Mac vs PC

Discussion in 'Buying Tips and Advice' started by freerollin, Sep 2, 2015.

  1. freerollin macrumors member

    Mar 12, 2015
    What's up guys

    I've been a Mac user for over 10 years and I love 'em..

    But the time has come to upgrade my laptop I'm wondering if I should go with a PC for the following reason:

    There's always been software I've wanted that's just unavailable to macs..

    I've heard of people doing some tinkering which allows them to run their Mac like a PC, but always had the assumption that this would cause problems with my Mac so avoided it

    Advise. Give it to me.
  2. zhenya macrumors 603


    Jan 6, 2005
    What software are you looking to run? It's my opinion that the Mac hardware is generally better than that available on a PC, and running Windows on the Mac is fairly straightforward and no, it will not cause any problems. That's the route I'd go unless I had some very specific PC needs.
  3. JeffyTheQuik macrumors 68020


    Aug 27, 2014
    Charleston, SC and Everett, WA
    I was a PC user at home for 20 years, and then bought a Mac, because one of my customers had a Mac, and was asking me questions about it, and I wanted to be sure that I gave him the best support possible.

    In that time (2008), I have:
    Reinstalled the O/S (clean install): Once Windows: 12 times, due to viruses (kids and websites... ugh.)
    Repaired it: 3 times (1 video card, 2 hard drives - they were at end of life) Windows: A few times (it has a RAID 5 array, so I just replace the HD)
    Couldn't find software: 0 times (VMWare, WINE, and Boot Camp, in that order for Windows programs) Windows: 0 times (I haven't seen a need for a Mac version of software that I use in Windows)
    Money spent on Operating Systems: $200 (estimated) Windows: $500 (Win 10 is free)

    So, for the hardware, it's pretty stable on a Mac, but you can squeeze out more performance on a PC by customizing it. I only buy Macs that I can upgrade (Retina 27" - for the memory, and use USB3 HD for TM backup)

    I'm not saying that PC's are bad; what I am saying is that a Mac lets you keep the software that you have already, and also lets you use the Windows software that you want.
  4. brookter1 macrumors member

    Aug 5, 2015
    You can run Windows programs on the Mac in 2 main ways:

    1) You partition your drive and you run OS X on one partition and Windows on the other. If you want to use OS X programs, you boot into OS X. If you want to run Windows programs you boot into Windows. This option is called Bootcamp by Apple -- they provide special drivers which allow you run Windows with the keyboard / touchpad, sound and so on. Bootcamp runs Windows natively -- it's not different than running it on a 'PC' computer. The downside is that you have to reboot into each operating system, so you can't run OS X and Windows programs side by side, so it's not as convenient as option 2 (although under 10-second boot-times on recent Macs makes this much less a problem than it used to be). Setting up Bootcamp isn't particularly difficult as Apple provides a specific program (Bootcamp Assistant), and you'll find plenty of tutorials on the net to talk you through the process. But of course, you're playing around with partitioning your disk drive and there's always some (very small) scope for problems with that.

    2) You install special 'virtualisation' software on OS X, which allows you to run a full copy of Windows inside OS X in a 'virtual machine' (VM), swapping between OS X and Windows programs at will, and copying / sharing data between them freely. The most common virtualisation software is 'Parallels', 'VM Fusion' (both paid) and Virtual Box (free). Each has its merits and drawbacks, but again there's a lot of advice on the net to talk you through it. Because Windows is running on top of OS X, this option is obviously not as quick as Bootcamp, but it can be perfectly acceptable (or better) depending on your needs and it's obviously a lot more convenient than Bootcamp.

    Which you choose is up to you and your needs. Neither option is particularly difficult to set up if all goes well (which it normally does in my experience) and there is loads of help available, but of course that depends on your level of comfort playing around with software! The advantage with both is that you get the best of both worlds, Mac-quality hardware and the availability of both Mac and Windows software. Personally, I'd never consider PC hardware while either of these options remains available.

