General Question

clioi's avatar

Comprehensive Comparison between Mac and PC?

Asked by clioi (532points) March 7th, 2010

I have been a Windows user all my life, and I’ve had a lot of bad experiences. I’m seriously considering getting a Mac as my next computer, but I still have some doubts. I’ve looked through lots of statistics and consumer comparison charts and all that, but I’d like to hear from people who have extensively used both. Any input would be helpful. But specifically, I’m looking for comparisons in the following areas:

1. Malware vulnerability – I’ve had lots of run-ins with malware and I’ve heard that Macs basically don’t get viruses.

2. CAD functionality – because I’m an engineer and whatever computer I get needs to be able to run PRO-E or the like.

3. Battery Life – self explanatory
and last but not least,

4. Gaming functionality – . . .because I’m addicted to WoW. . .

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19 Answers

9doomedtodie's avatar

The GUI of Mac is better than Windows.& it has also better screen shot options like,

Command-Shift-3: Take a screenshot of the screen, and save it as a file on the desktop

Command-Shift-4, then select an area: Take a screenshot of an area and save it as a file on the desktop

Command-Shift-4, then space, then click a window: Take a screenshot of a window and save it as a file on the desktop

Command-Control-Shift-3: Take a screenshot of the screen, and save it to the clipboard

Command-Control-Shift-4, then select an area: Take a screenshot of an area and save it to the clipboard

Command-Control-Shift-4, then space, then click a window: Take a screenshot of a window and save it to the clipboard

Also the quality of picture which attracts people to buy Mac & it requires less space too.

Captain_Fantasy's avatar

Short overweight middle aged comedians like PC’s where fashionable 20-something b-movie actors like Macs.

jeschge's avatar

1. i use different free anti-virus tools to check my system frequently, i never found something. but: the standard-configuration of osx is not secure…
2. you can get as good as every cad-software for both – pc and mac. if not, install virtualbox (it’s free) and run a windows-os as a virtual machine
3. my battery (macbook pro) runs 6–8hours, depending on the apps i’m using
4. gaming is not the core competence of osx, but there are still many games running on osx

i switched from windows to linux 6 years ago, than switched to mac 3 years ago – i love my mac. it’s just workin…

(linux is getting more and more comfortable – specially ubuntu, maybe i switch back to linux one day)

mrrich724's avatar

Warcraft works just fine on a Mac :) I’m sure that’s your most important question. And now, you can run Windows on your Mac, just incase your engineering programs didn’t make a mac version.

I’ve used a PC all my life, I didn’t get a Mac til I was 22, and I will never go back. I can’t picture how I did this long without it ;)

judochop's avatar

You could not get me to partake in the Mac revolution if you paid me to do it. I recently bought a new PC and almost considered the switch.
Let’s see….My laptop has, 19” screen, 1080p output and screen, harmon/kardom speakers, blue-ray and everything else aside from the tongue and cheek garage band. I also get free online PC backup. 6GB of RAM and 500GB on Hard drive. All for around $800. I’ve do have a Macbook here at the house that I don’t even bother with, my girlfriend uses it. Apple has done and continues to do things in a very ridiculous manner and I just choose not to support their company. As far as viruses, I’ve only ever had one problem and I run free virus protection.
@blinkErri Wow you take a ton of screenshots? With my laptop I hit one button and it lets me save it to where ever I want.
@Captain_Fantasy Don’t believe the hype.

CMaz's avatar

Nothing. They both get the job done.

One allows you to learn. One makes you lazy.

That is all I will say.

ParaParaYukiko's avatar

@mrrich724 You were better off doing without a Mac back in the day. It wasn’t until rather recently (I’d say in the past 3 years or so) that Macs actually started getting decent. My father was exclusively a Mac person right from the Apple GSII until the late 90’s when he realized how much more superior Windows was at the time.

Now, I may be writing this from my shiny new MacBook Pro, but I still call myself a PC person. I like having control over my computers. I also like PC gaming way too much to give up Windows.

Jewel's avatar

I have used both extensively in my work. They are more alike than different.
Mac has less problems with viruses, but only because the virus makers don’t target Macs. There are fewer Macs and this means the target audience is too small for them to mess with…so far. They will catch any viruses made for them.
The user interface is marginally easier on a Mac, but the PC allows more freedom of use. I think this relates to @ChazMaz statement about learning vs lazy.
I use the same graphics and desktop publishing programs on both. The differences are so slight that the cost of hardware and software are the only reasons I have stuck with a PC at home.

mrrich724's avatar


You may be right. I’ve heard that it wasn’t til the 06 MacBook came out that it was becoming great. And I think right about the time they made the switch to Intel.

Rarebear's avatar

I had interplatform compatability problems when I tried out PC powerpoint files on a Mac. The Mac wouldn’t recognize it. So I stuck with PC. Also, they’re cheaper.

Mostly it seems nowadays to be more of an emotional argument. Every Mac owner I know feels religious about it and make it their personal quest to convert everybody to their platform. It’s a little annoying, actually.

clioi's avatar

Thanks for the input y’all. One problem in particular I’ve had with Windows, particularly the one I’m using now, is crashing. This, and pretty much all of the Windows computers I’ve had within the last 7 years have frozen up or crashed frequently. What is the average crash rate for Macs?

