Who Should And Shouldn't Buy A Mac

Walter Mossberg wrote a guide for buying a Mac and we like the parts that say who should and who shouldn’t get one. Mac vs PC debates are highly personal, often end in bloodshed, and usually make no sense, so it’s nice to see a rational discussion of each system’s attributes. In the end, it really matters what kind of user you are, and what your price point is…

Q. Who should consider a Mac?

A. Pretty much every average consumer using a computer should at least look at the Mac. It combines gorgeous hardware with an operating system I consider superior to Windows, with better built-in software. It can even run Windows programs if you buy and install a copy of Windows. And unless you do that, you won’t be vulnerable to the vast array of viruses and spyware that threaten Windows users. Only a handful, so far, have been written to run on the Mac operating system, OS X.

Q. Who shouldn’t consider the Mac?

A. People who spend much of their time playing cutting-edge games should stick to Windows computers, because there are far fewer games written for OS X. Apple doesn’t offer hardware tuned for serious gaming. People looking for the lowest-price PCs should also avoid the Mac, because Apple’s cheapest model, the Mac Mini, costs $599.

Another group that should shun Apple’s computers are people who depend for support on corporate IT departments that are either ignorant about, or hostile to, the Mac. Finally, if you know and like Windows, and expect mainly to use Windows programs, stick with a Windows PC.

Here’s a Mac FAQ If You’re Looking To Buy a Computer [All Things D]


Edit Your Comment

  1. crnk says:

    mmmm…windows only programs……autocad…..mmmm

  2. RAREBREED says:

    I had a conversation with a friend the other day consisting mainly of a time when this choice was easy – Macs are computers for people who can’t use them. Now, it’s not that simple!

  3. UpsetPanda says:

    That second question’s answer seems a bit flawed to me. If you like Windows, and use mostly Windows, you shouldn’t get a Mac because heaven forbid you could learn to use and like something else? Yes, it’s a completely different operating system, but it’s not rocket science. And if you are, in fact, a rocket scientist, Macs should be easy.

    In college, I used both PCs and Macs and since graduating, I’m working 100% on Macs now. I’d never recommend a Mac to either of my parents, since it does require a learning curve. But if they wanted to learn and adapt, they would be great at using a Mac.

  4. Apple’s laptops, at least the ones I have used, are very hard on my wrists with their sharp squared off edges. Industrial design shouldn’t compromise ergonomics.

  5. ParkerTheDog says:

    I’d never buy a Mac because of the proprietary hardware/everything integrated design. What happens when the cute integrated monitor goes bad?

    I’d consider building myself a Hackintosh, though.

  6. Beerad says:

    @CaffeinatedSquint: As a lifelong PC user (largely due to gaming reasons) until about six months ago when I bought a shiny iMac, I have to say I would totally recommend a Mac over a PC to someone who wasn’t familiar with computers in the first place (not my parents, as they were the ones who bought us a TRS-80 when I was a wee bairn). I think it’s way more user-friendly and intuitive, especially compared to Vista (which I regret installing, but see aforementioned gaming reference).

    Maybe the learning curve didn’t seem that steep to me, but I can see “well, I already use a PC so I don’t want to deal with a new OS” as a valid reason for someone to stick with the same system. Inertia is a powerful thing.

  7. bohemian says:

    I have used both through work forever. The only thing I find difficult is re-remembering where the basic command buttons are but it is easy enough to get back up to speed since they are pretty intuitive.

    My predecessor at one previous job had the smarts to demand she have a Mac for doing graphics work. IT there would not touch a Mac at all, they provided unmonitored network connection and that was it. All of the Windows activity was closely monitored down to what you were doing on a local machine. I really think most of the reason that some demanded the Mac’s for their office was to get around the heavy handed monitoring by IT.

  8. Falconfire says:

    @ParkerTheDog: not all macs have integrated monitors… and the only proprietary things on a mac these days are the motherboard which it doesnt matter what you buy, unless you build it yourself its going to be proprietary.

    about the only 3rd party piece that your going to find difficult to replace on a Mac these days are the graphics cards, which if you look you can STILL find replacements for not from Apple.

  9. DeeJayQueue says:

    @ParkerTheDog: currently the only mac that has a “cute integrated monitor” is the iMac, to which there are numerous clones by other companies, including the likes of HP.

    Apple also makes the MacPro and the Mini, both of which are compatible with the monitor/display of your choice.

  10. ironchef says:

    Dell sells an integrated pc and monitor knockoff.

  11. PatrickIs2Smart says:

    Walt Mossberg irritates me… There was one of his lengthy diatribes, about freeing up cellphones and networks, in my local paper today. I realize that it’s an important issue, but who died and made him king? What makes his word on technology the holy grail?? I hate how everybody waits for his review on anything new and technological… “What will Walt say about the iPhone?? What will Walt say about the new Zune??” WHO CARES?!

  12. ironchef says:


    I think that same criticism applies to every PC laptop in the world. Go figure.

  13. freshyill says:

    “. Finally, if you know and like Windows, and expect mainly to use Windows programs, stick with a Windows PC.”

