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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?" :)

Switching to Mac, Worries and Hesitations


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taqu

 
Member Since: Dec 20, 2011
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Hi everyone,

I'm new here. I have been thinking about getting a Mac for while, since every Mac user I know has given positive feedback about their experience. But they all have older models which seem to run quiet and cool, most are 4 years old and going strong. Doing a quick search on 2011 MacBook pro 13 inch, which I was planning to get, turned up a daunting number of complaints of overheating. This is a real deal breaker for me, since my last laptop, a HP TouchSmart tx2, ran so hot and so loud it sounded like a jet plane, which obviously shortened battery life, and the machine itself barely made it 3 years before starting to go crazy. Does anyone have the MBP 13 inch (specifically i5), and can either allay or confirm the overheating fears, or have any solutions?

My other worry is compatibility. I'm a translator, so I need a lot of specific software that I can download and use easily, without needing too many workarounds. What about Crossover applications, do they work? Is the best solution having Windows through Bootcamp or Parallels or is there another alternative?

I really want to get a Mac despite these worries, simply because I'm so tired of PCs crashing and the dreaded BSOD, but I would really appreciate feedback esp from people who have the MBP late 2011 or people who work as translators on a Mac.

Thank you in advance!
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chas_m

 
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The first thing you need to check out is, are there Mac versions of the apps you need? Since you didn't name them, we can't tell you.

Yes, you can run Windows on a Mac. But that's like putting training wheels on your motorcycle, you know? One should try and avoid it if possible.

As for the complaints, bah. Apple sold something like 5M Macs (more than half of which were laptops) in the last quarter. The millions of people you DON'T see writing in are happy as clams with their Macs, which is why Apple's growth is outpacing that of the industry as a whole by more than 4:1 margin.

Macs don't actually overheat -- it's a huge myth caused by ignorant people. It's really easy to tell when a Mac has genuinely overheated: it shuts itself off and won't turn on again until it has cooled down to protect the processor. Have ANY of your friends said this has EVER happened to them?? Of course they haven't.

People are so fast and loose with the term "overheat" that a number of forums even have a DEDICATED THREAD called some variation of "no, your Mac isn't overheating." The "problem" is that Apple uses the metal chassis of the laptop Macs to help dissipate the heat, which means the CHASSIS gets quite warm. Too warm to balance on the family jewels if you catch my drift. Which is why Apple doesn't sell laptops, they sell NOTEBOOKS.

So anyway, people think that if the chassis is warm their machine must ergo be overheating. They are, simply put, wrong. Apple did not get to be the #1 top rated computer by both Consumer Reports and PC World (that's right, *PC* World) by forgetting how to ventilate their machines. Apple's stock did not get to $400 with engineers designing machines that can't cool themselves.

Apple's "dissipate first, use fans only when absolutely necessary" approach is unconventional in the PC world, which throws a lot of converts off. But as a former repair tech, I spent five years working for a major repair centre and I think I saw a dozen Macs in all that time that genuinely overheated (and the majority of those were one specific model of Mac Pro, not a laptop) out of thousands of machines.

You will love your MacBook Pro, I promise, but first and foremost you need to figure out your work situation before buying.
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cwa107

 
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Welcome to Mac-Forums.com, taqu. Your concerns are certainly valid and you've come to the right place to seek assistance with them.

As chas_m mentioned, all modern *notebooks* run warm. Why? Because they use ever more powerful processors that are the equivalent of desktop processors. But since there's much less space to install thermal mitigation systems, they do tend to warm up on the bottom. This is why most manufacturers have gotten away from the term "laptop". If you feel uncomfortable with the heat on your lap, it's highly recommended that you look into getting a lap desk/cooling pad.

With that said, unless I'm doing something particularly processor intensive, my MacBook Pro runs nearly cool to the touch on the bottom. Apple has done a great job in controlling the heat in their notebooks, but since they are made of aluminum (a great conductor), it certainly can get warm - but never uncomfortably so for my lap. In fact, 95% of the time, I use it without a lap desk. Another thing that can help is snap-on cases like the Speck shell that prevent scratches and act like an insulator. For $30, it's cheap insurance.

Fan noise has never been a problem with Macs, period. 95% of the time, I never even know my fan is on - and when it is, it's just a low hum that can barely be heard above ambient noise. I will personally guarantee you that it will outperform your HP's fan noise and heat in every measurable way, just because it's designed that well.

