Hello, PC. Well, hello, Mac.

Dell Latitude D410I’ve had my Dell Latitude D410 for about three years now, and it’s served me well. But, the battery doesn’t work which means I need to keep it plugged in at all times or it turns off immediately and the embedded keypad doesn’t respond correctly, so I have an external mouse. It’s loud and runs unbearable slow at times. Ultimately, for all intents and purposes, it’s no longer the  ultraportable notebook I bought in January 2006, but a loud, clumsy desktop from the 90s.

Therefore, after three years, I think it’s time to upgrade. My options are to buy another Dell or switch to Mac. I’ve always heard that Macs are the premium standard, especially for those involved in web development or design. But, I have some hesitations – my computer now is super small, and even the 13″ Macbook is bigger and heavier, I’m afraid. Also, looking ahead to the possibility of Grad School, it seems like PCs are still the requirement there. (I could argue, however, that Grad School is at least three years out, if at all, and by then, it would be time to invest in a new computer anyways.) And, to be frank, Macs are pricier than PCs.

So, I’m asking you, my friends and readers, for help. Please take the poll below and, more importantly, leave a comment on why you have chosen the computer you use and/or any advice you may have for me. If you switched from one type to the other, what was reason? Was it hard to learn a new system? How do you view Macs versus PCs?

Thanks in advance!

What kind of computer do you own?

View Results

  • Jake Cohen

    Buy a MAC! More expensive, maybe heavier…but just better products.

    • http://www.julieminevich.com Julie Minevich

      Thanks for your input, Jake. Your succinct statement makes it seems like a no-brainer. ;)

  • Matt Rinaldi

    The big question is what do you plan on doing, Macs excel at video and audio applications, we used them a lot back in my film school days. Macs also offer the guarantee of no viruses because its all 1st party products…well kind of. PCs kick ass in add on department, sure you could bring your Ibook to the local apple store for upgrades but w/ PCs you are not limited to one or 2 products so it works out easier if your on a budget.

    Thats the kabosh, my angle is how versatile will my machine be for the money I am investing it in. I bought a VAIO its stable and I haven’t had 1 problem with it since I grabbed it back in 05! my gripe with it is the video card is subpar to the games i want to play but then again the tech isnt that intense with laptops but I know I could have found something with a better card for 1500$.

    -Word

    • http://www.julieminevich.com Julie Minevich

      Matt, I think you really get to the heart of the matter. When I was in college, my computer was used for everything – I even took it to classes with me!

      Now that I’m a full-time professional with computer access at work as well as an iPhone, I rely on my personal computer much less.

      Ideally, I’d like it to be light enough and have a battery that lasts long enough to take to a Starbucks on a Saturday, for example.

      I’d like it to operate quickly, even with multiple applications open.

      And, I’d like it to have enough space to store my pictures and videos.

  • Shira

    Julie! Buy a MAC. Seriously. I’ve had mine for three GLORIOUS years and never had a major problem. AND when I had a problem, I got to call up MAC and speak with someone in ENGLISH (not from India) who actually understood my problem and was able to talk it through with me. I owned a DELL before and I just wanted to throw it out the window at one point (and that was after a year and half).

    I think MAC are just stronger and smarter computers. Also, in terms of business school. You do not NEED a PC. In fact, a lot of my friends have MACs granted I am in Israel, but still. All you need for business school is Microsoft (Word, Excel, Powerpoint) which you would have to buy anyway for a PC.

    You MAC will last you longer than 3 years. My guess, closer to 5. That seems to be the average among my friends who’ve had MACS for about that long before they had to trade em in. I have the 13 inch and it’s perfect! Don’t get the MacBook Pro if you don’t want such a big one.

    Let me explain it this way… if you are still uncertain after my rather lengthy post. Just watch the MAC commercials: MAC vs. PC. That should answer any questions you may have.

