Mac vs. PC

Mac
PC

A PC generally refers to a computer that runs on the Windows operating system. It is also defined as an IBM-compatible computer, thereby meaning that its architecture is based on the IBM microprocessor. A number of different operating systems are compatible with PCs; the most popular of which is Microsoft Windows. Some others are the UNIX variants, such as Linux, FreeBSD, and Solaris.

On the other hand Macintosh, commonly known as Mac, is a brand name which covers several lines of personal computers designed, developed, and marketed by Apple Inc. The Mac is the only computer in the world that can run all the major operating systems, including Mac OS X, Windows XP, and Vista. With software like Parallels Desktop or VMware Fusion they can be run; side by side.

Macs and PCs both have dedicated followers, and each type of computer has its own strengths and weaknesses.

Comparison chart

Edit this comparison chart

Mac

User Rating (1316):

PC

User Rating (1229):
What is it? Short form for “Macintosh” and refers to any computer produced by Apple, Inc. Refers to any computer running IBM-Based (Windows, Linux, Solaris, FreeBSD) operating systems. stands for "Personal Computer"
OS family Unix-like (BSD>Darwin>Mac) Windows, Linux, Solaris, FreeBSD, etc.
Manufacturer Apple Inc Several companies: HP, Toshiba, Dell, Lenovo, Samsung, Acer, Gateway etc.
Cost Computers start at $499 for the Mac Mini desktop, $899 for the Macbook Air notebook, and $1099 for the iMac all-in-one. Other models are more expensive. For desktop or home use Macs are generally expensive than a PC. Compared to a Mac, Windows and Windows-associated hardware is cheaper, and you can build your own for even less money. Comparable computers running Windows can be found around 40% cheaper than a Mac.
Popular Applications iPhoto, iMovie, GarageBand, Pages, Numbers, Keynote, Safari, Mail, Messages, FaceTime, Calendar, Contacts, App Store, iTunes, iBooks, Maps, Photo Booth, Time Machine MS Office, Internet Explorer, Media Player, Media Center, Windows Defender, SkyDrive, VLC media player, Chrome browser
Development and Distribution Macs are developed and distributed by Apple Inc. PCs are manufactured and distributed by hundreds of manufacturers.
Latest Operating System OS X Yosemite (version 10.10) Windows 8/8.1
Compatibility Can open almost all PC files and can coexist on local networks with PCs. Can open .doc, .exe (as a compressed bundle), .xls, and others. Software exists for other file types. Can also run Windows on a Mac for 100% compatibility. Mac-based files (.DMG) cannot be opened on PCs natively, but you can install software that can read, and possibly write Mac-based files on a PC.
Gaming Not as many games are made native for the Mac, although in recent years, many more applications are released for them. The App Store is a hub for users to download games from. The library of games available for the PC is exhaustive, and hardware specifically tweaked for gaming performance is much more readily available for Windows. The array of graphics cards and upgradability also favor Windows-based computers.
Supported architectures Intel Microprocessors x86 & x86-64 Intel and AMD processors
Company / developer Apple, Inc. Microsoft (Windows), Ubuntu (Linux), Sun (Solaris), etc.
Market Reach Attracts graphic designers, video and music producers, tech journalists, app developers etc. Wide reach to all stratas. Business users tend to use Windows hardware due to compatibility.
Available language(s) Multilingual Must purchase a different OS Version, but has multiple languages available.
User Home users and businesses (mainly in the creative department) Home users and businesses
Virus Attacks Since Macs are not as popular as PCs, there are fewer malware written to target Macs, although the threat of malicious software is growing, like from Java. Being the popular desktop choice, most virus writers target Windows systems, however, Linux often has less malware.
Compatible Operating Systems OS X, Windows (through virtual machine or Boot Camp), Linux Windows, Linux
Performance Since Apple have controlled the hardware & software bundles and model updates, so every Mac operates smoothly without worry on lagging, incompatibles, and have stable and expected performance Different OEMs and even custom build PCs might not have the suitable drivers released for every components in each OS version, incompatibles, lagging may occur. Maybe cannot reach expected performance
Repairs Any knowledgeable person can perform repairs and upgrades. Local computer-help stores can also be contacted for repairs. AppleCare can extend the warranty. Newer Macs are becoming less upgrade-friendly, though. Any knowledgeable person can perform repairs and upgrades. Local computer-help stores can also be contacted for repairs. OEMs and component shops provides limited warranty
Programs and apps Same as gaming, limited choice due to user range. Same as gaming, excess choice due to user range.
Piracy Prevention Activation is not required, can reinstall as many times as needed. Windows has a unique activation key for each package distribution, and lots of custom and OEM PC appears, so genuine checking become important. Linux, Solaris, FreeBSD is free and no need for those keys.
Dependent on a PC or a Mac No No
Customizability Yes Yes
Messaging Messages (using iMessage, Google Talk, etc.) Skype, Facebook, and Twitter
Voice commands Yes Yes
Maps Yes Yes
Internet browsing Safari, Chrome, Firefox, plus many more. Internet Explorer, Chrome, Firefox, Safari (no longer supported)
App store App Store Windows Store
Widgets Yes Yes
Working state Current Current
Interface Mouse, keyboard, trackpad, other peripherals Mouse, keyboard, trackpad, other peripherals
Has Registry No Yes

