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imrainmaker's avatar

Mac or windows?

Asked by imrainmaker (8365points) February 3rd, 2016 from iPhone

Which one do you prefer and why?

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31 Answers

zenvelo's avatar


I am in a minority here, I believe, but I am all Apple. I like the Mac because it is easy, reliable, and versatile. And it doesn’t disrupt everything when the OS is updated.

XOIIO's avatar

Windows, because it runs on hardware you can actually get fixed or upgrade, vs mac, which locks you into pretty much buying a whole new computer when something gets wrong these days, plus you have access to way more in terms of customization, running third party programs, overclocking, etc.

Mac is good if you want a no fuss os and you don’t really do much important on it.

There is a reason Windows is the most used OS in many industries. It’s much better for business use where mac is better for people who want things to look pretty, like designers.

It’s also not good if you want to use external hard drives from windows systems, at least in my experience, not sure if they have finally added ntfs support or not (you know, that standard that’s been used for decades)

Stinley's avatar

Windows for me. I use a Mac for a couple of hours a week when I cover an enquiry desk and I hate it. I hate that it is different. I don’t want to learn new actions. For example the Close button is on the left not right of the window, the scroll on the mouse works in the opposite direction, the is no right click. I have no idea how to save Chrome to my bar at the bottom. Because it’s a shared machine (at the enquiry desk) I can’t save many of my changes because I’m not an administrator. I just wanted to print something but couldn’t use the printer I wanted!

jaytkay's avatar

They’re both perfectly fine. I’ve been using WIndows for professional reasons for about 15 years now, so Macs are a little alien to me now.

But when anyone asks me what they should buy, I always say get a Mac. If you don’t know the difference, please go get a Mac. Then I can send them to the Apple store for support, instead of torturing myself trying to help computer incompetents.

Same with phones. If you have to ask, go get an iPhone.

XOIIO's avatar

@jaytkay lol, that’s a good point.

ragingloli's avatar

Windows, based on a rational requirement-performance-cost comparison.

XOIIO's avatar

@ragingloli But for only double the price you could get half the performance!

jerv's avatar

Linux; not all non-Macs runs Windows.

But you didn’t list that, so given the choice between crap and shit, I’ll take crap. In this case, that means Windows.

While @zenvelo says Macs are “easy, reliable, and versatile”, I can shoot down all three of those. Ease started to fade when Windows came out, and pretty much went away with Win7. And Linux has become even simpler than either; simple enough that my 13-year-old cousin figured it out in 2–3 minutes. In fact, for many of the sorts of things I do, it’s actually harder, if not outright impossible on Mac because Apple likes to lock their stuff down. Reliable…. not so much. Then again, that would imply that Windows is more unreliable than it actually is. That’s a draw. Linux is reliable enough to be used in mission-critical things, so it untouchable in this area.

And versatile? Complete, total, and utter bullshit. I think 95% of the stuff I run would only run on a Mac if you used Boot Camp or a VM to boot the Windows, and it would run poorly since the GPUs in Macs tend to be underpowered and non-upgradeable. Sure, the new ones are better, but graphically, most iMacs would still be unable to match what a PC could do at ⅓ the price. Linux can run some OS X stuff thanks to the similarities between Linux and FreeBSD which OS X is based on. And WINE has come a long way, so it run a lot of Windows things already.

The only things Macs have going for them are looks, customer support, and resale value. I do all my own work, so tech support is useless. I run my systems into the ground, so resale value means nothing. And if I wanted pretty, I’d be into case mods. So the three things they can beat a PC on are all things I care nothing about. Oh, and Apple logos give street cred to people worried about being “cool” or “in”.

Don’t take that to mean I actually like Windows though. It has a lot of ass-backwards things about it, and more than a few problems. However, it can run just about anything I want to run, which right there makes it 100 times better than OS X. And I can get hardware that runs that stuff better than a Mac could run it for far cheaper. Since Apple is actually not tops in reliability, cost and ease of repair mean a lot. That comes into play every couple of years when I need an upgrade too. Mac users would replace their entire system for over ten times what I paid to just get a new mob/CPU/RAM to upgrade my 2009 budget box to a 2015 mid-range PC.

