The question is, why? Are Macs better than other PCs?
The answer to that question is different, depending on who you ask.
I have owned 7 Macs over the last 8 years and after owning both PCs and Macs for decades, I have completely made the switch over to Mac, and for some very good reasons.
While it is far beyond the scope of my website to analyze all of the differences between Mac and Windows-based PCs, I would like to highlight some of the reasons I made the switch to Mac, as well as providing some solid reasons for anyone to consider buying a Mac, no matter what kind of computer user you are.
Mac OS X is the operating system that makes Mac computers work. It is not a Windows-based operating system, so it doesn’t suffer nearly as much from some of the problems that plague many PCs including security issues, vulnerability to viruses, spyware, or malware. Moreover, Mac OS X is a largely stable operating system meaning that once you set up your computer a certain way, it’s likely to stay that way for months or even years.
My experience has been that I spend a lot less time trying to fix my computer and more time actually using it. If time = money, then my Mac will pay for itself over time.
(No, Mac’s are not bullet proof, nor are they entirely secure from viruses and spyware, but they are as close as you will find to a useful, secure, and stable computer in the consumer PC market.)
There is little doubt as to the quality of Mac construction. Most of the lineup is now made from CNC tooled aircraft-grade aluminum, visually appealing monitors with amazing clarity, and decent hardware under the hood. While many Macs are not on “the bleeding edge” of PC technology, Apple spends a good deal of time trying to offer the best hardware for the price, and when it comes to price, you get what you pay for with a Mac.
– RESALE VALUE
PCs are notorious for dropping in value in a big way, very quickly.
The speed and power of computers doubles about every 18 months which means that in about 5 years your current PC will better serve as a paper-weight, and in 10 years it will be virtually useless. As a result, people don’t get a lot of their money back when they go to buy a new computer.
Macs, on the other hand, maintain their value a lot better than most PCs. If you buy the 3 year protection plan, that plan goes with your Mac when you sell it, and if you sell it within 2 years, you can usually recover about half of what you paid for the Mac, which means that your next Mac only costs half as much to upgrade to as your previous Mac.
For my own needs, staying in a top-of-the-line iMac breaks down to a cost of about $65 dollars a month which is actually cheaper than a lot of people’s cell phone bills.
Macs are the Swiss army knife of the computing world. For people who need to run Microsoft Windows or Linux or Unix (or even DOS!), Macs offer two ways to run alternate operating systems like Microsoft Windows:
– Boot Camp and
With Boot Camp, you can split your hard drive into 2 sections, called partitions, and dedicate one of those 2 partitions to Windows. What this means is that when you turn on your computer and hold down the [option] key you can choose to run your Mac with either Mac OS X or Windows. If you choose Windows, then none of the Mac software loads and you have just turned your Mac into a Windows-based PC. So, if you own a Mac, you actually get 2 computers in 1. You can run any and all of your Windows software, up to and including PC games, as long as your Mac hardware is powerful enough to run that kind of software.
With virtualization software (such as VMWare or Parallels), you can actually run Mac OS X and Windows (along most other operating systems) at the same time. As a part time system administrator and part time web administrator, being able to run multiple operating systems at the same time is invaluable to me for my work.
My experience has been that Windows is a lot easier to set up and works a lot better on my Mac that it does on many of the other PCs I have worked on. Apple makes sure of this by providing a Boot Camp installation disc when you go to install Windows. This takes a lot of the “grunt work” out of installing Windows, and saves a ton of time.
Macs are powerful computers. Half of this power comes from the quality of the hardware Apple chooses to put into their computers, and the other half of that power comes from a robust operating system that can handle many different tasks at the same time, and most of the time do it without locking up or crashing.
Again, if you have to work on your computer for a living, you are probably going to spend more time working on, and less time fixing, your computer.
Finally, I’d like to address the “cost question”. Mac computers are, without a doubt, some of the most expensive computers on the market, and the question a lot of people have is “Are Macs worth spending 3 or 4 times as much money on, when I can buy a basic PC for $300?”
The short answer is MAYBE. It really depends on what you use your computer for, and what you are willing to spend to get it.
First, I can guarantee you that the hardware in that $300 PC is the cheapest, lowest quality hardware you can buy – which is actually OK for a lot of users! If you only do e-mail, surf the Internet, and write Word documents, the $300 PC may actually work quite well for you.
Having said that, a $300 PC is a discount PC which is just like buying a discount chair, a discount car, or a discount pair of shoes. Yes, it will work, and you will get some use out of it. However, if you are a power user that expects to be running multiple media related applications at the same time, you may quickly consider upgrading.
I actually priced out a $3000 Mac versus a $3000 PC and the actual price difference, if you analyze every piece of hardware you get in a Mac versus the cost of the exact same hardware in a PC, the price difference is only about $100 overall on a $3000 computer. That’s about a 3% price difference.
So, why are Macs so expensive?
At least 1/3 of what you are paying for is the display. Screens on Mac computers are exceedingly clear, sharp, vibrant, and technologically advanced. If you wanted the same kind of display on a PC, you are going to pay big bucks for it. A 27″, glass covered monitor running at 2560×1440 pixels is going to cost you between $800 and $1000 dollars – just for the screen. Add to that the video card required to run that screen, and the video card alone is going to cost well over $250.
All other costs have to do with the hardware under the hood and the external construction. Macs use very up to date hardware, quality processors, and in some cases some of the most advanced graphics chips or cards in the world. The Mac Pro, Apple’s pro-line of computers are some of the most powerful PC workstations in the world and are used by media creators and editors, engineers, game designers and many other power users. Even Mac’s “low end” computers really don’t use “discount” hardware which is why even the low-end Macs could still be considered high-end computers.
So, is it worth it for you to buy a Mac?
It all depends on what your needs are and how much you are willing to spend to meet those needs. Macs are certainly worth taking a look at, at the very least.