Why this site....?
Ease of use
Extending your computer
Reliability and Security
Laptops and Working across
What schools should do
Where Windows is better than the
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you get an error that a link could not be found (often a 404 error)
please go to The Internet Archive
where you may be able to find it. Please report all broken links.
Is Windows really that fast?
a file form the D to the C drive of a PC
Transferring a file from a CD-ROM to the HD
of a Mac
File size 478MB. Using same disk. No other
Under Windows XP = 4 min 20 sec
52 times CD-ROM
XP Home 2002
|Under MacOSX 10.2.2 = 4min 15 sec
32 times CD-ROM (Superdrive)
Mac OSX 10.2.2
|Under MacOS9.1 = 3 min 25 sec
24 times CD-ROM
|Under MacOS8.6 = 6min 40sec
12 times CD-ROM
Specs: Powermac 7220
|source: personal testing - March 2003
vs. PC 5: Power Mac G5 Dual 2.7GHz (digitalvideoediting tests
dual 2.7 Mac and a dual 3.6 Xeon - May 2005)
" ...the performance of both computers is just about the same. And, if you
look at the prices, you get much more for your money with the dual-processor
Mac these days than you do with a dual-processor Xeon PC. Even more
significant is the fact that the price of this test Mac is unusually high, because
Apple chose to include 4 GB of RAM, and added numerous other extras to the mix. With
a comparable 2GB of RAM and without any extras, this machine would cost $1300
less than the current price of our Dell dual Xeon 3.6GHz PC that we
used for comparison. As configured, for forty bucks less you get speed that’s
statistically just about the same as a PC, Bluetooth connectivity, FireWire 800
on the motherboard , and then there’s that striking industrial design and
cachet that only goes with owning a Mac" (emphasis added)
Looking for a cheap supercomputer?
Get a few hundred G5s
The University of Texas has just completed a Dell/Linux
cluster that will achieve over 3 Teraflops or 3 trillion calculations
per second. According to the Austin
Business Journal it is not yet at full capacity but will cost
Also in the US, at Virginia Tech's $US5.2M Apple/Mac OS X cluster of
1,100 new G5s, which achieves 17.6 Teraflops, has just been put
into operation putting it about second in the list of
supercomputers. Each individual G5 is a dual processor, 2GHZ machine
with 4GB of memory.
Computing Facility Press Links for current press about the Virginia
The Earth Simulator, the big gun in supercomputers cost about $US350
Cost per Teraflop:
Dell at UT- $US10.3 million.
Apple at VT- $US295,000.
Earth Simulator in Japan - $US9.75 million
A grain of
salt with your c|net, Apple still shines. Alan Graham Jan. 15, 2004
Check the latest on the supercomputers here.
Macs include many features that cost extra on
PCs. It's a widely-held, but false, belief that PCs cost much less than
Macs. While some PCs offer a lower "base price" than Macs, a
feature-by-feature comparison, including cost of maintenance,
indicates that Macintosh computers are often cheaper to buy and
maintain. Macs include many key features that either cost extra,
aren't needed or simply aren't available on most PCs, such as virus
software, bluetooth , Firewire3
expansion and sound cards. All Macs have sound cards; some PCs still
don't. All Macs have had Firewire standard since 2000; some PCs still
A survey of press advertisements was begun in August 2000 and
it showed that in fact the entry-level (and sometimes even high end)
Macs were sometimes cheaper than roughly equivalent PCs (and this is
before maintenance costs are considered)!
The Reliability and Security
section of this site cites many many studies from non-Apple sources
indicating that Macs are more reliable and more secure (read "cheaper to support").
MacOSX 10.2 (Jaguar - $AU229) is half the cost of Windows
XP Home ($AU 460)
source Apple Store online and Harvey Norman
catalogue April 2003
Education prices: OSX - $175; WinXP $240.
OSX FREE for teachers (May - June 2003)
For current retail pricing of computers in Australia go to Mac -PC PriceWatch (part of this site).
