Mac Vs Windows laptop

  gav223 18:34 05 Jul 2009


Can someone please give me some advice on which laptop is the best.

A Mac or a windows of similar price and specs.

Over the years I have had 3 windows laptops that at one time or another has given me problems.

A friend has always used a mac and swears by them.

I don't know that much about computers in general so would like some advice from people who do.

Many thanks.

  HighTower 14:13 06 Jul 2009

but generally prefer a Mac. They tend to be more expensive than a PC, but the newer Intel ones are very good. One of my Macs is the entry level MacBook - the white one. I put 4GB of Ram in it and OSX just flies on it.

You've also got the option of installing Parallels and having a Windows OS installed, so if you ever need to you can switch over to Windows without having to reboot. My Mac Pro has OSX, XP, Vista and Ubuntu and can run them all at once in different windows if I want it to - very handy for checking cross platform / browser compatibility with websites.

I guess it all comes down to what you need it for and how much you are prepared to pay. The basic Mac laptop cost me around £700, with another £60 or so for the RAM upgrade. You've then got the option of Parallels but of course this means buying a licence for each operating system you want on there. With PC laptops as cheap as £299 now you need a pretty good reason to spend close to a grand on an entry level Mac.

Having said that, I did, and I won't be buying a PC again.

  gav223 18:02 06 Jul 2009

Hi Hightower.

The main reason is that I am fed up of having to run all these different things to keep it running correctly.

Also I have been told that they last much longer the windows laptops.

I am living in the UAE and have a british VPN to use BBC I player.

Can I still use this with a mac.

Also can I use just about the same things on a Mac as I can with Windows.

Many thanks.

  HighTower 08:57 07 Jul 2009

Firstly, I'll just mention that I'm not a 'mac fan boy' who just likes them because they are pretty. I used PC's for years and it took me a long time to finally jump ship to Apple. I think both systems have their benefits, and to me they are really just tools that do a job, so what follows is my unbiased opinion on which I prefer.

In my experience macs tend to age extremely well. I've got one of the first generation iMacs and it's still going strong. I think it's a little unfair sometimes to compare a mac against a Windows PC, as Windows has as awful lot of hardware out there that it needs to be compatible with - which is a big ask! When you have a mac the hardware and software are both supplied by Apple, so OSX doesn't have anything like the hardware compatibility issues to deal with that Windows does which makes the job a lot easier.

Software wise I think that PC's used to have more available but it's not so clear cut now. With open source software available for office apps, email clients and browsers there isn't really much more that you need, and the mac comes with very good software installed as part of OSX. You've always got the option to install Windows on it too if there was something that you really had to have which wasn't available on the mac. Mac's are not so hot on the gaming side of things though. Their performance is fine, 'Call of Duty' runs on full resolution with all the effects on without even a hiccup, but you just don't have the titles available. If you're a gamer get an X-box!

For me though the clincher is OSX, I think it's an amazing operating system. I quite like Vista, and I'm looking forward to seeing what Windows 7 turns out like, but it would need to be staggeringly good to get me off OSX! And even if it did I would just run it on the mac so I still wouldn't buy a PC! As for iPlayer, it works fine on my macs, not sure if there would be complications with your VPN though, although I shouldn't think so, but then that probably wouldn't be a mac problem anyway.

If the money isn't that important to you then you'll not be disappointed. The last mac I bought cost me £1600, and that was without a display, but I can honestly say it was worth it for me. If you do get one then fill it with RAM, but never buy RAM direct from Apple, get a price from Crucial first. If cash is tight though there are other options. Ubuntu linux is highly regarded, I'm sure there are a few on this forum who are tinkering with that right now. Runs on a low spec PC laptop really well and is free!

  rawprawn 10:02 07 Jul 2009

My son in law is in IT, and has both a Windows and Mac laptop. He swears by the Mac every time. As HighTower says you can run both OS side by side.
My next laptop will be a Mac

  JanetO 10:47 07 Jul 2009

If I was a bitter richer I'd get a mac. PC's fine but don't forget pc's are an offshoot from the mac.

  jack 11:05 07 Jul 2009

How do you come to that conclusion Janet?
The Mac family is more akin to Amiga, Atari and the like and perhaps Archimedes, I would have thought.
It is really two quite different approaches to computering.
Although the two are creeping closer together now in architecture- hence the ability to run MS O/S on a Mac with minimum effort

  gav223 11:12 07 Jul 2009

Hi Hightower.

I want a smaller screen laptop and the ones that I am interested in are the Macbook,Macbook pro and the 12.1" Acer gemstone.

I have an 15.6" Acer gemstone already, which I have found to be OK.

For about £550 The Acer has much better specs.

The only reason I am contemplating the Macbook is that a friend said that specs don't really come into play when your comparing a Mac.

Overall a Mac will be better and last longer.

I'm really looking for a laptop that will last me for the next 5 years at least without anything major happening and without me having to upgrade.

What are thoughts on this.

Many thanks.

  JanetO 13:46 07 Jul 2009

...How do you come to that conclusion Janet?...

I don't want to detract from the advances in computing that Gates has achieved, and that he is now a philanthrapist, but he took the menu system from his college mates as they designed the first macs. I'm not sure if MS still has to pay an annual 'fine' to them, but he had to for years.

  jack 14:11 07 Jul 2009

That's true - Like so much in this tech world other peoples concepts are sneered at and set aside for others to 'pick up' later
The original WIMP concept came out of Xerox R&D and was put aside for Digital to buy out and to licence off versions to Atari Amiga, Apple and the rest and there were all sorts of rows as to bought what rights. The original M/S licence did not allow for the 'Ttrash Can' for example-The legal eagles in the US had a field day with all the court actions that ensued.

  Rahere 17:38 07 Jul 2009

Just to point out that OS X is based on an older closed source version of Unix, it might be that older Mac OSs were based on Archimedes Amiga etc...but this means they aren't comparable

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