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Mild user needs to know, Mac or PC? (Not 7 or SL)

I'm looking at buying a new laptop and considering a Mac but now the OS differences seem to be minor so why spend the extra cash on Mac? I like "easy" and my uses are: photos, internet, and the occasional "Word" documents. Thanks for the help!

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You can do all those things on either so

In reply to: Mild user needs to know, Mac or PC? (Not 7 or SL)

I would go cheaper and that's a PC.

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Mac has more than you think

In reply to: Mild user needs to know, Mac or PC? (Not 7 or SL)

MacBooks have 7-hour battery life (6-hour real-world, but still outstanding). They have excellent multi-touch trackpads and good keyboards. They're also thin and light, so just in hardware they're worth looking at.

You may appreciate them more for photos than Windows PCs. It's not that photos on Windows PCs are unworkable, but a Mac will come with iPhoto, which is a very solid photo management and retouching tool; it helps make outstanding photo books and calendars, too. Also, iMovie can help put together complex photo slideshows, and iDVD is one of the few genuinely good apps for making DVDs if you want to put those slideshows on a disc.

Do you live near an Apple retail store? If so, it may be worth a spin to see things in action. You can try Macs almost anywhere now, but it's easier to try the apps you want to use at Apple's own shops.

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PC any day

In reply to: Mild user needs to know, Mac or PC? (Not 7 or SL)

for your needs, get a PC.
1. MS Office is weaker (less full featured) on a Mac than a PC.
2. PCs are way cheaper
3. Battery Life:
PC laptops battery life often beats a Mac. Sure the Macs have 5 hours real world battery life. BUT Dell has 8 hour models, Asus has 12 hour models, Acer has 11 hour models. Almost every PC maker has models with battery life far in excess of the Mac with better hardware to boot at HALF the price. No contest IMHO.

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In reply to: PC any day

Think there's a few bad preconceptions going on here.

Regarding Office: the only real weak point is Entourage, but that's not a major issue now that Apple Mail supports Exchange (if you need it). The rest is still going to get the job done just nicely, thanks. Happy

PCs can be had cheaper, but that's not necessarily better. On notebooks, that usually means slow processors, cheap enclosures, and very short battery life. I know two people who bought $700-800 HP notebooks that had 2 hours' battery when new and lost most of that in 1-2 years. There are long-lasting Windows notebooks... just not really in a price class below the Mac.

Also, don't forget the hidden costs. Yes, there are free antivirus apps, but even these can bog down system performance. Mac users still ought to be careful, but they truly don't need antivirus software these days.

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I disagree, respectfully

In reply to: Exaggeration!

Oh dear. I don't want to start a flame war here. It seems that is always likely with Mac vs PC.

But if you compare the processors in the PCs:

compare the Mac Book at $999 and the Dell Studio 14z for $750. Almost the same processor 2.26GHz Intel Core 2 Duo for the mac vs a 2.2 for the Dell. But the dell is cheaper, lighter and comes with a better video card and more RAM. The funny thing is the Dell is over priced. You can get even cheaper with Acer or Asus.

I dont know how you can claim short battery life on PCs. For around $600 I can get an Asus with 12 hours. for $700 I can get an ACER timeline with 8 hours of battery life. Also, You seem to be implying that PC batteries lose life while Macs do not. All lithium-ion batteries lose longevity over their lifespans. Mac's certainly do as well. PCs have Macs beat on battery life, sorry.

Regarding office. Macs cannot use OneNote (which I live by) or Groove (which I use in my office). Not only are entire programs missing but the functionality of teh ones that are there are hampered. For example there is no Visual Basic for Applications (VBA) support in excel 2008 for mac.

Regarding your first post. Windows comes with built in photo editing software, video making software and so on which I am quite pleased with. If I were not I would simply download one of dozens of free open source alternatives available to me. Happy

I have not found any "hidden costs" in using a PC, at all, ever. :shrug:

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Well the last time I went to the APple store they

In reply to: Exaggeration!

had 2 anti virus programs at eye level on the shelf.

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What kind of peripherals do you have/want?

In reply to: Mild user needs to know, Mac or PC? (Not 7 or SL)

You'll want to make sure the peripherals that you own or might buy are compatible with either. PCs have a wide spectrum of compatibility, especially with Windows 7's expanded capabilities. you're going to find that you're able to plug-n-play a lot easier.

Hope this helps.


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not exactly accurate...

In reply to: What kind of peripherals do you have/want?

