Windows

Three ways Macs save money over PCs

Erik Eckel lists the three big reasons that he thinks makes Macs more economical than Windows PCs in the long run.

It's a hotly debated topic. Unfortunately, it's also an issue many technology professionals prove incapable of fully understanding, possibly for emotional reasons. But the facts should be clear to most impartial observers.

Macs look to cost more than a Windows computer, at least when performing a simple comparison of laptop or desktop computer prices. But what's the total cost of ownership? Get an MBA or accountant involved, and they muddy the waters quickly.

Let's cut through all the hype and disinformation. After serving as a technology consultant for years, I've learned there are three definitive ways in which Macs save organizations money compared to PCs.

#1 Pound for pound, Macs perform better

I've been amazed by the performance degradation Windows computers experience after several quarters or just two years of use. As software programs are loaded, virus and spyware infections are removed, corrupted system files are repaired and different applications are removed or updated, PC system performance declines measurably. Further, real-time antivirus programs rob Windows systems of resources, while multiple other third-party processes (photo loaders, print and scanning utilities, PDF tools, CD burning programs and similar applications) collected over time frequently load on startup and further slow performance. On those occasions when my office has had to reinstall Windows on these systems, we've confirmed exponentially faster system performance is experienced following the reinstallation.

Macs, thanks in part to their immunity to ubiquitous Windows-based viruses, spyware and malware, better-performing architecture and maximization of CPU and memory resources, don't experience these same performance degradations. I've consistently and repeatedly seen Mac performance proven time and again, even after a Mac has delivered years of service. The performance disparity is remarkable even on the same machine that dual boots Windows and Mac OS X. Macs boot quicker, perform actions and tasks within applications faster, and switch between programs with more grace and efficiency.

As a result, Mac users can often perform more actions, enter more data and complete more tasks more quickly than Windows users. These benefits translate to greater efficiency, enhanced productivity, and increased profitability.

#2 Macs are easier to use

Macs are simply easier to use than Windows machines, which means less time and money need to be invested training Mac users how to use their equipment. Mac users need not develop advanced expertise, either, trying to perform simple, routine tasks.

I've seen Windows end users struggle to master shadow volume copy operations when troubleshooting failed application backups. Apple's Time Machine backs up data almost automatically, creating easily accessed archive copies no less, and with little user intervention required.

Mac users need not lose otherwise productive hours, the way I've seen countless Windows users lose time, battling hardware drivers and printer configuration issues. Sure, some technology professionals complain that Apple maintains too tight control over the hardware specifications of its machines. But the benefit is that, when users connect compatible peripherals, they typically work very well with little configuration required.

#3 Macs are more secure

Because Macs leverage UNIX architecture and are immune to the ever-increasing and ubiquitous virus, worm, Trojan, spyware and other innumerable malware infections that regularly and frequently infect Windows systems, Mac users spend far less time, money and energy protecting and recovering their systems.

My consulting office has found it doesn't matter what strategy we use to protect PCs; end users' PCs become infected. We can deploy perimeter antimalware protections, implement powerful Web filtering technologies, and load and force leading antivirus application installation and updates on client PCs; yet, they still suffer infections.

The cost arising from infected PCs is astronomical. There's lost sales, time and productivity due to the system proving unavailable. Business interruptions occur. Consultants or IT staff must then spend time removing and repairing these systems. The costs of filters, antivirus software, and renewal licenses further increase PC total cost of ownership.

I have first-hand experience with this issue. My consulting office supports hundreds of commercial and nonprofit organizations that use PCs and Macs. Some use both. We see large numbers of Windows clients lose productive time and incur repair costs due to virus and spyware issues. I've never seen a Mac compromised.

I use Macs (since 1983 or 1984) and Windows (DOS in 1986; Windows beginning in 1993) machines at home. My consulting office has used both for years. In fact, despite Apple's official pronouncement a couple years ago encouraging Mac users to deploy antivirus, I've only ever installed antivirus exactly once on a client's workstation (and that was due to unusual and unique circumstances that resulted in the software finding no infections).

