I don't often talk tech talk here, but Outer Rim Territories got me thinking with his attempt to convert people to the darkside. What made PC and Mac different is becoming smaller and smaller. The advents of XP and now Vista have made the PC very user dumb, with handy wizards that do just about everything and PnP that actually works, thus negating the argument that Macs are easier to use. I have to wonder about this claim because I found one button harder to use than my four button mouse. That and the idea of throwing a disk out to eject it is just weird.
Anyhow when I talk to people who are looking to get a computer, I am a moderate level geek so people ask, the first thing I ask is what do you want to do with your computer. This is the most important question you can ever ask when deciding on a computer. If you just want to send email, check out YouTube, write a letter, and crop some digital pics you took with your point and click camera, you do not need the dual core 2 gig ram monster w/dvd burner and a 30" monitor the pimply faced teenager who is on commission is going to try and sell you. A nice little AMD or Celeron system will do you just fine and do so at about $500 less.
If you want to game, buy Alienware or build your own. High-end HP's, Dell's, and Gateways will do in a pinch. Do I detect a bit of bias? No, must be my imagination. I build my own, it is a cheaper way to stay cutting edge.
The same things apply if you want to do more graphics work. Macs taut being better at graphics but that is not necessarily the case anymore with the advent of nifty little programs like the Gimp. Besides if you want to be really hardcore about graphic design you are going to get a Silicon Graphics box, sometimes what you spend does correspond to what you get.
Above all else if you do not know much about computers get a Windows machine, because when you crash and you will no matter what machine you get, it is easier to find help. Mac users, macs crash and don't deny it because I have crashed them.
Besides, Macs are now becoming inflexible Windows machines anyhow. It is only a matter of time before Steve Jobs gives into Bill Gates. OSX-Leopard looks a whole bunch like my Linux Gnome layout. Can't say as it really appears to be all that cutting edge. Just prettier.