Why I Switched to Mac
Ah, the Apple Macbook. If there's one thing a big part of the PC enthusiast community agrees on, it's that the modern Apple Macbooks are pretty much the worst computers known to humanity. Thin, hot, loud, overpriced slabs of aluminium with terrible keyboards and the stupid Touchbar, made for the rich liberal soyboy latte sipping gender studies college kids who are too wimpy and weak to use the real man's laptop – the IBM or at the very least Lenovo Thinkpad. That's right, the virgin Macbook wishes it were as perfect as the chad Thinkpad – Thick, girthy, built like a tank, with tons of ports and upgradable parts. Up until 2013 you could actually upgrade CPUs in those things, But then the Big Solder took it from us. Never forget. So why then did I buy myself an M1 Macbook Air? Well, clearly it's because I'm a rich liberal soyboy latte sipping college kid who doesn't know any better If I had enough of a brain, I would probably just buy myself an old Thinkpad, completely max it out, install Coreboot and Gentoo on it, and spend days perfecting my tiling window manager rice...
...wait a minute... Anyway, if this answer pretty much sums up your thoughts on the topic, and if you don't want your opinion changed, please stop the video here and don't watch it any further I'm going to give you 3 seconds to close the browser tab. Okay, now let's talk about why anyone would buy this piece of crap instead of a real computer. First of all, it wouldn't come as a surprise to my regular viewers, but I'm actually a fake Linux user. I run Linux on my home server, and my desktop runs dualbooted Windows 10 and Arch Linux, but I've actually been using macOS on my Thinkpads since about 2019. There are a lot of reasons why I don't use Linux as my main operating system, but mostly I just find it frustrating.
Every time I try to use Linux as my main operating system on a laptop, there are just dozens of little issues and bugs and things that come up, that eventually make me go "F**k it, I'm going back to macOS" And it's not for lack of trying or because I'm new to Linux or something I've been using Linux on and off since 2009, I've tried Ubuntu, Arch, Void, Gentoo and Fedora, but desktop Linux is just not for me. It's a fun OS to mess around with, and I always run Linux on my servers, but I don't run it as my main desktop operating system. And I sure as hell am not going to run Windows because during the last couple of years of using it for video editing and other stuff like gaming it has caused me nothing but frustration. I don't want to use it for anything other than gaming, in which it unfortunately still excels.
MacOS is still Unix-based and includes all of the applications that I normally need for my creative work Stuff like Affinity products, Davinci Resolve, Ableton Live, and so on. It's just an OS that I feel the most comfortable with and the one that works the best for what I use my computer for. Now when it comes to installing macOS on a non-Apple laptop, the setup process can be quite frustrating, but if your laptop is somewhat popular, like, for example, Thinkpad T440p, there's probably already a Hackintosh configuration for it, so you can basically steal someone else's configuration file (or folder, EFI folder, that's what they're called) from Github and the only thing you need to do is change a couple of device-specific things, Such as the faked serial number and other things.
macOS on PC laptops has reached the point where the performance is pretty much equal to what you would expect on Linux or Windows, most of the features like sleep and media keys work just fine, and the battery life is... okay. I guess it's comparable to Linux, but it's a little bit worse than on Windows, in my case at least I bought my Thinkpad X1 Carbon for $1400, used, back in 2019. And almost every time I mentioned to someone that I'm running macOS on it, I got the same question "Why not just buy a real Macbook at this point?" And I always answered in the same way When it comes to hardware, Macbooks kind of suck. And up until late 2020, Macbooks did suck quite a lot. They were expensive, hot, loud and had poor performance and battery life, especially for the price.
But in 2020 Apple introduced their ARM-based laptops, which basically solved all of those issues. So now you can buy a fanless laptop that is two times faster than my current Thinkpad, barely gets warm to the touch during normal use and has amazing battery life. They even fixed the keyboard by coming back to their pre-2017 key mechanism.
It's still not as good as the Thinkpad keyboard, obviously, but at least it's not a ticking time bomb like the previous gen Macbooks. So, when people say stuff like "two times faster than my previous laptop" it's hard to quantify that performance improvement. So I want to show you a couple of clips that I think say more than a thousand words when it comes to this Thinkpad versus the M1 Macbook Air Now do bear in mind that it's obviously not a fair one-to-one comparison since this Thinkpad is not a current model, but if you take a look at more benchmarks online that compare M1 Macbooks to Windows laptops in similar form factor and price range, you'll see pretty much the same picture The only laptops that can kind of compete with M1 Macs when it comes to processing power are gaming laptops, which are also much bigger, noisier and have worse battery life. At the same time, the prices for those newer Macbooks are pretty good. You can get a base model Macbook Air for somewhere around €1000, and I got my model with 16 gigs of RAM and 512 gigs of SSD for around $1450. Almost the same price that I paid for my used Thinkpad X1 Carbon 6th gen back in 2019.