Other benefits

There are many other cost advantages associated with using Macs versus PCs, too. Apple hardware is first-rate and frequently outlasts similarly equipped systems from PC manufacturers, which means systems may require replacing less often and at longer intervals. Macs are less prone to unauthorized use, meaning data stored on Macs is likely safer and more secure, thanks to the lack of zombie and bot programs targeting the Apple platform. There are many other advantages, too. Feel free to post your thoughts by joining the discussion below.

About

Erik Eckel owns and operates two technology companies. As a managing partner with Louisville Geek, he works daily as an IT consultant to assist small businesses in overcoming technology challenges and maximizing IT investments. He is also president o...

240 comments
danerd
danerd

hi, another saving is as follows, my current imac runs everything using only a 250 watt power supply, think of the money i am saving on electricity, this is important in australia as our power costs are going up steeply.

jpb21k
jpb21k

I have worked in a number of heterogeneous environments. Personally, I use both a MAC and a PC running Windows 7; sometimes I use Linux. Here are my observations: Performance It is true that any system?s performance will degrade over time if unnecessary applications and services are installed on the system. First of all in a well maintained corporate environment, the average user should not be allowed to install applications on their systems. The problem is that users are setup as administrative users on their workstations, not standard users. As such, they install unauthorized applications. This can be avoided by implementing industry best practices. Does the Mac OS have performance issues? Yes. Go to their support site and search on performance issues. You further state "As software programs are loaded, virus and spyware infections are removed, corrupted system files are repaired and different applications are removed or updated, PC system performance declines measurably." The part regarding software programs may be true. However, if the spyware infections are removed, the corrupted files repaired and the applications removed or updated and performance still declines, it is an indication that no repair or removal was successfully performed. Hardware You mention that Apple hardware is first rate. It is standardized and tends to be high quality. However, when you say similar hardware, what does this really mean? Are you comparing this to off the shelf hardware that one purchases in Best Buy? Or, are you comparing this to a well configured and standardized system? If the latter system is used and equivalent (not similar) components are used, hardware longevity is not guaranteed to be longer with a Mac. Security How is Mac less prone to unauthorized access? I have seen many a Mac without a login requirement, thus allowing anyone to access the system. I have also seen this with Windows based systems. This can be avoided by implementing industry best practices. Windows viruses, spyware and malware immunity. This is obvious, they are different operating systems. There are still security issues that exist with the Mac OS X operating system. A well-crafted FreeBSD or Mac OS X exploit can still be executed against a Mac if the user chooses to execute an application with elevated privileges (i.e. they are using the first user created on the Mac). Another thing to remember is market share. If someone is going to spend hours writing malicious code, they will generally do it for the most used OS or application. Overall it sounds as if you are writing about very small offices or individual users. In a managed environment, applications, security policy, hardware deployment and user education is performed or provided by trained and informed IT staff (consultants or in-house). Done correctly, most of the issues mentioned should not occur. Does this mean they never will with either OS? No. Lastly, I do not thing a true TCO was taken into account. A quick example is an effective use of Group Policy and Active Directory. Using this, applications, security policies, and updates can be deployed without direct user or IT staff involvement thus reducing the labor cost and lost productivity. I do not know of any Mac OS tool that offers the same options for the same cost. I like Macs and think they are a great tool in any environment. Articles such as these raise the ire of many an IT professional. Especially when the second sentence in the article is: "Unfortunately, it?s also an issue many technology professionals prove incapable of fully understanding, possibly for emotional reasons." Believe me that will get the emotions going. Articles such as these also detract from the real issue: making sure to adhere to best practices no matter the operating system.

