Mac OS X Tiger vs Windows


Mine since '92
May 25, 2001
I'm looking the Apples now. I'd like to hear pros and cons from real users. I use Excel and Word quite a bit at work. Also use it at home. Running windows at work, are the files compatible? They are great looking machines!
One isnt "better" than the other.

Windows -
market share and brand x bias has made this a target for viri, spam scripts, hijackers etc. 2000 or XP can certainly be stable and for many of us, low risk. The ultimate risk variable is the user... I didnt even run AV for quite a while, my 2000 server has been up for years now with reboots almost always host related.

The interface is what it is. If you dont like the GUI the Mac stuff might be your pref.

Lots of software options. Both commercial and free. Plenty of hardware options and competition has made the Windows based machines very inexpensive - especially if all you are doing is Word and Excel. File types are compatible but if the files do not need editing, its best to convert to a PDF to reserve formatting.

Warranty options are based on vendor. Dell vs Gateway vs ____ . They all do it different with several options (just like a new car). Credit card purchases might offer additional protection.

Some brands offer REALLY cheap machines. Difficult or poor value for upgrades with minimal warranty. They would handle Office apps just fine but you need to pony up for more advanced functions (to make it enjoyable) like Music studio stuff or vid edits.

Apple/Mac -
Nice hardware, moreso for desktops IMO. The laptops tend to get hot depending on model/rev# and the iBooks look "warped" sometimes giving a subpar appearance. PowerBooks are "schweet". BECAUSE there arent clones avail anymore Apple controls the hardware... this enables usually more consistant behavior, read as stable by some. ;) It also drives up the price!

The interface doesnt suite *me* but its not painful... others prefer it. Many functions you may be used to have a counterpart or equiv but are different. Examples would include right clicks and mouse scrolling.

Slightly/Barely better power management for laptops with approx the same run time. Bluetooth implementation is better.

Im very UNimpressed with Applecare and warranty.

Many of the cool included apps or tools are not part of Windows. Windows machines will sometimes need thirdparty (many are free).

Not currently targeted anywhere near as much as a Windows machine for evil internet/email viri etc. Users should not be too relaxed however as bad scripts are, well, bad. Ditto for Java, remote access, and other cross platform risks.

Man. I could keep going but I wont.
Mac files and Windows files are completely compatible. Mac files don't natively attach file extensions to the file though. There's an option somewhere to add the file extension on the Mac, or when you bring a Mac file over to a Windows machine, you'll just have to add the .xls to the file so that you can double click to open it.

You can get the Office Suite for the Mac that will be almost exactly like its counterpart, or you can download an open source program like Open Office for free to emulate the Suite. It works pretty well, though I haven't tried to open a Mac Open Office file in Windows Word (Open Office is free though :) )

I use Windows at work and own a G4 desktop and a G4 iBook at home. And I recently managed to get my parents to switch over to a G4 Powerbook. I love my Macs and would never go back to a Windows machine. But there are some things to consider.

- Macs will always be more expensive. If price is a key point, they're probably not for you. I bought my iBook as a refurbed model though, and saved about 15%. If you go to the Apple website, look down the side of the store page for the big red savings tag. You can easily save 15-40% off by buying a refurb.

- Macs and PC's spec differently. If you put a 1GHz G5 and a 1GHz Celeron processor next to each other, they are not the same speed.

- Macs will be switching to Intel chips in Q1 or Q2 of 2006. It shouldn't be an issue, especially if you upgrade systems a lot.

- There is definately more software availabe for a PC, but I find more open source and small developer software available for the Mac. There is more of a support community for the Mac, I think, that will offer up good software or help with the computer if you have issues.

- The OS's are definately different. I prefer, no love, the Apple OS. I use the keyboard shortcuts much more on the Mac than I do on the PC. I also open a lot of programs and program windows at once, and think that the Mac handles them better. I love that with one F key, I can see the desktop, do work on it, and with another F key press I can restore all my programs. I think I work faster on the Mac too. Dashboard is beautiful.

- I don't have the OS issues with the Mac that I do with the PC at work. The system is more stable, and if something does crash, it only takes down that program - not the whole system. The PC at work gets it's fair share of four letter words at least once a week.

- If you stick with the bundled Internet browser, then I think Safari is better than IE. It defenitely displays websites better. Beware though, not every web developer in the world thinks that Macs or Safari is worth supporting. So if you do a lot of online banking especially, you might have to download Firefox or Camino to get some sites to work. This is mainly with websites that have intense coding or security systems though.

- Macs will come with a one button mouse, but if you use the keyboard a lot it isn't a problem. You can also hook up any mouse you want, or buy the new Mighty Mouse. Macs have an Option key instead of Alt and Command instead of Control, but they basically do the same thing.

- I've never had a problem with my Macs that needed warranty. And I never buy any extended AppleCare or anything. That being said, I never had good luck with Dell's call in help center. Though I'm not sure how many people have ever had good luck with call in warranty/help centers located in India.

- If you do end up buying a Mac, my advice is to buy as much RAM as possible and to buy a good Tiger book (I highly recommend Peachpit Press and their Visual Quickstart guides) to ease any OS switch frustrations. My G4 desktop is five or six years old now, and other than sticking more RAM in it and upgrading OS X, the thing will still push Photoshop and video editing without a problem.

That may be incredibly long already....if you have any specific questions though, I'd be more than happy to add more.

Hope that helped.
Guys, I seriously appreciate the input. It's time to upgrade my home machine. I'm fully prepared to shell out the money. I just want to get the right machine.
I actually stumbled into the Apple rep at Comp USA and embarrassed myself by asking about the HP computers. It was kind of funny the way he compared machines but I would hope he was biased. Anyway, I am definitely intrigued by the Mac's smooth appearance. After online comparisons I've decided to look a little deeper before I make a purchase. I like the new G5 and I like the HP m7260n. I do all my banking/billpay online. I do some Powerpoint demos, Word and Excel documents for work, but mostly I entertain myself with a computer. I like to download movies and music. I want to be able to create DVDs. Gaming ability would also be nice, although most of my gaming is currently with a PS2 but will soon (hopefully) be a PS3. I guess I'll just have to really work with both computers to see what i like best. Again, thanks for the input.