And these laptops pretty much don't have any competition – Sure, there are quiet and even fanless laptops out there on the market, but they're not nearly as powerful Remember, the multi-core performance of M1 chip is comparable to desktop CPUs like Ryzen 2700 and Intel Core i7-9700KF while having significantly lower TDP and power consumption, And when it comes to single-core, Apple M1 is currently the the best CPU in the PassMark rating among all desktop and laptop CPUs alike. Sure, there are beefy and powerful laptops out there, but they're often hot, noisy and have mediocre battery life And yes, there are laptops with good battery life, but they can get pretty expensive and once again, might not be as performant as the M1 Macbooks. Now, I don't want to oversell these new M1 Macbooks, nor do I want to come off as some kind of an Apple fanboy that can't recognize any of the disadvantages when it comes to their favorite products. There are some things that Apple didn't fix about these new Macbooks and that they're probably never going to fix. The port selection is still terrible – with only two Thunderbolt ports and a headphone jack.
The upgradability and repairability are still pretty much non-existent – all of the components that can usually be upgraded on some other Windows laptops are soldered to the board here. We also can't ignore the fact that Apple is a staunch opponent to the Right to Repair movement They've been actively taking measures against independent repair shops and limiting people's ability to repair their devices. Last but not least, a thing that is really important for a lot of you guys is the fact that the Macbooks run macOS A proprietary operating system, and there's currently no way to run Linux on those. I'm going to address this point in detail later in a future video of mine, so feel free to subscribe if you don't want to miss it. So why is it that despite these issues I still chose to buy an M1 Macbook Air? Well, to put it simply, the utility and the value that it provides for me outweigh its disadvantages, such as the lack of I/O or poor upgradability. When it comes to laptops, I need my laptop to be quiet, compact, performant enough and have a long battery life.
Unfortunately, my X1 Carbon, and the T440p before that... And X220 that I had before that one... and really, pretty much every laptop (both PC and Mac) that I owned, fail on all of those fronts.
Because there's simply nothing that even comes close to that balance between price, quietness, performance, size and battery life, when it comes to the laptops that run Windows or Linux. But let's talk about the disadvantages in detail, and I'll tell you why for me, personally, those disadvantages that come from using an M1 Macbook do not outweigh the advantages. Let's start with upgradability. Apple has this marketing technique where they take a usually pretty good feature, and convince its customers that this feature is not just useful, it's indispensable.
And that they can't live without it, and shouldn't buy any product that doesn't have that feature. Like the trackpad, for instance. And I think that a lot of business laptop guys think along the same lines about upgradability I will never buy a laptop where I can't replace the CPU or RAM, it's a deal breaker for me. So let's take probably the most popular old Thinkpad – Lenovo Thinkpad T430. On this machine you can upgrade the CPU, the SSD, the WiFi card, the RAM, the display and the keyboard. That's a lot of things! But let's take a look at the individual upgrades.
The fastest recommended CPU that T430 takes is Intel Core i7–3840QM. That's a decent 4-core CPU, but it's really starting to show its age 3840QM loses even to the ultrabook 8650U installed in my X1 Carbon, and if we compare it to M1, well, there's not even a competition. It's also pretty far from quiet or power-efficient It's a 45W CPU that doesn't support hardware acceleration for popular online video formats like H265, VP8 or VP9.
So rest assured that your laptop is probably going to sound like a jet engine when you do something as basic as watch a YouTube video. Unless you install a browser extension called h264ify, which forces YouTube to serve H264, a format that those older CPUs do support, but that also limits you at 1080p with pretty poor video quality compared to the default VP9 codec. I decided to put on a shirt, because it's very hot in here And I don't want you guys to see my sweaty underarms. And with that out of the way let's talk about the RAM The beefiest RAM configuration for T430 is 16GB of DDR3 at 2133Mhz.
M1 MacBooks are also available with 16GB of RAM, but this one is LPDDR4X running at 4266Mhz, So exactly two times faster. And since the new M1 Macs are running high speed SSDs, macOS is making heavy use of the swap file, which makes sure that the system stays responsive during the RAM-heavy tasks, Even on the devices with 8 gigs of RAM. Now this did raise some concerns when it comes to SSD lifespan, but according to some research, the TLC SSDs installed in M1 Macbooks should be able to reach at least 4 to 8 years with 7.5TB written on them per month Which is way more than what an average user does. So I guess we'll see how accurate those calculations are. Speaking of SSDs, T430 only takes SATA and mSATA SSDs, which are pretty slow compared to something like NVMe SSDs, but they're also cheaper, and most people using their machines for casual web browsing, videos, office work and coding, probably won't even notice the difference.