    BTW whichever route you take, you'll need a fully licensed copy of Windows.
  5. JeffyTheQuik macrumors 68020


    Aug 27, 2014
    Charleston, SC and Everett, WA
    The last option, which I put as #1 in my hierarchy was run it in WINE, as it takes the windows software and runs it in a "bottle" on the Mac desktop. Software that makes it easy is Crossover, which has installation software and the ability to make it seamless. I used to run Lord of the Rings Online that way before Turbine had a MacOS client. I also used it for genealogy software. For WINE, you do not need a copy of Windows, so I'd see if that works first. The warning on that is the software supplier won't help you with WINE installations, but Crossover does have a strong community of people that are willing to help. The software is around $40, but those places that have those bundles usually have it in their package for cheaper (you buy 10 software packages for $20, and one of them is Crossover).
  6. Samuelsan2001 macrumors 604

    Oct 24, 2013
    Just run windows in bootcamp or as VM and you'll be fine it'll run exactly like it does on any other computer. I use windows in bootcamp for some studdy software and it runs fine, I still hate it and avoid it wherever possible but it does work fine.
  7. theluggage macrumors 68040

    Jul 29, 2011
    There's no "tinkering" involved. The "Bootcamp" method is officially supported by Apple - the tools are part of OS X, and once its running its indistinguishable from a regular Windows machine. Both Parallels and VMWare Fusion are polished, professional products. Setting any of them up with Windows is all point-click-and-drool unless you want to do something tricky.

    The only caveat is that you'll have to buy a full copy of Windows plus the cost of Parallels/Fusion (they tend to need upgrading every other version of OS X or Windows, too). VirtualBox is a free alternative to Parallels/Fusion - not quite as slick, polished or fast but it isn't rubbish.


    * Parallels or Fusion is the best compromise for most things (there's some threads here on which is best but you won't go far wrong with either).
    * VirtualBox if you already have a copy of Windows and don't want to let the moths out of your wallet
    * Bootcamp if you'll spend more time running PC software than Mac software and/or need every drop of power (e.g. gaming, video editing)
    * WINE/Crossover if all the Windows software you want to use is listed as working well with it.

    Also remember that if you go PC you'll have no tinker-free way of running your existing Mac software on your PC: Setting up a Hackintosh - i.e. installing Mac OS on a PC - definitely counts as 'tinkering' and may even edge into 'jiggery-pokery'!

    I think WINE/Crossover does start tend towards "tinkering" territory unless the software you want to run has a "gold" rating on the support site at:
  8. JeffyTheQuik macrumors 68020


    Aug 27, 2014
    Charleston, SC and Everett, WA
    I agree with that. It's on the edge of tinkering. As for which side of the edge depends on the software.
  9. h9826790 macrumors G4


    Apr 3, 2014
    Hong Kong
    Nowadays, Mac is actually a PC, but just with OSX from stock, you can always install windows and make it behave exactly the same as other PC. So, software should not be the reason which force you to buy a Windows laptop. You can simply install Windows on you Mac (via bootcamp) and then you have a Windows laptop. Which is a official way to install Windows on your Mac, not any crack or hack.

    In general, people go for normal PC but not a Mac is because of it's cost to performance ratio, nothing related to "Windows only" software.
  10. shaunp macrumors 68000

    Nov 5, 2010
    I'm running both at the moment. I prefer OS X, but find Apple hardware limiting. Your needs, or anyone else for that matter, may not be the same as mine so you might not find the hardware limiting - I'm just telling you how it is for me.

    For this reason I'm now considering Windows 10. The only thing I wish it had is Messages, or something similar integrated into Windows phone. There is Skype but you have to pay for SMS messages. I like everything else about Windows 10.

    Windows laptops aren't as slick as the Macbook, but ironically it's the thin and light crap that Apple insist on that drives me nuts. No matte screen option, I can't replace the SSD if I want to or upgrade the RAM (I need more than 16GB), and there's no ethernet port on the Macbook Pro. I can understand this on the Macbook Air, but for a product that is supposed to be a desktop replacement, this is unforgivable - I don't want thin and light I want it to be functional, and if you tell me 'use a thunderbolt adaptor' I'll show you where to shove it. It's not like the MBP is exactly a light machine anyway, an extra couple of mm and they could have made it a useful product for those of us that work for a living. WiFi isn't available everywhere, especially if you work in greenfield sites and there is no network at all, let alone WiFi.

