Flip Flopping between macOS and Windows

LiE_

macrumors 6502a
Original poster
Mar 23, 2013
604
1,014
UK
I'm someone who struggles to be content with either Mac or Windows. Over the past 5 years I have changed from Mac to Windows, back to Mac and find myself pondering the switch again back to Windows. During the switch I have also moved ecosystems where I was solely on Google when using Windows, but moved back into Apple ecosystem where I am now.

There are pros/cons for each system.

For Mac
Pros: I love the Retina display, the aesthetics of the OS, the yearly improvements, the native apps and the integration.

Cons: I dislike the cost to performance ratio, the weak iGPU in the Mac mini, the small daily issues (bluetooth Audio randomly cuts out for a few seconds on a call, safari lags hard on some websites, AirPlay to my HomePod being ropey, etc) and office isn't as polished, gaming isn't as accessible (tried the eGPU thing, that has it's own issues).

For Windows
Pros: I love that I can build a PC to my exact specs, get something that is very powerful, play games easily, office apps run tons better, so much more flexibility when it comes to configurations and hardware.

Cons: I dislike the lack of retina - I tried a 4K monitor with Windows scaling and the experience was so so. This usually means I'm running a 1440p monitor which doesn't look as crisp as my 4K UltraFine. I don't like the built in apps for mail and calendar, usually resort to using Outlook or Google calendar. The OS doesn't look as good and feels a little stale year to year.


The last time I switched to Windows I changed ecosystems, this time I am considering just having my desktop as Windows. This doesn't actually bring too many issues in terms of the apps I use and integration. Majority of people I message use WhatsApp, but I still have access to iMessage on my iPhone. My calendar is already in Google, and using iCloud email is fine, just add it to Outlook. Photos I pretty much exclusively use/edit on my phone. I don't take calls on my Mac mini because the experience hasn't been good. I would probably move back to Spotify and sell the HomePod, the rest of the house is Sonos and Google home mini which work better with Spotify.

Thanks for reading. Mostly a brain dump to help order my thoughts. Still undecided. I did toy with the idea of having both systems, but I don't have space.
 

Frankied22

macrumors 68000
Nov 24, 2010
1,716
473
I feel you man. It is just impossible to be fully satisfied one way or the other. I love my iPhone and keep coming back to it despite trying several high end Android phones. Most people I talk to have iPhones so iMessage is huge...which leads to one of the biggest drawbacks to using windows as my main OS. I am too used to having all my chats on my laptop and being able to reply to messages right there to go back to just having it on my phone. It is a pain in the butt to use iMessage all day while being on a windows pc because everything is a work around to get it on your phone to be able to send it. Right now I have a gaming pc that is running win 10 and my MBP. I actually really like win 10. It is actually faster than macOS in my opinion. Catalina has been full of bugs and the UI can get sluggish at times. I am assuming that is just because I am rocking an actual GPU in my desktop, but something as simple as resizing a window on my Mac can cause some severe lag while on my windows pc it is instantaneous. Window management is easier on win 10, however I use magnet on my Mac so its not that big of a deal. I kind of like the utilitarian feel of win 10 and I like that I can just upgrade parts individually and build a monster machine for way less than a Mac. I can run EVERYTHING on my win 10 pc...except for iMessage. Firefox is actually better than Safari. Outlook is just as good if not better than macOS mail. Adobe software runs better on windows. Affinity software is on windows too if you don't want to pay Adobe for a subscription to edit photos. DaVinci Resolve is a pretty solid video editor for free on windows. File Explorer is just as good as Finder in my opinion. If you need unix stuff, windows has a linux subsystem now that I have heard is really good. Microsoft Office programs run way better on windows. You can actually GAME since all games are prioritized for windows and steam. External monitors run better on my windows pc compared to my MBP, in my personal testing. I have had some wonky stuff happen when using externals on my MBP. I usually have my MBP open and connected to a 24" 1440p 144hz display and my gaming pc setup with another of those monitors next to it on the right. I would love to try a Thinkpad and their awesome keyboards.

