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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?" :)

Going to give Apple a try. What to buy?


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Just Waltzing

 
Member Since: Mar 05, 2013
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Hello all, glad to be part of this forum. First of all, I am excited and ready to take a leap into the Apple world. After all the resistance I've put up and after all of my attempts to safeguard the Windows brand (for personal computing at least), I can't deny the quality and appeal of these machines.
This post is kind of a two-part post. First, I am 90-percent sure I am going to buy either an iMac or MacBook Pro Retina. That missing 10-percent revolves around one very general question: As a lifetime Windows user, I don't worry about software/hardware compatability or instances where web browsing is somehow affected because I own a Mac (if that even has any truth to it), so how often do you folks have these imcompatibility issues? Is it rare? Perhaps it depends on what you're doing, so let me throw out some words that can paint a rought picture of my usage:
College Student, use microsoft word, rarely use excell, use powerpoint, no gaming, no programming or photo/video editing, happy owner of Samsung Galaxy S3, youtube, casual web browsing, and maybe Hulu. Will ever run into any sort of problems using what I just listed? A simple yes or no will do
Second, which machine to buy? Based on what I listed, will a 15" MacBook Pro Retina suffice as a home PC replacement, or is the iMac the better option for roughly the same price? It's a mouthful but I appreciate your time! Thank you!
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S.SubZero

 
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Your usage scenarios make incompatibilities sound infrequent. Your only issue might be if your college distributes some code related to a class and it's only for Windows. Which is uncommon these days. I don't know anything about the Android phones but I assume yours can do firmware updates and the like over the air so needing a PC to do that is unlikely.

A home PC replacement would be an iMac.
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chas_m

 
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Unless you need the computer to be portable, I'd suggest the iMac.
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bobtomay

 
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Or you want to be able to start sitting on the couch / favorite arm chair to use your computer instead of being tied to a desk.

I cannot be held responsible for the things that come out of my mouth.
In the Windows world, most everything folks don't understand is called a virus.
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cwa107

 
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If you do decide to go with the MacBook Pro, I would recommend against the Retina model for several reasons...

First and foremost, the Retina display, while being a novel concept, is just about useless in practice as few applications exist that can truly take advantage of it. And of those that don't, you'll be looking at scaled up images that can make it appear fuzzy, completely negating the advantage of a high-res display. Yes, there will be more applications down the road - but for the tasks that most users use a home machine for, the Retina display isn't worth the extra cash outlay over and above the standard MacBook Pro.

Another "advantage" the Retina MacBook Pro (rMBP going forward) is in its thinness. The standard MBP is already amongst the thinnest machines in the industry, but the rMBP takes it one step further. Because of this, Apple had to make certain compromises in the design. Most significantly, the system memory is soldered fast, and secondly, the SSD uses a semi-proprietary formfactor, meaning that you can't upgrade the memory at all and the SSD can't be easily upgraded (as it can be in the standard MacBook Pro).

Additionally, the battery is epoxied into the case. This means that it can't be changed out without visiting Apple - though Apple apparently offers a replacement service for $200. Personally, I'd rather be able to change it out myself as can be done on the standard MacBook Pro.

And finally, if you plan on using optical media, you will have to do so with an external drive on the rMBP... it doesn't include the built-in (and handy) optical drive in the standard MBP.

Personally, I find the rMBP to be a compromised machine - and those compromises simply don't yield enough benefits to justify having to suffer through them.

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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Just Waltzing

 
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I guess it's safe to say I should probably never have compatibility issues.
As far as opting out for the non-Retina MCP, I do think that display will be worth it in the long run. Also, I prefer not having a disc drive included in my upcmonig purchase. Considering the points cwa107 made, I am leaning towards an iMac 27 inch. I don't mind doing work on a desk because I'm totally used to it. Plus I have a Kindle FireHD to use if I want to use something portable for media. Thanks for the replies. If you have any other suggestions or questions, I'd love to hear em.
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ycl1688

 
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You are a perfect candidate for apple product, you will not want to a window pc any more, once you
get hooked to apple eco system, you may want to get rid of your phone and get iphone, once you
know how apple is addicting.
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mdurkin

 
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Your list of requirements for computing doesn't scream I need a Mac. I am not sure why you would spend the extra money for a Mac.

I agree with the points that cwa107 said about the disk, I have the MBP Retina and have wished I had a DVD drive a few times. One of those times it was a tremendous pain in the neck trying to get the software from the CD it came on to a format that I could install on the MBP. While I can understand some reasons for taking this approach, I think its a glaring oversight from Apple. Lots of software and media still require a disk (Red Box, Block Buster Express when traveling for instance).

Also, the MBP Retina doesn't have a network interface (other than built in wireless), which is also a problem from time to time. The retina display doesn't bother me at all, but I don't see anything special about it either.

