Why I'm Switching from Mac to Windows

By Xah Lee. Date: . Last updated: .

I bought a PC with Windows today, and am switching to Windows from my 19 years of Mac experience with 10 years of professional unix computing. This page tells the story.

Mac vs PC
Mac vs PC

Why I Switched

I have a aging Mac. It is a iMac G5 (iSight model; 2005 October; MA063L/A). It is the last iMac using the PowerPC chip.

xah lee desk imac food pasta 2009-04-05
xah lee desk imac 2009-04-05

The machine is great, but is 3.5 years old. I needed a new machine. I went to local shop Fry's Electronics and was just gonna get the new Mac Mini that Apple just released this month. The cheapest Mac Mini is $600. Looking in the store, you find that a PC for the same price has about 3 times the hardware power. Or, for the same hardware muscle, the PC is about half the price.

Mac vs PC
Mac mini (MB463LL/A)
PC (Campaq Persario SR5710F)
PC (HP Pavilion A6750F)
CPU2.0 GHz
Intel Core 2 Duo
(64 bits, dual-core)
2.3 GHz
AMD Athlon 64 X2 4450e+
(64 bits, dual-core)
2.3 GHz
AMD Phenom X4 9650
(64 bits, quad-core)
Hard Disk120 GB250 GB750 GB
RAM1 GB3 GB8 GB
Price$600$350$600
Mac minidesktop PC

By the above comparison, you can see that the Mac is shit, and they've been in that state in the past about 6 years. The Mac OS X was beginning to save Mac since 2002, together with the pretty and robust and inexpensive first iMac (“Bondi Blue”) that debuted in 1999.

imac
Bondi Blue iMac, the first iMac. 1999

The Mac had a good time from about 1999 to 2003. But since the PowerPC slowness fiasco and hence the Apple Intel transition, the gap of price/raw-power between Mac and PCs is getting wider and wider. Apple is too busy becoming a fashion and multimedia company with its iPod and iTune successes.

Software quality have always been a major part of Mac's selling point, especially in the early 1990s. The whole desktop publishing revolution. The classic Mac OS with its revolutionary graphical user interface, Photoshop, Freehand and Illustrator, PageMaker, laser printer, Hypercard, Mathematica, etc. However, these days Microsoft's software tech, in scale and quality, is quite ahead of Apple, witness the .NET, F# language, PowerShell, Direct3D, Silverlight, etc, and the operating system itself is no worse than Mac's, starting with Windows NT in the late 1990s and its descendants 2000, XP, Vista. And, almost all of the best so-called Desktop Publishing software that started life on the Mac in the early 1990s have moved to Windows as their main platform in the past decade (For example, Mathematica, Photoshop, Macromedia stuff, several 3D modelers (Strata 3D, Bryce) , DenebaDraw, Fractal Design's Painter, FrameMaker, QuarkXpress …). In fact, many no longer even produce Mac versions.

I'm tired of Mac being the second rate citizen for everything. Latest Java version comes 0.5 or 1 year later than Windows, similar for Google Chrome, Google Earth, Adobe Flash, Second Life … often come in crippled version and late. All Instant Messaging chat clients on Windows such as MSN, AOL, Yahoo, support voice or video chat, while most of these company's Mac versions still don't. This applies to just about any software. You are lucky if there is a Mac version. (For example, when i need to research virtual world technologies such as Entropia Universe, IMVU, There (virtual world), Active Worlds, none have Mac versions. When i want to try some software synths, juggling simulation software, go board game networks… Mac user's options are severely limited.)

In general, not only Mac buys you less hardware muscle, but the Mac version of software is usually slower than Windows version running on similarly powered hardware, because the software gets less development time and less optimization. (For example, JavaScript, Java, Flash, etc.) Commercial websites often have problems when accessed with Mac browsers, since many of them only test it with Microsoft's Internet Explorer browser. (not Apple's fault, but fact of life.)

I own a Mac since 1991, and i own at least 2 Macs since 1999. I was a DEDICATED Mac fan thru-out the 1990s.

I started to use Windows at work 1999 to 2002, and also own a fancy Windows laptop from about 2003 to 2005. But Since ~2006, i haven't touched Windows. I'm a unix sys admin and programer in web app and scientific computing fields. I'm pretty familiar with Windows as power user, but never did sys admin nor done any programing with Windows's technologies, because i never cared to learn any Microsoft techs. [see On Microsoft Hatred]

With this switch today, i'm committed to dig into Microsoft Windows's technologies. [see Xah Microsoft Windows Tips]

Graphics Card

Also bought: “BFG Tech NVIDIA GeForce 9800 GT 512 MB”, for about $120. video card

This is for playing Second Life, and my geometry 3D visualization needs. On the Mac, adding a graphics card is practically impossible unless you buy a Mac Pro, which starts at $2500. For the same hardware power and quality, a PC costs about $1000 less.

Display

For display, i got “LG L227WTG 22-Inch Widescreen LCD Monitor”. computer monitor It has pixel dimension of 1680×1050. Actually bought it in .

Spec: L227WTG_spec_sheet.pdf.

My PC Specs

Update. Sometimes people ask me how it went. Here's my experience.

On the whole, about the question of Mac or Windows, i'd say the situation is the same overall. Yes, Mac still prettier, more quality UI design, things just work. But Windows much cheaper, more software, but more virus to worry about, etc. Same old story. I didn't feel i lost something important by the switch, nor landing on something better.

in 2011-01, i switched to Linux as my main desktop.

State of Mac vs Windows vs Linux 2018

Since 2017-09, am back to Mac as my main desktop. Got a free MacMini as a gift.

photo at Xah Keyboards 2017-09

But since 2018-12, am also using Windows 10 on Microsoft Surface Pro daily.

see Microsoft Surface Pro

Today, virus is less a worry. Well, still, but not like before. Any Mac Microsoft Linux are susceptible to malware. Like, never plug in a usb from a stranger.

The situation of Mac vs Windows vs Linux is somewhat different now.

Linux basically sucks the most. Most difficult to use. You spend several hours per week to get things to work. And linux is always some years behind in supporting any newish tech, such as hand writing recognization, speech recognization, text to speech, video editing, audio/music, addon devices, display port 2 monitors, USB 3.1 (or whatever latest), etc. You always have to spend few hours to research everything. Lots problems. But hey its free. What can you say.

Windows machine is still half as expensive as Mac. As far as using, now softwrae on Microsoft Windows is as good as Mac. But Windows respect your privacy less than Mac. However, most privacy concerns moved to the web. Google is now the omniscient king of evil empire, far worse than Microsoft ever was.

For programers, a big plus for Microsoft Windows is that now they support running linux programs natively. No more Cygwin [see Installing Cygwin Tutorial] , and no need virtual machine. [see How to Install Linux on VirtualBox]

Mac is just good, but expensive. You live in a walled garden. The same addon devices for Mac is twice as expensive for Mac than for Windows. And, Mac now has dongle hell. Mac design has become bad. [see Worst Apple Designs]

Apple is now as evil as every one, intentionally make your iphone slow when new iphone is out, etc. MacOS is getting worse, less attention from Apple. Safari is the worst browser out there now.

also, new is the sinister social justice warrior. Apple and Google are representatives.

Xah Desktop

  1. Xah's Linux Setup
  2. How to Install Linux on VirtualBox
  3. Why I'm Switching from Mac to Windows
  4. Dell Inspiron 15 7559 specification
  5. Mac Mini Late 2014 Spec
  6. Xah Keyboards 2018-11
  7. Xah Keyboards 2017-09

If you have a question, put $5 at patreon and message me.