General Question

Aesthetic_Mess's avatar

What is the point of buying a Mac if you are just going to run Windows on it?

Asked by Aesthetic_Mess (7858 points ) July 9th, 2012

I realize the benefits of running OS X and Windows side by side, but I fail to understand why you would buy a Macbook or iMac and just run Windows on it.

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28 Answers

bolwerk's avatar

There probably isn’t one. Macbooks used to be pretty sturdily built back in the day, compared to PCs, but I don’t think that’s true so much anymore. But back then, Macs were using the PowerPC architecture, so Windows wasn’t an option, and Steve Jobs hadn’t turned the company (entirely anyway) into a giant toy manufacturer.

A few people I know got Macs as presents and found the hardware fine, even if the OS is a clunky POS. So they installed Windows or Linux or something.

gorillapaws's avatar

One reason I can think of is to sandbox Windows. You could configure Windows into a known good state and take a “snapshot” of it on the Mac side. You can restore to that known good state very quickly and easily (literally a few seconds) if you run into issues, because Widows is such a clunky POS.

Some people appreciate the design aesthetics and want attractive things in their homes and offices. Macs are designed with a very high degree of fit/finnish, and have nice touches like the re-engineered mag-safe connector, which has saved my ass many times, the “feel” of the multi-touch trackpad, which seems to have just the right amount of coefficient of friction to feel “right” even if you can’t take advantage of gestures because you’re running Windows.

There’s also the support side. If hardware issues crop up, you can bring your machine into an Apple store, or call Apple support and speak to a real, live American right away without dicking around with robots, long hold times, and foreign tech support. I have never had a situation where Apple didn’t resolve a hardware problem to my satisfaction on the spot.

Lightlyseared's avatar

Some people might prefer windows to OSX. Unlikely perhaps but possible.

bolwerk's avatar

@gorillapaws: why wouldn’t you just sandbox Windows on some cheaper, more powerful hardware?

@Lightlyseared: and why wouldn’t you just skip the high-priced hardware entirely then?

Neither of those reasons make sense, unless there really is someone profane enough to think chrome is more aesthetically appealing than gun metal. :-O

Tropical_Willie's avatar

The biggest reason, if it is in the business world, is compatibility to the Windows legacy programs. Power Point and Access are used in the business world.

_Whitetigress's avatar

The only benefit I see is that one would prefer the Authentic Mac OSX interface. Let’s say one prefers a MacBookPro as is the case with me, no mouse just the touch pad and the built in keyboard. I would say I would use about 98% all programs on my Pro while there are still some programs not made for Apple such as “Fruity Loops” the beat maker program. In that case I would switch over to Windows mode and extract and e-mail the .Wav file. This is just one instance. Also I’m sure a bunch of people don’t discover the ability to have a different OS until they’ve actually purchased their machine and OS anyhow. So I’d say there are many variables which lead to many factors to your question. Hope this helped a bit :{D}

_Whitetigress's avatar

Also to add my buddy has a homemade built machine and does the whole hackintosh thing. It crashes about a ratio of 5/20 the longer the duration of pro apps being used compared to mines which is about 1/50 using pro apps continuously. I run 8gb ram on macosx on 2.7Ghz intel core i7. Yes there are more powerful machines out there, but do they come with an entire corporation dedicated to constantly defending against malware, virus, trojan etc? Windows relies on third party companies to protect it’s systems against harmful debris to their OS and again it just boils down to preference. I remember running Windows and recording music etc. I could honestly say it was just ok running software on Windows everything just feels much smoother on Apples side of town for me. Often times I find myself helping out my wife on her Windows laptop and I’m reminded of my dreadful PC days :X

Lightlyseared's avatar

@bolwerk the same reason most people buy macs – style over substance.

downtide's avatar

The only reason I can think of is the perception that owning a Mac is somehow trendier and more superior to owning a PC.

ragingloli's avatar

The only somewhat valid reason I can see is the shiny case.
The hardware is only mediocre in general, and hopelessly underpowered compared to a custom built non-mac PC for the same money, and once you take away the apple os, which is not all that great anyway, there is really no point whatsoever, apart from the shiny case (which is not that appealing either), to get a mac.

