Apple vs. PC

By: Tim Coles
By: Tim Coles

This is one of the oldest questions in the computing world. Which platform is better?

This is one of the oldest questions in the computing world.  Which platform is better? I know the people reading this are either passionate about one or the other.  I have long said that MAC is a superior platform, but have always used Microsoft systems.  That is what the companies that I have worked purchased for me and that is what companies are going to continue to buy.  Why, because they are much cheaper than MAC.  Before you say anything, I own an iMac for my home and I LOVE it!  I have a Dell Latitude D820 that I use for work and I LOVE it also.  Yes, I sound a little conflicted but once you hear the differences you will understand. 

Let me start with the Dell that I have had for almost a year.  I am what IT managers call a “power user” which means I use it for more than email, solitaire and web browsing.  I am always maxing the RAM, on my laptop, out and I have to clean off my hard drive regularly because I chew through the 60gig on the machine.  The thing I love about the Dell is that it is rugged and takes the daily abuse I put the machine through.  Most programs run fine but since I have upgraded to VISTA I have a few printers that I cannot print to and a couple of programs that will not work.  It took a while to find a fix to get my Adobe Acrobat to work so I could convert files to PDF.  This was important because I convert a lot of documents to PDF.

While I am on VISTA let me say that I have a love hate relationship with this program.  I love the look of the Operating system, the problem I have is the times when it gets hung up. When it gets hung up, I mean it gets hung up.  It only seems to happen when I am in a hurry to get to a meeting with a client. I have to unplug it from the docking station and remove the battery.  I do that about every two weeks.  That is pretty good for a Windows machine.  When I am editing large graphics in Photoshop I get a lot of  “Not Responding”, if I wait a minute the machine will start working.  This happens a lot, remember I am a “power user”.  

Other than the little issues that I run into, I don’t get frustrated because I have been conditioned to expect these things to happen.  When a co-worker calls and says that their laptop isn’t working, the first question I ask, “have you rebooted?”  I think I have most of my co-workers conditioned to reboot before calling.  Most of the time it fixes the problem.  I am sure anyone who is reading this has had a similar experience.  That is my biggest frustration with Windows Vista , Shut down and booting takes forever.

For those who have decided to purchase a PC, here is what I recommend. You can buy an inexpensive laptop or Desktop, just look for the sales that go on.  I have no experience with any brand except Dell so I cannot comment on other brands.  Here is the piece of advice I tell anyone who asks when they are looking at buying a PC.  The two most important things to get are RAM and the best/largest monitor.  The monitor is what you look at and if you have a small screen and the resolution is poor it will strain our eyes.  I suggest a minimum of a 15” screen for a laptop and 20” for a desktop.  Look at the maximum resolution when purchasing your machine, the higher the number the better the resolution.  The RAM is important because it is what runs your programs, I would suggest a minimum of 1gig.  If you can afford more, by all means get as much as possible.  Everything else is a luxury.  People will talk processor; if you are buying a new machine then you are getting the most recent technology.  You have to think about how you use your PC and make those functions you perform the most the most important areas to focus on.

OK I love our iMac at home.  It is the easiest computer that I have ever owned.  When I got it home I had three things to plug in and 5 minutes later the machine was up and running.  Try that with a PC, any PC.  The only add on I purchased was Microsoft Office for MAC.  Since I use office a lot it was worth the small investment so I can work on both platforms. We have not had this machine long but in the short time that we’ve had it the differences between the PC and MAC are clear.  The ease of use, the look of the interface and we have yet to turn it off.  Try that with a PC.  We purchased the low-end iMac with a 20” monitor.  The difference is the price in what you get for your money.  To get a PC with similar features you would have to pay as much if not more.  Not to mention that the machine looks great, say that about a PC. 

My seven year old can use it without any problems.  We have used it to talk to family in other city’s using the video camera and microphone.  It is amazing how simple it is to use. 

Security is always a concern with any computer, but with the MAC we have been more at ease because it doesn’t have the security holes that Windows does.  Here is what Apple has to say:

By the end of 2005, there were 114,000 known viruses for PCs. In March 2006 alone, 850 new threats were detected against Windows. Zero for Mac. While no computer connected to the Internet will ever be 100% immune from attack, Mac OS X has helped the Mac keep its clean bill of health with a superior UNIX foundation and security features that go above and beyond the norm for PCs. When you get a Mac, only your enthusiasm is contagious.”  Source:

Ultimately if you put a gun to my head and said choose I would pick MAC just because of ease of use, aesthetics and performance.  I would have to have a lot of money to be able to run all of the applications that I need to run but since you put a gun to my head……If money is the only consideration then a PC is for you.

I can’t wait to hear the feedback on this BLOG……

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