PCs and Macs?

Tim Cutts tjrc1 at mole.bio.cam.ac.uk
Tue Dec 16 05:34:33 EST 1997

In article <674mt2$ahv$1 at titan.globalserve.net>,
Danny Reda <reda at globalserve.net> wrote:
>Does anyone know where I can find information about the percentage of
>molecular biology labs that use PCs vs. those that use Macs?

These days, for most purposes, it makes very little difference which
you use; most commonly required software is available for both
platforms.  What I recommend depends on what you want to do:

1)  If you are heavily involved in DNA sequencing, then Macs have the
edge due to slightly richer availability of software.

2)  If the machine is going to be used in a shared lab by many people,
running Windows NT on a PC helps, because each lab user then has their
own individual settings, and is less likely to mess everything up for
everyone else.  As someone who provides technical support for
biologists in Cambridge, I know this can save a lot of headaches!

3)  If your site does most of its sequence analysis on large UNIX
machines, and you want your PC/Mac to spend much of its time as an
intranet or Internet terminal, then PCs again have the edge; the
built-in TCP/IP in Windows 95/NT is much faster than the Macintosh,
and you have the option of Linux, particularly useful if you want X
Windows.  X on the Mac is not usually very good, and to make it
tolerable you need to go out and buy a three-button mouse, which is
extra expense.  Of course Linux is now available on some PowerMacs
too, so the line is blurring here too.

Basically, my main advice is that unless you have some specific aim in
mind which requires one or the other, go with what others in your
organisation already have - it'll make your life, and the life of your
support staff, a lot easier.


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