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Here is everything you need to know about the pros and cons of both, a Windows PC and a Mac machine.
There aren’t a lot of things Add Crazy that separate the Macs from the PCs, but then again, they couldn’t be more different either. They might essentially have the same hardware, but their ‘packaging’ and their approach are poles apart. While the PC seems to be more user-friendly and enjoys popularity, the Mac caters to a niche audience. Let’s compare both of them, in all aspects.
An aspect that heavily tilts the balance in favor of PCs is the fact that you have the option to choose and customize your machine right from scratch. You can choose to either go in for a branded computer, which still offers you a fair bit of customization, or you could opt to pick up the best products of all computer manufacturers and assemble them to have your own little supercomputer to cater to all your needs, and to a certain extent, your greed! You can also easily upgrade your old computer to quite an extent with the latest hardware available.
The iMac boasts of some real impressive hardware, which in turn churn out some serious processing power. The only drawback with it is that you do not get to do a great deal of customization with the hardware, as you pick up your iMac. There is no way to assemble a Mac by yourself, as it is solely produced by Apple and comes only in a select few variants. Also, there is very little gradation that you can do with your iMac, although it already has a very impressive spec sheet. Syncing your iPod, iPad or iPhone is a breeze when you have an iMac.
The model under the microscope is the high-end 15″ model, which contains a 2.2ghz Sandy Bride quad-core i7 processor, 4gb ram and a 6750m from AMD. That’s a big upgrade from the previous generation. I’ve also opted for the high-res screen, which is a given in my (mac!)book. *pun intended*
Apart from the high-end 15″ Macbook pro, Apple also offers two 13″ models and a single 17″ machine. Across the board, each model enjoys a faster processor, faster ram, and thunderbolt.
The latter is very interesting and a first for any laptop on the market! I’m actually not going into too much detail about it but basically, it’s Intel’s answer to USB. The connection is capable of transferring video, audio, and data, all simultaneously at very high speeds. That means that a DVD movie will transfer to external storage in about 6 seconds once supported hardware comes out.
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When deciding between models realize that the 13″ models all share an Intel HD 3000 graphics as a sole provider. This is a source of frustration for gamers out there because the chip is pretty weak for modern games. The smaller models also use the gaps between the keys as speaker holes and lack a subwoofer; expect a slightly more tin sound.
The 17″ model has a 1920×1200 display and similar specs to the 15″ Macbook pro. This is both a good and bad thing. The good thing is that you’ll have slightly more screen real estate but gaming on the native resolution will definitely struggle.
Computers, world-over, mainly run on the Microsoft Windows operating system. Easy access and being comparatively easy to set up, most PCs come with some variant of Windows pre-loaded on them. As it caters to more than 90% of computer users, almost all software are designed for Windows PCs. Another feature of the personal computer is the fact that you can choose to have two operating systems on it (two versions of Windows), or if you really want, you can even configure it to have Microsoft Windows and Apple OS on board, although it would be a bit more complicated to set up.
The iMac runs the much acclaimed Apple proprietary, Mac OS. In addition to this, users can also opt in for a dual-boot configuration, wherein one can boot either into Mac OS or Windows as and when one wishes to do so.
When you compare the computer operating systems or study a Mac vs. Windows pros-cons list, you will find that PCs are always backward compatible. This is a major advantage that they have over Macs. New operating systems like Windows 7 can be run on a relatively old PC without much of a hassle. Almost all the software available in the market are Windows compatible and run smoothly on PCs with the required config.
A major chink in the iMac’s armor is the fact that they are not backward compatible. Simply put, it means that most newer Apple Mac OSes will not run on older versions of their iMacs. So, OS X Lion will not run on a Mac Mini, for instance. Also, not all software in the market is designed to run on Mac OS, although most newer software and applications are compatible with both Windows and Mac. In either scenario, as the newer generation of Macintoshes supports both Mac OS and Windows, this shouldn’t really be much of a problem.
Looks and User Interface
Personal computers these days, are no longer the ugly and cumbersome eyesores they used to be. In fact, the ugly duckling seems to have transformed itself into a beautiful and powerful swan! Apart from just the processing power, people, these days opt for beautiful showpieces to add to the aesthetics of the house. To match up to this, MS Windows, the main OS for these elegant machines, is something that is rather simple to use, more so, because, over the years, most of us have gotten used to the interface. The newer versions of Windows, ironically, take a leaf out of their supposed complicated-to-use-rival, the Mac OS, and are even more fine-tuned to try to enhance the entire user experience, with a more polished look.