But I have to give Linux props. The UI can be altered to look like OS X, Win7, Win95, Win3.11, or have it’s own unique desktops like MATE or Cinnamon. The same things that make Macs allegedly virus-proof are just as true of Linux since both are UNIX-derivatives. It’s security and performance are good enough for most servers, banks, governments, and the DoD.

@jaytkay I have a few non-techhead friends that couldn’t handle the teeny-tiny iPhones. While the 6/6s is okay, I would not recommend the earlier (smaller) ones for anyone much over 5’5”; only the petite and the underage have hands small enough to use them comfortably. And if my non-geek wife found Android intuitive while iOS was jsut unusable, that right there should just end the debate.

ARE_you_kidding_me's avatar

@jerv, with you on linux. Been on board since redhat ver 6. Things have really improved after Ubuntu and now just about any distro is easy enough to install and use.

Zaku's avatar

I prefer Linux.

I use Windows when I have to. I hate the latest version (Windows 10), and use Windows 7 when I must use Windows, if I can. Windows makes sense if you need some software that only runs on Windows, such as various games or specific versions of some application software.

I think Mac is a good for people who like it or who have no interest (or ability) in dealing with obstacles and annoyances. For people who are not experts and want reduced complexity and hassle and learning, I’d recommend Mac over Windows.

Mimishu1995's avatar

Windows, simply because there are more Windows softwares out there.

jerv's avatar

If PlaysOnLinux and WINE keep improving, I’m probably headed to Mint.

Silence04's avatar

I have used a couple distros of Linux, every version of mac, and almost every version of windows (until win vista).

I worked on windows a lot when i was younger, but now i’ve been using mac exclusively and haven’t looked back. no more defrag, no more dll hell, no more endless malware/etc issues. That stuff was fun to fix when i was younger, now i’m willing to pay apple tax for a more hassle free experience and just get on with my day.

dxs's avatar


Buttonstc's avatar

Mac. Because I’m a techno-tard.

gorillapaws's avatar

I’m a fan of the Mac personally. There is a lot of misinformation here.

We have them in our surgical practice running Windows via bootcamp. They’re saving us a fair bit of money because they’re well made and seem to last a lot longer than than the PCs we were buying. A huge driver of cost for us is the sysadmin expense (at $125/hour) of fixing issues created by PC hardware/software failures, reconfiguring replacement machines for our network, etc. We don’t do gaming on our computers in our surgical practice so having the fastest GPU makes no sense in our situation. I’ve done the math and Macs have been a significant savings in total cost for our practice in the long run.

@XOIIO Mentioned that you can’t do serious stuff on a Mac, which is really total bullshit. A lot of programmers use Macs. Macs can run unix-based tools and all kinds of high-end geekery. I would say the only reason to avoid a Mac was if I was a hardcore gamer looking to get the most performance for my dollar. In that case, I’d build a machine on my own. The other situation where a Mac might be a bad choice is if I was involved in an industry where I have some very weird/niche software requirement that doesn’t exist on the Mac. For example, if I used a specialty app that allowed me to design CPU architecture (as a random example) that may not have an equivalent in OS X, then the Mac would be a bad choice.

The vast majority of business users just need something that can do email, browse the web, draft/review documents, do spreadsheets, do presentations, manage contacts etc. One of the most amazing apps on OS X is It’s a very powerful/easy-to-use tool for working with .pdfs (and other files) that runs circles around Adobe Acrobat that costs hundreds of dollars. On a Mac, anything you can print can also be saved as a .pdf which is an incredibly handy feature. All of that comes standard with a Mac without having to shell out significant money for MS Office, and the expense of keeping that software upgraded as well (Apple’s software upgrades are free). Furthermore, OS X has very powerful tools that allow you to do some advanced things with the combination of custom tags, metadata, Smart folders, Mail rules, and scripting. We have 10’s of thousands of .pdf business records scanned, organized, and backed up on our business Mac running OS X. It’s doing serious business stuff running a company with 11 employees.

Another area where the Mac really shines is the marriage of software and hardware. For example there are technologies like App Nap and Timer Coalescing that allow programs to sync up their access to the CPU when the machine is running on battery power so that it radically increases the battery life. I don’t believe these kinds of things are possible in Windows. The fit/finish of Apple products is top-notch and once you get used to using a force-touch trackpad with gesture recognition, it becomes difficult to use anything else.