JamesRL
JamesRL

I've seen so much misinformation, bile and vitriole I may question my own sanity for poking my nose in. But some of the stuff out there need to be addressed. As for Macs as serious business machines, there was a time when Macs had a shot at the Enterprise market. Huge companies like Boeing, NASA, Disney, Nortel all used them at one point for everything from office machines, to CAD/CAM and more. Back then the hardware, from SCSI HDs to high end video was generally higher performance and more robust and justified the extra costs. Now that Apple is using off the shelf PC components, I can't suggest that the hardware is any better. The advantage Apple still has is that because they control the hardware, it is more tightly integrated into the OS. But the downside is less choice and less ability to do upgrades. As for the OS, I will admit I stopped using a Mac before OSX, but I have played with it a bit. I still like the interface, but the usability gap between OSX and current Windows OSs gets smaller with every Windows release. As for viruses, that just a matter of MS being a bigger target. You may argue that MS has had some major security flaws in the past and been caught out, and you'd be right. But you would also have to acknowledge that the Mac OSX isn't perfectly secure, and if it had the marketshare, and if Apple had the same reputation as MS, there would be more OSX viruses out there. BTW I got my first Mac Virus as a trojan on April 1, 1987. It went off at noon. The major corporation I worked for in the 90s had 20,000 Macs, 15,000 PCs and 15,000 Unix workstations on one worldwide network. At the time, Gartner Group and others trumpeted the fact that Macs cost less to support, and that the total cost of ownership over three years justified spending the more money up front on the hardware. The networking group at the company disagreed, saying that Macs network protocols were chatty and having to support both meant added complexity to managing the world wide net. The company decided to convert all the Macs to Pcs over a three year period. And the world didn't end, despite some of the gloom and doom predictions of some of the fanboys. People, as much as you love your computers, they are tools. I can use a Nikon or a Canon and still the most important factor in taking a great picture is the person behind the camera, not the camera itself. Too many here are investing too much emotion in their personal favs. Erik's theories may or may not be correct, I'd have to see more information before I accept them. But there is no point in discussing with rabid foam dripping out of anyone's mouth. Turn your caps lock off and discuss things like human beings.

john3347
john3347

I fail to understand what weight (mass/pounds) has to do with performance. If a Windows Computer weighs twice as much as an otherwise similar Apple computer but only runs 50% faster (or demonstrates only 50% better performance), does that give the Apple computer a "pound for pound" performance advantage? What if the Windows computer is 3 ounces lighter and only 5% better performance? Which one wins the "pound for pound" contest here? I really do not understand what mass has to do with computer performance comparisons. Lots of smoke and mirrors employed here rather than empirical data to prove an arguably invalid hypothesis.

SCADAman10
SCADAman10

Apple producs are all premium priced machins - you can typically buy 2 or 3 similarly specced Windows compters for the price of a Mac. Sure, they are nicely designed, and have goten a few things right, such as the trackpad operation. But even at hardware level this does not translate into a better quality, which is a shame, considering the tight control that Apple purports to exercise over both the hardware and software. My wife's MacBook Pro has had 3 motherboards replaced, 4 hard disk reformats, 3 batteries replaced, (and spent probably a month and a half in the Apple repair shop), and the AppleCare isn't even up yet. I have never had such problems with my 7 PCs. When it comes to software, it's also not that great. Personally, I don't find it very efficient to work with OSX, and the business apps are incompatible with Windows (e.g. Outlook, which is essential for us). There are things that it does better, but it's not across the board. So in a nutshell - 1. Perform better? compared to a similarly priced Windows computer? Not really, 2. Easier to use? Try to launch an application that is not in the dock - you need to search for it in the Applications folder, which after a while will become a hodge-podge of crap. Or how about a forward delete (with one hand please) - oh, there is no Delete button in Mac world. Function keys? you don't get no stinking function keys (at least not without pressing the Fn button with the other hand). 3. More Secure? With proper antivirus (e.g. MS Security Essentials) you will be just as secure And my experience, as mentioned above, does not support the suggestions that Apple hardware is more reliable.

wat9000
wat9000

hmmm....i wonder what goaste security has to say about this, macs in truth aren't good for business maybe for a computer illiterate. and the immunity is a bunch of hogwash, one virus(not windows but mac virus to mac is very deadly). not to mention the price tag of one of these $2000 plus, not very economical. you good sir are a fanboy.

Gis Bun
Gis Bun

Talking about biased! A column about how Macs anre better than Windows .... [wait for it] .... in a Mac blog area!

