Mac or PC?

Discussion in 'Hardware' started by shevanel, Oct 15, 2008.

  1. shevanel


    Hi all. I am new to this forum and fairly new to trading as well. I need to get a new trading computer and am trying to decide between a Mac and a PC.

    I would like to switch to a Mac, as it has a more stable OS, is not susceptible to viruses or malware, and just seems to be a better overall user experience.

    However, the overwhelming majority of traders seems to be in favor of PC's for trading. Is this solely because of compatibility issues?

    I currently use Interactive Brokers' TWS, so I guess a Mac would be fine for that. But would a Mac leave me with limited options if I decided to switch platforms?

    Any Mac-using traders out there who can weigh in on this?

    I appreciate any info/comments/opinions.
  2. I prefer the PC option not only because of compatability - all trading platforms run on PC, but not all run on macs (if needed to run software, you can run a virtual Windows install on a Mac, but if it's required continuously, then you probably made the wrong choice) - but also the customisability of a PC.

    You can tinker with your PC to your hearts content and set it up just how you like it, in ways that Mac users couldn't dream of - in both hardware and software configurations. If you buy a Mac you have very limited options for changes, but if it's already how you like it then great.

    In terms of security, I can't remember the last time I had a virus on my Windows XP setup - possibly never. It's not because I have a fantatic antivirus program, it doesn't find viruses because they simply don't get on the PC in the first place. These days you need to be doing quite foolish things to have you PC infected with a virus.

    If you can find a Mac that is exactly what you need, runs all the software you want and you are willing to pay the premium for a brandname, then you probably won't be disappointed.

    But if you want a 'personal computer', you need a PC.
  3. Get both, since you need at least 2 computers for backup purposes. I use a PC box for my trading & quote vendor software, and a Mac laptop for everything else. Mac is by far the better, but PC desktop box is cheap and runs all trading applications.
  4. mike007


    If you have to, you can always run Windows on your Mac using parallels or VMware. Best of both worlds.
  5. PC for all the trading programs and software...Mac for, well not me. I use PC for everything. I don't think the Mac $ premium is worth it.
  6. Jachyra


    I have both and overall actually prefer the PC for trading, although the Mac does tend to boot up slightly faster and seems slightly more stable. I can't really say one is faster than the other.

    Obviously almost every trading program written out there that's not written in Java requires Windows. But I've had no problem at all using VMWare Fusion to run Windows on the Mac and prefer it to both Parallels and Bootcamp because I like being able to move the virtual machines back and forth between the Mac and the PC. So sometimes I do trade on the Mac, but overall, I find myself using the PC most often for trading... and the Mac most often for entertainment.

    The desktop management for managing multiple desktops is nice... and overall the graphics are cool... but I wouldn't necessarily say its worth the extra money. And I do feel very restricted sometimes in regards to my lack of ability to customize it exactly the way I want it.

    If I had to pick one for trading... I'd pick a PC.
  7. mike007


    I have a PC desktop and an Mac laptop. I am not at home very often because I am a student so the Macbook with very good battery life helps me out alot.
  8. shevanel


    Thank you all for your input.

    After reading the suggestions so far, it seems like most of you are happy trading with a PC. Although I am tired of Windows and all the headaches it causes, unfortunately it is the standard, and we're forced to put up with it in many cases.

    I'll probably go with a PC desktop used exclusively for trading and a Mac laptop for other computing purposes (which can also be used as a backup trading computer).
  9. balzano


    The answer to this question depends on your answer to the following two questions:

    1) How much are you willing to spend on a trading system, your budget?
    2) What specific software will you be using on this trading system?

    I use a Mac as a trading platform, I love it – In terms of processing graphs and the general feel of in terms of simplicity of use is unmatched by a Microsoft Operating system.

    In addition – You need not worry about anti-virus software that uses unnecessary CPU cycles and memory blocks.

    To answer the compatibility issue question – Mac has various software’s that simulate a subsystem, it works by statically allocating a portion of your physical memory and hard disk space as well as CPU cycles to process.

    To keep it simple you are creating a bubble within your Mac system that you can install another operating system within, an example is VMware and it is open source (free not as in free beer but free to use).

    I worked as an IT FIX support engineer on the trading floor, and I suggested to our in house software development team that we should use and develop trading software for Mac platforms, but due to the sheer cost difference of buying 100+ Mac work stations vs 100+ PC trade stations, was too much for management to digest hehe.

    If I were you; I would try out the Mac – see if it fits you or not.
  10. Sorry to burst one of your bubbles, but my Mac died last year after being destroyed by a trojan. Apple is not immune to viruses. Linux et al is the only OS I know of that is immune (at this time).

    To answer your two primary concerns... PC for cost and software/hardware availability. Apple for stability, ease of use and superior A/V.
    #10     Nov 5, 2008