PC vs Apple and manual vs automatic transmission

By JesseM ยท 23 replies
Oct 29, 2006
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  1. Ok, so I know this is a hotly debated subject but I was really bored and was thinking about it and I came up with this after reading an ad for Apple computers. I probably got half of the information wrong (even though it's the overall effect that really matters), so sorry in advance.

    The way I see it, Apples and PCs can be compared by using an analogy of the comparison between automatic transmissions in cars, which would be Apple computers, and manual transmissions, which would be PCs.

    First of all, the most obvious comparison is the ease of use. Macs are overall easier to use. Automatic transmission is easier to use.

    Secondly, the cost fits the analogy. Macs are much more expensive, including repairing and buying software and hardware. Automatic transmission is much more expensive, including repairing and buying parts.

    Here's where it really matters to me: the performance. With manual transmission, the driver has more control over their vehicle and enables more performance and control over the vehicle than with an automatic transmission. This is the same with computers, for the most part. For the money you put into it, a PC will outperform an Apple. For $999, an Apple (17-inch iMac) will come with 512MB of RAM and a weak 64MB Intel graphics card. For the exact same price, the PC (Dell XPS 410) comes with 2GB of RAM and a 256MB nVidia graphics card.

    Yet another comparison is the reliability. If you know what you are doing, a manual transmission will last longer than an automatic transmission. This is the exact same with computers. If you know what you are doing, a PC will outlast an Apple. Many people like to point out that viruses and spyware are what makes PCs so much worse, but if you know what you are doing you don't get viruses or spyware. If you do get them they are easy to remove. Because you can easily and cheaply replace parts on PCs, just like manual transmissions, they will physically last longer.

    Also, with less time spent shifting in an automatic you can brush your teeth, comb your hair... make yourself look better. Apple OS "looks better" and the computers physically look better only because they are not capable of the things that PCs are. The reason I put quotes around "looks better" is because if you are impressed by simple user-friendly graphics enough that this is the reason you bought an Apple, then stop reading this.

    Lastly, with a manual transmission you have more fun than with an automatic transmission. With a PC you have more fun. Besides all that hacking stuff (I've heard that Apples are better for that), if you can name one practical thing that an Apple can do that a PC can't, I will be surprised. You can make movies with PCs just like you can with Apples, if not better. You have the exact same music capabilities with PCs that you do with Apples, if not better. You cannot play games with Apples like you can with PCs. When using an Apple you always have to ask yourself, "Is this program compatible with my Apple?" but with PCs you are more than safe to assume that any program will run. Do you know why this is so? Well, I'll answer that with another question: Why would someone who makes programs want to develop that program to run on an OS that has far fewer customers than the other OS? They wouldn't get as much business.
  2. Nodsu

    Nodsu TS Rookie Posts: 5,837   +6

    I am not really interested in debating anything, but I'll just point out a couple of things here. BTW I have never seriously used a Mac, have you?

    You are talking about performance per cost, not overall performance here.

    Are you saying that combating malware is done by replacing hardware? Or are you just comparing apples and oranges here? Hardware and software reliability are different things. Also, reliability means that you usually don't have to replace stuff at all. Do you replace gears in your manual transmission often?

    If you know anything about programming, then you write your programs so that they run on any operating system and hardware with minimal modifications. So you get the PC market share and the Mac market share. Unfortunately most software developers know nothing about good programming :p

    You also seem to confuse hardware and software overall. We have Apple computers and an Apple operating system. And we also have PCs and The PC Operating System (I assume that you assumed PCs only run Windows). You cannot really mix and match properties here, especially that one can (almost) run Mac OS on normal PCs and Windows on Apple machines. Not to mention that other proper operating systems run on both Apple hardware and PC.
  3. JesseM

    JesseM TS Booster Topic Starter Posts: 220

    I have used Macs but not enough to get used to them or anything. I wish I had more experience with them. Just to clarify;

    1. Yes, I am talking about performance per cost and I thought I made that clear starting the sentance off with "For the money you put into it..."

    2. No, I am not saying that combating malware is done by replacing hardware. I was first saying that viruses are not a big problem, but they are an easy target for making PCs look bad, and in the same paragraph I said that PCs have the potential to last longer because replacing hardware (due to old age or breaking) is easier and cheaper with PCs. I do not replace gears in my manual transmission often, and I have never had to replace hardware in my computer that is four years old. Macs probably last just as long, but I can guess that replacing hardware would be much harder and more costly.

    3. I don't know anything about programming. I realize that writing programs for both PCs and Macs would be ideal, but apparently most software developers don't think it's worth it or as you said know nothing about good programming.

    4. I'll admit that it seems like from reading it I wouldn't know the difference between the OS and the physical computer. However, I didn't confuse them with one another. I did mostly assume Windows to be the PC OS, but I do not think that PCs only run Windows. I was making it easier for everyone (including me) by assuming that PCs run Windows, and Apples run on Mac OS.

