Honest Mac vs. PC Question

Discussion in 'Buying Tips and Advice' started by iCollegeGirl, Aug 16, 2009.

  1. iCollegeGirl macrumors newbie

    Aug 16, 2009
    Still really excited about the potential of getting a MBP, but I have to do my research...

    I will preface this by saying that I am not very technologically smart. I see RAM/memory/whatever and don't really get it. I know that more is often better with that stuff. So please phrase replies in 20 year old computer challenged girl language. :eek:

    I'm trying to make sure that it is worth the extra $800ish to get the MBP instead of a PC laptop. I've heard the usual arguments: fewer viruses, great support, fewer problems in general, doesn't become obsolete like PCs, OS X is better, etc. I noticed that I could get 4gb memory and 320gb hard drive with a 15" screen for quite a bit less than the 13" MBP with 2gb/160gb.

    I'm just hoping someone can help me see the light because I want so badly to love the MBP! Thanks!
  2. belvdr macrumors 603

    Aug 15, 2005
    No longer logging into MR
    Check the refurb section on apple.com. I believe there's a MBP 13" for $999 USD.

    Anyhow, I think that no matter what you get, if you are careful in what you do and take care of it, it will last a long while. If you use Windows and have no problem with it, then it may very well be that $800 more is too much for too little.
  3. flyfish29 macrumors 68020


    Feb 4, 2003
    New HAMpshire
    Please post what you will be using this computer for? that will help you get a good recommendation.

    That being said, if you are not technologically literate then a Mac might be a better choice. I am an elementary teacher and meet plenty of self described "technologically illiterate" folks- the ones that have macs actually do pretty well- give or take a few. The ones who have PC's are spending more time on the phone with their brother, uncle or other tech. savy individualls troubleshooting the issues. My inlaws have one of each- I spend my time trying to help them troubleshoot their problems on their PC, get it connected, etc MY siblings all have PC's and have far more problems than I have. Note- they have the cheaper PC's themselves. If you buy a more expensive PC (comparable price to the macs- you will have a decent experience but in my mind will still have issues to deal with.

    My experience with both PC's and Macs in my school setting is no different. I have all kinds of problems with my PC's and actually try to only use the Macs with students when necessary. If I don't I end up spending much of my time having my kids learn words such as "update, downloading, please wait, cancel" if you know what I mean. Really- when I want to get something done in my classroom I use Macs! NOte- the PC's laptops we have at our school are the $6-800 Dells, but that is what you are comparing the MBP to.

    Go to Sony.com and spec out a good PC comparable laptop and you won't have an $800 difference I bet. You still won't have a system that just works either. I am not saying Mac's don't have their set of problems, issues, etc. but they have far fewer than PC's.

    HOpe this helps.
  4. fireshot91 macrumors 601


    Jul 31, 2008
    Northern VA
    Well, for one, Processor speed/type, and graphics card matter in those machines.

    The cheaper PC alternative probably has a Pentium Dual Core, while all new Macs have a Core2Duo.

    Again, the speed of the processor also matters. The 13" Macbook Pro with 2GB RAM and 160GB Hard Drive is $1199. That has a 2.26Ghz Core2Duo processor.

    The 15" Macbook Pro with 4GB RAM, and 320GB Hard drive is $1999. That has a 2.66Ghz Core2Duo processor.

    For that extra $800, you'll get double the RAM, double the hard drive space, .4Ghz more processor speed, 2" more screen size, and a better graphics card.

    I don't see which 15" Macbook Pro (Brand new, non refurb) is cheaper than the 13" one.
  5. 3N16MA macrumors 65816


    Jul 23, 2009
    What I really noticed about Mac's is that they last longer because the software is really optimized for the hardware. I only made the switch this year but I have played around with G4 iMac's and older Mac mini's that still could run most everyday tasks at a reasonable speed while older Windows based PC's would struggle. The Mac mini I have now is a nice machine but not a big powerhouse, that being said Leopard runs amazing on it and I imagine Snow leopard will run even better. A similar Windows machine would run slower using Vista (Windows 7 might change this). Apple makes the software and designs/controls the hardware process with suppliers, this integration makes Mac's last longer (again my opinion). You can also run Windows XP/Vista/7 on a Mac which is a nice bonus if you need it, you cant run OS X on a windows machine without hackintoshing it. Customer service, Apple care, and technical support are also strong suits for Apple. Of course your also paying for the logo, brand, design, and image that Apple has built over the years (Apple tax). People pay more for BMW's because of the logo, they built an image and brand that is desirable and Apple has done the same thing.
  6. flyfish29 macrumors 68020


    Feb 4, 2003
    New HAMpshire
    We can talk processors, RAM,etc, but she wanted it is language she should understand-

    here is one main thing- the processor, RAM, hard drive all being better/bigger/faster are some of what make Mac's last longer and have a better resale value. All of my Mac's (five of them) have lasted 6+ years and done quite well at all I throw at them.

