Macs or PCs for general use

Discussion in 'Buying Tips and Advice' started by NastyTrorr, Mar 21, 2012.

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  1. NastyTrorr macrumors newbie

    Mar 21, 2012
    I am going to buy a new desktop(and laptop) computer soon, and I was thinking about buying a mac. However, I can't find any way to justify its higher price and lower quality compared to a self built PC. What would be one laptop/desktop mac that would be able to do the things below and outperform the PC (lunix/windows)? Please provide benchmarks.

    3D modeling
    Java programming
    Video/Photo editing
  2. GGJstudios macrumors Westmere


    May 16, 2008
    It's simple: If you know how a Mac meets your needs better than a PC and you find the price is acceptable to you, then buy a Mac. If not, stick with a PC. It's not about benchmarks. It's about what priorities are important to you.
  3. talmy macrumors 601


    Oct 26, 2009
    If your primary concern is performance benchmarks, and you are capable (and willing) to build and maintain your own PC, then you should get a PC, not a Mac.
  4. NastyTrorr thread starter macrumors newbie

    Mar 21, 2012
    I tried using a mac, and I like the design of the computer. The problem is that I do not know if a mac would be suitable for my needs, so I am asking someone with more experience with macs (you guys). My primary concern is performance and usability. I also have an unlimited budget, but I would like the price to be reasonable for the performance.
  5. thejadedmonkey macrumors 604


    May 28, 2005
    Really, you end up paying roughly 2x as much for a mac over a generic Dell/HP for 2 reasons:

    1) OS X. If you want OS X, Apple has a monopoly, and you pay for it.

    2) Design. Sure you can get a Dell with a 7 hour battery life, but it's not going to be as thin... or you can get a thin Dell, but the screen won't be quite as good.

    I think Dell's are a better value, come with much better support, and cost about 1/2 the price. Sure they're a pound or two heavier, and a few 8th of an inch thicker, but whatever. $1000 is a lot to pay to save 1/2 an inch.

    EDIT: I just saw your post above mine. They suck for gaming, unless you run bootcamp, and even they the graphics card drivers are old. Java programming? Eclipse is Eclipse on any platform, likewise your CAD programs. Video and Photo editing is the same. Wanna use iLife on a mac, or Live Essentials on a PC? Photoshop and Lightroom is there for both platforms. Multitasking is the same, 6 of 1, 1/2 a dozen of the other.
  6. NastyTrorr thread starter macrumors newbie

    Mar 21, 2012
    As far as I can see it, OSX is just a limited version of lunix with a different GUI. The thing that gets me is the design, which I like. I was not talking about a DELL, but a custom built computer. Also, I have no preference over software as long as it gets the job done faster than a PC.
  7. patmalt macrumors newbie

    Jan 24, 2010
    OS X is much more than a limited version of linux. much more
  8. nastebu macrumors 6502

    May 5, 2008
    What on earth do you want to know that you don't already know? No doubt you will get better specs by building the computer yourself. No doubt you can get better design by buying a Mac. The rest is up to your priorities.
  9. r0k macrumors 68040


    Mar 3, 2008
    Faster than with a PC? I find my workflow on my Mac is natural and efficient. Sure there are a few little things that bother me but I love using OSX. So whether you are running TurboTax or TurboCAD, chances are you will like it better on a Mac. But you should check to see if the software you need to use is available for OSX. Sure you can run bootcamp or parallels or vmware or virtualbox but I say make a clean break. Find OSX versions of software for your workflow and after a few weeks, chances are you will become very angry. You will be very angry that you waited so long to switch to OSX.

    As for OSX vs Linux, OSX is similar to BSD Unix which is quite a bit different than Linux. The shell is there. Cron works. Etc, etc. But to say OSX is Linux is missing the point. OSX is Mac OS with Unix underneath.
  10. chrono1081 macrumors 604


    Jan 26, 2008
    Isla Nublar
    I'd be impressed to see if you could truly build something better than Apple :roll eyes:

    If you are gaming, Windows is your obvious choice, unless you want to do bootcamp.

