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PC vs Mac

The title of this blog, when looking at it in print, brings the game Pac-Man to mind. Not that PacMAn has anything to do with this blog. I'm just saying.

I have been a PC user most of my life. My earliest memory of using a computer was in second grade at Eugene Field Elementary, here in Springfield. The year was 1986. I learned the ins and outs of DOS and then LogoWriter. The years went by but my computer experience never strayed from the PC.

Then came a day many more years down the road when Apple started making fun of PCs in their advertisements making the assumption that Macs were not only more advanced but also more stylish, more laid back, cooler, more popular, etc. While I did find the ads humorous mostly, I also resented Apple for their conceited campaign, much like you would if a chess geek was heckling one of your math club buddies.

Fast forward to a few weeks ago. Due to God's good graces, I was able to purchase a Mac off Craigslist from a guy who had bought it new many moons ago. Inside all the well-kept boxes & packaging I found the original invoice from the store with the guy's name on it. He had sold me the entire setup for $30 even though he had paid $3,400 for it! Eeeek!

It's really pretty, aesthetically speaking. It's easy to install software on, and I was really impressed with the simplicity of installing hardware. I installed 4 sticks of RAM, a PCI card that added USB 2.0, and a bluetooth adapter. Of course, the RAM doesn't need a driver, but the latter two would have needed drivers to function properly on a PC. But, when I booted up the Mac it was already using them without a hitch, no drivers necessary.

So, I can see why Mac users like their machines. I don't have enough experience yet with the running of programs to be able to say anything on the subject except that I hear that programs work like they're supposed to without the issues that sometimes plague PCs.

However, so far, my official position takes sides with PCs. The biggest reason is price. Last week, my motherboard got fried mysteriously in my best PC. It was about three years old and had been part of a barebones kit that I bought for somewhere around $130. The kit included the processor, motherboard, case, fan, and power supply. I found a new motherboard on TigerDirect that will allow me to reuse everything and just swap out the old for the new. I won't go into detail, but it's way better than the one that fried and it's only $50.

You just can't do that with a Mac. Parts are very expensive. For example, a replacement motherboard for a G5 Mac that would be similar, yet not quite equivalent, to my computer would cost a whopping $430.

But price isn't the only reason. There are tons more programs available, it seems, for a PC that aren't even available in a Mac compatible format. Mac users may argue with me on this point citing the PC emulator that allows a Mac to run PC programs. But, what does that say for Macs that they would want to emulate a PC?

I will concede that Macs are better quality both in their hardware and software than your average PC. I've had my fair share of issues with PCs. But to be fair, those problems were largely due to my inexperience and naivete. I've learned much over the years, some the hard way. For example, I bought a barebones kit from TigerDirect once that sounded great and was nice and cheap. I had been using a Pentium II 350 Mhz Gateway up to that point, but I was ready, or so I thought, to get into editing more than just the occasional photo. I wanted to edit home movies. So, I got the computer up and running, but it crashed the first time when ripping a CD. It did it again later doing the same thing. I realized that I had some bad RAM and it wasn't dumping the memory properly so it would just get full and then >poof<. New RAM solved the problem. Later, though, I had the same issue when rendering video. I bought some more RAM, at that point thinking that it would solve it, but it didn't. I got really frustrated because this new computer was an AMD 2 Ghz processor and I had 2 GB of RAM. This thing should be able to fly! Upon searching out forums on the subject, I found my answer: Front Side Bus. The FSB was only 100 Mhz. The guy on the forum explained it by saying, "You have an awesome processor that's like 20 semi trucks driving side by side on a 20-lane highway, but to get to the RAM and back the 20-lane highway bottlenecks at your front side bus down to a 1-lane bridge."

I didn't know what front side bus was. TigerDirect had plainly made it known on their site that it was only 100 Mhz, I just didn't know what that meant at the time. You can't just replace your front side bus, either. It's built into your motherboard. All you can do is get a new motherboard, which I did. But, that was the one that just fried. Oh well, it was a great motherboard for 3 years. And I have a better one coming.

Through my mistakes and searching, I now have an amazing collection of programs that work flawlessly. I have hardware that runs all those programs super fast and simultaneously. I have all this and I still haven't spent as much combined in the last 11 years of owning computers as I would have spent on one Mac that would have been long ago obsolete.


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