    And for the record- the 15" macBook Pro described above is $1750 but since you seem to be a student you would get it for $1650 plus get a free iPod touch right now, and a $100 rebate on a printer if you need one of those (there are good ones for $100 which would be free under the rebate program- but act quick on the free iPod- it ends in early sept, I am not sure about the printer deal.

    Or you could pick any of the great MacBook Pro's off the refurbished page and save even more for a slightly older machine which has been completely refurbished and redone and still carries the exact same Apple warranty as the new ones.
  7. SnowLeopard2008 macrumors 604


    Jul 4, 2008
    Silicon Valley
    You should also consider the processor and screen size. Also, the MacBook Pro's 2GB works [the speed is] almost 2X faster than the 4GB. The MacBook Pros also have a fiber-optic backlit keyboard, and multi-touch trackpad.

    The trackpad is like a mouse, but you move your finger instead of moving a mouse. You can also use up to 4 fingers simultaneously, one finger to mouse the cursor, two for scrolling, 3 for back/forward, and 4 fingers down for expose (show all windows) and upwards to hide all windows. It's just like the iPhone's multi touch stuff.

    The MacBook Pros are higher quality and build from one single piece of aluminum called the "unibody". There's a built-in battery that lasts for 7-8 hours when doing light web browsing. The screen is high quality too, it can display more colors, so stuff looks more vivid and colorful. It's also LED-backlit, which means the brightness won't become dimmer over time like PC laptops and is brighter.

    There's also an SD card slot on the left side, where you can insert the SD card of your digital camera. No more card readers and stuff.
  8. macshill macrumors 6502


    Aug 22, 2008
    London, Ontario, Canada
    I don't know if a car analogy is right here, but it's the reason why people buy BMW over something made in Detroit. I know, I know... I'm going to get the buy-made-in-America people's hair in a dander, but companies like Toyota, Mercedes, etc. seem to design and build cars people WANT and sales reflect that. "The Big 3" themselves admit they need to improve on quality, make cars people want to buy and heck, higher resale value is always a nice bonus. There's a reason why buy a Toyota Corolla over a Dodge Neon.

    To drive my point home (no pun intended), Macs are designed w/ users in mind and have a great resale value. Yes, there's also the elitist image that also goes into owning a Mac; as much as detest buying into that concept and Apple fanboys.
  9. flyfish29 macrumors 68020


    Feb 4, 2003
    New HAMpshire
    But please post what you plan on doing with this Laptop- You may in fact not even need the MacBook Pro and a great MacBook (like the one I am typing on right now) may serve you very well and is around $1,000 or even less if you go refurb. or education discount! For most tasks (mail, web, iTunes, etc) a MacBook serves just as good as a MacBook Pro and you save a bundle.

    That being said- I am SO looking forward to my backlit keyboard on my soon to be shipping MacBook Pro!! :D

    one more thing- If you do get a new MacBook Pro the battery on it is about 30% or more longer life which is huge if you need a long-running computer without a power cord.

    But again, please post what you plan on doing with this and how long you would like it to last. That will help others rec. a good computer for you and your needs.
  10. Cave Man macrumors 604

    Cave Man

    Feb 12, 2007
    Neander Valley, Germany; just outside Duesseldorf
    Here's the straight poop. When you configure a Windows PC from Dell or whomever, they often lack the features that come standard with every Mac. For instance, it's unlikely that those $800 PC notebooks have digital audio, Bluetooth, illuminated keyboards (which I thought was a gimmick until I realized how often I used it late at night) and other things. Essentially, there's more to a computer than cpu speed, RAM and hard drive space. These other tangible features contribute to the cost of a computer - a "standard" Mac is more like a "suped-up" PC; you configure the PC with those standard Mac components and the prices are usually quite comparable.

    On top of that is the OS. OS X is more similar to Vista Ultimate (but really better, IMO); not the anemic Vista Home Edition or whatever comes with them. In fact, my benchmarking shows that my computers perform about 10% better under OS X than they do under Windows XP Pro; this indicates that OS X is a much more efficient OS than is Windows. And with Snow Leopard, I've seen a 14% increase in my MacBook Air's performance over Leopard.

