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View Full Version : So... Another Mac or a PC?


DeltaDiamond001
05-29-2012, 06:52 PM
Since this is the unofficial technology board of the DIS, I thought I'd ask a question here...

I currently have a four year old white Macbook which is definitely showing it's age. I've been waiting for the new Macbook Pro to be released (which it probably will, during WWDC next month) but the price is really a concern. The current 15 inch model is over $2,000, and with the addition of the Retina display in the upcoming one, the price will be even higher.

So, I'm wondering what to get next. Do I spend over $2,000 for another Macbook, or get a nice PC laptop for about $600? The one I'm interested in is an HP from Best Buy.

http://www.bestbuy.com/site/HP+-+14%22+Pavilion+Laptop+-+8GB+Memory+-+640GB+Hard+Drive+-+Dark+Umber/4810889.p?id=1218532170220&skuId=4810889

My other concern are the 'i' devices. I have an iPad 2 and an iPhone 4S. Will both of them work the same if I didn't use a Mac? Losing the wifi syncing is fine with me (I'm not opposed to plugging in a USB :rolleyes1) but I just want to make sure that the iCloud stuff will stay the same with both. They both have 3G if that matters.

Any advice or opinions would be appreciated! Thanks! :goodvibes

cmwade77
05-29-2012, 07:22 PM
Honestly, this machine's most comparable Macbook Pro would be the 13-inch: 2.4 GHz that costs $1,199. (You can probably find this cheaper at MacMall, PowerMax, etc.) And even at that, the quality of the parts are worse on the HP and will break faster.

Don't forget to add to the cost of the HP: AntiVirus Software (usually around $40/year), Antimalware software, video editing software, photo editing software, dvd creation software, etc.

Also, don't forget the cost of your time in performing maintenance on the PC, such as defragmenting the hard drive, fixing blue screens of death, running chkdsk, clearing out the viruses and malware that makes it past your security software.

Yes, the mac is starting to get some malware and viruses on it, but there are good free pieces of software for it to keep this at bay, the free versions on windows end up hogging system resources and don't catch everything.

If a 4 year old Mac is showing it's age for you, chances are a PC will show it's age for you in two years or less based on my experience.

I am not saying that the PC is not the option for you, I am just trying to help you see what the true costs of each are, so you can make an informed decision.

OKW Lover
05-29-2012, 07:30 PM
Stick with the Mac. If you really must have the latest technology then wait to see what happens in a couple of weeks at WWDC, but keep in mind that is is more software focused. There may be some news about hardware, but maybe not.

Also, take a look at Apple's refurb section in their online store. I've bought a number (10+) of devices from their refurb store and they are indistinguishable from new plus they carry the same warranty as new equipment.

SkaGoat
05-29-2012, 07:45 PM
Honestly, this machine's most comparable Macbook Pro would be the 13-inch: 2.4 GHz that costs $1,199. (You can probably find this cheaper at MacMall, PowerMax, etc.) And even at that, the quality of the parts are worse on the HP and will break faster.

Don't forget to add to the cost of the HP: AntiVirus Software (usually around $40/year), Antimalware software, video editing software, photo editing software, dvd creation software, etc.

Also, don't forget the cost of your time in performing maintenance on the PC, such as defragmenting the hard drive, fixing blue screens of death, running chkdsk, clearing out the viruses and malware that makes it past your security software.

Yes, the mac is starting to get some malware and viruses on it, but there are good free pieces of software for it to keep this at bay, the free versions on windows end up hogging system resources and don't catch everything.

If a 4 year old Mac is showing it's age for you, chances are a PC will show it's age for you in two years or less based on my experience.

I am not saying that the PC is not the option for you, I am just trying to help you see what the true costs of each are, so you can make an informed decision.

I use a Mac, and love it.

But it sounds like you last used Windows 5 years ago. Microsoft Defender is a free anti virus/anti malware that works perfectly well and doesn't appear to slow the machine down.

Microsoft Live! Essentials has software that does everything the iLife suite on the Mac does. I give you it's not as great, but it's free and does 99% of the stuff normal users need to do.

As far as defragging, chkdsk, blue screens of death, these are things of the past with Windows 7.

These days Macs and PCs are pretty much the same, the Mac uses all the same components, and are built in the same Foxconn factories in China as HPs, Dells, Lenovo, Asus, Acer.

I like the look and feel of Macs, and I like OS X much better. But if the budget can't handle a Mac that will do what you need to do, I wouldn't tell someone not to get an HP. Just make sure you get an Intel i5 or higher CPU, and as much RAM you can afford and you'll be fine.

cmwade77
05-29-2012, 08:12 PM
I use a Mac, and love it.

