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Stay Mac or Back to Windows?

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October 30, 2010 7:00:55 AM

Alright fellow Mac users. I jumped onto the Mac bandwagon when I first bought a laptop for college (5 years ago), a first generation MacBook Pro with the old Intel Core Duo (2.16 Ghz), 15 inch screen, 2 MB RAM, and Radeon X1600 GPU. It's been wonderful. I still love the Mac interface, and aside from a couple of hardware problems (HD once failed and had to be replaced, batteries no longer work whatsoever) it has served me well, still runs smoothly, and has had very few problems (never any viruses, no bizarre performance drags, no major system glitches that make what I want to do impossible). This ease of use has been very, very nice. I truly do love the Mac interface, and my laptop is even capable of chugging through Starcraft 2 (only 1v1 though, or it basically totally dies).

But it's been many years, and it's time to buy a new PC. I'm sitting on a budget of maybe $12-1400 absolute MAX, so my first thought was, hey, new iMac. But based on the prices, I could build a much better PC for myself for much less. I'm talking WAAAAAAAAAAAAY better. And I've heard from many friends who have used Mac and Windows that Windows 7 is a very good operating system and closed the gap that existed between OSX and XP/Vista.

I'm starting to lean heavily towards building a PC. Black Friday deals and visions of SLI GeForce 460s and blazing processors are running through my head. And I'd still have my MBP see heavy use as I need to have a laptop very frequently, and could still exist sometimes in the Mac environment.

So, Mac friends, I want to give you one last ditch chance to save my Mac soul before I return to Bill Gates. I still LOVE MAC. I would make a Hackintosh, but I think that defeats the point. Tell me why I should keep the faith and stay Mac.

More about : stay mac back windows

October 30, 2010 4:35:37 PM

It really depends on what you want to do with your computer.

Short of using Mac-specific software or specific requirements for any school/university/company network you may connect to, I can't think of any reason to stick with the Mac.
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November 4, 2010 2:36:24 AM

Yeah I hear you, I have been right where you are at. I have had my current macbook pro for about 2 years, and I was one to buy/sell my model every 2 years to save $. But last time the new macbook models came out I was in my last semester in university, and wanting a gaming pc, so went and built my own for much much cheaper than buying a new $1200 macbook pro. So it is entirely up to you :p  i still have kept my older macbook pro, but have a new gaming PC that works splendidly
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November 4, 2010 7:16:35 PM

1) If you're a gamer, get a PC and keep the MBP.
2) Get an iMac if you don't need a workstation and stick to "1)" otherwise.
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November 5, 2010 7:52:04 AM

I have always beeen a pc guy , but 2 years back I got given a mbp for university (I am disabled) ...and one thing I will say in it's favour is ...apart from great design/looks ...it is bloody reliable ...and they do hold their value ...having said that I personally think windows is a much better os
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a c 244 D Laptop
November 5, 2010 8:42:23 AM

AdamOnFirst said:
Alright fellow Mac users. I jumped onto the Mac bandwagon when I first bought a laptop for college (5 years ago), a first generation MacBook Pro with the old Intel Core Duo (2.16 Ghz), 15 inch screen, 2 MB RAM, and Radeon X1600 GPU. It's been wonderful. I still love the Mac interface, and aside from a couple of hardware problems (HD once failed and had to be replaced, batteries no longer work whatsoever) it has served me well, still runs smoothly, and has had very few problems (never any viruses, no bizarre performance drags, no major system glitches that make what I want to do impossible). This ease of use has been very, very nice. I truly do love the Mac interface, and my laptop is even capable of chugging through Starcraft 2 (only 1v1 though, or it basically totally dies).

But it's been many years, and it's time to buy a new PC. I'm sitting on a budget of maybe $12-1400 absolute MAX, so my first thought was, hey, new iMac. But based on the prices, I could build a much better PC for myself for much less. I'm talking WAAAAAAAAAAAAY better. And I've heard from many friends who have used Mac and Windows that Windows 7 is a very good operating system and closed the gap that existed between OSX and XP/Vista.

