What's Driving Mac vs. PC Purchasing Today?

OffsetStorefront

Well-known member
I'm one of the "IT guys" at the print shop I work at and was curious about the modern differentiations between Mac and PC hardware for getting work done in our industry. I'm well-versed in both platforms and I'm aware there have been historical factors in this industry that made Macs the platform of choice for printers & graphic designers but am of the opinion that these days a lot of the stark differences between the two platforms' performance and usability have been ironed out.

Besides "you just like them more" or "it's what we already have" (which are valid considerations, but not very useful for this discussion), are there any real-world issues that would push you in one direction or the other if your company was in the market to buy some new machines and someone asked your opinion?
 

Chasfinch

Well-known member
we use both- and there are pluses for both platforms. our prepress work stations are mainly MAC but with a couple of PCs.
 

namelessentity

Well-known member
Most designers I've worked with are all on the Mac ecosystem. If we tried to force them to PCs they would likely complain forever about it.
I think a PC is always the cheaper option, and oddly all the RIP and print drivers all clearly made for the PC with a massive "I guess we'll make a barely functioning Mac one".
Maybe the next generation of designers will be taught on PC since the hardware is all just Intel and AMD anyway, but for now it's too much of a hassle to force change on the current generation of designers.
 

DYP

Well-known member
I don't think it is the hardware that is really different it is the OS. I have toyed with the idea of building a Hackintosh but in a production environment I am not sure it is worth it. I just know from using both Windows and Mac OS that the Mac OS is way less trouble and just more productive for me. My main Mac here has 48GB of RAM and at times uses almost all of it and I will never get another Mac with that small amount of RAM in it. On the other hand one Windows machine here has 32GB of RAM and I can't even get it to use half of that. The Fiery EX-P 3100 has 16GB and most I have every seen it use is around 10GB. I figured that is why Windows always seems sluggish and I have to be careful not to go too fast (or it will hang) like I am used to on the Mac.
 

smalloffsetpressexperts

Well-known member
Apple is way to proprietary for me even though it is based on open source software they are pricey.
Windows is the leader in my book, but as the millennial's are trained on Macs they are lost. It is like politics Macs are Democrats and Windows is Republicans. Linux is independent
 

joshlindsay

Well-known member
Interesting discussion and I've been wondering the same as the design software is generally over both. We run a mix of PC (Data operators, sales and accounts) and Mac (Design and XMPie) because as you say, historically designers needed Macs. Myself, I went from Windows to Linux and settled on Mac. Gave Windows a good bash at the end of last year but coming back after the break it just didn't feel right so went back to Mac.

Was planning to try switch our XMPie licence from Mac to PC as was told a while back that XMPies uDirect is faster on Windows than Mac. Fonts still worry me though.

@DYP I've been running a Hackintosh for 5 years now. It's been rock solid. Just reinstalled over Christmas to upgrade to Catalina. It's a lot easier that it used to be. Check out r/hackintosh
 

Magnus59

Well-known member
Historically it goes back to when scalable fonts were not available natively on Windows, and then when they became available on Windows 3.1, they were only Truetype which were viewed with some suspicion at the time, then Quark Xpress was Mac only and Apple introduced the Laserwriter which pretty much cemented the deal for Mac as people gradually switched from dedicated typesetting systems such as AM and Compugraphic.
At the time all this was happening, I was using Ventura Publisher on Gem running over MSDos 5.1 and I was always more comfortable with a PC rather than a a Mac, but I came from a letterpress machining background, not from a design or prepress one which could have been the point of difference.
Whenever jobs came in from customers working on PCs, whether it was Ventura, Pagemaker, Corel Draw or even WordPerfect, I was always the one who was given those jobs, the guys who preferred Mac wouldn't touch them.
All of that is history now, and there's nothing now that can't be done on either platform. Apple's foray into servers never really gained any traction, so most of the workflows are now hosted on Windows servers, there may still be a few on Unix (I loved my Brisque) but Windows dominated the market in the server space.
So really the answer is that it comes down to what you're most familiar and comfortable with.
 

Joe

Well-known member
I personally believe Macs are a little more trouble free because the hardware is locked into the Mac. Anyone can build a PC with many different types of hardware that haven't been tested with other hardware in a specific machine. If I were going to use a PC I would make sure to use a vendor like Dell that does test their hardware configurations extensively.
 

Magnus59

Well-known member
I personally believe Macs are a little more trouble free because the hardware is locked into the Mac. Anyone can build a PC with many different types of hardware that haven't been tested with other hardware in a specific machine. If I were going to use a PC I would make sure to use a vendor like Dell that does test their hardware configurations extensively.
That was true when programs addressed the hardware directly through IRQ, DMA etc and you had to modify your config.sys and autoexec.bat files whenever you added new hardware, but now that there are drivers that must be certified by Microsoft before they can be installed, the instances of hardware incompatibility are few and far between.
 

kdw75

Well-known member
I had posted on here a while back asking the same question. I had a 2014 27 iMac I used daily and kept having to move over to a Windows machine for two critical pieces of software. I made the switch to a Windows machine and there are two things that I miss daily. First I miss "Find Any File" that I used on the Mac. Windows search sucks. It doesn't find some files, even though they are there and sometimes it just refuses to work until I close all Explorer windows. Apparently this is an ongoing problem with some builds of Windows. The other issue is fonts. The Mac didn't have any problems, but I have strange font issues on Windows.
 