But it sounds like you last used Windows 5 years ago. Microsoft Defender is a free anti virus/anti malware that works perfectly well and doesn't appear to slow the machine down.

Microsoft Live! Essentials has software that does everything the iLife suite on the Mac does. I give you it's not as great, but it's free and does 99% of the stuff normal users need to do.

As far as defragging, chkdsk, blue screens of death, these are things of the past with Windows 7.

These days Macs and PCs are pretty much the same, the Mac uses all the same components, and are built in the same Foxconn factories in China as HPs, Dells, Lenovo, Asus, Acer.

I like the look and feel of Macs, and I like OS X much better. But if the budget can't handle a Mac that will do what you need to do, I wouldn't tell someone not to get an HP. Just make sure you get an Intel i5 or higher CPU, and as much RAM you can afford and you'll be fine.

I work in IT for a living (I use a Mac at home for this very reason).

I can assure you, Blue Screens of death are not a thing of the past with Windows 7, yes there are fewer of them, but they still exist. If you are not defragging your hard drive (I would say about once a month), then you are losing out on some speed. Chkdsk happens automatically WHEN there is a crash and you cannot use the system while this is happening, on larger drives this can be 2-3 hours.

Windows Live Essentials (or Microsoft Defender, depending on your version of Windows) is a good product, but is most definitely does NOT catch everything, you will still need to disinfect the machine from time to time and no, there is no perfect system, but some are better than others, for example ESET's NOD32 works fairly well. Also, if you use your system for any sort of business what so ever (even remotely logging into your work PC), then it is a violation of the license of this product.

As for the hardware, the PCs do indeed use cheaper products when they are substantially cheaper in price than the Macs. And yes, there are PCs that use the same components, but the one in the link above is not one of them. It's a simple matter of costs being passed on to the consumer and yes, the Mac name does carry a slight premium.

In addition, Macs come with various pieces of software (photo organization, video editing, DVD editing, etc.) that PCs do not.

Another factor is if you have software that you have purchased for your Mac, you can usually transfer that to your new machine with no problems. And if it was purchased from the App Store, you can install on your new machine (providing you are not at your computer limit on your account already) at no additional charge. With a PC, you would most likely have to repurchase most, if not all of this software.

As I said, I am not saying not to buy the HP, just to know what you are really getting for the money and what the true cost of ownership is.

karen l
05-29-2012, 08:21 PM
Another vote for a Mac. Work on a pc at work & hate it. Last pc we had at home got a virus. Bought a Mac & have never regretted it. My kids all have Mac books & would never switch to a pc either.

Starclassic
05-29-2012, 08:40 PM
Mac :thumbsup2

SkaGoat
05-29-2012, 09:01 PM
I work in IT for a living (I use a Mac at home for this very reason).

I can assure you, Blue Screens of death are not a thing of the past with Windows 7, yes there are fewer of them, but they still exist. If you are not defragging your hard drive (I would say about once a month), then you are losing out on some speed. Chkdsk happens automatically WHEN there is a crash and you cannot use the system while this is happening, on larger drives this can be 2-3 hours.

Windows Live Essentials (or Microsoft Defender, depending on your version of Windows) is a good product, but is most definitely does NOT catch everything, you will still need to disinfect the machine from time to time and no, there is no perfect system, but some are better than others, for example ESET's NOD32 works fairly well. Also, if you use your system for any sort of business what so ever (even remotely logging into your work PC), then it is a violation of the license of this product.

As for the hardware, the PCs do indeed use cheaper products when they are substantially cheaper in price than the Macs. And yes, there are PCs that use the same components, but the one in the link above is not one of them. It's a simple matter of costs being passed on to the consumer and yes, the Mac name does carry a slight premium.

In addition, Macs come with various pieces of software (photo organization, video editing, DVD editing, etc.) that PCs do not.

Another factor is if you have software that you have purchased for your Mac, you can usually transfer that to your new machine with no problems. And if it was purchased from the App Store, you can install on your new machine (providing you are not at your computer limit on your account already) at no additional charge. With a PC, you would most likely have to repurchase most, if not all of this software.

As I said, I am not saying not to buy the HP, just to know what you are really getting for the money and what the true cost of ownership is.

For the average home user that uses their head while navigating the internet, Defender/Security Essentials works just fine.

Live! Essentials ≠ Security Essentials.

Live Essentials contains Microsoft Photo Gallery, Movie Maker and Mail. While they aren't as good and iLife, the software is good enough.

