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Switcher Hangout The place for switchers to discuss their new machines, and how to work with OS X. General support can be had here for newbie stuff, like "How do I restart my new iMac?" :)

Thinking about getting a MBP


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makorunner

 
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So this is an age old question on here. I'm torn. I have been thinking about buying a mac. I use my current dell for email facebook youtube etc etc and gaming. I've also owned other pc's but sold them. I like what I see when my friend uses his 2008 MBP 15" and it is really enticing. The thing I can not get over though is the lack of decent video cards in the lower models. I have become so knotted up about what to do that I've thought about buying a mac and then building a pc on the side to play some newer mmo's coming out. So with this said I have a few questions for you guys(and girls) that I was hoping you could answer for me.

1. What do you think about buying a lower end 13" pro and building a decent windows machine to play hardware intensive games.(mainly video card)
2. Should I maybe go all out and get the higher end 15" pro or 17" pro with the 6750 and just forsake windows all together for now.
3. What is the definitive thing that attracts you to Mac.

I know this has prolly been beaten to death on here and i've lurked a little but I want to be talked to directly about it not just read someone else's answers. I have thought heavily about how much I actually play video games on my past pc's and I more like the idea of being able to than actually doing it lol. And of course I know that gaming is not out of the question with a Mac but the biggest hurdle I've had in deciding to buy one is the video card issues that I have. Please help me alleviate these worries. What you say will definitely play a role in what I decide to do. Thanks
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bobtomay

 
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1. That would be what a great many do if you can afford two computers. A Mac for their primary computing and a Windows machine for specialized use such as gaming/HTPC.

2. Depends on what "you" want and "really" do with your computers.

3. The thing that keeps me from just going back to my Windows boxes for everything is the OS. Gone are the 4 hour weekly maintenance chores of keeping my machine running great. No requirement for A/V software, spam software, that has to be updated every time you sit down before you can use the thing. If you can get out of the habit of micro-managing a lot of your data (music, movies, photos) and let the OS and it's apps do it for you, you get a lot more time actually using your computer than taking care of it.

My question - what video card are you using now? I see too many of these questions from folks that are currently not using top of the line cards and are playing all their games just fine in Windows and then worrying about the video card in a Mac that puts the card in their current machine to shame.

If you're one of those that's had the same video card in their Windows box for more than 18 months, then you're not "really" concerned about it. You only "think" you are. And for sure, no self respecting "gamer" would have a 2-3 year old card sitting in their gaming rig.

Having a Windows rig for specialized use, such as only for gaming or a HTPC, the time spent maintaining that machine will also drop drastically.

There is still work to be done on a Mac - don't kid yourself. It is still a computer after all. There are going to be issues from time to time to deal with, same as with any other computer - and parts do die - a Mac is not immune to that. You do have to be willing to learn new ways of accomplishing tasks you may have been doing in a certain way for a number of years. If you're not willing to learn how a new OS works and how to get your stuff done in it, vs. trying to make it act like some other OS, then I'd suggest you just stick to your Windows machine and forget that OS X, Linux, etc. even exist.

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In the Windows world, most everything folks don't understand is called a virus.
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Overlander

 
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Greetings. I have (and still do) use PC's for the past two decades. The upside is that they are relatively inexpensive and plentiful. The downside for me has been the glitches I run into when using PC's for music production. Enter the Macbook Pro. After using the Mac for the past several months, I no longer am concerned with minor problems that I used to have. This allows me to focus on the 'artistic/creative' side of the work and not spend time dealing with computer related problems. The learning curve going from PC to Mac is relevant, but not a big issue. If you'd like to hear how a Mac has helped me make music, have a listen here: Jonathan Welch | Abbotsford, BC, CA | Rock / Singer/Songwriter | Music, Lyrics, Songs, and Videos | ReverbNation

My vote is the Mac for what I need a computer to do. My PC's are now used for more recreational needs (emails, word processing, etc.)
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dmccloud

 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by makorunner View Post
1. What do you think about buying a lower end 13" pro and building a decent windows machine to play hardware intensive games.(mainly video card)
This is actually what I have at home. I picked up a 13" base MBP in June, and have a 6-core desktop with a Radeon HD 5750 and 8GB RAM for games. That being said, I'm actually using my MBP about 95% of the time. Even with the "lowly" Intel 3000 integrated chipset, the graphics performance is on par with Windows laptops I've used running the ATI HD4200 and even GeForce 320M chipsets for graphics. I did upgrade the RAM in the MBP to 8GB and replaced the 320GB drive with a 500GB/7200RPM Seagate hybrid drive to get a bit of a performance boost.