    Like email, web browsing, instant messaging and Office applications? Those are probably 99% of what most people use on a PC. Yeah, Macs have those things too, but without the PC bullshit. Unless you have something super-specific to Windows, you’re probably better off jumping ship.

  14. Death says:

    Nice to see a reasonably objective even-handed assessment of both.

    The user-experience is what makes the mac my choice. Pro- or anti- Apple, chances are you’ve heard many people say they *love* their macs. When’s the last time you heard someone say they love their pc? I’m sure it happens but not nearly as often, in my experience.

  15. quail says:

    In the old days, the Mac was for graphic artists and the PC was for business people dealing with the business world. And I’ll second the notion that Mac once were for people who knew nothing about computers. You basically didn’t need to because nothing ever needed tweaking like it did in the Windows 3.x enviroment.

    Today it is a tough choice with Mac having dual booting, but in the end the PC is far more economical and there’s so much more support for the Windows platform. In getting a PC, however, you need to purchase something from the business side of whatever computer manufacturer you’re looking at. Otherwise the computer is leadened down with crapware and they strip the system down to something that has severe limits on being upgraded.

  16. louisb3 says:

    @ParkerTheDog: If anything, I suspect that the monitor will last longer than the useful lifespan of the computer itself. LCDs don’t really wear out in less than five years, do they?

  17. XianZomby says:

    I own a Mac laptop and won’t ever buy another Mac, ever. Hated it! But I did like that it was a LAPTOP. Anyway, I’ll stick with my flawed Vista box. However, I disagree with the suggestion that “Macs are computers for people that can’t use them.” A Mac is a computer, and if you can use a Mac, then you can and are using a computer. That’s a simple enough counter argument, I think.

    The idea that Macs are for people that “can’t use a computer” is a deep seated resentment by adherents of 80s nerd culture – a time when using a computer was an end unto itself. Where making the computer do your bidding was both a challenge and a hobby. For hackers at the time, mastering the computer was more important than getting it to actually do something. The advent of the Mac brought resentment from those people, and still does. Because with the Mac, people that don’t give a s**t about how computers work, or why they work, can turn on a Mac and get it to do what they want it to do, then turn it off and go away. Maybe they want to write a report, edit pictures or send an e-mail. But they don’t care about the brilliance of all the people that designed the hardware or the challenge of getting the software to work together. Those people use the computer as a tool — just like a carpenter uses a table saw or an electric drill.

    So I understand the resentment. The hacker that could make an 8088 or a i286 really sing in the 80s and 90s is no longer relevant. Because people are no longer impressed with the tricks, or with the use of a computer to just use a computer. They want to create, store and digest information. Then they turn off their computer and go out and get laid.

    And the dorks and nerds and geeks and dweebs are left behind wondering why they aren’t relevant anymore.

  18. scarletvirtue says:

    I use both – a PC at work, and a Mac at home.

    Since I’m not doing anything particularly involved on the PC (aside from working, sending e-mails and occasionally surfing the ‘net for work-related matters coughandotherthingscough) or the Mac (e-mail, ‘net surfing, blogging, yadda yadda), they both work well for me.

    Maybe I’m just easily amused. Who knows?

  19. smitty1123 says:

    I play cutting-edge games and I haven’t had a computer that I didn’t build since about ’95. I don’t like Windows, but most of the game stuff is developed for Windows, so that’s where I am. If the development focus shifts to another platform, I’ll follow along.

  20. Geekybiker says:

    Macs are good for casual users who aren’t price and/or performance sensitive. Generally if you want a top end system to do just about anything you need to go PC. I’d direct people like my parents who want a computer to use email and browse the web to a mac. More serious users… well unless you’re completely computer illiterate I can say I would recommend one.

  21. target_veteran says:

    If all you want to do is surf the web, send email, watch YouTube, and write short little documents, you should not buy a Mac or a recent PC with Vista. My company regulary gives away computers perfectly capable of running Ubuntu. They won’t be BLAZING FAST!!!!! computers, but they’ll web surf and use open office with the best of them.

    If you plan doing podcasts/vblogs/other Web 2.0 things beyond text, then you’ll need to shell out for something with the power to edit video. Or maybe not, since even the $400 AsusEEE PC can take rudimentary video, and it’s remarkably short on specs (900mHz, 512 MB ram).

    Break the e-penis craze and recycle those old computers. You don’t need to spend thousands to have the Macintosh “bling” factor.

  22. Yarvin says:

    My degree is in software engineering, and I love my MacBook Pro. It provides both a better user experience than Windows, and a better development environment, since it’s a UNIX clone, although it’s not as good for development as Linux or BSD.

    I agree with the others who say that that last suggestion doesn’t make a whole lot of sense. Unless you are a Windows power-user, it shouldn’t be especially difficult to get used to Mac OS X and its applications. My main suggestion is to get OpenOffice.org and Mozilla Firefox for Windows before switching to Mac, then get Firefox and NeoOffice for your Mac; it’ll spread out the learning curve and save you money even if you stick with Windows.

