You're Doing it Wrong! - Why I Switched From Mac to PC

Discussion in 'Community Discussion' started by barr08, Feb 10, 2009.

  1. barr08 macrumors 65816


    Aug 9, 2006
    Boston, MA
    Hello all,

    I have really been thinking about the differences between the two major players in the personal computer market. I recently graduated with degrees in Web Design and Technical Writing, and am now employed in the tech field. I use a computer all day at work, and spend a good amount of time on my computer when I get home - a normal day that I'm sure many of you are used to as well. I spend a lot of my time in front of a screen.

    When asked about what kind of operating system I choose to spend my time on, the answer would be seemingly obvious. I grew up as a mac user. My first computer was a Classic, then 2 Performas, a Graphite iMac, a G3 iBook, a G4 Quicksilver, and finally a CD iMac. I hung out with the emerging tech nerds in Grade School who would always give me crap about using a Mac. I have heard the "One Button Mouse" argument probably 1000 times, from 1000 different people (many of whom today use Apple computers), and every time I fought hard for my platform. I have been subscribed to MacWorld, MacAddict and Maclife for years, my first share of Stock was from Apple, and I have had just about every iteration of the iPod imaginable. I have been posting on this forum for years. I have Apple stickers all over everything I own. I am a fanboy.

    But, when prompted to replace my iMac CD a few months ago, without hesitating, I bought a Dell Studio XPS.

    This might seem pretty weird - especially given the surge in popularity and marketing of Apple products. Everyone seems to be switching nowadays, but in the opposite way that I went. I jumped from the life raft into the Titanic - XP is dying, Vista is flopping like a fish out of water, and Windows 7 is a pipe dream. But I threw my entire computing history away at the time when I should be celebrating, saying "I told you so" to my smug friends, and sharing my years of knowledge of an operating system that is new to so many. Instead, I'm Hodgman.

    Why did I switch? It started with Boot Camp. When I got my iMac Sophomore year, I promptly installed XP on it so I could finally play all the great games my friends were playing. I got XP running (not as simple as OS X by any stretch of the imagination, but not too bad), and installed a bunch of the current games. A few months later, I realized that I hadn't switched back to OS X for more than a few days at a time, if I needed to use Photoshop. Eventually, I got the PC version of Creative Suite, and switched back even less. I that point, it killed me to stay in Windows so much, but I would, because if I did, I didn't have to restart to play a game. I didn't realize until later that this wasn't the only reason I was staying in XP.

    Senior year, all of my classes were computer based - I still had to go to the classrooms, but we spent all of our time on computers. These computers were PCs, of course, and I found Microsoft remote desktop to be superior in every way to any VNC client and server I could set up. So this kept me in XP even more, now only switching back rarely - usually for iChat between me and my friends, now newly-recruited Apple fanboys, like myself.

    So I graduated, got a Job, and finally had some money in my pocket to upgrade my now 3-year-old iMac, which was still running XP on a day to day basis. I thought about my personal use, my eagerness to learn about the internal makings of a computer, and decided to swallow my pride. I bought a Dell (that still doesn't sound right) Studio XPS. It has an Intel i7 - their newest processor, and an ATI Radeon 4850, among other things. The main reason I went with this is honestly because of price. I could get this power, that would run over $2500 on a Mac Pro, for less than half of that...with a monitor. I can use XP, just like I did on my iMac, but faster, and better, for much less. I can't overlook that.

    The price certainly wasn't the only reason. Spending some time in Windows made me realize that customization is so important when setting something up that you're going to use every day. There are just some things I can do in XP than I either can't do, or can't do as easily in OS X. Everything feels snappier (except boot up - ughhh), games run quicker, and there is so much more available as far as third party apps go. I'm careful about viruses, and I am willing to put the time in to protect my computer, so that's a non-issue. I just feel more free in Windows.

    Apple is pretty stubborn when it comes to their features - what a user can and can't do. I can demonstrate this mentality with the iPhone. I recently switched from my Blackberry Curve to an original iPhone. It's a great system - the OS has the best polish of any mobile OS I have used. Mobile Safari is easily the best way to use the web on a phone. The app store is lightyears ahead of any other mobile application distribution software. However, there are just too many limitations. I know we've all heard these before, but why would apple omit something like copy and paste, blutooth file transfer, or MMS. Why do I need to jailbreak to add background apps. Why an't I just upload my own ringtones? I switched back to the Blackberry last week - the great functionality of the iPhone is just too limited by Apple's restrictions.

