Over the past ten years, the PC has toppled from its position of dominance. Sales of PCs fell by 50 per cent between 2003 and 2013, and Windows XP lost its grip on business computing. Meanwhile, Linux has become more popular as a budget choice, and Apple has enticed many with great usability.
We’re in the business of hiring out iPads and providing affordable Apple hardware. You might expect us to sing Apple’s praises (and we do), but in many situations PCs perform better than Macs, which is why thousands of people prefer them.
So even though it goes against one of our main business models, just why do we often recommend PCs running Windows over Apple Mac computers?
1. PCs are affordable
Ask any owner of a Macbook Air if their device was worth the premium and they’ll undoubtedly tell you it was. However, not everyone needs a top-end machine, and not everyone feels comfortable parting with enough cash to buy a small car when they walk into a computer store.
Yes, cheap PCs may have their issues (some of which may worsen over time). But if you’re on a budget, you can buy a new PC for less than £300, and it will cope with most everyday tasks. A Mac will always cost you at least twice that, and you can’t just pick one up from a supermarket.
2. Some software works better on a PC
Apple Mac machines run Windows very well, either using virtualisation software like Parallels or by using Apple’s Bootcamp utility. But there are always going to be slight differences between the ‘hybrid’ experience and the real thing. For some users, simple keyboard differences can make Windows less comfortable on the Mac.
Virtualisation also requires a lot of RAM, as you’re essentially running two operating systems at once. If you want a reliable and predictable Windows experience, a PC is still the best way to achieve it.
3. Gamers love the PC
Although Macs are catching up, serious gamers will only ever buy a PC. There’s simply more choice on the PC, and prices are lower too. Gamers also enjoy custom-building their own PCs and customising the spec, which is difficult and expensive with Apple machines.
4. You have more freedom
Microsoft has just announced Windows 10, otherwise known as ‘the operating system that probably should have been called Windows 9’. It’s slowly learning from the mistakes it has made with Windows 8, including the disastrous move of taking the Start button away. But there may still be problems. With a PC, if you don’t like an operating system, you have the option to ditch it. You can install a different version, or download your favourite flavour of Linux and use that instead. On a modern Mac with an Intel processor, it’s OS X or nothing.
5. You can tinker
Some Macs can be upgraded very easily; others can be upgraded with a certain degree of difficulty. But Macs aren’t really designed to be upgraded frequently. Apple prefers users to pick the best spec they can afford when they buy their machine, and limit further tinkering to the occasional RAM upgrade.
This is a clear difference to the PC, since opening up the case and installing new components is always made easy. If you enjoy overclocking, tinkering and upgrading, PCs give you a bit more scope.
Although we’re Mac advocates at Hardsoft, that doesn’t mean we’re biased. Whether or not the PC will ever return to the top position remains to be seen, but right now they still offer users many unrivaled benefits.