Are you a Mac person? Or a PC person? Whichever side you’re on, when it comes time to buy a new computer, how do you really get the most for your money?
Benefits of Buying a PC
PC people love their familiar-to-operate computers. Windows is a well-known operating system and is the one most often taught in schools and tech classes. PCs mesh well with most popular apps, and they’re easy to set up with file sharing, printer sharing, and other commonly-used functions. Most people know a few basic PC tricks, like CLT+ALT+DEL, which will bring up a window to stop an unresponsive program or allow you to shut down a frozen computer.
PCs are fairly inexpensive, but you can purchase high-end systems if the desire strikes. The PC crowd often complains that Macs are too expensive and that learning a new Operating System is too much of a hassle.
Benefits of Buying a Mac
Mac people are often die-hard fans of all things Apple. Some use PCs for work or school, but prefer Macs when given the choice. The Mac interface is intuitive and easy-to-learn, and the Operating System rarely crashes or freezes. There aren’t as many viruses floating around for Macs when compared to PCs, and therefore, antivirus software is often free. Macs are nice to look at and have useful features like lighted keyboards and built in Cloud storage.
The downside? Macs are expensive. The cheapest Mac you can get, the Mac mini, currently sells for $599. In comparison, you can buy a brand new PC tower for $99 (or under). The laptop comparison doesn’t fare much better, with a MacBook Air coming in at $999 and a PC laptop at $199 (or less).
Getting the Most for Your Money
In my opinion, getting the most for your computer dollars depends mostly on what you plan to use your computer for on a day-to-day basis. Macs are better suited for high-end graphics, music composition, and hard daily use. PCs are better suited for everyday surfing, occasional graphics or music projects, and common activities like checking email, composing a document, or storing photos.
For most people, a PC is the best investment for your money. They’re easily replaced and repaired, and easy to use.
Why I Bought Macs
When I first starting writing, the advice I got from my mentor was, “Buy a cheap PC and run it ’till it’s dead. Then buy another cheap replacement.” This advice served me well for the first couple of years, but then I started running into problems. I was using my computer heavily everyday for research, writing, and email, and it just wasn’t holding up to the abuse. I was spending more time troubleshooting, maintaining, and fixing my PC than I was comfortable with. My cheap computers were costing me money by eating up my time and killing my productivity. So I switched.
At first, I was scared to spend so much money on a computer, and I was even more frightened of learning a new Operating System. Windows was all I’d ever known, and with Macs, even the familiar minimize and close buttons on the windows were in the wrong place! But I played around with a Mac in the store and found it was fairly easy to navigate. The sales clerk explained the dock, and I liked the logical arrangement. I took home my first Mac and loaded it with productivity software — it lasted for three years of heavy daily use. When it died, Best Buy refunded my original purchase price, and I went home with an updated smaller Mac with a new service plan and enough money left over to buy my first iPhone. That same Mac is still going after three years of hard daily use. Not a bad deal.
I do have PCs in the house — five, in fact. I have a high-end Toshiba laptop, three cheap laptops, and two netbooks. They each serve a specific purpose in our house, and they each give me their own brands of grief from time to time. But I still keep, repair, and maintain them. The one regret I have is spending $1,500 on the Toshiba laptop because, well, the thing has more quirks than beta app. The cheapy Acer laptop I purchased on a whim because the price was right rarely gives me headaches and runs like a racehorse. Perhaps I got a lemon, perhaps it’s user error. Who knows? But my experience with computers has shown that buying a cheap PC or a Mac yields the best results.
Think carefully about what you want and who you’re buying for. For example, you should buy your student a cheap PC. They’re likely to have problems after banging it around in a book bag full of heavy textbooks, and replacing a cheap PC is much less painful. Just be sure to invest in a backup, cloud or physical, to keep you from losing your work and important apps.
If you’re just going to use your computer for light internet use, purchase a cheap PC. If you plan to run your computer eight hours or more a day, or if you need high-end graphics or music composition capabilities, the Mac is your best bet dollar for dollar. And if neither one fits the bill for your lifestyle, there’s always Linux.
What do you recommend? Tell us about your PC or Mac experiences.