MacBook Vs. PC – Why I Chose PC (And Why I Later Chose a Mac)

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The last 5-10 years have brought about amazing changes in computer technology. Much of corporate America and most government agencies still use Windows-based PCs. But many companies are opening the doors to Macs. The reason? Most popular deliverables can be made on either platform. Think about the software you use most frequently. In some cases,…

The last 5-10 years have brought about amazing changes in computer technology. Much of corporate America and most government agencies still use Windows-based PCs. But many companies are opening the doors to Macs.

The reason? Most popular deliverables can be made on either platform. Think about the software you use most frequently. In some cases, you will only be able to do certain tasks on certain computer platforms.

But many apps are now cross-platform or can be accessed via cloud computing tools. For example, many of the following programs are platform agnostic: Microsoft Office, Adobe Suite, PDF software, email clients, etc.

That isn’t to say that your choice of computer platform doesn’t matter – it does. But it means that your choice of computer platform may have less of an impact than it may have 5 or 10 years ago.

This article, for example, details my previous decision-making process of choosing a Dell computer instead of buying a MacBook. At the time, I was using an old laptop running Windows. It was in sore need of an upgrade. I needed a faster and more powerful computer to run this website and others.

At the time, I was still working in Corporate America. Though that had little to do with my decision-making process since I could take my work computer home when I need to work remotely.

At the time, I thought long and hard about going with the sleeker and sexier MacBook, but in the end, I decided to go with a PC again. There were a lot of factors that went into my decision, but in the end, I just couldn’t justify spending twice as much for a computer based on my needs.

I know the MacBooks are great computers, but for me, the decision was about more than just a sexy package and being able to sit with the cool kids at lunch.

I outline my decision-making process at the bottom of the article.

However, about a year and a half after buying my Dell laptop, I purchased my first MacBook Pro laptop. This was in the summer of 2009. That MacBook Pro served as my full-time computer through April 2015, when it was still running well (with an upgrade in RAM and a new SSD hard drive).

I replaced that with a newer and more powerful MacBook after over six years of service. I continue to use that MacBook Pro as my main computer. (Two laptops in 10 years ain’t bad, especially considering that I am online all day!).

 

Today – I Use Both a MacBook and a Computer Running Windows 10

Today, I use my MacBook Pro for about 95% of my computing needs. I do, however, own a Microsoft Surface Pro running Windows 10. It’s a great machine (though I don’t care for the ergonomics; I wish I would have purchased a traditional laptop instead of a tablet with a kickstand).

I use the Microsoft Surface because I sometimes need to use a Windows-based computer to access certain government websites (I am a member of the Air National Guard, and some websites don’t work as well with my Mac).

After switching to the MacBook, I did everything I could to avoid using a Windows computer. I was not a fan of Windows 7 or Windows 8. And don’t get me started on Vista!

However, Windows 10 is actually a nice operating system. I’m not as familiar with it as I am with the Mac OS. But it doesn’t seem to have as many quirks as the previous Windows operating systems. I could get by with it as my main computer if I had to. Though I do prefer to use my Mac.

Are Macs Better than PCs?

Honestly, I don’t think you can go wrong with either computer as long as you are buying the machine that best meets your needs. In the end, I decided a Mac was worth the added expense for me. The MacBook Pro feels solid, is faster than my comparably equipped PC, and is more fun to use.

But I also recognize it can be very difficult to compare the two computers. They use different operating systems, have different specs, come with different software arrangements, and other factors.

Instead of looking at the price tag, consider which features you want and/or need, then price out comparable computers and see which computer is the best solution for you.

I spent much more money upfront on the two MacBook Pro computers I have purchased. But they have lasted me a combined nine years at this point, making them a very good overall investment.

Below are the thought processes I went through when I made my last two major computer purchases:

Why I Bought a MacBook (Circa 2010)

Over a year and a half ago I wrote an article comparing MacBooks vs. PCs, and why I chose a PC. At the time, the PC was the right choice for me. I researched my options and purchased a Dell laptop for roughly half what it would have cost me to purchase a MacBook with comparable features (at the time I wasn’t interested in the software that came with the MacBook).

Fast forward almost 2 years and I changed my tune. Why? There are several reasons.

It Just Works

I’ll be honest, I’ve never liked this slogan. It sounds pretentious and my PCs have always worked just fine. The blue screen of death everyone complains about? I’ve experienced it twice in over a decade of owning a PC.

But there is some truth to Apple’s slogan. My biggest complaint about using a PC is the little inconveniences that frequently arise, such as the boot-up time when starting the computer or bringing it out of sleep mode, constant anti-virus updates, searching for new drivers, software issues, and the requirement to reboot your computer every time you upgrade virtually any software program.

Nothing stifles creativity or productivity like having to reboot your computer in the middle of your work stream. I’ve had to reboot my MacBook when making major software upgrades, but not nearly as frequently as with my PC.

