So you want to buy a new computer and you are about the take the significant decision of whether to go Mac or Windows. Here are a few thoughts…
- Always, always, always work out precisely what you want to achieve. Then find the best software that will allow you to reach your goals, then choose a computer that is suitable to run that software. The computer is THIRD in the chain of decision making. It's important, but not the most important, and not even second.
- Macintosh computers have a reputation in music making. That business is important to Apple and they prioritize it. Music is way down on Bill Gates's list of things that matter. So expect your Mac to be great for music. Expect your Windows PC to be a good all-rounder.
- Mac OS X has not been a viable operating system for very long. In fact in the early days it was decidedly flaky. If you base your judgments on these early flaky days then you will underestimate its abilities, and reliability, now. The underlying core of OS X is the Unix operating system, which has been around for eons and is rock solid, to the point where you never need to reboot your Mac. Windows computers get increasingly erratic the longer they are switched on, so the recommendation is to reboot daily.
- Windows is the network king. If networking and Internet connectivity is important to you, then you will be frustrated by your Mac. Windows computers now run most of the Internet. It's a big thing for Microsoft so they put a lot of energy into networking.
- Apart from music, every new software technology starts out on Windows. The text you are reading was drawn from a Windows database server and formatted by Coldfusion software in real time as you clicked the link that got you here. Try implementing that with Macintoshes and you will quickly realize you're doing it the hard way. They will catch up eventually.
- Macintosh computers are wonderfully designed and well made. Comparing an up-to-the-minute Sony Vaio with a three year old Macintosh laptop, you would think the Mac was the new machine. And Sony obviously is a top manufacturer capable of competing with the best. But when it comes to computers, Apple is simply better.
- Windows computers are prone to viruses and so-called 'malware'. Catch a virus or a malware application and you are in real trouble. You may not be able to recover your system, even with the latest anti-virus and anti-malware software. Macintosh computers are virtually virus-free in comparison. This is not a virtue of the Mac however, it's just that the virus creators target Windows PCs as they are heavily in the majority.
- With regard to the vulnerability of Windows PCs to viruses and malware, it is strongly recommended that you dedicate a PC to music and do not connect it to the Internet.
- Windows PCs cost less! However, you can sell a secondhand Mac for serious money – a Windows PC is almost worthless, in monetary terms, the moment you take it home.
OK, those were the thoughts, now the recommendations…
- Use a Windows PC for everything except music. Unless of course your head contains not a brain, but a dimly lit iBrain!
- Use a Mac for sequencing and recording. Logic Pro and Pro Tools are all that you could possibly ever need. If you have a need for specialist software that is only available for the PC, buy an additional PC. Even a cheap one will be powerful enough to run any software instrument you need.