Windows or Mac computers

Tips & Hints

Should I get a Mac or Windows computer?

13 February 2001

Nothing can generate more heat than a Mac vc PC argument. But for most computer users all the emotion is irrelevent. The question is what computer will work best for you.

Most of the arguments used by both sides are nonsense

PC salespeople will tell you Mac don't have as much software as PC's, this is only true for high-end games and some industry specific programs. For general use there are plenty of home and small business software packages for the Mac.

The Mac fans will tell you Macs are easier to use. This was true in 1994, but with the release of Windows 95 this argument became largely irrelevant.

Mac fans will also boast that a Mac is as powerful as a super-computer. It may well be, but most computers have more power today than the programs need.

Cost is a major battleground in the argument. Macs are more expensive to buy, but tend to be more reliable. Over the life of the computer, most homes and small businesses will spend about the same on their computers whether they buy a Mac or a PC. A more important aspect to the running cost of computers are the printer's consumables.

What do your friends, relatives and colleagues use?

This is the most important question. Your computer must be compatible with the people you share files with. Having the same type of computer as your friends, relatives and colleagues is essential.

None of us know everything and we have to turn to friends and colleagues to show us how to do things. If your computer is different to everyone else's then you are going to have problems finding out how to do things. Having friends and workmates who can help you is the quickest and cheapest support.

If you are using your computer for work, then your computer must be compatible with your industry. Even with programs that are available in both Mac and PC versions there can be subtle differences that change your work. By keeping to the same standards, there are less incompatibilities and it is easier to find staff and consultants that know your system.

Is the software available?

At the beginning of the article we did say that it didn't really matter for general use. But if you have a specific program you want to run then check that the computer you are going to buy will run the software. Some specific software and hardware is only available on one or the other platforms. Check before you buy.

A computer is a tool to do a job. That job might be chatting to friends on ICQ, creating sound files or writing letters. Whatever the job is you need to do, make sure you have the right tool. Ask around and take any of the outlandish claims by zealot friends or workmates with a grain of salt.

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