  • http://macbikegeek.wordpress.com Lee Herman

    Julie, Buy a Mac! Unless you have to use specific Windows only software for something critical in work or life, you will never miss Windows once you switch. I got my first Mac in 1984 (Mac II, cost $5,000 with Word 1.0 and Excel 1.0). Took my work home from DOS PC line based stuff to fullscreen. Haven’t looked back. I have to use Windows machine from my employer because the software my company sells that I work on doesn’t run on Macs. One day my Windows machine died. I put the VPN client on my Mac and did everything I needed to do with company web sites, Office, SharePoint, documents of all sorts and really enjoyed the whole thing a lot more.

    The only danger in getting a Mac is that it will most likely be functional and still working in 3 years. I’m upgrading the memory on a 2001 Titanium G4 PowerBook to get it ready to send off to a niece for her first machine. Not super fast but compared to no computer, it still runs OS 10.4 and works fine on the web – a couple upgrades along the way but a still serviceable entry level machine.

    The 13″ MacBook is just a bit heavier than the Air but a fully loaded machine and a good bit cheaper. I’m planning to get one myself to replace the Ti G4 since I need a Mac laptop for my personal stuff on the road.

    Jake, Shira and Matt have it right! I could go on for hours about why you should get a Mac; just do it, you’ll like it. I’d be happy to answer all your questions about switching or differences or whatever.

  • kwades

    I always use PC’s, but The Wife uses Macs. I can work with both and both play well in our home office environment. Since Mac got rid of Appletalk, they seemlessly network these days. What’s Grad school hold for you, design, film, web work? If not, go with PC, simply because they’re cheaper and Grad school costs a lot. Besides, you’re point of it being time to upgrade in three years is a valid one. PC for now, Mac for later. But go buy an iPhone/iTouch when you can afford it!

  • http://www.browncoatsredemption.com Steve Fisher

    Julie,

    I had Windows PC’s since 1989. Seriously. I even used to be a Microsoft engineer.

    About 3 years ago Apple moved the Mac to Intel. I waited a year for them to work the kinks out and bought a MP Pro two years ago. Took me about 2 weeks to get used to the keyboard layout but I it was really nice to have it do cool things like…not crash, or instantly come online when I opened it, or install drivers automatically when I plugged things into it. You know, stuff we Windows people only wished we had and Mac people kept secret for two decades.

    I am never going back to Windows no matter how much John Hodgeman tells me he is a PC (he owns a Mac and iPhone in real life if that says anything).

    See you around DC,

    Steve

  • http://www.quarterlifelady.com Akirah

    You’re not alone as you’re facing this decision. I’ll need to upgrade soon too and I’m not sure what to get either. Be sure to update us on what you decide…I’d be curious to know!

  • http://www.julieminevich.com Julie Minevich

    To all of the above,

    I have still not found a perfect solution to my dilemna. I’ve investigated comparable Macs and Dells, and the Dell is two-thirds of the price! And, that’s not including the price for a three year Apple Care package or all the non-Apple software I’d need to buy (ie Windows Office, Photoshop).

    What I keep hearing is “A Mac is awesome, you’ll love it because it’s better” but it’s hard to justify without quantitative facts like – “A Mac’s battery lasts X times longer than a Dell 6-cell battery”, “A Mac is X times faster than a PC”.

    It’s seems that a Mac is simply a nice-to-have, and as a 20something (just recently graduated from college), it’s hard to justify something we want rather than need since that’s the way we had been trained to live our lives.

    On the other hand, my biggest purchase this year was a 37″ LG TV that I splurged on when I could have gotten a smaller one. Every single time I use it, I am completely satisfied with my decision.

    I think I might have to keep thinking about this one for the time being… (especially since I keep catching myself considering just buying a new battery for my current computer and giving up the search altogether).

  • Lesley

    Julie-

    You know I have only had Mac’s my whole life! but you also know that i have had two hardrives crash on me!!!!!!!!