The debate over which PC platform is best, Mac or Windows, has waged for years with both sides equally passionate about which operating system reigns supreme. While there’s no single answer for every user, you can find a computer with the right characteristics to meet your computing needs. Here’s the low-down on the match up between Mac and Windows. I personally prefer the Mac platform; this is because it’s much easier to use and it has a better feel. I have used Macs since my college days and would never swap to a PC.
Where Mac and Windows are Equal:
Usability. You may have heard that Macs are more intuitive than Windows. Neither operating system is fundamentally easier to learn. Novice computer users will face challenges learning to navigate either a Mac or a Windows system, and a user experienced with one platform will definitely experience frustrations if they try to switch.
Design capabilities. Although Macs ruled the design world in the 80s and 90s, these days both operating systems are considered equal when you compare their design applications and abilities. Both Macs and Windows systems support a large variety of file types, offering cross-platform compatibility so designers can exchange ideas between Mac and Windows PCs with ease.
Where Mac and Windows are Not Equal:
Viruses and maintenance. Mac is the clear front runner in this category. While Macs are no longer virus-free, malware remains far less prevalent. Windows users are plagued with driver updates, security patches and a need for regular anti-virus/ anti-malware scanning. This can lead to clutter within the system and speed issues due to memory consumption. One item of note: because Windows is so experienced with combating malware, they’re better suited to quickly address new security issues, whereas Apple tends to struggle with rapid response to new attacks.
Software and gaming. Windows is the big winner here, as it offers a much larger library of compatible software options and nearly three times as many applications in its app store (versus the Mac app store). While you’ll have no trouble finding Mac versions of big-name games or programs like Quicken or Photoshop, if you run a specific software application that isn’t as widely used, you may find that it’s a Windows-only program. Graphics cards and compatible gaming hardware options are also limited for Macs, meaning gamers should probably stick to Windows.
Hardware. Almost all hardware is designed to work with Windows, a huge advantage when you need to upgrade or replace a malfunctioning part. If a key piece of hardware breaks or no longer supports your computing needs, Mac users have more limited upgrade capabilities.
Cost. Apple sells high quality systems for top dollar; they don’t offer budget models. They don’t sell a less reliable motherboard or a slower processor at a discount. Alternatively, there’s a huge variance in the quality and price of Windows-based PCs. A Windows PC with similarly reliable hardware wouldn’t be dramatically less expensive, but Windows systems are typically cheaper due to competition between manufacturers. Apple doesn’t sell custom machines, so if you want a larger hard drive in your new Mac, you’ll have to get a more expensive model that likely includes additional upgrades you wouldn’t otherwise choose to pay more for.
Unlike with a PC, a Mac can also run Windows. If you want to have a combination Mac and PC, a Mac is your best option.
In conclusion, Windows PCs offer a lower purchase price, but may require more time and money over their lifetime to maintain.