    When you find yourself on a Windows machine wishing you could squeeze the mouse or hit F11 to display all your windows, you’ll understand the beauty of Mac OS X.

  23. jendomme says:

    I have used both PCs and Macs with PCs at the office and a Mac at home. As mentioned before, the interface, graphics, and general usability is much better with the Mac.

    However, for many folks this will be the deciding factor between PC and a Mac – Excel. Simply put, Excel on a Mac is inferior to its PC cousin. The short-cut keys are different, nested functions often don’t work on the Mac, and there are glaring errors on iterative value calculations.

    I work with spreadsheet pro formas and to that end PC is the only way to go.

  24. morganlh85 says:

    It’s a tough one for me; I do a lot of graphic design — obviously I should get a Mac for that. But I’m also studying interior design — so I definitely need a PC for Autocad and related programs. Right now I’m sticking with PC because it’s all I can afford.

  25. Yarvin says:


    Thanks for bringing that up. My only qualms with Ubuntu and other Linux OS’s are that (a) configuration, especially for the display, can be nasty, and (b) as you said, it’s not great for making videos.

  26. Caswell says:

    I’ve considered the switch, but Apple is still too expensive.

    $599 Mac Mini? Add in the most basic Apple keyboard, LCD monitor, a productivity software available in their store and you’re over $1300. Even if you drop the Apple-branded monitor (and their industrial design is a huge selling point) for a generic version you’re still creeping upwards of a grand.

    Same thing with their laptops. My wife desperately wanted a Mac laptop after using a coworker’s ($1800) Mac laptop, but we couldn’t stomach the price when a dual-core Vista laptop with a 15.4″ screen was available for $450 and has been both stable and more than capable of meeting her needs (web, Office, and basic DVD authoring).

  27. MommaJ says:

    At home we’ve had two Apple desktops and two laptops. They were generally unreliable and very expensive to fix. My little local shop builds PC’s to order, offers a exception-free one-year warranty, and will fix any problem in a day or two. And I don’t have to fight my way through masses of teenagers playing with Ipods to get to the counter. My first workplace computer was a Apple IIe, and I recall how resentful I was at having to learn a new operating system when I changed jobs. So, yes, I don’t really want to have to go through that again unless there’s a big payoff–and I don’t see one. After living through all the Windows iterations, I’m very pleased with XP (wouldn’t bother with Vista), and have no reason to give gobs of cash to Apple.

  28. burgundyyears says:

    @jendomme: Office on the Mac is in general inferior, weirdly slow when doing even certain simple operations (on my G5 at least) and full of really odd bugs – this is not just restricted to Excel. I actually use a Mac at work and a PC at home, and Office’s oddities are probably the primary reason I prefer my PC. Oh, and (at least the pre-Leopard) Finder sucks. But that’s just my opinion.

    But the rest of my Mac I like. Visually superior to Windows and simpler in many respects.

  29. Tux the Penguin says:

    Anyone in a financial field (accounting, corporate finance, etc) will prefer a PC over a Mac at a tremendous margin, as JenDomme stated. PCs blow away Macs in that place.

    However, one place that I see PCs and Windows in particular gaining an edge over the Mac is in the area of Media Center and integration. The very fact that I can stream live or recorded TV, music, pictures, etc from my Media Center on XP/Vista to my Extender (such as the XBox 360) is a huge thing. I doubt that’s the competitive advantage Microsoft wants, though…

  30. dame1234 says:

    @Caswell: I agree. The price of a mac mini + monitor, keyboard, and mouse can get quite high. You can get a very decent computer for cheap if you go the windows route, dell regularly sells a pc w/24″ monitor for around $800(I’ve seen as <$700). And if you’re getting a pc for someone that is just a web browser, the wal mart everex is a decent deal. I tried gOS and its very usable for a beginner. And for what its worth, I loved my IIgs

  31. UpsetPanda says:

    My MacBook was about a hundred dollars less than my last laptop, and I had designed it to be a fairly portable gaming laptop. After about a year and a half, the screen crapped out on me after too much traveling (and a few drops when being taken out of the car), and I switched to a Mac. I love my Mac and haven’t found it to be cumbersome. I like both, and still use both as my fiancee has a PC. I know a decent amount of computers, and would still recommend a PC for most users. But I know a lot of people swear by their Macs and so far I’m satisfied with mine.

  32. GinaLouise says:

    I use Macs at work (design stuff) and PCs at home, and I must confess that I privately hate Macs. My vintage Gateway back home rarely crashes, while the Mac (a new model, by the way) requires that I save my progress every .01 seconds for fear of losing it to a crash. Granted, I’m using heavy-duty programs (InDesign, Final Cut, etc…) but it makes me snicker when Macfolk talk about how *awesome* Macs never crash. And yes, this holds true for every Mac I’ve had to work with in my career.

  33. Trai_Dep says:

    If you tried to buy a PC that has all the standard features that a Mac has built-in, you’d find that it’s as expensive as a Mac. But the Mac has worthwhile software that you’d actually USE, and full versions as well, none of that trial-version bloatware that’s rife on the PC side.