    For 3D modeling, this could go either way. At work, we recently replaced all of the machines the modelers use with Macs (and a few Linux machines) and they're a ton more stable than the Win machines were. Windows OS just isn't as good as a *nix system for handling larger data sets.

    For video/photo editing again, it depends, you could go either way. My preference is Mac.

    For multitasking, Mac all the way.

    EDIT: I guess my post is better summed up by showing what I use on my Mac, almost daily.

    I use:

    Corel Painter
    Unity 3D
    After Effects
    Logic (not used as often as the others, but still used a lot)
    VMWare Fusion

    And soon to be added to the list if I get the job I want:
    Real Flow

    A Mac is a very very capable machine.
  11. malman89 macrumors 68000

    May 29, 2011
    You talk about building a desktop. You can build a Windows (not PC people) computer for at least 1/2 to 1/4 the price of a Mac alternative and get equal or better results in everything you want to do. The margins slim down a bit if you go a prebuilt/manufactured model, but it's still significant.

    Win7 is a pretty swell OS if you haven't used it yet. I have had limited use with it - just one of our computers has it at work - but I've greatly enjoyed using it.

    After 5+ years using a MacBook, I plan on either building my own Windows rig or getting another Windows laptop to replace it.
  12. macmacgoose macrumors regular

    Mar 15, 2012
    Personally speaking, I built my own desktop and I also bought a MBP. The MBP is for everyday use and work (email, web, X11, programming). Stable. The desktop is for gaming and my graphics-intensive applications. Win 7 is much better than Vista but still crashes every so often, much more than the Mac, so for my everyday use, I am happy I use the Mac. The desktop I can upgrade at anytime and it's definitely a benefit to be able to access Windows-only programs.

    I tried running Windows programs on the Mac (Parallels) and while sleek-looking, there are issues with it and I may not do that again, especially since I have a PC to fall back to if need be.
  13. hafr macrumors 68030

    Sep 21, 2011
    If you can't justify buying something, no matter what it is, don't buy it. Don't ask others to justify it for you.
  14. Moonjumper macrumors 68000


    Jun 20, 2009
    Lincoln, UK
    A Mac is good quality. Building your own PC is potentially a lot cheaper, depending on how you value your time. That calculation is very different if you use it for work compared to home use. But as games are top of your list of requirements, I guess it is for personal use (if it was games as work, the platform you are developing for would dictate Mac / Windows / Linux choice), and as games are a top requirement, then building your own is probably the best choice for you.
  15. NastyTrorr thread starter macrumors newbie

    Mar 21, 2012
    Really? I thought Foxconn made most of their parts. Absolutely horrible hardware, especially when they charge you so much money, but I don't care as long as it works FASTER than a PC. I don't know any other way to prove this other than benchmarks, so that is why I am asking for them.

    Also, what does it mean to be more stable than the PC? I have yet to experience one crash and my programs work just as they should, and my server is running for over one month straight on 75-100% load.
  16. macsmurf macrumors 65816


    Aug 3, 2007
    Macs are not faster thans PCs. Gaming is not a mac's strong suit. Conclusion: stay with your PC.

    There are no benchmarks that show otherwise. People buy macs anyway because for most people, performance is only one parameter out of many. Battery life, weight, look, feel, image, whatever.

    For you, performance overrules all other parameters. Macs are not a very attractive option in that case. I don't think anyone disagrees with that. If a new Mac Pro comes out you might consider buying that but a self-built PC will be always be cheaper than anything else.
  17. And1ss macrumors 6502a


    Oct 20, 2009
    OP, you replies indicate that you already know the answer to your original question and I feel that you are quite pro-Windows user. Stick with what you have.
  18. Yaboze macrumors 6502a


    May 31, 2007
    The Garden State
    I love Mac's and PC's, but for different reasons.