Upgradable storage is usually the only thing that is actually worth upgrading on a modern laptop in my opinion, since that's something that doesn't age that fast. And it's actually a shame that more and more vendors like Apple and Dell come up with devices that have soldered SSDs with no justification for that. Apart from thinness, which nobody asked for. Then we come to the other upgradable components. With networking you're limited to cards like Intel 7260 AC that doesn't support newer standards such as WiFi 6, Bluetooth 5 or WPA3.
With display you're limited to horrible 900p TN panels. There is a possibility to put in a FullHD panel by buying a special FHD kit from eBay or Aliexpress, but those kits are a hit or miss and may cause flickering issues on some models. Some kits even support 2K displays, but at this point you're kind of hitting the limit of what the integrated graphics card and CPU are capable of handling. And the battery life also takes a considerable hit. Classic keyboard is also one of those features that are considered indispensable by the Thinkpad enthusiast crowd They will absolutely refuse to use a laptop that doesn't have the classic Thinkpad keyboard.
In my opinion, however, the classic keyboard is also a pretty subjective upgrade Yes, go ahead, hashtag cancel me, but I think that earlier classic keyboards on Thinkpads like X200 or T60 felt much better than the 20-series keyboards In my experience they just have way too much deck flex, and also make those weird squeaky noises when you type on them. But in general, yes, keyboard on Thinkpads is something that is unequivocally better than on any other mainstream laptop And it's the only thing that I'll be missing on my X1 Carbon. So the point that I am laboriously trying to get to here, is that despite being very good machines, especially for the price, the upgradability of the older Thinkpads is limited to the technology of their generation. They are upgradable, sure, but you can only use parts from the same generation You can't take out the stock dual-core Ivy Bridge CPU from a T430 and put in a new 11-gen Intel CPU.
You can't take out DDR3 RAM and put in DDR4 for example You might say "duh, everyone knows that", but at the same time, we're at a point where getting a modern laptop with a better screen, infinitely better performance, lower power consumption and somewhat decent build quality would only be a few dollars more expensive than buying an old early 2010 era Thinkpad and 'upgrading' it to somewhat decent specs. If you're on a budget and have appropriate expectations for the machine Thinkpad laptops are great, but if you need a bit more oomph and have more money to spend, their value starts depreciating with price. And the modern Lenovo Thinkpads are pretty much the Macbooks of Windows laptops hot, loud, expensive and with pretty mediocre battery life and quality control Ironically enough, a considerable part of the price consists of a "brand" tax, since Thinkpads still have this reputation of being sturdy, reliable working horse machines, and have a fan following online that comes pretty close to the Apple community in terms of circlejerk-iness. In my opinion, the chad Thinkpad vs. the virgin Macbook meme was true in 2017, when 13-inch Macbooks had anemic dual core ultrabook Intel CPUs in them, had a crappy keyboard that was prone to breaking and were actually losing considerably to older Thinkpads like T430 in terms of performance. M1 Macbooks have better performance, way better battery life, are quieter and actually less expensive than the current gen Thinkpads in the similar form factor.
Ironically, the reason why many people choose to go with a Thinkpad instead of an M1 Macbook is the loyalty to the ThinkPad brand And, well, the red nipple. Now let's talk about the I/O. The newer Macbooks are notoriously bad when it comes to the ports. My model only has two Thunderbolt ports and a combo 3.5 jack At least they still have those So that obviously means that if I want to connect Ethernet, HDMI or DisplayPort or even plug in an SD card into my laptop, I'll need to use a dongle. Now if I wanted to be super cheeky, I'd say that it's actually a plus and that Macbooks actually adhere to the UNIX philosophy their I/O is modular and the sides of Macbooks are clean, Unlike the sides of older Thinkpads, which are bloated with different useless and outdated ports.
At least that's what I would say if I was Tim Cook or something I guess But the truth is, the lack of I/O does not bother me because my use case doesn't necessitate plugging in a bunch of devices into my laptop. At home, I'm plugging it into my monitor via a USB-C cable, which has two USB-A ports on the back and also charges the laptop when it's plugged in. I use WiFi on all of my devies, so I don't need an Ethernet port. I also have a USB Type C card reader, a USB-C external SSD and a small USB-A adapter that I carry around in case I need to connect some other device. That being said, I'm definitely not going to try to sell lack of ports as some kind of an advantage, and all I'm trying to say is that it doesn't bother me personally because I don't need most of the legacy ports in my workflow. But your mileage obviously may vary.