Apple's new Mac mini is cheaper than the cheapest desktop on the
Dell Australia website (January 2005). And competively priced in August
2005. See Mac -PC PriceWatch
The cost of ongoing support adds to the total cost of using
At least one ISP reports significantly
longer help desk calls from Windows users (from Whirlpool Australia)
"No worries. The answers you received from
other providers regarding Mac support have surprised me somewhat. OS9/OSX
are far easier to support in my opinion than the multitude of Windows
versions. I rarely have a long Mac call, but may spend an hour solving
browsing issues on the Windows platform." Craig (Support) AAPT
Server Roars, Too by Sean Gallagher April 29, 2005
Apple box running
Tiger Server could do the same job as a Windows 2003 system for hundreds
or thousands of dollars less.
Apple's Xserve could make inroads in the data center
Its dirt-cheap dual-processor server competes favorably with rival offerings
Mac technical support personnel argue that the machines are far simpler
to manage than Windows boxes. For example, when Genentech went through
a recent upgrade on both its Mac and Windows systems, one technician
could completely upgrade six OS X machines per day, while on the Windows
side, one person could complete only two or sometimes three PCs each
day. And for the entire company, seven technicians handle nearly 2,500
Are More Expensive, Right? by Paul Murphy LinuxInsider
26th 2004 August
At the low end, therefore, the PC desktops are marginally less
the Macs -- if you can do without their connectivity and multimedia
-- and considerably more expensive if you can't. At the very high end,
all of the design focus is on multimedia processing and the PCs
competitive from either hardware or cost
Macintosh OS X Platform To Extend TCO Advantage in Near Future
See this US survey Least Expensive
Laptops? Hint: It Ain't Dell
Macs also have a longer life span. PC
Magazine found that the average age of Macs in a reliability
survey (August 2001), was much higher than the average PC. This suggests
that people have to - or feel the need to - replace their Macs less often than
their PCs. See
Even though Dell PCs scored very well in the service and
reliability area they were relatively new. The Macs, despite being on
average twice as old as the Dells, still received a satisfactory result
in service and reliability (relatively small sample).
server and storage offerings are helping the company overcome its
reputation as the high-priced computing
Should Stay the Mac Course: (by Sean Gallagher May 2004)
"I'm typing this column on a G4 Cube that I bought four years ago with
my own money—and it's survived three operating-system upgrades without
any noticeable drop in performance. If anything, it's gotten faster.
On the other hand, one of my PC file servers was literally rebooted to
death by Windows Updates. As for the desktop PC I purchased around the
same time as the Cube, the best I can say about this machine is that it
runs Linux well.
I can say without hesitation that I'd rather support an office
full of Mac OS X machines than an office full of PCs running whatever
combination of Windows they might have loaded."
slashes desktop support demands Feb 2004
chooses Apple Mac upgrade over move to PCs 20 January 2004
AEC CAD IT Study Indicates Macintosh Advantages for IT Management Costs
for AEC Firms Worldwide
There were five key findings in the report:
1) Mac firms spend on average 12 percent more on hardware costs
than Windows or Mac/Windows mixed platform firms,
2) Mac firms have workstation replacement cycles of six (6) months
longer than Windows firms, gaining a full year of additional productive
use every two replacement (upgrade) cycles,
3) Cross-platform firms spend approximately the same amount on IT costs
as Windows-only firms,
4) FileMaker Pro is the dominant database application used by AEC
firms in the study, especially in cross-platform firms,
5) Macintosh-only firms spent 15 to 50 percent less on IT management
costs (including staff type, staff hours, etc.) than both Windows-only
firms and mixed platform firms.
windfall from Licensing
6 Kelly Mills November25, 2003 The Australian
' Cost was another factor in Apple's favour. "Surprisingly, it came out
at about half the price of a Windows server and these days you just
can't ignore that," '
20th Annual Awards for Technical Excellence PC Magazine November 18,
Winner : Apple Power Mac G5
The G5 performed significantly better than any
previous Mac—and equaled or bettered the performance of Intel-platform
machines—on our all-important graphics and content creation tests.