    That's sort of how I feel about OS X - I am limited in my options in almost every way. Software that has been out forever on PC takes years to come out on OS X. I can google anything about XP - any error message, any weird issue - and there's an answer. I can throw a new PSU into my computer, and it just works. I can plug a USB something or other into my computer, and it just works. I can buy a game, and it just works - that's Apple's bread and butter, but I find XP truly excellent in that category. That's why I switched.

    I am not trying to flame at all here, I'm kind of looking for a discussion, if people are interested in participating in that sort of thing. I know this has been beaten to death, but I'd be interested to hear some of the opinions of the people out here.
  2. Dagless macrumors Core


    Jan 18, 2005
    Fighting to stay in the EU
    That's a fairly interesting read and similar to my own thoughts of late.

    My next machine will not be a Mac. I'd love a new iMac - they look stunning but I'd much rather get a high-end gaming quality PC (btw I hate that term. I'm having hella fun in games on my x1600 iMac). But for me it's the hardware limitations causing me switch.
    I'd never have a Windows laptop, just as much as I don't want another Mac desktop.
  3. Melrose Suspended


    Dec 12, 2007
    They make a Stduio? I want one now. :D

    sry... Seriously - if you want to swtich back then you must have good reason to do so; and it is interesting to hear a different point of view for a chnage. I don't share your sentiments but hand it to you to make your own decision, what with so many fanboys of both wrolds out there..
  4. numbersyx macrumors 65816


    Sep 29, 2006
  5. edesignuk Moderator emeritus


    Mar 25, 2002
    London, England
    While I still love my Mac Pro, I agree with everything you've said.
  6. Queso macrumors G4

    Mar 4, 2006
    Horses for courses. I've never had an issue finding a software package to do what I want on a Mac, and it seems the number of companies now supporting the Mac is growing daily. However, your needs are not mine, and if Windows works better for you then that's what you should use.

    I think the important thing is that we have choices, so that everyone can find the thing that works best for them. For a while it looked like Windows was going to be the only game in town, which would have been the worst thing that could happen for everybody IMO. Now that there are essentially three players bouncing ideas off each other and competing things are moving forward at a much faster pace. Windows 7 wouldn't be half the OS it seems to be if OSX wasn't so successful, and if Windows NT4/2000/XP hadn't grown so far in usability in a relatively short period of time OSX wouldn't be half the OS it is either.

    I do wish you hadn't chosen a Dell though. I really dislike that company :D
  7. djellison macrumors 68020

    Feb 2, 2007
    Pasadena CA
    One piece of software stops me switching back. Keynote. I couldn't live without it. Beyond that, I am OS ambivalent, and thus from a purely commercial and specification perspective, OSX would no longer make any sense, when I could have a higher res screen, hd optical drive, USB ports far enough apart to be used and non-proprietary video adaptors if I went with a Dell/Sony/HP etc etc.

  8. clockworkorange macrumors regular

    Jan 31, 2008
    man you're just like me.

    I installed XP on my MacBook Pro 2 years ago, just so I can play games that all my friends always raved about. I never knew that I would find myself using WinXP as much as I do, the look of it is much easier on the eyes than OS X (Sorry, but I don't like that dark grey title bar with black text look).

    My next machine won't be a Mac =(
  9. barr08 thread starter macrumors 65816


    Aug 9, 2006
    Boston, MA
    I agree, which is great. The amount of software now available tfor OS X is mind-blowing. I do agree that you can do just about anything in OS X as you can in XP.

    Also very true, and while I disrespected Microsoft for taking aspects of The Mac OS way back when, I now see it as an advantage. If something is working, why not build off of it while using your advantages to make it better (or as good).