ShiningToast's avatar

@jeschge I’m not really sure how you get 6–8 hours out of a MBP battery. I’m lucky if I get 3 or 4. Are you using the newest generation?

Jewel's avatar

@clioi I have had worse problems with crashing on Macs than on PCs. As nearly as I can tell, it is the fault of clashing programs and/or hardware.

jerv's avatar

First off, let me say this to all of the Mac fanatics out there;


Sorry, but I had to yell that since most of the arguments that the followers of Saint Jobs use to bash PCs are the same arguments the Penguin-powered crowd use against Microsoft. By that logic, beef if evil because McDonalds burgers tasted like crap.

Now, I could just direct you to this comaprison of Windows and Linux but I think I will just leave that link and add my real thoughts.

Linux and OS X are both UNIXoid systems. OS X is loosely based on BSD UNIX whereas Linux is basically a freeware version of UNIX for the x86 platform. Since they are basically the same under the hood, they both have the same (high) resistance to malware. Read The short life and hard times of a Linux virus and realize that it’s easily possible to have a safe PC.

On the CAD front, I like BRL-CAD but it is cross-platform (including Mac) so I don’t think you’ll have any problems. Of course, since CAD requires a lot of number crunching, a Core i7 may be better at it than most Macs and would definitely be cheaper.
Oh, wait… you can’t get a Macbook with a CPU based on the Nehalem architecture… but you can get a PC laptop with the Core i5.

Battery life… Linux tends to be a little more efficient than Windows due to better power management, but I must admit that Macs have an edge there. Sometimes. I’ve seen 10+ hour PC laptops, and an extended pack can easilly get you 5–6 on most models, even the most power-hungry ones. I’ve also seen many Macs only get half (or less) of what the flashy ads say they should because of the difference between reality and “best case scenario”. (Translation:advertising lies.)
However, once that battery runs dead, you are toast. The Macbooks I’ve seen don’t let you swap in a fully-charged spare pack. Also, in a couple of years when teh battery does what all LiON packs do, you are looking at a hefty service charge in addition to the price of the battery.

Gaming… very hit-or-miss. Some Windows games run fine under WINE or Cedega (a gaming-optimized version of WINE) and there are ways to get most Windows software to work. You might look here and here to see how Linux handles WoW.

Macs claim ease of use, but they lack it. Linux can easily be done up like so
They claim lower cost of ownership, but those comparisons are only to Windows systems. Most agencies (including government ones like the DOD) find that Linux is far cheaper. Look at a list of Linux adopters. Notables include IBM, Amazon, Google, and the aforementioned Department of Defense. Add lower cost of ownership to the inherently lower cost of PC hardware which runs about half of what a Mac with similar specs runs and I think you’ll see which way that is heading.

Personally, I’ve had many crashes with Macs and Windows but never more than a slight hiccup from Linux; none that required me to do more than restart the application. I’d say stability goes to the Penguin here.

Overall, I would have to say PC but skip the Windows.

jeschge's avatar

@Jewel “the PC allows more freedom of use”, what do you mean with that – the idea of open source in linux/unix?
@ShiningToast it’s a 2009 MacBook Pro 13’’ 2,53GHz Core2Duo – maximum was 8:20h (bluetooth switched off, low brightness) using safari and msoffice

actually i got a second notebook running ubuntu – bashing the shell can be so recreative… :-)
(since i’m using osx it’s like boring because everything works fine out of the box – sometimes i wish i had a broken 386 and a buggy slackware just to fix something)

jerv's avatar

@jeschge There are also more open source things available for Windows. Developing stuff for the Mac is theoretically possible, but (apparently) not done all that often except as a port of existing PC stuff. More accurately, it is done far less often than on the PC side since at least the specs aren’t kept under tight security like anything that has to interface with anything that has Apple ROMs.
It’s gotten better over the years, but Apple still lags behind in that regard whereas Linux comes with multiple programming environments to roll your own… provided that at least 37 other people haven’t already done whatever it is that you want to do. The biggest problem with programming in Linux is that damn near anything you do is basically reinventing the wheel. There is quite a bit of truth to Ecclesiastes 1:9 when it comes to Linux software.

ShiningToast's avatar

@jeschge Yeah, the new ones are more efficient than my 15’’ beast.

@jerv I’m glad you’re here fighting for Linux. It’s often overlooked, and shouldn’t be. Linux may have more of a learning curve for a casual user, but power users should have no problem.

jerv's avatar

@ShiningToast Considering the new crowd of n00b-friendly distros out there like Ubuntu, that “training curve” is pretty easy. I mean, Windows is hard for most people, so it’s more a matter of unlearning Windows habits.

MadMichaelJohn's avatar

How much do you have to spend. Mac’s run 30% to 45% more for the same hardware. OSX is now running on Intel systems, you might not need a new machine. Or you may find the honkinest machine sold. like
That thing is a beast waiting to get filled up. 32 Gigs of ram when filled. 8 server cores. The OS sees them as 16 cores.
throw in a couple of these as render engines :
or as number crunchers.And EVGA has some that go for 18K each but each one runs like 5 tera flops local to the graphics card.
And hay with your job they would be deductible.

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