All that being said I really do love macOS. I have used it for quite a few years as my primary OS so it feels like home. I like how clean and cohesive it looks, and I like that it has a lot of quality of life features. Not to mention all the continuity features with my iPhone. Working with PDFs is a breeze. Being able to drag and drop anything is great, for instance just dragging and dropping a file into an email. Preview is great, granted there is a program on windows that does the same thing and works just as good. The trackpad is still the best. Really for me though it is just messages. I can get away with switching 99% of my stuff out of the walled garden and to cross platform services...but my messaging is just not going to work without iMessage. It is quite depressing because I am locked into an expensive ecosystem just for a messaging platform lol
 
  • Like
Reactions: BigMcGuire and LiE_

LiE_

macrumors 6502a
Original poster
Mar 23, 2013
604
1,014
UK
Buy a Mac and install windows via boot camp. Life’s good.
I did this with my current Mac mini with an eGPU, but the experience was average and trying to playing games on a 4K monitor while taking a 30% performance hit on the GPU is hard to swallow.

I feel you man. It is just impossible to be fully satisfied one way or the other.
For me the messages aren't much of an issue, in the UK 90% of people use WhatsApp which has a native desktop app.



Today I am working from my Windows laptop to give me some perspective. For my job I use Office and a browser all day, so for those tasks Windows is better. Chrome is lovely on Windows, Office runs a lot better as well.

I logged into Spotify on my Windows laptop and immediately appreciated the recommendations, so many new songs that Apple doesn't seem to want to tell me about even though they are my most listened to artists. I've cancelled Apple music from renewing as I'm seriously considering Spotify again.

Text and UI is noticeable worse on this 1080p screen, which is quite a big hurdle for me. I love my retina screen.
 
  • Like
Reactions: throAU

LeeW

macrumors 65816
Feb 5, 2017
1,053
1,481
Glasgow, Scotland
Like many I know it is the same story, for me also. Where it always becomes so decisive are macOS devices.

I would never consider any other tablet than an iPad, something Apple has in my view almost perfected and has been the tablet of choice for most over the years. The iPhone for me is meh, its a phone but it's good and other than price there is nothing that much more compelling for me in the market but, the phone and iPad are a very compatible pair. Then the watch, again, I don't think there is anything as good out there on the android side. Oh, and the Air Pods Pro, just so well matched when using them with the iPhone and the iPad.

Ok, so now I have iPhone, iPad, Watch and the Air Pods Pro. As a group of tech, they are just so well matched as they should be when from a single company.

So that leaves some form of laptop/desktop or both to complete the pack. No matter what you do, unless you go further into Apple for this last piece of tech, the final bit of the experience matched to all your existing tech just won't do.

And that is where all the nervous switching occurs as a result. You are either all in but as you noted, have issues about the performance ratio, the inability to do certain things competently (gaming) and the usual issues with Bluetooth and others that are just annoying. Much of which never seems to be an issue on a Windows device.

Switch out, switch in, switch out, switch in but never felt totally comfortable soon after because Windows has something but macOS also has something.

Unfortunately, there is no real answer other than to have both. Which is not the answer for some, I get on fine with a PC and a Mac Mini for my needs but it still requires switching and synchronising which is a pain.

It is kinda funny, I saw your name and immediately recalled some of your other posts as that guy who "can't decide if he is in or out". Not from a critical viewpoint, as I say it is not an uncommon position.

Do I have an answer? No :) In reality, you will keep doing what you are doing until something eventually gives for whatever reason at that time.
 
  • Like
Reactions: LiE_

LiE_

macrumors 6502a
Original poster
Mar 23, 2013
604
1,014
UK
It is kinda funny, I saw your name and immediately recalled some of your other posts as that guy who "can't decide if he is in or out". Not from a critical viewpoint, as I say it is not an uncommon position.

Do I have an answer? No :) In reality, you will keep doing what you are doing until something eventually gives for whatever reason at that time.
Some good input thanks!

You think it's funny, my wife thinks I'm mad and has given up on trying to understand!
 

