Mac Hardware

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Are Apple's notebook computers really that good?

by Nlimited / August 20, 2008 7:40 AM PDT

I'm a college student who's looking to replace a 5 year old hp dv1000 notebook computer and from examining cnet's reviews (a site that i look to when buying any device or gadget) on Apple's line of notebooks, i'm almost completely convinced that a macbook or macbook pro would be the notebook of choice for the rest of college. However, i couldn't help but question whether their computers really live up to the hype that their company advertises or whether the extra $500 is simply the price of having an apple emblem on your computer. I'm also curious as to why apple computers seemingly top each category that they're placed into. Are they really that good? or do the editors (with all do respect) add more points to the product review because of the Apple brand? are comparatively priced pc notebooks and computers just as capable as mac computers, if not more capable? Or, in another scenario, if the editors (or computer experienced individuals) could price mac notebooks based on their hardware and software, would their prices match those that Apple advertise their products to be?

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Frankly?
by R. Proffitt Forum moderator / August 20, 2008 9:49 AM PDT

You are paying for the OS as well as a pretty good machine. Some will try to compare the nuts and bolts "cost" to your average Windows PC but the OS is worth something. If you feel you can't use the Apple OS keep shopping.
Bob

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The Beauty of the Operating System
by accessoriesguy / July 11, 2011 5:12 AM PDT
In reply to: Frankly?

This is something most people don't realize when they buy an apple product. There is much more to the hardware but a perfect blend of software that really allow for macs to do a lot more. Not only that but the mac comes packed with so many added goodies all you really need is iWork (office version of mac, but there is Microsoft office for mac as well) You can trim videos, rotate photos, practically anything minor and handy with about 2 clicks.

Not having to worry about maintaining it, and self notarized updates is just as great.

There are bugs none the less I found at least 2 on different programs but then after submitting error tickets, they actually had updates on the programs, I was so impressed at this, how could I not want something that works to my needs!

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I agree. And my comment.
by R. Proffitt Forum moderator / July 11, 2011 5:22 AM PDT

Apple seems to fix things. Microsoft issues a workaround or procedure.
Bob

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Are Apple Notebook computers really that good?
by dbennett48 / August 20, 2008 11:12 AM PDT

It is worth the money if for nothing else than the LACK of worms and viruses. I have been using computers since Windows 95 came out. The Apple computers are a JOY to use!!!!

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They are
by BeatleMegaFan / August 20, 2008 5:14 PM PDT

Mac OS X is a great system to use. It's stable, easy-to-use, and for the moment, secure from malware and viruses. Because of Intel's hardware, Apple has been able to build better and faster machines to compete with their Windows counterparts. The combination of Intel's CPUs and chipsets with the Mac OS has really worked out well. My Intel Mac performs exceptionally. Of course, I do a lot of media work and editing, so naturally I turn to OS X. But thanks to Intel, Macs can now do everything. Using Macs for regular office tasks is a piece of cake, and running Windows is easy to do. You can even run games on either the OS X or Windows side of a Mac. I hear the gameplay isn't bad at all.

If anything, Macs are more capable than PCs in the fact that Macs can run OS X and PCs can not do so without some hacking and rule bending. I wouldn't advise you to even try to do so. Plus, Macs are developed in closed environments. Macs run so well because of this. With Windows, the system has to run on any combination of hardware. Then you have problems with drivers and compatibility.

You will find lower-priced Windows hardware out there, but you are not getting OS X, or the good technical support that Apple is known for. You are not getting the closer integration of the hardware and software either. In my opinion, Macs are as good as they are represented to be because everything "just works" with a Mac. Literally. Now if you end up going with a PC, I would recommend HP or Sony, but they can't compare to Apple. Apple has actual retail stores and with helpful employees and support on hand. Sony has stores too, but they are nothing like the Apple Store. What stores are? When you buy a Mac, you are getting a good deal, and you will usually be satisfied. With a Mac, you can actually enjoy using it, unlike with Windows. OS X is about the user, and it really makes a difference.

New MacBooks are rumored to be coming out next month. If possible, wait for those, as they will supposedly incorporate a newer design than the existing MacBooks and MacBook Pros.

-BMF

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Have just purchased a new Mac Book - love it already
by Larry Launstein Jr / August 23, 2008 1:42 AM PDT
In reply to: They are

I am a student at the University of Michigan-Flint, and will be graduating this December. I just purchased a Mac Book for my classwork - and even though I still have to get some of my files from my Mac Mini copied over to the new machine, I already love what the Mac Book offers. I could not afford a Mac Book Pro, but this is definitely the next best thing.

As far as OS-X Leopard goes, it is very stable.

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Yes -- mostly for the support
by RICHARD VANDERDRIFT / August 22, 2008 8:53 AM PDT

Recently bought my daughter in college a mac as was totally fed up with being her support tech. Apple support is world class.