PricelineNegotiator

Well-known member
That was true when programs addressed the hardware directly through IRQ, DMA etc and you had to modify your config.sys and autoexec.bat files whenever you added new hardware, but now that there are drivers that must be certified by Microsoft before they can be installed, the instances of hardware incompatibility are few and far between.
Agreed. You have to be a special kind of stupid to mess up a PC build nowadays. Failing hardware is of course another matter.

Watch out if you have to repair your Apple products...ever. It'll cost you typically up to 5 times more (or even more) than a similar repair in the PC world. There is a guy on YouTube named Louis Rossman that chronicles his journey as an Apple non-certified repair technician. He's extremely knowledgeable and has an amazing reputation.
 

PricelineNegotiator

Well-known member
I had posted on here a while back asking the same question. I had a 2014 27 iMac I used daily and kept having to move over to a Windows machine for two critical pieces of software. I made the switch to a Windows machine and there are two things that I miss daily. First I miss "Find Any File" that I used on the Mac. Windows search sucks. It doesn't find some files, even though they are there and sometimes it just refuses to work until I close all Explorer windows. Apparently this is an ongoing problem with some builds of Windows. The other issue is fonts. The Mac didn't have any problems, but I have strange font issues on Windows.
Weird. I have found that the search function on both Mac and Windows is frustrating and almost never effective. It's easier in my world to build a good system with coherent naming and functional storage, where you can always know where to find a specific file if you need it.

Fonts suck in general too. I'm very happy that services like Adobe etc. are providing fonts in a manner that works cross platform.
 

Joe

Well-known member
That was true when programs addressed the hardware directly through IRQ, DMA etc and you had to modify your config.sys and autoexec.bat files whenever you added new hardware, but now that there are drivers that must be certified by Microsoft before they can be installed, the instances of hardware incompatibility are few and far between.
Ha. There are plenty of pieces of Win 10 hardware on the market with poorly written drivers.
 

smalloffsetpressexperts

Well-known member
Windows 10 is vastly improved, runs Adobe suites fine, multitasks are great, Videos and Recording software like Presonus all perform well at the same time. I prefer to build my own computers, a business owner should know how his tools work. Smart printers today that still have offset and digital do well, that applies to computers also,
 

namelessentity

Well-known member
Ha. There are plenty of pieces of Win 10 hardware on the market with poorly written drivers.
That's on the crappy manufacturer, not the OS. If you stick to brand name hardware the driver support is perfectly fine. Besides that, how often does some MacOS update totally brick the Creative Suite until there's a patch?
 

Joe

Well-known member
That's on the crappy manufacturer, not the OS. If you stick to brand name hardware the driver support is perfectly fine. Besides that, how often does some MacOS update totally brick the Creative Suite until there's a patch?
Hence why I said to buy name brand like Dell. And Microsoft is no stranger to an update causing major issues. Neither is better than the other. You can have problems with any computer you buy. I have 3 PC's running Windows 10 and 1 iMac at home. I prefer the Mac UI as to me, on the same size monitor at the same resolution, the Windows GUI feels more cramped than the Mac OS GUI. That isn't a fact. It is just the way it feels to me. But once my iMac is done I will probably will just stick with a Windows PC because Mac is pricing their hardware right out of my range not to mention making it more and more difficult to upgrade components as they would rather you just buy a new one instead of upgrading your old one.

But back to the topic at hand. A Mac or a good quality PC will work for prepress. The biggest issue will be getting people used to Macs to work on a PC without constant whining. :D Updates to either can and probably will cause issues at some point.
 

agmfan3

Well-known member
I just like the "feel" and the look on Mac, the track pad is smooth, just "feels" better. I want to throw the mouse on the pc that is in my office. But I'm old and set in my ways so the day they say no more Mac, I'm going home.
 

Puch

Well-known member
IMHO there are two sides of that coin. If you're an IT administrator who needs to take care of a lot of machines at the company, your life is certainly easier when MacOS rules. It's just easier to manage, and average users can't break it just by downloading some malicious files. I see companies here with mixed OS bags, and their struggles are always originate from Windows.

On the other hand, if you are all alone, and there is no one who can overrule your sensible (strict) policies, Windows 10 can be as good, or better than MacOS.

One thing to consider is the speed and agressivity Apple's pushing new technology onto people. No (old, large) USB socket on MacBook Pros? Let's buy some new adapters - and yes, bring it with you everywhere you go. No 32-bit applications anymore? Weee, it just bricked a lot of investment in our company (6 hardware-calibrated displays).

I was an Apple fan from the times Macintosh IIfx, but as the "boss" left us, we're at the mercy of greedy technocrats.
 

schenkadere

Well-known member
Mac is simply more elegant in design and is not a maintenance nightmare without IT certification. Having the OS so tied to the actual hardware makes it feel like a more complete, quality product. Their hardware is just really nice...a cut above.

Ex.: Time Machine...a continuous bootable back up built into the OS...smart and elegant.
 
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