Mac or PC? Pick Your Poison

Instead of commenting on the latest TV show, comic book, or superheroine, I’ve decided to fire a shot in a war that’s raged for decades: PC or Mac? For 5 years I’ve had one HP desktop PC at home and used several Mac desktops and laptops in the office.

I’ve finally decided to buy a new computer and because I work in the business of show, I will soon be drafted into the Mac army. I will use my new laptop for both home and work to edit, create flash animations, surf the net, write columns, listen to music, and watch TV.

Before apple juice is spilled and I’m forced to yet again hear about the greatness of Macs, you need to know I do not consider myself to be a tech guru or a first adopter. I have, however, been on computers since the age of 2, I’m an avid user of CNET, I’ve programmed in HTML, and I’ve troubleshot excel and everyday computer glitches for my co-workers.

In an effort to stake my flag in the PC/Mac war, I offer up a map of battles won and lost, an army and artillery count, and a winner thus far (the outcome might surprise you):

Price: My biggest issue with Mac is price. You simply get more for your money with a PC. The only reason I believe Mac overcharges so much is because they can. For $1,250 I can get a 13” MacBook Pro laptop, 2.26GHz Intel Core 2 Duo processor, 2GB Ram, and 250GB Hard Drive of storage with iLife software.

For $900 I can get a 16” Toshiba laptop with 2.26GHz Intel Core i5, 4GB Ram, 500GB storage, Blu-ray Drive, and Microsoft Windows 7 (per CNET). [On another note, I want to know how a production assistant on $500 a week can afford to pay $200 for an iPhone with $100 in monthly fees and be required to bring their own Mac laptop to work?] Price isn’t a battle won but a massacre of epic proportions. PC happily bloodies the battlefield in first strike and leaves no prisoners.

Hardware: Simply no contest. For a lesser price as outlined above, I can get an equal or better processor. Where PCs have a multitude of processors to pick from, the latest, fastest processors are not even available for purchase on Mac laptops. The Mac storage space is inexcusable. I have a 160GB hard drive on my 5 year old HP PC. I can buy more GB space, but shouldn’t a 500GB hard drive at least come standard in the year 2010? Mac, your tank is so 2000 and late.

Operating System: The Mac operating system does look prettier, but as far as ease of use it’s a tie with a PC. What infuriates me the most is the fact that I can legally install a Windows OS on a Mac but cannot do so on a PC. I assume it’s because Apple knows it’s hardware is inferior and if you were able to install a Mac OS on a PC they would lose a ton of money. Macs allow diplomats into their camp while PCs let live the double agents among them.

Software: Mac has the edge. For reasons I cannot fathom but surely someday will, Final Cut Pro is not available on a PC. I need this software to compete for jobs in Hollywood. Therefore, I am forced to buy a Mac. As far as other software goes, they are an equal match. I can run Photoshop, Flash, Office just as well on a PC as I can on Mac.

I really don’t give a frell that the minimize/maximize/close are on opposite sides. Mac launched an anti-aircraft missile while the PCs were flying a helicopter. PCs safely parachute away and run for the hills.

Features: I watch a lot of movies. Is it too much to ask to have a Blu-ray drive and an HDMI port on my laptop? In the PC world it is not. On most PCs HDMI ports come standard. Mac on the other hand has a couple USB ports and one firewire port. I would have to buy additional connectivity cords to be able to connect to a variety of devices, like a TV. Mac has one gun on them while PCs have a gun, a multitude of missiles, a few grenades, and some nifty night goggles.

Reliability: Every single Mac user I talk to says the same thing, “I love my Mac because it never crashes unlike those #%*$)%* PCs”. Simply not true. Not until the 4th year of having my HP did it crash and without the help of a pro I went to system restore and restored my desktop to a time when it was functioning. That, and I made a deal with God to be a better a person, which may have helped. I have gotten viruses/adware on my computer.

I have also very easily used freeware Malwarebytes to get rid of them in under 30 minutes. In contrast, that mother-frackin’ windmill of death would come up every single day, freeze my Mac, and I would be forced to restart in midstream. I absolutely, positively want to thrash the spinning windmill of death with every facet of being, but I cannot because Mac propaganda has infiltrated the ranks of the Hollywood elite. Which brings me to the next territory under siege.

Industry Standard: I’m not sure about other industries, but as far as Hollywood goes, Mac has battled for territory and now rules as supreme dictator. All of Mac’s glamorous Hollywood subjects believe in Mac propaganda so much that they demand their underlings also have one.

They fear a Windows document will not be the same as a Mac one. Their fears reside on shaky ground, but try telling them that and they will send you back to your nation in shame.

Coolness Factor: Mac has PC beat. Mac, your standard uniform attire is really flattering and I’m gellin’ like a felon in my boots. Their marketing is genius and their sleek product casing is sophisticated. Much like a pair of jeans costs more if it has an Armani tag, so does Mac cost more because it has a beautiful, half eaten, and probably rotten apple logo on their computers.