Power Mac G5: Neck-and-Neck with Intel PCs by Troy Dreier of PC
Magazine September 19, 2003
" ...the G5 is generally as fast as the best
Intel-based workstations currently available "
x86 Vs PPC
Table of contents
1. History, Architectural differences, RISC Vs CISC, Current state of
2. Law of Diminishing , Performance, Vector Processing and Power
3. Low Power x86s, Why The Difference?, To RISC Or Not To RISC, PPC and
x86 get more Bits
4. Benchmarks, the Future
5. Conclusion, References
Analysis: x86 Vs
PPC (OS News July 2003)
" Things are changing, Linux and other Operating Systems
are becoming increasingly popular and these are not locked into x86 or
any other platform. x86 is running into problems and PowerPC looks like
it is going to increasingly become a real, valid alternative to x86 CPUs
both matching and exceeding the performance without the increasingly
important power consumption or heat issues."
Power Mac G4 and G5 versus Pentium 4, Dual Xeon, and Dual Athlon
updated September 2003, includes G4s, G5s, Athlon, Xeon and Pentium.
Ordinary buyers of PCs are often deceived into
thinking that PCs are much faster than Macs - they are faster but not
so much that differences in processor speed would be noticeable to most
users. It is only when processor intensive applications like Photoshop
and 3D animation programs are used that differences in processing times
will be really noticeable. Sometimes processors can be too fast for
ordinary users. Yes too fast. For example, mouse scrolling in Word
on the latest Mac or Intel processor can sometimes be impossible to
For a rational and virtually flame-free
discussion see In
pro digital photography, megahertz matters ( If Raw photo and
Photoshop batch processing are important in your workflow, then speed
is what you need by Rob Galbraith Tuesday, January 7, 2003).
There have been claims that Macs can "toast" Intel and AMD PCs
processor-wise. They are exaggerated. The speed of a computer is
dependent on the bus speed (the System Bus is like a "pathway" between
the processor and main memory), the speed of the hard disk and the
speed of the memory and the amount of memory installed. Apple's claims
of superior processor performance are narrowly-based.
Here are some references regarding the "Megahertz Myth". Note
that most of them are not "pro-Mac" sites (pro-Mac sites are
- Henrico County (VA, USA) has one support person for 838
page 242 of this PDF (600k) then note that the Superintendent's
recommendation that "the move to one predominant platform will
result in lower costs (both in direct outlays and in opportunity costs
to enhanced services) and to more effective and efficient technical
support services." does not reconcile with the evidence
regarding cost found in the report itself. Here are some samples of
their poor reasoning and poor research:
• "the discovery that new Apple
hardware no longer supported earlier
Macintosh operating systems currently in use in Arlington Public
Schools." This is not true. Current Macs using OSX support OS9.
•"Because Mac’s are generally found in high budget business
environments, qualified Mac technicians generally demand higher than
average salaries...." This may of may not be true in Virginia
but how often ar they required? Has Arlington done a TCO? Otherwise
this statement is meaningless. If Mac technicians do cost twice as much but only
have to be called half as often what is the net effect on TCO?
•"Microsoft no longer supports Internet Explorer on OS X which is the
APS supported browser. ..." So?? Safari is a better browser!
When have web browsers required "support"? Why aren't
they using Firefox and / or Mozilla?
•"Apple hardware repair requests were significantly higher than PC
hardware requests. Software repair requests were only slightly higher
for Mac’s for the same period." Yes but what was the cost
involved? What was the length of downtime? Why did the report not quote identical
parts for Macs and PCs?
•Page VII-9 indicates that Arlington Schools do not realise that most
components for Macs and PCs are the same or that iMacs do not
have floppy drives.
