Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Mac vs PC

So you want to buy a computer, but you don't know which one to buy? This article should clear up some of the confusion when selecting a computer. Today, there are 3 main operating systems. OSX, Windows, and various Linux distros. When someone talks about a "Mac", they usually mean a computer that is assembled by Apple with OSX installed. When someone talks about a "PC", they usually mean a pre-assembled computer or a self-built computer with a Windows and/or Linux OS. That being said, I will now compare the two.

* Before I start comparing I should mention that Apple is a HARDWARE company because OSX is not entirely a product of Apple (See below) and their only original parts and profits come from the hardware. Buying an Apple computer to use OSX is the same as buying an expensive motherboard just to take its capacitors. Therefore, any advantage OSX has over Linux and Windows can easily be achieved on both computers (See compatibility below) *

1. Price:

Without a doubt the PC has always cost less than a Mac with similar specifications. For example, a $3500 Mac Pro can be similar in specs to a $1000 PC. However, the Mac OS costs less than Windows, so it might not be worth paying the $2000 premium. Also, most Linux distros are free.

                                       Although this is somewhat outdated, the idea still stands

2. Hardware:

For $2000 more than the PC, you would expect the hardware to be really good. However, you'll be surprised. Apple orders most of its parts from Foxconn. Foxconn is known to have the lowest quality computer hardware with not only the lowest performance (benchmarks available at Tom's Hardware), but also the highest failure rate AND highest DOA rate of any hardware manufacturer (According to Newegg's employees). I wonder where all of that money's going... All of the Mac hardware is outdated by at least a few months. (For example, as of 4/14/2012, the Mac Pro's CPU is currently outdated by at least a year because they don't have the sandy bridge CPUs yet.) Also, if your hardware breaks, you might be charged up to five times the cost of the broken hardware, even though the solution does not require hardware replacement. If you try to fix it yourself, you void the warranty.

3. OS:

In reality, OSX is actually a modification of BSD under Unix. However, Apple decided to take complete control over Mac users, so they severely limited the OS capabilities. If you ask most Linux users who used a Mac, they would say that it feels much more "limited" because of Apple (OSX is considered a Linux distro by some people, but that is debatable because of its Unix origin). If you ask other people, they'll say that OSX by itself is just a limited BSD replica with a shiny GUI. If you like freedom, go with the PC.

    [a]. Stability:
Many inexperienced Mac users might say that they use a Mac because "Windows crashes too much". However, what they don't realize is that it isn't Windows' fault they are unable to properly maintain their computer. For example the average computer user would run a program that takes up too much ram, and when it runs out and crashes they blame it on Windows. Another scenario would be when a program crashes because of a bug in the software, and the user blames Windows again. This isn't a bad thing however, because the Mac requires less maintenance. However, some people use computers like this. There aren't enough statistics to make a conclusive, universal decision for stability, so lets just say that it's a tie.

    [b]. Security:
Just like stability, inexperienced computer users might say that there are many viruses on the PC.  This is true, but it is also true that almost nobody decides to target the OSX because of the small percentage of users who use it. These same people also say that hackers can't afford a Mac to make a virus for it, but they seem to forget that OSX is cheaper than the Windows OS, and that you do NOT need to buy Apple hardware to install OSX. (See OS compatibility) Also, here's a hacker that claims that Windows is more secure. Oh, look here! Why is Apple trying to cover up such a widespread trojan?

Too many viruses? Try this.
   [c]. Software:
The PC has a lot more software available, and the PC software exclusives are almost always better than the Mac software exclusives (This is just my opinion, but I have had over a thousand hours of experience with OSX.) For example, Visual Studio and Autodesk 3ds Max. Don't forget that Windows has DX11 for gaming. (I am NOT saying DX11 is better than OpenGL, just that more games are DX compatible).

4. Raw performance:

Already mentioned at the hardware comparison, Mac hardware is slower and less reliable than most other non-Foxconn PC hardware. In terms of the OS, the boot times are about the same on a SSD, (OSX may load a bit faster depending on SSD, but a few seconds doesn't hurt) and for the exact same price as a Mac, the PC is much faster (A $3,000 PC is much faster than a $3,000 Mac).

5. OS compatibility:

Windows can be installed on a Mac, while installing OSX on a PC is illegal (If you really care, because Apple will not go after you). This depicts Apple's tight control over you, the user. PC is better compatibility-wise because of default compatibility with most Linux distros and therefore programs. Mac might have been better compatibility-wise if not for performance and compatibility issues with Windows. (Don't forget the price!).

If you want this article in a much more concise format, click here.

If you disagree with anything written in this article, or find a mistake, leave a comment so that I can fix it/address it.