Apple Archive

Why Give a Mac?

- 2000.12.22

Some people may know of the Macintosh LC 475 or Quadra 605. When these came out in late 1993, Apple really pushed to sell them. "Macintosh. Does more; costs less." For a little more than US$1,000, you could get a nice Quadra 605 with 4 MB of RAM, a 160 MB hard disk, a 25 MHz '040 CPU, and ClarisWorks software.

In that same year, a 25 MHz 80486 system cost considerably more once you added all of the features the Mac had that the PC did not. Apple later released a PowerPC upgrade for the LC 475/Quadra 605. The only major upgrade for '486 computers was the Pentium Overdrive, which only worked on certain models - most of the clones were left out. Apple's had PowerPC upgrades for all of its 68040 and 68LC040 desktop computers.

The Macintosh is more cost effective, easier to use, more compatible, and quicker to start up and shut down than a PC.

While there are many '486s in use today, they are not nearly as upgradeable as a Quadra 800 or Centris 650 from the same era. Macs cost less over time because they last longer and have more features built in - which means fewer compatibility problems with future versions of the operating system. When you buy a Mac for someone, you are making a solid investment in something that will last the user several years.

The Mac is easy to use. Of course, all Mac lovers know that, but some people think that the Mac is for beginners. If the Mac is for beginners, how come you are able to go into the System Folder to move around extensions without harming your machine? Try moving around DLLs on a PC.Ö (Make sure you have your Windows CD around while you are doing it!)

In the mid-90s, Apple hit it right on with their advertising - the voice recognition ad (how smart the Mac is), the floppy disk ad (how compatible the Mac is), and the Christmas present ads (it took those poor people so long to figure out how to install that program into the PC that they had to break it down into two ads!)

Some people admit that the Mac is great, but they don't want have one because they don't want to look like a Machead in front of their friends. In fact, many people who own a PC own a Mac as well. I openly admit that I use a PC, too - I have a 200 MHz Pentium tower and a '486SX IBM ThinkPad 360cs that I use along with my Macs. I prefer working on my Macs, but the PCs are there in case I need them.

A Mac is compatible. Very compatible - in fact, so compatible that you can run Windows on it! If you are looking for a computer for someone who currently uses a PC and has Windows programs, get a Mac and Virtual PC. On a new Mac, it runs almost as fast as a recent PC, and it can run almost any PC program out there (as long as it doesn't need access to a serial port).

Another reason to use a Mac is its quick startup and shutdown time. Think about it. A PC goes through it's long memory test first. If you have 64 MB or more RAM, it can take a while. Then it will look for drives. That takes a few seconds. Then up comes the system information, if your computer provides it. Then it loads the config.sys and Windows. That's almost a minute there. That's not counting the fact that you may have some startup programs your computer launches or a server to log onto.

A Mac, on the other hand, first shows a happy Mac, then a "Welcome to Mac OS" screen. It then proceeds to load extensions, and, if you have a fairly recent Mac (G3 300 or better), your extensions will load very quickly and total boot time will be about a minute.

When you shut down a Mac, it will turn itself off pretty much right away. When you shut down a PC, it has to exit Windows first, so that takes longer.

PCs are not bad machines at all. Many new ones, made by companies like Dell and Sony, are very fast and very inexpensive. Nowadays, PCs are coming out at speeds up to 1,000 MHz. That's quite a ways from the original 60 MHz Pentium chip.

PC companies have come a long way since the original Pentium as well. Compaq now seems to be focussing on the Internet with it's Internet keyboards and "Instant Internet" access. Dell is focussing on making sure you never forget it's name, www.dell.com, when the computer starts up, "America Online provided by Dell," even a Dell CD player program. IBM is trying to focus on other things besides just computers - like e-business solutions and the PowerPC processor. Gateway is starting to become less and less popular, and clones, like my tower, are almost nonexistent (other than the ones that PC-geeks build themselves).

You are making a big decision when buying a computer for someone else - a decision that they have to live with whether they like it or not. Buy a Mac and you can guarantee that it will last them several years, that it will be compatible, and that it will be quick and easy for them to do their work on.

Before I go, I would also like to wish everyone a happy and safe holiday season and a happy "real" millennium.

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