Is a MacBook Pro worth the money when I can buy the same configuration for half of the price?

The reasons have nothing to do with Linux.

MacBook Pros are far cheaper than any Windows computer if you do the math right. Compared to my Windows-bound co-workers:

  • I reboot my machine about once a month instead of once a day.
  • I can shut the lid any time I want to without fearing my OS will freeze.
  • I spend zero hours a year battling viruses and malware.
  • I spend zero hours a year installing device drivers and dealing with hardware issues.
  • My laptop freezes only about once a year.
  • When I need to kill an application. It dies. The first time, every time.
  • Switching between applications is significantly faster.

It depends. It depends on how you intend to use it.

My recommendations for anyone that wants to buy a PC rather than a Mac:

  1. Don’t allow price to be your primary factor in your choice. Set a range of prices that are suitable and then look within the range.
  2. For desktops, always look for the unit that is going to be upgradeable. Today’s PCs can last for a decade or longer. Skip the small-form-factor units unless you have a real need to get a thin system. Go with a traditional tower that takes a standard-sized motherboard, power supply, etc.
  3. For laptops, always look for a unit that has a great CPU, display adapter, and screen. These cannot be upgraded. Make sure that you are comfortable with the design of the keyboard/touchpad and if you want one that is backlit, look for it. Consider how long you intend to use the laptop and any/all features you want.
  4. Whether laptop or desktop, you should get one with a solid-state drive, and if that is not possible in your price range, it should be the first upgrade that you make to the unit.
  5. If you are not familiar with the most common means of malware infection, you should learn because it is a lot easier to prevent malware than it is to eliminate an infection. Learn and practice safe computing. Keep your operating system and software up to date with the most recent security vulnerability fixes.
  6. This should go without saying but buy a reputable brand. The PC market is constantly evolving, and better-quality brands change as time passes. Currently, I favor HP and Lenovo.
  7. Don’t install unnecessary software, especially anything that starts on boot. A lot of free software that you download (Google Chrome, Firefox, Java, AVG, Avast, Adobe Reader, etc.) will default to installing some horrible browser toolbar or other crapware unless you opt-out of it.
  8. Only install software from reputable vendors, you know, like Microsoft, Google, Apple, etc., and/or only download it from reputable sources, you know, like the corporate website of those big companies. That means don’t gamble and download pirated software using BitTorrent.

For Mac buyers, I make these recommendations:

  1. You might as well buy the top of the line because they are all expensive. You will be as future-proof as possible if you go straight for the top.
  2. Don’t be pretentious about owning a Mac. They aren’t any better. They are just different. You may be making the smart choice for your particular needs, but there is no need to be a jerk about it.
  3. Your Mac is not malware-proof. If you believe it is, then you have been the victim of very good marketing on the part of Apple. The same poor practices that get PCs infected can/will compromise security on your Mac. To show that I am not full of baloney on this issue, I submit this as evidence:
    Researcher cracks Mac in 10 seconds at PWN2OWN, wins $5k
    Make sure that your Mac is always up to date with all of the latest software vulnerability patches. Visit only reputable websites. Install only reputable software from reputable sources.
  4. If something goes wrong with your Mac, there is an appointment process with the Mac Geniuses. You can’t just walk into the Apple store and have them fix it even though about 5 guys are standing around seemingly doing nothing. Genius is a job title, and there is no IQ test to get the title, so don’t be surprised when they don’t seem to know anything other than the fact that they can send your Apple product back for repair/replacement, or they cannot send it back for repair/replacement because it is too old or you have violated the warranty by submerging it in water or whatever.
  5. Enjoy your Mac. Macs are beautiful, and the hardware is fantastic. Apple makes great computers, and you have chosen to purchase a computer that will likely last a long time and even maintain some value if you choose to sell it later. The fact that Apple is one of the most profitable companies on earth and makes so few models means that they are more likely to care whether your 5-yr-old Mac works as it should with the latest version of OS X. And there is something to be said for that!



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