Mac vs. PC: Why Specifications Are Not Very Important

One of the loudest battle cries of the anti-Mac crowd is the lack of available games made for OS X. This argument, to a point, is not without merit. While there are more games made for the Windows platform than OS X, Macs themselves aren’t incapable of running games.

In fact, you might find that even graphics-heavy games such as Dragon Age 2 and the Call of Duty series run quite well on what might be perceived by gamers as a mediocre set of system specifications when played on the Mac. There is a reason for this, and it lies greatly in an operating system that is optimized for a specific set of hardware. This creates a much smoother environment where the system’s core operating system is capable of working for the hardware and not against it.

While this doesn’t mean that a Mac Mini is capable of the kind of pure processing power of an Alienware desktop (or even laptop), it can mean that you may be able to do more with less when every component of the system is absolutely supported by the software. You can run Windows on a Mac natively using Boot Camp or in a less-efficient virtualization setting such as Parallels or VMWare Fusion.

If you want to get technical about it, there is a reason why Apple users say the Mac is faster than a Windows-based PC with the same specs. Frankly, Windows is bloated and bogged down with legacy support to the point where it crawls unless the hardware is above and beyond the minimum specifications. OS X, on the other hand, is built on the historically lightweight Unix platform which addresses various processes differently. You could compare system specs all day long, but when your operating system requires a beefier foundation to operate, the differences between the two diminish significantly. Again, this isn’t to say that Windows is terrible, but when you compare the two, the Mac OS needs less to operate normally.

For some, the debate comes down to software rather than who has the fastest graphics card or highest numbers of processors for the price. The experience is about what the system can actually do for you. There are things Windows does that make it absolutely invaluable and incredibly useful for its users. The Mac, in contrast, does several things differently that makes it a more appealing choice for its users. This is the heart of why system specs mean little in the debate between Macs and PCs. The most important thing, by far, is the experience and what works best for the user.

4 thoughts on “Mac vs. PC: Why Specifications Are Not Very Important”

  1. Microsoft should release two different types of Windows, one for “legacy” computers, or just slower than a certain recommendation, and a version for new computers so it’s built to run fast. But this would just be another way to confuse the consumer.

  2. Interesting…the original XBox is a PowerMac G5 specifically configured for gaming, albeit in a poorly designed case (i.e. lacks the necessary airflow, equipment access, etc.). If Apple wanted to have a gaming machine then if could have built one however, to be truly successful and highly profitable they took a different plan and that has always made the difference. Now days (i.e. MacIntel) I always recommend an Apple desktop or portable because of the “very tight” hardware integration and the ability to run 3 OS (e.g. Mac OS X, Windoze, Linux) right out of the box.

    Lastly, security…the only time that I have ever experienced a virus/trojan/malware was will running Word on the Mac OS 9. Since Mac OS X and iWork…nothing!

    Microsoft really became irrelevant when Gates was beat up by the govnerment inquiries. He knew it and I would have done the same thing…create a private foundation, fund it, move out of the public space (except for PR to improve my image) and live well until I die…using Apple products.

    As an aside, would you ever buy a Ford with Sync (Windoze based software) so that a malware prone system could track your every move and disable your vehicle from another country?

  3. The debate of specs between Mac and PC was far less relevant back in the PPC days where pure numbers didn’t mean as much as how well the Architecture was designed. 

    However, now that Apple has been on Intel for the past 5 years, the spec comparisons between a Mac and a PC when it comes to numbers have been more relevant, as they are running the same hardware. Sure, OS X has a much better BSD UNIX core compared to the Windows NT, but I could also use a Distribution of Linux or BSD on a custom-built machine. 

    I will give Apple this though, they control both the software and hardware, meaning that they have more control over making it an amazing experience. However, Apple really needs to put more effort into keeping their hardware up to date just to remain competitive, because as I said, we aren’t in the days of PPC anymore (Which, was superior to x86 based Intel and AMD CPUs :P)

  4. The debate of specs between Mac and PC was far less relevant back in the PPC days where pure numbers didn’t mean as much as how well the Architecture was designed. 

    However, now that Apple has been on Intel for the past 5 years, the spec comparisons between a Mac and a PC when it comes to numbers have been more relevant, as they are running the same hardware. Sure, OS X has a much better BSD UNIX core compared to the Windows NT, but I could also use a Distribution of Linux or BSD on a custom-built machine. 

    I will give Apple this though, they control both the software and hardware, meaning that they have more control over making it an amazing experience. However, Apple really needs to put more effort into keeping their hardware up to date just to remain competitive, because as I said, we aren’t in the days of PPC anymore (Which, was superior to x86 based Intel and AMD CPUs :P)

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