Gis Bun
Gis Bun

OK. You buy a PC with Windows 7 64-bit and a Core i7 on it. Buy the same equivalent Mac and it will probably be close to double the price. Problems with your Mac [and assuming you are not a techie], there aren't as many Mac techs. They know that. Expect to pay more. I know I'df charge more. You want to go from OS X 10.6 to 10.7 and this will cost how much every couple of years? You will have thess in the choice of what hardware you can add [because not everything has Mac drivers]. Lack of real Mac drivers [instead of workarounds] can also be costly. If the Mac mobo fries after the warranty, what do you do? On a Windows system, there are plenty of mobos to choose from [the friend "Windows" mobo may still even be available. Never looked at the warranty, but I'm sure if yopu opened a Mac system [opened the case and played inside] the warranty would be void. Easier to use? That's if you have been using a Mac for all of your life. I've used a Mac [admittedly not heavily] and to dig around to find things are confusing.

jason.turnbull
jason.turnbull

The Mac platform is rapidly growing, and constantly evolving. It has vulnerabilities in it and it's really only a matter of time before someone slams your unprotected platform. I would expect as a technologist you would feel some level of responsibility in ensuring that in the least the email attachments that you're forwarding from your machine are virus free. Stop being so ignorant, arrogant and irresponsible and install a suitable anti-virus on yours and your clients Macs today you twat.

Mabrick
Mabrick

This is better: use the one you are most comfortable with and does the job you need it to do. There, money saved!

CodeCurmudgeon
CodeCurmudgeon

Most of these characteristics pertain to Linux systems too. As for ease of use, the Mac may be a bit ahead of Ubuntu, because Apple has heavily promoted a consistency of feel across applications.

cbader
cbader

You said: "My consulting office has found it doesn?t matter what strategy we use to protect PCs; end users? PCs become infected. We can deploy perimeter antimalware protections, implement powerful Web filtering technologies, and load and force leading antivirus application installation and updates on client PCs; yet, they still suffer infections." Are you trying to keep the peace by allowing these users to be added to the local admin groups so they can install software and other admin tasks? If you remove them from the local admin group over 90% of malware wont install.

ScarF
ScarF

At http://www.pcworld.com/article/208540/mac_users_warned_of_growing_virus_threat.html is an interesting article about the viruses trend on Macs. Also, for the interested readers, there is a link between the market share and the number of attacks on one platform. If there is electric current, a skilled individual may break in somehow. Or, the safest computer is the one which is turned off, with the power plug removed and sitting safely in its packaging box.

cbader
cbader

Macs are not easier to use, period. Ive tried using a Mac, I am so confused by those things. I also dont think they are inherently more secure simply because they arent Windows based. Macs are consistently one of the first to fall at pwn2pwn contests.

ScarF
ScarF

Based on your excellent blog, right today I'll start a feasibility report and a replacement strategy to the upper management for replacing all our Windows workstations and servers with Macs. Then, after the office hours, I'll run to the first Apple store and buy 2 laptops and one desktop for replacing whatever Windows-based "junk" I have at home - which, of course, will end ASAP into the garbage. (It doesn't that I have to put a second mortgage, eh? It's worth.) Long live Apple! Long live Steve Jobs! Long live the "I'm a PC" ads! Thank you, thank you, Sam-I-am.

tbostwick
tbostwick

Finally - a non m$ loving article from TechRepublic. It seems sometimes that Apple does make great machines after all and for MANY users who only need a browser and a mgmt tool for pics/videos and some editing - the Mac wins hands-down. Add the fact that dual booting on a Mac now is a cinch if one "has" to use Windows. As to the point of "faster" - in the general sense, they are because of their OS structure (resembles Unix) and with Intel processors - are blazingly fast. For hashing anything in Photoshop, Lightroom or Aperture/FinalCut - running these on a Mac is a delight. The common customer travels yearly to BestBuy or online to delve into the myriad of "pimp my ride" options from various PC/Windows makers these days - all with varying levels of success, build quality and support. All of these nowadays can't hold a candle to even an iBook G4, let alone the fleet of aluminum clad devices Apple has rolled out. Simply put, their intuitive, powerful and work out of the box forever - guaranteed. Apple support is light years ahead of anyone else in the game enough said - spend the little extra and you WILL see a higher quality product, a better experience and you'll never need to buy another Windows box again.

redfoxnorth
redfoxnorth

I use Macs, PC, and Ubuntu, and I have to say I agree with the idea that Macs are more efficient for main stream. However, I am using Ubuntu more and more, and the same lack of malware benefits apply there, but also with the lower cost that comes from being able to run on PC hardware. Best of both worlds!

paul
paul

Having been building and programming computers for nearly 35 years, I can say looking at the 6 broken Mac laptops on my floor at the moment, the guts are cheap ... Foxconn boards...Fujitsu drives ... The cases are great, I may turn them into some form of music synthesizer casing ... The reason being they are just not cost effective to repair. The screens and keboards I shall sell on to some hopeless sucker...