    I had been using a Macbook with an iPod for years. Now, I have an iPad 2, iPhone 4, iPod Classic and MBP. I'm eagerly waiting for the next iPhone.

    I find that managing all those devices (Music, Apps, Photos, Video, Books) on the Apple ecosystem is very smooth and enjoyable. All of that was handled by my Macbook(s) over the years.

    Now, I use Office Mac 2011 and Chrome mainly and sometimes buy a app/game or two on the App Store. I use iPhoto and iMovie. I have a Synology NAS and use Time Machine with it.

    So, all of my "general use" stuff is done on the Mac. Music, Photo's, Video, Apps, Skype, Browsing, Office and management of my devices are all done in OSX.

    I have a Windows 7 PC that I use for games; Core i7 960, GTX 480, 6GB. More than enough for all current games. I didn't want to deal with booting into a Bootcamp partition to attempt to play games on mobile hardware, which is what all Mac's use. Many times I have my MBP on right next to my desktop.

    Can all of my "general use" stuff be done on the PC? Sure, but I like the tight integration OSX has with these devices. I can take my MBP anywhere with me and it's backed up with Time Machine. I would say go with a Mac if games aren't your thing. I don't even try with my MBP, although Diablo 3 beta ran really nicely on it. :)
  19. thekev macrumors 604


    Aug 5, 2010
    Yes they're both based on Unix code. Linux lacks certain driver support and standards at times. There are so many programs that either don't run on it at all, or do not run well via something like Wine (yes I understand the acronym).
  20. JamSandwich macrumors regular

    May 19, 2006
    I'm interested to know how the factories that produce PC laptops and components are dramatically different from FoxConn (notwithstanding the fact that FoxConn manufactures all sorts of items for a variety of Windows PC players)
  21. aross99 macrumors 68000


    Dec 17, 2006
    East Lansing, MI
    If this is how you feel, then why are you here asking questions? Just get a PC and be done with it...
  22. Velin macrumors 65816


    Jul 23, 2008
    Hearst Castle
    Try this in a networked office environment. Our office runs on Macs, OSX and OSX Server. Downtime in the last three years: maybe twice. As near-flawless performance as you can get, and we run the networked environment ourselves. Has saved us a ton of money.

    Employees love the Macs. Haven't had a Mac fail in the past two years. Amazing track record, this never happens with PCs.

    No way this can be done with PCs. And there's no point in telling me otherwise, because I've been there and done it with both PCs and Macs, in organizations large and small.

    All networked PC environments have been utter hell, requiring us to pay network and SQL experts to keep the damn PC patchwork running. Cytrix is garbage, as are all the other layers you need to throw down to get around Window's significant shortcomings. Downtime in PC environemtn always was significant. And good luck with Window's horrible connectivity issues, uber-stupid and ancient *.dll system, the laughable "registry" system (utter crap) plus a host of other garbage MSFT never corrected in XP, Vista, and carried into 7. Mess up one of these, boom goes your network. Not so with Macs.

    In short: networked Mac office >>>>>>> networked PCs.

    I purchase the equipment. I help run the network. I am a part owner of the business. I write the checks. I know the Macs are superior, and both the history, the experience, and the bottom line all confirm it.

    Finally, when we do call out techs to fix PC systems, guess what the MSFT experts are carrying: Macbook Airs out in the field, because terminal is all these guys need.
  23. Mike Valmike macrumors 6502a

    Feb 27, 2012
    Chandler, Arizona
    For gaming, it's PC all the way.

    I don't know enough about 3-D modeling or Java programming to say, so rather than give you bad info I'll abstain on those.

    For video/photo editing, it's Mac all the way. The Mac software options for these are just far better, and the Mac architecture inherently handles video very, very well.

    For multitasking, I'd call it a tie. Both are good.

