How to Compare a Mac to PC


macrumors regular
Original poster
Apr 29, 2006
Ok I know I am opening the flood gates here but here goes. I am going to be in the market for a new machine here at the end of the summer am am very interested in a Mac. I am starting my shopping now and with prices being a factor I am trying to find a useful, and hopefully simple way to compare what comes in a Mac to what comes in a PC box in a given price range. I am really looking for a machine in the Power Mac family, sorry in advance if I incorrectly used the model name. I expect Macs to be a little more expensive but with all I have been reading lately about " the MHz myth", Front Side Bus, dual cores, and so on I am having trouble trying to compare performance. Thanks in advance


Moderator emeritus
Jul 28, 2003
Citizens Bank Park
Comparing performance of a Mac vs PC is extremely tough. You could always google for benchmarks. My advice is to find an Apple store and play with a Mac for a little.

What exactly do you want to use this computer for?


macrumors newbie
Mar 7, 2006
Sacramento, CA
If you are looking to wait for the Intel based Power Macs then there will not be a Mhz myth for those computers. They will be based on the same hardware as PCs. If you are comparing x86 based PCs to G5 based Power macs it's like comparing apples to oranges anyway. They are two very different types of chips.


macrumors 65816
Jan 5, 2005
As a start, it is best not to worry about things like front-side buses. Concentrate on exactly what you want to do with your computer. Then what you need will become clearer.

Now that most computers are using Intel chips most of the hardware differences between Macs and PCs are gone. I suggest, if you get a Mac, you get an Intel Mac. That is the future and we are moving into that future faster than most of us expected.

What is left is the price of the computers. Mac people will tell you that Macs are built better, last longer, cost no more than equivalently spec'd PCs and come with software worth the price of the computer. PC people who have no need for the included software (or can't imagine bundled software that isn't a pathetic placeholder for real software) will tell you you can buy a PC for less.

Examine your needs and your budget. If you still can't decide come back with more details and we will be glad to help.

Best wishes.


macrumors regular
Feb 12, 2006
There's nothing that should be compared hardwarewise between mac and pc.

it is the operating system that makes people buying macs, although Apple always tries to put itself like a Hardware company.

The OS Mac uses is supereb compared with any other OS in this planet. However, Apple always use the top (i.e. most expensive) hardware to feed such OSes and make it runs flawlessly.

Apple never talk about its hardware advantages after Penteum 3/4 AMD Athlon took over the complete advantage over the ancent IBM/Freescale G3 G4, the G5 is a decent GPU, but it charges a hell lot of money compared with similar performance PC-CPUs. and some results shows that the Intel-Core Duo CPU that used in latest Mac Laptops outperform the G5 PowerMac Towers in various aspects.

my suggestion is , wait until Apple uses Intel in their tower PowerMacs if you are after the performance, or buy it now if u need a overal better experience over PC


macrumors 68030
Jul 23, 2004
Melbourne, Australia
dynetk said:
If you are looking to wait for the Intel based Power Macs then there will not be a Mhz myth for those computers.
Oh God I hope not! I really doubt you'll see PC class hardware in the Power Mac replacement. Bring on those Woodcrest workstation CPUs!


macrumors regular
Original poster
Apr 29, 2006
How are Macs for upgrading?

Those are some good points. I plan on waiting for the intel Power Macs to come out before I make any decisions. As for what I will be using this for it will be a home computer that I use for a little bit of everything. I spend quite a bit of time on the Internet, online gaming, and I am beginning to get into web page design and image editing. I know nothing I do at the moment requires the higher end Power Macs and I could probably get by just fine with a imac but I would be concerned I was paying a laptop price for the internals as they seem so small. When buying PC's I have had good luck in the past buying a higher end processor and upgrading components as my needs or technology changes to increase the useful service life of the machine. How easy is that with Macs? Do I have to buy my components only from Apple to maintain stability and performance? As for the bundled software I have been using a mac at work (G4 Powerbook) and like what I see with OS X but I would like the flexibility of being able to run Windows if I had to. I have Alot read a lot about model revisions and problems with tha first run of a specific model. Is it common to see a revision A, B,C,... and are these revisions usually fixes of design flaws or just design upgrades? Thanks.


macrumors 68000
May 1, 2006
Fury 161
My test would be to decide an aim (a logo design, ten pages of text, sorting thru 250 pictures, whatever you usually do), to work on it starting from scratch (that is, computer off) and measure the time until you finish it on both systems.

For me, actual time of work means more than a bunch of numbers and histogram bars...

Why computer off (or sleeping)? Because I always have a deadline so I must measure in the test every condition that can make me work slower.. You must adapt test conditions to your way of using your computer.

You should also put yourself in real working conditions: both systems should be running the way they'll run when you use them (e.g with antivirus, everything installed...).

The efficiency of your computer will depend on the sum of all its components (hardware + OS + software). Only one of those factors means nothing to me.

I'd also include the ease of use and the accessories and software available for each system.