I've got several PCs and one Mac. I've never had a plug and play problem with the Mac, but I have found numerous devices that don't work with the PCs.

All printers work with Macs. All digital cameras work too. MP3 players all work with Mac (except maybe a Zune, and who has one of those?). I can't even think of anything else that a normal user would connect to their computer.

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In reply to: Mild user needs to know, Mac or PC? (Not 7 or SL)

Sounds like it's a tie if you are comparing similar price points. How about those inexpensive laptops...would I be getting what I pay for (so to speak)? or would it be fine for how little I use in terms of programs and extras? Battery life is huge and it seems you have to pay a lot more for that...
Still confused Sad
Thanks for the help!!

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Depends on the design and your goals

In reply to: Sooo....?????

I'd be very careful when shopping at or below $700. Underneath that, notebooks tend to be fairly slow and will show their limits fairly quickly. There are also a lot of notebooks below $1,000 that don't really get good battery life at all. There are exceptions, but they're usually the ultraportable (12-inch and smaller) notebooks.

The entry MacBook sits in the sweet spot in my mind as it's one of the cheaper notebooks you can get that has a truly long battery life without an extended battery: if you're just browsing the web or writing in Word, it's realistic to expect about 6 or more hours of use. Also, it's definitely very portable and fast at the same time, which isn't easy.

There are some Windows PCs I'd consider if you're not looking for too much special and don't need long battery life, such as the Dell Studio 15 (except for the base model) or Sony VAIO FW. But if you can, try visiting an Apple retail store: be skeptical, but try the hardware for yourself and get a demo of the special features, like the multi-touch trackpad or interface tricks like Dashboard and Expose. What keeps me on the Mac are all the little engineering touches that you don't usually get elsewhere.

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A list

In reply to: Depends on the design and your goals

I am kind of in your same boat, looking for a laptop to do light work, I am on a budget of $700-ish. Sounds like I want it to be able to a little more than you as I do some big spreadsheets, light gaming, and such.

Here is what I have on my list:
HP Mini 311--- $475 ---- 5 hours battery
Acer Aspire Timeline 1810T --- $600 --- 9 hours battery
Gateway EC1410u --- $400 ---- ? hours battery
HP dm3-1035dx ---$550 ---- 6hours battery
DM3Tz ---$580 ---- 6 hours battery
Dell Inspiron 11z --$490 ---6.5 hours battery
Dell Studio 14z ---$790 --- 6 hours battery
ASUS UL30A-X5 ---$680 ---12.5 hours battery
ASUS UL80Vt --- $830 ----9 hours battery
ASUS UL30A-A2 --- $775 --- 12 hours battery
Asus N10J-a1 --- $600 ---- 6.5 hours battery

Any of these would more than meet your needs and give you great battery life. Note that each one of these has equal or more battery life than a Mac. Although, some of these don't have an optical drive, which you would want since it is your primary PC (you can get an external one for under $50).

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Those are ultraportables and netbooks

In reply to: A list

Those aren't necessarily ideal. Many of those are either using 1.3GHz or lower processors or else using Atom chips. If you never venture beyond Office and basic web use, they're fine, but of those I would only ever consider the Studio 14z for more than the basics (and then only if you don't mind the absence of a DVD drive).

Some of us can get by on those systems, but I think many are too optimistic about how these sub-12-inch cheap notebooks perform. They're best as secondary systems, not your main PC.

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Read my post below.

In reply to: A list

Actually, only a couple of those would beat my MacBook Pro on battery life, and external drives are really a pain in the a**. Also, Cheap PCs are slow, unreliable, and only last a couple of years. I own two, and I feel as if I've wasted about $1000 now that they both creep along like snails on crutches. My three year old iMac is still going strong, though. Not to mention my 10 year old first gen iMac, which is faster than both the cheap PCs put together. I expect my new MBP will last that long too. Think about it: $500 every two years for ten years (and possibly longer) = $5000. The iMac only cost $1550 new, and my MBP only cost $1350. Guess cheap PCs aren't as cheap as they look.

I will put in a good word for expensive PCs. I have a Dell Latitude C600 (forget what the price was, but it was well over $1000) that has lasted 9 years now without even getting a scratch on the skin. It's not as fast as the first gen iMac, but it IS a laptop, and I imagine it's about as fast as any comparable Apple laptop of the time.

Anyway, I am a great believer in buying the best possible product around and then keeping it until it dies.

