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PC or Mac: Which Should You Choose?

It’s one of the perennial questions faced by many of us when buying a new computer: should you choose a Windows PC or an Apple Mac? Here we’ll look at the advantages of both so you can decide which is best for you.

Software & Hardware

First, it’s important to point out that, beyond the different-looking exteriors, both Macs and PCs are powered by the same kind of hardware. Macs use Intel processors (mostly Core i5 and i7), so do many PCs. Both are similar in many other ways too and it’s important to say that both are more than capable of doing pretty much everything you’ll require.

Apple prides itself on combining and controlling both software and hardware on its laptops and desktops while PCs combine many companies’ hardware with Microsoft’s Windows.

Video editing, photo editing, web browsing, desktop publishing – both PCs and Macs can do it all. There’s even a version of Microsoft Office available for Macs as well as PCs. It used to be the case that they were better at different things. Macs were better for creative applications such as producing publications and high-end photo editing. But PCs have caught up here, and high-end creative applications such as Adobe Photoshop come out at the same time on both platfoms.

PCs used to be better for business, but again there are plenty of options here too. Likewise many free applications such as web browsers, email programs and chat apps like Skype as well as music services such as Apple’s own iTunes are now available for both. Hardware is pretty much universal and devices such as mice and printers will now work across both – check for compatibility when you buy though.

Operating Systems

OS X on Mac and Windows on PCs – are very different and it’s here that most user’s preferences are forged.

It’s fair to say that Apple’s OS X can be simpler to use but it really does depend what you’re used to. Microsoft will be launching a new version of Windows in October, Windows 8. It sees Microsoft preparing for a whole new generation of touch-based PCs by replacing the Start menu with a new Smart screen. It doesn’t require a touchscreen though, and works with a standard keyboard and mouse.

Apple has developed its own App Store for OS X, which works rather like the store on the iPhone. You can download free apps as well as pay for software. The forthcoming Windows 8 will usher in a similar Windows Store for PCs too.

One area where there is a distinct difference is in gaming; Macs still lack behind PCs for the latest releases, even if the graphical hardware is superb on both. If gaming is something you’re interested in, look for dedicated Nvidia or AMD graphics.

It used to be a boast of Apple that Macs didn’t get viruses, but as more and more people are using Macs, it’s become an issue and malware prevention should now be taken seriously on both Macs and PCs. Apple has followed the Windows lead by integrating more security directly into the operating system – the latest version of OS X, Mountain Lion, has a feature called Gatekeeper.

Whichever system you choose, we’re sure you’ll be happy with it, but don’t go into it blindly – if you’re thinking of buying a Mac but haven’t used one before, make sure you do before choosing!

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