They coerce their soldiers into believing that if they buy their product they are also popular and cool by extension. This is not so. I have met many soldiers in the Mac ranks who are not very cool at all.

Who won? Mac did, because they have your money and they laugh at how easily they beat you with their silver packaging and gleaming smiles.

In a perfect world I could legally install Mac OS on a new PC for around $1,000 and get every feature under the sun. Maybe, one day my dream of living in a land of peace and acceptance will come to light. Until then, I will drink the Mac Kool Aid and slowly succumb to their army of make-believe.

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  • Christopher Scalzi
    March 30, 2010 at 3:08 pm

    You’re very right, the average user will not notice or run into many the issues / concerns I have with the Windows systems. Again, Windows 7, good stuff, I hope they continue to move forward instead of taking massive leaps back like they did with Windows ME and Vista.

    When it comes down to it the only issues the average user will run into and I find through my clientele get consistently frustrated with is maintaining an anti-virus / spyware solution and being aware of how it works. Once a year I get calls from like 10 clients not knowing how to renew the damn thing or update it from whatever convoluted process Trend Micro, Norton, etc has them go through.

    You’re dead right about the “cool” factor of the Apple right now. It’s something Apple’s marketing team has won over through good strategy and rolling out campaigns that actually make people engaged in the product versus not caring at all (their 90’s ads). I hope for the consumer’s sake that Apple will not take advantage of their cool factor to lower their standards since they already do have the public’s monday.

  • potax
    March 30, 2010 at 2:35 pm

    Macs use the same components as PCs do. there is no difference anymore. they use Intel Processors,the motherboards are probably made by the same company, and the RAM and hardware are from the same source. What is better on apple laptops is basically the build is much better.
    But still selling old hardware at new prices is not a very honorable thing to do.

    • Diane Panosian
      March 30, 2010 at 3:09 pm

      Yours is a good response as well. Macs and PCs both do use Intel. The computer consultant’s point below about Apple controlling the entire production process is worth noting, but it still doesn’t justify a huge difference in price. On the advice of a reputable solely-mac consulting company, I easily doubled the Ram on a Macbook Pro for half the price Apple charges.

      • Christopher Scalzi
        March 30, 2010 at 3:16 pm

        The reason Apple’s RAM generally costs more is that there is a different in the type of RAM you can get. Some RAM chips have ECC and double buffering which is useful mostly for pro users. These technologies speed of the RAM and allow for error correction. Also depending on the chip you have the conductors could be made out of better material. There IS a difference, but the average user won’t need it.

      • Chris Ullrich
        March 31, 2010 at 12:18 pm

        Apple’s RAM prices are notoriously high. I never buy RAM from them and instead usually buy from Crucial. Their RAM has always worked perfectly in any Mac I’ve put it in.

  • Christopher Scalzi
    March 30, 2010 at 12:56 pm

    I think there are a lot of good points here but I can’t really get on board with the price issue. The fact is although the mac hardware costs more it is consistently of higher quality than any pc manufacturer. Since they control the production process from start to finish they are able to fine tune their hardware the way they want instead of grouping together parts of varied quality at the best price point to sell a pc. This has always been the case. Although I think PCs used to have this quality in hardware we’d have to go back to the hay day of Dell or as early as the IBM XTs.

    Personally I have both systems, I have a few PowerMacs and a few XP systems and one Windows 7 system. I love my Windows 7 system, it’s great, but is it easier than a mac? I don’t think so. They still follow this mentality that preferences and configuration options need to be scattered nonsensically throughout the operating systems or hidden within right click operations. I do however think it’s their best release since XP. As far as the mac goes, they rebuild their operating system from the ground up, that’s why it works as well as it does, built on a rock solid unix structure which has been the industry standard long before Microsoft’s day. All systems crash, all systems mess up, and all systems need to be maintained. If they’re not, they’ll mess up, it’s just a rule. I’ve been working as a full time technician for my own computer consulting business for 7 years now and I know there’s merits to both platforms, but at the end of the day, I’ll always choose mac because of higher hardware quality, a more consistent operating system built on standards which microsoft is now beginning to emulate (big surprise) and I don’t need to even think about viruses, spyware, driver conflicts, a windows update exploding my computer due to them not testing it properly, registry corruption, IRQ conflicts, etc etc.

    Truth be told I love technology period. So I’ll continue to use both systems or any other system that comes thereafter.

    • Diane Panosian
      March 30, 2010 at 2:52 pm

      Thank you for your detailed response. I do feel a least a little better about spending money on an apple after reading your comment about mac’s higher quality of hardware. I still think the operating systems are pretty equal as far as Leopard and Windows 7 are concerned. I wrote the article to express the concerns as an everyday computer user with a choice to make and not one who lives for the next issue of Wired. I’m not buying tech for the sake of buying the future, but rather to meet my own needs in work and life. That being said, I really do appreciate your insight coming from someone who equally runs both systems.

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