LeeW

macrumors 65816
Feb 5, 2017
1,053
1,481
Glasgow, Scotland
You think it's funny, my wife thinks I'm mad and has given up on trying to understand!
I am there with you! My local Apple store is in a shopping centre and every time I say to my wife "are you going near Braehead?" She just mutters "here we go again". or when a big box arrives from Amazon she knows it is PC related.

Switch in, switch out. :)
 
  • Like
Reactions: LiE_

LiE_

macrumors 6502a
Original poster
Mar 23, 2013
604
1,014
UK
I'm going to grab an Xbox One X or PS4 Pro during the black Friday sales to scratch that gaming itch. I'd say overall I'm happier using my Mac mini than when I had a Windows desktop. It's the little things about macOS that make it a pleasure to use.
 

MisterSavage

macrumors 68000
Nov 10, 2018
1,949
1,709
I have a Windows machine for work and I often find myself wishing I could have a Mac instead.

I really wish it were that simple. For gamers like the OP (and myself), it becomes a bit more complicated. I prefer the Apple ecosystem, but there are too many sacrifices and roadblocks for gamers. Maybe one day....
Agreed. I installed Bootcamp to play a Windows-only game and it's pretty much been a giant PITA. Right now after updating all my drivers I'm in a scenario where 9 out of 10 times I can't boot into Windows. I've found posts where other people have hit this but haven't found a solution.
 
  • Like
Reactions: BigMcGuire

LeeW

macrumors 65816
Feb 5, 2017
1,053
1,481
Glasgow, Scotland
I'm going to grab an Xbox One X or PS4 Pro during the black Friday sales to scratch that gaming itch. I'd say overall I'm happier using my Mac mini than when I had a Windows desktop. It's the little things about macOS that make it a pleasure to use.
It reminds me of the way my friend gets around the issue of always wanting to be on macOS instead of Windows but have a capable gaming machine at the same time.

He has a PC, mid spec, i5, NVMe, GTX 1070 etc.

He installs all the games he wants to play on the PC, whatever they are, makes no difference what, they are all then set up to run via steam whether purchased on there or not and all it does is idles until he wants to play a game on it.

When he does, he starts Steam on the Mac Mini then uses the streaming option to run the game on the PC but play it on the Mac Mini, problem solved for him. Plays whatever he wants and the PC does all the heavy lifting. Sound, mouse and keyboard inputs are all transferred.

Might be an option for you. I tried it and worked fine but I use the PC often enough these days that its as easy just using the PC.
 
  • Like
Reactions: MisterSavage

TopherMan12

macrumors 6502a
Oct 10, 2019
501
458
Atlanta, GA
I have a Windows machine for work and I often find myself wishing I could have a Mac instead.

Agreed. I installed Bootcamp to play a Windows-only game and it's pretty much been a giant PITA. Right now after updating all my drivers I'm in a scenario where 9 out of 10 times I can't boot into Windows. I've found posts where other people have hit this but haven't found a solution.
Pain felt. Boot camp is great in theory, but it seems most of the reason for actually using it simply doesn't work right. For Windows access, most are better off using Parallels or VMWare, but for the apps that actually need the hardware there is just one headache after another.

It reminds me of the way my friend gets around the issue of always wanting to be on macOS instead of Windows but have a capable gaming machine at the same time.

He has a PC, mid spec, i5, NVMe, GTX 1070 etc.

He installs all the games he wants to play on the PC, whatever they are, makes no difference what, they are all then set up to run via steam whether purchased on there or not and all it does is idles until he wants to play a game on it.

When he does, he starts Steam on the Mac Mini then uses the streaming option to run the game on the PC but play it on the Mac Mini, problem solved for him. Plays whatever he wants and the PC does all the heavy lifting. Sound, mouse and keyboard inputs are all transferred.

Might be an option for you. I tried it and worked fine but I use the PC often enough these days that its as easy just using the PC.
I should have tried that when I had my Mac mini and gaming PC just to test it out. I'm curious how the image quality and control latency are. I tried remote play on PS4 a while back and it just wasn't worth it unless I was playing a turn based game or something simple.
 