    And, except for Valve Software – who tried extorting Apple to pay them a million dollars to develop for the Mac (Jobs told them to take a hike), all the major game publishers happily code for the Mac.

    To say nothing of the warm fuzzies you get knowing that 5,678 variants of viruses aren’t able to pop open a cold one and take turns ravaging your computer while you helplessly mewl like a girl. :D

  34. Trai_Dep says:

    @GinaLouise: Are you using recent versions of everything? Any out of date extensions? Simply asked since I use the CS suite all the time w/ no ill effects.

  35. Mary says:

    @Mike Mac: “When’s the last time you heard someone say they love their pc?”

    I love my PC. It doesn’t everything I ask it to do, and it does it when I ask. I wouldn’t switch unless I decided to get back up to speed with Final Cut Pro for a job.

    Granted, my husband built my computer and we installed only the programs I wanted to have on it. But I’ve really not seen the terrible horrible evil things so many people think happen with Windows.

  36. Anitra says:

    @Caswell: So buy a used Mac. They tend to have a much longer useful lifetime than a comparable PC. I currently have a G4 tower, which I paid less than $100 for about two years ago. I dropped another $100 maxing out its RAM. It’s now about five years old, and I’ll keep it for at least another year or two before I upgrade.

    Admittedly, I already had a keyboard, mouse, monitor, and speakers – they are all hooked up to both the Mac and also to a PC, through a KVM switch.

    I would definitely say that both Macs and PCs have their advantages; personally, I’ve gotten so used to doing all my work on a PC that my Mac is just my “play” machine now.

  37. SoCalGNX says:

    I have used both. At home and at work. But as they say, once Mac, you never go back.

  38. mac-phisto says:

    i think one of these days i’m gonna develop a dual-boot mac/pc that actually boots both drives simultaneously & then uses a simple keyboard macro to switch between the two. like having two machines on a kvm switch (only in one box)

    oops. did i let that one out of the bag?

    i like mac. i always have. oregon trail on the apple iie: best_game_ever! even when my powerbook 5300 took what seemed like an eternity to boot up, there was nothing better than firing that puppy up (to play marathon). battery never lasted more than 30 minutes, but at least it didn’t blow up.

    i recommend them to my friend & family (that have deep pockets). those looking cheap, i steer elsewhere. if you can afford it & you want something that just works, works well & makes your computing experience effortless, buy a mac…don’t think twice. there’s something to be said about closed-source – everything’s guaranteed to work. it’s the same reason i bought a console to play video games. eventually you just get tired of tweaking video cards for every game that you play.

  39. BigNutty says:


    Reason? Simple, easy to learn, much more variety of accessories and software.

    Need I say more? You Mac people seem like you’re in another world.

  40. Trai_Dep says:

    @BigNutty: Whoa bro. Bowl us over w/ your maturity. :P

  41. Beerad says:

    @BigNutty: Well, you might have tried saying something constructive and useful rather than obnoxiously spamming and rather defeating the entire point of the post about “nice to see something other than unhelpful fanboyism.” But in short, yes, you need to say more. As nearly all of the previous comments have pointed out, “simple” and “easy to learn” are hallmarks of the Apple line, and apart from games there isn’t really a dearth of accessories/software developed specifically for Macs. Maybe the “other world” we’re in is Earth. Where are YOU coming from?

  42. target_veteran says:


    Yeah, displays can be a bit… iffy at times. Ubuntu has it down for most of the common video cards, and the low end/on board cards that freecycled dells and the like come with are a known quantity, so there shouldn’t be too much of an issue.

    I know the article is aimed at people looking to buy new, high end systems, but a non-trivial percentage of those people are perfectly served with low end Linux machines. (most) Grandmas don’t need Vista. They need something stupidly reliable that they can’t mess up. Break the power of Best Buy, Circuit City, Dell, etc. Adopt a computer today.

  43. JustinAche says:

    @PatrickIs2Smart: I don’t even know who the guy is, so he doesn’t decide technology for me :p

    Regarding the debate, I don’t like Macs…maybe because I’m A+ certified for PCs, and I can build my own computer for as low as $ 150 that’ll run Windows and is easy enough to use, but I don’t see what paying alot of money for a pretty machine will do. I remember eveybody fawning over the eMachines iMac knock off a few years ago, when it was a bargain basement POS.

    I will also say, that I can’t stand to design on the Mac either. I used to work with a newspaper, and all their graphics department used Macs…well, I can still get Adobe CS3 on my PC, and, I can get OTHER programs for my computer too. Having a Mac is like having a car that’ll only drive down 10% of roads built. I like being able to go to the store and seeing aisles upon aisles of software for PCs, and then a shelf or two for Mac…makes me feel superior.

    Oh, and to just let you know this was a rant against Mac, I do know how to use other systems…I’m buying an EeePC at the end of the month, and I know linux fairly well, but we all agree linux is for techies, not a Windows replacement (yet!)

  44. emax4 says:

    When did the author do his homework? Mac’s use Intel chips and can run both the Mac OS and Windows simultaneously. Mac-Phisto knew it, plus the info is right on Apple’s website.