    I hear that loud and clear. I found a great deal on this desktop on, so I had to jump on it. Dell is a lame company, but I don't regret this purchase whatsoever (although the monitor did have a dead pixel :mad: )
  10. Zombie Acorn macrumors 65816

    Zombie Acorn

    Feb 2, 2009
    Toronto, Ontario
    As a long time user of both platforms I have to say that having both is the best option. I tend to find general tasks to be more pleasing in mac os x because I like the interface, but mac os x doesn't have some of the programs I like like 3d studio max.
  11. foidulus macrumors 6502a

    Jan 15, 2007
    And nowadays windows isn't any buggier than OS X

    That used to not be the case, Tiger had some hiccups but overall it was a much more stable and bug-free OS than the bugfest that is Leopard. And the worse thing is that it seems every combo update introduces more bugs than it fixes.

    Apple just pretends that the bugs don't exist and that the problem must be with the user. Well, guess what Apple, the bugs do exist and I'm as frustrated using Leopard as I was with XP. You have cash, labor is pretty cheap right now, pony up the dough to get some real QC on your products or stories like this one are just going to become more and more common.
  12. Consultant macrumors G5


    Jun 27, 2007
    Wait a few months when windows slow down inexplicably. Over time, the time you need to spend to fix windows will offset any perceived savings.

    That is the reason people are switching to Macs.
  13. alFR macrumors 68020

    Aug 10, 2006
    Interesting POV. My experience has been almost totally the opposite, which is probably why I find yours so interesting.

    Not actually fair - most informed opinion seems to be that the beta is pretty stable and it should be out before the end of this year.

    That seems to be a bit of an edge use case, if you'll excuse me saying so. I would also counter your argument by saying that you can run Microsoft Remote Desktop natively in OS X and I've never found something I wanted to do with Leopard's screen sharing that it wouldn't let me do.

    Can you give some examples? Everyone's use is different, of course, but apart from changing the window colour scheme and the desktop background I don't think I ever changed anything about my XP desktop.

    I assume you're comparing XP on your iMac to OS X on your iMac, not XP on your new Dell to XP on your iMac which wouldn't really be a fair comparison. Also, in a way you're comparing apples (excuse the pun) to oranges: I don't think anyone would argue that the Mac is touted as a serious gaming platform.

    You can. Google it...

    Again, examples (excluding games), esp. where there isn't a native OS X alternative that does the same job?

    You can replace the PSU in a mac too, you know. :) My USB experiences under XP seem mainly to consist of "plug in hardware, what do you mean you can't find the driver, OK I'll google it, there we go, what do you mean I should have installed the driver before plugging the device in, remove device in control panel, install driver, plug back in" etc. etc. Games we've already dealt with: I'd argue that they're not Apple's bread and butter at all.

    At the end of the day though it's horses for courses: buy what fits your needs!
  14. barr08 thread starter macrumors 65816


    Aug 9, 2006
    Boston, MA
    As a technology enthusiast, Windows appeals to me because I can avoid that slowdown by paying a lot of attention to my OS. Not only do I have all sorts of anti-virus features in place, but I also make sure I keep everything as optimized as possible.

    And although this is kind of a hassle, I find that reformatting frequently (every 6 months?) is a good way to keep things running well. It's not neccesary, but it isn't too big of a deal. I have a folder set up that I keep every installer for every app I download, and every save and pref file for games and apps. It makes a reformat quick and efficient.
  15. TJRiver macrumors 6502


    Jan 14, 2009
    OS X and the supporting programs just work. Intutively, every time. My wife and kids can use the Mac machines without my needing to do more than make sure the updates get installed. Our Windoze XP box is currently locked up with enough trojans that I have to pay someone to clean it out (hopefully). This is after investing 8+ hours of my valuable weekend and eveing time screwing around with the XP machine.

    For me and our family, the OS X universe just works. When it doesn't, I feel I have just as much ability to find the help I need as I can for our XP box. We do have to have a Windoze machine in the household for my and my wife's work requirements, but mostly these days, it just acts as a print server. Different strokes for differnet folks:rolleyes:
  16. Grolubao macrumors 65816


    Dec 23, 2008
    London, UK
    This is the problem... When you start getting virus and spyware, and all of a sudden your system starts to get really slow, you will remember why you went to apple in the first hand.

    Don't take me wrong, there are some truth in your post, for sure if you want to play games go for a PC, but at the speed things are going you buy a PC and the next day games don't run on it anymore, so you rather stick to a console, that is dedicated to gaming.