  • Like
Reactions: MisterSavage

LeeW

macrumors 65816
Feb 5, 2017
1,053
1,481
Glasgow, Scotland
To be honest, it has been more of a time thing with me, the more I have used my PC the less I feel like I want to be in macOS. Typing this now on my PC.

I had considered an eGPU for my Mac Mini but there have been too many stories of problems and whilst nothing to do with the money aspect It is just always in the back of my head that by the time pay another £700 for a decent eGPU configuration having already paid £1,600 for the Mac Mini I am still getting a limited solution when I can have a cheaper and completely modular PC that is less restrictive overall.

Even with the draw of the new 16" MBP which I feel has been set up more like a peace offering from Apple I am still being drawn more to a PC/Windows these days.
 

ActionableMango

macrumors G3
Sep 21, 2010
9,510
6,738
Buy a Mac and install windows via boot camp. Life’s good.
Isn't that the worst of both worlds? (From OP's point of view.)

According to OP's "pros" and "cons", the Mac's hardware is a con and PC hardware is a pro. Windows is a con and MacOS is a pro. So combining Mac hardware with Windows is choosing both cons.
 
  • Like
Reactions: LeeW

Never mind

macrumors 6502
Oct 25, 2018
454
472
Dunedin, Florida
I'm going to grab an Xbox One X or PS4 Pro during the black Friday sales to scratch that gaming itch. I'd say overall I'm happier using my Mac mini than when I had a Windows desktop. It's the little things about macOS that make it a pleasure to use.
I too went back-and-forth between windows and apple and I finally decided to chuck-it and go with the Xbox for my gaming experience. I’ll stay with the apple ecosystem with the iPhone, iPad and maybe in the future a notebook from Apple. Apples notebook will never play games extremely well so I just might as well do as you’re going to do and get the Xbox and be happy.
 

soulreaver99

macrumors 68030
Aug 15, 2010
2,815
2,226
Southern California
You can do the bootcamp route and install windows on your Mac to get the max performance for gaming if you want to stick with one device. I heard the 2019 MacBook Pro 16" can handle games at a decent level.

I actually have both Mac AND PC device and am now on PC like 90% of the time. I fire up my MacBook Pro 13 for Final Cut Pro X or Xcode. However, if I need want to have iMessage in Windows, I use Splashtop streamer to remote in. What's great is that it can wake my MacBook Pro even while it's asleep. I used to use VMware to run Mac on Windows but surprisingly the performance is MUCH better if I remote in!

I used to game full time on a console and just primarily use Macs but after experiencing games on my RTX 2060 - graphics on an Xbox or PS4 look like garbage now which is why I sold my Xbox. I still keep my Switch and PS4 for console exclusives but I am tempted to pick up a Razer Blade Stealth 2019 to replace the Switch to game on the go - sell my MacBook Pro and just pick up an older Mac Mini.
 

TopherMan12

macrumors 6502a
Oct 10, 2019
501
458
Atlanta, GA
I too went back-and-forth between windows and apple and I finally decided to chuck-it and go with the Xbox for my gaming experience. I’ll stay with the apple ecosystem with the iPhone, iPad and maybe in the future a notebook from Apple. Apples notebook will never play games extremely well so I just might as well do as you’re going to do and get the Xbox and be happy.
Xbox? Nah....better to go with a gaming PC or PS4. Xbox seems pointless in comparison.
 

akash.nu

macrumors 604
May 26, 2016
7,909
8,899
Isn't that the worst of both worlds? (From OP's point of view.)

According to OP's "pros" and "cons", the Mac's hardware is a con and PC hardware is a pro. Windows is a con and MacOS is a pro. So combining Mac hardware with Windows is choosing both cons.
Since OP can’t make up his mind about sticking to a platform he has to choose one or the other. At least windows can be installed on Mac but the other way around is not even a possibility.
 