    What the author meant to write is:

    People who spend much of their time playing cutting-edge games can use either platform, as the Mac now uses the latest Intel chips.

    He’s right about IT departments that use strict PC software though.

  45. AnnC says:

    @mac-phisto: Take a look at vmware or parallels. With virtualization software you can have several operating system running at the same time. The speed hit is minor (use a really partition instead of virtual hard disk) except for games and other graphics intensive software.

  46. Kezzerxir says:

    O RLY!

  47. dame1234 says:

    @DemolitionMan: linux for techies and grandmas. Best move I ever made was setting up a linux pc(puppy linux in this case) for my parents and I rarely get a call from them about it.(wasn’t the case when they had 98 and XP)

  48. dysthymia says:

    I love to see the people’s face when I pull my macbook and start the windows partition. Is like you are messing with their heads, seriously.

    I have been using macs since 1990 when we had classics at school. Back then was a pain in the neck to have documents migrated between versions and platforms. Oh well we leaned fast and survived. People, the war is over. the question is not mac or not, but what os I want to run this time on my mac.

    ps. parallels works great to have BOTH versions running at the same time.

  49. lotides says:

    I love my Mac. I would never return to Windows or Linux. Before you say how simplistic I am for enjoying good UI architecture, consider that I have an A+ Cert, a background in programming and have been using computers since I had to boot off a floppy disk, the screens only showed shades of green and the internet was not yet invented. Apple pays attention to details. I have an XBox 360 for gaming — who wants to sit at a desk to play?

  50. jbalsle says:

    I’m a big PC fan myself. However, I’m not averse to getting a Mac and experimenting on it. However, I’d probably simply get PC components and build a hackintosh, as I really don’t feel like spending almost two grand on a new computer. However, a miniITX motherboard will fit in the secondary slot, and if I can get a cheap Core 2 Duo kit based on it, I could actually build a mac in my PCs existing case. Imagine that. :) (Case for the technically minded is the THermaltake MozartTX)

  51. Death says:

    I suspect many of us love best what we know best. Even all you multi-platform programming types must have one system that you know better than the others, probably one you’ve used longest. I know this could be an example of chicken/egg conundrum, but I bet in many cases your favorite system is the system you know better. Much of the bitching you hear about both macs or pcs usually solvable with a bit of knowledge.

  52. I am 1 of 2 techs at a private k-12 school. You don’t know how much EASIER it is to diagnose and resolve issues with macs. I don’t think we have any windows computers (except for a sony umpc that I use to program the display on the hp laserjet we have). Xserves, Mac Pros and Power Macs power our website, server and infrastructure.

    I am platform unbiased. I have a sick XP box that I use to play games with, along with a 360. It’s just so much easier and obvious to run the edu field on Macs

  53. PS-Students in grades 7-12 decide what laptop they want (they buy whatever they want), and for the past year the amount of macbooks/MBP’s that have been bought FAR outweigh all other windows computers at least at a 4/1 ratio

  54. Mr. Gunn says:

    PatrickIs2Smart: yeah, that and he’s a slavish mac fan, so he’s not going to say anything about all the stuff that doesn’t work under Wine or Parallels or for which there’s no good substitute, such as MS Office and Outlook(yeah, really), nor will he talk about the vast disparity in market share which causes compatibility problems with many applications, nor how much bigger the windows development community is.

    The average user will be OK with either, but if the average user wants to upgrade his system without having to replace the whole thing, or if the average user wants to be able to fix things when something stops working, he needs a PC.

    /what did you expect, posting an article like this?

  55. pillow says:

    gotta love the mac fanboys, especially the ones who are ‘experts’ with pc’s and can reassure you a mac is much better.
    if you do not know how to use a computer macs are much more use friendly, have an awesome design (despite the one button mouse, nad i dont care if you can use a shortcut to achieve the same effect, its still not as good as two seperate buttons), its a much better showpiece to your friends.

    if you half way serious about computers, windows based pc’s offer a better solution as they are more flexible and you can do way more with them as the majority of people on this planet do not use macs.

    and i seriously dont want to hear the ‘macs dont get viruses’ crap i heard one of my friends say the other day….i dunno, macs ;)

  56. louisb3 says:

    @Geekybiker: No. Graphic design professionals, among others in creative professions, use high-end Macs for their high-end work.

    @Mr. Gunn: I haven’t noticed any difference in any office suites, MS or otherwise, between OSes; they all suck, regardless of whether on Mac or PC. Since I’ve resigned myself to having a painful experience every time I want to write a letter, I find that it’s equally painful regardless of whether I’m using MSOffice, OpenOffice/NeoOffice, or Google Docs.

    And what is this nonsense about “compatibility problems” and the difference in the size of development communities? Gamers want to run Windows, and a few specialized programs are only designed for one operating system, but for the vast majority of programs that matter to the vast majority of users, Macs work at least as well as PCs.

    Do you really think the “average user” needs or wants to mess around with the internals of their machine? You can upgrade the RAM on any Mac, and that’s about all most people would ever want to do.