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Got to ask this,
by mrmacfixit Forum moderator / August 22, 2008 11:01 AM PDT

Now that your daughter has a Mac, and you are no longer her support tech, does she need as much support as she used to?

P

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Absolutely, yes
by Elizabeth Marner-Brooks / August 22, 2008 2:50 PM PDT

They save time and angst. User-friendly. No time wasted running anti-virus programs every 3 weeks (minimally). Apple's service is great, in person and over the phone. I've had 3 MACs and 1 PC. I never had a problem with my Dell PC but, I love being being back with a MAC. Do hear ever hear anyone say that they "love" their PCs? Yet, there are people who say they "love" their MACs.

Also, if you are near an Apple store, for $99 a year, you can sign for "One to One" and book an hour every week or two with a technician to learn more ways to work with your computer and its programs. I even used this service when I traveled for a month and booked time in other cities' stores. And they offer 20" time slots at their "Genius Bar" for any other quickie things that might come up. Example: I got an i-pod that worked and then stopped. Took it to the "Genius Bar", they tested it and immediately replaced it. Just make sure to save your physical register receipts!!

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Absolutely
by lloydraphah / August 22, 2008 7:31 PM PDT

Not only are you getting OS X, an amazing, smooth, and beautiful os, Apple computers themselves do live up to the hype. A few months ago, my old computer just wasn't producing the quality and speed I wanted, so i began to look for a new one. As an avid computer gamer, definitely graphics capability and speed are crucial, but, being a gamer, I was all but tied down to using windows. After some time of searching I began looking at a macbook pro, and talked myself into buying one, because I have worked with apples before and absolutely loved them. This computer runs windows via boot camp at incredible speeds, far beyond anything I had seen on brand new Dells or HPs that friends had recently bought, and has yet to disappoint in terms of graphics capability and game speed.

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APPLE MAC
by jmillen / October 3, 2008 9:46 PM PDT
In reply to: Absolutely

I fully agree with the answers regarding PC Or Apple, I really, really, love my Mac Desktop which I purchased in September, having previously always owned PC's and at 53 was rather dubious as to whether I could make the transition, my son purchased his Mac a few weeks previously, he convinced me that they were awesome! I am so pleased I took his advice and bought one as found they are just so smooth and easy to use, it took no time at all to adjust from the PC to the Apple I am Absolutely delighted with my purchase.

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They are and here's why!
by BxVelocity / August 22, 2008 9:25 PM PDT

I bought a macbook two years ago. I've used windows for years and was waiting for Vista, but heard all sorts of horrible stories about it, and then tried it and found it rather slow, despite 3Gb RAm and a dedicated video card, So I thought I would give OS X a whirl, and I could always dual boot windows on it.

1. The specs in my macbook were 2 GB RAM, 2.0 7200 Intel Core 2 processor and the usual stuff, you get cheaper PCs, but Macs always use something near the high end. No Celeron stuff or "duo" processors.The 7200 C2D processor in my mac, was the one with 4 MB cache memory, so a similar PC would not have been cheap. I've noticed, they always give you a mac with the latest processor (the move to Penryn was pretty quick for macs), you seem to get the latest tech, and the latest usually is more expensive and this was for the entry level macbook ( I added 1GB RAM)
2. There are a lot of extras you get, like the subtle, tiny webcam, magsafe charging point, LED lights to check the battery charge without booting, magnetic latch, sleek form factor, that you wouldn't get in most PCS, or none
3. I love the keyboard
4. Finally, the OS is just incredible, for instance XP always used to hang on me, crash a times, slow down after a years use, I would have to defrag, virus check, this and that.. my mac has never slowed down in over two years. Leopard came after a year or so, but I found Tiger so good, and didn't really want spaces, cover flow or Time machine,and stuck with Tiger. It is smooth, doesn't have that taskbar jitter on start up and works seamlessly with all my apps. It still works as fast, even though I have only 500 MB left on my hard drive, in some of my old windows machines, that alone used to slow the whole PC.
5. What I would like in my mac: Palm desktop for mac that is like the app for windows, a lot of software was a little better ( I felt) on the windows OS, which might not be so for mac, Nokia PC suite, things like that. No card reader for my macbook , wish there was one,

But all in all, I do 95% of my work on the mac, and only used the windows side (slow boot, slow work,and jittery) for syncing my palm and some programs, maybe games and I do not like MS word for the mac.. but text edit and pages serve my purposes pretty well too.

So, if you have a mac, and add windows, you have both, and trust me, you won't be using much of the windows. Unless Windows 7 does something radical, I feel macs will penetrate further into microsofts market share.

