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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?" :)

Looking for experienced opinion on switching to Mac


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xaelophorus

 
Member Since: Jul 12, 2007
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Hello all,

I've always been more or less a MS fanboy, but lately I've been looking into Macs and I think it may be time to switch---but first I'd like to hear the opinions of those who know the Mac world.

I have to buy a portable computer for my education. Should it be a Vista laptop or a MacBook/MacBook Pro?

I start next month at the University of Florida in the civil engineering program. During my course of study I will have to use programs such as AutoCad which only run in Windows. I have a spare copy of Windows XP from when I upgraded my current PC to Vista. (Assuming that I can reuse the now-unused copy of XP.) Theoretically, this means I could install Windows on the MacBook and have "the best of both worlds."

I've been tinkering with the new Windows version of Safari, and I love it. In fact, I generally like the way Apple develops its products. I prefer Mac's approach to computers, too.

This brings me to my two main questions:

1) Does anyone know if the XP CDs marked "For Distribution Only With A New PC" can actually install Windows? (I intend to use that CD to install Windows on the MacBook, as I am no longer using XP on my PC.)

2) Does a normal MacBook (not Pro) run XP well, or is it sluggish? I also play games such as World of Warcraft and Lord of the Rings Online on my PC---does anyone know how well these specific titles work on a MacBook? Or should I really splurge and get a MacBook Pro?

Also, are there any drawbacks to using Boot Camp to run Windows? (Other than having to reboot the computer to switch OS.) In other words, would having a MacBook with Boot Camp and Windows installed be just as capable as a normal Windows-based laptop? If so, what would be a reason not to get a MacBook?

I apologize for such a long post, but I value hearing the views of others. Many thanks in advance for your answers!
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remain

 
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1) Not sure about the "For Distribution Only With A New PC" part but a Windows XP Service Pack 2 CD is required.

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D3v1L80Y

 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by xaelophorus View Post
I have to buy a portable computer for my education. Should it be a Vista laptop or a MacBook/MacBook Pro?
That would depend on your school's hardware/software requirements. You need to first call and check with them before you buy anything.
Quote:
I start next month at the University of Florida in the civil engineering program. During my course of study I will have to use programs such as AutoCad which only run in Windows. I have a spare copy of Windows XP from when I upgraded my current PC to Vista. (Assuming that I can reuse the now-unused copy of XP.) Theoretically, this means I could install Windows on the MacBook and have "the best of both worlds."
Theoretically, yes... but it would be far from the 'best'. Sure Windows runs fine with BootCamp, but if you need Windows primarily, then just get a Windows computer.
Look at it this way:
Sure, you could use a smaller slot-head screwdriver on a phillips-head screw... but you would be much better off just using the phillips-head screwdriver since that is what the job calls for.
In short, use the best tool for the job at all times. In this case, it is a Windows machine, not a Mac running Windows.
Quote:
If so, what would be a reason not to get a MacBook?
Again, the simple fact remains: Your primary need for school requires you to run Windows. Don't get a Mac because in this case, it isn't the right tool for your job.

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shahvikram123

 
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yep XP with bootcamp runs fine on the macbook.

The question should which OS would you use more? If your going to use XP more than like 50% of the time then theres no point getting a macbook then you would be better of buying a cheaper dell laptop.
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Levi

 
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Well, if you really like the Mac hardware and you'd like to play around with OS X then there's no reason why you can't buy a Macbook and use it to run Windows half the time... but you'll probably be paying for more than you need.

As for running games on MacBook... not really advisable because of the integrated graphics. You'll have to look up the minimum specs for the game you want and match it with the computer you're looking at, and it might run fine... but it's not really a gaming machine. The MacBook Pro on the other hand should handle the latest games with ease.
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mongoloido

 
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Give a call to UF's bookstore, and have them connect you to someone who sells the hardware and software. Ask the person if they have Student Media Editions of XP/Vista. University of Cincinnati has them, and it makes XP/Vista practically free ($5 for XP, and $10 for Vista). The catch, I believe, is you must be a student at the participating school, and you can only purchase one copy of the OS every couple years... Software can be obscenely cheap for college students.
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"For Distribution Only With A New PC" is OEM software (original equipment manufacturer). OEM software is every bit as complete as a retail version and will install exactly the same. OEM is priced cheaper because it is tied to hardware. Either a reseller will use OEM on their computers, or if you're building your own computer you can purchase OEM licenses. It's a bit fuzzy exactly what hardware justifies OEM but certainly a new hard drive is enough and a new Mac laptop is enough too. OEM software can not be transferred to a different computer.

If your Vista was an upgrade version then your XP license is not freed up to be used on another computer.

I don't know anything about education discounts. They sound pretty impressive though. $10 for Vista? I'm enrolling!

As mentioned elsewhere, there's no performance hit in software when using boot camp.

A few months ago I got an OEM Vista that was on 4 disks. Boot camp couldn't install a multiple disk OS. Things may be different now. Either boot camp can do multiple disk installs or Vista OEM should be on one disk.

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wytwolf

 
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"For Distribution Only With A New PC" means it's OEM. It was alot cheaper then the retail version and I would say came with your computer when you bought it. The OEM's are usually only sold to computer makers or businesses that sell computers.