People in IT see a lot of broken computers, it's like the mechanic at the Ford dealership saying he sees a lot of broken Fords.

Again sure Blue Screens of Death exist, but Macs Kernal Panic as well, all computers crash.

The only reason you should have to defrag that much on a NTFS volume is if you are doing a lot of work with very large files. The same fragmentation happens with HFS+ on the Mac and moving large video or audio files around. The difference is Mac OS doesn't ship with a free utility to defrag like Windows does.

As far as chkdsk, you should routinely run "Verify disk & permissions" on your Mac to ensure it's running properly.

Apple has a much higher profit margin than most PC makers. Dell will charge less for the same hardware.

Just because the computer costs more does not mean it uses better hardware.

Again, my main computer is a Mac, my wife uses a PC laptop, and it's just fine for what she uses it for. I would buy another Mac in a heartbeat, but I would say the differences are merely subjective these days. For 99% of users Mac OS can't do anything Windows 7 can't, and vice versa.

DeltaDiamond001
05-29-2012, 10:30 PM
So besides questionable build quality, there's really nothing holding me back from switching back to a PC. We have a new Dell XPS desktop, and besides the built wireless card not holding a connection (I'm going to call back tomorrow) there have been no problems with it in over two months.

Don't get me wrong; I love my Mac, and wouldn't even consider switching if it was still running like it should, but I'm just not sure it's worth getting another one. The newer PCs seem awfully similar in terms of features (battery life, for example) and are able to run the few pieces of software I use regularly at good speeds.

I'll have to think more about this...

Best Buy's Premier Collection of laptops are eligible for a free full-version of Microsoft Office and a year of Kaspersky security included in the price, so this $629 keeps looking better and better.

LSURyan
05-30-2012, 09:31 AM
I've been a Mac user for a while now and own many other Apple products so I'm certainly biased. Or maybe my bias is just that I've had great experiences. Either way, I'm not a nuts and bolts computer guy. I can't spout off tons of numbers and stats and such. I just want a machine that works and my 5 yr old MacBook has, consistently. Way more consistent that my Dell at work that is only about one year old.

The Apple store experience, particularly the Genius Bar has earned my loyalty to the Apple brand. If you live near an Apple store make an appointment and bring your MacBook to them and ask if there is anything you can do to squeeze a little better performance from you machine. I've never done that exact thing, but have gotten help from them for other seemingly trivial issues and they are wonderful. Always pleasant, never seemed like I was a bother. They once replaced the casing of my old white MacBook after I dropped it at no charge. I dropped it! I'm a huge customer service, customer experience guy and don't mind paying a premium for it. I guess that's why I really enjoy the Disney experience too.

Good luck and may you be happy with whatever you decide.

tjevans
05-30-2012, 12:33 PM
So besides questionable build quality, there's really nothing holding me back from switching back to a PC. We have a new Dell XPS desktop, and besides the built wireless card not holding a connection (I'm going to call back tomorrow) there have been no problems with it in over two months.

Don't get me wrong; I love my Mac, and wouldn't even consider switching if it was still running like it should, but I'm just not sure it's worth getting another one. The newer PCs seem awfully similar in terms of features (battery life, for example) and are able to run the few pieces of software I use regularly at good speeds.

I'll have to think more about this...

Best Buy's Premier Collection of laptops are eligible for a free full-version of Microsoft Office and a year of Kaspersky security included in the price, so this $629 keeps looking better and better.

Some disjointed thoughts on the subject:

A couple of years ago, I went from mac to pc. I came back to mac as quickly as possible.

While the "numbers" of the specifications may make it look like the HP is comparable to a macbook, it is not. You have to look at the quality of the internal components. When you do that, you'll usually find a comparable pc is closer to a macbook's price.

Regarding battery life, all computer manufacturers overstate battery life in specs, including Apple. In my experience, though, Apple comes closest to the truth. The best I have found and PC is 50% of the stated life.

If you get a windows machine, just be prepared to stick with Windows 7 for quite a while. While Windows 8 is supposed to come out this fall, I think it will be the next Vista (or even worse).

safetymom
05-30-2012, 02:38 PM
PC. Take a look at the new Ultrabooks or Zenbooks. I have had good luck with every PC but one.

SkaGoat
05-30-2012, 02:59 PM
PC. Take a look at the new Ultrabooks or Zenbooks. I have had good luck with every PC but one.


