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Paul's avatar

Are Macs Worth The Fuss?

Asked by Paul (2717points) May 2nd, 2011

I could get the baseline 15” MBP for £1,455.60 or a beastly gaming PC ( for the price shown there. Both new. I am interested in looking into PC gaming but already have an Xbox & PS3 so I’m wondering if it’s worth the investmen, sreen, keyboard etc. needed. I know this isn’t a tech forum but from my experience this forum just has an amazing community so :D Do any of you have experience of macs/gaming PCs, good or bad?

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12 Answers

koanhead's avatar

In general, for the same level of hardware capability, non-Macs are cheaper than Macs. Therefore there’s a premium paid for “Mac-ness”- the OS and the way the machines are made, and the Apple customer experience. It’s worth it for some folk and not others.
If you really want a Mac, get a Mac. If you want a cheap, powerful computer, get somethng else.

HungryGuy's avatar

It’s not so cut and dry. I play games on my PC, but I also have an Xbox and Playstation. The advantage of a PC for gaming is that gaming is much more satisfying on a PC than on a console. Some games, like The Sims, are nearly unplayable with the console version because the controls are so complex and using a keyboard is MUCH easier. OTOH, it’s mad expensive to keep a gaming PC current and able to play the latest games, while with a console you’re good for 5 years or so between generations.

Seaofclouds's avatar

I have a PC for gaming (along with all the current generation video game consoles) and my Macbook for everything else I do on the computer (except a few things I still need my PC to do that I can’t do on my Mac). PCs are great for gaming because they aren’t as limited as Macs can be. For everything else, I just prefer the Mac OS. Personally, I’d say go to an Apple store (or other store that sells Macs in your area) and just play around on it for a bit to get a feel for it. Macs aren’t for everyone.

jrpowell's avatar

I have a Hackintosh that dual boots. I saved a bucket of cash and it runs OS X great. And I can boot into Windows if I need to. It really isn’t that hard to install OS X on a box of parts as long as you get the right parts. Here is a build I did for Dog. It took about a hour to get OS X installed and working properly. And it is a beast for 1100 bucks.

jerv's avatar

First off, Macs are not great gaming machines, especially not for the money. I have a relatively modest $600 PC that can spank any iMac less than three times it’s price. Not to mention that most games would require a Mac to go through Boot Camp, and that generally requires shelling out even more money for a full version of Windows. So to get what I have, you would need to spend at least a couple of grand.

And a Macbook (or pretty much any laptop) is a poor choice for gaming anyways since laptops have inferior graphics capabilities. Even my little old GT 240 video card beats the hell out of just about any mobile video chip (like the ones used in the older iMacs, or the Mac Mini). So unless your gaming is quite casual, you will be far better off with a desktop system, preferably one with at least 1GB of video RAM, which is more than any iMac except for the top model or just about any PC laptop.

PC gaming offers things that you cannot get on a console (and vice versa) so any serious gamer has both a PC and at least one console. For instance, I like the MechWarrior series, but the only one that was ever on a console was MW2 for the PS1 and it sucked compared to the PC version; it was virtually unplayable. And MW4:Mercenaries is PC-only.

@HungryGuy Not entirely true. My previous PC was a top-end gaming rig that my buddy bought in 2004 and it ran even the newest 2009 titles fairly well despite being technically obsolete. Granted, a 3.4GHz Pentium 4 and a Radeon 9800XT are quaint by today’s standards, but they did get the job done. That still-running rig got gifted to a friend when I upgraded and he manages to do okay despite hardware that is now older than my tray-loading PS2.

@Seaofclouds Definitely true, and more true for gamers than anybody else. Some people may prefer them for other things, but I have yet to hear any gamer that went on about how awesome their Mac was at gaming.

@johnpowell Viva la Hackintosh! For those that prefer OS X, I maintain that a Hackintosh is far better than an actual Mac.

gorillapaws's avatar

I’m a big fan of Macs. They’re well-made, have a high degree of fit and finnish, excellent customer service and support, and have excellent software for the vast majority of user needs. Having said that, they’re inferior in speed/power per dollar type calculations with similar PC gaming rigs. If building your machine and hackintoshing it is something you feel like undertaking, then by all means, have fun.

The typical computer user (and even many power-users) are either incapable of these types of activities, or don’t want to dick around with a computer that’s been virtually duct-taped together. Most Mac users want to focus on getting things done, and they are exceptional machines for doing just that. In my opinion, they are absolutely worth the premium. My time and sanity are certainly worth the marginal difference in price, but that’s a personal choice. Also, I’ve become quite used to multi-touch gestures and would have a very hard time going back to a computer that didn’t have gestures.

If you decide OSX isn’t your thing, I would also consider taking a hard look at Linux. Almost anything is preferable to dealing with Microsoft (especially with their licensing).

YoBob's avatar


I recently shook off the yolk of the Windows PC and have been quite happy with my iMac.

DeanV's avatar

@YoBob I think the “fuss” in question is the price premium. And it is quite a price premium.

jerv's avatar

@gorillapaws @YoBob How are they for GAMING though? Forget about multimedia work or general daily use; it seems that the OP is more interested in that end of things.

koanhead's avatar

@jerv it’s hard to say just what in the heck the OP is actually after. He does specifically mention a gaming PC and “PC gaming”, but the question is so vague that it is hard to know.

@FPSMadPaul can you please clarify your question as to what exactly you are looking for in a computer?
Also, “PC” means “Personal Computer”. Therefore Macs are also PCs.

Yes, I know that IBM once sold a model called the “PC”- but that was 30 years ago. Let’s get over it.

There are almost certainly more types of computers and OS’ than even I know about. For the sake of discussion I will point out the following:

These days ALL PC’s use approximately the same hardware: CPUs are x86, amd64 or em64T compatible. That’s about it in today’s commodity hardware. This is true of Mac, Windows, Linux, FreeBSD, whatever.

If gaming is what you are into, then I have to reluctantly admit that Windows is the platform for you. Windows has more available games than any other PC platform (although Linux has the best ones). The advantage of running Windows from a gaming perspective is that Windows can run nearly all Windows games. The drawback is that it can’t run non-Windows games. Linux or Mac can run many Windows games under Wine. I’m not sure about interoperability twixt Linux and Mac because frankly, I’m only interested in Open Source games, and if I’ve got the source code I can compile it for either platform.

gorillapaws's avatar

@jerv I’m not entirely sure what the op is after to be honest. He mentions gaming, but he also says that he has consoles for that. I have a fairly old iMac that was near the top of the line in its day and it performed quite respectably with games for several years. I could have saved several hundred dollars and bought a PC with similar specs, but amortized over 5 years, that “premium” is fairly minimal.

jerv's avatar

@gorillapaws And the even older PC I had with vastly superior specs has done as well in the amortized cost department over the last seven years and counting.

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