I'm starting to lean heavily towards building a PC. Black Friday deals and visions of SLI GeForce 460s and blazing processors are running through my head. And I'd still have my MBP see heavy use as I need to have a laptop very frequently, and could still exist sometimes in the Mac environment.

So, Mac friends, I want to give you one last ditch chance to save my Mac soul before I return to Bill Gates. I still LOVE MAC. I would make a Hackintosh, but I think that defeats the point. Tell me why I should keep the faith and stay Mac.

It all depends on your usage.If you want to play games,then definitely buy a PC.Because games perform much better on PC.You can buy a good cheap gaming PC and with a MBP 13" as a laptop.
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November 5, 2010 9:58:28 AM

pete3867 said:
...and they do hold their value

It's amazing how well they do. A comparably-priced Windows laptop (probably better spec-wise but also probably cheap plastic) would be sold a year later for barely a third of its original value, while a MBP may go for 60%+ easily.
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November 5, 2010 10:14:25 AM

randomizer said:
It's amazing how well they do.


Probably because Aluminium doesn't change in price too much and the MBP sticks with the same internal hardware for years at a time, so they don't ever really change.

But I digress.


I think the general consensus here is stick with the MBP so you still have a Mac, but spend the money on a new PC.

And yes, you can always dual-boot with OSX if you need to run Mac stuff faster than your MBP can handle.
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November 5, 2010 2:26:31 PM

Price/Performance = Windows
Aesthetics/Portability = MBP
OS = ~the same, Win 7 is very friendly
Longevity = ~same, whatever you buy/build now will still be useful in 4 years. A desktop does offer upgrade paths whereas an MBP is locked, you can only sell/buy a new one.

I'd tip my hat to a desktop and win 7 build. You don't even need 460 SLI (even though its nice), one 460 or an AMD 6850 will be an insane upgrade from the graphics in your current MBP.
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November 7, 2010 9:39:45 PM

I'm hearing in this thread and elsewhere that Windows 7 really closed the gap in ease of use with OSX that used to exist. I'm definitely gettin' the gamin rig, still using the laptop for portability.
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November 8, 2010 8:24:08 AM

I was born and bred on PC's. I too converted to Mac ~5 years ago, (on the same macbook incidentally :) ) and have never looked back. Though i still have a water cooled quad core at home, i find myself using that for games ONLY. Everything else ends up on one of the few macs i have (13" mbp right now)

As a Mac user, its not all about spec sheets.

Mac vs PC:

Build quality: Mac ALL the way. I had that same macbook you have. Its old, and its still built better than 90% of anything else out there. The current uni body's are WAY better. Nothing comes close for me.
I get to try a few laptops at work and iv'e yet to get one i can say beats a MBP.
If you are using something for 3-5 years build quality is essential, and maybe something you take for granted.

Performance: PC. You get more for less, but its not the complete picture. Sure the Core2 is old, but they are using such high binned parts, the voltage and heat are way down. End result is REAL WORLD 8-10 hour battery life, low heat, and quiet operation. There are also i3, 5 and 7 options available, but not in 13".

Screen. Mac. If you are a photo guy like me, MBP's have amazing screens. Its a little hit or miss with PC. There are some great screens out there, but you really have to know which ones, and then don't expect amazing prices.

OS: This will be different for everyone, but its very important. For 'general stuff' and my work (marketing and photography), it just makes sense for me to use OSX. I was never happy on windows. The variability in hardware and software just caused problems. The only use i have for Windows is games, and with an xbox and ps3 it doesn't see much use.

Consistency: Mac ALL the way. One disc for EVERY computer. Mac mini, Macbook/Pro, iMac, Mac Pro. At home and work we have them all. I have ONE install disc for ALL of them. Not that i need to do fresh installs, but its a nice change. PC's just have too much junk. Install os, mobo drivers for chipset, wifi, sound, lan, another for gfx card, etc etc. By the time you get windows up and running you need a bunch of discs and a bunch of restarts. Too hard.
Also, the next OSX (10.7) will be just a continuation of years of OSX. Just an incremental upgrade, a continuous evolution, step by step. The next windows is just as likely to be a hit as it is a miss. Every new windows tries to be a "completely new" revolution. As a result they frack it up sometimes. They got XP and W7 right. They ballsed up Millennium and Vista. Take your chances with W8.