  57. Egakino says:

    I have used a PC for a hell of a long time, then switched to a mac for a short time in collage because I went to a art school and thought that was what was needed. Turns out, not so much, and it was a pain to deal with the Mac. Really I hated not being able to get into the nuts and bolts of my machine, but then again I grew up with DOS as my OS. A lot of programs that I wanted to use and have always used I found wanting on a Mac.

    And now for some Mac / PC fun:

  58. Trai_Dep says:

    If you don’t program your PROM by flicking dip switches rapidly while force-feeding paper-punched cards into the slot while man-head-sized reels spin furiously until your slab-o-iron boots up, you don’t deserve to use a computer.


  59. gingerCE says:

    Most of my friends and all of my family use Macs. Of the few friends I know who prefer PCs, I have heard quite a few personal horror stories about their PCs, but I have not heard from a friend, co-worker, family member, any horror stories involving their Macs. That doesn’t mean that I don’t see horror stories on sites like this or elsewhere on the web involving Macs, but I think it says something that I don’t know of anyone personally who’s had major problems with their Mac, while I know several who’ve had meltdowns because of their PCs.

  60. humphrmi says:


    The hacker that could make an 8088 or a i286 really sing in the 80s

    Dude, the hacker that could make an 8088 or an i286 really sing in the 80s probably works for Apple as an Engineer today.

  61. amoeba says:

    I own both, a Mac and a PC. My mac is for work, I am a Graphic Designer. While my PC is for my personal use, I play games, I also take the advantage to design some things on my PC. Both computers have their own unique needs, and I like them both.

  62. deserthiker says:

    At work I use PCs and at home a Mac and I will never buy a PC again. A lot of my co-workers have me come and troubleshoot their computers and when they ask me for advice I always tell them to get a Mac. Honestly, for what most people use their computers at home for (music, e-mail, simple video, pictures) the Mac is vastly superior. There are very few people for whom a PC is a better choice. Basically, those who cannot afford a Mac (or are just too cheap) and those who build their own computers.

    If you’re seriously considering switching go into an Apple Store and chances are other customers will try to convince you that switching to a Mac is a good choice. You won’t find that with PCs.

    And if you really need Windows, you can run it on a Mac. But most people will run windows only when they have to and OSX the rest of the time.

  63. forever_knight says:

    re: “gorgeous hardware”

    any review that touts a product as “gorgeous” has just lost my business. function over style any day!

  64. trillium says:

    I am forced to have in my possession a windows system only because the company i work fork doesn’t support macs, yet I am a unix systems admin by trade (go fig). Guess where I do alot of my scripting and learning of new languages when I dont have a vpn connetion to the corporate network…

    You guessed it – its unix under the hood!


  65. ChristopherDavis says:

    @pillow: despite the one button mouse

    Well, yes, if you buy a Mac from a few years ago. The currently shipping Mighty Mouse has four buttons and a scroll-ball (not just a scroll wheel). For laptops, simply placing two fingers on the trackpad before clicking will get you the secondary button behavior.

  66. ChrisPC24 says:

    Silly article. “Everyone should use Macs, unless they play serious games, want a cheap machine, or their business doesn’t use them.” Well thats about 90% of computer users right there. The other 10% already use Macs.

  67. keenkreations says:

    As many other people say, having a Mac or Windows is totally up to the end user. Personally, I have both a hand built Windows desktop and a Macbook Pro. They both have their advantages and disadvantages.
    Whatever someone chooses because of the look of it, or the technical specifications, or for specific uses, all up to the person owning it.

  68. mac-phisto says:

    @AnnC: i’ve used vmware…i’m not talking emulation here, though. i’m talking full-blown dual os. i’m talking being able to click back & forth between operating systems real-time with a little icon in the corner of your monitor. it’s plausible considering the hardware that exists today – quad-core processors, tethered RAM, even dual-sli video cards. it would require a complete rewrite of the existing BIOS, but imagine the freedom! imagine the possibilities! your mac for fun, your windows for function, both just a click away.

    if only i’d gone into compsci instead of polisci…

  69. veronykah says:

    @jendomme: I feel that way about Photoshop on a PC.
    Have a Mac at home and have had to use PCs at various jobs. The ease of use of the Mac is fantastic compared to a PC, not sure why that is considered “dumb” or computer illiterate. Sure I can write HTML but why would I want to do it when dreamweaver has simplified it? Same premise..

  70. glass says:

    “Windows only” applications… like the thousands of viruses and trojans contracted through using IE?

    I was a PC exclusive user for years, despite constant security issues. Then I bought a Toshiba with Vista for around a grand. Vista is one of the worst OS’s the world has ever known. And the PC was buggy as all hell. I returned it and got a MacBook, which was only a hundred more. Since then I’ve purchased a MacBook Pro, and can never go back.

    There’s an incredible advantage to having ONE company design the hardware and software for a system. Theres a sense of accountability you wont find on Toshiba’s help line.

