PC VS Mac - which laptop to get? [Archive] - Audio & Video Forums


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06-13-2004, 08:08 PM
In a couple of years I plan to buy a laptop - yes early start to my research but this is the way I am most of the time. I plan to go to Japan to teach so I will need something extremely reliable.

I have never had a Mac but peopel tell me they're way better - but I'm not exactly sure "why" they're supposed to be better. They seem to go for around the same price and some of the school districts use Mac so the more I know of different computer systems the better off I am, I figure.

My concern is can I still do all the usual things - microsoft exel for instance - I have a copy of it for windows - will I need to buy a whole new one - or is there some sort of crossover. Finding people to burn me copies of such programs is tough enough for PC let alone for Mac I would think.


06-14-2004, 03:37 AM
I have no doubt the Mac's are better, I've owned a few of both lines. These days though, I don't think a Mac, particularly a laptop, would provide you with enough additional performance to justify going that route. In fact, sometimes the compatibility problems with hardware, and software can swing it the other way.
If you are doing some serious a/v multimedia stuff, yeah, the Mac is the way to go.
If you are just using the laptop for everyday computing functions, office suites, the occasional MP3 and websurfing, go with whatever's cheapest. And don't waste your money on the absolute fastest processor available. They're all pretty darn fast for working spreadsheets, typing word documents and handling e-mail and internet. More memory and a better vid-card for the odd movie you may watch would probably generate more usuable performance for you than super high GHz.

06-14-2004, 08:55 AM
I own a mac myself - switched from PC about half year ago.
At the end my conclusion is not better nor worse. Different is the right tone.
Microsoft has made office for Mac (which looks better than the PC version I might add) plus all the pro programs are made for mac as well. But if you are into games and that...well tough luck. Most games - especially online ones are PC based.
If you are looking for speed then sure PCs are better as even tests done by MacWorld mag has shown. However, that is not all it. The mac platform is more stable than windows due to it's sturdy Unix architechture. It's very hard to crash the OS. The newer OS 10.3 panther for mac also provides many handy tools like "expose" (I cant explain how it works, but believe me, you learn to love it) plus lots of other tools that PC doesnt have. Although we can say the same for PC as well. So you see different, not better nor worse.

Now...pricing is more expensive for mac no matter what you look at. Except for ram, all components must be made for mac. When I checked, ATI's radeon 9800 pro 128mb was about 100-150 cdn more expensive than the PC version. Sound cards are no different. However, also look at it this way. The mac cpu takes some of the load of the graphics rendering so it lightens the load of the video card, making the overall system more efficient. Of course, pc just offsets this by selling cards with double the Vram for about the same price.

Now...lookswise I would go mac. All their stuff just ends up looking better. To me anyways. See their powerbook lately? Good stuff. Expensive though.

One more thing, if you are considering mac, keep in mind that they have generally good battery life. My friend has an ibook G4 and it has a bat. life of about 5 hours. Leaves it's pc counterparts at the same price in the dust. They only have a bat life of maybe 2.5 hours, maybe 3.

06-14-2004, 09:38 AM
Thanks - I wouldnot play games on the thing - just basic e-mailing and word documents - internet browsing and perhaps whatching dvd movies - I will have my headphones and probably have to watch my movies on the laptop when over in Japan.

I don't do auto-cad or any large program work.

My computer right now is a Celeron 500 10gig hard drive and in 5 years I still have not used half the hard drive. My system barely ever crashes or freezes - knock on wood - Windows 98SE. I upgraded the ram to 192.

It ain't fast on start-up or shutting down but it's probably fast enough for me - so I imagine anything new would blow this thing out of the water.

I'm surprised that no one has batterred PC - maybe Mr. Gates is actually trying to make the things better - hey maybe in 2 years they'll be really good.

Thanks for the input.

06-14-2004, 12:09 PM
You generally get more bang for the buck by going with Windows-based PCs (the PC world also includes Linux), but Macs IMO have a much more intuitive user interface. Windows XP is a huge improvement over Win95/98 as far as stability goes, but it still falls prey to a whole slew of typical Microsoft logical lapses with the user interface (like trying to find the Scandisk utility, or changing certain network or system settings -- there are several ways of doing the same thing, but not all of them do exactly the same function, etc.). Plus, the OS is such a resource hog that the functional speed for some basic tasks might be slower on a WinXP machine than something running Win98SE, partly because the geniuses at Microsoft decided to jam all these cutesy animations into the interface (just check out the dog animation whenever you use the search function -- and there's no way to turn it off as far as I know) and have so many unnecessary things running in the background by default. It is possible to optimize the performance of WinXP PC, but that requires mucking around with the system settings. Check www.blackviper.com if you want an idea of how to do this.

I use a PC only because that's what we use at work, and a lot of the statistical and geographic modeling applications that I use were developed for Windows. For basic stuff like word processing or e-mail or DVD viewing, that might be all you need. Macs cost more, but once you get used to it, Windows machines can look primitive by comparison. I think the main difference is that it's easier to transition a PC user over to a Mac, than trying to get a Mac user to accept the idea of using a PC. I was originally trained on MS-DOS based PCs (and Apple IIs before that), but the first computer I bought was a Mac. Transitioning over from a Mac over to Windows-based PCs for work was a painful process. Windows has always had a lot of counterintuitiveness to it, and while WinXP solved most of the stability problems, it's no more intuitive to me than Win 3.1 was. The Mac has always had fewer things about it that just made me scratch my head.

If you already own a lot of Windows applications, and don't want to repurchase your entire software library, then that's another cost consideration if you decide to switch. IMO, if you've already got an investment in Windows software that you can install on a new PC, it's more cost effective to stay with PCs. If you're going to start a brand new software library regardless of which OS you go with and you don't need any Windows-only applications, then I would go with the Mac.

06-14-2004, 05:41 PM
Yeah, mac is quite the intuitive OS.
At first I wanted mac so that I wouldnt play any games, which would hog up all my study time. Plus I had no self control...so yeah...Anyways, I was afraid I would not be able to learn mac fast enough and not be able to use it like I would a windows based system. But I'll tell you, it took me a total of 1 night to get used to it and to this day I like it more than the PC. Plus now I save money on my electricity bill! My mac uses about 100 watts/hr less than the PC. Of course less power means less heat. Not as hot on those long summer days. One of my friends got 3 PCs in her 10x7 room. In the winter its at least 30 degrees in there.

06-15-2004, 04:34 PM
Thanks - I rarely have problems with my 98SE but i don't run much other than Word - though now and then come to think of it it does crash...but I'm a save to disc after every paragraph kinda guy.

I am probably starting the thinking too soon. In 2 years there will probably be an XP V2 or something so I would probably have to evaluate it then.

I have just seen too many friends with 2000 and ME that had nothing but nightmares and this was supposedly better than 98se. There is a place here that sells computer with 98SE and XP because he thinks the stuff that came between were like Pepe le Pooh :p

Which is one reason I don't screw with my home computer at all - just let it go. I wish the monitor would not blink off and on now and then all by itself - but it's tolerable. It's been doing it for a year so oh well.

and Scandisk and all of these things are a nightmare to find - and can someone tell me why we have to click START to shut off? Is that some kind of sick joke?

And I don't find anything better about this than 3.1 either really.

Maybe I'll go with Mac just to stick it to Microsoft. I gave up on video games. every year the new games come out and my computer completely can't run them. So I bought an XBOX. For $200.00 I enjoy the games more on these kind of systems - easier to trade in can rent them etc. And it has the hard drive - lol almost as big as my computer's. And While X2 is coming this will probably be fin for the next couple of years. It's just cheaper than pricey video and sound cards and ram.