It sounds like you want to keep using Mac's, you just need an excuse. Have you got friends? Do they use PC's?
Borrow one. Find a mate with something in your budget and borrow it for the weekend. Figure out if you can actually be bothered with W7 etc.

Remember....

Thats the difference. The endless options in Windows.

As for your h/ware issues, HDDs and batteries die. Regardless of what you buy. (hey they rhymes). Battery tip #1: Batteries for 'complex devices' (ie phones, laptops) don't like being drained completely. Treat their charging like lunch: Early and often. They will survive MUCH longer being charged from 80-100% that they will from 0-20% (does that make sense?)
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November 8, 2010 8:32:25 AM

Well it's just the nature of Lithium-ion and Lithium-ion polymer batteries that means that they shouldn't be completely discharged, not so much that they are batteries for "complex devices." Everything uses these now. You'd be hard-pressed to find an old Nickel-cadmium battery any more (these had to be fully discharged as they suffered the "memory effect"). The newer batteries can be recharged at any level of charge without damage to the battery (although deep discharging can kill them), but they have a limited number of recharge cycles before they simply die.
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a b D Laptop
November 8, 2010 8:40:01 AM

I think mrmez presents the argument very well. If you don't want to play about with your computer, but just use it as a tool, and are prepared to pay the premium then a Mac is the way to go. But if you are more of an enthusiast who likes playing about with computers and is interested in experimenting with them then the PC is the better bet.

I fit into the latter camp, so I see endless options as a good thing not a drawback, but I can understand that some just want a tool. I have both PCs and an old Mac Mini, but the Mac gets very little use - it's basically so that I can do a little PowerPC programming.
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November 8, 2010 3:35:09 PM

If you are doing a desktop, Win7 / PC is much more flexible and quite a lot cheaper. In notebook land the build quality of the Macbook Pro's is simply better than 90% of the units out there except perhaps for the highend Sony's.

Which OS you prefer is a wash for me, they each have good and bad points. As others have said, if your are a gamer this is easy -- Win7/PC. If it was a new notebook, also easy, MBP.
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November 8, 2010 3:42:19 PM

johnspierce said:
In notebook land the build quality of the Macbook Pro's is simply better than 90% of the units out there except perhaps for the highend Sony's.

To be fair, that is not comparing like for like. PC laptops with the same power as a MacBook are significantly cheaper. If you pay enough you can get PC laptops that are just as well built, in some cases better built, than Apple's offerings. And for sheer power you can't beat a high-end PC laptop.
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November 8, 2010 8:07:53 PM

As mrmez and johnspierce have said, I('d agree Mac is defitely the way to go for a laptop because of how well everything works over time, and because it's pretty tough to build your own laptop, which is the primary benefit of going PC. I decided to get the PC desktop because I'll still have this old MBP and now I'll have the best of both...
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November 9, 2010 8:33:13 PM

Ijack said:
To be fair, that is not comparing like for like. PC laptops with the same power as a MacBook are significantly cheaper. If you pay enough you can get PC laptops that are just as well built, in some cases better built, than Apple's offerings. And for sheer power you can't beat a high-end PC laptop.


The operative word is "if you pay enough". The Sony Vaio Z series and some of the Alienware series are the equal of Macbook Pros but then they cost just as much.

You can buy a 15" i7 laptop for half the price of an Apple Macbook, but look what you get -- usually it's bulkier and more "plasticky" for that price. Plus, the monitors on the cheaper laptops are just crap. Apple's monitors are uniformly superb as are the screens on the Vaio Z's. The touchpad on the MBP's are simply better than any Windows laptop, period. Keyboards on the MBP's are similarly always excellent, most Windows laptops suck.