Nsaf
Nsaf

Critics should know that one can always convert even with all those MS Certificates.

BobManGM
BobManGM

I've been a director of technology for 2 different school districts; 1 Mac & 1 WinTel. From the $, staff & training standpoints, your proposition doesn't hold true. It cost me just as much money and man hours to manage the 2 environments. Just to toss out a few things that made items not so rosy... - Harder to find good support (project support or daily in some cases). - You HAVE to handle the issues of how do I take this home (some now solved by the 'cloud') and ?how do I use this at home because I have a PC.? - Network administration was harder on the Mac side than Windows side (especially when you look at the older Macs). Don't get me wrong, they are GREAT machines. I would be comfortable with my kids taking a Mac to college, but I don't think Mac > WinTel or vice versa. IT professionals should always look at the right tool for the right job. Bob

Slayer_
Slayer_

As long as Apple hardware requires iTunes, I avoid it like a plague.

danerd
danerd

all i am saying is that my imac does everything that i need except hard core gaming, which i am not into using a maximum of 250 watts, this is a plus in australia as our power costs are going up dramaticaly.

gechurch
gechurch

This isn't actually a saving. The "watt" rating of a power supply is the maximum wattage that supply *can* provide. How much it does provide depends on load, and there will be virtually no difference in load between a PC and a Mac doing the same task (which isn't surprising, since they use the same parts these days).

cpguru21
cpguru21

Well written post JamesRL. I agree with what you say here. As IT support specialists, we need to be open minded to all solutions, and be able to manage the pros and cons of each. Educating users on computer usage is how we avoid major virus issues in our corporation with Windows computers. Unfortunately for Apple, there decisions make me leary about depending on their solutions for the business environment (like last minute decision to cut Xserves). With a PC environment, I can custom build - or fix for that matter - any system out there, whether someone discontinued something or not. Anyway I enjoyed reading your comments and your "open-minded-ness" to this topic.

lzdwren
lzdwren

Everyone who blasts how good PCs are over Macs talk about the old Motorola and IBM chips in the old MACs. Now that Apple moved to Intel chips and Mac OS X Microsoft is trying VERY hard to catch up to MACs. So should people wait for MS to catch up or just use the best computer in the world?

Spitfire_Sysop
Spitfire_Sysop

Because there is no comparison. Linux wins every time.

BobManGM
BobManGM

I've seen it with a few other posts here (picking apart a person and their expericence), so I thought I should add before the question comes up...I was part of a state wide group of technology professionals in school districts and it didn't matter the platform, the problems were all the same. So, from my experiences, one is NOT better than another. Right tool for the job....

BobManGM
BobManGM

I forgot to mention the tools at the network level. A lot of tools that I rely on for doing my job are not there or are not as robust as they are in the WinTel environment. This isn't a big $ factor but a big time factor. Bob

gechurch
gechurch

Thanks for your post Bob. You must be one of very few people here to have actually administered both Apple and Windows networks of a reasonable size. I for one appreciated hearing your thoughts.

lzdwren
lzdwren

It seems to me you are just writing something out of the small tip of your brain without adding ANY reasons that make sense why you do not like iTunes. I use iTunes every day because it does what I want it to do without spending a LOT of time searching the virus-laden programs out on the Internet. I have 99% of my music I carry in my iPod Touch and the 1% I left at home, I do not listen to it anyway. iTunes does all that without hassles and you would know that if you tried it.

danerd
danerd

one thing that does annoy me about apple is they want me to pay for old 2d games like FROZEN BUBBLE etc which is available FREE in linux distributions and prices starting at $1.99 for something like FROZEN BUBBLES YES A WHOLE $1.99 gee steve i didnt know that you are so hard up.

