The age old question: Mac or PC?

My PC laptop is really old and is on it’s last leg and I was wondering if I should get another PC or a MacBook Pro? I’ve used Windows and Mac OS for years so I am comfortable with both.

My graphic design professors are really pushing for us all to use Mac, but I have a sneaking suspicion that it’s due to “tradition” or their person bias. Are there any advantages to using one over the other?

In doing some research I have come across the following reasons to use a Mac over PC:

Optics/Tradition: According to an article by Roberto Blake, a lot of people use Macs because of tradition. Digital typography and Adobe Photoshop were both born on the Mac.

Some professors have gone as far to say that clients wont take you serious if you’re using a PC. Is that really a thing? Have any PC designers encountered this bias with clients?

Font Rendering: Another argument I’ve read is that Mac OS renders fonts better since it does it naturally which results in Windows looking sharper at the expense of not actually being a very accurate representation of the text. Is this an issue I should be concerned about? See below Windows on the left and Mac OS on the right.

Mac OS Deliverables: While most applications are OS agnostic, sometimes clients want Mac OS only file types (ex: Final Cut Pro, Motion, etc). Have any PC designers run into this and how often?

Looking forward to everyone’s feedback. Thanks.

I think the question of Mac or Windows is largely one of personal preference and compatibility with whatever workgroup or school happens to want you to use one or the other. There’s also the issue of software you might have for your existing computer not necessarily being compatible or available for the other platform, which can be expensive.

As for font rendering, yes, there are differences. In a nutshell, Macs largely discard the hinting built into fonts and relies, instead, on it’s own font rasterizing software, which gives the glyphs a softer, but arguably more accurate look that people either love or hate. Windows pays attention to the hinting inserted into fonts by font developers and renders fonts for what they claim is better readability at the expense of some accuracy. The larger the type, the smaller this difference between the two becomes.

Adobe applications, on both platforms, however, do a bit of both — rendering for accuracy and using the font’s built-in hinting. In other words, using Adobe apps, the type looks about the same on both Macs and Windows. Here’s a discussion on the type development forum, TypeDrawers, that you might find interesting:

Hinting, in case you’re not familiar with it are the glyph-by-glyph instructions font developers include with better fonts to suggest to the rendering engine how best to draw the font on lower-resolution devices, like older displays, laser printers, etc.

“Naturally”??? lol I’ll add that to the long list of lofty and false claims about the magic of Apple products.

If you’ve used both platforms long enough, you should have developed a preference for one or the other, and be thankful you are free to choose. I had to use both for a very long time and developed a strong dislike for Mac after a very short time. On paper, it’s just another OS that does mostly the same things as the rest, so honestly, my personal distaste for Mac largely due to the misconception that Jobs was an instrument of The Divine, and that we should all line up to pay a premium for whatever intangible but wondrous piece of incompatible sorcery Apple says we need this very moment. The widely and wildly mis-inferred “something intangible” is nothing; that’s what makes it intangible. “Natural” font rendering is a gem of an example. Thanks for the laugh.

Buy the computer you like. Don’t buy the one you don’t like. Either way, you’ll have a computer.

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Computers don’t do anything “naturally.”
I only prefer Macs because I grew up with them, know them inside and out, and can repair them relatively quickly (at least the desktop models I can get my hands into.)

I have a mixed shop as PCs are used for backend stuff. The sign software runs on PC, and so does all the CNC machinery. Converting between the two can be a hassle. Especially with typeface formats.

I bought my first Mac, an SE/30, when I was in college. Back then, a PC wasn’t even a consideration in the graphic design field. Fast forward to 2019, I’ve thought more than once about switching. My main motivation, and feel free to correct me if I’m wrong, would be to get more horsepower for the money. I have my one year old iMac maxed out on RAM, 64 gig, and I still feel like CC runs slow.

cc running slow is usually a scratch issue, especially if you have 64g ram.
How full’s your hard drive?
The other offender is the GPU performance enhancer. I shut that resource-sucker off.

Hey, thanks for the tips. The truth of the matter is that I don’t really enjoy getting into the nuts and bolts of the computer – so any tips are appreciated. I have plenty of room on my hard drive – 635 gig available.

Generally speaking, there is very little difference. Even the price of a similarly specced Windows machine will be only a little cheaper than the equivalent Mac (if at all). I use both and I prefer Macs for a number of reasons. These are all just niggles really.

