View Full Version : A question I never bothered to care about, what is different about a Mac?

05-09-03, 06:35 PM
I never really cared but the other day I was wondering what is different in a Mac computer than in a PC? Do they have the same hardware?

05-09-03, 06:57 PM
not really... they are closed source, so only apple can make its hardware... the both have cpus' memory and stuff... but a mac is much harder to upgrade... not to mention they are more expensive:rolleyes: i see no reason why ANYONE would want a mac... now that winxp came out and rivals the mac in stability

05-11-03, 11:55 AM
Are you thinking of getting a mac???

Did the Electricity company pay up for the damages???

Mac's are fairly decent for productivity. I dont really see what you can do on a mac that you cant do on a pc.

Mac's have similiar hardware except for the CPU, which is a dual x68. One disadvantage of Mac's is the limited games and gaming capabitlities.

Others are software and upgrade costs. You have to buy the upgrade for the latest version of OS X. You cant download it.

I too wanted to get a Mac powerbook in specific but the high costs plus the software choice and the lack of gaming disuaded me from it.

Overall the hardware quality of Mac's are very good, but you have to give it some serious thought before you buy a Mac.

Hint: Stay away from www.apple.com, every time i go there i feel even more inclined to buy a 15" or 17" powerbook instead of an IBM T40p thinkpad.

05-11-03, 12:18 PM
I like the slick feel of Macs, they are fast and feel pretty solid. I can see why people use them for art/design.

It also uses a different method for coding colors than PC's, I might be talking trash, but I heard the color system is better for artwork. (I have no idea why).

05-11-03, 01:15 PM
I've used MACs and my PC for 3d stuff and art design, at first I liked the MAC cuz it was alot faster, but eh, I built this PC and haven't seen any reason to go back to mac:D

05-11-03, 01:56 PM
I don't think Mac's are all that bad at all. However, I don't care for the "waiting 6 months to play a game that is out already for the pc.". Also upgrades are very expensive. You'd be better off just buying a new Mac than trying to upgrade a current one. You never see those folks on the Mac commercials saying, "Hi. My name is Joe and I'm a hardcore gamer.". ;)

05-11-03, 02:01 PM
Well, I'm doing a degree in 3d animation/visual programming and a lot of the course is done on Macintosh systems, so they must pretty good in that area.

05-11-03, 05:59 PM
no, we are still fighting with the power company. They had their insurance company contact us friday, so tommorrow we'll see what they have to say. if they still give us trouble, we are gonna file a class action suit against them. Everybody that is one the same transformer that am on has some kind of damage. Im not thinking about a Mac, I already have my next system mapped out. A P4 3.0 with HT and 800mhz bus and everything in between.:afro:

05-12-03, 04:42 AM
the fundamental difference in the MAC and PC is in the INSTRUCTION SET of the CPU.

see, the Intel x86 architecture has a rich instruction set, a buttload of special operations that programmers can call on to do advanced things like streaming or gaming calculations. The motorola cpu used in the MAC does not have that instruction set. that makes it harder for it to do the short-speedy gaming calculations (not impossible tho. it does OpenGL really well and heres why...) but the lack of instruction-set allows for much cleaner faster long calculations like the ones used for Colors.

lastly MACs are very tuned to graphical design and alot of creative software is specially geared for it.

but there is nothing one can do on a MAC that cant be done BETTER on a PC. not because the PC is better, not at all, but because the PC has such a rich amount of SOFTWARE SUPPORT in the community. for example i had a Powerbook (the nice 1ghz model titanium model with a gig of ram, with all the software available, for a DVD project i was hired to consult for) and found it impossible to do anything that required alot of specialized customization of my work- while the PC had ten different apps that did what i needed in many different approaches with many different options and then there was the other 100 freeware or unsupported little decoders and rippers i needed to do the job precisely as needed. in the MAC equivalents of those apps, there was a pathetic TWO RADIO BOXES for options in the DVD maker software they had. waaay too user-friendly to be of any value to a professional.

working on OS9 , before OSX , was actually pretty awesome because it had been around for over ten years (could run software made for OS7 almost ten years before it) and so alot of the community software and freeware existed for it. but OSX has none of that.

do not buy a MAC without spending some time with it, trying to do what you need to do with it.

also the costs of a MAC are ridiculous. the same Geforce or RAdeon for the mac can be twice as expensive for no reason except that mac users will gleefully pay the price.

its mac users htat screw up the MAC because they dont demand from Apple like PC users demand from Microsoft. thus microsoft grudgingly listens while Apple has no capacity to listen at all.

(i worked for almost two years on the Apple campus in Cupertino California. trust me. do not purchase without thorough testing.)

05-14-03, 06:25 PM
dont MAC's use RISC cpu's?

05-14-03, 06:46 PM
Yes, all the PowerPC CPUs, from the 601 in 1994 to the present (750?) G4s are RISC. However, before 1994, Macintosh used the Motorola 680x0 series CISC.