@_Whitetigress “an entire corporation dedicated to constantly defending against malware, virus, trojan etc”.
That is not even true. Mac OS is the most vulnerable of the three OSes (windows, linux, mac). Apple pretends that it is not vulnerable and takes ages to close security holes. (we are talking months)

Sunny2's avatar

I like it because I can do artwork on it so easily. Need a poster or a flyer? At my fingertips. Print it out and there you go. Also, I find it easy to communicate with the machine. I’ve no idea how to use a PC. I could learn, I’m sure, but I’ve lived with Macs for years and it fits my needs like a glove.

DominicX's avatar

They want the hardware? Macs have some good hardware, at least compared to your average PC laptop, which tend to be pretty mediocre. Crappy 1366×768 displays with bad viewing angles and color reproduction, touch pads that are unresponsive and jumpy, etc. You don’t get that kind of thing with Macs, even the “cheapest” ones. Nonetheless, there are some aspects of the hardware that you wouldn’t even be able to fully to take advantage of.

whiteliondreams's avatar

The reason I ran Windows on my Mac was for work purposes. The United States military uses Windows and thus, Windows-based applications that are required when developing rating schemes, military forms, or signing electronic documents. Otherwise, I have absolutely no need for Windows. Each system has their benefits and comfort levels. Mine is OS-X, my partner’s preference is Windows. She happens to run Windows 7 from her Macbook.

DeanV's avatar

@DominicX But they don’t. Resolution is one thing that Macs certainly have on PC’s, but that difference and gap wasn’t substantial until just recently with the retina display.

I guarantee I can find a PC laptop for much cheaper than the current MacBook Pro that has it beat in processor clock speed, RAM, HD space, GPU power and memory, hell, everything but resolution and aesthetics. I would hope Macs have good hardware compared to your average PC laptop, because they cost about 1K more.

gorillapaws's avatar

@DeanV Let’s see what you can come up with.

DominicX's avatar

@DeanV I’m not just talking about the retina display. Even Mac’s TN screens were superior to those of the typical 720p display on most PCs.

I don’t expect most people who use Macs know or care about the quality of TN panels, but perhaps someone who bought a Mac to use with Windows was aware of that advantage.

DeanV's avatar

Let’s use the new Retina Display MBP as an example. $2199, with a hell of a display, 2.3GHZ quad core processor, 8GB of RAM, and a GTX 650M.

Now let’s take this Asus. Identical Core i7 processor, same amount of RAM, bigger HD (although not an SSD, I’ll give the MBP that), and a GPU that blows the 650M out of the water, with twice the graphics memory. And the 1080p resolution isn’t too shabby, although definitely not up to par with the Retina Display. Oh, and it only costs $1,219. Yes, it doesn’t have the sexy aesthetics, better battery life, weight, or size, but I’ll take the $900 and buy myself an iPad for portability if I want.

gorillapaws's avatar

@DeanV That’s an absurd comparison. The retina Macbook is designed around the display, it’s batteries, GPU and everything else is all geared to power those pixels. And the SSD is also a major deal (they add a lot to the cost). If you’re not going to compare another retina laptop (and you really can’t) try the Macbook Air to another ultralight notebook with the same specs. Do an apples-to-apples comparison. Or if you want to compare the macbook, use one that isn’t retina, and spec it out so it has the same hardware, then compare the price.

DeanV's avatar

@gorillapaws But it’s the type of comparison I would make when buying a computer. I play a lot of games and do a lot of video work, and I want a computer that has the specs that allow me to do that.

