Mac vs P.C. - the college guide to laptop purchasing.

Before I begin this post, I'd just like to say that I'm a proud owner of products from both Apple and Microsoft. I currently use an iPhone 4s and absolutely love it. I've been using the Windows operating system since my childhood, and still do. I respect both companies very much, not only because of their innovation, but because it's the epitome of what successful capitalism should be about: competition. Buying a laptop for college can be a stressful ordeal. For students who do not own laptops, shopping for something that should be lasting you at least four years should not be taken lightly. As for others who are looking to upgrade, it's time to find a worthwhile  upgrade to buy. More often times than not, the decision comes down to P.C. or Mac. Both computers have their positives and negatives. There are tons of things to focus on when buying a new laptop. While there are many, the three main points most college students should be looking at are as follows:

1) Price. There's no hiding the fact that laptops can get quite expensive. Finding the right price range can help narrow choices down, ultimately making it easier to choose a computer.

2) Usage. What will the laptop primarily be used for? Are you an art student? Will you be gaming with your laptop? There's so things that certain computers can do and others can't. It's absolutely important to determine what you'll be using the laptop for. Doing so will, again, make the search much easier.

3) Specifications, or, in other words, what's inside your computer. If you're going to be buying a product, you should know what you're getting. Too many computers are marketed as "perfect for gaming" or "the fastest computer you'll ever find," and yet, most of these are clearly gimmicks. Knowing a little about the makeup of a computer can help determine whether it's truly worth the price.

Now, between Macs and PCs, there's monumental differences in the above three points. Starting with the price, there's little doubt that PCs are MUCH cheaper than Macs. The cheapest Macbook Air currently runs $999, a huge amount for the cheapest model. On the other hand, you can generally find a PC laptop for as cheap as $400. Why is there such a big gap in price? The answer is quite simple: Apple is a brand name. It's the reason why the same white t-shirt costs more with a Burberry logo than an Old Navy one. But there has to be a difference in the makeup of the computer right? That goes a little into the specifications, so I'll talk abut that a little later. But make no mistake. PCs will almost always be cheaper than Macs. If you're under a budget, don't feel obligated to buy a Macbook just because it's popular. PCs are extremely viable for it's price point. More than that, it's a reasonable price, something we'll delve into more later.

Usage is absolutely critical. There's an absolutely difference between an art major and an English major. So many software that art majors need are widely available on both PCs and Macs, but, according to most people, the programs are simply better on Macs. The Mac operating system is created for the artistic mind, with programs like garageband and iTunes being extremely popular. Some college art programs even require Macs. For the typical college student who's looking to type up essays, both computers will be fine. There's no distinct advantage between the two other than the other points discussed here. As for gaming, Macs cannot compare to PCs. Some games do not even run on Macs because they aren't compatible. Furthermore, as we get into the next section, you'll see why Macs are not made for gaming.

Specifications can mean a whole lot of things. There's the processor, ram, hard drive, and a bunch of other things. Again, much of this goes back to usage and price. If you're looking to surf the web, watch some videos, and type the occasional essay, the things inside your computer won't matter all too much. If you want to be playing games, you're going to need a much better makeup. Generally, the better the things inside a computer, the pricier it is. That is, except in the case of a Mac. The current $999 Macbook Air is an absolute ripoff for it's price. Let's break it down a little bit.

The $999 Macbook Air currently offers an i5 processor that only runs at 1.7GHz, a very slow rate despite it being, I'm assuming a second or third generation processor. You also get 64GB Flash Storage, enough to fill MAYBE 2 or 3 blu-ray movies. I mean, seriously? You can buy iPhones with 64GB worth of space. You get 4GB of ram, a decent amount. But you're also stuck with an 11-inch screen. ELEVEN INCHES... on a depressing resolution of 1366 x 768. You can find a similarly spec'd PC for $400-500. In this case, Apple does not live up to a good value purchase.

There's no questioning that you'll always find a better computer, at least specification wise, in a PC. Why is it, then, are Macs so expensive? Well, for one, it all depends on the consumer. For some, the belief that Macs do not get as many viruses is worth doubling the price. Other people like the design and operating system. Some people just buy it, because, well, it's an awesome and popular gadget to own right now. And there's also the Apple fan boys who buy anything Apple. The reasoning is different for everyone. So what is the general consensus?  Well, PCs will always win the price and specification wars. You can tilt the usage category to either side, but that all depends on the person.

My recommendation is sticking with a PC. There's no reason to pay an absurd amount of money for a computer that simply isn't worth the marketed price. If you think about it this way, the majority of the people who buy Macs are spending an extra $600-800 for the design. I personally don't find that worth it. But if you're adamant about purchasing a Mac, there are quite a few perks that come along with it, such as less viruses, an awesome/sleek look, and a very fun operating system. Remember to look over the three main points when buying a new laptop, figure out what fits best for your current/future needs, and go from there. In the end, neither computers truly come out on top. There's constant debate and changing of opinions, on top of so much more that can go into the very brief argument that I present here.

What I offer is just a little advice on what I've found.


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