• "respondents suggested..." "Many felt
that more software was available" "participants felt
that there would be cost savings and support efficiencies associated
with a single platform," Notice the subjective
terms and lack of quantitative research. And why did they price
relatively expensive iMac with LCD screens and not eMacs which are
designed for schools?
County indicated that it had a ratio of 1 support person for
every 838 Macs. No other counties gave figures for the level
of required tech support. How many technicians do they need? Why aren't
To the outsider it appears that Arlington Schools
decided on a course of action and then cobbled together a
"justification" for it.
vs. PC: The Truth About TCO
James Maguire NewsFactor Nov 22, 2003
World: IT outsourcing firm says Macs save money (March 2003)
ultimate smackdown: Mac versus PC by Gene Steinberg
Special to Gannett News Service 6th July 2002
and the Megahertz Myth Roberto Perez - April 2002
Bidding To Regain Speed Throne by Ben Wilson NewsFactor Network
February 15, 2002
"The EEMBC tested 46 different kernels and found Motorola's G4 to be
faster than all other contenders across five specific target markets."
Does The Pentium 4 and Athlon XP Running Windows XP Compare To The G4
Power Macintosh Running OS X?
Originally posted December 31st, 2001 http://www.barefeats.com/pentium4.html
The Megahertz Myth FORTUNE Monday, October 29, 2001
Microprocessor clock speed is just one component of a computer's
- The Myth of Megahertz, part III
- Intel, AMD and Apple Leverage the MHz Myth
- Benchmark Showdown -- Mac vs. PC
- August 2001
- After years of debate, we settle the question once and
(July 2000 http://popularmechanics.com/popmech/elect/0007EFCOCAM.html)
G3's Win at CAD Shootout!
vs. Windows comparisons from macspeedzone
/central/other/Links.html#Windows vs Mac
for non-technical discussions go to
Thoughts Regarding Processor "Speed," Megahertz Ratings, and Benchmark
and for a technical discussion go to
RISC vs. CISC: the Post-RISC Era: a historical
approach to the debate (http://www.arstechnica.com/cpu/4q99/risc-cisc/rvc-1.html)
There is also some concern about the alleged speed of the new
Pentium 4 chip (being slower than a Pentium 3). See the PC World report (http://www.pcworld.com/news/article.asp?aid=35083)
Macs also require less maintenance (see also under Reliability) making them less expensive.
The Mac has always provided backward software compatibility, ensuring
that users can run their older software on new Macs or on new versions
of the Mac OS. Every new version of Windows has included features that
make backward compatibility of existing applications an issue. What ran
on DOS or Windows 3.1 didn't necessarily run on Windows 95; and DOS,
Windows 3.1, and Windows 95 software didn't necessarily run on Windows
NT. When combined with changes in Windows, PC users need to be very
careful when upgrading. (This is apparently also true of Win2000 and
It has to be said, however, that MacOSX (“ten”) released in
March 2001 will only run on a G3/4 processor and only applications
specifically made for it will be able to take advantage of its
Total Cost of Ownership (TCO)
finds Apple Macs 36% cheaper to run than PCs
(The Australian) March 2003 BROKEN LINK
finds Macs are 36 percent cheaper to run than Windows PCs
(Mac Unlimited) March 2003 BROKEN LINK
World Report (Live April 2003)
Melbourne University counts the savings with
Apple from David Frith's article in "The Australian"
SYDNEY 12 June 2002.
A study from technology research company, Gartner
has found Apple Macintosh computers to be up to 36 percent cheaper to
own and run than competing PC products. The study utilised Gartner's
Total Cost of Ownership (TCO) methodology, which takes into account the
direct and indirect costs of owning IT infrastructure. Direct costs
include all hardware and software costs for desktop and mobile
computers, servers and peripherals as well as upgrades, technical
support and annual depreciation. Indirect costs cover the costs of
end-users supporting themselves and each other, end-user training time
and non-productive downtime.
