Middlebury

Mac vs PC

Middlebury offers employees hardware options on both the Dell (Windows) and Mac platforms. As a general rule, the Dell options are lower cost and easier to repair.

Details of the pros and cons of each platform:

  • Dell offerings have more powerful hardware (both in standard offered configuration and in what can be special-ordered for dept purchases).
  • Custom ordered Dell desktops are the only computers which can currently be purchased with a built-in optical (CD/DVD) drive, any other machine requires an external drive to be purchased.
  • Dell computers have all necessary ports integrated. Macbooks have 2 “USB-C” ports and a 3.5mm headphone jack so adapters are required for any other connectivity and are provided with Middlebury deployed computers.
  • Dell computers are available with a “dock” allowing all ports and power to connect with a single connection. This dock is funded by ITS for the user’s primary computer.  ITS funds an adapter for with Mac deployments.
  • Dell laptops can support 2-3 monitors via the single dock connection. Macs only support a single monitor per port, with a separate cable/adapter needed for each.  A separate dock can be purchased to support multiple monitors with a Mac.
  • The battery in Dell laptops can be replaced when it wears out. In Macbooks, the battery is glued in and cannot be replaced, so towards the end of their cycle Macbook users will need to work with reduced battery life until their next replacement cycle due date.
  • The college’s standard Dell laptop weighs 2.75 lbs. The Macbook weighs 3 lbs.
  • The college’s standard Dell laptop is only 0.7” thick.  The Macbook is 0.58”.
  • The Dell cannot run Mac-only software, nor can the Mac run Windows-only software. In general all standard college-issued software is available for both platforms. 
  • There are no issues exchanging Adobe or Microsoft Office files between the Mac and Windows versions, so you do not need to run the same platform as other departments you exchange files with.
  • The Dell computers are significantly easier and cheaper to repair than the Macbooks. 
  • Dell computers can be upgraded (more memory/RAM, or more hard drive/SSD storage) without replacing the entire computer. Macbooks require an entire computer replacement for different specs.
  • Dell computers can be ordered with touchscreen as an option.
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