Dell Prevision Workstation PC versus Apple Macintosh G5 Print

Which computer should you select for content creation?

With the regrettable loss of Steve Jobs, Apple had an expected increase in sales in the end of 2011. But all sorrow put aside for a moment, is the Apple Mac better than the PC?

All universities, museums, and other institutions face the problem of what computer should they buy today and tomorrow? PC or Macintosh?

Dr. Nicholas Hellmuth PC vs Mac reviews best laptop for graphic design photographers web designers developers
Dr. Hellmuth working on his MacBook in a train going between cities in Switzerland, after a factory visit. Prior desktop models (the G4) were reportedly causing constant issues, but the current Mac workstations and laptops at FLAAR are very stable. We work both with Macs and PCs, using heavyweight software for photo and video editing, and in some of our computers, even 3d software.


With the thousands of reviews on magazines and Internet, it is hard to make a decision. Here are a few comments, based on our own day-to-day experience, intended to help our readers make a good choice, according to the needs in each case.



One of the first aspects that come to mind is the price factor. PC adepts argue that Macs are too expensive and you can do basically the same quality of work with a PC. Of course, one of the most important downsides of PCs is that they are more vulnerable to viruses than Macs.



As for the spare parts and maintenance, a Mac is like a European car, in the sense that spare parts and maintenance are usually more expensive. In this illustration, a PC is like an American car: it is much easier to find spare parts and a technician to repair a PC than a Mac. With a Mac, (unless you have used Mac for several years) most of the times you would need to go to an official Mac store for repairs, which sometimes might be correspondingly expensive.


Software Availability

Until recently, one of the important downsides of Mac was that most of the 3d software was only engineered for PCs, and Macs needed a workaround to run Windows on a Mac (with Parallels, the system that allows you to run Windows on a Mac). Yet, software developers are beginning to launch Mac versions of their products. This is a good beginning, even if most of the Mac versions are still in beta stage. In my personal experience, I bought my first tablet in South Korea, but was unsure whether it would work only on a Mac or PC. Fortunately it works in both. The price of the software for a Mac will tend to be more expensive than the equivalent software for a PC.


User Friendliness

Although I am a PC user, (but I am “fluent” in Mac also) I think Apple has succeeded because each new device is designed with the philosophy of being the most user-friendly device in its segment, and all of the products integrate to work seamlessly with each other with no hassle. So far there has not been a successful PC version of the iPhone. The last aspect, but not less important is about the steps to update the operative system (OS). According to a Mac user (who has also worked with PCs), OS updates on a Mac are a “plug ‘n play”; you only insert the CD and the process starts. On the other hand, with PCs, you will tend to need assistance both uninstalling the system (which usually implies making backups manually), and installing the new system.


The Companies' Claims

We asked representatives of each company (PC and Apple) to give their presentations. Each stated their product was the fastest and best in all respects and definitely superior to the competing platform.

As with Canon vs. Nikon, it ends up being a matter of taste. I know professional designers who prefer to work on a PC, and I know professional designers who are converted to Mac, and would never touch a PC. But the truth is, the user’s opinion is most of the times biased by their prior bad experiences either with one Mac or one PC, because we humans tend to generalize based on one experience. In this aspect, a young photographer comments that it is not the camera, but the photographer who makes an outstanding photo.


Updated February 8, 2012.

First posted July 6, 2006.