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I get more calls from people asking me if they should purchase a Macintosh or a PC-compatible computer. If you ask a person who has only used a macintosh, they'll argue you to the end of time that this IS the ONLY system worth your time and trouble.

On the other side of the coin, if you talk to someone who has only used a PC-compatible, they'll put Macintosh systems down to the ground and argue until the end of time that this IS the ONLY system worth your time and trouble.

Well, guess what? I'm from BOTH environments and I like both of them! And to be totally fair in my evaluations, I operated the same software (PageMaker) on both systems. So, what do I suggest since I can be bias?

A Macintosh system is "graphic" based while a PC-compatible is "text" based. This DOESN'T mean that you can't do the same with both. It only means that a Macintosh's entire operation is centered around graphics and desktop publishing - but both systems can perform the same functions and do well at it. In my opinion, a Macintosh is the "Cadillac" for desktop publishing. However, I own a PC-compatible. Why? Because of cost, compatibility and availability of parts and software. It all boils down to how much money you have to spend. The PC-compatibles now have Windows-based operating systems which work similar to a Macintosh. In the old days, Macintosh held the title for desktop publishing, but now a PC-compatible can do the same thing.

For instance, I bought a 486-DX2, 66Mhz with a 340 mg hard drive for around $2,500 complete (including software). The comparable Macintosh would have cost me around $3,700 - a $1,200 difference!

The Hewlett Packard LaserJet III printer I bought for $1,200 can be turned into an Apple Laserwriter II NTX (Macintosh counterpart) for $350 by purchasing a Pacific DataPage cartridge. A true Apple Laserwriter II NTX for the Macintosh runs around $2,300 - an $800 difference.

I like to also compare my PC-compatible with a Ford truck. If the starter on my Ford goes out, I can go down the street and get one from a junk yard and save lots of money. However, if I had a Mercedes Benz (Macintosh), I could only buy a true Mercedes Benz part and have to pay a real Mercedes Benz expert to put it on for me. Therefore, a Mercedes Benz is really only a status symbol. To me - it's more important to save money than impress people. People don't put food on my table or pay my rent.

My programmer told me that a Macintosh system will normally run faster than PC-compatibles if you compare the same type of systems. However, the variance in speed is not that much to compensate for the $1,000 or more savings! I've tried both systems, run them side-by-side and really couldn't see a difference that would be worth paying $1,200 more for.

Before you make a decision, sit down and demonstrate both systems at your computer dealer. Then look at your pocketbook and make the decision YOU want. Here are a few mail order companies that will be able to assist you with PC-compatibles: Zeos International, (800)272-8993; ABS Computer Technologies, (800)876-8088; Computer Discount Warehouse (800)348-4CDW; Expotech (800)284-EXPO; Zenon (800)899-6119; Dell Systems (800)627-1440; Maximus (800)394-6299; Digital PC (800)215-87654; Midwest Micro (800)972-8822.

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