    But thanks for the pointers!
  4. vnf4ultra

    vnf4ultra TechSpot Paladin Posts: 1,388

    I don't think apple's pricing is as extreme as a lot of people think.
    For example, a 20" imac(stock config) is $1499.
    A comparable dell, the xps m2010, would be $3574, when configured similarly(processor, memory, hard drive capacity).

    It isn't fair to compare the imacs to the dell towers, since imacs are small form factor computers. The xps I compared to is a "notebook" but it is hardly more mobile than an imac. The xps m2010 would have a slightly better video card(x1800 vs x1600), but otherwise I'd say it's pretty close.

    Another advantage to the new intel macs is they can run both mac and windows(and linux if you prefer), so they truely can "do it all." (note they only come with mac os, so other os's are not included).

    I used to be anti-mac until I actually seriously looked at what they have to offer. I think for the average person they are excellent computers.
  5. cfitzarl

    cfitzarl TechSpot Chancellor Posts: 1,975   +9

    Is it me, or have I noticed that a lot of computer enthusiasts only stick with pc's?
  6. JesseM

    JesseM TS Booster Topic Starter Posts: 220

    For the average person, Macs are perfect. Are we average people? I think I'd enjoy using an Apple, but I'd never buy one.
  7. cfitzarl

    cfitzarl TechSpot Chancellor Posts: 1,975   +9

    If I were to somehow buy a laptop (not especially for gaming), I think it might be a Mac, but I generally don't like laptops either :unch:
  8. twite

    twite TechSpot Paladin Posts: 937

    Macs and pc's are both extremely easy to use in a sense, its just that people don't bother to learn. I think a more reasonable comparison would be macs and pc's as automatic, and linux as manual, as you have full control.
  9. KingCody

    KingCody TS Evangelist Posts: 992   +8

    I don't think that analogy is accurate anymore...

    back in the earlier days of windows, a mac was much easier to use. but times have changed and modern PCs are just as easy to use. either one takes getting used to, but once learned they are both easy to use.

    I wouldn't call either one "better" or "easier" than the other. they each have advantages over the other one.

    that being said... I [personally] don't see the point of buying a mac and running windows on it. to me that defeats the purpose of owning a mac in the first place. The Mac's strength is it's operating system, not it's hardware.

  10. cfitzarl

    cfitzarl TechSpot Chancellor Posts: 1,975   +9

    I saw a stupid advertisment from apple boasting that Widnows would be able to be used and how pc's have driver problems, and it made no sense really.
  11. RealBlackStuff

    RealBlackStuff TS Rookie Posts: 6,503

    The comparison goes wrong in another way as well:
    automatic transmissions last much longer than manual transmissions.
    Car manufacturers in the USA found that out way back when, why else would automatic be standard, and not manual?
    No hassle with slipping clutches or grinding teeth (of gears), not to mention the ease of not having to step on that clutch pedal all the time, especially in rush hour tradffic!
    The way people (learn to) drive in the USA, I don't think more than 2% would even know how to drive a stickshift!
  12. KingCody

    KingCody TS Evangelist Posts: 992   +8

    huh :confused:
  13. cfitzarl

    cfitzarl TechSpot Chancellor Posts: 1,975   +9

    I know, the commercial was pointless. They said you could get Mac's trusted stability with the Windows Operating System. Doesn't their stability come from their operating system now, especially since they're using Intel chips?
  14. SNGX1275

    SNGX1275 TS Forces Special Posts: 10,742   +421

    I'd have to disagree with automatic transmissions lasting longer than manual. I've driven a 1983 Ford Ranger (Manual), a 1991 Ford Taurus (Automatic), and a 1996 Ford Ranger (Manual) as my main mode of transportation at various times in my life.
    The engine died in the 83 ranger at 130,000 miles, the manual transmission was still as good as the first day I drove it. Clutch worn a bit more, but nowhere near unusable.
    The 91 Taurus had the transmission quit at 40,000, 85,000, and 130,000 I got rid of it before replacing the transmission at 130,000.
    I'm still driving the 96 Ranger, it has 187,000 miles on it and has never had any work done to the transmission or the clutch.

    My sister had a 98 Ford Contour automatic and its transmission died, don't remember how many miles on it. She now has a 98 Escort ZX2 manual and has never had any problems. My parents have a 2001 GMC Jimmy 4WD automatic and its transmission also has had to be replaced.

    Perhaps its just US auto brands that have automatic transmission problems, but if at all possible every vehicle I'm going to buy will be a manual.

    To get back more on topic, the 1st post was just a bunch of generalizations that have been made and repeated since the beginning of the Personal Computer. Its repeated so much that we all think its right. It was right when it was System 6 vs DOS or MacOS 7-8 vs Windows 95 and 98. Some of it is still true but its not near as cut and dry as it once was, I have a G4 Powerbook and I find doing everyday tasks in it just as easy as Windows, but doing some other things I feel more restricted in OS X but I can't put a finger on what it is or why.

    But then again in Suse 10.1 and Ubuntu Dapper Drake (whatever 6 number that is) I can do normal every day tasks just fine, but I feel clueless on getting something like MythTV to work despite the countless tutorials on the web.