Contents: Mac vs PC

edit Operating System

Mac operating system has traditionally been more stable than Windows. The main reason for this is that Apple used to produce both the hardware (Mac computer) and the software (Mac operating system); they had better control over the integration of the entire system. Now Apple uses the same architecture as a PC, but is selective about the components within the system to ensure stability. Since the Windows operating system can run on hundreds of different types of computers, variations in hardware configurations within those computers can cause stability problems. Another reason for this is also that since PCs are the more popular choice in the Desktop market so most hackers and virus writers always target PCs making the Mac OS not a common target for virus attacks. Thereby making it more stable. As the popularity for Mac computers increase, it can be expected that the incidence of hacker and virus attacks will increase

Macs now ship with the Mac OS X operating system. Since Apple Macs now run on Intel processors, they can run Windows. Apple has also released a software kit called Bootcamp for running Windows on the Mac.

edit User Interface

The most noticeable difference between Macs and PCs is in the user interfaces. While many computer users will proclaim one or the other “superior” or “best,” this is ultimately a matter of personal preference. Highlights of the UI in Mac OS X include Launchpad (a screen full of app icons for easily launching your favorite apps), hot corners that can be customized for various types of views, a "dock" that has icons for your favorite apps, full screen mode for apps, and "spaces" that create as many desktops as you like so you can minimize clutter. With Windows 8 UI highlights include a touch-friendly "metro" interface that contains "live tiles", rectangular boxes of varying sizes on the screen that represent an app and get refreshed with the latest content from the app. Several apps utilizing the "metro" interface are full screen apps like in tablet computers.

edit Uses

Mac computers are most widely used in the creative professional market, including in journalism and desktop publishing, video editing and audio editing, but have also made inroads into the educative and scientific research sectors. PCs are also used with some of the video and audio editing and research purposes but are found largely as the Home or Office Computer. PCs are also widely used in gaming due to a wider variety of games available for the Windows platform.

edit Market share

Apple's share of the U.S. personal-computer market nearly tripled from 2004 to 2008 but hasn't gone up significantly since then, and stands at around 8.5 percent in August 2009, according to IDC. (Source: Associated Press)

In Q1 2008, worldwide PC shipments were around 70 million (up from 61 million in Q1 2007) whereas worldwide Mac shipments were around 2.3 million (up from 1.5 million in Q1 2007). Historical charts for PC vs. Mac shipments are available at http://blog.seattlepi.nwsource.com/microsoft/archives/137350.asp

The market share of Mac for the July-Sept 2007 quarter was estimated at 3.2% for worldwide sales. While of PCs ( including major companies like HP, Dell, Lenovo, Acer and Toshiba) was a total of around 56%.(Refer: http://www.systemshootouts.org/mac_sales.html)

edit Interoperability

PCs and Macs can usually share peripherals if they connect via USB, FireWire, or Bluetooth, three industry standards available on every Mac. Most popular applications for Mac and PC use the same file formats, making it simple to exchange documents with friends and coworkers or move existing files from a PC to a Mac.

edit Applications

Macs major applications include Ilife and Time Machine while the PCs most widely used application includes MS Office. Some popular games provided on a Mac are Mac Crack Attack, 3D Klondike while on PC are Solitaire and Virtual Pool.

There is a variety of software available for PCs, which are better than a Mac machine for use as gaming machines since most high-end games are created for the general PC. PCs and Macs can usually share peripherals if they connect via USB, [[1]], or Bluetooth, three industry standards available on every Mac. Most popular applications for Mac and PC use the same file formats, making it simple to exchange documents with friends and coworkers or move existing files from a PC to a Mac.

edit Gaming

Traditionally PCs have had the upper hand when it comes to gaming because more publishers developed games for the PC platform. Dollar for dollar, PCs have also provided more powerful processors and speed is an important criterion when it comes to gaming. Some popular games that are available only on PCs are Age of Empires III and Crysis. Games that have both Mac and PC versions include Call of Duty 4: Modern warfare, Guitar Hero III: Legends of Rock, Lego Star Wars II , Starcraft and World of Warcraft.

edit Productivity Software

Microsoft Office, Adobe Creative Suite & Cloud are available for both Windows and Mac platforms. Other productivity software like OpenOffice and StarOffice is also available for all platforms. Apple's iWork office suite, which includes Pages (word processor), Numbers (spreadsheets) and Keynote (presentation maker) are only available on the Mac and iOS platforms.

edit Mac vs. PC War

Macs were hugely popular when the Macintosh was introduced in the mid-80s. They pioneered the GUI and the mouse. With Windows 3.1 and the wildly popular Windows 95, Microsoft gained a large market share. In the 1990s, Windows grew by leaps and bounds and Apple went downhill. After Steve Jobs was brought back to Apple, he introduced the iMac and revived Mac sales. Microsoft bought a 5% stake in Apple with a $150mn investment in non-voting shares in 1997.