dldorrance
dldorrance

My machine is a home built mini-ITX desktop with a *90 watt* power supply (at one time it ran with a *60 watt* power supply which was inadequate to power two 5 inch HDD's, but adequate for a single 5 inch HDD). Total cost under $500. This includes a dual core Intel processor, 2 GB RAM, two 2.5 inch HDD's and CD/DVD drive. The monitor is separate. I do not run games. Never tried. However I do run Windows XP in Virtualbox, albeit a bit slower than if it were native, but nevertheless useful for programs that don't run in Linux. My personal opinion about Apple computers: Fashionably packaged and way overpriced.

Neon Samurai
Neon Samurai

I could see power draw being about the same for same task and same hardware. Either same hardware parts or hardware balanced out based on measuring the draw to insure they are equal to the Apple unit. Soon as you alter the hardware or it's balance based on draw, your going to get different results. Heck, I had system instability just sitting idle until I dropped in a bigger PSU.. it can't run on a maximum 500 watt. By default, I'm going to be drawing less power from the wall simply by using a system which can run in under 500 watts. If the Mini can do the same tasks as your bigger PSU machines then your likely to see power savings simply by reducing the maximum peak those machines will draw from the wall. I think Lenovo's general work desktops are only in the 400 watt PSU range also so it's really not a brand specific trait.

danerd
danerd

you would be hard pressed to find a new pc with a power supply less than 400watts in fact 500 watts semms to be the norm these days and they have hardware with appetites to match eg they have graphics cards that are more power consuming than the low powered cards found in the imacs for a start.

BobManGM
BobManGM

There were a lot of good things to say about the old machines. Not much of it would be germane to this discussion, but there were a lot of good things there and I would still call those people "Macheads". Maybe even "true Macheads". I still know "Amigaheads". Bob

JamesRL
JamesRL

Ok fine, you want me to trot out the resume? I used Apple IIes before the Mac existed. I used a Mac the year it was released. I've sold Macs at a couple of dealerships. I've been a consultant for Macs in small business. I've used Macs to earn a living doing desktop publishing. I've written articles about Macs for computing magazines. I interviewed Guy Kawasaki. I've worked for a software company that was and is a major provider of graphics software for Macs and PCs. I worked at a company that had the largest network of Macs ever. I helped define the OS standards, plan OS rollouts, test new software to be included on that platform. So don't tell me I don't get the Mac. But I'm not religious about it. Neither Macs or PCs are perfect.

HAL 9000
HAL 9000

I personally find a lot of the tools that I would use are not available on the WinTel environments. But then again I came from a CMP background that was then moved to Unix and I find that CMP was better Unix left lots to be desired and all subsequent environments seem to have even less of what I used on a daily basis. But I suppose it all depends on what you started with as to which you prefer. However as its still a Personal Preference it is only saying that Person A prefers Platform Z Tools and Person B prefers Platforms Y tools. ;) As both do the job they must be at least part way useful or they wouldn't be being used to begin with. ;) Col

Slayer_
Slayer_

First one, a BenQ, actually had drivers on the disc to bypass the GUI it used, which was awful, frequently froze and slow as hell. It would take 10 minutes to transfer a 3 meg song, or just do it direct and let it take 20 seconds. My Second one, No GUI but when you first plug it in, Windows will say it failed to load the driver and it shows as a flash drive, you open it up and its kind of like how Libraries work in Win7, you don't see the true folder structure. Unplug it and plug it back in, it pops up as a regular flash drive and you suddenly have access to the folder structure. My Point, two horribly broken systems produced by cheap manufacturers, and it is still better than iTunes.