  • I sometimes want to rename a folder with a file inside that folder open
  • I sometimes want to rename, move or delete a folder within which there is a file that I recently had open without quitting the application
  • I do not want to use a virus scanner (free ones are useless and paying for one feels like a protection racket)
  • I want to be able to add a device to my network without digging around in the preferences to click half a dozen boxes

Small points I know but that’s all I could think of. If someone told me I could only use a PC from now on, it wouldn’t really bother me that much.

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This one puzzles me a bit, although of course it’s not the first time I’ve encountered the PC’s-constantly-infected myth. Running Windows since I bought my first 286 with 3.0 installed in 1990, I’ve never used an active virus scanner, and I’ve never experienced having an infected computer. I know Windows boxes are considered to be more vulnerable, especially by Mac-faithful, but that misconception is really only the result of statistics which are skewed by application and mathematical factors. Head-to-head, on an individual-machines-in-like-environments basis, there is no difference.


At the end of the day, the choice is yours - a PC with the proper hardware will do the same job as a MAC. I can say that buying any ol’ PC and expecting fantastic results would be a mistake. However, buying any ol’ (fairly recent) MAC will do the trick essentially, as the MACs are always equipped with fairly powerful processor, a formidable video card, and make excellent use of data stored, arranged, and utilized within it. You get the most bang for your buck out the RAM it has, and Adobe CC runs rather smooth. Even on my MAC from 2012.

If you’re savvy enough with computers to identify and eliminate the thousands of background tasks that run on PC, and purchase or build one with the appropriate hardware. You should be fine. You’ll also have far more capability with any other software you wish to use, and/or gaming options, should that be your bag, as MAC is a bit limited.

Oh, also, upgrading your MAC’s hardware after the initial purchase is damn near impossible.

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Ugh, there is no end to it.


I’ve done nothing of the kind and right now I’ve got 53 processes running, and 34 of them are “Adobe CEP HTML Engine,” 31 of which shut down immediately upon quitting all CC apps. Pretty far from “thousands”. You can’t make this stuff up. (But someone always does.)

Perhaps not thousands. I exaggerate, but i don’t 100’s is a stretch. I’ve watched the IT guys as work kill pages of pointless tasks in the task manager. And it’s quite possibly (most likely) my fault for allowing them to run on my system. i’ll openly admit I don’t have the knowledge to address them properly.

My PC at work would boot-up with 48% of it’s 16gb of RAM already being used up. After the IT guy was finished it booted up at around 14%. Certainly i’m doing something wrong. I just don’t know what, exactly, that is.

I do recall him telling me stop using the Chrome browser, as a fair percentage of background tasks were coming from there.

Okay, what you’ve got there is an anecdote about a mismanaged enterprise, not remotely an empirical basis on which to assert:

. . . as though it’s a known and objective fact you’re stating with authority.

You did, and I apologize for coming back at you on it, but it’s coming up on 30 years now that I’ve been around design and designers, and as I already said, this just never ends. In such circles, the propagation of misinformation on this subject is at an all-time low, and yet still insufferably persistent. I don’t get it.

Honestly I don’t think I have a preference. I went through AI on Mac at school and laptop, but every job since has been PC so I’m used to both. I just keep my shortcuts and workspaces backed up so I can download them when I need to.

I apologize for the exaggeration. It’s never my intention to strike a nerve with anyone, certainly not you. I tried to stress a certain level of personal incompetence with the nature of the tasks. But then again, perhaps without proper knowledge, I should have just kept my mouth shut. I thought perhaps if I had the issue, others may experience something similar.

I am competent in many areas, computers perhaps not as much as I would like. Am I forgiven? I never have an issue admitting to being wrong or speaking out of line.

No, your comments and opinions are fine.The debate between Macs and Windows has always been one to stir up passions — sort of a “hot-button” topic, I guess. :wink:

I’ve used both my entire life, headed departments of both, love and hate things about both… Ultimately I prefer the MacOS, there are aspects to it that just suit my workflow very well.

Key personal advantages: OS drives are swapable/clonable between different machines, *nix maintenance routines built in, no defragging, no DLL, AppleCare instead of IT department, no servers needed, preview, expose, column view, world class industrial design, and probably most important to my OCD - Apple provides developers with guidelines to help maintain their UX and it shows.

Extra advantages: look cool, big clients will think your are a better designer than you are, not spending money on other stupid things cause you’ve already spent it all on Apple stuff, pairs well with more Apple stuff, Siri will talk to you when you are lonely, AppleCare is secretly a bunch of therapists that want to make your day better.

As for brass tax: either works just fine for design, but compatibly of workflow amongst your peers should be held in high regard. And as a designer in today’s age, you should be able to switch between both environments without major issue.

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No need, my friend. I know I’m short on patience when this subject is afoot, hence my apology. No worries.

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