As far as Windows apps go - VMWare Fusion and Parallels Desktop will allow you to run your applications side-by-side with your Mac apps. This can ease the transition while you seek Mac-specific alternatives. I highly recommend either of the two products. They can also be setup to allow you to port your existing Windows machine over to a virtual machine to run directly on your new Mac. This makes things very simple when you're switching platforms - although ultimately, I recommend buying native Mac apps so that you don't have to struggle with running multiple OSes simultaneously (which can incidentally generate more heat and run your battery down).

One of the things I recommend to anyone considering a first Mac is to schedule a personal shopper appointment with your nearest Apple Store. Give them a call to setup an appointment. This will allow you a solid hour with an Apple Store employee to go over all of the models to find the one that best suits you and have all of your questions answered. It's a free service and there's no obligation to buy anything.

I think if you're really ready for a change and have had enough with Windows, you'll find the Mac to be a pleasant experience. It is a little different than what you're used to however, so be prepared to learn new things - and remember that just because something is done differently, doesn't make it "wrong".

Good luck on your search and let us know if we can be of further assistance.

Liquid and computers don't mix. It might seem simple, but we see an incredible amount of people post here about spills. Keep drinks and other liquids away from your expensive electronics!
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klystorm

 
Member Since: Dec 19, 2011
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cwa107 View Post
One of the things I recommend to anyone considering a first Mac is to schedule a personal shopper appointment with your nearest Apple Store. Give them a call to setup an appointment. This will allow you a solid hour with an Apple Store employee to go over all of the models to find the one that best suits you and have all of your questions answered. It's a free service and there's no obligation to buy anything.
That is astonishing! I didn't know that such service exist..does this apply to only Apple Store? Does their Premium / Authorized Resellers are obligated to provide the same service as well?
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cwa107

 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by klystorm View Post
That is astonishing! I didn't know that such service exist..does this apply to only Apple Store? Does their Premium / Authorized Resellers are obligated to provide the same service as well?
Not that I'm aware of - I'm pretty sure that's one of the benefits of an Apple Store. But you should definitely call ahead to get an appointment as most Apple Stores are packed to the gills with people and it can be tough to get that kind of service when they're busy.

If you have an appointment, you'll just check in with the concierge at the front of the store and they'll get you squared away quickly.

Another nice thing is that anytime you need technical support, you don't have to deal with an outsourced drone from Bangalore. You can schedule a "Genius Bar" appointment online, go down to the store and have your question addressed in person.

And it's not like dealing with the "Geek Squad" at Best Buy - these folks are highly trained, and work on only Macs. So, you don't get some pimple-faced 19-year-old that lives in his Mom's basement and thinks he knows something about computers because of his 96 hour stints playing World of Warcraft without sleep.

While Macs do tend to be pricey, this is part of what you're paying for.

Liquid and computers don't mix. It might seem simple, but we see an incredible amount of people post here about spills. Keep drinks and other liquids away from your expensive electronics!
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Kaioshoryuken1

 
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I had mentioned in an iPod thread earlier how I received a 32GB iPod touch from my parents (4th gen) for my birthday last year, and I was with them in the store while we picked it out. I didn't have my old 1st gen Touch backed up just yet, because I didn't realize that I could do the trade in program with it and save my dad some $$$. Usually it's at the time of the transaction of the new iPod that they process the trade in of the old one. However, they let us bring the receipt and old iPod in later that day to give us the credit back after I had taken care of backing up my files on it. That right there was amazing customer service, and in addition, I owned 4 iPods before that, two with hard drive failures and they gave me "new" refurb units free of cost, one outside of applecare. That's amazing customer service right there.

On the other hand, Dell was horrible, didn't listen to my problems, didn't help me with them towards the end while I was still within warranty. Who did I get my new laptop from when the Dell broke? Apple And boy, am I happy!!

Also to note, I have the 13" MBP and overheating is not an issue with mine, as of yet. It does get hot when the underside of the laptop is covered up by resting on a blanket or my thigh, and I also have a Speck See-Thru hard case on it. Even though there are ventilation holes in the case, I have a feeling some heat gets trapped inside. If it really is an issue for you, try the desk stand cooling fan, or try to use the laptop in your lap allowing air to reach the back of it, and shift your position every once in awhile. Also, if you get a MB Air, don't put a silicone keyboard cover over it since the air vents out of the keyboard.
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Mac23

 
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I became a Mac user in 2006 after falling in love with the iPod. I had a Toshiba Satellite that seriously overheated during my first year of owning it and decided to go another route.

