The Pros and Cons of Macs and PCs

The pros and cons of Macs and PCs are often discussed as the rivalry between Macs and PCs is on a par with that between Coke and Pepsi. Apple’s popular advertisements depicted hip Mac people and square PC people. The former wears a sport coat and sneakers, uses his computer for chat, music and creative pursuits, while the latter is dressed in a starchy business suit and fails to appreciate creativity.

PC enthusiasts would describe Mac man as a smug slacker with an overpriced toy incapable of serious computing. But as an indication of the weakness of stereotypes, Macs now have a 7.5 percent share of the market, and are no longer confined to artists and writers who are probably technically unemployed.

Both machines use Intel processors, although PCs can sometimes use processors from AMD. Both obtain memory, graphics cards, and hard drives from the same small selection of suppliers. Their operating systems have markedly different flavors, but are surprisingly similar in terms of functionality.

Ease of Use

Macs are generally easier to use than PCs. New models have built-in video tutorials, a consistent look and feel to all applications, and simpler, drag-and-drop-based actions. Some tasks can be very confusing, and you are in danger of losing your entire collection of music if you fail to follow the right steps exactly when moving your iTunes libraries to an external hard drive.

This is, however, better than the unending barrage of error messages you will receive from the average PC. Windows has become less prone to crashing in recent years, but the security features of the latest Vista machines will see you clicking “continue” endlessly. The Windows Vista operating system is so new, there is little online support when you encounter a problem.


Macs start up much faster, partly because the Mac operating system is optimized for Mac hardware while Windows is compatible with a huge array of components from different manufacturers, necessitating time-consuming equipment checks at start-up time.


Macs used to be superior in terms of keyboard comfort and overall design, but PCs have improved in the last few years. PCs are better for hardware due to the different prices, designs, and sizes available and bleeding-edge technologies such as high-def Blu-ray disc playback and mobiles broadband. The build quality of PCs can, however, vary wildly depending on the manufacturer, while Macs all hail from Apple and have consistent quality.


While most peripherals such as mice, monitors, speakers, and keyboards work on both Macs and PCs, many new-fangled gadgets such as media extenders, storage drives, USB gadgets, and MP3 players only work on PCs. If you would like to try the latest hardware on your computer, a PC is perhaps the better bet for you, but if your requirements are not at all out of the ordinary, either machine will suit you.


PCs support a much greater variety of software. Napster and Rhapsody only work with PCs. Major gaming hits are released for the PC first, and many games are not released on the Mac at all. Graphics tend to be much more detailed on PCs. If you desire ease-of-use, you will be happy with the software available for the Mac, but if you absolutely have to try the latest applications and services, you will have to get a PC.


There are some other considerations. The battery life of MacBooks is five to seven hours, while newer PCs can run for between seven and nine hours on a single charge. PCs are the target of the majority of computer viruses. The leading PC companies offer one-year warranties which include telephone support, while telephone support for Macs ends after 90 days unless you wish to shell out more.

The upshot is that if you’re an early-adopter, a techie, a movie or TV maven, a gamer, or are just strapped for cash, you would prefer a PC. If you are new to computing, wish a minimum of bother, and need to start working right now and not wait for two minutes while your PC boots up, you would be better off with a Mac. As can be seen, the pros and cons of Macs and PCs are determined by the kind of person you are.