Thursday, February 4, 2010

The forever Mac and PC debate

image taken from

My poll on "Mac vs. Pc" has been interesting during the past days. The competition started out neck to neck in the first few days, occasionally one took a 1 vote lead, but the other always quickly caught up. Yesterday, Mac was leading by a solid 3 votes and seemed to be eying for the triumphant finish. But guess what, it's back to 50:50 again!

I am actually very interested in your opinion on this. Is a MacBook or a PC laptop better for b-school students? Let me give you a little bit of background. I am long overdue for a laptop. My current HP pavilion is 7 years old. The hard-drive had been swapped out and so was the powerjac. It runs as slow as surfing online on a dail-up. And some of the side buttons haven't been working for long time. As a long time PC user, I am ready for something new, refreshing, reliable and fast. The main problem I have with PC is the windows system. It runs super fast when it's new, but the speed usually drops pretty significantly once you start using it for awhile and run more programs. Recently my two year old windows mobile system on my cell phone started acting up strangely, and I don't even surf the web or use any programs other than sending text messages on my cell phone!

Of course I see the upside of buying a PC for b-school. With all the excel and statistics programs that we are supposed to use in b-school, PC is probably a better choice for compatibility reason. Plus I do have a tiny bit of knowledge about how to troubleshoot a PC gone haywire~ (although sometimes that becomes the problem...).

But MacBook is so tempting! From what I heard, it's just a superior operating system, in addition to all the "cool" features that come with it. I can see myself picking up making video projects in school if I have a MacBook. After all, having a "fun" machine might just take away a little bit of the boringness navigating through spreadsheets :)

And then there is the price difference. I have been used to using large screens and am a little hesitant about a 13" MacBook. The 15" MacBook though, drives the price gap bigger between my two options.

So what's your opinion? I would love to hear from a converted Mac user about their first-hand experiences comparing the two operating systems. I am more concerned about mid to long-term performance. Given that I will be broke after bschool, I am not looking to buy another laptop anytime soon after this purchase! Thanks in advance guys! :)


  1. I have used pcs till now. But my B school frens have strongly advising me to go for mac. I personally love apple's products and I own Ipod nano. One more big advantage is there is no virus for mac OS. And there should be no problems whatsoever with using the MS office documents on your Macbook. I am voting for Macbook.. :) And I am buying one sometime soon..

  2. Hi Dreamchaser,

    I had voted for a Macbook in your poll. :).
    I will give you the reasons for that:

    1. I have been using a HP Pavilion 17 inch since the last 3 years and I had the same problems that you mentioned about the gradual slowness in Windows over a period of time. In addition, Vista made it much worse.

    2. My HP Pavilion had some design issues (which is now a world known issue) about its heating up and breaking the laptop hinge area. I suffered from it after the warranty was over. HP Support was not supportive at all. But still I managed to use it for another 1 year. The point is even if you go for PC, go for some other company apart from HP.

    Fortunately or unfortunately, a curtain rod fell over my HP pavilion and broke its LCD and some keys. Still have been using it with an external monitor but a new laptop was certainly due.

    3. Frustrated with Vista and wanting to try something new, I got a macbook pro 13 inch last November after doing a lot of research.
    I have to say that its a delight to use Mac OS X. Although I have not been able to play around that much but some of the best things are battery life of more than 5 hrs, sleek and lightweight, excellent track pad with gestures (no mouse required) etc.

    Also, if you want to use Excel or word, you can buy one for Mac or Install Windows 7 as a dual boot option (or in Parallels) and then use your Windows applications.

  3. I decided to switch to a Mac for business school, after vying for one for years. I highly recommend a MacBook Pro for a few reasons:

    1. The multi-touch trackpad is intuitive to use and makes UI navigation a breeze.

    2. Keynote makes better-looking presentations than PowerPoint does.

    3. The dictionary is integrated throughout the entire OS. With a few keyboard strokes, Dictionary will show, in a small pop-up window, the definition of any word I hover my mouse over. No excuse for not knowing a word, especially when reading business cases for class.

    4. You can always run Windows 7 through a virtual machine, such as VMWare Fusion.

  4. I own a PC and I'm going to move to a MAC as soon as i get an Admit.

    Here is a line from you post "I am ready for something new, refreshing, reliable and fast." That sounds like a MAC!!.

    And if you problem is that you will need the MS-Excel application, don't worry you can install MS-Office on a MAC. You can buy it off ebay for less than 100 bucks. You can even have windows installed in your MAC apart from the super cools MAC OS. Don't worry about the 13", your shoulders will thank you when you start carrying your laptop around. 13" is a very good size - not too small not too large.

  5. thanks guys! that's some really insightful comments! looks like MacBook it is! :) although still haven't decided on the size~ Hari you made a good point though...I hate carrying my laptop around right now coz it's too heavy...

  6. I'm in the PC camp. Windows works better for many applications, and it seems like a waste to boot windows on a Mac. Its much more cost effective too.

    Simple things like running Excel macros are difficult in native OSX (this may have changed since I last tried).

    But I would wait until you decide where you are going, and talk to the IT department there to see how compatible things are. Some don't support it as much.

  7. Hey!

    I'm not going to recommend one computer over another because I own both! I will say this though, you will need to either run parallels or boot-camp on the Mac in on order to have the same functionality for Excel. Further, most schools talk in primarily PC terms, meaning that it may take you a little longer to catch on. I love my Mac and this is as good as any excuse to get one. That said, I did purchase a PC Bundle through the school as I didn't want to "ruin" my Mac (and I was running out of space on the hard drive). I've lucked out in the sense that I've never had to take advantage of the PC bundle (lots of things are covered if something breaks). However, I know people that have had to use their bundle. I would talk to the school to ensure there's some support for a Mac prior to purchasing. I have a number of classmates who use them and love them!

    Good luck deciding.

  8. I'm in the Mac camp.

    Mac allows you to install Windows on it and switch to it via Bootcamp. Thus you can have the normal MS Office (including Excel!) and do all your schoolwork. For all other stuff you can stick with the Pretty Boy. :-)

    I got myself a Mac 1.5 years ago for the first time. It's very intuitive and not all that different from a PC. It's very quick, doesn't crash anywhere as much as my PC used to, and is indeed beautiful. I hate Office for Mac though, thus the first suggestion above.

    Have fun in b-school!