Another guest post. Mac vs. PC. What’s your favorite computer?
The two main camps of computers users, those who use PCs and those who use Macs, each swear by their preferred computing platform and many are less than civil in their operating system advocacy. While the arguments for and against each vary greatly depending on the reviewer, each computer system has its own features and specific strengths and weaknesses that deserve more in-depth exploration without politics and rhetoric.
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It is hard to beat a PC in versatility and accessibility. PCs are generally much easier to upgrade in terms of hardware, especially when compared to iMacs. Nearly every program available today is compatible with a PC without any additional plug-ins except upon updates. Most users are familiar with the standard Windows interface, although PCs can also run Linux and other open OS platforms. PCs cost about two-thirds the price of a comparable Mac or even less. Additionally, PC accessories are widely available and affordably priced, since there are hundreds of manufacturers who make them.
One of the most often cited advantages of a Mac is the near total lack of viruses. As this platform has fewer users and more proprietary code, hackers have not devoted as much time to developing attacks on Macs. Although it takes some time to become accustomed to the basic navigational differences in the OS, Macintosh computers are extremely user friendly. Mac software and hardware is always of very good quality, as Apple’s manufacturing standards are extremely high. Mac also has major operational advantages over PCs in the areas of video editing and desktop publishing.
Some of the most common disadvantages of PCs include platform instability, difficulty installing peripherals, and susceptibility to viruses, outside attacks and malware infection. There is also no “gold standard” for PC products and service, as any company can make and market PC components, accessories and software. Support for a PC is haphazard, depending largely upon where the machine was purchased or customized, and many users find their machines are out of date in less than a year, requiring costly upgrades.
The first disadvantage to a Mac is that many software programs do not run in OSX. Most common applications such as video, photo, or audio editing programs do exist across both platforms, but many forms of computer entertainment, i.e. games, do not run on Macs. They need additional software such as Virtual PC to run unless the Mac has dual operating systems. While this is not a big problem for many computer users, in this age of online gaming it could be an important issue to many computer enthusiasts. Peripherals, accessories and software are also much more expensive than for PC.
One interesting trend in the computing world is that the two systems are actually becoming more like each other. Windows has begun incorporating more Mac-like features in their OS, and Mac has begun making their system more PC-user friendly. This trend is beneficial to all users, as it expands Mac’s potential user base and has introduced an element of competition in the marketplace for PC utility. Companies that used to manufacture exclusively PC accessories have begun branching out into making them for Mac, which has caused Apple to lower its prices.
Ultimately, it will be a matter of personal preference, budget and needs in whether someone decides on a Mac or a PC. Although more expensive, Macs are high quality, easy to use, stable and have certain areas where they are currently unbeatable. PCs are cheaper, more versatile, and are more “comfortable” for the majority of computer users, but they are vulnerable to viruses, can be unstable and do not have a central quality control standardization. Both systems have their advantages and disadvantages which must be weighed by the user.