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My time has become more valuable

Time is the most valuable commodity on earth. You cannot replace it with money or material goods. Simply put, I have spent too much time dealing with the inconveniences listed above.

I spend at least an hour each week waiting for my computer to boot up, dealing with driver issues, rebooting my computer for various programs or updates, and other small problems. None of them are exceptionally time to consume, but they add up.

The OS and Software rock

I am a slow adopter when it comes to technology. I had to see the Mac OS in action several times, talk to friends, and try it out before making the jump. After researching what Macs have to offer, I decided I like the Mac OS and resident programs better than the equivalent programs that come standard with a PC.

To be fair, Windows 7 is great. I think it is a big improvement over other MS operating systems and there are several features I prefer about Windows 7 over the Mac OS. But overall, I prefer the quality, build, and software of the MacBook over similar PCs I looked at.

But Macs are more expensive than PCs!

Yes, they are. But maybe not as much as you think. In my opinion, there are three key components to consider when comparing Macs and PCs. 1). Overall system configuration (hardware), 2.) Software 3.) Quality.

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Comparing Hardware for MacBooks and PCs. When comparing Macs and PCs it is easy to take a quick look at the system specs and decide a MacBook is overpriced for what you get. It is relatively easy to find a PC with the same amount of hard drive space, RAM, screen size and other configurations for about half the price of a MacBook. But there is more to value than just system specs. Component quality plays a big role.

Software. The standard software that comes with a Mac is, in my opinion, better quality than the standard software that comes with a PC, since most PCs come with limited software outside of the Operating System. You can buy similar programs for the PC, but that requires two things: research (time) and money, both of which are in tight supply these days. Mac software is also designed to work efficiently with the Mac hardware and other Mac programs, which is something software designed for PCs doesn’t do as well.

Quality. The final tip goes to the quality of the product. MacBook Pros are built from a solid piece of aluminum so they are sturdy and durable. They are made with high-quality materials and have a slew of nice to have features not found on entry-level PCs. A couple of good examples are the backlit keyboard and the multi-touch keypad.

My Decision to Stick with a PC (Circa 2008)

This section of the article was written in late-2008. Surprisingly, much of it still stands, with the exception of specific computer specs.

MacBook vs. PC – My Needs

I needed a new laptop to run this website and others. I only plan on using the laptop for business needs, which include running a few websites, minor photo editing, web browsing, e-mail, and other online apps.

I don’t need a computer for video editing, heavy photo editing, music editing, etc. These are tasks where the MacBook outshines the competition, especially when you consider most of the software is included in the price. But most of that software is beyond my needs.

Online access. Because my business is online, I need online access everywhere I go. This isn’t a problem most of the time because I have wireless internet at home and I can always jump on a free wi-fi hotspot at a cafe if I need access away from home. But what if there is no free wi-fi and I need internet access? I can use my cell phone as a modem on a PC (my cell phone is powered by Windows Mobile on a T-Mobile unlimited plan), but I can’t use my cellphone as a modem on a MacBook. The only alternative would be to pay for a wireless card through my cell provider. That service is very expensive, and currently unnecessary with my PC.

How often does this happen? Every time I go to an airport that wants to charge $10 a day for internet access, some hotels, and a 5-day stretch earlier this year when we lost internet at home due to a large storm front that came through our area. In other words, often enough that it is a big factor in my decision-making process.

MacBook vs. PC – Cost

The MacBook costs roughly twice as much as a PC with a comparable hardware configuration. I know the MacBook comes with a lot of additional software that is not standard on a PC, but I don’t need most of the software.

The price of the Dell laptop I purchased was $739 (including MS Office). The closest equivalent MacBook is the new aluminum MacBook, which rings in at $1299 (and has less RAM than the computer I purchased).

Office for the MacBook would add another $140+ to the price. You can save money on an Apple certified refurbished Mac, but I prefer to buy new. I’ve also read about the high cost of Apple’s Service Packs, which is another turn off for me.

MacBook vs. PC – Software

The old argument was that it was difficult to find software for Macs. I don’t think that is the case now, and in fact, a lot of free open source software can be found for both Macs and PCs, though PCs generally have a much larger selection.

The Mac does come standard with much more software, but this wasn’t really a factor for me because I wouldn’t use much of it. PCs don’t usually come standard with much (if any) software.

But if you are upgrading your old computer, you can transfer your old software to your new computer. Otherwise, you can find anything you want, much of it open source.

MacBook vs. PC – Viruses, Malware, etc.

To me, the most attractive feature of the Macs is a lack of known viruses and other forms of malware. But I wouldn’t be surprised if this changes in the next few years as Apple’s market share increases.

There are hundreds of thousands of viruses for PCs. But in the decade-plus that I have been using a PC, I have only had one bad virus. I use anti-virus software, scan everything I download, and only visit trusted sites.

I don’t like the risk of viruses, but it can be mitigated through vigilance and smart computer usage.