I chose to get the White MacBook, despite worries of completely switching to a different OS, however, my worries were quickly disregarded once I began using the machine. After using OS X I find it hard to use Windows when I'm forced to.

I recently purchased a 2011 MBP and it's quite possibly the best machine I've had. Elegant, light, powerful, and convenient. After I purchased the base model, I upgraded to 8GB of RAM myself and the thing flies.

I'm majoring in Computer Science, so I've ran some extensive programs on it, including heavy Adobe Flash projects as well as Photoshop and Dreamweaver.
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FiosFiend

 
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I've had my MBP for a little over two years now and I've never had it shut down from overheating. The only time I've ever seen it get too hot to put on my lap is when I'm doing video rendering or playing some graphic intensive game. I have a cool pad for those times or I just put it on a desk top. At those times the fans can get a bit noisy but no more than any other notebook in the same circumstance.

As others have said, the Macbook is the best designed notebook computer on the market. You needn't worry about such things. Just get it and become yet another convert who will be thrilled with the purchase.

Just as an aside, I would recommend that you get the Apple Care. I bought it on mine and it's paid for itself. I had my superdrive go out and got a new one, no charge. I also went in to get my battery replaced as it was not holding much of a charge after 2 years. They ran a diagnostic on it and said that it was not depleted but did need replacing, so they gave me a new one for free because I had the Apple Care.

Macbook Pro 15" anti glare 2.8Ghz
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Kaioshoryuken1

 
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Fios, the battery is covered under Applecare? (well through mechanical error, not misuse/accidents) That's great to know, and puts me at ease with my Macbook. My previous Dell's battery was depleted after two years of charging and under my "Complete Care" extended warranty they did not cover it. They even further tried to rip me off by trying to sell me a $149 battery when I got a $29 one that worked better with free shipping from Amazon. I understand the mac battery is much more reliable and heck, provides much more time under one charge (3X my old battery!) but I still worry about it malfunctioning simply because I take my laptop EVERYWHERE I go.
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FiosFiend

 
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Yep, my battery was covered under the warranty. It had been performing pretty badly for some time and then I noticed that when I clicked on the battery indicator at the top there was a warning sign that said "service battery". I took it in and they ran a diagnostic and said, that it was NOT depleted but that it did need replacing so, they gave me a free one.....took 5 minutes to replace.

Macbook Pro 15" anti glare 2.8Ghz
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MacDigger

 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by chas_m View Post
Too warm to balance on the family jewels if you catch my drift.
LOL! There's actually a real danger with having warm or hot things on your lap. Heat can easily damage sperm which is why testicles are housed OUTSIDE the main area of the body. One of those strange but true science facts I learned in school.

Internal body heat is apparently too much for our beloved testicles so they have to live out in the shed.
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Kaioshoryuken1

 
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Too much information...

Someone please pass me the brain bleach. Stat.
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pendlewitch

 
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Oh no..don't get me going on battery health..it's Christmas Eve

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taqu

 
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Thanks everyone for the replies. Some really helpful feedback

I know that generally all notebooks overheat. But, as a translator I need to work over 10 hrs nonstop at times. I have a hangup about overheating because I've experienced the crashing from overheating problem, and its not just frustrating, it often means losing pay. Also, I got wary because of the supposed thermal paste issues in this model.

As for cooling, because of the vent position in the MBP I assumed most cooling stands won't be as much use as with those with vents on the bottom. Any recommendations on what does work?

Thanks for the comment on Apple care, Fios, I was trying to work out if it was worth it. You can wait up to one year and still get the 3 year plan right? Or do you have to buy it at the same time?

On the compatibility issues, I don't want to have Windows, but the translation software I'm familiar with like Trados offer only "working solutions" for Mac users which involve Windows. Looks like the translation world is still mostly a PC world. But I've been looking for platform neutral translation tools and found quite a few, so I won't let that be an obstacle!
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Kaioshoryuken1

 
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As long as your 1 year limited warranty is still valid, you can purchase Applecare, and you will have to register it online (which is super easy.) I wouldn't recommend waiting, however, since you only get a limited amount of time for call in support without Applecare activated. Once you have Applecare, you can call Apple anytime through the 3 years after purchase and they will be happy to help you.

As far as translation tools go, sorry, can't help you much there I just rely on google, so yeah >.>
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