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Mac vs PC Televison Ads

Dennis Faas's picture

We have all seen them: the Apple Mac versus Microsoft Windows PC. Some times they're funny, and sometimes they're scary -- but they always leave the lingering question in the back of our minds as to which is truly better.

I must admit, I do not own a Mac. I do own a number of Windows and UNIX/Linux based PCs, though. And of the systems I own, many of them are from spare parts. They all run reliable and efficiently, and are updated regularly.

With that being said, I stumbled upon a blog the other day that stated Bill Gates had voiced distaste for one of the newest of the aforementioned television advertisements. His comment was with respect to having a PC undergo major surgery just to be made ready for Windows Vista was false when comparing to Mac OS X and the Mac. To be honest, I don't see how he can complain too much -- mainly because the concept of the ad is true. It does take a lot to upgrade an existing PC to Vista readiness. There are basically three areas that need to be addressed.

First is Memory. The MINIMUM recommendation from Microsoft is 512 MB. In actuality, you will need double that if you want to run things at full speed. The extra memory is needed if you wish to view movies and such in a smooth manner. If you don't, the movie will be jerky, making it difficult to watch.

Secondly, the display adapter or video card. We are told that we need to have 128 MB of video memory on our cards, but the truth is 256MB or even more will be needed to make sure the Aero Desktop looks 'pretty' -- and that's before we start showing those movies we just talked about. The third thing is far more invasive to your system, the processor. If you have work to do that requires some processing power over and above Vista's needs, you will have to upgrade the processor. That means you also need to replace the system (or Mother) board, the memory, and your various interface cards, virtually replacing the entire system except for the case and power supply, and that may need to be upgraded as well.

With Mac OS x and Apple Macs, I haven't seen any such requirements. Upgrading the OS on a Mac may require additional memory, but that isn't as expensive nor as invasive as the Vista PC requires.

In conclusion, I don't see why Bill Gates is complaining. There are too many alternates to Vista, including over 1200 different distributions of Linux, a family of BSD versions (FreeBSD and NetBSD), free UNIX (x86 Solaris 10), and several additional free PC OSs. And then there is the Apple Mac system. You need to purchase a new computer? Don't get in a rut! Look around.

Have fun!

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