Mac vs PC (Windows) computer for schooling

What kind of computer would you go with


  • Total voters
    24

ClarkKent

Forum Lieutenant
208
1
0
I am a very BIG fan of Apple. I have the Macbook pro 15’, All in one Mac 27’inch screen, iPhone 4, and I am about to get the iPad very soon (with MobileMe for you Mac users). I am trying to get into the Paramedics programs while knocking out my prerequisite for my RN (very close to getting into the RN program, less then one year until I am done with my RN prerequisite). With all the computer programs out there, should I keep with Mac, or should I have access to a PC because some schooling programs are not Mac compatible. What are your thoughts about the different types of computers? If it was up to you, what kind of computer would you go with (price does not matter, only the kind of computer is the question at hand is all that I am asking for).
 

Jay

Forum Lieutenant
132
0
0
Aside from being an EMS professional, I also have a computer science degree from Oxford (Undergraduate Advanced Diploma with Distinction, Computing, Data and Systems Analysis, Kellogg '06). In my professional opinion I would have to suggest buying a Mac if it is within your budget. Mac's are much, much more pricey than PC's but well worth it. Their warranty options (3 Year AppleCare on the MacBook Pro) are best in class. The MacBook Pro is better than the MacBook in my opinion as the plastic has some issues with cracking and overheating but Apple will gladly eat the cost and fix it out of warranty if need be, or at least they had for me in the past. I was told by an Apple technician that those materials issues from the original manufacturing process are now fixed but if I have the $$$ than I would prefer the aluminum body of the Pro. Some people may say that all that is great but some programs are Windows only. Yes, and there are many options to run Windows both nativity (using Apple's BootCamp) or via emulation using a program such as VMware's Fusion which I have had much success with in the past as well. I would even go as far as saying to buy the Apple product even just for the better quality hardware and run Windows on it if you would really like but why? You can run both Mac applications, Windows apps as well as UNIX using X apps as it is built on a UNIX kernel. Much more variety. Really is the best of both worlds and so that I can do professional work such as software development, I own several computers including both Mac's and PC's and found this to be true with my own equipment as well as equipment that I recommended to clients that have thanked me time and time again for the advice.
 

JJR512

Forum Deputy Chief
1,336
4
36
I am also going to suggest Macintosh but I have some slightly different views on the matter from Jay.

First, Macintoshes are actually not "much, much more pricey" than PCs. If you look at a Macintosh when that particular product range is updated, then compare to similarly-equipped PCs, you will see the prices are only slightly higher. Again, this is comparing Macs to SIMILAR PCs. Yes, there are many PCs for far less than any Macintosh, but their specs are also far less than any Macintosh, so those are fair comparisons. Now, the problem with Macintosh pricing is that once they update the product line, the prices will remain the same until the next refresh, which is usually a year or longer. This is a problem because while the Macintosh price stayed the same, those same similar PCs have gone down in price over time. That being said, many studies of "total cost of ownership" have found Macintoshes to cost less total money over a period of a few years, compared to similar PCs. The savings comes from reduced tech support costs, practically no need to buy anti-virus programs or subscriptions for them, and other factors.

What Jay says about the plastic Macbooks was true with an older design, but to my knowledge has not been true of the newer design. I could have missed it, though. I agree, though, that the aluminum unibody models (the MacBook Pros) are the way to go, for a variety of reasons.

What Jay says about running Windows on a Mac is very true. I have used both methods he mentioned, Apple's Boot Camp and VMware Fusion. Boot Camp is not an emulator. Understand that a modern Macintosh is, at it's heart, a PC computer. Windows can run on the hardware natively. Boot Camp is nothing more than a dual-boot utility that gives you the option of booting into Windows instead, just as there are dual-boot utilities for regular PCs that let you pick Windows or Linux, for example. Fusion, and a competing product called Parallels Desktop, are emulators; they run inside the Mac OS, and create a "virtual machine" that mimics a standard PC runtime environment, so Windows can be installed to the virtual machine, and any Windows programs can then be installed, etc. The disadvantage of a virtual machine is that not all of the power of the computer is available, since some of the power must still be used to maintain the native OS. For office productivity apps, or just about anything other than 3D games, virtual machine will run just about as smoothly as if it was native-booted.

The flexibility of the Mac in terms of also being able to run Windows is also worth considering when you're looking at the price. Consider that a Windows PC is just that, a Windows PC. Consider that a Macintosh is not just a Macintosh, but also a Windows PC. Buying a Macintosh computer is like buying two computers for the price of one (OK...a little bit more than one, really!).

Really, though, all of that is nothing compared to the next bit of advice. The best reason to recommend a Mac to you, ClarkKent, is that you are already a fan of them, already know them, and are already familiar with them. You already know you like it...stick with what you know you like.
 

Veneficus

Forum Chief
7,301
16
0
I like the PC because I can fix/upgrade it myself.

Since I travel a lot, sending my computer to the mac store or having to actually go to one is not really practical for me.