The oem could cause a problem. Microsoft has records of that software is linked to what hardware. That's why if you significantly upgrade your current computer (ie more then 4-5 components) you sometimes have to phone microsoft the next time you run windows genuine advantage. You then have to explain you upgraded your computer(only works on desktop towers for obvious reasons). I don't think they will believe you upgraded you components in you desktop to turn it into a macbook/macbook pro. But if you can get xp/vista media editions for $5-$10 from your university like mongoloido said then getting another copy of windows is no problem.
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Ninjab3ar

 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by xaelophorus View Post
I start next month at the University of Florida in the civil engineering program. During my course of study I will have to use programs such as AutoCad which only run in Windows. I have a spare copy of Windows XP from when I upgraded my current PC to Vista. (Assuming that I can reuse the now-unused copy of XP.) Theoretically, this means I could install Windows on the MacBook and have "the best of both worlds."
Hi xaelphorus, Im currently studying architecture at Floria International University and i use programs like AutoCAD 2007 Sketchup, Rhino, 3d Studio Max, and Adobe creative suite 3 on my MacBook Pro with XP on Boot Camp.

All the programs run well on XP and dont give me problems. However, although AutoCAD will run fine on the MacBook, I recommend that you get a MacBook pro. The better video card and larger screen would come in handy, especially when playing games.

If the MacBook Pro is out of your budget, GET A PC LAPTOP. The MacBook will dissapoint you for its price.

Quote:
Originally Posted by wytwolf View Post
But if you can get xp/vista media editions for $5-$10 from your university like mongoloido said then getting another copy of windows is no problem.
Media Center Editions do NOT work with bootcamp.
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professorjay

 
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I'll second what everyone said about running in Boot Camp. That will for work fine for all your school needs. It's up to you to decide if it's worth the money for Apple hardware and using OS X for your casual computer use. The Macbook may be lacking for your gaming requirements though.

And coming from a Gator alumn: GOOOO GATOOOOOOORS!!!
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jcrm21

 
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I'm a Gator Grad (2005) from the Civil Engineering program and given the information I have been reading lately with Boot Camp I will be making a switch to Mac as well. My firm is currently running AutoCAD Civil 3D 2008, Land Desktop 2008, Map 2008, etc. and I am looking forward to see the performance of Civil 3D through a Mac (Macbook Pro). Good luck at UF, you will love it, and if you have any questions feel free to contact me.
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Ninjab3ar

 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jcrm21 View Post
and I am looking forward to see the performance of Civil 3D through a Mac (Macbook Pro). you have any questions feel free to contact me.
If youre doing it on XP or Vista, the performance of Civil 3D will be just like on an equally specced PC. Theres nothing "special" in a Mac that really makes it any different.

What makes the Mac experience so great is OS X. While youre not using those programs you need for work, youll notice how much better of an operating system OS X is in comparison to windows.

You wont regret it!
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Alexis

 
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Quote:
"For Distribution Only With A New PC" means it's OEM. It was alot cheaper then the retail version and I would say came with your computer when you bought it. The OEM's are usually only sold to computer makers or businesses that sell computers.

The oem could cause a problem. Microsoft has records of that software is linked to what hardware. That's why if you significantly upgrade your current computer (ie more then 4-5 components) you sometimes have to phone microsoft the next time you run windows genuine advantage.
Try ringing Microsoft if your Mac complains, but don't worry - there is an easy way to bypass the hilariously smugly named 'Genuine Advantage'.
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Village Idiot

 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Alexis View Post
Try ringing Microsoft if your Mac complains, but don't worry - there is an easy way to bypass the hilariously smugly named 'Genuine Advantage'.
How's that?

OP - If you're going to be doing anything that involves CAD work, I would reccomend skipping the MB and going with atleast the 15"MBP and investing in a seperate monitor ((Doesn't have to be apple if you want to save some cash...you can find 22" widescreens for under $300 now)).

the Macbook only comes with integrated graphics, where as the MBP now comes with the Nvidia m 8600 gt...Go for the 2.4 ghz processor version as it also has the 256mb version of that gpu. More 3d power never hurts when CADing...so to say...

The 17" would be even better as it has the larger screen size and 1920x1200 resolution, but then you're getting out of the world of portable..

You can bootcamp into XP and run whatever cad programs you need.

But if you're not planning on utilizing OS X, do as DB says and save youre money on a windows notebook.

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xaelophorus

 
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Wow, thanks for all of the great responses!

I've basically decided that if I go the Mac route, I will get a MBP. It's really not much more than the Windows-based machines I've priced, anyway.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Village Idiot
But if you're not planning on utilizing OS X, do as DB says and save youre money on a windows notebook.
I am actually unsure about OS X, as I've never really used it a lot. I need to go to an Apple store and see if I can test drive a MBP. (The only issue is that the nearest Apple store is an hour and a half from here!) The main things I do on a computer daily are checking email, surfing the web, and chatting on IM programs. If OS X is as efficient or more so than Windows in these areas, then I would use OS X whenever possible, since I like its appearance and layout much more. Obviously, I've never used Mac a lot so I don't know how versatile it is for everyday computing.

As I've mentioned, I will dual-boot the machine. I already have Office 2007 for Windows with 2 unused licenses, so running XP through Boot Camp should allow me to handle any school assignments requiring Office.

That being said, is there any real reason any of you prefer OS X over Windows for general usage?

Thanks again!
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