Reasons Why Not To Choose a Macintosh

Reason 14 of : “Macs are obsolete technology”

“Mac hardware is obsolete, yesterday's technology. Sure, there's a lot of effort goes into making them look nice on the outside, but on the inside, it's several generations behind PC hardware. If you want cutting edge hardware with proper horsepower to do proper work, you ain't going to get it with a Mac...

...right?”


What's so obsolete about the Mac?

There's a couple of potential origins for such an accusation. How cutting edge is the underlying architecture of the Macintosh platform? And how cutting edge are the components that go into making up Macintosh computers?

So the Mac uses obsolete architecture?

Once upon a time – pre circa 2006 – the hardware architecture of Macs were rather different from that of other PCs.

Today however, the architecture of each has pretty much converged. So perhaps could a claim of Macs being "obsolete" be a legacy of the Mac's former architecture?

A little background

The Mac has undergone a few drastic architectural transitions over the years. This has largely been possible for the Mac platform due to one single company controlling its whole direction. And if a better direction is perceived, they're in a much better position to pursue it than the more generic PC industry.

The original 1984 Mac was based around the Motorola 68k series processor. 1991 saw the emergence of a new processor design from Motorola called PowerPC, which utilised a relatively new philosophy called RISC processing. The Mac transitioned to this new architecture in 1994

By contrast, the PC architecture can trace its origins back to the 1981 IBM PC, powered by an Intel 8088 processor first introduced in 1978. The PC and x86 type processors of today are evolutions of those original models.

So, if the 'classic' Mac, with its 1990s designed RISC based processor architecture, is "obsolete", then what exactly is an architecture of 1981 vintage utilising a processor ISA from 1978?

Today however...

But all that is moot now anyway, because by 2006, the Macintosh architecture had undergone another transition. Certain realities unrelated to the technical potential of PowerPC, forced Apple to adopt much the same architecture as the rest of the PC industry; one based around Intel x86 hardware.

So in short, if the Mac's architecture is "obsolete", then so is the PCs. Which given its antient origins, I suppose it could be argued it is.

Info: See reason 10 – 'Macs are just PCs now anyway'.


So in summary...

...there's nothing inherently architecturally any less "obsolete" about Mac than other Intel based PCs, because today's Macs are Intel based PCs. But as to whether Macs always contain older generations of Intel PC hardware as compared to other brands of PC, that's far too general of a statement. Cutting edge hardware is hellishly expensive, and will usually only be found in top of the range computers or cutom built 'hotrods'. For the vast majority of computers than most of us have, they won't contain the latest kit. And that's just as true with any PC as it is with Macs.

Page content last updated 5 January 2010