    Of course, if these standard features of Macs and OS X aren't meaningful to you, then you should consider getting a Windows notebook. In the end, all that matters is that the computer does the job you need it to do. In particular, if you watch Blu-ray movies or need an HDMI port for your TV, then you should consider a Windows notebook. If your major requires you to use particular software, then you should consider that as well (although you can install Windows on a Mac and run 99% of Windows software on it).
  11. chan2004 macrumors regular

    Oct 7, 2007
    India, currently Zurich,Switzerland

    It is like buying a Louis Vuitton bag at a cheap price but with quality, substance and a style to die for......
    and that too only for 800 more:D

    go for it and you will never regret it
  12. chrono1081 macrumors 604


    Jan 26, 2008
    Isla Nublar
    You sound just like my sister....

    ...get the mac. I bought my sister one because I was tired of constantly fixing her PC and shes had it almost a year now, absolutely loves it, and everything works just like it did the day she got it.
  13. romanaz macrumors regular


    Aug 24, 2008
    this is true. Last I check the Dell Inspiron 13inch which (I suppose) competes with the 13inch macbook pro, runs about the same amount of money for similar specs and features, except that it comes with their standard 3 year warranty. The thing is, the chances are much higher of having to use that warranty on the Dell then on the Macbook pro. And when you do, where are you going to take it when it does break?

    the way I see it, the use-ability of the mac is the big factor. Can you use OS X comfortably to get your work done, or on the flip side, can you take care of Windows enough to not slow down your work in school?
  14. iCollegeGirl thread starter macrumors newbie

    Aug 16, 2009
    I LOVE this post! You pegged me--I'm a Coach fan, which is somewhat similar. :D

    That being said, you all have done a wonderful job of helping me. I plan on using this computer mostly for school. I do need to run OneNote through class, but that isn't bad because I can get Vista for $9 (XP for free) and Office for free on my school's website. The battery life is honestly just about worth the extra money itself to me because I had to haul around a charger and charge my tablet I had last year. I'm not sure if I said it, but I really am leaning toward Mac because I need this laptop to last awhile. I am going to dental school next year (if they'll have me :)) and have to get a school-required behemoth laptop. I plan on keeping whichever laptop I get this year as my note-taking laptop and basically only using the behemoth for the d-school software (which is huge). Seeing as this will be my third laptop in as many years (my parents let me upgrade from a larger laptop to a smaller, more portable tablet and it crapped out on me due to a design flaw) I need something that will last. I also just noticed that I use parenthetical sentences a LOT, and I hope that this isn't a problem. :D

    I guess I misreprepresented my self as a computer non-user; what I should have let you know is that I've used computers practically all my life but I don't really understand the numbers and why they're important. I don't think switching to a new OS will take more than a couple days for me to be comfortable.

    Thank you again!
  15. seb-opp macrumors 6502

    Nov 16, 2008
    Its important not to just look at specs in a laptop... you might find a dirt cheap windows based laptop with the same specs as a macbook, but chances are it will start to fall apart in a year's time because they use cheaper materials for the body to keep the price down.

    Macs and premium windows laptops are built to withstand portable use, so they last longer when used in the real world
  16. belvdr macrumors 603

    Aug 15, 2005
    No longer logging into MR
    FYI, it seems battery life in Windows is less than running in OS X on Apple's systems. In other words, I wouldn't leave the charger at home.
  17. chameleon81 macrumors 6502

    May 16, 2006
    Another point to consider is that you spend more money on MACs but also get more money when you sell them on Ebay after 3 years.

    I havent done a scientific research but what I can tell you from my own experience that Macs lose less value than PCs.
  18. chan2004 macrumors regular

    Oct 7, 2007
    India, currently Zurich,Switzerland
    you will also find loads of open software that can use files and docs that are compatable with win and mac osx

    with windows laptops, you always fear about its performance and rugedness as time goes on. but macs really feels solid and if you have a 3 year warranty, no more worries anymore.

    The only thing i will say is that if you plan to use this mac in dental college, better find out what kind of specialised software they use.
  19. flyfish29 macrumors 68020


    Feb 4, 2003
    New HAMpshire
    I just refuse to help my sisters fix their PC's! They are on their own. One of them got a used mac as a gift and when I did help her get it all set up the first time for her stuff she commented "Is that it? That was easy!!!"

    It sounds like the MacBook Pro is the way to go-

    I haven't done the sell the Mac thing before but I do know the things hold their values- I think this time around I will be trying that and from what I hear people often upgrade their Macs every 2-3 years and only pay a few hundred dollars more to have the latest Mac in hand!

    Sooooo if you can wait two years I should have a great MacBook Pro to sell you!:D Or if you buy a PC then I will have a MacBook Pro to sell you in one year!:D:eek:
  20. Winni macrumors 68040


    Oct 15, 2008
    >fewer viruses

    Yes, but if you have an up-to-date anti-virus software installed on your PC, that argument is irrelevant.