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In reply to: Mild user needs to know, Mac or PC? (Not 7 or SL)

If you want easy, then Mac is for you. Especially in the photo/music/movie department. Windows completely lacks any kind of decent editing software, and the organization software is mediocre. Internet access is a lot easier on a Mac too. You get a much better web browser (though, of course, you can install Safari on you PC too), you get a wifi N card (even some new PCs don't have this for some reason), and you get the most virus proof and secure operating system in the world. No clunky anti virus software needed. Microsoft office (by far the best Microsoft product) is available for Mac too. I know some people say it's crappy and you loose features that are present in the Windows version, but I certainly haven't noticed that any of this is actually true on my version of Office:Mac.

I notice you say, "but now the OS differences seem minor". That's not exactly true. Windows will never be as secure from viruses, nor as easy to use as Mac OS X, because it must be designed to run of hundreds upon hundreds of different versions of computer hardware. It's just not possible to make a product like Mac OS X, unless it's specifically designed for a very few machines.

Lastly, it is true that Macs cost a bit more than PCs, but not as much as people tend to think. When I bought my new MacBook Pro this last summer, I compared it to every 13" laptop PC on the market. The 13" MacBook Pro cost just $100 more, or in some cases less, than all 13" PCs, with the exact (or as close as possible) hardware configurations. This has lead me to believe that all computer hardware costs the same for the computer manufacturer, so the consumer price will always be similar for a similar machine. The reason some PCs are exceptionally cheap, is because they have previous gen, older, or less powerful components. You get what you pay for. Cheap PCs are slow, unreliable, and usually only last a couple of years (I should know, I've got two of them). More expensive PCs cost the same as Macs.

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I still disagree...

In reply to: Easy?

I have three old PC laptops, all over 4 years old and all were as cheap as you can get. None of them have died. All are still running (though some of them run Linux now).

If macs are so reliable why not give longer warranties? Standard on a mac is one year, while Asus comes with 2.

Anyway, as far as not meeting this user's needs, I know several students who do much more than surf the web and check email and they are using atom based 10 inch netbooks. That is thier only computer and they are happy!

While I don't suggest this, those PCs on my list are all powerful enough for everything but 3d gaming. You guys are trying to sell this nice person a ONE THOUSAND DOLLAR computer to check email on? Really?

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It's that many people undershoot their expectations

In reply to: I still disagree...

There are certainly some people who really do only need basic web and e-mail use, but netbooks actually have a pretty high return rate.

Why? Because many have overly high expectations of how the systems will perform. Or they get it as their only PC but quickly find out that no, they can't watch HD video (or edit any kind of video), that the only games they can play were made at least three years ago, or that the 1024x600 screen just isn't large enough (that part, at least, is getting better).

If this will be a main system, it's usually advisable to get a full-size notebook. It doesn't have to be a MacBook, but even those in-between ultraportables like the Gateway EC1400 or Dell Inspiron 11v I wouldn't get as my only system.

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it was just some suggestions...

In reply to: I still disagree...

and my personal experience. Sure, you own three crappy old PCs, but I notice you didn't mention how FAST they are...never mind. it doesn't matter. Point is, I'm just sharing my knowledge. I enjoy using a good, fast, very reliable computer. Doesn't everyone else? I'm one of those people who hates having to use tools that in any way limit me.

I know you CAN do SOME other stuff with netbooks (like, I dunno, post vids on youtube, edit your pics a little, or run simple games), but can they do it in a reasonable amount of time or give you the best user experience? In the computer world, you get what you pay for. The more you pay, the faster, easier, and simpler it gets.

Haha, on the warranty thing! If the computer is more reliable, the point is YOU DON'T NEED THE WARRANTY. LOL.

I hate arguing Mac vs. PC. They're just computers! It's kind of like arguing whether you like red flowers or blue ones.

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In reply to: Mild user needs to know, Mac or PC? (Not 7 or SL)

Thank you so much for all the advice. This will be my only machine so I do need it to be fast and reliable. I will use DVD, music, and probably some miscellaneous documents. I do a lot of photo/video editing and would like to be able to connect all my devices without a problem. Sounds like a MacBook or MacBook Pro is what I'm looking for. Guess I'll be visiting an Apple Store...

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have fun...

In reply to: Ok...

...with the new machine!

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After a visit to Apple and Best Buy...

In reply to: have fun...

I'm certain I will be getting a MacBook Pro. What a great machine and I LOVE iPhoto! It will take some learning but should be worth it.
Thank you everyone!

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