Mac vs PC

I would like to talk about the differences between the two.  I know that there are tons of websites out there that talk about this topic, but I would like to give my insight into why people from both camps would prefer one over the other.

Software availability

  • There are some software that are available only for a PC.  For example, Wonderland Online, is only available for the PC.  Furthermore, there are software that are available only to Macintosh (Apple) users.  In most cases, software is developed for both platforms.  Although, one may find the odd online game or online application requiring one or the other but not both.

NOTE:  This problem can usually be solved by installing a Virtual Machine that will run the competing OS in a virtual environment.  MacIntosh AKA Apple currently has the ability to run Windows on their machines.  I do know know if Windows can emulate Macintosh computers.  Although, anyone who tries will probably get sued by Apple.

Usability and setup

NOTE: In the case of the usability of the GUI desktop, I can only assume that Windows and MacIntosh AKA Apple are pretty much identical.  In other words, users of both camps should be able to adjust fairly quickly to using a competing OS’s GUI desktop without much fuss.

Macintosh AKA Apple

  • Easy to use and setup – Everything you need is pretty much pre-installed.  If the computer crashes, you will need the OS disk to reinstall.  This is the last resort if all else fails.  Since all Macintosh computers are built with hardware that must be Macintosh approved, the drivers will always work.  Any company that tries to make Macintosh compatible hardware without Apple’s approval will get sued.

PC compatibles

  • Easy to use and setup – Most companies and/or small shops will setup the computer for you.  If the computer crashes, you will need the OS disk supplied by the manufacturer to fix it.  If you bought the PC from a large company such as Dell, HP, or Gateway, they will have a custom disk that should bring the computer back to the state when the OS was first installed.  Furthermore, hardware and/or software updates can usually be found at their website.  Since the hardware is pretty much all the same for all computers, the OS should be able to bring the computer back to the factory installed state.
  • If you bought the PC from a small shop, you will have to figure out how to get the hardware to work after the install.  This may require popping in the hardware driver’s CD/DVD or downloading the driver from the Internet from the hardware manufacturer’s website.  Windows, in most cases, will detect all the hardware installed.  Therefore, getting the drivers may not be necessary.

Customization

Macintosh AKA Apple

  • Cannot customize – A Macintosh is pretty much as you see it.  Default case and hardware.  You cannot get another manufacturer’s hardware and expect it to work.  It must be Macintosh hardware.

PC

  • There are many different suppliers out there.  Cases can be made from steel, aluminum, acrylic and others.  The hardware also has many different suppliers.  Basically, if you like to build a computer that is completely different, you can.  I have an article that talks about the different components and how to pick them.  You can read my article at http://asecurepc.com/wiki/doku.php?id=before_you_buy_a_computer.

Price range

Macintosh AKA Apple

PC

  • Lots of competition – Competition has forced prices down.  Since there are many suppliers for the different hardware, people can pick and choose what they want.  Back in the day, PC’s were called IBM and IBM compatibles.  See http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/IBM_compatible for more information.

Replacing parts

Macintosh AKA Apple

  • Replacing broken hardware – I never had a Macintosh so I cannot say how difficult or easy it is. Although, Macintosh is known to only use specific parts.  for example, all Macintosh AKA Apple computers use Intel CPUs, Intel video cards, Intel motherboards, etc that are designed for Macintosh computers.  Therefore, one cannot purchase parts from any manufacturer.  One must purchase directly from a Macintosh AKA Apple store to get a part that will work.

PC

  • Replacing broken hardware – You can replace the hardware as needed.  Not all components need to be replaced.  I have a 56k modem installed that I kept for ten years.  It still works and is currently installed in my one year old computer.  I also kept five year old fans that still work.  They are also currently installed.  The problems are when the slot changes or the OS no longer supports the hardware.  Then the part cannot be used.


Case design

Macintosh

  • Cosmetically pleasing – Looks nice and space saving.  There is limited case types though.

PC

  • Coolermaster, Antec, Acrylic (clear plastic) and wooden cases can be found.  Well the wooden one will have to be custom made.  They range in size and type.  Some cases are quite ugly, but you can find some nice ones out there.

Noise level

Macintosh AKA Apple

  • Very quiet

PC

  • A PC can be designed to be very quiet.  One needs to understand what parts create noise and what is available to reduce or eliminate the noise.  Furthermore, it may cost a little more to buy a silent computer, but it is worth it.  I have a setup of a computer that is very quiet, and it can be built inexpensively.  You can find the setup at http://asecurepc.com/wiki/doku.php?id=build_a_silent_computer

NOTE:  Building a silent custom computer, in most cases, will cost more than a pre-built system from Dell, HP, Gateway, etc.  Therefore, building a custom computer is more for users who either like to know what they are buying or like specific parts and/or companies.

Viruses

This chart will explain why.  You can see the chart here.  Click on Operating Systems under the report heading in the left bar.

Macintosh

  • Few – Macintosh is rarely used in banks and other businesses.  If a hacker wants to break into a system, they would want to break into a system that is used by a majority of the people and companies.  In the case of Macintosh (Apple), they have about 5% market share.

PC

  • Many – As you can see from the chart, there are more Windows users than Macintosh users.  If a hacker wants to wreak havoc or steal important information, an OS with a bigger market share may provide better results.  Windows currently has about 91% market share.

If you want to be very safe, use an operating system that very few people use.  BSD is a good option.  It can have a million security holes in it, and I pretty sure that you will find that nobody will even bother to enter them.  The reason is simple.  The user is probably just toying with the OS.  They will not use it to look at bank account information or credit card statements.  Furthermore, if a user does use it to do banking, he/she probably does not have enough money to make it worthwhile.

Unfortunately, I have been unable to find the article that backs up the claim above.  There was a test done where both Windows and Linux machines were left with unpatched security holes.  Both machines were scanned for security holes and the Windows machine was infected within a few hours while the Linux machine was left alone.

An article that goes in depth about computer security and the competing OS’s can be read at http://www.theregister.co.uk/2003/10/06/linux_vs_windows_viruses/

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Comparison_of_BSD_operating_systems is an article that will give you an idea of what versions of BSD is out there.  These are liveCD’s, so they will run off a CD.  They will not make any changes to your computer, so it is safe to run.  If you want to run the operating system that is in your computer after running a liveCD, shutdown or restart the computer with the liveCD and remove the liveCD.  Your computer will start with what was installed before.

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