Part 3 of the Mac vs, PC series.
While I am a Mac user and all computing products I own are Apple, at the church we are fully a dual platform environment. As stated, we are about 50/50 Mac OS to Windows here at CapCity. That is changing, but we will not remove all Windows based machines for the foreseeable future.
One of the major debates that takes place between Mac and PC apologists is cost. Macs do not have any new options that compete with Windows based computers at the low end. The cheapest current option for a Mac user to purchase a full computer is the Mac Mini. Though it is not cheap by low end base computer standards. The iPad can be obtained for some less, but it is not a full replacement option for a computer for most users just yet, though it is getting close. No question that a Windows computer can be obtained for less than a Mac.
We have a couple of uses for a computer that only needs to have an operating system and an internet browser on it. For this function, a Windows based computer makes sense. For less than the cost of a Mac Mini we purchased two Windows based laptops to run our children’s ministry check in stations. These machines fit the purpose perfectly and fit the budget even better.
Many churches and individuals look at the initial cost and go with the PC based solely on that. For some uses, that is fine.
Where Apple levels the field is in a true comparison of out of the box features and capabilities. Take a Windows based machine with the same hardware specs as any Apple and then add the software needed to match what every Mac can do out of the box and there is no longer an advantage for Windows PCs. In fact, the Windows machines usually are more expensive than the Apples in this type comparisons.
So the cost debate comes down to what does the computer need to do out of the box. If it is primarily internet and email (large majority of users) with the occasional document, then the cost of the Mac seems disproportionate. If digital media (photos, music, video) and quality print documents (flyers, posters, cards, etc) are important, then a Mac is a great option to look into and is likely comparable or cheaper in price.
Most churches are likely to find that dual platform is the way to go depending on the number of computers they need and what the functions of those machines are. With dedicated, single use machines that are not running media, we lean towards Windows for the cheap hardware price. For our staff, we are all Mac except our bookkeeper; our accounting software is Windows only.
Having computers with each operating system also gives a great deal of flexibility and capability that we appreciate.
These are some questions to ask when deciding between Mac and PC:
- What do I need the computer to be able to do?
- How often am I on a public access network?
- How long do I need this computer to last before I can purchase another to replace it?
- If I change, what software would I no longer be able to use? Is this important?
- What is my accessibility to assistance if an issue arises?
- Can I get everything I want within my budget?
Sidenote: while one can put Windows on a Mac and run dual operating systems on one machine, this doesn’t solve every issue that can come up from running exclusively Mac. Also, as a “Mac guy” it doesn’t seem right to have the flag on the fruit. 🙂