Apple's Macs have always had a small but passionate fan base. In 2007, Apple released Mac vs PC ads showcasing the “cool” factor of Macs. These have been parodied online, often with a 3rd character (a woman) for Linux.

The Mac vs. PC ads

In September 2008, Microsoft responded to the Apple campaign with a campaign of their own to break the PC stereotype.

edit A MAC into a PC (and vice versa)

By installing software like Boot Camp, or a virtualization solution, such as Parallels Desktop, a Mac can function like a PC machine. In other words, a MAC can run Windows on it.

Apple does not allow the use of its operating system on non-Apple hardware. So a Windows PC cannot run Mac OS X. However, the Hackintosh project allows users to run Mac OS on any supported Intel-based PC.


edit Price

The MacBook Air starts at $999, whereas the MacBook Pro costs $1,199 and up, depending on the model. See MacBook Air vs MacBook Pro and MacBook vs MacBook Pro.

Current prices of various models and accessories are available on Apple.com and on Amazon.com.

PCs usually cost significantly less than Macs with comparable hardware. This is mostly because PCs are manufactured by a large number of hardware manufacturers, resulting in increased competition and lower prices. A wide selection of PCs with varying costs is available on Amazon.com.

edit References

Share this comparison:

If you read this far, you should follow us:

"Mac vs PC." Diffen.com. Diffen LLC, n.d. Web. 21 May 2015. < >

Related Comparisons Follow Diffen
Top 5 Comparisons
Make Diffen Smarter.

Log in to edit comparisons or create new comparisons in your area of expertise!

Sign up »

Comments: Mac vs PC

Anonymous comments (8)

December 7, 2012, 6:49pm

@Marco Time
Apple products running the apple OS cannot access any server or print from any printer. Please be careful in your statements that could be contrued as misleading. It is easy to see that you are defense for Apple, and you statements tend to lose merit by having no subjectivity. While it is technically possible to install a dual-boot Windows or even run some Windows applications from an Apple computer, this is not routinely the case especially in a business environment. This "dual-boot" scenario also introduces its own unique set of problems.

— 192.✗.✗.3
6

August 21, 2013, 6:47pm

macs are over rated and over expensive i can get a pc with better specs for almost half the cost of a mac.

— 24.✗.✗.68
3

June 30, 2013, 5:27pm

I currently own a dell ultrabook, i7 core, 16 gigs of ram, Inspiron 14z I believe. Anyway, runs like a dream. Blindingly fast. Runs all of my games with no problem. Even as a laptop it's modularity is astounding. Windows 8 even provides a stable, simple evironment for technologically challenged users, or the normal windows 7 format for more tech savvy people. Antivirus is free, malware bites are free, and everything runs beautifully.

Now my dad has a MacBook Pro, brand new, he often experiences random slowdowns and wifi problems (wifi goes in and out without explanation) and it won't run any useful windows applications(7zip, adlsoft uncompressor etc) and with 8 gigs of ram it struggles to run even tf2 maxed out. Which is not exactly a taxing game to run.

— 166.✗.✗.33
2

December 2, 2011, 11:34am

Mac users usually have no idea whats in their computers, They get their macs thinking if it's expensive it's good. They have no idea mac uses PC parts lol. Not brand name good parts either lol.

Then one day they find out they have a slow, outdated, hard to upgrade expensive computer that can't run alot of things. So to rationalize the horror of finding this out. Their own reality is made in their mind and they go.... rather then admit i got suckered into buying a bag of magic beans. I'll say I have the best, but... I just won't use any proof or things that can make sense.

— 173.✗.✗.238
1

August 21, 2013, 6:50pm

i have a 10 year old windows xp laptop and it still works like new

— 24.✗.✗.68
0

April 6, 2013, 12:15pm

Pc's can run OSX. Although it breaks an agreement with Apple when using it. But this can be avoided just by placing the included apple sticker on the back of the unit.

— 120.✗.✗.239
0

February 28, 2013, 7:38am

Saw "Mac Vs. PC" when looking at another comparison here, and came simply to see how long the comment section was, heh.

— 67.✗.✗.33
0

May 4, 2009, 10:22pm

Hmmm.... think the author has a Mac... clearly missed out the key positives of the PC... upgradability + choice!

— 90.✗.✗.103
0

share

Up next

MacBook vs. MacBook Pro