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Mac vs. PC Answered

Please Read Before Commenting:

Allow me to clarify:

First, I hate calling it mac vs. pc, as a Mac is also a personal computer, but for convenience we'll stick with the idea that there's difference.

My reason for making this thread is that I recently learned that the UF college of journalism (one of the best journalism schools in the US) requires all of it's third year students to own a macbook. Not just the photographers/multimedia students, but all of them. The photography aspect is the one that I care about.

What I'm looking for in this thread is to be convinced that Macs are better than PCs for graphic work.

I won't be rebutting or flaunting the advantages of PCs, and I hope none of you will, either. I just want to know what the real advantages are, particularly from people who are actually knowledgeable in the field.

Please don't respond with vague statements about reliability and a lack of viruses. I would like quantitative reasons (relating to photography/graphic design), and not just your feelings.

If you think that the main reason to use a Mac is the OS, tell me 1) Why? 2) Would it be just as good on another piece of hardware?

Thanks! I look forward to reading your responses, and I hope my above message didn't come off as mean...I just don't want this to be a flame war.


I have an iMac, but for lack of functionality in the OS that comes with it, I have it dual booting with Vista. Macs are more expensive performance wise, but they also have a very good resale value. Also, an iMac like my recently purchased one has a built in screen which saves me about $500 dollars for a comparable 24" screen. PC's are less expensive, but the quality of parts is very questionable. Dell, Hp, etcetera, make horrible computers. If you were to buy a PC, a more reputable dealer would make sense- such as Alienware, or iBuyPower. As for operating systems, Leopard is great for the simple, every day user who is easily satisfied with simple tasks, but for us functionality-prone, knowledgeable computer geeks, we generally prefer Windows NT. (XP or Vista). Vista/XP are also more secure then Leopard, but anti-virus programs usually cost extra. As for graphic work... An iMac is, unfortunatly, an All-in-one computer, so a graphics card cannot be upgraded as programs come more demanding. However, when you order one they can come with top of the line GCs. I have an ATI Radeon 4850 with 512mb DDR6 on-board ram- pretty high quality. If you go with a Mac Pro, more expensive, but is very upgradable. With up to 32gb DDR3 Ram, and graphic cards costing thousands of dollars, a Mac Pro could run just about anything if you had the dough to buy one (Imagine 8 x 30" displays!). Since it is coming from apple, you would have to pay a premium for the hardware.

the PC guy looks like he makes allot more money, is more sophisticated, PC Wins 'nuff said

Also, I suppose That PC would be better, Being more customizable for extreme rendering, And Being Compatible with 100% of programs out there.

Pc owns 'nuff said


9 years ago

This will be an interesting thread to follow, having been a PC only user I have often wondered about the Mac vs PC issue. Thanks for posting this Weissenstienburg.

well, I believe a PC is better for the same price. For the same price, a mac graphix card sucks while you could get a really good one for PC. But they even out if your throw about 500 more dollars into the mac (same quality graphix card). But if you look at it that way, that;s 500 dollars you could spend on an even better card/hardware!


9 years ago

Bah. A computer is just a tool, not a religion. A Mac is better because the school you're interested in says you should use one, and it's price is likely a small fraction of the price of the rest of your college education, and it's really not worth the fight to try to be different (I gave up essentially the same battle in the opposite direction at work.) I don't know the reasons your school wants students to have Macs; perhaps they have developed internal software that runs on MacOS but no one wants to convert to windows. More likely, it just helps cut down on variation. Tell people to "buy a mac", and they'll end up with one of a small number of models. Tell people "buy a PC laptop" and they'll show up with a huge number of different vendors, different graphics cards, different base software, etc, etc. (for similar reasons, "work" lets us choose one of three different PC laptops, all form the same vendor. Plus standard software.) They may also think that Macs cut down on their virus problems (whether that's true or not.) Actually, I can think of ONE big real reason to prefer Macs. Nowadays, there are about half-a-dozen different officially-supported methods of running Windows Applications on Mac hardware. There are NO supported ways of running Mac software on PCs.


9 years ago

I'll ask my web-designing Mac-using friend.
In the mean time:

Reasons to use Macs: they come with more than one mouse button these days, and how could you produce bad design on something so pritty?

Reasons not to use Macs: You don't have to be associated with Justin Long's infernal hipster-jeans-wearing smuggitude.

Hope those were quantitative enough :)


Reply 9 years ago

OK, the results are in:
: personally, having owned both PC and Mac, and worked on both doing the same jobs (i.e. designing with Photoshop and Illustrator) I would say it mainly comes down to processing speeds

: windows as a default install is loaded with lots of unnessary stuff which makes the programmes run slower

: also, the Mac OS is easier to navigate round, in terms of being able to flip between screens easily (although I know Windows now has their version of the Mac Expose)

: when you're doing graphics stuff, being able to flip between programmes and screens easily is incedibly important, when I'm on the PC at work, I can't drag and drop files between Photoshop and Illustrator, on a Mac I can... I think it's the little details that help make design on a Mac easier and quicker

: at the end of the day though, it probably just comes down to what people are used to... but at work on a PC, I do get very annoyed by how slow things run, I get more problems/crashes and have to constantly *fix* the PC, whereas at home I don't.

So, that's
1) programs run better on equivalent hardware because of a tidier OS
2) The Mac OS interface is better for heavy multitasking and frequent program switching
3) Allegedly more stable

Of those, I'm tempted to give most credibility to 2), but that's what I was told.
Also this thread was provided for your delectation.

Wherever I look, a lot of people seem to bring up the program switching argument...and I don't get it. Windows has a task bar right at the bottom. One click and you're in the other program. Or you can use alt+tab. What bugs me on a Mac, and maybe I'm doing something wrong, but I can't find a way to just minimize all my photos and everything at once in photoshop. You have to minimize each individual window. I would like a mac so much better if it had a task bar more like that on windows (maybe i'm just too used to it) Working with photoshop feels messy to me on a mac.

Oh, and thanks for getting all that. While it doesn't convince me, it does help me understand his reasoning.

No, they were absolutely qualitative. :D

I'm not very tech savvy, but my reasoning is this: PCs are made with business in mind (Word, Excel, etc). Macs are made with the arts in mind. I use my Mac for videography, but I've seen someone make a graphic design on a Mac, and it was one heck of a design! I'm not sure what program it was though, maybe Gmjhowe knows.

Photoshop, illustrator, indesign, etc are all industry standard apps for design (and available on PC ;) ) When I was googling the topic before posting this, all I could find were the stereotypical responses I asked people not to give here and people saying the playing field is pretty level now.

I am a Mac user, I also work as a Graphic Designer/Artworker. The first advantage I can state is that pretty much all design studios are Mac based, so upon entering a new job, you will often be asked if you can use a Mac. Even if you end up working in a windows studio, for a few jobs, it will mostly be Mac - once you have learnt Mac, it still very easy to go back to windows. Secondly, when it comes to running the big programs, you need an OS that is made to run fast. These include Linux and Mac OS X. Both are written in 64bit, from base to top. Essentially extra speed through better written OS's. There are several extra features that are used daily by a designer, these include exposé, hot corners, spaces, and quicklook. I can in no way push how great quicklook is, you just hit the space bar on a file, either in Finder, or mail etc, and it gives you a quick preview. Which I was delighted to find recently, works perfectly with RAW files. I've been using Macs for years now, and can in now way explain all the designer aimed features, so be sure to hit me with any specific questions.

I understand that it's the standard for studios, but (other than now being 64 bit) why have they all chosen that?