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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 of switching to a MacBook Pro...


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Tory

 
Member Since: Mar 20, 2007
Posts: 4
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Hello everyone!

I currently own an Alienware Area-51 desktop computer and now that I am starting college I am in desperate need of a laptop. I was browsing around a Barne's and Noble one day and saw a Macworld magazine and started flipping through it. Instantly I fell in love... er, lust, perhaps. I have a few questions before I take the dive, because if I am spending $3,000, I want to be sure I am making the right choice.

Firstly, I design a lot of websites... I know Macs are for the "hip and creative", but I see a lot more music, pictures, and video advertised than I do web design. Am I still going to be able to program my PHP/MySQL-heavy websites with a MacBook Pro? Currently I use Zend and Dreamweaver.

Second, along with these online sites comes the business side of things. This involves a lot of writing (business models/plans, charting revenue growth, etc.). Am I going to be able to create such documents and have them be compatible with Windows-based computers? I did see that Office 2008 is in the works, but currently there is only 2004. Has there been a release date set for 2008, or is it just a rumor?

Third, how is the OS speed compared to Windows? Some people tell me OS X is faster than Windows, and others say the opposite.

And lastly, I was wondering about a couple of hardware problems. First, no MacBook comes with a numpad on the right-hand side. Are there are USB numpads that I could plug in to use? Reason being is I deal with stocks and with a lot of numbers, so reaching above the keyboard will be very inefficient as opposed to a numpad. Also, can you right click with a mouse? I have read that you can OPTION-CLICK or something of that nature to replicate a "right-click", but again that would be very inefficient.

Thanks in advance guys, hopefully I hear what I am hoping to hear and end up going with it!

My Possible MacBook Pro Stats:
2.33GHz Intel Core 2 Duo
3GB 667 DDR2 SDRAM
160GB Serial ATA Drive
SuperDrive 6x (DVD+R DL/DVD±RW/CD-RW)
MacBook Pro 15-inch Widescreen Display
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chaslam

 
Member Since: May 18, 2006
Location: Brighton UK
Posts: 90
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Mac Specs: MBP C2D 2GB, 24" imac 4GB

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Hey, I cant answer all your questions, but I can answer some.

As far as im aware, no release date is set for Office 08, however I cant be 100% about that.

OSX is a **** of alot faster then windows, a **** of alot faster. I used to use a windows machine, and I brought a mac mini about 2 years ago and ive never looked back, and have owned 3 macs since then. Once you use it, you will relise what you have been missing and you will fall in love, and want to replace your PC with one.

Yes, you can right click. Either touch 2 fingers on the touchpad at the same time, or just an external mouse and just right click like normal. It has been a while since you couldn't right click on macs from stock machines without pressing the apple-key.

Pretty much everything you can do on a windows PC office wise, you can do on a mac. Also, if you find there is something you are restricted with, then you can just install XP or Vista via bootcamp or parrells.

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dohidied

 
Member Since: Mar 20, 2006
Location: Petaluma, CA
Posts: 574
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Mac Specs: 20" iMac 2.0 GHz Intel Core Duo, 12" iBook G4 1.07 GHz

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When comparing similar hardware on the same programs, OS X and Windows perform about the same. There isn't much of a difference in sheer speed of the operating systems.
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bobtomay

 
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Member Since: Dec 22, 2006
Location: Texas, where else?
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Mac Specs: 15" MBP 2.33 C2D 256 4GB, MBA 13" i7 1.8, MB 2.0 2GB, Nano 4th, 3GS, iPad 1

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Firstly, sorry, have to say (know I should forget it and just move on, but I have big problem with statements like that and nothing to back it up), disregard the fanboy comments. And fanboys, both sides, Mac and MS, those kind of comments don't help anyone.

Quote:
Third, how is the OS speed compared to Windows? Some people tell me OS X is faster than Windows, and others say the opposite.
Speed between the two OS's is very hard to quantify, due to multiple items which I won't go into here. I think what you are really looking for is something that may compare to your Alienware in a notebook. Whether that be a Mac or a PC, I think that will be pretty tough, depending on the age (and therefore the hardware) of your Alienware rig.

Only had my MBP since Dec. and it occupies 90% of my computing time now. For most of the everyday things: browsing internet, listening to music, e-mail, working with documents, don't really see much difference between the MBP and my desktop (see spec's below).

Here is a review by PC Mag where they rated it an Editor's Choice (a first for any magazine I'm aware of that is geared toward the PC hardware enthusiast). At the end of the article is a link with some benchmark #'s and the MBP is very competetive across the board.

The areas where the MBP has problems keeping up with my desktop involve video editing/encoding, reading and writing of large files and burning to disk. Have a comparison I posted a couple of months ago. But, I think some of this may be inherent in any notebook. Overall, have been and still am at this time very satisfied with my choice of going with the Mac.

For right click - any two button mouse will work and for a number pad, here's a Logitech option. Have seen a couple of others.

Adobe does port Dreamweaver to the Mac. don't know anything about Zend. And I don't do any web design, etc. myself. Would like to see some posts from the regulars pertaining to that.

Don't think a Mac would be a bad choice for you, but, like you say, would do a little homework before ya spend 3K to make sure you'll have the software you need available. Of course, since you can install XP on your Mac, you could have the best of both worlds also.

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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Tory

 
Member Since: Mar 20, 2007
Posts: 4
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After I posted this I called Zend and they do in fact support OS X with their latest release..

Thanks for all of the information guys!
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Lisa

 
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Member Since: Feb 14, 2007
Location: USA
Posts: 162
Lisa will become famous soon enough
Mac Specs: 15.4" MBP Core2 Duo, 2.33MHZ, 160GB HD, 2GB RAM, ATI X1600 256 MB

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You'll love it - I recently switched and had the same concerns you mention - the USB number pad works great, I use a bluetooth kensington mouse, and I run dreamweaver with no problem. My mouse connects automatically better than it did on windows. I run parallels for the times when I absolutely have to be working in IE. I love OS/X and I absolutely love my MBP.

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Tory

 
Member Since: Mar 20, 2007
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Lisa View Post
You'll love it - I recently switched and had the same concerns you mention - the USB number pad works great, I use a bluetooth kensington mouse, and I run dreamweaver with no problem. My mouse connects automatically better than it did on windows. I run parallels for the times when I absolutely have to be working in IE. I love OS/X and I absolutely love my MBP.

I have yet to have to work in IE for years, Firefox all the way. So if that is the only time you have to switch to Windows on Parrellel's then that is fine with me.
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