    I can fully understand why Macs are referred to as iToys as it's far too easy to hit the limits. I know a few guys who have now gotten Dell M4800's or M6800's as second laptops to use as a mobile VM lab as their MBP's simply don't have enough capability. As for the nMP, it's a lovely piece of kit. I also think if Apple don't update it within the next 6 months it will be discontinued. If on the other hand Apple decide to make a workstation class laptop now mobile Xeon's are here (I know there are really i7's), with support for 64GB RAM and update the nMP then I'lll be sticking with Apple. If the MBP get's even thinner with no real increase in capability (more RAM and storage capacity please) then it's time to move on. Dell and HP seem to get this and you can bet they will be building Xeon-based laptops.

    So I would say to the OP, if you are happy with Apple hardware then stick with it and run Windows in either a VM or Bootcamp if you need to. However if you aren't then look around.
  11. burne macrumors 6502


    Jul 4, 2007
    Haarlem, the Netherlands
    You forget the third option: VirtualBox. Which is free for personal use.

    Combine with the 90 day windows trial and you have three months to try wether you like virtualisation.

    (VMWare Fusion has a 30 day trial, Parallels Desktop a 14 day trial..)
  12. aloshka macrumors 65816

    Aug 30, 2009
    Depends what computer you are going to buy. If laptop, go mac all the way. If you were a user of mac for a long time, when you use the trackpad on a PC laptop you'll think something is broken and it is.. The design.

    If it's desktop, definitely go PC. You save a lot of money, it's powerful, software is so much better now.
  13. shaunp macrumors 68000

    Nov 5, 2010
    Dell M3800/XPS 15? Apple laptops aren't what they used to be. Too much style over substance. If you work in IT, especially freelance there is the growing need to have a mobile VM lab just so you can get stuff done and the MBP with only 16GB RAM isn't enough these days. The graphics performance on my 2013 rMBP is also fairly crap - editing 18MP images at 100% in LR is slow. I'm interested to see what Apple now do with the MBP now mobile Xeon is out. If it get's thinner and more consumer, I'm out.

    As for desktops again it depends what you do. General 'stuff' I'd say Mac because while the hardware is a bit more expensive it's generally hassle-free and it lasts quite a while. I've got a 2012 mac mini (the good quad-core one) that is used as the family computer and won't be replaced any time soon. If you play games, run any high-end apps or run a lot of VM's and don't fancy having a server farm in your house then PC again. I've got a 6-core nMP and an old PC (i7 3770k, 780 GTX) I use the Mac for my every day stuff and my VM lab, the PC is games - I just swap out the GPU as I need to upgrade. The CPU, SSD, etc are all good. Might do need an upgrade in a couple of years, but it's CPU, RAM and MB - the rest of the rig is fine.
  14. aloshka macrumors 65816

    Aug 30, 2009
    Loved the XPS 13 (thin bezel) and the 15 is awesome to, but you can't honestly say the trackpad is usable? Maybe if I never seen or heard of a mac sure, but I had to return my XPS 13 regardless of how much I loved it because come on, it's considered one of the best trackpads and it's complete crap.

    But everything else, yeah I agree. I jumped the gun on the whole desktop thing, because yeah, iMac is wonderful for desktop work and Mac Pro is even better albeit insanely outdated right now. I'm in IT and work primarily in windows, so I love Mac and love Windows.

    I think with these questions it's always "depends". And when you hear both sides of things, you get more confused because truly they both work for 99% of everyone. So it's really how you feel about it honestly.
  15. z31fanatic macrumors 6502a


    Mar 7, 2015
    Mukilteo, WA USA
    No doubt that there isn't a touchpad like Apple's but the bootcamp drivers for the touchpad are very poor and I'd rather use the crappy touchpads of Windows laptops. It's one of the reasons that I stopped running Windows on my MBP.
  16. aloshka macrumors 65816

    Aug 30, 2009
    You hit it right on. My theory is actually it's not the hardware of the touchpad it's the drivers but more explicitly that windows uses hardware cursors but mac doesn't (reason why mac trackpad and mice sometimes feel delayed and slow). If that's the case, there is no hope for good drivers, although the surface pro 3 uses the same technology/software on the trackpad as it does for the screen and it definitely shows.

    But yeah, if you are boot camped the trackpad is just as bad as PC if you are fine with that, then the door opened to a ton of awesome hardware.

    I'm just waiting for skylake, i think mac will have some cool offerings, pc, etc.

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