Additionally, if your business would be able to function using OS X server, It costs like $20 to download. Compare that to potentially thousands of dollars in annual per-user licensing fees you might spend on a Microsoft server product, and you have a pretty strong business case for Macs being much cheaper overall in certain business environments.

I think Microsoft has come a long way, but a lot of their usability is still pretty terrible (Word comes to mind). That’s personal preference though. I think people should get the product that works for them. I just think it’s disappointing that people seem to get off on trashing the Mac when they often don’t have a clue what they’re talking about. For example you can replace drives and ram on an iMac . You can use a 2-button mouse, you’ve been able to do so since OS X’s public beta in 2000. The defaults are there to keep things simple.

johnpowell's avatar

I do serious programming shit on a Mac. It is actually much better if you want to deploy to a *nix server. Oh hey, Windows tools I have a native SSH client. Enjoy Putty/Kitty..

If you want to teabag people in games and harass females that like gaming you should stick with Windows.

jerv's avatar

@gorillapaws Funny that you speak of misinformation then spew out a bit yourself.

Without knowing what sort of PCs you were using, you may well be comparing Apples to oranges. And you don’t need to be a gamer to have use for a strong GPU; us machinists who do CAD/CAM can also benefit, as could many who do graphics work.

Speaking of “niche software”, quite a few of the best CAD/CAM programs out there are not available for OS X. On the PDF front, I can’t recall the last time I used Abode Assrobot; I go for other, faster, free stuff, and many Linux distros do as well.

Timer coalescing isn’t possible in Windows…. unless you are using Win7 or newer, which most PCs since 2009 do. And like MANY other features, Linux has had that for a while; 2.6.22 came out in 2007.

The fit/finish better be top-notch! For those prices, MacBooks should come with whaleskin slip-cases. I’m not one to pay $27,500 for a canvas that someone spit on and signed; I’m not enough of an art buff for that to matter to me. I can’t justify buying something that has a profit margin 10–20 times the industry average (they really don’t cost more to build; you’re paying for art).

Most servers run Apache. Free with Linux. That might also explain why most servers run Linux.

Replacing the drives and RAM in an iMac is non-trivial. The disassembly process requires special tools and not much less dexterity than a surgeon. I’ve read the teardowns of various different models of iMac, and even I would be wary of attempting it because of what is involved.

About the only thing you got right in your entire post is that Windows is mediocre for usability. Then again, OS X is totally unusable for much of what I do, so even that isn’t a point in Apple’s favor; Windows being wrong doesn’t make OS X right.

@johnpowell “If you want to teabag people in games and harass females that like gaming you should stick with Windows.”

I’m going to be charitable and assume that you are so drunk right now that the only reason that your post even resembles English is dumb luck. The alternative is that you’re asking for someone to make you swallow your teeth. Sleep it off.

@both_of_you Your two posts make me so happy that I left the cult. I don’t mind discussions on merit, except when they contain more falsehoods than the arguments than their opposition. And I don’t mind a little ego, but even I have my limits. If Mac users are all delusional and/or evangelical, then I’m glad I left the cult decades ago.

Seriously, if you want to see the real reason so many people dislike Apple, then look in the mirror. It’s not anything about Macs or iDevices; it’s the intolerable snobs who own them and make shit up that make a lot of other people worry about being turned into one of you guys.

XOIIO's avatar

@jerv I took apart an imac once.


It was god awful, you basically need 10 useless credit cards to get all the clips that are around them apart, and about 500 band aids.

Silence04's avatar

i think it’s clear that some of you have pretty subjective views on your choice of computer, myself included. However, that doesn’t mean other people’s choices are inferior to yours.

jerv's avatar

@Silence04 Not all subjective. While “ease of use” is pretty subjective, there are some things that are irrefutably objective. For instance, in what universe is $500 more than $1,800? How is a machine that cannot do what you want/need it to do not inferior to one that can? How is a machine that uses/has [feature] superior to something that does/has the same thing?

