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bishopazrael 07-25-2006 01:25 PM

Thoughts for switchers and gamers/ must read advice for buying a new notebook!
 
Ok so I've had a few questions about this so I'm going to give you my perspective on buying a new MB or MBP. Some of this advice is specific to gamers, some not, but you can use all of it to help you decide which is right for you, and how to go about it.

Let me preface this by saying this: I own and operate www.spaceage-computers.com. I served Oregon up until last month. I moved here to Albuquerque NM and will be changing the page to reflect that. Anyways I make my living with onsite repairs. I run my PC repair company on Macs. First a 12" PB g4, and now a 15" MBP. So I think I might know a thing or 2 about computers and the end users needs. Trust me this advice comes from seeing years of people and their issues.


Well, firstly the Macbook wont run the games very well at all. You HAVE to get the Macbook Pro. The difference is the video RAM. The Macbooks only have like 32mb of shared video ram. The MBP has at least 128mb of VRAM. I think the new ones have 256. But once you have that, games run great. I run Battlefield 2 with no problems. ( I honestly dont have time to do much else )

A few thoughts though.
1. when you buy the mbp, buy the BASE (ie.. the least ) amount of memory you can from Apple. Then go to CompUSA or Fry's or Newegg.com and get the rest of the memory there. Get 2 1gb sticks from newegg.com for like $170.

2. Get an external hard drive. Firewire would be best. I build my own external HDD's. Get something like 300gb at least. Once you get that, what you want to do is to format it with the Mac OS and format it in DISK UTILITY in the MS DOS format. Thats FAT32. You cant do that in XP... go figure. Formatting in FAT32 means that you do not have to partition the drive, you can use it on both XP and Mac and both can read/write to it. You want at least 300gb worth of space because you will be installing extra programs onto it eventually on both Mac and XP, as well as storing extra files and such.

3. When you do the bootcamp partition, give XP at least 20 gb of space. WHy? Gaming in XP is hella expensive in terms of disk space. If you're a gamer on XP, you know this. Give it at least 20 gb, maybe more if you can. Use the external HDD from #2 to install games to if possible. Remember that youll also be installing things like Flash, itunes, MS Office, and other small proggies. Keep this in mind when doing your partition. Once the partitioning is done, thats it. No shifting it on the fly in OS X once its done.

4. Put a shortcut on your Mac desktop to your MY DOCUMENTS folder in your XP partition. It helps TREMENDOUSLY to have that.

5. When doing the setup / install of XP it will ask you in the beginning if you want to format your xp drive. DO NOT. Leave the file system in tact. You want the FAT32 file system, so that the Mac can write to it if need be.

6. Bootcamp vs Parrallels. My take is this, gaming, you want bootcamp. Everything else can use parrallels. Except for things like GPS and certain other USB things. I have MS Streets and trips and a Navman USB GPS and it doesnt work in Parallels. But it works great in bootcamp. SO some things that are usb specific you should try before deciding. Generics like mice and keyboards will work. Personally I use bootcamp ONLY. Why? When I need windows, I want ALL my resources. And to me its not that big a deal to just reboot.

Aside from that I can't really think of too much else I'd say to a customer right off the bat without questions. If you have some, post them and I'll do my best to answer.

Hope it helps.
Bishop

cazabam 07-25-2006 02:16 PM

"Formatting in FAT32 means that you do not have to partition the drive, you can use it on both XP and Mac and both can read/write to it."

Sorry to nitpick, but you most certainly DO have to partition the drive; it just means that you can have one large partition rather than a 'mac' partition and a 'windows' partition. However, HFS+ being a *nix filesystem, it has the concept of permissions and ownership that FAT32 (vfat to be precise - a layer above the base filesystem - fat32 on its own doesn't support long file names) lacks.

baggss 07-25-2006 02:43 PM

I think what he means is that there is a partition size limit for FAT32 when formating in WinXP (there is not if you use Win95, Win98 or WinME to do it though). There is not one when you format as disc to FAT32 on OSX. This is MSs way of forcing you to use NTFS on larger discs.