    I too agree that apple sometimes is too restrictive in it's own system, you can tell by the law suits on companies with hackintoshs.
  17. Abstract macrumors Penryn


    Dec 27, 2002
    Location Location Location
    Anyway, I agree with you. :) You bought a nice system in the Dell Studio XPS, so if you were going to switch, I guess you really did get a decent machine. Also, Windows XP is probably as buggy than Leopard, if not more so. ;)

    I've thought about switching to a Dell, and maybe trying to get OS X installed on it. That way, I can have better hardware specs and a lot more options to choose from, and save a bit of money. However, when I priced out a Dell to be more similar to Mac laptops, I found that the difference in price between Macs and PCs is a bit exaggerated (although Macs are still more expensive). Ok, so I won't save money, but if I want a 15" laptop with a 1650 x 1080 resolution, I probably won't have to wait 1 or 2 Apple updates (which will take 12-16 months) just for it to trickle down to the bottom-end MBP after 3 updates.

    With regards to OS X86, updates to OS X would be more difficult to do, but even when a new 300 MB update for OS X is announced, I rarely download it. I was on OS 10.5.3 until 3 weeks ago. :p If things are stable, they're stable, so I rarely update unless there's a reason worth 300 MB of space.

    If I ever switch, I'll have to wait until to be released Windows 7 first. That, and ensure that I can install OS X on it (in case I still want/need to use it).
  18. barr08 thread starter macrumors 65816


    Aug 9, 2006
    Boston, MA
    Oh man, I really wanted to get some work done today...

    True, and I haven't actually used the beta, but I just don't see this coming out and being totally stable like XP and OS X any time soon. Look at how long it took Vista - we'd like to think MS would learn from that mistake, but who knows.

    To me, remote desktop feels like you are actually at your home machine. The app takes care of resolution, desktop settings, optimization, etc.

    I wish I had some solid evidence to support this, which is why I initially didn't want to include this point in my first post. But that's just the way I feel. I feel like I can just do more. But you're right, without solid evidence this is a crap-shoot. If something occurs to me during while using the OS in the near future, this will be the first place I post about it.

    In my experience on my iMac, XP ran quicker and just seemed generally more responsive than OS X. I got things done faster.

    I did and was using the method I believe you are speaking of. But tell me that's just as easy as plugging my blackberry in, viewing the contents of the micro SD card in windows explore, and dragging and dropping any type of music file.

    I find the microsoft office suite in XP much better than in OS X. More features, less buggy, etc. I know this seems unfair, as MS makes both the OS in question and the application suite, but Office is a tool used by millions of people in thousands of major companies world wide. I would argue it's the most productive app on a personal computer. It should run much better than it does in OS X. I have experience with OS X versions 2004 and 2008, as well as XP versions 2003 and 2007.

    I didn't mean games are Apple's bread and butter, I meant that "it just works" is. I'm pretty sure exchanging the PSU in a PC box is much easier than in any Mac (except maybe a MP). Personally, I have been using XP for quite some time, and everything that plugs into it has worked without having to google my own drivers (that's not neccesarily the case for x64 XP, of course). I don't know the exact numbers, but I would bet anything that more USB things work in Windows. For example, I just bought a $2 tiny USB bluetooth dongle that adds bluetooth to my PC, but I don't think this would also work on OS X.

    We could go back and forth on this all day. Trust me when I say I see your points and agree with you on many of them. I am not trying to say XP is better - just that my experience with XP is better day-to-day.
  19. leekohler macrumors G5


    Dec 22, 2004
    Chicago, Illinois
    If everything you're doing is PC-related, why would you buy a Mac? I don't even think there's a discussion here. I prefer Macs to PCs, but I'm also in a field that uses Macs exclusively, so it makes even less sense for me to ever consider a PC.

    It seems to me that gaming is important to you, so you made the right choice. I don't see this as Mac vs PC, just buying what you need. Even so, having used both and having XP on my BlackBook, I've used XP maybe three times. I still find Windows to be as much a nightmare as it was in '95.
  20. Ames macrumors member

    Jan 31, 2008
    I just use them both. I do work on a PC; both at the office and at home. I do my personal stuff on OS X; mainly web surfing, email, and Twitterific.
  21. barr08 thread starter macrumors 65816


    Aug 9, 2006
    Boston, MA
    True, there would be no discussion here, if I was looking for a means to an end. I already made my decision, and I wrote this not only to centralize my ideas for personal reflection, but also to get the opinions of people who share my interests, and people who have opinions that I have come to respect.