  71. pine22 says:

    i am what many of you would consider a gamer, and i have just recently built my first computer with all custom parts. they are simply more economical. instead of buying a new machine every 2-4 years, i can upgrade for a lot less. i can get the most performance for my money and that is what matters to me the most. and it sickens my when people are forced to buy dells and hp’s and all these other companies that just build shit quaility computers and rip people off. i would encourage people to try to build one themselves. i too was nervous but it really wasn’t that bad. with some addtional effort one can run any OS they want.

    im in college and im not ruch so in the end, i want value and performance, not some contrived sense of style and coolness. thats what i have my ipod for.

  72. ivealwaysgotmail10 says:

    Not to add to a MAc vs pc commentr thread that im sure had already started but how about

    “Consumers who want to be able to search for anything they could possibly want to do on their system and be met with 100’s of diffirent options, free and not, to do so in every genre”


    Consumers who want to be able to customize their entire experience from head to toe with mostly user written free programs.


    Consumers who realize apple pays close to the same prices for their parts as everyone else, and gets them from the same places, And marks them up 40-50% because they are, white, shiny, and can very easily give the user the illusion that they know what they are doing in the field in which they work.

    That last comment is what pisses me off the most

    Macie: Yeah i know my mac inside and out… its got a 2.33ghz hard drive and-

    PC guy: umm 2.33ghz.. dont you mean- never mind.. Have you ever heard of a hackintosh? You know hacked pcs that run Leapord for like 800$ with close to the same specs as a mac pro.

    Macie: thats not possible, Apple computers are completely diffirent, Pcs cant handle what they do, its not the same, it would be slow.

    PC guy…. really because you know, they run on the exact same hardware, the inability to run leapord on a PC is purely them locking the software to only their computers.

    Macie…. What… No i mean no, No one can do that, You would have to saughter the motherboard in half… and re-wire the whole processor.

    Pc Guy: umm wires? in the procesor… Nevermind, But you cant deny Apple charges 100$ extra for 2gb’s when you can buy a 1gb stick for 30$ shipped online… they rip you off, They round off connections that are pretty much standard like DVI, and USB, and alot of others just so they they wont fit unless you buy their 10$ adapter…. its crazy.

    Macie: you dont understand, if you had a mac you would..

    PC Guy: i do…. 20″ iMac… Ended up booting vista on it and using it to record tv, It makes for a nice tivo, and its fun to mess around in garage band, its all very easy to use. But id rather be supported by billions of other people writing new programs for me to try out and mess with than thousands. Yeah mac is great and simple, But it lacks about 1000 features than PC’s have had forever and a day, how about some bluetooth stereo audio drivers apple?

    How about Activesync support? how about WMA and WAV support out of the box?

    What about built in Memory card readers?
    What about blu-ray drives?
    What about 15″ 1080P screens?
    What about some damn decent graphics cards? drivers for such cards?

    What about the ability to customize and use other peoples hardware more easily eh?

    What about an apple remote that has more than 5 buttons! How about, page up, page down, maybe even a gyroscopic remote to mouse on the screen?

    How about illuminated desktop keyboards?

    How about a 30″ monitor with TV inputs!

    how about native right click support?

    How about better wireless drivers (Wpa on old powerbooks is glitchy)!

    How about a decent desktop tower (with some actual power) for 500$ starting price?

    And How about maybe just maybe you guys charge for your operating system on a PC? eh? Some idea eh? Let people try out your system without dropping 1000$? what?!?!

    Seeming as its already been hacked beyond beleif, Seriously guys, Leapord for Vista, Maybe its time, Either I’m Going to get shut up when it happens or you guys will realize that simplicity at the cost of functionality is not a good compromise, and that apple will always be way behind they curve because of their inability to allow the public to work with anything but a 100% functional product, which is really just a different choice.

    I just like to be able to walk in to my room, Click “Set as wireless stereo” click play (on my HTC touch) and hear music streaming from my speakers 10Ft away, Sure the bluetooth audio blips once every 5 minutes, i can deal with it for the convienience of a wireless DJ remote.

    Who knows ive only had my 20″ iMac for a few weeks, maybe Leapord will grow on me, But for now im sticking with my m1730, And yes i know your eye can only see 35Fps so anything over that is pretty much overkill, But still seeing 240Fps in the corner of the screen makes me smile, when people who have paid 6000$ for mac pros would be seeing 20-40.

    ^ that was long, Much longer than i anticipated.

  73. RISwampyankee says:

    Learning curve on a Mac?!? I gave my dad his first computer, a Mac, at the tender age of 75. He was up and running before the week-end was out. His PC friends are still trying to figure out the Windows interface and don’t even get them started on hardware failures.

  74. STrRedWolf says:

    Apple has been very good at making things just work. It continues to grab the hardware by the throat and strangling it until it does the job right before it even ships, but they’re worth the extra money now.

    But I’ll partially agree with “you can get a decent PC with Windows cheaper with the money you can buy a low-end Mac Mini new.” While you can get a $200 gPC from Walmart, it’s only powerful enough to do office work. In Linux. $600 in Newegg will get you a PC powerful enough to play Second Life at a decent frame rate — in Linux. Or a Mac Mini which plays SL at 8 frames per sec, but it’s a great media system now as converting video to iTunes is slightly faster than real-time now.

