There’s never been a better time to switch to the Mac. Apple has seen sense and moved to Intel processors and now, in a move that nobody could have predicted, it lets us boot Windows as a native operating system. Yet its own OS, Tiger, is stronger than ever. Happy to run on low-spec kit, it’s quick and easy to learn, and at just $200 it’s nothing short of a bargain.
Yet there’s never been a better time to stick with Windows either. It’s well supported, it plays host to the widest range of software and peripherals, it’s well understood, it’s the industry standard, and it’s fast approaching its first major upgrade in years. With Windows Vista slated for an early 2007 shrinkwrap release, the future has never looked brighter for the OS that already dominates our desktops.
So which is right for you? If you find yourself in the enviable position of having cash for a new computer, we could easily forgive any confusion you may feel over which platform to choose. Macs and PCs are more closely matched than ever before, and while Mac sales have never been stronger, boosted by the so-called iPod halo effect, Windows’ future is both exciting and bright.
With this in mind, we’ve set out to directly compare the two operating systems - Windows Vista Beta 2 and Mac OS X 10.4.6 Tiger - to see how their relative pros and cons stack up. We’ve scrutinised the eight key considerations of a new computer buyer, taking in everything from gaming to security and entertainment to cross-platform use in the business world. Lastly, we take a look at the total cost of ownership and the kind of hardware you’ll need to run each one, and it’s here we make some truly surprising discoveries.
Where possible, we’ve pitted directly comparable features against one another, but we’ve also tried to pick out those aspects unique to each OS, whether they’re part of the interface, the bundled utilities and applications, or the underlying code and protocols that make it all hang together.
To make this possible, we ran Vista and Tiger side by side throughout our tests, but if you’re wondering which one we used to write the words themselves… well, that too will be revealed in due course.
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This Feature appeared in the August 2006 issue of PC & Tech Authority Magazine