    If this was black and white "what should I buy", then you would be right, silly question. It isn't, though - I'm trying to qualify both operating systems and compare them to one-another not about my personal use, but about the OS in general, the trends apple has created, and a discussion about optimization and ease of use.
  22. marbles macrumors 68000


    Apr 30, 2008
    EU mostly
    Good interesting read.

    I've been thinking similar things to yourself I suppose what really tips the boat for me is Apple's arrogance with certain issues such as removing Firewire from Macbooks for instance - I know its a can of worms to mention it but it gets the point across-

    Locking users out of a certain functions making things difficult, seemingly just for the sake of it which is hard to explain but after using a Mac for a while one want's to do a bit more than the current system allows, if you know what I mean?.

    Maybe Apple should have two Operating systems , one for new users where everything is controlled and 'just works' and another for more experienced folk who like to tweak and generally care for the system themselves, a little more windows like .

    Here's an idea , how about Apple and Microsoft create a singular OS , one for every one that actually does 'just work'

    You & I know it can be done & so do they, in-fact they've probably already done it but make more money as things are .....
  23. gkarris macrumors 604


    Dec 31, 2004
    "No escape from Reality..."
    Same here. I think HP as far as an out-of-box solution is the way to go...

    I'm trying out Windows 7 and it seems to be just fine.

    As far as Dell specs and pricing, work's getting me a new Dell 13" laptop and with the same specs as the Aluminum MacBook (but the MacBook has a larger hard drive), the Dell is actually $200 more... :eek:

    So much for Dell being "cheaper" or "better specs"...
  24. mak10 macrumors regular

    Feb 6, 2009
    Like some other people said, my experience was the exact opposite... and my reason for switching was basically Dell. I used to recommend Dell and Gateway over HP and Compaq and whatever other brand was out at the time, to everyone that asked... if you asked me today, I would say the exact opposite, Do not buy a Dell. The only dell I've had that worked fine was the Desktop I got when I went away to college in 2000... it still works and acts as a file server, so I can't complain about that one, but the laptops are pieces of **** and if the build quality of the latest laptops is that bad I can't imagine the desktops are any better (but I could be completely wrong).

    I've grown up with PC's and always looked down on Mac's as being more for schools and less tech savvy people. 9 years ago you couldn't even get me to talk about a mac without making a face of disgust. I thought there was no way that I could do the same things on a Mac that I could do on my PC. So after college I bought the Dell 9100 Laptop, big ass thing, built for gaming in a laptop. It was good for about a year I would say. After that it started to get extremely sluggish and eventually wouldn't run any games correctly. I would reformat and start over and it would be fine for a month or so, but then it would crawl again. So eventually I stopped using it for games and just used it for school work, photoshop, flash, stuff like that..... Until it started overheating. It got to the point where I couldn't use it on my lap (even with a cooling pad) for more than a half hour before it would just shut down unexpectedly cause it was too hot. I know this is a laptop specific problem, but it's also a problem with Dell. My mom's dell was the same way, as was one of my good friends.

    So after my moms laptop got to slow to even function, I convinced her to get a MacBook, mainly for the fact that I probably wouldn't have to fix it every other day, and I was right. She was able to figure it out, never had any problems, and I have't gotten a call about a computer question in a long time. And after my 9100 completely died, I decided to give the MacBook Pro a try. They had recently made the switch to intel (i didn't get it till the core2duo though) so I knew if I needed to I could run windows for somethings.

    So the first thing I did was installed parallels so I could play online poker since full tilt didn't have a mac client at the time. And that was the only thing I found myself using it for. And now that Full Tilt has a mac client, I never boot up parallels, there's no reason to. I've never run into a problem where something I needed to do could only be done on a PC. The computer hasn't slowed down over time, and runs like it's brand new.

    So I was a hardcore PC guy, never thought I would switch, for the same reasons you mentioned you did switch above, but now I don't think I could go back. And I hope you have better luck with the Dell down the road than I did.
  25. Melrose Suspended


    Dec 12, 2007
    Oh so true... I be living proof of this. My Mac never slows down :)

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