When it comes to “does what I need it to do at a price I am willing to pay”, some choices are notably inferior for many people. And the various Linux distros aimed as kids in the 2–12 age group show that Apple doesn’t have a total monopoly on simplicity anyways, though it does require a little knowledge to seek those out whereas Apple has so many stores that they don’t even need to advertise.

The only subjective things are that we have differing needs, levels of knowledge, and budgets. Those with more dollars than computer sense are more likely to go Mac than those who aren’t as willing/able to pay the “Apple tax”, as will those who want to look cool or be different just like everyone else. Those who prefer to control their own ecosystem rather than take whatever is handed to then in a sealed box will likely go PC, though whether they go Windows or Linux will depend on other factors. But aside from a few niches, I have a hard time seeing where Macs are much more than a good effort.

The sad part is that they could blow the competition away if they just stopped drinking the Jobs Kool-aid for a moment. There are four things holding Macs back; weak GPUs, the difficulty of accessing components for repair/upgrades, the evangelical user base, and a pricing scheme that makes me wonder if Martin “Pharma Bro” Shkreli isn’t Steve Jobs’ bastard son. If they wanted to, it would be trivial for them to fix two of those. They got the power and heat sinks (aluminum bodies) for decent GPUs that would widen their appeal and possibly get them back into the graphics markets that are more than an iMac can handle but not worth getting a Mac Pro for. And a price drop that leaves them with merely 5 times the profit margins of their competitors could silence many critics while increasing sales volume a bit. I know that they could be far more competitive in both performance and cost simply because the Mac Pro exists.

Despite my complete and utter contempt for the iMac and Mac Mini, the Macbook line would actually be decent if they weren’t so hard to work on that they’re effectively disposable, and I actually like the Mac Pro for what it is. I wouldn’t actually get one since Xeons are optimized for a different workload than I would need, but for those that need a true workstation, the Mac Pro truly is a good deal; probably the only Mac that doesn’t need any PR spin to prove that it’s a cost-competitive machine. If they put out a rig similar to the Mac Pro using Core i5/7s instead of Xeons, they could fairly easily get into the market that Steve Jobs did everything in his power to prevent Apple from ever setting foot in.

ARE_you_kidding_me's avatar

@jerv I have an i5 dual core 13” macbook (graduation gift running osx, win7 and kali linux) I hide it in a case so I don’t look like all of the other pseudo coffee shop hipsters Easy enough to upgrade hard drives, ram etc. I have repaired many others for people. They’re quite easy to work on, so much so it’s almost a bore to do it. I can break down a macbook all the way in about 10 min and have it back together in about that amount of time. The 13” macbook and macbook pro were not too much of a rip off at ~$1000. That’s only like twice the cost of a comparable pc. Only advantage I have found is that they hold their resale value. I do like the terminal in OSX since it’s unix-ish. I also really like the multi-touch gestures and thank god it is also supported in windows and linux. I’m in Windows or Linux 90% of the time though. OSX basically sucks. If the hardware was not so overpriced I’d get another but as this one reaches end of life I’ll probably replace it with a high-end PC. I’m less and less on my desktop so the next rig will be laptop-docking station. That cuts out macs completely because of the weak, no…pitifully weak GPU offerings. I’m with you on that.

Silence04's avatar

@jerv just typing to type, huh?

johnpowell's avatar

@jerv :: Totally serious. The gaming culture is toxic. If I had a kid I wouldn’t say they couldn’t game but I would dissuade then from it. Linux newsgroups don’t end up with SWATting people.

Stinley's avatar

@Silence04 the OQ was “Which one do you prefer and why?”. The question is asking for opinions. Not sure why you are calling people out for expressing their opinion.

ragingloli's avatar

not as toxic as the apple culture

johnpowell's avatar

I spend most of my day using SSH to administer Linux servers. Luckily all that shit works without things like Kitty/Putty on OS X.

XOIIO's avatar

If you needed further evidence apple is a bunch of fucking… fuckers.

Even for apple that is fucking shocking, I wonder how long until they add that to their computers.

Skunky's avatar

i will not use Windows now that Windows 7 is gone.. Macs are too expensive so i have to go with the next best thing.. a chromebook lol.

XOIIO's avatar

Windows 7 isn’t gone, support for it ends in 2020. You just need to ignore the upgrade thing (there’s a way to turn it off too)

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