So can you get a laptop cheaper that has great performance? Sure, but you get what you pay for. Your last quote saying a high-end PC is best for sheer power, well -- buy a Macbook Pro with 2 SSDs, the fastest i7 and 8gb of RAM and I will say it can keep up with almost any laptop. Of course, it will cost you $2400. The $3300 Alienware is faster. Like I said, you get what you pay for.
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November 10, 2010 3:18:19 AM

I'd generally agree that as far as OEM products go, the idea that apple is way overpriced is a myth. What apple does NOT have is low emd, budget options, so when 60% go look to buy a computer for $600, apple seems pricey. If you compare like prices, the apple is very comparable in performance and quality, before you even consider the apple advantages.

Obviously you can only really get laptops OEM, so apple probably takes the cake in that market. When it comes to building a desktio, there are reasons to go both ways...
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a b D Laptop
November 10, 2010 5:52:27 AM

Exactly. I don't need an ultra-powerful laptop, just something with adequate performance. For heavy stuff I have a desktop that will blow the socks off any laptop. I'd love to buy a Mac laptop, but not at that price.
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November 10, 2010 4:27:40 PM

Personally, I like Macs for my laptop and Windows PCs for my desktop. I find the build quality of the MacBook Pros to generally better than any Windows equivalent. I love to build PCs and occasionally game so I prefer building Windows desktops as opposed to buying Mac desktops.
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November 10, 2010 4:34:04 PM

I agree with fellskrazykayaker; Apple's laptops are expensive, but superb and since I will keep one for five years, I'd rather spend the money and get a really good one.

For Desktops, I love refreshing mine on a yearly basis. My current desktop has two hard drives for booting either Win7 or OSX hackintosh; two big monitors and a lot of RAM plus a quad core CPU and it rocks both worlds.
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November 11, 2010 9:38:02 PM

Well I bought a MacBook Pro one year ago and initial found it hard getting used to it from Windows. and now I want a desktop along side my Mac (I used to have one and gave it to my mother but I did primarily use it over Mac). And I used mobile me and it is rubbish for a payed service and gmail and all the add-ons (especially Picasa which is nearly as good, more stable than iPhoto). And then things like the massive amount of add-ons for windows, and upgrade ability if you DIY. And the mac user interface is not as good as i would expect when paying so much more. and I have decided that this christmas I will ask for desktop building money!
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November 12, 2010 7:43:42 PM

Thought I'd put in my two cents here.

Background:

Windows power user for several years

Mac Certified (10.6) Support Professional (user OS) ( I support over 300+ laptops, and another 50+ desktops on a day to day basis)
Mac Certified(10.6) Technical Coordinator (server OS) (3 Xservers)

Here is my take, for gaming go with Windows. For any type of power user activities... Windows/linux.... For general (moderate) user... Windows. For access to a huge number of programs...Windows.

For Aesthetics .. Mac.. And for the most basic to low moderate user.... definitely a MAC. If you use Linux often and are looking for a major OS to supplement go with a MAC (but i'm not sure why you wouldn't just use wine). Those of you who know your way around terminal will understand.

If you're looking for reliability it could go either way depending on how much you spend, which has been mentioned to no end..

Toshiba and Asus have really strong laptop offerings, that in some surveys score higher in customer satisfaction than Macs. As mentioned before, anything that's worth it is gonna cost you some money. A more valid question would be PC (insert brand here) vs. MAC.; otherwise you are comparing apples to oranges (<--ya i said it).

One thing I didn't see in any of the offerings so far, is the mention of bootcamp. So i'll quickly touch on that... Boot camp will allow you to install a windows OS on your MAC. Extremely useful for times when you need to use 1 or 2 windows programs but don't feel like making the switch. I do not recommend parallels due to the resource consumption. If your an advanced user and need to triple boot, reFit is your best option as bootcamp only supports 1 partiton.. well there's another way but if you know about it you already know how to do it ;) .

SO there you have it... I think the best answer to your question is this... It depends on what you are going to do with it............



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November 17, 2010 2:06:51 AM

I'll have to disagree with Mac's not being for power users.

I do a lot of photography work, my most recent project was a print for a client. 2x 3Gb files @ 13,000 x 9,000 px each. Out of my windows, quad core, watercooled, RAID, crossfire beast, and my laptop-spec iMac sitting next to each other, i CHOSE the iMac. Sure applying changes took longer, but it didn't crash or crap out on me half way through for no apparent reason.

