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Mac or PC

Which Comes Out Tops for Business and Home Use

There will never be a clear winner in the age-old debate of whether a Mac beats the PC, or the PC trumps the Mac, but it is infinitely clear that each enjoys a staunch following of devoted fans.

The confusion between which is the better of the two, really comes to light if you are a unbiased consumer looking for the machine that best suits your needs, or a business owner fielding requests from individual employees, arguing the necessity for their preferred platform.

In this article, we will take a look at the following:

  • What's the difference?
  • Frequently asked questions about Macs and PCs
  • Choosing the right platform for your home/schooling requirements
  • Choosing the right platform for your office environment

What's the Difference?

Apple creates both the hardware and software applications for its products. This means that Apple determines specs, costs, and retailers allowed to carry them, and all their software runs seamlessly on their OS X operating system.

Both use new technology like the Intel Core Duo processor, which means that all PC apps are now able to run on a Mac.

Microsoft's Windows is the operating system associated with the majority of PCs in the world. This means that PC manufacturers each have their own deal with Windows for software, and are able to be ultra-competitive in the features and pricing of their hardware.

FAQ's

Both Mac and PC supporters usually take a hard-lined stance on their favoured platform's strengths, and the competitor's perceived weaknesses. From a strictly unbiased perspective, these are the need to know facts on Macs and PCs:

  • Why are Macs more expensive than PCs?
    This is a two-part answer because although the up front cost of a Mac may be higher, the long-term cost can be substantially lower than a PC.

    Apple targets a higher market to begin with - above creating their own software and hardware, they use more expensive components and parts, which results in a higher up front cost. When you buy a Mac however, it is preloaded with the Apple line of software and it literally ready to use right out of the box, with no additional set up or software uploads required.

    PCs open the door for users on a tight budget because competitive prices are within reach of most consumers. Your basic machines at the lowest end of the pricing scale are only capable of email, surfing the internet, and creating basic documents. The costs in upgrading the operating system, increasing memory, or upgrading the software that most PC owners use on a day-to-day basis, is where the long-term costs come in. Depending on what you intend to use your PC for, or how you upgrade it will significantly affect the total cost of your computer.
  • Are Macs best for multimedia, and PCs for business?
    Macs have traditionally held the market in publishing and design, while PCs are the standard in business. It is most likely that Macs will continue to be the go-to in the publishing sector and because of their price and readily available support, PCs are probably going to dominate the business world for some time to come.

    It should be noted however that both platforms are able to perform similar – if not the same functions, with the help of software specific to that use.
  • Can Macs run Windows programs?
    Yes – you are even able to run Windows simultaneously with the Apple OS X platform. Popular Windows programs like Microsoft Word and Excel are also available in a Mac compatible format, however these obviously come at an additional cost.
  • What's with PCs and viruses, and why do they seem so unstable?
    Given that PCs make up the majority of all computers in the world, it makes sense that hackers are more inclined to create viruses for the operating system on which they can cause the most damage. Mac's operating system on the whole, is considered to be more stable though and generally requires less maintenance than a PC. That being said, PC technical support is cheap and easy to come by, while support for a Mac can be a little more challenging to find.

Choosing the right platform for your home/schooling requirements

With so many home computer options on the market, do you find yourself scratching your head as to what is best suited to yours and your family's needs?
Historically, PC has been the go-to choice for the majority of Canadian households. The Mac's greatest drawbacks have revolved around compatibility, usability, support, and price:

  • Compatibility – this really is no longer an issue because Macs are able to run the Windows-based programs, which they were once incapable of doing. Peripherals like printers and scanners may also have only been PC friendly, and although it is best to double-check that your peripherals are compatible with whatever your end choice may be, the majority of computer accessories will work with both the Mac and PC.
  • Usability – because PCs generally rule the workplace, some may find the Mac interface tough to get used to. It shouldn't take long to learn though, because the Mac usability is actually one of their key selling points.
  • Support – because PCs enjoy market share majority, support tends to be easier to source and could be cheaper too. Apple, however, now offers technical support and usability classes through their brick and mortar stores for Mac owners.
  • Price – as mentioned above, up front and long term costs differ for both platforms. When considering which is best for your household needs, take into account what kind of software you will need to satisfy your day-to-day activities, the upgrade fees associated with software and hardware for PCs, and your over-all budget for the machine itself.
  • Choosing the right platform for your office environment

    Again, there is no right or wrong here, although in a business environment you are likely to keep a close eye on the costs of acquisition and maintenance of all business assets, and this alone is a determining factor for so many companies.

    These quick tips will set the tone on how you should choose the platform best suited to your business needs:

    • Keep your bottom line top of mind at all times. If the majority of your employees perform day-to-day business tasks, they will have no need for an expensive Mac to do their jobs properly.
    • Respect the requirement of special machines and software to fit certain roles. Graphics people will request – and need - a Mac for very specific reasons.
    • Browser-based tools like QuickBooks Online and web-based email, often eliminate the Mac vs PC debate all together because they generally only require a basic computer to access and operate and a low end PC will do the trick.
    • Technical support and upgrades will represent an on going cost to your business. Technical support may be harder to come by for a Mac-based shop but if you have a full-time technical expert on staff, this should not make much of a difference to your bottom line. Software upgrades will however be an expensive line item on the books so this may impact your decision to settle on a PC.


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    ThinkStation C30 Tower - Intel Xeon E5-2603 (10M Cache, 1.80 GHz, 6.40 GT/s Intel QPI)
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    Desktop Systems
    Microsoft Wireless Comfort Desktop 5000 USB BlueTrack English
    $79.99
    at  Sears Canada
    Compaq® Wired Desktop 600 Keyboard and Mouse
    $29.99
    at  Sears Canada
    ThinkStation C30 Tower - Intel Xeon E5-2603 (10M Cache, 1.80 GHz, 6.40 GT/s Intel QPI)
    $2,208.00
    at  Lenovo

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