    >great support

    Nope. In my professional experience, Dell beats any competitor in this regard, including Apple.

    >fewer problems in general

    That simply is not true. Macs use the same technology as your average PC, and they fail as often as any other PC in the same league.

    However, Macs are usually easier to grasp for non-technical people than Windows or Linux systems. Although I would say that with Windows 7 the gap between Macs and PCs will become very small.

    >doesn't become obsolete like PCs

    If anything is not true, than that. The truth is that Macs even become faster obsolete than PCs. Just see how quickly Apple drops the support for their own products. Just try installing Snow Leopard on a four year old PowerMac Quad G5... (It's impossible, because Snow Leopard only supports the newer Intel Macs.)

    >OS X is better

    That depends on what you want to do AND on the software that you want to use. OS X is completely useless if your software won't run on it. For example, most business-oriented software simply is not available in OS X-versions.

    As for the hardware specifications: Are you into PROFESSIONAL graphics, photography, video and audio design? Then follow the simple rule of thumb: The bigger, the better. Buy as many CPU horse power as you can get and add as much RAM and hard disk to your system as your wallet allows. And buy a computer that supports two large displays. For everything else, the cheapest available Mac will probably be just fine for your needs.
  21. Asteroids macrumors newbie

    Aug 12, 2009
    I did not read all the above replies but here is my personal take on my Macbook after switching about a year ok. It just works! I am a doctor that depends on my computer to give presentations, respond to emails, write letters, research, and even surf the net to post here. :rolleyes: Anyway, it does not crash or freeze up at all. Has not appeared to slow down. Still boots and shuts down fast. Quite fan, lighter than my old HP. The days of game playing are over for me and that is what I think PC are better at. If you rely on your computer for business and others are counting on you, I would go with a Mac no question. Having a PC freeze trying to start a Grand Round conference with 100 people is not good. Everyone has different needs but if you are not a gamer I would say you are better off with a mac of any color.
  22. uberamd macrumors 68030


    May 26, 2009
    As for viruses, I spend each day at work fixing virus related issues. Even with updated AV software, so don't give me that crap.

    As far as support, you must be dreaming. If you consider getting transfered to 4 different people who are in India before finally being transfered to the right person to help you (who is still in India mind you) good support, you are insane. Apples US based tech support blows any brand out of the water, no language barrier makes it a 5000x better experience.
  23. chameleon81 macrumors 6502

    May 16, 2006
    Winni i think you are wrong on some of your debates.

    Before I begin I would like make it clear I'm not a Apple fan boy. I use brands and I dont get used by brands.

    You can get viruses on a Windows machine even if you do not download anything. I'm not a terrible computer user and didnt have many viruses during my 12 years computer ownership . Ones , I went to a website and got the virus even without clicking anything. Antivirus warned me and couldnt stop it.

    As mentioned above viruses are the biggest problems and they happen more often on Windows machines. I can also say Mac is more stable and does not crush as often as Windows ( My leopard crushed max 10 times during 13 months usage - and i use it excessively )

    great support:

    It doesnt mean Apple does not have a great support if Dell has the best. It only makes Dell better than Apple , nothing else.
  24. velocityg4 macrumors 601


    Dec 19, 2004
    I did not see it mentioned.

    But two other important features are size, weight and cooling. Those cheaper Windows laptops are much thicker and heavier than Mac laptops.

    When it comes to both the 13" and 15" MBP for the same set of features. I can not find one that matches them exactly in performance, though one may be out there. Yet remain as nearly as small, light, thin and have the anywhere near the battery life.

    For the 13" the closest I can find is the Sony Vaio SR series. However they are 1.34" vs 0.95" thick and have a bit less battery life. But they are the closest match starting at $1250

    For the 15" I have not found a close match.

    Edit: Also ventilation. Mac's have no bottom ventilation so if they are on your lap they are less likely to overheat, though they may get uncomfortably hot. Most PC laptops have ventilation on the bottom so if on your lap you can block the vents with your legs making it easier to overheat.
  25. mdgolom macrumors 6502

    Oct 26, 2006
    Not sure if anyone commented about the education discount (didn't read all of the replies). You'll get another $100.00 off the price of the computer as well as a significant discount on the AppleCare extended support.

    Apple is running their offer for a free iPod Touch (after on-linw rebate). If you don't need it, sell it to someone to help reduce the cost of the MBP. They also have a free printer offer if you need that.

    Probably the biggest reason to go with Apple is their support. ComsumerReports rated Apple #1. I've dealt with both Dell and HP, and they can't even compare to Apple.

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