Parts are available everywhere and I find them to be really reliable anyway, never had one last less than 5 years, most average 8 before it is just better to buy a new one.

Most of my friends with Macs love them, their only complaint is sometimes the new software lags behind the PCs.

I don't see anything wrong with Mac at all, as what I use a computer for, it would serve my purposes. It plays my video games, it has a webcam, 4 USB ports, and a fairly long plug that doesn't force me to sit on top of the outlet in the airport or coffee place.
 

Veneficus

Forum Chief
7,301
16
0
I don't see anything wrong with Mac at all, as what I use a computer for, it would serve my purposes. It plays my video games, it has a webcam, 4 USB ports, and a fairly long plug that doesn't force me to sit on top of the outlet in the airport or coffee place.

Apparently I cannot spell type or use a pronoun properly anymore.

I meant to say the PC instead of "it."
 
OP
OP
ClarkKent

ClarkKent

Forum Lieutenant
208
1
0
never had one last less than 5 years, most average 8 before

I know a few Mac users, and some of them have had there Mac now for over ten years and it has not even slowed down yet. PC, after a while, will take about half an hour to just boot-up. I have not found that many computer virus for Mac, only PC. That is why I am loving mine so far. I am just really worried about getting into medical school, just to find out they 99% of the programs they will want me to use will be PC based or will require Internet Explorer. Some of the web programs that I use at the Sheriff's Department will not allow me to view then on Safari, Chrome, nor Firefox only Internet Explorer.

Yes, and there are many options to run Windows both nativity (using Apple's BootCamp) or via emulation using a program such as VMware's Fusion which I have had much success with in the past as well. I would even go as far as saying to buy the Apple product even just for the better quality hardware and run Windows on it if you would really like but why? You can run both Mac applications, Windows apps as well as UNIX using X apps as it is built on a UNIX kernel.

If I do run BootCamp and have both OSX and windows on my Mac, would I be opening up my computer to more computer virus? How much (if any) will it slow done my computer like most PC do over time? Most Mac users I have talked to so their computer run just as the day that got it. PC after time, will take a life time to load up. I do not want that happening. When I need access to my computer, I want it fast.
 

JJR512

Forum Deputy Chief
1,336
4
36
If you use Boot Camp, your Mac will ordinarily start up just as fast as it always did. By default, it does not give you the option to start Windows. To get that option to appear, you have to hold down the Option key while it is booting up. So unless you do that, it will boot into OS X just as quickly as it did before.

You can set an option in Boot Camp to start in Windows by default, if for some reason you wanted it like that.

As far as opening up the Mac to viruses...You can make Windows be unable to see the OS X hard drive. This makes it impossible for a virus to be transmitted. I believe that by default, Windows installed on a Boot Camp partition is enabled to see the OS X hard drive, and disabling that access is something that has to be done manually (if I remember correctly). Also, even if a virus intended for Windows entered an OS X system, it probably wouldn't do anything anyway. Just like a full-blown computer program, the virus would need to be written specifically for OS X to actually infect it.

Unless you need for Windows to have full use of all the power of the computer, I would suggest that using a virtual machine program, like VMware Fusion or Parallels Desktop might be the better option. For one thing, if you realize you need to run a Windows program, you don't need to reboot the computer to get to Windows; you start Windows from within OS X. While the emulator is running, you can switch back and forth between Windows and Macintosh programs.

You could actually do both. You could set up Windows on a Boot Camp partition, and you can install a virtual machine program in OS X, and have the virtual machine use the Windows that's on the Boot Camp partition. This allows you to use the same Windows either in a virtual machine, if you need to do something quick, or as a native OS if you need it to have the full power of the computer. Or you could create a unique Windows installation for the virtual machine, but unless there's some specific reason to do that, it's just redundant.
 

ffemt8978

Forum Vice-Principal
Community Leader
10,694
1,270
113
I know a few Mac users, and some of them have had there Mac now for over ten years and it has not even slowed down yet. PC, after a while, will take about half an hour to just boot-up. Hmmm, must be a Windows thing then because my linux box boots up in under 20 seconds from power off to on the internet. Just a reminder, PC does not always mean Windows I have not found that many computer virus for Mac, only PC. Same for linux. That is why I am loving mine so far. I am just really worried about getting into medical school, just to find out they 99% of the programs they will want me to use will be PC based or will require Internet Explorer. Some of the web programs that I use at the Sheriff's Department will not allow me to view then on Safari, Chrome, nor Firefox only Internet Explorer. VMWare or Virtualbox solve those problems, provided you have a licensed copy of Windows laying around that you can install.

My views in red above.
 

bstone

Forum Deputy Chief
2,066
1
0
Go with the Mac. I have a Mac and am elbow deep is super hardcore sciences. I have Windows 7 running through VirtualBox for the extremely rare circumstances in which I need to run a PC-only program, but because I have Windows on this Mac I can do anything.

There are 2 Apple Stores within 2 miles of me and their Genius Bars are just the best. No calling India, just walk on into the Apple Store and have a certified tech working on your computer in minutes. Amazing.
 