MacBook vs. PC – Familiarity

I used my sister’s MacBook when she visited me over Thanksgiving and I had trouble getting used to the keyboard, mouse, and interface. I constantly use the right click button and center wheel on my mouse, both of which aren’t utilized by the mouse on a Mac.

I also use the {home} and {end} buttons and {delete} and {backspace} buttons quite often. Trying to type on the MacBook was frustrating for me. I’m sure this would end up being a minor frustration and I would overcome these issues through regular use.

MacBook vs. PC – Games

I’m not a big gamer, but if you are, then you probably want a PC. There are games for the Mac, but they generally come out later than the PC release and many games are exclusively available on the PC.

MacBook vs. PC – My conclusion

I wanted to convince myself I needed a Mac. I wanted the trendy, new computer that Just Works™. But I took passion and emotion out of the decision-making process and based my decision purely on needs. When I did this, I realized the PC works just fine and I couldn’t justify spending twice as much for a MacBook.

In the end, I don’t think you can go wrong with either a Mac or a PC. They are both high quality and offer users something unique. I understand why people love either computer and/or dislike the other. For my needs, the PC was the way to go.

But I won’t close the door on the Macs – far from it. I wouldn’t be surprised if I buy a Mac my next go round. But I also wouldn’t be surprised if I skipped them both and went with a free open source OS such as the Linux based Ubuntu or something similar. I’m a PC, at least for now.

Back to Today – Choose the Best Computer for Your Needs

There you have it! Honestly, I think the Windows platform is greatly improved in the last 5 years. And there are many great reasons to go with a PC. The software environment has improved, the hardware can be excellent, and there are things you can do with a Windows machine that you simply can’t do with a Mac (the Windows Surface is amazing for creatives and artists!).

And on the flip side, Apple makes great computers as well. This is my preferred computer and software. But they have their downsides.

I haven’t upgraded my current laptop because I don’t like that I would have to buy a bunch of dongles to connect my phone, printer, second monitor, etc.

At the end of the day, the only “best computer” is the computer that is best for your needs.

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About Ryan Guina

Ryan Guina is the founder and editor of Cash Money Life. He is a writer, small business owner, and entrepreneur. He served over 6 years on active duty in the USAF and is a current member of the IL Air National Guard.

Ryan started Cash Money Life in 2007 after separating from active duty military service and has been writing about financial, small business, and military benefits topics since then. He also writes about military money topics and military and veterans benefits at The Military Wallet.

Ryan uses Personal Capital to track and manage his finances. Personal Capital is a free software program that allows him to track his net worth, balance his investment portfolio, track his income and expenses, and much more. You can open a free account here.

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  1. Traciatim says

    @James, you are incorrect. SSD is an option with many PC manufacturers. Macs use the same hardware as PC’s these days, the only real difference is the price (Mac being more expensive), the OS, and the ability for Mac users to feel superior because they spend more.

  2. Michael says

    And that Macs don’t get virsuses, have superior customer service (only have to go to Apple and not two manufacturers, Microsoft and the hardware manufacturer), have amazing one to one training at the Apple store for 100 a year (compare that to Geek Squad), come with a superior set of photo, audio and movie making tools, are much easier to use, are more reliable, last much longer, have a better build quality (again, compare a Mac trackpad to anything else, these things matter), work more seamlessly with iOS devices (which are much better than android or windows devices), boot faster, have a better battery life, tend to get the latest intel tech earlier than pcs, has surperior presentation software and abilities….well, I could go on and on…. PCs aren’t cheaper in the end….especially if you factor in virsuses software and tech support……oh, but I will agree that Macs look nicer too…..we do tend to feel a bit superior when we see our friends suffering from the latest spyware attack (and it isn’t just because there are less Macs…..it’s because bsd is a more secure base than nt)… But hey, what do I know, I guess I just drank the cool aid right?

  3. Scott says

    I was in the same boat. I am a photographer and lifelong Microsoft user, tried out a few linux releases, and survived the Microsoft releases that were pre-windows 10. Until 10, each version was exponentially more problematic and I felt like my existence was reduced to constantly running updates. I even lived through Millennium Edition… The most reinstalled OS of all time! I found myself in the Apple store almost hyperventallating because I had enough of the updates. I was totally on the fence. The customers looked happy compared to how I was feeling about my Windows experience. Perhaps if the prices were lower, I might have pulled the trigger. I had to take a deep breath and walk out of the store. Windows 10 was just being released and rumors were that it would be more stable. I would give Microsoft one last chance.

    I am much happier with the Windows experience now. I also ended up purchasing a MacBook Air for about $300 as a travel laptop between home and work to run my trading platform while at work. Interestingly enough, I use it more than my more expensive windows laptop even when I am at home. It just works and is more enjoyable to use. The MacBook is more predictable. I feel like I know what I am going to get when I sit down to use it. The Windows may or may not suddenly need an update/reboot.

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