MacBook Pro vs. the PC competition

About The Author

CNET Editor

Craig was sucked into the endless vortex of tech at an early age, only to be spat back out babbling things like "phase-locked-loop crystal oscillators!". Mostly this receives a pat on the head from the listener, followed closely by a question about what laptop they should buy.

For years, the Mac vs. PC debate has been fuelled mostly by subjective ranting; the platforms and the components were so different that it was impossible to compare fundamental characteristics such as performance.

Macs have been on Intel processors for some time now though, making analysing Mac versus PC hardware a bit more like comparing (ahem) apples to apples. Not to mention more and more PC vendors are copying Apple's style and features in order to stay competitive. Things are more alike than they've ever been.

To that end, we're pitting the MacBook Pro 13-inch against the closest PC competitor we've seen to date — the Dell Studio XPS 13. Although the MacBooks are due for a Core i5/i7 refresh any moment now, we just couldn't pass up hardware this close. Both models feature a Core 2 Duo P8700 at 2.53GHz, 4GB RAM, a GeForce 9400M, 1280x800 resolution screens, backlit keyboards and multi-touch touchpads. They both feature 802.11n and Bluetooth, and cram in a DVD writer. Batteries are close too, with the Dell being rated at 56-Watt hours and the MacBook at 58.

There are differences though — the MacBook is lighter, coming in at a featherweight 2.04kg compared to the Studio XPS' welterweight 2.20kg, and the Dell comes with a 500GB hard drive compared to the MacBook's 250GB.

We've compared them not only on performance and battery life but on characteristics such as design, features and price. All to answer one fundamental question: if you have a PC and a Mac with near identical components, which laptop reigns supreme?



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rclemens posted a comment   
Australia

PC's require the use of a virus scanner and Mac's do not. Virus scanners use up resources. They should have placed a virus scanner on the PC and then tested the two. The outcome would have been different and Mac would have been a much better performer in all categories.

 

EdipB posted a comment   
Australia

Apple lets you chuck on windows. Isn't that freedom enough? :P

 

Ribbet06 posted a comment   
Australia

I'd rather buy a pimped PC for the same amount of the basic Macbook Pro. I do get mad at my crappy pc, but I'm just not sure about the exclusivity of Apple, I like my freedom lol.

 

akaked posted a comment   
Switzerland

I am an Engineer and University Professor. My last computer was a MacBook Pro 15.4'', 2.8 GHz and at this moment i own a MacBook Pro 13.3, 2.7 GHz i7 processor and it cost to me 1407 euros (about 1970 US dollars). The graphic card, an Intel HD 3000, it is fraud. This mac don't worth the money it cost. I need some software that don't exist for mac however, virtualization it is a crap on this mac. Ok, you could say that i should buy a MacBook Pro 15.4''! But it cost a lot and i have also to use virtualization. Ok you could say that i could use BootCamp! BootCamp??? To do dual-boot? For that i buy a PC and use linux! At this moment i switch my MacBook Pro 13.3'' for a Toshiba Tecra R840-10T that cost me 1010 euros (about 1414 US dollars)! Toshiba has an excellent processor, excellent battery life, excellent graphic card and cost less 300 euros (about 420 US dollars)! The only thing that i don't like on Toshiba is the OS, that is, the Windows OS, but i will never have to make dual-boot or virtualization. Macs are to expensive. They are well constructed, not excellent hardware but very well fitted. Another advantage of Macs is the OS. Mac OS X (Unix) is great, fantastic, but Mac definitely don't worth the money they cost!

 

idiotphone4lover posted a comment   
Australia

And the winner is - Windows 7 !

 

Mac+PC=Linux posted a comment   

I'm getting tired of reviewers. A of the time when they compare two popular products they end up with a draw.

 

kp posted a reply   

I agree. It's so annoying!

 

Craig Simms posted a reply   
Australia

Last time we ran this the Apple won -- this article is quite old now, so it's probably time for a refresh.

 

Somedude posted a comment   

Without being overly prejudiced against Apple, I'm not a huge fan of OSX. Installing windows isn't a concern but (from what I've heard) Apple offers terrible support driver-wise for Windows. It's been like that for a while now, so I'm starting to think that they're doing it on purpose or something. For that reason, I will never touch a Mac, because I'm essentially locked into their inflexible OS (or choose to opt for a subpar Windows experience on their machines) that offers barely any advantages over Windows. Seeing how everything on a Mac can be done on Windows, but not the other way around, I'd take a Windows-based machine any day.

If anyone wants "prestige" associated with Macs, then PCs have their options with the premium Sony Vaio line.

 

AnnK posted a comment   

After a year with an IPhone, my first Apple product I plunged & bought a MAC Book Pro 13". I have never been so disappointed with a computer in my life & I bought my first computer a Kay Pro XT in 1985. I would strongly recommend buying a PC product for anyone contaminating purchasing an Apple. And don't mention ITunes, OMG


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