    Also in response to "The Mac's strength is it's operating system, not it's hardware." It is the hardware too, at least on the notebooks. The MacBooks and MacBook Pros physically look very nice. They also have things in them that you don't get on cheaper PC notebooks, such as built in iSight (camera), motion sensing HD protection, and a few others I can't think of. So in a way it is about the hardware.
  15. N3051M

    N3051M TS Evangelist Posts: 2,115

    Re: the viruses and spyware stuff, mac's won't suffer from it as much as windows because hey, not many peoples and companies (i'm talking about percentage of just windows OS PCs to pure Mac PCs here) have them, hence its probably considered 'minor' and don't put much effort into building one for the Mac.

    That doesn't mean it won't get it. An uneducated user surfing the net and clicking on every bright and colourfull pictures would have more chances of get one bugged into his system (in other words user fault, same in windows) and don't forget those multi-platform apps like the Microsoft Office suite and various other programs like it, which some have a common codebase and still be exposed to the same dangers. Also the fact that Macs are ever increasing in popularity.

    About software being made for Macs and PCs, Macs have a fairly standard hardware spec and their OS's don't change as much. This type of thing actually takes most of the guesswork out of building a program and they can make it much more stable in the end due to the fact that your customers will have pretty much the same thing and have the same experience.
    PCs have ever-changing OS (more so than the Mac OS) in terms of Service Packs, Updates to core files, drivers files etc. Not counting the possible combinations of hardware that will be different. Good programmers probably do give hardware a thought and put a recommended spec on their program, and then build one that will cover all bases and hope for the best.

    I'm no programmer, but i know how to use a Mac and a (Windows) PC, so these are just my observation while i was playing around with the same program on the different PCs. (both written specifically for each OS) and yeh.. feel free to correct me :)

    I agree with the comparison between Auto and the manual, but i don't particularly agree with the analogy being placed on the apple and the (windows) PC like this. They both have their benefits and weaknesses like every other thing, and most of the arguments are having a prebuilt machine that is designed to work straight out (more or less) and having a machine you can have more freedom customising and use different OS's and software on.
  16. krismeister

    krismeister TS Rookie

    Mac is a hardware company

    This is wrong, the best programmers I know all love macs because they can drop down into Unix shell which gives alot more control then dos.

    But if you're talking about computer enthusiasts as people who like to build their own machines then you're right. This doesn't work for Macs because Mac considers itself a hardware company, they build and sell complete macs.

    Its starting to change a bit, now for instance you can upgrade the graphics card with whatever you like and use normal disk drives instead of only SCSI.
  17. krismeister

    krismeister TS Rookie

    windows file dialog boxes circa 1995

    My fondest mac features is that you don't need to use file dialog boxes.

    everything in mac is drag and drop. Images documents, audio, everything.

    Even if you do get a file dialog box you can drag and drop your file from anywhere on your machine onto the dialog box and it selects the file.

    Just look at the attached, windows 95 and windows xp . They pretty much are exactly the same.

    No wait!!! There was innovation going on, with XP there are now 5 shortcut locations that your files can be at. Nice.

    Attached Files:

  18. SNGX1275

    SNGX1275 TS Forces Special Posts: 10,742   +421

    The change started a long time ago.
    I have a B&W G3 Tower that came out in June 1999. It has regular PCI slots and uses regular IDE hard drives.
  19. mailpup

    mailpup TS Special Forces Posts: 7,186   +469

    Automatics are more popular because people are too lazy to use and/or learn to use a manual. As SNGX1275 said, manuals last a lot longer than automatics with less maintenance required. Automatics also tend to leak like mad. My opinion is based on years of experience working on cars, trucks and vans as a hobby. I know this isn't the main topic of this thread but I just had to put in my 2 cents.
  20. wallabing

    wallabing TS Rookie Posts: 69

    Here it goes, just because Macs are more expensive and have flashy looking cases does not make them better.
  21. Nodsu

    Nodsu TS Rookie Posts: 5,837   +6

    Totally agree.. It is the superior design, better build quality and usable software that do :p
  22. RealBlackStuff

    RealBlackStuff TS Rookie Posts: 6,503

    I've driven automatic Japanese cars for the last 20 years or so.
    Not a single problem ever! My wife's automatic 1989(!) Nissan Sunny is still running on its original transmission oil!
    Guess they have better QC than Detroit!

    As to Macs, I only know them from hearsay....
  23. JesseM

    JesseM TS Booster Topic Starter Posts: 220

    I probably wouldn't mind having a Mac if I only used my computer for e-mail and word processing. I also wouldn't mind having automatic transmission in my car if I wanted to be able to zone out, drink coffee, talk on my cell phone, or sing to music instead of paying close attention to my driving.
  24. Chisel N Gel

    Chisel N Gel TS Rookie

    Exaclty. The people whom I know and discuss with are converting to macs because they compare the more expensive macs to their buggy low end pcs.

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