Want to switch?


(I’ve finally finish editing this post about Mac vs Windows. I’ll follow this up on my thoughts about switching.)

There are several arguments when it comes to comparing a Mac PC and a Windows PC. There’s the issue with software availability. Another issue is with regards to security. Yet another deals with DIY upgrading. But the one that’s probably most common is the issue regarding cost.

So this post will try to answer the question, “Are Macs really more expensive?” and then some.

A web article from 2001 compared Macs versus Dell PCs. It is easy to know that this article is rather old from the exorbitant prices and a 1.8 GHz Intel processor is considered as “high end.” There were four categories: high end, power portable, affordable portable, and entry level. Apple ‘won’ three out of the four categories. The tings that won it out for Apple are the included softwares and the the added features that at first glance doesn’t mean much. Features like Firewire, DVD burners and wireless networking.

Another Mac vs PC website was put up on March 2001 and the author claims he has read over four-thousand articles, comments, and stories about Mac vs PC topics (the more appropriate term would be Mac vs Windows since a Mac is still a Personal Computer). The website is very extensive. There’s even a PDF file that’s more than 115 pages you can download.

A more recent Apple vs Dell shootout compares according to price (eMac vs Dimension 4600) and according to near similar features (Powerbook vs Inspiron 700m). The author compares each PC by category and awards a points to the PC with the better feature according to category.

Between the desktops, the eMac was declared the winner in part due to its better graphics processor, Firewire ports, better mouse and keyboard, and the software that’s comes with the unit.

On the portable foray, the Powerbook wins and this is because while its cheaper it has a better graphics processor, 100 per cent more hard drive capacity, smaller in volume, better wireless option, and better software package.

A more recent Apple vs Dell comparison dated April 24, 2005 is more detailed and lengthier. The Musing from Mars article first explains the truth behind the popular misconception that Mac processors are slower than Intel processors. It then goes into how Dell capitalizes on this and hoodwinks the consumer. He then goes on a “shopping trip” to Dell and Apple. He has links in this article that points to the more detailed results of his shopping trip. He compared five different kinds of systems: professional portable, consumer portables, high end desktop, professional desktop, finally, budget desktop. I won’t go into the details for each category but the end result seems to say Dells are more expensive the Macs.

While writing this he complained about Dell offering low priced PCs that are “ridiculously crippled that no one will ever walk out of the store with one and be happy.” He also laments that Dell seems to change their prices everyday.

The article is a good read albeit a bit long. If you need convincing to switch to a Mac this might be just what you need.

Another long article about these shootouts is from Kiplinger.com. Price again takes center stage as the author compares $500 desktop PCs. He compared three Windows based PCs (Dell Dimension 3000 ($547), eMachines T3828 (made by Gateway. Cost:$500), HP Pavilion a705w-b ($468)) and the Mac mini. The is really lengthy and I didn’t take time to read it. This is different from the others as this is not Mac-centric and gives equal airtime to all.

CIO Today’s article Apple mythology and desktop security says, “Macs run more functional software and have a much longer useful life. As a result, the Macs that PC users see most often — in schools or at grandma’s house — tend to be significantly older and slower than the PCs people compare them to because Wintel product churn means that a three-year-old PC is a museum piece, while a six-year-old iMac running OS 9 is likely still to be in use.” I have read that some people are actually still using their Apple desktops and portables that are more than 4 years old. And there are quite a number of them. The same thing can’t be said when it comes to non-Apple portables and desktops.

What does the author advise? “In other words, if security concerns are your most important driver for desktop change, and Microsoft Office compatibility is your most significant barrier, then switching to Macs actually offers you the best of all possible worlds. Microsoft Office on Unix/Risc with a better GUI, longer product life, some cash savings and a performance bonus thrown in.” MDN

An issue that would-be switchers are concerned about is that they might not be able to open the documents and pictures some of their Windows friends would send or give to them. Infozine will help to put their mind at ease. It gives a succint view on what applications are available to open those Microsoft Office files and picture files. The author ends by saying, “Would I recommend a Mac for a life long PC User? Most certainly, after having used both platforms for many years, I realized that the main difference between the two was that PC’s make you fight your computer to get anything done. Simply put Macs are a pleasure to use; they get out of the way and let you get your work done.” MDN

We’ve talked about cost and compatiblity and the links above has showed you that Macs are not only cheaper but owning one doesn’t necessarily mean you have to live in seclusion. You are now probably convinced to switch to a Mac. Or maybe not.

I guess you are a die-hard Windows user then. But let’s face it, there are things that the non-Apple PC makers can improve upon. Well, Macworld has something to say about that. The article is entitled What can PC makers learn from Apple? and it lists what are the things PC makers shoud take note of. It talks about design, ease of use, and shopping convenience that Apple has but most PC makers obviously don’t. Most people would think of these matters as frivolous. But owning a Mac is not just about the hardware nor the software. It’s also about the experience.

ADDED: May 11, 2005
In this Boston.com article the author says, “There are Mac guys (and gals), and there are PC people. One camp might be graphics-crazy, the other price-conscious.” This statement can be taken as Mac users are not price-concious and Macs are expensive. But this is simply not true as some of the links I have posted prove. Still, a Mac user is quite happy with her Mac. She said she never read the manual and never called tech support. “Their machines are simple to use and cool to look at,” she adds. MDN


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