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The attention to detail is the difference
by minimalist / August 23, 2008 1:27 AM PDT

And while this detail does show up in the nice industrial design its mostly apparent in the OS itself. Things work intuitively and simply. Open the lid on a sleeping Macbook and you are up and running instantly. Open a lid on a windows laptop and your machine take forever to come out of "standby". This is just a small example of the attention to detail that Apple feels is more important than 3 page long spec sheets. They believe in quality. Other manufacturers give you quantity.

And for the extra cost of a Mac you also get:

1. Piece of mind (no more reinstalling your OS when things go wonky, or hunting down updated drivers when your printer stops working, or defragging your hard drive, or worrying about virus and malware.

2. lots of excellent built in software not included with bargain basement windows systems (iPhoto, iTunes, iMovie, Garageband, iWeb, and iDVD.

I'd say 400 extras dollars now is well worth the lack of hassle you'll experience throughout the life of your machine.

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Apple is worth the price
by geenosr / August 23, 2008 1:39 AM PDT

The answer is yes. I have been running both platforms on different laptops and there is no comparison. Apple products are head and shoulders above all other competitors. Some people will feel more comfortable staying with an OS that they have history and experience with (windows). I am glad I ventured out and tried both. I used to recommend Windows products to my friends and family, but after I used an Apple product (Macbook Pro) I changed my mind and now I recommend Apple/Mac to everyone I know. It's just better, and that's all I can say.

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Cost vs. value
by onemoremile / August 23, 2008 4:33 AM PDT

If you are finding that a Mac notebook costs $500 more than a Windows PC, then you are comparing machines with very different capabilities. If you want the cheapest possible computer, then buy a PC; Apple does not compete in the bargain basement. If you want a laptop with which you can grow, try out a Mac. Having owned several Apples, several Dells and an HP, I can certainly agree that Apple support is far better: courteous competent and (with one exception in my experience) quick.

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(NT) Meh. It's standard ia32 hardware.
by 3rdalbum / August 23, 2008 4:52 PM PDT

See the subject title.

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No!
by msgale / August 24, 2008 4:28 AM PDT

No!

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?
by BeatleMegaFan / August 24, 2008 6:19 AM PDT
In reply to: No!

No what? While Apple's offerings are based on the same architectures and hardware as many PCs, Apple has seen to it that their chipsets and whatnot are still unique to their machines. That way, OS X only runs on their products. 3rdAlbum is partially correct in this, though I think that most Intel Macs are 64-bit capable because Leopard pack it in. Future Macs will be able to make more use of 64-bit tech than the current crop of machines.

Stating "no" without an explanation isn't going to get you anywhere. Apple is using the same or similar hardware as their competitors. But Apple's modifications, if you could say that, and their system make it "that good".

-BMF

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Complete Answer
by msgale / August 24, 2008 8:28 AM PDT
In reply to: ?

Are Apple's notebook computers really that good? Simple question, to which I replied with a simple direct complete answer - No, which is a complete answer.

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Unfortunately, your complete reply
by mrmacfixit Forum moderator / August 24, 2008 9:58 AM PDT
In reply to: Complete Answer

was actually an answer to the previous post, the one about ia32 hardware and not to the original question.

If you take a look at your post you will see that it says, "In reply to: (NT)Meh. Its standard ia32 hardware"

That's where the confusion arose.

P

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Ah
by BeatleMegaFan / August 24, 2008 10:09 AM PDT
In reply to: Complete Answer

so you accidentally replied to 3rdalbum. I see. I thought you were trying to make a correction of sorts. My mistake.

Alright then. I would disagree with you, since I think that their combo of hardware and software is really good. The hardware by itself is "good enough", but in terms of design, they are quite nice. Just my thoughts.

-BMF

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Your paying for the logo, and getting limitations.
by Yirmin / August 24, 2008 11:24 PM PDT

First step is determining what your going to be doing when you get out of school. Lets face it college isn't the end of the line its just prep for the real world. To that end you shouldn't spend 4 years getting used to a Mac if you'll be going to a job that uses windows or vice versa... People often say that it isn't hard to swap from one machine to another but it isn't really that easy.

If you are going to be in a advertising graphics artist type job after college then a mac might make sense. Those are really about the only places that embrace Macs like crazy. Otherwise businesses use Windows, and boot camp can help some but it isn't perfect. For one thing a macbook only has one mouse button, windows has a left and right which means a laptop made for windows will do things a macbook running bootcamp can't do (no right mouse button).

If you want any games, guess what, most are made for windows not for mac... in the end you'll find that macs are the favorite for the Paris Hilton types of the world... they have lots of money to waste and not enough brain power to use a real computer. I think its why they push macs to elementary schools because they are toys for kids not machines for adults.

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One reason why you can do without a second button
by mrmacfixit Forum moderator / August 25, 2008 9:57 AM PDT
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All Macs have had right click since the late 90's.
by minimalist / August 26, 2008 3:25 AM PDT

And for the last 3 years all desktop Macs ship with a multibutton button mouse. The Macbooks have something Windows laptops all need to adopt: multitouch.

