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Mac vs PC - Popular Mechanics Review

April 16, 2008 ·

Popular Mechanics has published a very interesting comparison of Apple desktop and laptop performance compared to equivalent PC equipment. In almost all cases the Mac outperformed its PC partner and scored higher ratings in user tests as well. The review is interesting because it compares similar hardware (easier now Macs run on Intel chips) performing similar tasks. Leopard scored higher than Vista in usability and performance. Running Vista on Macs also scored higher in performance in almost all cases (than running Vista on PCs). It's worth reading all four pages of the review and looking in detail at the specs - and the prices, which gives lie to the long-standing myth that Macs are more expensive. The laptops, whilst slightly different specs, are the same price and the Mac desktop is $300 cheaper than the similar Gateway used in the test.

Tags: osx

12 responses

  • 1 Jim Priest // Apr 16, 2008 at 3:29 PM

    It would have been much more interesting had they included WinXP in the mix. And of course they left out the best OS but we won't go there :)
  • 2 Sean Corfield // Apr 16, 2008 at 3:47 PM

    @Jim, true, XP runs much faster than Vista and in much less memory. But XP is not available for purchase any more (unfortunately). We can only hope Microsoft correct course with Windows 7.
  • 3 Gary Funk // Apr 16, 2008 at 5:10 PM

    Actually, you can still buy XP. I just bought 2 units of XP Pro, via an Internet site.
  • 4 shag // Apr 16, 2008 at 7:33 PM

    who would buy a gateway? did they not make it out of the early 90's? i would say this is still a comparison between apples and oranges. mac uses high end components in comparison to any pre-fab pc. there are huge differences in quality components and what you get from most pre-fabs. thats the one thing i like most about macs... sorry apples.
  • 5 Max Hamby // Apr 16, 2008 at 7:47 PM

    @sean - XP is still available for purchase. Just bought 2 upgrade and 2 full licenses from CDW about 3 weeks ago. My rep was surprised when I gave him the part numbers. Turns out that they had just put them back on the market.

    They even had the full retail package listed again (license + media).
  • 6 Ian // Apr 16, 2008 at 8:35 PM

    I just bought a brand-spankin' new laptop from Dell with XP pro. Talk to their business division.
  • 7 Sean Corfield // Apr 16, 2008 at 9:51 PM

    @Shag, if you actually read the article, it points out that many of the components come from the same small pool of suppliers as many PCs. Yes, some components are going to be higher quality - I think the overall build quality is much better - and that makes it all the more remarkable that the Mac costs no more than the lower quality equivalents :)

    @Gary, Max, Ian - good to know XP is still available somewhere... I had no luck finding it for purchase when I looked recently so some links would be useful for all my readers!
  • 8 dave // Apr 16, 2008 at 11:36 PM

    And yet the "pre-fab" pc is more is like $300 more than the apple.

    @xp.. sure they could have used xp but xp is also like 7-8 years old so its better to compare os's that were actually developed in the last decade.
  • 9 Terry Schmitt // Apr 17, 2008 at 5:40 AM

    Available at my favorite shop:

    I believe that XP will be available for sale through June 30 and then available after that only for low-end budget computers to compete with the Asus Eee.
  • 10 Matt Williams // Apr 18, 2008 at 5:19 AM

    The photos of the systems on that review have the subtle Pepsi and Coke cans. Did they get it right that Mac identifies more with Pepsi?

    I'm not sure I believe the price comparison being equal. If I'm looking for a desktop PC, I don't look at all-in-one since I already have a monitor. Without a monitor, I can spec out a fairly souped up box for around $1000. Even if I add a monitor (go for the dual mon setup), I'm under $1300 (Dell: 2.3ghz/3gb/250gb/ATI2400 w/dual DVI). Also for me to convert to a Mac would mean some new software purchases.

    The thing I like best about the Apple Store is the simplicity. The drill down Dell (et. al) require is crazy (Home/Small Business/Large Business -> Model select -> Recommended configs -> Customize). I just want to see some prices please!
  • 11 Matt Williams // Apr 18, 2008 at 5:36 AM

    I suppose I could go for a Hackintosh...
  • 12 Sean Corfield // Apr 18, 2008 at 7:54 AM

    @Matt, when I switched my wife from Windows to Mac it was mostly because when she spec'd out the Dell system she wanted it was close to $800 more than the equivalent Mac... Yes, it was a fairly high end system at the time.