Now i don't need to look after as many computers as you, but i do know when our office ran windows/pc i was always busy fixing something. Wether it was a bad build from a shop using incompatible parts that disabled 1 of 2 cpu cores, and me only figuring it out thanks to sites like THG. Or 3 power supplies dying in 6 months, or the endless variability and glitches along the way. The straw that broke the PC's back was a busy day at work. I spent all day working on one file in Ps, and no like an idiot i didn't save it. Late that afternoon my pc crashed. I took my mouse and put it through my lcd.

Now i know many of you will put your hands up and say "I've been running the same OS since 1985 and its never crashed, and i've never had a hardware failure, so f you man... F YOU!!" And thats fair enough. It comes back to variability. Im in business. Im not an IT guy looking after computers. I manage staff, suppliers, customers, production and product installation. I don't have time to crack the case open and replace a power supply, or figure out why a computer crashes. They all have to be the same and they all have to work. windows/pc combo never did this for me. If it works for you, thats good. If it pisses you off like it did me, look elsewhere.
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November 17, 2010 2:37:38 AM

I also disagree with the idea that Mac isn't for power users. There is a lot of "power user" functionality that is included seamlessly in OSX that requires a cocktail of 3rd party control programs in Windows to patch together adequately. Windows also shows up somewhat "locked down," with various functionality turned off, ostensibly to protect the user from themselves. OS X does not insult users of a new install that way.
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November 17, 2010 4:03:21 PM

Apple tends to hide files as well... :) 

open terminal insert the following:

defaults write com.apple.finder AppleShowAllFiles TRUE

killall Finder

Then take a look around. Also program installed files have to be opened through the main icon (ctrl click= open pkg contents) which isn't exactly an easy way to modify existing program files to suit your needs.

Unfortunately, we have not had the same reliability when dealing with macs as you have mrmez. Since moving to the mac intel processors we've been pretty busy around here (which is pretty much on par with what you can read online, google: HD failure, Font issues, Isight problem, permissions error, with mac added to the end). The 10.6 xserves are extremely buggy as well :( , buggier than any server OS i've had the pleasure of using to date...10.5 was pretty decent :) .

Again it was just my two cents :) ... if OSx works for your power user needs, Kudos I say. Their are a ton of things i like about OSx, it just depends on what I'm going to do with it.

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November 19, 2010 12:27:07 PM

roagie said:
Apple tends to hide files as well... :) 

open terminal insert the following:

defaults write com.apple.finder AppleShowAllFiles TRUE

killall Finder

Then take a look around. Also program installed files have to be opened through the main icon (ctrl click= open pkg contents) which isn't exactly an easy way to modify existing program files to suit your needs.

Unfortunately, we have not had the same reliability when dealing with macs as you have mrmez. Since moving to the mac intel processors we've been pretty busy around here (which is pretty much on par with what you can read online, google: HD failure, Font issues, Isight problem, permissions error, with mac added to the end). The 10.6 xserves are extremely buggy as well :( , buggier than any server OS i've had the pleasure of using to date...10.5 was pretty decent :) .

Again it was just my two cents :) ... if OSx works for your power user needs, Kudos I say. Their are a ton of things i like about OSx, it just depends on what I'm going to do with it.


I suppose you are right that Macs also hid files, but in my experience, they are not files you ever have much of a reason to touch any way. Put it this way, in 5 years with my Mac Book Pro I can't think of a single time I went and hunted down hidden system files to edit something, and I did it within the first 24 hours on my my PC.

The app contents thing is an interesting take, but I for one really liked it. Since 75% of apps keep all their files and data within themselves, you rarely have to hunt down files if you want them (which I do all the time, game saves, disk images, etc). If they aren't in the contents, they are either in your Docs folder or in Application support. Windows has at least half a dozen different places applications will squirrel away files, and many applications use several of them by themselves. Of course, this isn't anything a 1.5 second google search can't resolve anyway, so it's a minor deal.
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