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Old 05-14-2008, 01:33   #1
ElectricZombie
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Computer Lifespan: Mac vs. Windows based PC

After stopping by the Apple store for the first time ever last weekend, I'm quite impressed with Leopard and Apple computers in general. I'm in the market for a new computer, and am strongly purchasing an iMac or MacBook Pro.

First, a little back ground info. I've been working on Windows PCs for the last 15 years. I'm still running XP, with no real issues. My main issue with Windows is that it requires a lot of time and effort to keep it working properly. I format my computer every 3 months or so because Windows seems to bog down around that time. I'd like something that I don't have to constantly tinker with to keep working.

In general, I've observed that a typical Windows based PC lasts anywhere from 3 to 5 years before they need to be replaced. This is mostly due to the increasing hardware demands imposed by the development of Microsoft's latest OS. This has become more apparent with the release of Vista.

On the other hand, Apple claims many of their systems that are several years old can run Leopard with no problem. This leads me to beleive that the lifespan of a Mac is longer than that of a Windows PC.

Do Macs generally have a longer useful lifespan than the typical Windows PC? (I don't game, so this isn't an issue.) I'd like to get something that will last for years to come instead of buying a new computer every few years.

I'm thinking that a Mac might be the answer for a worry free computer that will last more than a couple of years.
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Old 05-14-2008, 07:59   #2
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IME, Mac are useful longer (for example, I have two machines that were made in 1999 that are still chugging along flawlessly as servers). The main reasoning is that Apple constantly improves efficiency with software releases, so outside of some of the graphics involved, almost any modern-ish Mac will run the latest software.

I was a hardcore windoze guy for years and still use an XP box daily at work, but for reliability and longevity, Macs can't be beat, imo...
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Old 05-14-2008, 11:21   #3
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If your Eks Pee installations are aging that rapidly, I'd be looking for malware. It just ain't natural for them to decay that fast.

I think the operative question here is not how long will the computer you select be useful, but how long can you resist Gates and/or Jobs sales pitch(es) to put you in a new model. I'd guestimate 90% of all personal computers are put out to pasture in favor of newer/shinier long before they've exhausted their usefulness.
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Old 05-14-2008, 12:37   #4
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I am a former Windows guy. I also am a former Apple employee.

Apple computers, in general, outlast their PC counterparts. They also hold their monetary value FAR longer than any other personal computer on the market.

If you buy the mid range version of any Apple computer, you can expect it to last an easy 5 years - most likely on the original OS install to boot.

I ran a G4 for four years straight with zero issues. And no anti-virus or the like to boot.

My current main computer is a Mac Pro. I also use a MacBook Pro.

I'll never go back to Windows.
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Old 05-16-2008, 21:36   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ElectricZombie View Post
I'm thinking that a Mac might be the answer for a worry free computer that will last more than a couple of years.
Yup. I went through pretty much the same thing. Switched to mac stone cold about 17 months ago and will never go back to PC. Still have my pc but haven't turned it on in months.

I have a 17" mbpro. (Its too big by the way)

I like to tell people, "Mac just work"
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Old 05-17-2008, 00:03   #6
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I think it depends on what you're looking to use it for.

My desktop is an AMD Athlon 1 GHz with 512 MB ram. I want to say I got it 8 years ago. It still runs XP great. Mostly because I don't play games on it. Or I should say, todays games on it. I mostly use it for the internet and watching movies/playing music with no troubles.


As for worry free computing. I sometimes never understood some of the problems people have had with computers. When I did tech support, some of the problems people would call in about really made me wonder.
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Old 05-19-2008, 07:07   #7
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I just upgraded my PC to a Phenom quad core (@2.8 ghz) and 4g ram.

When i got it set up, i made a hard disk image that i store on an extra HD (it is about 40Gigs) and if everything starts slowing down from a virus or time, i just format the drive and put the image back on the drive (takes an hour maybe).

The longevity of the PC itself (either mac or windows) depends on the hardware used. Mac (from my limited inexperienced view) use better/higher end hardware then your run of the mill Dell.

Now if you take the time and build a quality PC, you'll be fine.

The longest i ran an OS without formatting was a year. This was with Vista, and it ran fine (although slower than XP).
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Old 05-19-2008, 10:31   #8
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In some ways, I'd actually prefer it if my Macs didn't live as long as they do - I always have to justify upgrades on the qualities of the new machine, not the failures of the old. I run on the assumption that computers last me 3 years before I'm looking for a tech upgrade. Laptops maybe a little less, because of the beating they take on the road. I've never had a Mac desktop die. In fact, my old Mac IIci from 1993 is still running, and will run e-mail, web and MS Office (older version) quite nicely.

Just as an example, I have two older Mac desktops (PowerMacs) that are still going strong. I've moved to an Intel-based iMac for my daily use, because I'm a bit of a speed junkie, but I have an early 2002 single-processor 800Mhz G4 tower that's still a fine machine. Never a hardware hassle, still on the original OS install, and it's a perfectly usable computer for mail, web, and Microsoft Office. I'd have no problems using it as my daily computer for that kind of use. We're currently using it as a 'shared' public computer in our living room for kids, guests, that kind of thing. I could probably sell it for $3-400 or so (amazing, if you think about it!), and while it's too slow for hardcore graphics production, I wouldn't hesitate to have someone work on it for producing newsletters, basic art, etc. It's not up for video production, really, and doesn't have USB2...

The other one is a dual-867 MHz dual G4 tower from 2003, that's my emergency mail/file server at the office. It's backing up a 2004 dual 2.0Ghz G5 Xserve, and based on tests, can handle a standard daily load for my 15-person office without too much trouble (the Xserve turned out to be a bit of overkill). That machine is actually very good for DVD ripping - a hair slower than my current 2008 model machine, but not really all that different.

long story short, other than one laptop (original TiBook) which had a broken hinge, I've never had a Mac move on due to component failure or inability to keep it running. I upgrade the OS every couple years, but since OS X came out, I've never had to re-install the OS on a Mac. I know others have had less success and seen some burned-out Macs, but I'd certainly say that they in general last longer than PC's... If I told you about all the PC's I've owned since 2002....
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