The Ultrabooks are very nice! but if you're going to spend that much, you might as well get a MacBook Air.

safetymom
05-30-2012, 03:10 PM
I'll stick with a PC. :)

k5jmh
05-30-2012, 03:52 PM
There is no better windows machine than a Mac Book Pro. Using the Apple Boot Camp, my DW has the fastest, most efficient, Windows 7 machine in her office. She loves it, plus, if she ever needs the Mac OS side, she just reboots the machine. The best of both worlds.

https://fbcdn-sphotos-a.akamaihd.net/hphotos-ak-ash4/403005_2695091732642_1207470195_n.jpg

Stitchmistress
05-30-2012, 07:25 PM
Unless you are a hard core computer gamer, I would go with a Mac. You would have to pry my Mac from my cold dead hands, but my kids (who are serious online gamers) swear by PC's and wouldn't touch a mac.

Your Mac will last you a lot longer than a PC, even though the initial cash outlay will be more. (PC if you are a gamer). :banana:

EastYorkDisneyFan
05-31-2012, 12:47 AM
I would say unless you use all of the extra things like i move, and what ever a mac comes with go with the PC. I've been a PC user for a while. I'm now on my third laptop, my second one lasted about 6 years before dying on it's own. When I knew it was near the end of it's life I looked around at what my options were and decided to stick with a PC as all of the Macs I was looking at were double the price of a PC and lacked features that I wanted, like multiple USB ports and a CD/DVD drive, yes I do use it as I have some games that require it and I have some CD's from bands that are not on iTunes for various reasons. I have had no problems at all with any of my PC's except for one that got drooped when it was about 4 years old, it got to the point where I new one was worth getting. As for the virus issue I have Norton anti Virus which updates itself frequently and if you do happen to get one that it doesn't recognize it will direct you to there site to download the fix for that one.

DeltaDiamond001
05-31-2012, 02:03 AM
I've been doing some more research; it's all but officially confirmed that Apple will be releasing a new line of MacBook Pros on June 11th at the WWDC Keynote.

And, after using Quickbooks on a PC for six hours today... I can safely say that I'm going to stick with a Mac. The Windows software just doesn't agree with my personality. ;) I'm going to wait until June 11th to see what is (hopefully) released and make my final decision then.

Thanks for all your help! I really do appreciate it! :)

angelmav
05-31-2012, 05:16 AM
Well it is really personal preferance, but my 1 year old Windows Laptop is constantly bogged down, and every virus scan I run has 30-50 hits. I prefer the windows set-up, but the Mac's seem to hold their performance longer than the windows based systems. I just have a hard time forking over the cash for the Mac books. Love my Ipad though and about to add another one. Really, the laptop rarely gets used anymore since getting the tablet.

tjevans
05-31-2012, 07:41 AM
. When I knew it was near the end of it's life I looked around at what my options were and decided to stick with a PC as all of the Macs I was looking at were double the price of a PC and lacked features that I wanted, like multiple USB ports and a CD/DVD drive.

That must have been quite a long time ago. I've been using macs since 2006 and they all have multiple USB ports (granted that the laptops have 2 USB ports, but with hubs, that's not a big deal) and super drives, which is what Apple calls their CD/DVR drive.

If you are looking only at the Macbook Air, however, you are correct since, due to size, it doesn't come with an optical drive.

SkaGoat
05-31-2012, 11:24 AM
That must have been quite a long time ago. I've been using macs since 2006 and they all have multiple USB ports (granted that the laptops have 2 USB ports, but with hubs, that's not a big deal) and super drives, which is what Apple calls their CD/DVR drive.

If you are looking only at the Macbook Air, however, you are correct since, due to size, it doesn't come with an optical drive.

nor does it come with very many USB ports, or USB 3.

Ultrabooks also don't have optical drives.

Kevin108
05-31-2012, 10:14 PM
Brownielq and I had a similar discussion. The PC I use now is slowly dying and performing disappointingly. The hard drive was going bad and I kept it alive for 6 more months by switching to Linux, which was far more tolerant of the issues. I'm sold on running Linux now but I miss my Windows games. She wants to move to a Mac, but they're so pricey for what you actually get. The solution? A Hackintosh! Noobs can't post links but Lifehacker.com has a great article.

Pipser
06-01-2012, 05:37 PM
I know that you've decided to go with a Mac which personally would have been my choice as well so, my advice to you will echo what an earlier poster said. Have a look at the refurbs from Apple's or even MacMall's site. You can usually get a current generation system at a significant discount with a full 1 year warranty.

In addition, if Apple does announce new hardware at WWDC then you can be assured that online retailers will have sales to get rid of their current stock so you might be able to pick up a brand new, 1 generation old system at a good price.

Just my $0.02 :)