Pcs Surpass Macs Essay, Research Paper
PCs Surpass Macs
Over the years there has been much of controversy over which computer platform to buy. The two major contenders in this competition were the PC, with its Windows environment, and the Macintosh. The major arguments supporting each side have been that the Macintosh is far easier to use than the PC; however, the PC has greater hardware flexibility and more software available than for the Macintosh. These central arguments for each platform swayed consumers to one side or the other based on their needs and computer expertise. Since the successful release of Windows 95 for the PC, the bread and butter argument Mac users have at their disposal will not be able to cut it anymore. Although the majority of Mac users may disagree, PCs are certainly the most advanced and reliable computers in modern society.
The first matter to look at between the PC and Mac platform involves hardware configuration. Before Windows 95, installing and configuring hardware was like pulling teeth. The instructions and computer jargon given to help install hardware were too complicated for the average user. There was also the issue of compatibility between the large number of different hardware setups available in the PC world. Is a particular board going to work with my PC? With Windows 95 these problems were alleviated with plug and play technology. With plug and play compatible boards, the computer detects and configures the new board automatically. Mac users will claim that they always had the convenience of a plug and play system, but the difference pertains to the flexibility of the two systems. Microsoft has created a large number of configuration and help files for non-Microsoft products. This gave me a sense of confidence that if I chose a printer, CD-ROM, or whatever from the list of supported devices, I would be likely to have relatively quick success. It seems that with the Mac, if Apple didn t produce it, you re on your own (Gruman 104). When you buy a Mac, you get stuck with what you have. When you buy a PC, the system’s options and expandability choices are endless. The technological advances in processor speed also play a large part in expandability. The PC has taken an advantage of a significant increase in processing speed. This is evident by software promptly made available as new processor chips hit the market. As for the Mac, Apple shipped superbly fast Power Macs that don t do anything a Quadra can t do. The additional speed is nice, but where is the fantastic New World of capabilities this speed was supposed to inaugurate (104)? Mac users claim that their chips are faster than those in PC based machines, but what advantage do the Macs chips have over the PCs, if third party vendors do not take advantage of the greater speed?
Another set of basis Mac users use in favor of their systems over PCs is in multimedia and networking capabilities. Mac users gloat that the Mac has networking technology built in. Even if a user did not use it, the Ethernet network is included with the system. They cited that for the PC, users hate the fact that you need to stick a card in their computers to communicate with any other computers (Alspach 36). With Windows 95, the Mac network gloaters are silenced. Windows 95 includes built-in network support. Any network, either fax-modem, or multimedia bundle will work. The Mac users also claim their systems have speech, telephony, and voice recognition, whereas the PC does not. But in truth, the promised building blocks for telephony control don t yet exist, and the sound-recognition software is crude (Gruman 104). In my experience with Macs, the speech capability is no more than a toy to fool around with.
Apart from networking and configuration is the heart of the two platforms, the operating system. Previously, the Mac, hands down, has held the trophy for the ease of use department. Many who have worked on both systems agree with that. In the Mac world, there is no clumsy DOS to deal with; everything is graphically oriented. When Windows was introduced, it was designed to bring to the PC world the conveniences of the Mac environment. The Mac-like interface worked out for many users, but the Windows environment was still just a dressing over the old DOS. Finally with Windows 95, DOS has been thrown out completely. The people at Microsoft started Windows over from scratch. It borrows from many sources, including IBM s technically innovative but ungainly OS/2 (104). Taking some of its own innovations along with enhancing ideas from other platforms, Microsoft has created a system that takes a step forward over Apple’s current system. It does this without losing downward compatibility. Any older piece of software will work one way or another with Windows 95. The graphic layout of the Windows 95 system could not have been laid out any better. The screen looks like a Mac environment turned upside down. The task bar is located at the bottom; this is easier on the eyes than looking at the top as with the Mac. The recycle bin sits in the top left corner, rather than the lower right corner of the Mac. Anything you need to do is done through a hierarchy of menus, starting with a single icon called start. The file management system allows you to view file structures in almost any conceivable way. This file structure system includes sorting by name, date, size, large and small fonts, and file type. The help menus are very useful in that they use hypertext links. This feature lets you link through various help menus, pertaining to what you are looking for. A big advantage the Window s environment still has over the Mac is true multitasking (so programs can run simultaneously) and memory protection (so a crashed program usually won t affect other programs) (104). In almost every situation, Windows have been able to recover from a crash without disrupting and locking up the system. In the Mac world, crashes occur often, and in a lot of situations, are unrecoverable. Mac users that have experienced system lock-ups know fatal crashes are not enjoyable.
Furthermore, for most users, a major factor in determining which platform to choose has to do with software availability. There is no question; the number of software titles for the Macintosh doesn t come close to the number of PC titles available. Mac users defend their platforms, saying that there is a sufficient amount of software for anything they need to perform. They say nobody needs anything else. Obviously those Mac users have never wandered through a software store, drooling over all the software on the shelves available for the PC, and not for the Mac. This is especially true of gaming software. Any Mac gaming buff has to have some envy over the massive quantity of games available on the PC. Windows 95 incorporates many new powerful features for game and graphic design, such as the 3D-object library. The new tools used in conjunction with the power of a 32-bit operating system allow third party software developers to create games of a higher caliber, than possible with the old 16-bit DOS environment. Game developers have openly embraced Windows 95 as the next gaming platform.
Ultimately, in the world of computers one cannot stand still for too long without getting passed by. Windows 95 now threatens the only assets that Mac has in capturing the interests of the consumers. The Mac interface of today bears a strong resemblance to that of a decade ago. What once looked advanced now looks almost historical (104). Almost any argument one could give in defense of the Mac does not carry nearly as much bite as it did before Windows 95 arrived. PC users have something to be proud of.
Alspach, Ted. Top 10 Reasons Why Desktop Publishers Prefer Macs. Mac Home Journal 11. (1995): 35-37.
Gruman, Galen. The New Windows Threat. Macworld 2 Feb. 1995: 104.