One finger on the trackpad moves the mouse, two fingers scroll the window in any direction your desire. Hold two fingers on the track pad and tap with your thumb gives your a right click context menu that is useful for both lefties and righties.

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Oh good grief.
by minimalist / August 26, 2008 3:47 AM PDT

"... in the end you'll find that macs are the favorite for the Paris Hilton types of the world... they have lots of money to waste and not enough brain power to use a real computer. I think its why they push macs to elementary schools because they are toys for kids not machines for adults.."

Oh good grief drop the posturing.

Will wasting time maintaining the computers in my office make me some sort of "real man". I've got some news for you about the "real world". "Real" adults who run "real" businesses use Macs all the time. Wasting time on computer maintenance is not something any businessperson who values their time wants to do.

Macs are certainly not "toys" and running a Windows machine is not some testament to a person's maturity.

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The numbers
by msgale / August 26, 2008 5:14 AM PDT
In reply to: Oh good grief.

According to Gartner, Inc. Apple's first quarter 2008 sales were 6.6 percent of the US market. That put then in fourth place after Dell, HP, and Acer. In world-wide sales Apple was not in the first five position of sales. Put another way, in the US for every apple sold about fifteen Wintels are sold. I do not know or care what Paris Hilton does, but I do know that CSC Verizon, and Lockheed Martin a basically PC or UNIX shops.

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Nobody ever claimed that Windows systems aren't more common.
by minimalist / August 26, 2008 8:59 AM PDT
In reply to: The numbers

And my comments were only a response to the ridiculous claim that Macs are somehow pretty "toys" that are useless in the "real world". Whether Lockheed Martin buys windows systems has little to to with the question at hand: are Macs worth the price and are they as good as people claim?

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Macs run Windows...
by Aaron.Smith / August 4, 2009 8:07 AM PDT
In reply to: The numbers

Has anyone brought up the fact that you can run Windows on a Mac? Or that OS X is UNIX? Because you can, and it is.

In fact, you can run a whole host of guest operating systems on a Mac with BootCamp, VMWare, and Parallels.

In addition, there are technologies like WINE that enable you to run Windows applications without installing Windows.

Can you do that on a PC?

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I'm afraid I'm going to have to disagree with you
by Larry Launstein Jr / August 8, 2009 4:16 AM PDT

The biggest reason I got the MacBook (and Mac Mini) was because I wanted the best of both worlds - having both Mac and Windows capability. I don't feel like I have to buy a PC just to run Windows stuff anymore. To me, it is worth it cost-wise to have a computer that runs both platforms. And I don't have to stop using one to use another.

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Um, what?
by d_adams / August 16, 2009 8:47 AM PDT

Ok, so you just said Macs only have 1 mouse button?? NO they have two. All of them have two. Just enable the second one in "Settings". It only looks like they have one, because the buttons aren't separated. In fact, the new macbook pros have the buttons built into the touchpad, so it looks like they have no buttons.

NO GAMES FOR MAC?? Just about every common game i've ever seen, has a Mac version. OR JUST USE VMWare Fusion or bootcamp to run Windows games.

Simple toys? Excuse me! Ok, So, tell me one thing Windows CAN do that Mac OS X CAN"T? I've got full MS office integration (MS Office For Mac), all sorts of fancy network security features for business network integration, hardware expansion capabilities, AND all the fancy media editing stuff.

I don't know about boot camp, but I am running XP in VMWare fusion with VMWare tools installed, and it's just like using it on a fancy laptop PC. I have full access to all the external ports, all my internal hardware capabilities (3D graphics, dual core, wireless airport card, as much memory as I want, etc). I can run any program or game with no problems. It just works. However, I personally think it's kind of scary to look at my beautiful MacBook Pro 13", and see the the horribly old fashioned Windows XP GUI sitting there on the screen!

BTW, I don't have ANY money right now!

Lastly, if you do buy a Windows computer, it's not likely to last long enough to be of use after college, so be ready to buy another one then too!

Finally, Don't get me wrong, I have used a PC ever since I started using computers. My parents got a Mac when the old PC they used quit working (I mean, quit, when i say quit, even I couldn't fix it, and I'm considered somewhat of a computer authority in the county I live in). At first, I was like you. I thought that something as simple and "cool" looking couldn't possible be a professional quality machine. Boy was I wrong. It took me 3 more years to get converted, but I finally did this Summer. Don't be deceived by looks, these machines are powerful. They have complex software covered by a simple, elegant, intuitive GUI, and hardware that (unlike many cheaper PCs) doesn't just look good on paper, but works great in real life too.

Final note: Sorry for drifting a little off-subject. I get carried away sometimes...

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