Neon Samurai
Neon Samurai

Requiring a media manager sucked rocks then and it still does; there is just no reason not to present as a flashdrive and simply copy desired music to the device. This also allows for media managers without limiting end user by them. The most valuable function enabled by jailbreaking; flashdrive mode so you can manage your content directly. To make things worse, Itunes tries to do everything when it should be three or more separate programs. It's over-engineered, over-complicated and begging for bugs because of it. Apple has the "do one thing and do it well" Unix base then they drop "do everything under the sun and some of it well enough" on top for users to interact with. Add to that the ongoing updates that constantly add clutter to the interface and always pop up when my significant other is trying to do a quick sync before heading off to work. And the sync process itself.. Apple likes to collect as much information as it can on you but use that information for the user's benefit? heck no.. After having to replace a macbook, we plugged in the Iphone to sync the data back; the logical thinking being that it'd behave as a backup by default. We had license for the content so Itunes just had to suck it back off the mobile device thus restoring the majority of the lost library. Not so.. Itunes simply deletes it off the mobile device. Does the Itunes server, knowing you've purchased the content, re-download it; nope. "you have already purchased this song".. and no download starting. The server knows we have license for the content but won't restore it; WTF? And apps for the Iphone? The package manager on the Iphone is far better than using Itunes on a full desktop screen. At least Itunes seems to restore apps back to the Iphone even if it's content management is broken. And, what other mobile phone requires pairing to a computer before it can be used? With every other phone I've seen; insert SIM, turn on, make phone call. With Apple, one must first prove worthy by demonstrate that they have Windows or osX with Itunes installed. Again; WTF? The purpose of the entire design is to lock one into Apple's little walled flower pot. If they had majority market share they'd be up for anti-trust litigation so fast Mr Jobs would go back in time. (the speed of light, or, 80'ish miles an hour with flux compasitor ;) )

Slayer_
Slayer_

Yeah, iTunes does a lot of work....

Neon Samurai
Neon Samurai

Was it completely silent or did you have system sounds coming out before you tried to play the song file? What file format was the song? If mp3, did you search for "play mp3 on Ubuntu"? If the issue was an unsupported sound card then it may have been a driver issue. Ask they hardware vendor why the have not yet provided the minimum needed for the kernel developers to provide support; or, why they haven't alternatively provided a driver. Nvidia does this; binary driver with installer no more complicated than a Windows install wizard. If you had sound already but couldn't play the music file then it's probably a missing code; again, something imposed on Ubuntu though I believe they include mp3 support and such by default these days. If not, it should be a simple matter of enabling the Multiverse repository and installing the codec from there. On Debian, one enables the "non-free" repository and installs the desired package; "not a big deal" as Mr Jobs would say. Heck, Debian 5 lacked support for my Creative X-FI soundcard. Even installing the Alsa beta with X-FI support was a simple matter. Granted, it involved "./configure && make && make install" but whoopty.. still not any more complicated than the grief I've had with some Windows drivers. Debian 6 includes the newer Alsa now (for any X-FI owners out there). If you don't want to muck with drivers at all, is there a different distribution that would work? Mint perhaps? Mandriva maybe? They are both liveCD.. boot them, confirm you hear sounds.. install and search "play mp3 on ..." if not included by default.

gechurch
gechurch

I agree with the subject of your post, but not it's contents. For starters, your example of someone buying new hardware "every few days" is completely contrived. No-one in the world, ever, does that. But even in this contrived example, you are *still* financially better off doing it that way than buying a Mac. You pay a large premium to have bleeding edge technology. Having it all in your computer (regardless of whether you want it or not, I might add) "just in case" is poor economics. If you decide a year down that track that you want USB 3.0 (or whatever) it will be much cheaper to buy a card then than to have it in your PC now. Of course, the reality is that only a very small percentage of computer users ever install add-in cards. In fact, I'm hard pressed to even think of many that a normal user would want. Wireless and Firewire are the only two that spring to mind. Firewire is on quite a few motherboards already, but a decent OHCI-compliant card costs about ten bucks. A good wireless card will be a bit more - maybe $40 at a stretch. So if you take an edge case that best supports your argument - someone who bought a PC without firewire or wireless and later decided they need both. In this case it would cost them around $50 to add both. This person would still be financially ahead of the guy that bought a Mac. Of course, people don't buy a Mac because it has everything they may one day need built-in. They buy it because a) it has the OS they want b) it's a premium brand and they want the best c) they think it looks pretty. And that lines up with the comments of the commenter you replied to. In fact, I'm not sure where your reply to him came from. It doesn't seem to be addressing anything he said at all - your post went off on a complete tangent, and I'm not sure why. Other than justifying the expense of your purchase to yourself.