I’m well aware I’m not the target market for something like a MBP, as I do want more raw computing power whenever possible, even over something like the Retina Display, I’m just trying to show that saying Apple has better hardware in every department is patently false.

gorillapaws's avatar

@DeanV After looking for a few minutes, The ASUS ZENBOOK is about as close as I could get to the specs of the entry-level Macbook Pro. The ASUS is priced between $1,165 – $1,196. The entry-level Macbook Pro is $1199. Yes, it’s possible to configure a behemoth pc that looks like an aircraft carrier with better hardware, but that’s a totally different product category. It’s like comparing the torque of a monster truck to a BMW. Apple doesn’t make monster truck laptops.

Also the HP ENVY is pretty close to the Macbook, but I’ve not speced them out to get a close comparison.

DeanV's avatar

@gorillapaws Fair enough, but when you compare that Zenbook to the MBP it’s where Apple starts to lose at its own game. The Zenbook has identical tech specs as far as CPU and GPU go, an SSD, and it weighs 2 pounds less than the MBP. Shoudn’t we be comparing it to the Macbook Air, arguably its closest competitor? IMO, it’s where Apple’s pricepoint actually appears to be close to the competition, as the Zenbook weighs the same, costs about the same, and only beats the 13 inch MBA in clock speed.

gorillapaws's avatar

@DeanV yes, sorry, I didn’t realize the Zenbook was an ultralight. The point is these things aren’t $1000 different in price as you’ve claimed. They’re all in the same ballpark, and you will probably pay between $50 to a couple hundred more for the Apple “premium” for most specs. I’m sure there may be some outlier edge cases out there with bigger price gaps (the Mac Pro is an obvious outlier—I wouldn’t recommend those until they get the overhaul that Tim Cook said was coming sometime next year), but the point is that for the average consumer, getting a computer with fairly similar specs, Macs are reasonably competitive.

DeanV's avatar

@gorillapaws You’re right, 1K is high, but I don’t think my Asus comparison is all that off base from a hardware perspective, which is where this whole thing started. We can go back and forth about how much extra battery life, weight, display resolution, even useless stuff like Thunderbolt add to the price, but when it comes down to raw specifications, Apple charges more for the same or lesser hardware, and that was always my point. I’m happy the Macbook Air has hit a competitive pricepoint finally, but what really separates their higher end machines like the MBP from their insides-identical competitors like the Asus I linked is just how much the consumer is willing to pay for an SSD, better display, and better battery life and aesthetics.

Myself, I’d gladly pay about $200 more for those features, but not $900. I’m not saying anyone who does pay that premium is foolish, not by any means, but different strokes for different folks and until that premium drops a bit, I can’t see myself buying a MBP. But that’s not really what this discussion is about.

whiteliondreams's avatar

@DeanV Yet, it still runs Windows. There needn’t be a great explanation as to why Windows as an operating system is inferior in more aspects than programming. However, remember that you are comparing a gaming computer to a personal notebook computer; even so, they both have different purposes.

DeanV's avatar

@whiteliondreams You know as well as I do saying Windows is inferior is personal opinion.

ragingloli's avatar

especially considering that windows has to work with any combination of custom chosen hardware and software you throw at it, while mac os only has to work with, and accepts only, a few specific sets of hardware and software chosen by apple.

whiteliondreams's avatar

You get what you pay for.

bolwerk's avatar

But the best OSes are ones you don’t pay for. Linux or FreeBSD are by and large more capable than MacOS or Windows, though MacOS X is mainly just FreeBSD dumbed down enough so those with an IQ of 96 don’t dump their system files into the trashcan. The only downside to Linux or BSD is the application support isn’t quite as good in some areas, mainly media, and that advantage is probably evaporating.

And, yeah, gotta agree with @DeanV. I can’t see a single advantage MacOS X has over Windows and I’m not exactly a big fan of either these days. By and large they have parallel capabilities and shortcomings, but if Apple has one great achievement it’s convincing people that paying more for less in the midst of a recession is something a really clever person would do. Steve Jobs must be laughing it up in hell.

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