Why I prefer the PC over the Mac

Why I prefer the PC over the Mac

It is all about value.  I administer 3 different networks made up entirely of machines with Windows and I rarely have any problems.  One of the things that contributes to perceived stability advantage of the Mac is that the hardware is generally good because it all comes from the same place.  With PC’s you can get bargain basement slap together hardware with crappy drivers that cause a lot of stability issues.  Stick with good hardware and you’ll be alright.

On the issue of cost there really is no comparison, especially if you are buying used equipment.  It is very possible to find a perfectly good. 500mhz PC with Win2k for just over $100 if you looking the right places.  This machine will do every basic computing task out there. 

Sometimes we do buy new.  I’ve caught deals on a brand new 2.4 ghz Dell for $300 and free shipping.  I ended up adding in a little Ram which brought it up to $350.  You might think such low cost machines would give me problems.  Nope.  I haven’t add any problems whatsoever with these machines.  Not one hardware failure.  These machines just work.

There are a few things to remember about windows.  Turn on automatic updates and put everything on a broadband connection behind a router.  They can be picked up for about $40 bucks.  Don’t install every crappy shareware program or file sharing software that comes along .

Everything changes though when you start using Win9x.  Windows 95/98 was ok if you ran a handful of reliable programs on it but it can get bogged down really easily.  Windows ME is a nightmare.  If you have it I highly suggest formating the harddrive and upgrading to XP or Win2k or even downgrading to Win98.  That OS is evil!

Another weakness in Windows is Internet Explorer and Active X and porn/warez.  These sites beg you to install their free software and a machine becomes infested with spyware/adware/malware.  Use Firefox and avoid such websites.

  1. #1 by Darryl on July 14, 2005 - 8:54 am

    The main complaint I have with Windows is that it slows over time. I’m told don’t suffer from this but it always happened to me. Plus it’s just plain uglier but I could have lived with that.

  2. #2 by ScottB on July 14, 2005 - 5:29 pm

    I think it only slows if you continue to install lots of software, and if you never defrag your hard drive or clean your temp files off, both of which can be automated.

    I’ve stuck with pc’s for years because of one thing – readily available, inexpensive software.

  3. #3 by Kevin Harms on July 14, 2005 - 5:30 pm

    The Mac is more than just good hardware. The OS is one of the best written pieces of work around. Its rated better than MS or Linux OS’s in most enterprise magazines. However, the software that uses the machine to its capacity serves a smaller market, therefore less market share.

    The Windows 2000 Pro and XP pro is best run with the server based software to serve these OS’s, not for home use. Once you get an active directory setup, SMS to update software bundles and patch the OS, and to run RDP Clients, it basically takes care of itself. Windows 98 doesn’t provide the security needed for any business users, and is often open to attack from home users, but so does XP. I think the key is just learn how to maintain and keep your machine safe from the bad stuff out there. May take some work and some learning for the basic user, but those who persevere will have a nice running computer.

  4. #4 by Jason "Muffin" Braun on July 14, 2005 - 11:56 pm

    i agree that if mainained periodically, a PC can be a great piece of equipment, but,

    #1 – how many people actually maintain their computer?

    #2 – a PC just isn’t as reliable or as fast as a Mac when dealing with any media. in my opinion, if you are doing any video, audio, or graphics, an individual should invest the extra money for a Mac. i’m trying to save up now…

  5. #5 by Darryl on July 16, 2005 - 5:07 pm

    I tried to keep a pretty clean system and did all the things you’re supposed to do – defrag, clean, etc.

    Yet every Windows machine has slowed after a while. Not just mine, but also other PCs used by others who are light users.

  6. #6 by Darryl on July 16, 2005 - 5:16 pm

    For years I resisted getting a dishwasher. I figured we didn’t have the room and that loading and unloading a dishwasher was almost as much work as doing the dishes by hand. I eventually got a dishwasher and found I had been lying to myself for years.