lzdwren
lzdwren

If you want to save your money you are going the wrong way. You tell me that apple products are overpriced, because you prefer to spend smaller amounts of money every time you want to add a hardware or software accessory every few days to get something you need to do because what you already bought does not do it without adding more money. I agree that Linux is getting better here, but I tried to add a driver to Xubuntu to be able to play a song on my Compaq DeskPro. I spent more than 6 days searching for a driver for my internal motherboard and found "snd" driver that applies to my audio hardware, but it still did not work. This is why Apple is cheaper LONG term because MOST times you already bought what you need because it came in the original Hardware/Software you bought!

gechurch
gechurch

You can find plenty of high-wattage PSU's out there. There have been plenty of examples of poor quality power supplies that come with cheap cases. Often they have high (and just as often, inflated) wattage numbers. If you use a low quality PSU, you can't be surprised when you have system instability. Heaps of people have seen this, gone out and bought a more expensive (and higher rated) PSU and incorrectly concluded that the old one wasn't powerful enough, and that they *need* a 600w supply. The reality is that the quality of the supply was the problem, not the wattage. Nevertheless, if people have it in their head they need a high powered PSU, then you'd better have a big number on the sticker if you're a PSU maker or you will miss out on a lot of sales. The above phenomenom only really affects the home PC market, which is a lot more price-oriented than quality-oriented. You are incorrect that it is difficult to find a new PC with a PSU less than 400w. It's just that you chose to compare your iMac to something with a high-end video card ("...hardware with appetites to match". This in itself is a silly statement. No one in their right mind would buy a high wattage PSU first, then go looking for high-power parts to make use of it. You purchase a PSU that's appropriate for the load the other components will draw). If you compare your good-quality Mac to a good-quality PC and you will see PSU requirements are similar. I have just rolled out a bunch of new quad-core PCs to a client of mine. CPUs tend to be the second biggest drawer of power (after graphics cards), and quad-cores geniunely do consume a lot. So the quad-core PCs I rolled out should have a higher rated PSU than other non-gamer PCs. They have 320w power supplies. (They are HP 6000 Pro's if you want to look them up - I purchased towers; the small form factors come with 240w power supplies). You are correct that the iMac has a low-powered graphics card, and that high-end graphics cards do require high-wattage power supplies. There are specced out gaming PCs that can geniunely peak at over 500w, so a high powered PSU is actually required. For non-gamers though, a 300w PSU is still more than enough. It just needs to be of good quality. I'm not really sure what your point is though. "An iMac with a crappy graphics card requires less power than a PC with a beast of a graphics card". Well yeah, and my pet dog consumes more food than my pet fish! So what? All that proves is that if you compare different things, the results are meaningless. None of the above changes the fact that power draw has nothing to do with PSU wattage and everything to do with load. And load on similarly specced PCs and Macs doing the same task will be close to equal. So again - this is not a cost saving that Macs have over PCs.

Slayer_
Slayer_

Ok, we will ignore the fact that nearly every laptop is under 150 watts, but the standard PC comes with a 250 or a 300. That's your el-cheapo model with your basic intel graphics and AC97 audio. These are extremely common in companies large and small. The work machines for our old business were all these style. My Family still has 2 of them, one is working as their office computer for basic web browsing, only has a Sis 8mb video chip. And the other I fitted a cheap MSI AGP video card that I found in the trash pile at work and use it for the S-Video (Well used to, now it uses the VGA plug for the TV) and they use it for netflix. I don't know what became of the other 30 machines I had bough

JamesRL
JamesRL

There were white papers proclaiming Mac were cheaper to operate than PCs in the enterpise environment. I think given what Win95 was like when it first came out, that may have been correct. The same arguments here were had then.

HAL 9000
HAL 9000

Is when I'm not thinking I'll type in a Unix Command on a Windows Platform and it's amazing just how often it works. Most times not as I'm expecting but at least no error messages saying WTH was that. :D Col

BobManGM
BobManGM

I should say Network Tools maybe (not OS network tools)...Ciscoworks, Solarwinds, ChechPoint Dashboard...sorry.

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