So we've talked about ports, we've talked about upgradability, price and the brand loyalty. Now let's talk about another reason why some people might not like the idea of a "Linux Youtuber" daily driving a Macbook. The reason is pretty simple. Everything that Apple represents goes against the very essence of Linux and free and open source software in general. Apple devices are fancy expensive walled gardens that obfuscate their own inner workings from the user, as though telling them "don't think too much about the boring computer stuff, sweetie, you'll hurt your brain". Apple's aesthetics is pretty much the opposite from that of Linux or even PC in general Instead of letting the user deal with their computer, its hardware and software themselves, which requires skill, patience and interest, Apple pretends that their devices aren't actually computers at all They're something else, something magical.
Obviously, a lot of Linux people don't like that approach. Linux and free software is all about getting down to the nitty gritty, experimenting with stuff I mean yeah, it takes time and it can get messy, but that's what computers are all about From this perspective, Linux is serious business, Linux is supercomputers, Linux is software development and server infrastructure. And Apple? Well, Apple is for stupid people who don't know any better. Apple is about overpriced hardware that is glued shut, Apple is about walled gardens, about people who buy a $2000 laptop only to browse Instagram, TikTok and Facebook. Look, I know how most Linux people feel about Apple and Apple products. It's hip to hate everything that comes from Apple, just like it was hip to base your entire personality around hating Justin Bieber, or Nickelback back in early 2010s.
Nowadays it's hip to buy 10 year old laptops with the red nipple and share outdated memes about how Macbooks are bad. "These are simple marketing strategies" "This is how we make money, stupid!" "And y'all fall for it every single time!" [A few moments later] "See, y'alls computers are probably like really unprotected and probably hackable" "But luckily for you guys, N**rdVPN is actually the sponsor of today's video" And you can stay in your comfortable bubble where the only reason people buy Apple stuff is because they're stupid and don't know any better, where all the benchmarks are actually doctored and the reviewers are paid, especially the famous Apple fanboy Linus Tech Tips, and where you never have to change your opinion, because you're conveniently always correct. But the truth is, Apple's decision to switch to their own ARM-based processors has transformed Macbooks from overpriced, hot and laggy laptops to competitive machines that actually cost less than the alternatives with similar performance and battery life. And as of making this video, Apple is preparing to present new M2 or M1X-based machines which are supposed to be even more powerful. Now when it comes to Windows laptops, it might take years for Microsoft and the hardware vendors to catch up. Microsoft has recently released a version of Windows 10 ARM that supports x64 emulation, but the performance is a far cry from Rosetta 2, which you can comfortably use to play games and run resource-intensive audio applications like Ableton Live.
We might be witnessing the slow death of the x86 laptops, and Microsoft with its behemoth of an operating system that prides itself on the backwards compatibility and a huge choice of applications and games, might not be ready for the transition for years to come. But the M1 Macbooks might actually end up becoming very powerful Linux machines. A project called Asahi Linux lead by Hector Martin is working on porting Linux to the new Apple Silicon Macs and as of making this video, they already merged initial bringup and serial console access support into the mainline kernel. There's still a lot of work left until those machines can actually run Linux, but the fact that there's a dedicated effort to bring Linux to M1 is definitely a good thing, and the future is looking pretty bright. For now, you can run ARM-based Linux distros using virtualization software like QEMU, and it actually delivers very respectable performance, despite not running on bare metal. So, to sum it up, is Apple bad? Yes.
Just like almost every tech company these days, Apple is aggressively anti-consumer. The trend to make laptops and phones less and less repairable and upgradable has been going on for a while now, and since we as customers have very little bargaining power against multi-million corporations like Apple, Dell or Lenovo, they've been able to get away with many things, including lack of upgradability, poor quality control, and other anti-consumer and anti-worker practices. Companies are not your friends, and no matter how many times you post your shiny new Thinkpad on r/thinkpad, Lenovo is not going to bring back reliable, sturdy and upgradable working horse machines for a reasonable price, because they know that that's not profitable, and because they know that they can get away with it.
And I know that some of my viewers like the idea of "voting with your dollar". It's a nice idea in an abstract world, and I wish it worked, but unfortunately, the time has shown that even though some advanced power users might upgrade their laptops down the road with more SSD or more RAM, most customers won't. So offering the upgrades upfront and charging more for extra RAM, SSD or a better CPU seems to be the most successful business model, which most customers don't seem to have an issue with. It turns out that when you vote with your dollar, people who have more dollars get more votes. I won't delve too much on the modern business practices that resulted in a lot of tech products becoming worse throughout the years though, that might be a topic for another video. But yeah, when it comes to choosing a laptop that is quiet, compact, has good performance and battery life, it's not like you have a choice between a locked down laptop with no upgradable parts and a laptop that is maybe slightly worse but has good upgradability and repairability.
No. Unfortunately, the choice is either to buy a quiet, compact and performant laptop from a company that everyone hates, or get a loud, noisy and expensive laptop with shitty quality control and component lottery from a company that is involved in the same anti-consumer business practices but is regarded higher by the community because of its IBM legacy and iconic red nipple. And I've made my choice.