Till the introduction of the Macintosh, which was a totally new breed of computing machines, all computers in the market were always seen as big ugly pieces of equipment. With the Mac, Apple changed the world’s outlook towards computers. With their compact and beautiful form factor, iMacs these days are absolutely gorgeous, and now even offer up to 27″ of real estate in terms of screen size. This is topped up with a very refined, and contrary to popular belief, a very easy-to-use OS. The Mac OSes have always been quite a spectacle, with their real smooth buttery user interface. Mac OSes have often been mistaken to be extremely complicated to use, wherein, in fact, it is actually one of the best interfaces to work with.
As noted Apple has retained its famous unibody design for this generation of Macbooks. I don’t consider this a bad thing. Built from a single piece of aluminum, this laptop is very scratch resistant and clean looking. My previous Macbook Pro (same design) definitely withstood the test of time. (not a single scratch!)
In my view, this is the best-looking laptop apart from the Macbook Air. Its design is very symmetrical. Everything is exactly where you’d expect it to be. Like how the speaker holes match the vertical space used by the keyboard keys. The width of the hinge also perfectly matches the horizontal keyboard space. Using a combination of black and silver, Apple managed to create something very aesthetically pleasing. However, I’d have loved to see some Macbook Air elements take over. The battery indicator for one seems unnecessary to me and the DVD super drive is bound to disappear. Guess we can expect those changes in a redesign later on.
Security is by far the biggest issue that bothers PC users all over the world. With the Internet boom, which has made Internet connectivity easily available and very affordable, computers everywhere face a constant threat of being attacked by viruses and hackers. Cyber crime is also on the rise, with identity theft and phishing being very rampant. Personal computers are very vulnerable to these attacks, as they are the most widely used computing machines, and their many loopholes have been exposed and exploited by hackers and the many viruses on the prowl.
Security is one area that Apple has always flaunted as one of the biggest strengths of the iMac. The Mac is at a much lesser risk of being under attack from malicious software and hackers because of its security features.
The fact that personal computers have been in the market even before the whole idea of the Macs was conceived, gave them a huge and almost unassailable lead. PCs rule the market, with about 70% of the market share to their name. They cater to a huge segment of the society, right from the basic personal computers at home, up to advanced computers used incorporates for programming and data processing. Hardcore gamers to prefer PCs because they can be easily customized, and you wouldn’t need to pay an arm and a leg to buy one, unlike an iMac with a similar configuration.
Although the market share for the iMac has grown by notches, it still only accounts for a paltry 10% of the consumer market. Apple has always targeted a niche group of consumers and hasn’t wavered from its approach a lot. The concept that Apple follows is to service the premium share of the market, and not compromise on quality, even if this results in a lower market share. iMacs are preferred over the conventional computers in the field of animation, visual effects and sound editing. This is mainly because certain advanced editing and designing software used in these fields are compatible with machines running the Mac OS. Also, some offices use the iMac more for its aesthetic appeal. For the affluent class, their iMacs are their status symbols, although the scenario has changed quite a bit lately.
Now it’s time to put the internals to the test. This is Apple’s fastest notebook offering so my expectations were sky high. The first thing I wanted to have a look at is the battery. Apple advertises 7 hours of battery for every Macbook Pro model it offers. That’s down from 8-10 hours for the previous generation. Most of this is probably due to the faster processor and a new way of testing that supposedly better represents real world results.
I fully charged the laptop and left the settings at default. The brightness sensor was turned on for more realistic results. During the test, I used everyday apps like Microsoft words and Safari. To mix things up some light 3D work was thrown into the mix.
With production costs coming down drastically, and a lot more players entering the PC manufacturing industry, you can get yourself a computer with a decent configuration for lesser than a basic television set. What also helps to make them so popular is the fact that the software for PCs is easily available and at really low rates. Computers no longer seem to be a luxury but instead have become an essential part of daily life for people.
Most people will shout out “Highway robbery”, the moment they hear the mention of Apple, and sadly, the iMac does little to change this notion. The iMac undoubtedly makes you feel a part of an elite group, but it comes at a premium. All-In-One computers these days offer the same, and at times, a better experience, both in terms of looks and performance at a much lower price. But the fact remains that once you’ve had a ‘bite’ of an Apple, you just can’t seem to have enough of it, of course, that is if you can afford it.
Over the years, personal computers and Macs have learned to co-exist, with one being hugely popular with the masses and the other still choosing to cater to a niche group of users. At the end of the day, it all boils down to the user’s requirement. While Apple bashers and PC haters will always look to belittle the other, trying to compare the two would really be like choosing between ‘apples’ and oranges!