attack are targeting at Windows users. As we are moving our daily life to the Internet, more and more attacks are made via the browsers (hacking your password, getting your social information, stealing the files in your Cloud storage etc) and you will be affected regardless which OS you are using.

On the other hand, there are also plenty of solutions available to tackle virus attack in Windows. There are tons of anti-virus/malware apps that you can install and even if you are infected with virus, you can often find solutions easily with Google. For OS X, you don’t get virus attack so often, but when you are hit by it, the result is often devastating with little solutions available.

Gaming and Software

Games can be played, of course, on any operating system. But there are far more games developed for the Windows system than for Linux or OS X. Additionally, there are more peripherals and gadgets available for gamers using a Windows system. In fact the XBox system is made by Microsoft and its operating system is based on Windows.

Mac OS X can be used for gaming as well, but seriously, the performance is better in Windows.

I’ve been a lifelong Mac user, but it’s mostly because of my early start using computers. My introduction to computers was in the environment of a commercial printing company. Macs and their graphics were the best choice… at that time. Had I gotten my start now, things might have been different as the two sides, Macs and PCs, are much closer than they used to be.

As for you, when deciding whether to get a Mac or PC, it is best to first come with the list of things that you need to do with the machine. You can then decide which machine is more suited for your tasks.

Image credit: PC vs Mac Kids v2, PC Repair Newton Abbot

8 comments

  1. “The Mac OS X is generally said to be easy to use and pick up. However, the interfaces between OS X and Windows are completely different. If you are used to Windows, you will have start from scratch and re-learn how to use a computer.”

    Um, no. Because Windows was “inspired” by Mac OS, there is a lot of commonality. Yes, there are some important differences like using the command key rather than the control key for keyboard shortcuts, and having a single menubar at the top of the screen rather than one per window. But these can be picked up quickly.

    Although there is a learning curve for switchers, it’s not “starting from scratch”. There is certainly more in common than different between the two systems.

    • Thanks for pointing it out. I have some friends, who when given a Mac, have
      totally no idea where to get started, where to shut down the machine, and
      etc. They really have to start from scratch and unlearn everything they
      have picked up from years of using Windows.

      • As a lifelong Mac user, I agree with this. While we think of Macs being much easier, and they are to a certain point, if you’re trained on another system, any new system, no matter how easy in the long run, is going to be an adjustment.

        • There is no question that the easiest thing will always be what you already know. And some people, let’s face it, are just not very bright technically. My point was not a claim of Macs being easier–only that much of what Windows users know IS transferrable. I just object to the “learning from scratch” characterization. The switcher presumably already knows about applications, files, folders, windows, mouse, etc, they just need to map a few operations differently. There are plenty of resources for switchers available (some from Apple’s website). A good cheat sheet is all they need. Getting up to speed on the Mac should be a lot quicker than initially learning to use MSWindows (from scratch).

          I guess we just disagree on what “from scratch” means.

  2. Design, Animation, Music, and Media in general = OSX (Mac)
    Hacking and Security = Linux
    Programming, Video games and daily life tasks = Windows

    • Programming = Windows? I wonder where you got this impression….

      If it is desktop development, you will typically develop on the target platform (on GNU/L for GNU/L, Windows for Windows, etc…). Web development is virtually a GNU/L exclusive domain, Android is cross-compiled from a variety of platform and code for the iStuff is done on other iStuff, µC code for AVR is normally developed on GNU/L, while PIC on Windows… Oh… and people running OSX or GNU/L do their daily life task on those platform too! :)

  3. PC’s last longer. I have used PC’s my entire life and have built several from scratch myself. I finally dipped my toe in the world of Apple and bought an iMac. I love the machine, but now, four years into its life – it’s dead. I took it to the Apple store and they said that’s about as long as can be expected (Apple officially calls your computer “obsolete” at 5 years). I have several PC’s that are that old or older still running perfectly. Couple that with the fact that if your hard drive or video card goes on a PC, it’s a relatively easy fix. Good luck making that repair on a Mac. If Apple really only makes these machines to last this long, they should lower the price substantially. By the way, the last two years of my iMacs life saw very little use! So it wasn’t like I was running it all day, every day – it would go unused days on end, and when I did use it, it was typically for a few hours at a time. I am very disappointed, and may just go back to being a PC guy again.

  4. Without sounding totally ignorant or stupid. LOL. I don’t have a cell phone and would love and use your service in my Office fir all the Employees to Enjoy fir a very Productable day. ‘Question is there Software for a Mac? If so may you be so kind to link it to this attachment? Sincerey.

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