The report compares the TCO for the University's
Mac environment with its PC environment. It also compared the
University's Mac environment with similar sized PC installations around
the world. The research was conducted at Melbourne University in the
Faculty of Arts which included 4676 Apple computers and 5338 Windows
based machines. The relevant cost comparisons were $ 14.1 million and $
18.9 million respectively. Apple systems cost just $ 1953 per year to
support, Gartner found, compared with annual costs for Windows based
machines of $ 2522.
Apple Computer Marketing Director, Arno Lenior,
said the findings illustrated how medium to large sized organisations
like Melbourne University could save time and money by investing in
Macs over PCs. There is a perception that Macs are more expensive than
PCs but this report proves what we've long believed - Macintosh is the
most cost effective and efficient platform available, said Marketing
Director, Apple Computer, Arno Lenior.
In examining direct costs, Gartner found that
Macs required less technical support and the hardware and software
costs were lower. Gartner found that this translated into direct
savings of 25 percent over similar sized organisations using personal
computers. University of Melbourne IT staff were able to manage more
Macintosh systems per person servicing 30 Apple computers for every
23.2 Windows based computer. Macs are designed to be easy to use. The
report highlighted this, proving that Mac users at the University
required less formal training and didn't rely as heavily on technical
staff as PC users. When something did go wrong, the technical staff
solved the problem faster on Macs than PCs, said Lenior.
The Gartner report found that the Mac's
efficiency and ease of use resulted in additional indirect savings of
43 percent. When combined, the Total Cost of Ownership for Melbourne
University's Macs was 36 percent lower than similar PC environments
elsewhere. Perhaps even more importantly, when questioned on how they
felt about their networks Mac users at the University were happier than
their PC counterparts.
Gartner findings: Macs are cheaper - and less trouble
posted on July 2, 2002 2 July 2002, Alex Summersby
March 2003 BROKEN LINK
won't endorse "contentious" Apple report
by James Pearce, ZDNet Australia 17 June 2002
Note that Gartner has not denied the existence
of the report, or its accuracy.
Because Macintosh hardware and
software are both tightly controlled by Apple they tend to work
together more efficiently than the hardware/software combination on
Wintel PCs where there are numerous hardware manufacturers designing
for a single OS. The Mac OS and the hardware it runs on are made by the
same company and because of this they are more reliable than PCs. They
need less maintenance which reduces their total cost of ownership4 . Thus while the
Mac’s initial cost is sometimes higher for professional level computers
(Apple is very strict about its reseller pricing and it withdrew clone
licensing agreements some years ago) it is cheaper to maintain, one
study putting them at 25% cheaper to maintain than Windows-based systems5. See the references below and under "Reliability and Security" and in the
references for "What schools should
Many people don't realise that parts for PCs, which as a general rule are
cheaper than those specifically made for the Mac, can often be used in
Macs: hard drives, floppy drives, CD-RWs as well as memory modules.
On a Mac, there is a number of programs which use less RAM and
require less HD space than their equivalent Windows versions. For
example: Dreamweaver, Fireworks, Internet Explorer. The multimedia
CD-ROM "StageStruck" developed on Macs at the University of Wollongong
(in conjunction with NIDA) requires 16Mb of RAM to run on a Mac. On a
PC 32Mb of RAM are needed.
Software / applications.
With an emulator like SoftWindows or Virtual PC you can run
applications written not only for the Mac OS, but also for Windows.
Thus a single program running on a Mac (with sufficient memory) can
give you the ability to run any PC or Mac applications and allow you to
switch from one OS to another with a single keystroke(Cmd+M). You can
also run other operating systems on a Mac as you can with a PC, and it
is even possible to run a MacOS on a PC if you have the right software.
It must be pointed out that emulators work quite slowly.
ADSL requirements for PC are often much higher than for Mac: two to
three times as much RAM and twice as much more hard disk space.
The PowerPC Mac uses much less power and runs much "cooler"
than a Pentium processor of a similar speed. Apple’s slot-loading iMac
runs quieter than just about all other computers because it has no fan.