LiE_

macrumors 6502a
Original poster
Mar 23, 2013
604
1,014
UK
The thing to keep in mind with the console choice for gaming is that next year they will be getting a big bump in performance with the next gen.

I also think gaming on my 55" LG OLED will be more epic than a 27" 1440p 144Hz monitor in many ways.
 

throAU

macrumors 603
Feb 13, 2012
5,567
2,655
Perth, Western Australia
For Windows
Pros: I love that I can build a PC to my exact specs, get something that is very powerful, play games easily, office apps run tons better, so much more flexibility when it comes to configurations and hardware.
If gaming is a thing and you are flipping back to mac occasionally... try Linux on the PC side.

Now hear me out...


Most of the important business-ey apps are web based these days. Or you can run them in wine by just clicking the installer and having the linux distro fire it up in wine and install almost like normal.

There are a similar number of Linux games to Mac games on steam, and with Proton Linux can run a HEAP more windows games as well. The fact you're flipping back to Mac indicates to me that the Mac/Linux selection of games is "enough"?

You get the hardware choice, you don't get the Windows 10 garbage, you can customise the UI to your liking, etc.

Yes, the software side is a little behind, but its a lot better than it used to be. From the sound of it most of your apps are browser based anyway?


Me?

I've gone Linux desktop and Mac laptop for the time being. So far so good.

No i can't run every new AAA game, but i can't do that on the mac either. Linux is better for gaming.
- - Post merged: - -

Buy a Mac and install windows via boot camp. Life’s good.
You're stuck with trash tier GPUs unless you want to spend enough money to buy 2-3 (or more) PCs of comparable or better gaming performance.

The money saved can go to better GPU, more SSD storage (e.g., the system in my sig was much less than a mac pro and has > 3 TB of SSD in it), etc.

Also. Network/web app performance on Linux is better than both other platforms. Like... noticeably faster. Chrome/Brave/Opera/whatever is available native, and it FLIES.


As to which Linux? I'd suggest Ubuntu 18.04 for now, or if you need something more up to date, either the current release of Ubuntu or Fedora. Depending on how geeky you are with getting software installed.

Ubuntu is extremely polished, most linux commercial software will support it out of the box. Fedora has newer stuff, but may need some diagnostics and tweaking to get third party commercial software onto it, as a lot of it makes assumptions that the standard ubuntu packages are present, and they might not be on Fedora.


check out

www.protondb.com

and see if the games you care about work...


Oh and as to performance - for the games that work it is generally pretty close to windows performance. sometimes a little slower, sometimes faster. For example, I can run Doom 2016 at well over 150 FPS max settings (only one Vega card in my box these days because crossfire is pretty dead, i stuck the other in a second PC) in 2560x1080 ultrawide... under linux.
 
Last edited:

maflynn

Moderator
Staff member
May 3, 2009
65,646
31,867
Boston
I've gone Linux desktop
If GotomyPC, ever returns to supporting Linux, I'd be there but right now a large portion of my usage is dedicated to using that remote app. My company supports other remote access technologies, but like Gotomypc, there's no Linux compatibility.
 
  • Like
Reactions: throAU

soulreaver99

macrumors 68030
Aug 15, 2010
2,815
2,226
Southern California
Since OP can’t make up his mind about sticking to a platform he has to choose one or the other. At least windows can be installed on Mac but the other way around is not even a possibility.
That is not a true statement. I have Mac OS running in my GS65 right now inside windows I’m in VMWare.

NOTHING is impossible especially with Windows.

 

Frankied22

macrumors 68000
Nov 24, 2010
1,716
473
That is not a true statement. I have Mac OS running in my GS65 right now inside windows I’m in VMWare.

NOTHING is impossible especially with Windows.

Is it easy to get iCloud stuff working on macOS in a VM, like iMessage? Last time I tried a hackintosh none of that stuff worked or if it did it was very buggy. I am kind of the same right now, I actually like win 10 and find it faster than using macOS on my MBP, but I hate not having messages on my computer. I receive and reply to messages all day everyday on my MBP.
 
  • Like
Reactions: akash.nu