    I had the same feeling when I got a Mac. One of the reasons I held out for a while was actually because of LT’s arguments in favor of PCs (we had this discussion). But after switching, I don’t really think they hold up.

    You can get a good working Mac cheaper than ever. Feature for feature, you don’t lose a dollar. So I don’t agree that “On the issue of cost there is really no comparison.” You can get just as good deals on a used Mac, or even a new one.

    Otherwise I don’t see a lot of arguments here. But buy a dishwasher and get a Mac; your life will be at least 10x better and you will have clean, minty breath to boot.

  7. #7 by aaron on July 16, 2005 - 6:46 pm

    or just buy a mac and don’t worry about installing extras, poor OS’s (Win ME) routers, spyware, adware, viri, etc!

  8. #8 by David Streever on July 16, 2005 - 6:54 pm

    I don’t use dishwashers, microwaves, rice cookers, or automatic coffee makers. Why take the lazy route? Why sacrifice skill and experience? When I prepare rice in a bamboo steamer, over real boiling water, I season it with different flavorings & the end result–while more varied compared to the rice cooker–is always more delicious.

    When I wash dishes it’s while I cook–mise en place–I think more, I learn more, I work faster, and I am a really amazing cook!

    Sorry to take your metaphor running so far–but when I work on my PC I’m far more productive & faster than my co-workers, all on macs. I definitely produce more work consistently. I have less computer problems than they (with constant upgrades to the OS, multiple software/font issues, always having to delete their caches and their preferences…) I use no anti-virus software at all, but also, don’t go to “those sites” 😉 and use Opera or Firefox–never have been “virused” as a result.

    The blind faith in a mac is not a very safe mechanism–widgets for instance were until two days ago with the new update a security risk.

    Who knows what other risks will appear? If 95% of the market was macs, you’d see plenty of dangerous software…

  9. #9 by David on July 16, 2005 - 7:15 pm

    I have a WinXP computer that runs perfectly and has done so for more than two years since I first configured it. That’s the good news. The bad news is that it isn’t connected to the internet and I’ve not installed a single program since I first configured it. It runs the DNA sequencer in my wife’s lab. Sorry – that isn’t the real world.

    But my real world computer, the one I use daily at work, has been a completely different story. You say use FireFox. Good advice – but Explorer is so closely tied to the OS that at least once a week it starts up even though I don’t want it. Yes, I use Calypso for email. But we also have Exchange and I have no choice but use Outlook to keep my calendar current. Allow auto downloading of patches you say – but it was installing patches that brought down my computer twice last year.

    No, in the real world Windows just doesn’t match up to the Mac. And as for the claims that OS X would be more vulnerable if there were more of them in use – please. *nix powers more websites than Windows so there are plenty of people trying to bring *nix computers down. Those who could do that would be just a step or two from being able to bring down a Mac. But *nix isn’t that vulnerable is it?

    Windows is inherently insecure due to marketing decisions Microsoft made in the middle 90’s. Maybe we’ll see some changes with Longhorn but those changes, if they come, will bring a lot of pain. You see, the way to security is to lock down the system from outsiders – you know, like *nix does. But with Windows the root user’s space isn’t locked by default. And the list of programs that misbehave if it is locked is huge. So we don’t lock it. If Longhorn does bring root level security of this type we’re gonna be buying lots of new software upgrades – or old software will work in an unprotected mode and probably leave our tightly locked computer with all its windows open.

  10. #10 by Alfredo Octavio on July 16, 2005 - 7:17 pm

    What about Virii? And, shouldn’t you avoid Outlook too? I almost never allow a Wndows machine to get emails but If I have to at the very least I’d use Thunderbird…

  11. #11 by Darryl on July 16, 2005 - 7:21 pm

    It’s funny to read people saying, “Windows is fine as long as you don’t use any Microsoft software on it!” (like IE)

  12. #12 by Bob on July 16, 2005 - 7:31 pm

    I agree with Kevin in that Win 2000 and XP are best suited for the Active Directory environment. I had few problems with the small work network that I maintained in that type of configuration. I was also the only person in that office with a Mac on my desk. We had gotten a grant to buy a new system, and my Mac was the cheapest computer that we purchased. Sorry, on our network, cost went to the Mac, hands down.

