Apple vs. PC, performance/price points

I want to start by saying that I know the history of these sorts of threads, and I’m really hoping that this can stay GQ, as it is a factual (and not religious) question.

I’m thinking of getting a new laptop. Right now I’ve spec’d out a MacBook Pro at apple.com as well as a laptop at hp.com to be as close to the same hardware I can (same processor, monitor size, hard drive, memory, etc etc). The price is about $900 different.

My question is, aside from any subjective (or objective) differences in the ‘quality’ of those two products, will Windows run the same on either system? Are they going to benchmark roughly the same?

Also, as a slight hijack to my own question, now that Macs are running on Intel, does this mean that I can run OS X on my PC?

Apple prices are usually pretty good when the system comes out. After that, they just stay the same, while the competition keeps pumping out newer/better models and slashing prices like there is no tomorrow. If you are going to buy a Mac and want to feel like you got a good deal, buy it the day it is released.

No cite, but wait for the experts on this one, Macs should run Windows at similar speed to systems with similar specs. And OS X should not run on a PC without some serious messing around. Are you a power user willing to spend hours messing around with your computer so it does what it should do straight out of the box?

I can’t find it now, but I remember that one of the big computer columnists (Walter Mossberg, David Pogue, etc) said that the MacBook or the MacBook Pro was faster running Windows than any dedicated Windows PC he’d ever used. But the Macs are more expensive.

The answer to the “OSX on PC” question is that it’s possible (see OSx86), but unless you’re pretty experienced with these things (which, based upon the nature of your questions, I’m guessing you aren’t) then such a thing probably isn’t for you.

Regarding the emulation of Windows code on OSX, it’ll run but never at the speed you would see it running natively on an x86 system. Windows games running on OSX, in particular, are an example of this … they run pretty well, just not as fast as they do natively on an x86 architecture. Sometimes by a lot, sometimes by just a little … not enough to make them unplayable, I guess. Software emulation rarely runs code as fast on different hardware as it runs on native hardware.

You always get a little more for your dollar with any manufacturer besides Apple. You’re paying for the … Apple logo. If you think the $900 difference is a reasonable premium for the ability to run two operating systems on one laptop, then go for it. I’m not sure what other criteria you’re using to make your decision …

This nitpick doesn’t invalidate the link you provided, but Boot Camp is not emulation. It allows for an actual installation of Windows running natively, not through OSX.

Yes, roughly the same hardware will yield roughly the same Windows performance, since Windows is run natively on the Mac (with Boot Camp). There’s no intermediate layers or emulation to slow it down, just minor tweaks to the bootloader, and drivers for otherwise unsupported Mac-only hardware.

That’s performance. As for “run the same”, Boot Camp (read as “drivers for Apple hardware”) is beta software so you might run into minor issues that you shouldn’t on your made-mostly-for-Windows PC. Wikipedia mentions some issue with hot-plugging a certain TV-out configuration.

Not much more to say about this in a GQ context.

Only until the end of the month, when Leopard comes out.

A Mac nowadays is an x86 system.

Something to consider is whether you truly are comparing all specs. If you aren’t going to use some standard features and don’t consider having them included in the system to be worth the money, fair enough. But I’ll bet that the $900 difference is made up of included stuff that you get in the Mac but have to specifically include on the other systems — and pay extra for. In my past, when I almost switched to Windows, I found that Apple offered some higher-end features that weren’t found at all in most comparable systems from competitors, and that configuring a system with some extras like WiFi and Bluetooth that were standard on Apple notebooks but were extra special features on the others often pushed them higher in price than a similarly specced Apple.

Here’s a page that compares feature by feature. I made a guess at the kind of system you’re looking for and linked to that, but there are other pages on that site that compare different systems. You might be interested to know that unless you actually need the separate GPU or other features only offered in the Pro line, the MacBook is considered to be a much better deal than the Pro at this point, even among the Apple people.

http://www.systemshootouts.org/shootouts/laptop/2007/0605_lt2000.html