Mac vs. PC

Updated: 01/24/2018 by Computer Hope

Mac vs PCThe Mac vs. PC debate is one of the most controversial topics when it comes to computers. This page is meant to give a comparison between computers running Apple's macOS and those running Windows. We are looking to help users who are interested in buying a new computer, not dictating which brand is the "best."

Security

Mac - Traditionally, Macs have had fewer security vulnerabilities. Also, in overall numbers, Macs receive fewer viruses than PCs running Windows. However, these numbers can be misleading as Apple's computers only account for less than 10% of the market share. Consequently, PCs will show that they not only have more vulnerabilities total, but if one were looking to infect or illegally access the most computers, PCs are the easy target.

PC - As stated in the Mac section, many more people today are using computers running some version of Microsoft Windows, which makes it a smarter target for attackers. That being said, Windows computers have had more security vulnerabilities than Apple computers in the past.

Bottom line: While newer versions of Windows have made significant improvements in security, most malware is created for PCs. Therefore, you're less likely to run into security issues with a Mac. Mac wins in this category.

Price

Mac - Although many people may argue "you get what you pay for," when compared to a PC, an Apple computer along with its peripherals is far more expensive. However, Apple computers are built well, with high-quality components, whereas all PCs are not.

PC - Nearly all PCs, including their peripherals, are far less expensive when compared to a new Mac. They are especially cheaper when it comes to customization of the computer's components.

Bottom line: PC wins this category.

Operating system

Bottom line: This section is even as you're comparing apples and oranges. Both macOS X and Windows 10 are clean, fast, highly capable operating systems. In this category, it comes down to personal preference and the user's specific needs. This category is a tie.

Note: Windows is put onto PCs by multiple manufacturers, most of which add some form of bloatware. That being said, bloatware is removable. Either way, that doesn't mean that Windows 10 is an inferior operating system.

Tip: Mac users can use Boot Camp to run Windows on their computer. PC users can also install Linux on their computer and use it in conjunction with Windows or as an alternative to Windows.

Software

Bottom line: The number of software titles for Mac has grown over the years. However, Windows dominates the computer software market share, and developers are more likely to create software for PCs because of the potential in getting a good return on their investment. Furthermore, there are 100s of free programs available for PC that are not available to Mac owners. PC wins this category.

Build quality

Mac - Newer models of Macintosh computers are known for their exception quality across their entire line including both laptops and desktops. Mac's offer a very compact profile regardless of form factor and are aesthetically pleasing.

PC - PCs have always been highly customizable, from cases, to internal components, to monitors. As such, there are many different levels of build quality. Therefore, while you can get very high-quality components for a PC, you can also get those that are poor quality.

Bottom line: While the quality of PC components can be just as high, if we are to rate quality across the board, Mac wins this category - but situationally.

Customization and upgrades

Bottom line: Apple offers a fair amount of options for customization on their machines, but they are limited to those selected by the company as all of their computers come pre-built, and are only manufactured by Apple. PCs have more pre-built options due to a higher number of manufacturers. Furthermore, for those who like to build their own computers, the options for customization are exponentially higher. PC wins this category.

Boot time

Bottom line: Traditionally, Macs have been faster to boot up than PCs. However, in recent years, with the advent of Window 10, PC's boot times have decreased dramatically and, in many cases, Windows 10 is faster than macOS X. That being said, these differences are negligible when compared to hardware. The single biggest component in reducing boot time is the type of hard drive a computer has. Both Macs and PCs have SSDs available to them, but those who build PCs have much faster options. PC wins this category - but situationally.

Drivers

Bottom line: In the past, Mac certainly had the advantage here because Apple was their sole manufacturer of these computers. Consequently, Apple only had to create one set of drivers. PC, on the other hand, not only has many different pre-built manufacturers, but many interchangeable components as well, which required numerous drivers. However, in recent years all devices are plug-and-play in Windows and no longer require the user to install drivers. This category is a tie.

Gaming

Bottom line: Over the years, computer game companies have shown increased support for Macs. However, as we mentioned in the security and software sections, Windows own's 90% of the market share, and as such, developers are far more likely to create games for that operating system. Additionally, because (built) PCs are much more customizable, their ability to run computer games is higher. Except the Mac Pro, there aren't any Macs that can keep up with a PC running a mid-range graphics card. PC wins this category.

Repair Costs

Bottom line: Apple strives to make their Mac product line as sleek and compact as possible. To do so, they continue to further integrate their parts. Thus, when their desktop computers need to be repaired, they usually require more than one part to be replaced. Most PCs, on the other hand have easy access to any part of the computer by removing a side panel. Laptop repair costs between the two platforms would be more similar, but Mac is still more expensive. PC wins this category.

Touch capability

Bottom line: When it comes to desktop and laptop computers (not mobile devices), Mac offers no touchscreen capability. PC wins this category.

Additional disclaimers

Not all PC's are the same - As we stated before, there are dozens of PC manufacturers, and thousands of models of computers, which means not all of the information above may apply to your PC or the one you want to buy.

My Apple can run Windows - Microsoft Windows can be run on Apple computers using Boot Camp, which means not everything above may apply to your Mac. In the case of gaming, you may be able to run the latest games on your Mac using Boot Camp. However, Boot Camp is not perfect, and it does not mean every game will be able to run on your computer since PC games are not developed with Apple hardware in mind. It is also not unlikely to encounter problems and have performance issues.

Windows XP is not Windows 7, Windows 8, or Windows 10 - Windows XP is over 15 years old. Comparing a Windows XP computer to a new MacBook with OS X is like comparing a Ford Pinto to a Ferrari. If you are trying to decide between purchasing a PC or a Mac, make sure you are comparing the latest models and that they have similar hardware components.