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Apple laptops vs PC laptops

Posted on 2005-03-05
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I want to buy a laptop that I can use for school work, go online, gaming, burn CD's and DVD's.  I have gone to the Apple store and both the iBook and Powerbook seem to come with all the bell's and whistles that PC laptops don't.  Is there any downfall about Apple laptops?  Apple's laptop pricing is much more than a PC laptop, why?


Thanks!
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Question by:Mars0178
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15 Comments
 
LVL 84

Expert Comment

by:ozo
ID: 13469377
Is there any downfall about Apple laptops?
Smaller userbase means not all programs are supported with an Apple version.
Apple's laptop pricing is much more than a PC laptop, why?
You get what you pay for.
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Expert Comment

by:brettmjohnson
ID: 13469398
I have a 12" iBook and love it for school work as well as most of my other computing needs.
I believe the iBooks are more rugged than the PowerBooks, and the batteries last longer.
Educational pricing for iBooks is pretty good.  I paid around USD 900 for mine IIRC.  Get the
AppleCare protection plan - it is deeply discounted education pricing and covers just about anything
could go wrong with the hardware for 3 years.   Mac laptops are better designed, better built, and
have much better built-in software than the ultra-cheap PC laptops you can find for a few dollars less.

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LVL 52

Expert Comment

by:Carl Tawn
ID: 13470050
If you want gaming then Macs are probably not the best choice.  Gaming support on the Mac is fairly limited, because generally Macs are built for a different purpose to standard PCs.

Software support on the Mac is another factor to consider.  Most applications that you are used to on a PC won't be available on the Mac, although more and more ported version are becoming available (Macromedia Studio, Photoshop, Microsoft Office, plus a few others).

Macs are built primarily for graphic, vide and scientific applications, so support for games is a lot lower.

Macs tho are inherently more secure than Windows based PCs, for the same reason as Unix and Linux.

Hope this helps.
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LVL 2

Accepted Solution

by:
markomni earned 1000 total points
ID: 13472524
One thing you have to keep in mind is that laptops are not generally a good gaming platform unless you're willing to pony up the money for the high-end "gaming" laptops like the AlienWare Area 51-m 7700 (http://www.alienware.com/Configurator_Pages/area-51m_7700.aspx?SysCode=PC-LT-AREA51-M-7700&SubCode=SKU-DEFAULT) or the Dell Inspiron XPS Gen 2 (http://www1.us.dell.com/content/products/features.aspx?c=us&cs=19&id=rsf_inspnxps2_2&l=en&s=dhs). Surprisingly, the AlienWare laptop is the cheaper of the two at $2354 vs. the Dell's $3450 price tag. One of the major reasons that laptops are not the preferred gaming platform is the lacking power of portable graphics cards. If you plan on playing games like Half-Life 2 or Doom 3, you will need to have a high-end graphics card like the ones in the laptops above. Your standard portable graphics chipset just won't cut it.

And as carl_tawn previously pointed out, Macs are not your best choice just yet for gaming, but the number of titles supported on the Mac is growing. Just check out the Apple Store (http://store.apple.com/1-800-MY-APPLE/WebObjects/AppleStore.woa/72501/wo/Lc68qzziaVNr2ZQWUzs15d9GqF5/1.3.0.6.16.1.1.0.1.3.1.1.0?62,41).

Besides gaming, choosing a laptop these days is really a matter of personal preference and budget. Determine your budget first, then decide on screen sizes, weight, battery life, and your basic computer features (hard drive size, RAM, and ports). What you have to weigh is portability vs. performance if you have a smaller budget, otherwise there are a number of vendors selling laptops dubbed as "desktop replacements." These have all of the power of a desktop, but in a portable form factor.
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Author Comment

by:Mars0178
ID: 13472797
Carl tawn brings up an interesting point about software support with Mac.  I guess if I had to install a program, would Apple's OSX support it...an example would be, if I had to install MS Project, or a complier for Java.
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Expert Comment

by:markomni
ID: 13472807
If OS X is not natively supported, your alternative is to use a PC emulator like VirtualPC with Windows XP.
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Author Comment

by:Mars0178
ID: 13472813
Can I buy a PC emulator from Apple?  
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LVL 2

Expert Comment

by:markomni
ID: 13472853
Microsoft now owns the rights to VirtualPC. I do not believe Apple makes one of their own.
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LVL 52

Expert Comment

by:Carl Tawn
ID: 13476049
Something like Virtual PC will work for apps and stuff, but not very well with games due to the mac running OpenGL rather than DirectX.  Virtual PC simply isn't up to the job of simulating DirectX support.

However, having said that, if you look around you'll find that some bigger games comapnies have started to port a small number of games to the Mac, The Sims being one of the bigger titles.
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Author Comment

by:Mars0178
ID: 13476644
It sounds like too much for me to get a Mac since I need to utilize software that the Mac doesn't support.  After reading these threads, I know I can get MS Virtual PC but it takes up 256 MB of RAM just to run it, besides the additional cost for it.  I am sure Apple makes a realiable computer but it just seems I would have to jump through too many hoops at this time.  If I am wrong, let me know.
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LVL 2

Expert Comment

by:markomni
ID: 13476724
I love computers of all kinds, running operating systems of all kinds. My primary machine is a PC desktop running Windows XP Pro and Mandrake Linux 9, but I also use a Mac G4 with OS X 10.3 and a Sony laptop with Windows XP Pro. And all of this is just what I use at home! If you're not ready to make the switch, then you are right and a Mac probably isn't what you want to get for now. If you're still looking for a gaming laptop, a Mac definitely is not what you want, but you'll still be paying the high price for a PC gaming laptop.
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Author Comment

by:Mars0178
ID: 13481422
I think I am just going to stick to my desktop for gaming.  I am willing to give up gaming as a feature  and get a  well rounded laptop.  I guess, it's a feature I really don't need since I can still play games with my desktop at home.  
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LVL 2

Expert Comment

by:markomni
ID: 13492860
Thanks for the points.
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Author Comment

by:Mars0178
ID: 13492893
No problem...thanks for the great input.
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