Virus protection software also increases the cost of PCs, a cost
"input" often not considered by computer buyers (see below for a more
complete discussion of viruses).
Viruses are almost unheard of in the Macintosh community.
Apple offers a free Operating System (7.5.3). No Windows
operating system is free. Indeed some would say that most Windows
software is overpriced especially given the level of its sales. Read
what consumer advocate Ralph Nader has to say about this issue: Consumer Harm in
the Microsoft Case by Ralph Nader (Address to The Bazaar - An Open
Source Software Event New York, December 15, 1999 -
See also Nader's (and James Love of Consumer Project on
to US Office of Management and Budget June 2002
Public Schools to move to a predominantly PC platform.(May 2004)
" move to one predominant platform will result in lower costs (both in
direct outlays and in opportunity costs to enhanced services) and to
more effective and efficient technical support services"
However the report which informs this decision has
many errors and it cites no independent TCO studies except those
indicating the Macs are cheaper: this author has written to the
Superintendent of APS but has not received a reply
drinks its own juice January 8, 2004
NB: Apple source: "less administration is
needed for Macs, pointing out that the company has just 27 IT workers
on its help desk. That's one help desk person for each 433 employees,
about half to a quarter of what research firm Gartner estimates
are needed by typical corporations."
of power consumption also finds Macs are cheaper to run 8 July
You Switch to a Mac December 8, 2000 By Laurie Joan Aron
A growing number of small firms are ditching their PCs. Here's why. http://netbusiness.netscape.com/fsb/it_chick/it_120800.psp
- TCO Links (Urbana School District) -
- What Do
Information Technology Support Services Really Cost? by Karen Leach
and David Smallen (Copyright 1998 EDUCAUSE. From CAUSE/EFFECT Volume
21, Number 2, 1998, pp.38-45) "Institutions in the study generally
support both Macintosh and Windows desktop environments and alluded to
a range in age of equipment on campus. We were not able to confirm
or deny the hypothesis that a less diverse hardware environment results
in lower unit costs".
- GISTICS ROI Study 1997 How to assess
return-on-investment factors for new and replacement technology in
media production studios, which showed that the Macintosh is the
preferred and most cost effective platform in media production studios:
"Macintosh-based enterprises earn $12.34 more per hour of labor than do
research report measures Mac advantage in dollars and sense (1997
- summary of Gistics Report)
- Dual-Platform Support Costs (http://www.bobrk.com/lmms/mac/gartner.html)
- DUAL-PLATFORM SUPPORT COSTS 10/95 - Summary of the
Gartner Group report (from MacKido)
- Maintenance Comparison: Macintosh vs. Windows 98
- Production Imaging Systems Competitive Analysis (www.acordex.com/consulting/Competitive.pdf)
3 SCSI and
Firewire are methods of adding peripherals to computers. SCSI has been
phased out with the arrival of USB and Firewire.
experience: this author has used Macs since about 1990 and PCs since
1995 (he tried Win 3.1 a few times). He has worked in a PC only
environment on a WinNT 4 (service pack 4)
machine. Between April 1999 and February 2000 he recorded over 140
software and hardware crashes/hangs/freezes; he had the computer looked
at by three separate technicians and eventually it was reimaged He lost
approximately three working days when the PC was out of action,
including the time it took to be reimaged. In addition to that the PC's
speakers and mouse had to be replaced (IBM brand). During the same
period his two Macs at home(6 and 3 years old) - in an unsupported
environment - needed no outside maintenance beyond periodic low level
attention: clean reinstalls and routine defragmentation.(back to text)
Support Costs In Dual Platform Computing Environment, Gartner Group,
6 PCI (peripheral component interconnect) is a type of
expansion slot. The circuitry connecting the slot to the main circuit
board is also known as a “bus”.
Magazine, "The Big Business Upgrade," by Jim Seymour, September 10,
reduced instruction set computing (on MacintoshPower PC chips, made by
CISC: complex instruction set computing (on PC chips made by Intel, AMD