MrBrown

Forum Deputy Chief
3,957
21
38
Brown was a computer geek in a previous life then woke up one day and realised Brown despised IT.

That said, Brown is adept at building/fixing/replacing parts and has never hada a system last less than five years.
 

uhbt420

Forum Crew Member
41
0
0
i use Linux, ubuntu to be specific. no more viruses or computer crashes, everything free of charge, software downloaded straight from online repos, and heckuva lot easier to set up than windows. too bad everyone thinks its for geeks
 

JJR512

Forum Deputy Chief
1,336
4
36
I like the PC because I can fix/upgrade it myself.

I know what you mean. Last year, I realized I needed more hard drive space on my laptop. It only had a 120 GB hard drive. So I looked around a bit, saw (at the time) I could get a 500 GB 5400 rpm hard drive, or a 320 GB 7200 rpm hard drive. The 120 GB that was already there was a 5400 rpm hard drive. Now I knew from previous experience with desktop computers, that the spindle speed of the drive can make a noticeable difference; the computer just feels a bit snappier with a faster hard drive. The drive I got was a WD Scorpio Black.

I searched online and found a repair/service manual for my laptop, and it seemed easy enough. I've had lots of experience inside desktop computers, but never inside a laptop, but still, I felt like I could take on the challenge. And it worked, piece of cake, no problem.

Even reinstalling OS X on the new drive was easy. Oh, wait, didn't I tell you—my laptop is a MacBook Pro. Yeah, I just love the "You can fix/upgrade a PC yourself but you can't do that with a Macintosh" argument. It's not just a Mac, it's a Mac laptop, and I upgraded it myself. With a standard PC part I bought at Best Buy.
 

bstone

Forum Deputy Chief
2,066
1
0
Totally true. A Mac will accept any standard hard drive or RAM. There's nothing special about the parts. They just work.
 

Pseudonymous

Forum Crew Member
35
0
0
I bought my mac back in 06 and I loved it. Recently, the disk drive has randomly failed, just after my AppleCare expired.

I have noticed over the years that Apple technical support is terrible. Every single apple genius I've met, (Ranging 5 stores) are nothing more than Apple cheerleaders. Constantly telling me how everything's my fault, when I later find out that large amounts of these computers had the same problem.

One of my biggest frustrations, was when I got cheated out of $80s. You see, I use Imovie quite a lot. However, the Imovie from 06 crashed A LOT. After a couple years, I had enough. So I bought Ilife '08. They removed %60 of the features from Imovie. I'm not even joking. Then in '09, they added everything back, plus MORE! But I didn't have another $80 to spend, so I was pretty screwed.

Also, I got one of my external hard drive backups stuck in my trashcan, so I can't empty my trash bin, unless I unplug the harddrive.

The BIGGEST problem with a mac I've seen, is that it is incapable of merging folders/files, unless you are willing to use a terminal command. So if I work on project files A, B, and C, inside of the folder "Important Project", but I edit files A and B on a work computer, then merge both "Important Project" folders, instead of having an updated A and B files, plus the original C file (Because I didn't edit that one), I end up just having the A and B files. it overwrites everything, instead of merging, and only replacing edited files.

I'll always stick with Mac, since I'm to busy to keep up with keeping a Windows computer away from viruses. And yes, Macs CAN get viruses, they are just extremely unlikely to.

I'm not bashing either computer, but my personal experiences have been pretty bad.
 

bstone

Forum Deputy Chief
2,066
1
0
I bought my mac back in 06 and I loved it. Recently, the disk drive has randomly failed, just after my AppleCare expired.

I have noticed over the years that Apple technical support is terrible. Every single apple genius I've met, (Ranging 5 stores) are nothing more than Apple cheerleaders. Constantly telling me how everything's my fault, when I later find out that large amounts of these computers had the same problem.

One of my biggest frustrations, was when I got cheated out of $80s. You see, I use Imovie quite a lot. However, the Imovie from 06 crashed A LOT. After a couple years, I had enough. So I bought Ilife '08. They removed %60 of the features from Imovie. I'm not even joking. Then in '09, they added everything back, plus MORE! But I didn't have another $80 to spend, so I was pretty screwed.

Also, I got one of my external hard drive backups stuck in my trashcan, so I can't empty my trash bin, unless I unplug the harddrive.

The BIGGEST problem with a mac I've seen, is that it is incapable of merging folders/files, unless you are willing to use a terminal command. So if I work on project files A, B, and C, inside of the folder "Important Project", but I edit files A and B on a work computer, then merge both "Important Project" folders, instead of having an updated A and B files, plus the original C file (Because I didn't edit that one), I end up just having the A and B files. it overwrites everything, instead of merging, and only replacing edited files.

I'll always stick with Mac, since I'm to busy to keep up with keeping a Windows computer away from viruses. And yes, Macs CAN get viruses, they are just extremely unlikely to.

I'm not bashing either computer, but my personal experiences have been pretty bad.

Error between the keyboard and the seat. *giggle*
 
Top