If you decide to get a Mac, you don't need to buy MS Word, you can either do Office 365, which is pretty good in my opinion, or Libre Office. As a college student, you are probably typing lots of papers and possibly presentations. You need something, but Office 365 is plenty and cheaper than the standard office purchase out of the gate. I have used Libre Office, but not on the Mac, so I can't say for sure how good it is on Mac. I have it on my Linux laptop and do like it there. It's a great substitute for the office suite, but I still prefer MS Office.
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J.Fo

 
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Quote:
Your list of requirements for computing doesn't scream I need a Mac. I am not sure why you would spend the extra money for a Mac.
Maybe he just wants a really nice machine that will run well, has a great screen, unsurpassed build quality, the best desktop operating system, and will last many years to come. Why is that not worth the extra money?

Quote:
While I can understand some reasons for taking this approach, I think its a glaring oversight from Apple.
"Oversight" implies that Apple didn't realize what it was doing when it dropped the optical drive. It certainly did. The drop was intentional and one of the ways that it was able to get the machine to be as thin and light as it is. Considering that eventually all PCs will drop the optical drive, I'd say that Apple's just ahead of the game in this regard like it was for not including a floppy drive in the original iMac.

It should be pointed out (assuming the original poster doesn't already realize this) that the new iMac also dropped the optical drive. In fact the only two Macs Apple sells now that feature an optical drive are regular MacBook Pros and the Mac Pros. In every other model, it has been phased out. Hardly an oversight if you ask me. If the user really needs it, he can always purchase an external drive from Apple or a third party vendor.

I also agree with those who say that if you don't need it to be portable, the iMac may be the better choice. That said, I used an old white MacBook (late-2007 model) for many years and it worked great as my main computer. I fully expect the Retina MacBook Pro would be just as good if not better in this regard.

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mdurkin

 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by J.Fo View Post
Maybe he just wants a really nice machine that will run well, has a great screen, unsurpassed build quality, the best desktop operating system, and will last many years to come. Why is that not worth the extra money?
Because you could do that and spend much less. If you want to spend the money go ahead, but in my opinion, if you are in college, probably money does matter. If you can save, you should. I have two girls in college right now and I know that they need to be careful how they spend money. We gave each of our kids (four so far, one to go) a technology budget of 1500.00 when they graduated from high school. They could do whatever they wanted with that, but that was it. The rest was on you. My kids have to be frugal.


[QUOTE="Oversight" implies that Apple didn't realize what it was doing when it dropped the optical drive. It certainly did. The drop was intentional and one of the ways that it was able to get the machine to be as thin and light as it is. Considering that eventually all PCs will drop the optical drive, I'd say that Apple's just ahead of the game in this regard like it was for not including a floppy drive in the original iMac.

.[/QUOTE]

Yes, it was clearly intentional, that makes it an oversight. Otherwise it would have just been a mistake.

I know that there will be a day that CD's and DVD's are not necessary, but it is not that time yet. I can think of many reasons they are still valuable. Also, don't understand why only two USB ports and adding a thunderbolt port. I kind of like idea of the thunderbolt port, but so far it isn't useful. Hopefully it will get better adoption than firewire did. Seems like it could be useful at some point, but I don't think it is yet.
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Just Waltzing

 
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To be honest, I don't remember the last time I used any kind of disc with my Dell. It has to be something like 2 or 3 years; it slowly became useless.

I am also aware that I can purchase a cheaper computer that will do as much (maybe more). I am instead jumping into the Apple world for a few reasons: Windows 8, screen and form factor appeal, durability/reliability (as I've heard from others), and because I have saved money for a high-end desktop or laptop for some time. In my eyes, the extra money is worth it :]

Also, I've owned two iPhones in the past! Except I fell in love with the S3...just not the build quality
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Just Waltzing

 
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Oh, and I was told by the Apple store guy that "Pages" works just as well as MS Word. But I don't think I'm taking his word for it because when I asked how familiar he was with the newest version of Word, he said, "I haven't used Word in years." Hmmmmm

Any of you guys have sufficient experience with both?
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harryb2448

 
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Office 2011 for me for one. And agree with you regarding optical drives. Bootable USB thumb drives are the go particularly with Apple making operating systems available by download only.

Hang on to those original install discs like grim death! Using OS X.7 or later make a bootable USB thumb drive before running Installer!
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chas_m

 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mdurkin View Post
Also, the MBP Retina doesn't have a network interface (other than built in wireless), which is also a problem from time to time.
Sorry, have to fix this obvious error. While the adapter doesn't come with the rMBP, the Thunderbolt port does indeed double as an Ethernet port (Gigabit Ethernet in fact), and of course the USB port can be used for "mobile sticks" giving you cellular access.
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My 2 cents:

Every time I go to a family members home, and hop on to their Windows machines, I am reminded of how grateful I am to be four+ years in with OS X. Every aspect of my now aged 15" matte screen MBP still says that it is far more advanced than any one of their new ones. From the build quality, to the functionality of something like the trackpad and gestures (which mind you, a lot of people don't even take advantage of).

OS X is the key, and IMHO worth paying what some consider "more" for, vs paying $400 for a piece of junk that might last a couple of years, if one is lucky.

Doug
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