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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?" :)

New Guy, trying to decide a few things

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Member Since: Feb 01, 2008
Location: Minnesota, USA
Posts: 5
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Hi all,

I bought a MacBook Pro a few weeks ago. This was my first Mac in 15 years & I really liked it. Unfortunately it was stolen 15 days after I bought it (along with 2 fairly new Windows laptops and my 500gb external)

While I'm waiting for my homeowners insurance to get it replaced I've been surfing around doing some research into a few things & found this great forum.

Here are a few things I'm trying to decide. I'm in the process of deciding & if anyone wants to offer any opinions based on your experiences that'd be great.

1) Apple Care yes or no. So far I'm leaning yes. When I bought a $1,000 Windows laptop I didn't get the HP extended warranty since it was 1/3 the price of a new machine. It's been a long time since I've spent $2,500 on a computer & I think if nothing else Apple Care will give a little piece of mind.

2) XP or Vista. On the stolen machine I had installed XP Home via Boot Camp. Since my Windows disc & license disappeared with the computer I need a new copy of Windows. I know MS is dropping support/updates for the Home versions of XP this year, not that it probably matters. I have used Vista & while I wasn't overwhelmed it wasn't as bad as a lot of folks make it out to be either. Have any problems cropped up with Vista running on a Mac? If I go Vista it'll probably just be the basic version since I'm really only going to be using Windows to run a couple of specific apps. Price wise they're the same.

3) RAM. Any suggestions for the best place to get it. I won't be paying Apple not at $1,000 for what should be $100 to $200 worth of memory.

4) Office 2008, iWork or NeoOffice. I do really basic office type stuff. Have a couple excel spreadsheets I use to keep track of some stuff. Nothing special & I'm sure any of the would be OK. I'm familiar with Office since I use it at work & ran it on my PC. With the home version of Office being the most expensive & still only about $120 price isn't much of an issue. Thoughts?

5) Any handy little freeware apps I should be checking out? I found LiquidCD & it looks like it'll be all I need for burning (just basic data discs & occasional CD copying). Anything else?


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1) For a laptop, AppleCare is simply a no brainer. Definitely worth the cost if you ever need repairs done.

2) Stick with XP simply because it uses fewer resources and costs less than Vista. I would also suggest buying an OEM copy to further reduce cost.

3) There are a variety of online retailers that have really good RAM prices. I would suggest checking out and Newegg

4) If you need to use Excel, then you should stay away from iWork as Numbers isn't really that good of a spreadsheet program. Try NeoOffice first, but if it doesn't suit your needs, then you can't go wrong with the industry standard, Office. Plus, Office 2008 is pretty

5) Mac-Forums has a nice switcher's guide to OS X Software that you should check out. I got some programs from that list when I first got my Mac, and it was a great resource for somebody just starting out.

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July 2009
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