    I switched before my stale WinXP boxes had to be replaced by what was at the time the OEM OS of the day: Vista. I had tried Vista and didn't like it one bit, and I found Leopard to be a revelation and have been happy in OS X land ever since. However we finally got bumped up to Windows 7 at work and I'll concede that it's the best Windows OS out there. Not exactly a hard contest to win in my opinion grumble grumble, but credit where credit is due: Windows 7 is passing decent. So from the perspective of a former switcher who plans to stay in Mac-land because I do my gaming on a console, I would say that your decision will depend on which of those things are most crucial to you. Don't forget you can always pair a desktop PC with a Macbook Pro and basically have the best of both worlds, with your unlimited budget.
  24. NastyTrorr thread starter macrumors newbie

    Mar 21, 2012
    I used to be a network admin at a college that uses only custom built PCs, specially made for different uses like modeling, game design, distributed computer systems; and we never considered using macs because of the lack of compatibility and freedom. The 40+% failure rate of foxconn motherboards/PSUs make me uncomfortable when buying them in large amounts, so we never used them. As for the problems that you had with windows, the computers were improperly maintained unless it was a manufacturing defect(windows will not disobey unless the software running on the windows OS does what you do not want it to do. It is YOUR fault for blaming the OS instead of the software developer. Who uses Cytrix anyways?). Everyone at the college who went for a degree in CS/EE/MA preferred a PC, and only the students who majored in liberal arts prefer the mac due to lack of knowledge of computers in general. Now that I think back to this, I might not want a mac anymore; but I would still like to know why you guys do.

    That is an opinion, I dislike mac only software due to its heavy limitations and poor portability/compatibility compared to a PC alternative. Also, a $1000 PC can render a video over 5 times faster than a $1000 mac, 15 times if GPU accelerated.

    If so many people like it, I want to be part of it as well. However I do not see why someone would prefer a Mac to a PC, and I want to know.

    I bet you think ASUS is worse than Foxconn.

    I have never had a problem with finding drivers for Lunix. If I REALLY need a driver, I can just make one. Can you do that on a Mac?
  25. Velin macrumors 65816


    Jul 23, 2008
    Hearst Castle
    And here's your first error. Running an all-Mac shop, we have no "compatability" problems. Period. This solves 95% of our problems. Robust Macs, robust OSX, in an all-Mac environment, means we never have trouble.

    Oh, need a Windows product? Also not a problem -- just boot into Windows 7 using bootcamp (which we never have to do, thankfully).

    False. The computers were properly maintained. Your comment about Cytrix only confirms what I originally thought: you've zero experience with any large for-profit enterprise. Because if you did, you wouldn't ask such a question.

    Also telling you totally ignored my points about Window's garbage "registry" system (what a joke), relying on 20-year-old-tech (the horrendous *.dll system to "save space,"), and that's just two of many I could identify. These two issues are reasons enough to make a move to a much more robust platform like OSX Lion.

    Who cares what some college kid used or wanted. I'm talking about the real world. I'm talking about professionals, who do real business and have real-world financial decisions to consider. I am among them, I make the purchasing decisions and I sign the checks. I could care less about spending $1k on a PC versus $2k on a Mac -- that kind of money means nothing. You know what matters? Saving time, saving on salaries, saving on contractors, ending downtime which costs us real money.

    That is why, Mac all the way for us. It has saved us a ton of money -- the product costs are irrelevant. Literally irrelevant. Employees costs money, computers don't. Employee salaries, benefits, healthcare -- that costs real money. Computers are nothing in comparison. I know, because the money is mine. Nothing you say will change this. Basic economics.

    Lol. If you think Macs have poor "portability" and "compatability," you've no idea what you're talking about. Because compatability is precisely why we're an all-Mac business.

    No, you really don't want to know. Because I just gave you a host of reasons, yet you persist. If you worked for me, I'd fire you -- if you were lucky enough to be hired in the first place, which I seriously, seriously doubt.
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