Archive for March, 2011

Mac vs PC

Posted: March 1, 2011 in Random Thoughts

This is the oldest debate in desktop computing, and trying to figure out the “right” answer is like trying to get an atheist and a priest to agree on whether or not God exists.

Let’s start by saying there is no right answer, only opinion. If you are trying to figure out what kind of computer to buy, then the best you can do is find someone who’s opinion you trust, and listen to them.

I’ll get to my opinion shortly, but first I’ll give you a little background to help you decide whether my opinion is worth a damn.

As I mentioned in my previous Post (MacBook Pro First Impressions) I’m a software developer and a long time Windows User. I am also a long time Mac Skeptic. I am most definitely not a Mac Fanboi (or whatever the term is). I don’t revere the mighty Steve, but as a fan of computers in general I have a huge amount of respect for what he has done both for Apple and for Technology in general.

I am a software developer so regardless of whether I could survive without Windows for day to day computing I absolutely have to be able to run Windows for work.

I run some heavy duty apps by comparison with the average user. Apps like Visual Studio and SQL Server. I also use VM Ware regularly and even on a Windows PC I’m likely to be running further instances of Windows in virtual machines.

I also use my machine for fun stuff. I like Photography to I like to keep photos organized and I like to be able to Edit and Share photos, videos and Audio Files.

I occasionally write Articles, create Presentations, write blog posts, work with spread sheets and do all the other stuff that people do with computers.

I don’t play games as much as I used to. If I do buy a game today it’s more likely to be for the Wii than for my computer.

So, to sum up, I pretty much use my machine for the kinds of things most people use it for, and then a few other things besides.

Now…My Opinion.

My MacBook Pro is the best computer I’ve ever owned.
Over the years I’ve lost count of the number of computers I’ve owned, in recent years I have primarily been using Laptops and I’ve generally gone with a not quite top of the range Compaq or HP.

The MacBook Pro that I bought is roughly equivalent in terms of spec to my last computer, but it is substantially more expensive. The point has been debated many times as to whether Macs are actually more expensive, or whether they are actually cheaper because you get more machine.

I won’t come down one way or the other, what I will say is that whatever the difference is that makes my Mac run faster and longer than my old HP, it’s worth every penny.

In terms of simple build quality and performance the Mac beats anything I’ve seen from other manufacturers. If this changes I’ll let you know, and yes, this is subjective, please no comments saying I’m wrong about this, it’s opinion only.

As an example of why I’m happy, my MBP was sat on and stood on in two separate incidents on the same day (don’t ask). There isn’t a mark on it, it’s no worse for it’s misadventures.

In terms of the OSX vs Win comparison an important thing to remember is that a Mac will easily run both Mac OSX and Windows, but your average windows machine will not easily run Mac OSX (although with the right hardware it can be done).

To my mind OSX is the better OS experience. Windows now feels somewhat clunky and cartoonish with I use it. I won’t talk down Windows, it’s a fine OS and I earn my living with it every day, but I won’t lie to you, I use it less and less in the evenings. Given a choice I would rather live in OSX.

In terms of things that I NEED windows for, it’s all work stuff. Visual Studio, SQL Server and so on. My day to day computing needs transferred seamlessly to OSX and I haven’t really had to look back.

This is my considered opinion, and it broadly confirms the positive things I felt when I wrote the “First Impressions” post.

Mac’s can be expensive, and if you are not going to be putting the power to good use, it may be hard to justify the extra spend. You can get an excellent Windows Laptop for about €600 to €700, Macs will start you off at or above €1000, and the price rises rapidly if you increase the spec.

If you can afford it I would have no hesitation in saying that Macs are not overpriced or bad value for money. You really are buying more than a badge.