    At home, its all Mac other than an old Win98 machine for a couple old childrens games that someone gave us. It’s not on the internet. We’ve never had computer related problems. Anything that comes along is due to the dsl/router setup we have because we bought very cheap stuff. The Macs are all wireless and there’s never a problem.

    I do think Windows has made some movement in the right direction with SP2, so I’m not uncomfortable with having them on the internet, but they still require quite a bit more support simply to make sure there’s nothing nasty going on behind the scenes. Spybot and Adaware are required software for Windows (as is anti-virus). None of that is necessary on my Macs. That’s why I love my Macs more than PCs.

  13. #13 by rick on July 16, 2005 - 10:11 pm

    So, why exactly do you prefer PC over mac? The price? Come on…

  14. #14 by Arlo on July 16, 2005 - 10:19 pm

    The initial system purchase price? This argument comes from people who don’t value their time or their work.

  15. #15 by Derek on July 17, 2005 - 12:09 am

    Two points:

    The original article is six paragraphs, about why Leighton prefers PCs over Macs. Three of the paragraphs are about workarounds to Windows flaws.

    The first three paragraphs are about price. Maybe for the IT department purchase price adds up for many systems, but for anyone buying an individual system, any price premium for a Mac is negated by avoiding all those workarounds: hook it up, turn it on, and go. (Even running Microsoft software on it is pretty safe.)

    There _are_ reasons to prefer PCs over Macs, especially if you’re an accountant, dual-boot with Linux, or use AutoCAD or something. But for individual purchasers, the low-price analysis doesn’t work, I think.

  16. #16 by Merovech on July 17, 2005 - 4:24 am

    “One of the things that contributes to perceived stability advantage of the Mac”

    Perceived? The Mac is stable. Perception has nothing to do with it.

  17. #17 by Randall on July 17, 2005 - 8:08 am

    ah, hell hath no fury…

  18. #18 by truth on July 17, 2005 - 9:39 am

    Perhaps if you actually test drove a Powerbook running Tiger for a week you’d think differently.

  19. #19 by Innocent Bystander on July 18, 2005 - 1:44 am

    The used hardware argument is bogus. On ebay right now you can pick up a 450MHz B&W G3 for about $70. Now you have a great little unix server. Hard to beat that. Used Mac market is fine. OS is solid and you don’t need anti-virus.

  20. #20 by Ken on July 18, 2005 - 10:39 am

    I use both platforms for pro and personal stuff.

    I don’t think the Mac is always faster when it comes to media stuff despite what some say. There are benchmarks on Anandtech (yes, I know it’s a PC site but a well run one at that, there is no Mac equivalent site that matches it) and it has shown the Intel Macs to be faster than the PowerPC Macs.

    As some have mentioned already, if you know how to take care of a Windows PC and know what to avoid, it will be fairly trouble free. I’ve met far too many Mac users who don’t know what they are talking about just repeating things read from websites which is sad cos’ they lose all credibility when it comes to discussing this intelligently.

    All in all, use what works. If you like Mac, great, if you use a PC, great also, but what’s the point of bickering over this unless your talking about what platform does well.

  21. #21 by Darryl on July 18, 2005 - 11:39 am

    Speaking for myself, I’m mostly debating this to fill the void left by the hockey strike. I hear play will resume this Fall in which case we can go back to debating Leafs vs. Flames.

  22. #22 by shannonblogs on July 20, 2005 - 11:39 pm

    love macs, love John Bevere. Guess we probably wouldn’t get along?

  23. #23 by Flozaflo on January 2, 2008 - 1:23 pm


    I just thought I’d let you know

    there’s been a recent list of “Why

    Apple Sucks” in the MakeFive

    community. Maybe you folks would like

    to share a thought or two on the






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