Mac or PC? Leopard or Vista? If you're in the market for a new computer, the choices may seem endless and limiting all at once.
New Macs generally cost several hundred dollars more than Windows machines that have similar specs, but Mac fans swear the difference is worth the cost for security and ease of use. Plus BootCamp, included with Leopard, can also run Windows. However, die-hard Windows devotees insist that their less-expensive systems can run more applications and are more customizable, especially for business purposes.
Apple Mac OS X 10.5 Leopard touts more than 300 new features. Microsoft didn't advertise as many changes to Windows Vista, which also introduced new eye candy and under-the-hood changes. Here's a rundown of the features offered by each.
|Mac OS X 10.5 Leopard||Windows Vista|
|Overall score||8.0||7.0 (Basic); 7.4 (Home Premium, Business); 7.8 (Ultimate)|
|Setup and interface||9||7|
|Features||8||6 (Basic); 7 (Home Premium, Business); 9 (Ultimate)|
|Service and support||7||7|
|Cost||$129; $199 for 5 users||$99 Basic; $159 Premium; $199 Business; $259 Ultimate|
|System requirements||Intel or PowerPC G5 Mac; or PPC G4 with 867MHz+ processor; 512MB of RAM; 9GB available hard drive space; DVD drive||1 GHz processor; 1GB RAM (512 for Basic); 40GB hard drive (20 for Basic) with 15GB available; DVD drive|
|Applications included||Mail; iCal; iChat; Safari browser. iPhoto, iLife, iMovie included with new Macs||Windows Mail, Calendar, Photo Gallery, Messenger, Movie Maker; IE 7 browser|
|Tie-ins to Web-based tools||.Mac accounts; Wikipedia||Windows Live services|
|Accessibility for disabilities||Speech-to-text commands (not dictation typing); VoiceOver text-to-speech narration (male or female); Braille support||Speech-to-text commands and dictation typing; Narrator text-to-speech narration (male or female); magnifier; onscreen keyboard|
|Energy saving tools||Yes; automated sleep and shutdown settings||Yes; automated sleep and shutdown settings|
|Keyboard shortcuts||Numerous||Numerous; also mouse, sticky, and filter keys|
|Search||New Finder, Spotlight; Smart folders||Instant search; Search folders|
|Document organization||Cover Flow flip-through; Instant Quick Look preview||Drop-down arrows replace slashes; Metatags; Larger thumbnails|
|Remote desktop||Remote Desktop , Screen Sharing (in iChat too)||Remote Desktop|
|Videoconferencing||iChat Theater||Windows Live Meetings; Windows Live Messenger|
|Security and backup|
|User account controls||Yes||Yes; steps you through setup after installation|
|Firewall||Firewall not on by default||Windows Firewall|
|Drive encryption||File Vault, AES256 support||Ultimate only; Windows BitLocker, EFS|
|Parental controls||Set time limits; Restrict and allow specific sites; log a child's activities.||Set time limits; Restrict and allow specific sites; log a child's activities.|
|Backup||Time Machine||Windows Backup; Restore Points; ShadowCopy|
|TV||Apple TV||Windows Media Center; record TV shows on PCs with TV tuners (Premium and Ultimate only)|
|Gaming||OpenGL; both 32- and 64-bit support||Direct X10 APIs; both 32- and 64-bit support; Xbox 360 support|
|Default media player||QuickTime Player||Windows Media Player|
|Technical support||90 days free, then $49 per incident; free user forums; online knowledgebase; performance tuning; Genius Bar at Apple stores||90 days free, then $59 per incident; built-in performance tuning and self-diagnostics' free user forums; Online knowledgebase|
| || |
Windows Vista Ultimate
Windows Vista is essentially warmed-over Windows XP. If you're currently happy with Windows XP SP2, we see no compelling reason to upgrade. On the other hand, if you need a new computer right now, Windows Vista is stable enough for everyday use.
7.8 out of 10CNET editor's take