Head-Fi.org › Forums › Equipment Forums › Computer Audio › Review: Mac vs Windows Laptop
New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:

Review: Mac vs Windows Laptop

post #1 of 8
Thread Starter 

This is my take on a brief review of 13in/11in Macbook air and Samsung Series 5 Ultrabook. Yes. I have three laptops. 2 are my own, and one was given to be by my school(13in air).

 

My review is going to be based on audio related experience.

 

General Analysis of OS:

 

Mac(10.8.x): Simple and clean. Not a big fan of iTunes because they lack Flac(you need to convert them). But it's easy to use and set up. One complaint I have is connecting to my DAPs. Many DAPs have some issues connecting with Macs.

 

Windows(7 Professional): Bit more complicated than Mac, but still very good. They have very wide compatibility with audio related devices. I love Foobar 2000 more than iTunes. File management is bit harder on Windows though.

 

Now laptops!

*I added a 2gb RAM to by Series 5, so it has 6gb of RAM total.

 

13in Macbook Air(2013 version): This is a typical non-upgraded 13inch Macbook air. Design is good and booting speed is good. I personally don't like new 10.8.x OSX, because they lag when compared to 10.6.x OSX. Has small memory. 128gb is rather small, especially if you have over 40gb of music. They are fancy, but that fancy UI slows down the computer as well. iTunes is not my favorite. While iTunes organizes music really well, lack of high-rez support turned me down. A good player I recommend is VLC. I tried Amarra, which enables high-rez playback, but it was too unresponsive. USB SQ is good and tight. No optical out.

 

11in Macbook Air(2011 version): I like my 11inch Air more than 13inch Air. This Mac has 128gb as well. I'm using 10.6.X on these, and they are the best OS apple made IMO. It has advanced features and short cuts that 10.8.X OSX lacks. It's also faster than 10.8.X because it has less fancy UI. Anyways, they are smaller than 13inch, so the add to portability. No optical out. USB (USB port) is a bit wiggly, and it's prone to tiny interference.

 

Series 5: This is my favorite laptop. It has a hybrid SSD/HDD drive, which allows fast booting(as fast as my Air) and 500gb of space. RAM is also 6gb, so it's good. Foobar 2000 does a good job at playing high-rez files. No optical out. USB ports are very good. They are tight and are not noisy. Key feature that this laptop has for audiophiles is silent mode. This mode turns the fan down so there is less noise. Fan noise on Macbook drove me nuts. Since playing high-rez file heats the computer quickly, the fan goes crazy loud on Macbook airs. But with Series 5, I can control the loudness of fan without overheating the computer. This is golden if you have open back headphones or non-isolating phones.

 

 

On board DAC/Amp Quality Coming Soon!(I never used them, so I need some time to judge them. But for now, lets say both macbooks are noisy.)

 

Pics coming soon!(Except for 11in air, as I left them in Korea)


Edited by kimvictor - 10/2/13 at 4:56pm
post #2 of 8

My iMac's sound quality is heaps better the HP AIO PC that I was using before. 

post #3 of 8

I'm running windows 7 ultimate on a Sager N9170 (I think thats the right model its the ivy bridge 17.3") and the on board audio is pretty bad (realtek) but I'm happy with the outputs (SPDIF, Optical, HDMI, USB) and USB driver quality as well as power (1.5 amps over USB 3.0). I'm just running a cheap sound card over USB for now but I'm going to upgrade to a USB DAC with a dedicated amp soon.

post #4 of 8

download vox music player right now

http://coppertino.com/vox/

 

it's a small music player like winamp/vlc, but it looks and runs a lot better.

post #5 of 8
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by SoulsAstray View Post
 

download vox music player right now

http://coppertino.com/vox/

 

it's a small music player like winamp/vlc, but it looks and runs a lot better.

 

I'll check it out.

post #6 of 8
Thread Starter 

This doesn't relate much to audiophiles, but I wanted to mention this. I have to applaud Apple(though I'm really not fan of them) for the trackpads. They are amazing. That is one thing that I prefer my macbook over my Series 5.

 

BTW, this doesn't relate to audiophiles as well, but wifi on Series 5 is much better. They get much better signal.

 

Feel free to ask any questions.

post #7 of 8

I think on macs the 3.5mm headphone port also works as a mini-toslink port.  You need to get a cable with mini-toslink to plug into it though.  One of these cables.. the mini-toslink side is actually longer than the normal toslink side, not sure why they call it mini-toslink.  I guess it's skinnier.  http://www.monoprice.com/products/product.asp?p_id=1557

Not sure what other audio things you could review to compare mac vs pc..  I know a lot of DACs have problems working in os x for some reason

post #8 of 8
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by uncola View Post
 

I think on macs the 3.5mm headphone port also works as a mini-toslink port.  You need to get a cable with mini-toslink to plug into it though.  One of these cables.. the mini-toslink side is actually longer than the normal toslink side, not sure why they call it mini-toslink.  I guess it's skinnier.  http://www.monoprice.com/products/product.asp?p_id=1557

Not sure what other audio things you could review to compare mac vs pc..  I know a lot of DACs have problems working in os x for some reason

 

I do have a mini-toslink cable, and I can confirm that Macbook Airs don't have optical out. Macbook Pros have a 3.5mm optical out.

New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:
  Return Home
  Back to Forum: Computer Audio
Head-Fi.org › Forums › Equipment Forums › Computer Audio › Review: Mac vs Windows Laptop