    The main problem is, Windows is EXPENSIVE. XP’s still going for $130 for Pro and Vista… well, you’re better off getting Ultimate if you can afford, what, $500 for a copy now? Calling John C. Dvorak!

  75. spadefoot says:

    I’ve been having this conversation with a friend recently. In the interest of full declaration: I’ve been running Windows as my main OS since the 80’s. I loaded Ubuntu on my laptop a couple of months ago, as a dual boot with XP. I’v estudiously avoided booting into XP unless I had to, and I’ve been able to do almost everything that I do on my laptop in Ubuntu. On my desktop, however, I primarily game, which makes Ubuntu and OSX both poor choices. I’m looking at getting a new laptop, and I’d like one I can game on when I’d on the road. I’ve looked at the MBP’s, and they are really very nice laptops, although a bit pricey. Sure I could get a MacBook Pro and dual boot XP and OSX on the laptop. Here is my thinking on that scenario:

    I’m on the road, sitting in a hotel room, and I want to check my email. Either XP or OSX would be perfectly suited to this activity. Let’s say I boot into OSX to do it. In my inbox in a note from a friend that they’ll be playing Team Fortress 2 later tonight and inviting me to join them. So I have to re-boot into XP to play that. No biggie. I reboot into XP and they aren’t on yet, so I decide to surf the net for a but while I wait for them to log in. Am I going to reboot into OSX at this point? Certainly not, it would be a waste of time.

    I just don’t see the point of an OS that I can only do 60% of what I do without booting an alt OS. Sure, if you don’t game, pick a modern OS and they’ll all do it just fine. To the guy that said all the major game devs develop for Mac as well: If you consider Blizzard’s WoW client to be the only major game out there, then yes, you are correct. Otherwise, you are on crack.

  76. Mary says:

    @Mike Mac: “I suspect many of us love best what we know best. Even all you multi-platform programming types must have one system that you know better than the others, probably one you’ve used longest. I know this could be an example of chicken/egg conundrum, but I bet in many cases your favorite system is the system you know better. Much of the bitching you hear about both macs or pcs usually solvable with a bit of knowledge.”

    I wholeheartedly agree with every word of that comment. My parents got our first computer when I was 4. We’ve always been using what used to be called “IBM Compatible” machines. We’ve been running Windows for so long, it’s just what I’m used to and what I like.

    I’ve used Macs plenty at school and work, but when I get home I want what I know better.

  77. olegna says:

    I just realized that participating in this debate is surest way to guarantee a chaste life. Who cares. Brand loyalty is a fake ideology for persons who don’t have real issues. I’ve been guilty of this in the past, but since I use both platforms seamlessly I can recognize the strengths and faults of both and it’s irrelevant. As such, I always got for whichever is cheaper: so I end up owning Windows platforms. The only thing that really bothers me about Apple is it’s one-stop shopping. I like the more democratic values of going to various manufacturers and customizing my system. That is all.

  78. Neti neti. Everything is nothing and everything is the same thing. They are the same. They both are fine for business and they both are fine for artists. They both are fine for parents and fine for children. They both crash and don’t crash.

    Here’s how a computer works:

    1) Double-click the internet.
    2) ?????
    3) Profit.

  79. @idledebonair: I like your quick analysis. I would add my own.

    1) Bring up Macs vs. PCs
    2) ?????
    3) All hell breaks loose in the comment section.

    THAT’S what we need – more discussions about which OS is better! Kudos Consumerist!

  80. Nemesis_Enforcer says:

    @lotides: Um I like to sit at my computer desk at home to game. It is pretty much impossible to play strategy games on a console period. I tried and got super frustrated.

    I think a lot of the instability of Windows in because PC makers skimp on the parts and just throw everything together. I have hand built my last 4 computers and I use Windows on them all. I have built several computers for family and all of them use Windows without any problems. I have had about 3 crashes total and 2 of those were from Hard drives wearing out. I can save money by canabilizing my old PC when I build a new one. I can switch out any part I like, just last weekend I upgraded to a new processor and heatsink without needing to change anything else.

    As for the Viruses and malware…well PC’s are the major share of computers so of course more stuff is written for them. I keep my computer updated and I don’t have issues with it.

    I use a Mac at work because we deal with a lot of graphics, I use one of the new Mac Pro’s. I have tried all the things I do on a PC on the Mac at work, including gaming. For me my PC is superior, I actually like XP I can do everything I want to do. I have tried the dual boot on the Mac and I notice a performance hit. I would never say that it might be a percived bias but I just like my PC better. YMMV but I think we should just use what we want and live with it. I don’t hate Mac’s or thier users I just dislike the fanboi’s for both sides. Each system has its merits. But to each his own/

  81. NoLongerInUse says:

    I don’t hate Macs any more than I hate Craftsman. A computer is a tool. An OS is an interface. I don’t care as long as I can use the tool. Mac users may say they love their Mac and put stickers on their cars, yet point out that PC users don’t. PC users generally don’t care because it’s a means to an end, not a focus of hype.

    If your Mac gives you what you need, awesome. If your PC does what you need, also awesome.