• PC or MAC for your Flight Simulator?

    MyCockpit Presents "Builder's Tips" by Simquip.com

    PC or MAC for your Flight Simulator?

    Simquip.com presents an interesting tutorial which provides Simquip's perspective and assistance to builders to decide if they would like to use PC or MAC for their flight simulator .

    This type of discussion potentially ignites the same type of responses as suggesting that a Canon is better than a Nikon. Sooner or later you need to make the decision between running your simulator on either a Macintosh running OSX or a PC running Windows XXX. While both machines are similar in architecture and components, the operating systems are worlds apart


    PC Windows is the creation of Microsoft and its origins hail back to the early eighties when Bill gates saw the future of DOS as having a graphical interface layered on top to act as a human friendly interface. Microsoft saw what technologies would be required to base future versions and built them in house. This is much the same as George Lucas has to do when creating 'Star Wars'. At the time of filming, none of the special effects technologies existed to assist in the making of his film, so he had to create what he needed from scratch. Much the same applies to Microsoft. Yes, there are problems with each version, but when you are creating a piece of software to power every different type of computer on the planet, there has to be an occasional 'blue screen of death' as the operating system gives up and shows that it cannot cope with the brand new Ukrainian device driver you just installed for your SU-27 joystick.

    Apple OSX

    OSX simply stands for operating system 10 as it is the 10th release of an operating system for the Mac.While MS Windows used to use references to the year of release(Win 95, Win 98, Win 2000, etc.) Apple usually uses Big cats to name its operating systems(Tiger, Leopard) and so on. The latest version of their operating system is Snow Leopard. Apple still does frequent releases and updates of their operating systems, but at nowhere near the rate that Windows does. This is not because the people at Apple are lazy , its just that The Apple operating system does not need to be updated or patched as often as windows does. The foundation of OSX is the UNIX operating. OSX is a graphical interface built on top of a Unix-like operating system the same way that Windows 95 was a graphical interface built on top of MSDOS. The major difference is that Unix has been around since 1969 and is a very stable and secure operating system.There are way too many things and arguments to put forward in favour of the iMac and OSX combination and this article is not the place or time for such a discussion.

    What is an iMac?

    An iMac is simply an integrated Macintosh where the monitor and all other hardware are integrated into one unit. Software released for the Mac is tested extensively to prove that it will perform reliably. Apple made the decision to build Macs with Intel processors thus closing the hardware gap between PC's and Macs. Many saw this as a victory for the PC design and justification that the PC was indeed better than the Mac. The change to Intel processors was part of Apples long term plan to win over PC users. Having an Intel processor now meant that the iMac could now run Windows through the use of a virtual machine (VM) that would fool the mac into operating just like a PC.One of the ironies of the computing world is that while you can run Windows on an Apple iMac, Windows actually runs better on a Mac than on a PC. With this in mind making the swap to an iMac just became a no-brainer because you can run Windows or OSX on the same machine.
    but Macs cant get viruses, can they?

    Yes, Macs can still get viruses, provided that some brain dead fool with nothing better to do in life decides to write some code to somehow do damage to your system settings or data.Fortunately there are few hackers out there with experience or knowledge who can write a virus for a Unix system.The reason that some people make the il-informed claim that Macs dont get viruses is that their population is so small that hackers turn their moronic efforts to writing virus code for PCs which dominate most of the worlds computer purchases. OSX presents way less opportunity for malicious code to run successfully and therefore makes it way harder for a virus to do its thing on your mac.

    Value for money

    You can almost purchase 2 PCs for the price of 1 iMac. Keep in mind that even the most basic iMac is way more powerful than the most basic PC. OSX has way better memory management than Windows. A mac has an inbuilt camera, wireless modem, microphone and a raft of other features that you would have to pay for on a PC. Macs come with a beautiful, high resolution monitor that we could only dream about 5 years ago. If you are on a limited budget than a mac will seem like an extravagance, but if you appreciate beauty, ease of use and performance, then a Mac will be your performance vehicle.

    Which system is better for flight simulation?

    We run both x-plane and MS flightsim on a 3GHZ iMac. On this system the mac takes advantage of x-planes optimised code and runs with a clear advantage over MSFS running on the macs Windows installation

    Simquip's opinion

    All round, the PC is a better platform for MSFS. Like an old chevy, you can get under the hood and replace parts, overclock performance and do hardware tweaks specific to flight simulation that you just cant do on the mac. As the name suggests, the iMac is an integrated unit that is very difficult to finetune and boost in the hardware department. If the video goes on the Mac then its back to your Apple store with the whole computer for repair. If the video goes on your PC, then its off to a store that sells Video cards. Having said that, for out of the box performance, you cant beat a Mac.

    Contributed by: SIMQUIP