By Timothy S. Liao


So on April 20, 2011 I welcomed a new member into my family. A beautiful 4.9 pound baby boy I am calling Sebastian. Sebastian is neither human being or animal but instead he is a brand new 2011 version of the 13 inch MacBook Pro.  Before you accuse me of falling off my rocker and not being able to distinguish between warm blooded creatures and inanimate objects, please be aware of two important details. First this is the only object I have ever owned that I have given a name to; even though I have many objects that I love. Secondly, I fell off my rocker years ago and only have recently had the audacity to flaunt my insanity to the public.  My feeling about sanity is that it is way overrated and to be a truly gifted artist I aspire to be, maybe I do have to let sanity fall by the way side. So if I am truly going to go insane, why not join the other millions of MacHeads that have already drank the Kool-Aid? Can I get a Amen! The truth is that I’m probably like the majority of most Americans, who had always wanted  to go Mac but at the last minute was tempted by the lure of cheaper more powerful Windows machines. These machines that never quite excited me allowed me to keep another $500 dollars or so in my pocket.  Now before I go on with my rant, I thought it only be fair to share with you that in May of 2000 I did buy my first PowerBook and for the most part was left feeling dissatisfied, definitely nowhere inspired enough to bestow it a name. You have to understand even though Macs are pricey now, they were astronomically pricey back then. This PowerBook G3 with 6GBs storage – not RAM but hard drive space, 512 MB of RAM, a Motorola processor, and no Wifi cost a whopping $2499 in May of 2000. Note it did have a DVD player, a first at that time, but I don’t think it could even burn CDs let alone DVDs. I do remember sitting at a Starbucks in Santa Rosa, California in May of 2000 and watching Saving Private Ryan and all sorts of people looking at me with astonishment that I could watch a movie in a coffee shop.  But still the machine was $2499. That said, I remember PowerBooks being even more expensive a few years before that, as I remember in college seeing PowerBooks that were upwards of $5,000. Fast forward to 2011 and here I am writing about my new MacBook Pro that retails for $1199 but I got for $999. Maybe it is just my warped perspective being a child of the 80s and early 90s and remember how much computers use to be – that allows me to look at a new 2011 MacBook Pro for $999 as a steal. BTW for those of you truly interested in purchasing this MacBook Pro at this price, I think they still have a deal on these at the MicroCenter. I had Best Buy match MicroCenters price, but please be aware that was nearly a month ago.

No matter what computer you buy whether Windows or Mac, please remember this important adage: YOU GET WHAT YOU PAY FOR! I cannot emphasize this enough. So many people I have seen the last few years have gone out and purchased the sub-$400 killer deal Windows laptops that they see advertised and have called me a few months later asking me to fix a problem only to have me tell them their computer can not be fixed because they are just way too underpowered and poorly manufactured to do what they want it to do. I am one of the few people that actually have had good experiences with Windows laptops. It’s important to note that I have also never bought a cheap Windows laptop. That being said I have also never bought an expensive Windows laptop either. I have always found the balance of getting a good PC that has outperformed my expectations and have lasted very well without having to spend too much. I know “Too Much” is a relative term but it all depends what your priorities are. If you enjoy getting all liquored up nightly and buying a cheaper computer – that is your own perspective but for me I rather invest more in a nicer computer while keeping my alcohol – nightclubbing budget to a minimum. But that is entirely another issue. Here we go – finally we get to the topic at hand: WHY YOU SHOULD EITHER INVEST IN A MAC OR A BETTER QUALITY WINDOWS MACHINE………….

Windows, including Windows 7 is still very much a resource hog when compared to the Mac OSX:

First you have to understand something important about Windows machines compared to Macs: Even with all the wonderfulness of Windows 7, Windows still takes much more resources to run than the Mac OS. I am not bias, and certainly not a Mac fanboy but this is something that is true and indisputable.  I have ran test myself including running Windows from Bootcamp on my new Mac and I can tell you that Windows is much more taxing on the hardware than Mac OSX. The biggest threat for hardware failure on any machine, especially laptops is heat. And when the operating system generates more work for the CPU, the computer is much more susceptible to failure.

The following factors make a more expensive Mac a better value than a Windows laptop:

Even though you are going to be paying on the average $500 or more for a Mac with similiar specifications than a Window’s laptop, you will make the difference back with these Mac benefits.

#1: The Operating System: Like stated above Windows, even the current iteration is an incredible resource hog. There have been pushes from vendors for the last decade to port the Mac Operating System for third party vendors to use in manufacturing but Apple has wisely resisted. Why? Simply put, it is the biggest differential aspect of Mac and Windows machines. Hardware wise, Window’s machines can easily duplicate the Apple hardware formula, even though often it ends up costing more – but it is clearly the operating system that Windows machines can’t emulate. If Steve Jobs in the late 1990s had agreed to allow third party vendors to make clones using the Mac OS, Apple the computer company would most likely not be in existence today.

#2 The Unibody: Apple has always had better quality hardware than their Windows counterparts, but they really raised the bar when they went with the unibody design. The unibody design makes a seamless product that much better. There is no argument that the machines are more beautiful, but more importantly it is the build quality that comes from the unibody design that makes it much better than anything you can buy from a third party manufacturer of Windows machines. The failure rate on the Apple’s unibody designed computers is much less because of the well thought out densely packed area where the components are placed. When you can pack the components more tightly into a laptop, the chances it is going to break because of movement or instability becomes much less. The chassis on  the MacBook are just so clean and so well laid out.

#3 The Battery: When Apple started to see a large flush of capital come in from the revenue stream of iPods and the iPhones, they invested heavily in other parts of their R&D including battery technology. This actually goes a bit hand in hand with the Unibody benefit, since Apple makes the customize cases and therefore can make batteries that use more of the space within the laptop and use it much more efficiently. When people tell me you can buy a similiar i5 laptop running Windows with similiar specs as the $1199 MacBook Pro for about $400 less, this is one of first things I ask them How Much Battery Life are You Getting and Can Your Battery Last Up to 1000 charges? Well to the average consumer, they wouldn’t necessarily know the answer to this question but I can tell you that it the answer is a overwhelming NO!

In Conclusion: You are paying more for a Mac but based on clear overwhelming evidence you should be paying more. Remember the adage: YOU GET WHAT YOU PAY FOR. In fact based on all the tangibles and intangibles Macs offer, the value of a Mac far surpasses that of a Windows laptop. Now here is the trick though. The lowest cost MacBook is $999 and the lowest cost MacBook Pro is $1199. If you want a 15 or 17 inch screen with much more power and other high end specs like dedicated video memory you’re then looking at a price range between $1799 to $2499 which is ridiculously expensive, still great computers but the value proposition begins to diminish greatly. So I would say buy a $1199 MacBook Pro as they are definitely the best value. But if you do insist on buying a Windows laptop to do things like play games, still stay at that price range between $799 and $1199 and do not be tempted to go towards a cheap computer you see at $599 or below.