EDIT to answer original post question:
Some previous posts are inaccurate. Macs use identical hardware as PCs in these categories:
- all USB keyboards, and mice
- all IDE/ATA hard drives
- all analog VGA-XGA displays (with suitable video card)
- all LCDs with DVI connector (with suitable video card)
- all RAM (e.g. PC66/100/133, DDR PC2100, etc with suitable socket)

SOME hardware is interchangeable between Macs and PCs, based on software/driver support, not hardware incompatability.
- USB Joysticks and game controllers
- USB video conferencing cameras
- PCI IO cards for SCSI
- PCI IO cards for FireWire and USB 1.x and USB2.x
- PCI IO cards for music, such as multi-track Audio IO
- 1394a/FireWire devices such as cameras, music IO, MP3 players
- GeForce2 and GeForce3 cards (GF4 have hardware strap to prevent cross platform BIOS flashing)

I own hardware in all these categories that swaps between platforms with full compatability. Don't let anyone kid you that Macs use different hardware that's more expensive to upgrade. That's a legend that's no longer true. I shop at the same stores for all my hardware upgrades.

05-14-03, 07:09 PM
Yeah, me bad. I always get the RISC and the CISC mixed up. I think keep thinking that mac's still use the same instruction set architecture as the 68000's which were CISCS. I for some reason associate x86 with the pc and x68 automatically with the mac...

Apart from the CPU, i doubt that the memory used is any different. I am not sure about the motherboard though. But apart from the CPU there arent too many parts which are different.

05-14-03, 08:36 PM
Macs used to use the NuBus before they switched over to PCI. Just another useless bit of trivia...

05-16-03, 12:14 AM
" The motorola cpu used in the MAC does not have that instruction set. that makes it harder for it to do the short-speedy gaming calculations (not impossible tho. it does OpenGL really well and heres why...) but the lack of instruction-set allows for much cleaner faster long calculations like the ones used for Colors."

Actually this is pretty meaningless misinformation...

Macs used to have one advantage over PCs and that was color management. It had nothing to do with the CPU and really was a stupid point altogether... It just meant that the OS could do color calibration that most PC users do in programs (ie. Photoshop).
Nowadays this point has become moot, for several reasons.

Apple's marketing department has a knack for making outrageous claims and getting people to believe them:

example: Apple made people believe that PC used CISC and Macs used RISC and that RISC was better.

Not true. Most modern processors (including the P3, P4, Athlon, and G4) use a combination of RISC and CISC. Most forward-looking designs (Itanium, and to a degree Opteron and Power4) work towards a third design called VLIW (Very Long Instruction Word). Intel calls this EPIC (explicity parallel instruction computing).

Apple would also have you believe that Macs are faster than PCs, regardless of what hardware either is running.
This is, of course, bull****.

In fact, the fastest single CPU Mac versus the fastest single CPU PC is downright embarassing for Apple. It seems more common to pit their fastest Dual G4 system against a Single Pentium 4 @ 3Ghz.

However, even then, in every benchmark the PC creams the dual G4 Mac. If you bring a Dual P4 or Xeon system (considering those still cost less than the Dual G4 system from Apple), the Apple looks about as powerful as my toaster.

Thus, Apple is planning to move to "a new" architecture soon. As the deeply flawed G4 design is being tossed in favor of either a new IBM Power4 variant or an AMD chip.

One problem for Apple is that the move to OS X has alienated a large part of their user base. Many users a frustrated with both hardware and software that "just doesn't work (anymore)" thanks to OS X.

Sure, OS X makes the Mac *actually useable*... as it no longer suffers from the lack of a multi-tasking protected mode kernel. And it also has learned a thing or 10 about memory management.

But now it has even *less* software support than OS 9.

Moving to a new architecture has been put off this long (and maybe longer) because it will once again cause compatability problems for users.

Apple gave up most of their proprietary technology over the years because PC stuff was just better... Notice that while 4 years ago a Mac user would praise Apple's exclusive use of SCSI... whereas now Apple almost exclusively uses UDMA (a PC technology).

They also adapted PCI, AGP, USB, and FireWire from PC standards... Anyone remember them making a big fuss about "USB in EVERY Mac!" Back when Microsoft, Compaq, and Intel (the designers of the USB spec) all went "huh?"

Apple does one thing right... they make stylish products. They also make attractice and (usually) useful interfaces. The iPod is a great example of Apple's design ability. Its original Mac-Only release is an example of their marketing ineptitude.
Their release of a new iPod that leaves users of the Old iPod stranded with unsupported products is an example of their knack for alienating users. And their refusal to support industry standards like WMA with the iPod is an example of their stubbornness.

I suggest everyone check this out, it's informative and entertaining =D


05-16-03, 07:53 AM
Originally posted by threedaysdwn
Thus, Apple is planning to move to "a new" architecture soon. As the deeply flawed G4 design is being tossed in favor of either a new IBM Power4 variant or an AMD chip.

I find the entire idea of Apple using an IBM chip down right hilarious and ironic at the same time.

By the way i keep hearing trivia stating that the OS X is moving to the x86 world. Is it true??? Or is this due to them optingthe IBM chip??? I am confused on that part.:confused:

05-16-03, 08:18 AM
someone send me a old mac, I'll video myself shooting it to bits:D

05-16-03, 03:16 PM
Originally posted by threedaysdwn

Actually this is pretty meaningless misinformation...

thanks for corrections and latest data.