While I haven't tried any super-intensive games on the MBP, I can play both WoW and Bioshock well (although there is some odd artifacting at times with Bioshock). I'm not really using the MBP for gaming though, so that's not as big a concern as the machine's performance in Photoshop, Aperture, etc - and that has been very impressive so far. But ultimately, the decision will come down to what you want to do with the machine and your budget.

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makorunner

 
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Thanks for the advice. In a machine I built I had a Nvidia Geforce 460 SE Fermi. It wasnt top of the line, but did just fine with every game I threw at it.

I hear you bobtomay. I am in the unique position of starting over.. I had my own built pc but sold it. I am using an older dell right now that isnt very good. Kinda like starting over lol. Thats why I was considering Mac. Of course I know that there not perfect. They are very nice though lol. I think the one thing i like most about the MBP is that you can use one finger to open the lid and the bottom doesn't come up with the lid lol.. I hate that about windows laptops.. small issue though haha.
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chas_m

 
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It's those "small" touches that make all the "real" difference between the platforms IMO. Lion in particular and Snow Leopard before it were LOADED with "little" things, tiny bits of swish and polish that added up to a hugely more pleasurable experience.

I actually like using my 2007 Blackbook more now than I did when I bought it. It's unquestionably faster and has "grown" many new abilities over the past four years (to be fair, I have since upgraded the HD and RAM, but that's all). This machine is *still* awesome enough that I'm STILL not in a rush to upgrade to a newer model, though I've been thinking of doing so for some time.
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TonyBen

 
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I'm not a gamer so it was a no brainer for me. I am thoroughly happy with my MBP. I still can't get over the whole 3-second shutdown time. Yes, that's it! 3 seconds from the time you confirm shutdown and it's dead!

I rarely get pop-ups and everything is lightning fast. My wireless internet is faster than I thought it could be. I am completely happy with the video on mine. I watched Black Hawk down, Full Metal Jacket, Ronin and Man on Fire while on a plane from overseas recently and it made the trip so much more enjoyable.

You will also love the battery life. I watched 3 DVD's on one battery while running the DVD drive and I still had an hour of battery life left. I had the screen on 50% to 60% brightness and the keys illuminated just a tad to get that battery life.

I can't say enough good things about my MBP and IMac.
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makorunner

 
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Sweet Tony i hear very good things about the battery and chas m thanks for your thoughts i read your essay and quite liked it.

I have come to a decision of sorts but have two questions left. I have decided if i get one its gonna be the top of the line 15" MBP cause of the 6750. That will be more than good enough for wow and SWTOR when it comes out. My two questions are:

1. I was reading that in this computer the graphics processors switch over automatically on the fly depending on how intensive and application is. SO if i use bootcamp to put Windows 7 on the macbook and say go to play SWTOR when it comes out will it still know to switch over to the better video card. If not how to I make it?
2. I watch a lot of anime and j-drama's so i really need it to play mkv files. I was reading that there were issues in the past with this file type.. have they been taken care of? and I already read the guide about what to get for video players on a mac.

Thanks so much for the advice on this possible switch.
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chas_m

 
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I've watched a fair number of MKV files on my 2007 machine (720p or less) using VLC player rather than QT player. Can't say as I've had any issues.
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makorunner

 
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Sweet thanks man. That helps a lot Now it's just taking the plunge. Scary kind of haha.
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dtravis7

 
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Playing videos on OSX is just a matter of a couple of Codecs. Two we recommend are Flip4Mac for Windows Media and Perian for pretty much every other video out there. Also as Chas mentioned, there is VLC which plays most everything without any help.

Good luck on your purchase and do come back and share with us after you get it. If we can help in any way, just ask.
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chas_m

 
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Links for the stuff DTravis mentioned: Flip4Mac WMV Player and Perian (both free)
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