It’s 2019, and we are full swing into the beginning of a new year. A year filled with endless possibilities, and new regions to explore. For some people, the mere thought of exploration feels like a bit of an oddity. But alas, it’s time to break down those suffocating walls instead of building them and escape the vacuum wormhole of price gouging. And speaking of price gouging, if you are thinking of buying a Mac, especially a brand new one, you might want to hold off on whipping out your credit card for a quick second. I’m not trying to control your purchasing decision because at the end of the day, you should do what’s best for you. But before you make that investment, here are some reasons why PCs will always outrank Macs.

Affordability

In Canada, you can head straight to Apple’s website for an iMac and expect to pay at minimum $1,399 for an entry-level unit. We are talking about a 7th generation Intel processor which was announced in 2016 and saw more adoption in the first half of 2017. Now, that CPU is a solid performer and no slouch in the speed department, but c’mon, we are in 2019. That base unit that’s selling on Apple is devoid of an NVMe, much less a basic SSD which will both outclass the included 1TB hard drive. For a computer that costs $1,400, the bare minimum should see a dedicated graphics card and not the integrated Intel Iris Plus which is fine for streaming content on the web but not much more. The people who buy new Macs don’t make that purchase for streaming content; these are supposed to be power users with specific needs.  For the absolute in power with regards the iMac, you’ll have to shell out an eye-watering sum of $3,079.

Pick any one of those price-points and compare it pound-for-pound against a PC equivalent and you’ll see your costs go down drastically. You can source and put together better parts from reputable PC component manufacturers for a more comprehensive unit. And even if you don’t have the time or the thought process for putting together your custom rig, you can:

  • Ask a friend who loves to build PCs to do it.
  • Order from a boutique PC builder
  • Walk into a retail store and buy a prebuilt unit.

If you are pressed for time, buy a prebuilt unit. It’s not the ideal option, but you’ll still get a far better deal than the base iMac.  You literally could go into Best Buy with your blinders on, and point to any pre-built PC and have the sales rep, pick it out for you, ring it up at the register, go home, set it up, and repeat that processes one or two more times, and still pay less than the base iMac, and you’ll have newer hardware components.

Ultimately, you’ll want to either build a gaming PC or have someone do it for you. I say it all the time; you don’t have to be a gamer to take advantage of gaming PCs. They are more than capable of any application once they are specced right.

Upgradability

Maingear Drift Upgrade

The worst part about all of this is the lack of upgradability, which is one of the most critical aspects of it all. Was it last year when Apple allowed its users to upgrade the RAM finally? I don’t know, maybe I’m wrong.

But the single most crucial aspect of longevity is for the allowance of upgrades. And I mean upgrades that don’t cost an arm-and-leg for the pretty privilege.

Just know that once you pay for that iMac, more than likely you’ll be stuck at that configuration for the lifetime of the product. You certainly can open your unit and slap in some new parts, but that’s not for the faint of heart, especially when it’s under warranty.

That’s going to involve cutting the adhesive material surrounding the edges of the display to gain access to the internals. Then you’ll have to pull more screws to get to the motherboard where you’ll find your components. Because of Apple’s T2 encryption chip, depending on the parts you intend to swap out, there may be software conflicts. So while it is possible to upgrade your iMac, you’ll have to be very careful about what you are doing.

Upgrading parts is something the older iMacs did better than today’s variants. Upgrading parts was a thing the PC guys were doing before I was born. I bet you; If I had my old Compaq Presario today, that I bought in 1999, I could do some upgrades without having to worry.

But I wouldn’t bother. The majority of gaming PCs are highly upgradable, which is a significant reason why they are desirable. Again, you don’t have to be a gamer to enjoy the benefits of a gaming PC. Any graphic designer, content creator, or business professionals will all benefit from such PCs as they are more than capable of handling demanding tasks. Plus there are vasts amounts of peripherals to choose from.

And because of that upgradability, they will last you longer, while giving you a better ROI. My close to 10-year-old 2600K Sandy Bridge gaming PC setup is still running like a champ, and will for years to come. It’s a perfect office computer and works well with the entire Adobe suite of tools. And that’s with the ancient AMD 6870 1GB graphics card that’s still running, and powering two 21-inch monitors.

Software Compatibility

If you are looking to jump into the Apple computer ecosystem, beware that not all that software will run on your Mac. If you are downloading programs, you’ll have to read carefully to see if your Mac Os is supported. Better yet, here is Apple’s exact explanation on the matter:

Some incompatible software is automatically disabled when you upgrade macOS.

When you upgrade macOS or migrate content to a new Mac, software known to be incompatible with the new macOS version is set aside and won’t run on your updated system. The software is moved to a folder named Incompatible Software, at the top level of your Mac startup disk. 

If you want to use one of the incompatible apps, get an updated version that’s compatible with your new OS. Apps in the Mac App Store list their compatibility and system requirements on their product pages. You can also check with the app developer to find out if they have a new, compatible version or plan to release one.

PowerPC applications won’t run on OS X Mavericks or later.

PC users don’t have to worry about that issue. If you are into gaming and thinking of making a Mac purchase, think again. These machines aren’t used for such things, and the few compatible games available will probably be available for your smartphone.

When it comes to audio studio production, I use Reason because it suits my workflow. There are many other great professional DAWs on the market with an unbelievable amount of tools. While programs such as Reason can work on a Mac, most Macintosh users will gravitate towards Logic, and Final Cut Pro. If you ever decide to jump ship back into the PC world, I do believe those programs aren’t supported on PC, which leads me to my next point.

Ecosystem

Once you are in the walled garden that is Apple, you’ll have a hard time coming out of it. Before we migrated to this domain, we covered all things tech. As some of you may remember our articles on Apple products in regards to mobile and the many issues that plagued the ecosystem.

Because of that lock-down system, Apple can price-gouge the heck out of its customer base. It’s like squeezing a lemon dry, seeds popping out and all.

For years, Apple users suspected the company was slowing down their phones in attempts to force upgrade cycles. When it finally came out that indeed Apple was throttling the CPU on older phones for the sake of “Battery life.” What an outrage!!.

But we are talking about computers here and not phones. Granted that once you have an iPad, iPhone, and a Mac, everything is synced together for a more streamlined experience. Apple is pretty great at that.

You won’t have to worry about being locked down so much into an ecosystem with next to no hope of getting out when you buy a PC. For the most part, manufacturers allow you to experiment to your heart’s content.

I’m not saying an ecosystem is terrible, it’s just sad when you as a manufacturer make it next to impossible for your customers to leave, all the while increasing your prices for incremental upgrades. You will eventually have the customer reaching points of diminishing returns.

Conclusion

I know in the title I mentioned 3 things, but that 4th pointed had to make the cut. Do PCs have their fair share of issues? Absolutely, no platform is perfect. At the end of the day,  you’ll have to decide what’s best for you and your workflow. Just make sure you are aware of the direction you want to go in and execute. But for most of us, we’ll tell you that a PC is the way to go. Unlimited customization options, price points to suit every budget, and a better return on investment or some of the reasons why PCs are better than Macs.