Laptop Buyer's Kit Email 2

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Laptop Buyer’s Kit
Part 3: Mac or PC
In our previous installment, Inside Laptop CPUs, we walked through three CPU features that matter, 64-bit vs. 32-bit, clock rate, and multi-core processing, and presented a 64-Bit CPU Guide for everyone -from students to business owners. In this installment: Food for Mac or PC thought.
Mac or PC
Which one are you? The marketing seems to nudge Mac and PC users into two separate profiles: the “I’m a PC, and Windows 7 was my idea” people –rational, everyday people, and the creative artist, ”think different” Mac users. Sure, each has a few of its own strengths and weaknesses, but for the most part the differences aren’t as polar as one would think.

If you’ve already decided on a Mac or a PC, cool. If not, let’s look
at them from a few different angles.

The Price Difference
Ad campaigns aside, the biggest difference, head on, is price. Macs are usually more expensive, around $1800 for a new mid-level 15-inch MacBook Pro. You can pick up a PC with similar mid-level features in the ballpark of $1,000. It would be easy to drop the price difference there, but not so fast. Don’t forget to add virus scan + spyware protection cost for PCs (Macs are fairly immune), at around $40 per year. Let’s assume that you keep the laptop for 3 years; that’s $120. For a multimedia suite to organize and edit video, music, and photos as well as burn DVDs –add another $100 for Nero Multimedia Suite. Macs include the iLife Multimedia Suite. Now the price gap looks more like $580. However, if you’re looking to spend under $1000 for your laptop, we recommend going with a PC.
Lets’ Talk Hardware
Although Macs may look cooler, both PCs and Macs use the same Intel CPUs (AMDs are exclusive to PCs) and round up their graphics processors, hard drives, RAM, and other components from the same pool of manufacturers. No difference there, however, Apple tends to select hardware that excels in multimedia handling for organizing and editing photos, videos, and music.
Operating System Breakdown
The Mac OS X Snow Leopard is known for its stability, being impervious to viruses & spyware, and it’s intuitive simplicity. PC users may have complained about a few bugs in the past, but the new Windows 7 is a rock-solid operating system (OS). However, with Windows, you may have to purchase virus protection although there are very good protection software available at no charge from companies like Avast and AVG. It is also worth noting that you can easily dual-boot Windows on a Mac (giving you virtually two computers in one), but loading Mac OS X on a PC requires some serious geek skills.
The decision to go with a Mac or PC can come down to design preference. Macs are sleek looking and have an intuitive design, but there are only three –MacBook, MacBook Pro, & MacBook Air. Apple designs the hardware and software, so everything plays well together. On the other hand, PCs come in an array of colors and unique designs by several brands to suite personal style. PCs tend to have more feature customization options as well. Microsoft designs the OS and companies like HP design the physical laptop configuration, so there may be a few conflicts that effect hardware resources and intuitive operation.
Customer Support
Macs take a slight lead here. PCs come with a limited customer support warranty from the manufacturer, but you can purchase an extended warranty to cover it from one to four years. Since you’ll more than likely be taking your laptop on the road with you, it’s a good idea. Macs, similarly, offer a one-year limited warrantee with an option to purchase Apple Care (Apple’s extended warranty) for up to three years. Apple’s advantage here is that you can take your laptop into the Apple Store and have the Genuis Bar diagnose it at no charge no matter how old it is.
Pros: solid operating system; excels in multimedia handling; virtually immune to viruses & spyware; can easily dual-boot windows; lifetime diagnosis at no charge

Cons: over $1000; only three designs –MacBook, MacBook Pro, & MacBook Air

Pros: can be under $1000; solid operating system; more feature customization options; come in an array of colors and designs sold by several brands

Cons: no lifetime diagnosis at no charge; need to purchase anti-virus

More Laptop Buying Info Here
Laptop Buying Guide
These are some of the top features to consider, but there are more features to learn about like wireless display technology, fingerprint and face recognition. Check out our complete Laptop Buying Guide.

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How to Spot a Laptop Deal
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The Retrevo Gang

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