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Mac Versus Windows Vista: Out of the Box: Round One

written by: KateG•edited by: Rebecca Scudder•updated: 1/8/2010

The greatest debate of the world of technology gets a new voice. The first in a series of articles; this will compare hardware for a basic Apple PC to the hardware the minimum PC needs to run basic Windows Vista.

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    If you are in the market for a new computer then you are probably wondering which one you should get. It is a big decision, as computers are not what you would call an inexpensive purchase, and one that you will be forced to deal with for at least the next two years of your life. In order to help you make the decision, here is the Mac versus PC series. That's right, no fan boy ranting here, just bias free advice for your shopping education.

    First, we will take a look at the hardware that comes on each of the systems. In future articles we will look at the software that comes out of the box and then declare a winner for round one.

    Round One: Hardware A lot of people will tell you that this is a quality issue, but it really is hard to gauge the difference between the two for one simple reason. The hardware for PCs is a very variable thing. Many manufacturers make PCs and to that end you can have a near endless array of different hardware configurations. So you have to be very careful when you buy a PC that you are getting quality hardware. When you buy an Apple product, you will be getting one uniform set of hardware standards because Apple makes both the operating system and the hardware for their products. In order to give you any kind of a fair comparison, what we are going to have to do is look at the minimum standards for running the current Windows operating system and the specs on a basic Apple Model.

    The Minimum to run Vista

    • 1 GHz 32-bit (x86)
    • 1 GB of memory
    • Graphics card that is DirectX 9 compatible with a WDDM driver, 128 MB of graphics memory or more, Pixel Shader 2.0 technology, and colors defined with 32 bits per pixel or more
    • 40 GB of hard drive capacity with 15 GB free space
    • DVD-ROM drive

    The Specs on a Mac Mini (The low end/least expensive Mac on the market)

    • 1.83GHz or 2.0GHz Intel Core 2 Duo processor
    • 80GB 5400-rpm Serial ATA hard disk drive
    • Slot-loading SuperDrive with double-layer support (DVD±R DL/DVD±RW/CD-RW): writes DVD+R DL and DVD-R DL)
    • Apple Remote with Front Row
    • Up to 2GB memory
    • Intel GMA 950 graphics processor
    • DVI connector, VGA adapter
    • Up to 160GB hard drive
    • Built-in Gigabit Ethernet
    • Expansion via USB and FireWire

    As this stands the Mac comes with a minimum of at least twice as large a hard drive, and .83 more GHz in the processor, as well as the DVD-R drive, which is not a requirement on the PC. In addition, the standard peripheral that comes with the Apple model (the remote) makes the Apple computer the solid winner of round one. As it stands currently it is Apple 1, Windows 0- but stick around. This battle is far from over.