My question is on point #4. I was under the impression that when you use Bootcamp the Mac partiiton did not/could not see the Windows partition. Can it?

dohidied 07-25-2006 03:06 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by baggss
My question is on point #4. I was under the impression that when you use Bootcamp the Mac partiiton did not/could not see the Windows partition. Can it?

OS X can read NTFS partitions, it just can't write to them.

baggss 07-25-2006 03:08 PM

That was not my question. I am assuming that the Windows partition is FAT32 and not NTFS, as per item #5.

dohidied 07-25-2006 04:21 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by baggss
That was not my question. I am assuming that the Windows partition is FAT32 and not NTFS, as per item #5.

If the Windows patition is FAT32 then OS X can read and write to it. Is that what you're asking?

D3v1L80Y 07-25-2006 04:29 PM

another thread on the whole FAT32 / NTFS thing???

baggss 07-25-2006 04:40 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by dohidied
If the Windows patition is FAT32 then OS X can read and write to it. Is that what you're asking?

Yes, I was under the impression, and I don't know why to be honest, that the 2 partitions were mutually exclusive with Bootcamp. It makes sense that the Mac would be able to see and read/write to the Windows (FAT32) partition, I just didn't think it could. Obviously I was wrong, thanks for clearing that up!

Quote:

Originally Posted by D3v1L80Y
another thread on the whole FAT32 / NTFS thing???

Nope, just a misunderstood question....

bishopazrael 07-25-2006 04:41 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by baggss
I think what he means is that there is a partition size limit for FAT32 when formating in WinXP (there is not if you use Win95, Win98 or WinME to do it though). There is not one when you format as disc to FAT32 on OSX. This is MSs way of forcing you to use NTFS on larger discs.

My question is on point #4. I was under the impression that when you use Bootcamp the Mac partiiton did not/could not see the Windows partition. Can it?

Yes it can. Mine shows up as another drive on the desktop.

bishopazrael 07-25-2006 05:20 PM

Just to be clear. Mac can read both ntfs and fat32. It can only write to fat32. I'm not sure how others have done it, but when I partitioned my drive i set it up as fat32. That way when i'm on the Mac and downloading something, I can drag and drop it onto the shortcut for MY DOCUMENTS on the XP partition.

baggss 07-25-2006 05:22 PM

That was not part of my question and there a LOT of other threads about NTFS vs FAT32

MacMania55 07-25-2006 05:22 PM

Quote:

Well, firstly the Macbook wont run the games very well at all. You HAVE to get the Macbook Pro. The difference is the video RAM. The Macbooks only have like 32mb of shared video ram. The MBP has at least 128mb of VRAM. I think the new ones have 256. But once you have that, games run great. I run Battlefield 2 with no problems. ( I honestly dont have time to do much else )
Actually the macbook has 64 mb of video Ram. Please check your facts before giving people false information :)

dtravis7 07-25-2006 05:27 PM

Baggss, are you asking this, when in OSX can you see the Windows Partition? If so, yes it shows up as a drive on the OSX Desktop.

If this is not what you were after, sorry.

baggss 07-25-2006 05:46 PM

Yes, that was my original question. As I said, for some reason I was under the assumption, incorrectly, that OSX would not see the Windows partition.

The Applenator 07-25-2006 05:46 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by bishopazrael
Well, firstly the Macbook wont run the games very well at all. You HAVE to get the Macbook Pro. The difference is the video RAM. The Macbooks only have like 32mb of shared video ram. The MBP has at least 128mb of VRAM. I think the new ones have 256. But once you have that, games run great. I run Battlefield 2 with no problems. ( I honestly dont have time to do much else )

I'm guessing you now own a 15" MBPro. Do you have the one with the 256 vram or the 128? I plan on playing BF2 as well, and I am looking at getting that MBPro as well, I am just curious what your actual setup is?
And absolutely love BF2.


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