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Will my usage patterns get my money's worth from a Macbook?

by ccnb / January 30, 2007 12:33 PM PST

I am looking for a light weight notebook for school, work, movies, and occasional games (low priority, but would like the option open). Please offer your experience and opinion and also let me know if I should buy a mac or stick with windows based on my use/needs.

As for school I have read that MS Office applications can easily be replaced with neoffice, or iWork (suggested by Mac salesperson). It seems like it's very easy to save in one OS and open in the other. Any thoughts or advice?

What about MS Access? Is there an equivalent or could I just depend on running MS XP via parallels or bootcamp? What is the difference between Parallels and Bootcamp?

I also read another thread that mentioned having to partition the HD for XP. Is this true, if so, is that difficult?

I want to watch movies on the laptop and sometimes on a widescreen monitor via dvi port. The Macbook and Macbook Pro have dvi outputs that would fit this need, so that seems to be a plus. I am leaning toward the Macbook since I want a lighter weight computer, if I go with a Mac. I am debating between a Lenovo (via company discount) or Macbook. I know that the Lenovo is a good business laptop, that may lack in the graphics card area. How do you think the Macbook compares with a Lenovo in this category of displaying movies? I guess it could be the same question for games.

Will the Macbook be able to run Windows games once booted in Windows? I can hear the smerks now from this question.

As you can tell, I am very open into purchasing a Mac, but I am not sure if it will be money well spent if I spend my use in Windows system.

Feel free to include other advice or tips if I didn't cover it.


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MacBook or MacBook Pro.
by Alegoo92 / February 3, 2007 8:58 AM PST

First, are you getting a MacBook Pro or a MacBook. Both are great computers and run windows---just as good if not better than PC's. In any case here's my answers:

Student needs - MS Office 2004 for Mac is the best choice. I'm pretty sure the Mac salesman is either a MS hater or paid to not endorse Microsoft. I've said this before, as of now, iWork is not like MS Office. They are not competing, either, because iWork is meant for a different type of document editing. More for like public announcements, flyers, and things that are supposed to have fancy templates and very elaborate fonts... not thesis papers.

On the other hand; Keynote is much better, in my opinion, than Powerpoint. But both are very usable and make very good quality presentations.

For your student needs, go with MS Office Student/Teacher Addition. It'll have everything you need, great functinoality and GUI, and the lowest Office for Mac pricetag. As for Microsoft Acess, I'm sure there are great alternatives out there, but I dont use this so I wouldnt know. In this case: yes, stick with what your used to.

Partitioning your HD - This is very simple in Mac OS X. If you are using the dual boot Boot Camp option, yes this is necessary. I prefer Boot Camp, but to each is own.

As for partitioning, you can do it before you install vista by booting up from a Mac OS X install DVD (you hold C when you turn on your computer to boot from a disc), and selecting Disk Utility. Its very easy, and requires no computer expertise. But try to do it before you load up your computer, for it will destory all your files. When you install Boot Camp with Vista, however, Apple takes care of the process, so it should be fine.

Movies, games, and media - To be honest, the MacBook or MacBook pro kick almost everyone's a$ses when it comes to media. They have top-knotch grapics cards, fast processors, and beautiful displays. Front Row, Apple's built in media-center, is great for any type of media viewing. The included Apple remote will enhance this experience.

Lenovo makes good laptops, but for a similar pricetag, the MacBook pretty much comes out on top: especially with the huge advantage of OS X and Windows.

Games - I am almost certain that games for Windows will run natively when booted in Windows... As for the smerks, you can't hear smerks!...

Advice... - As a student, you can benefit from a Mac. The included wireless, bluetooth, and IR will surely benefit you in this area.. and the reliablity of the Mac OS and Apple hardware is another plus. If you would like to buy a Lenovo instead, that's fine, but a MacBook (not even Pro) has better performance than those. Make sure you get a ThinkPad, though, and not a 3000 Family notebook series one.

Hope this helped.

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by Alegoo92 / February 3, 2007 9:01 AM PST

Looks like I was a little too late? From your post in other forums, I guess you went with the Lenovo?


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Leaning towards Mac
by ccnb / February 4, 2007 1:59 PM PST

Thank you Alegoo92 for the advice. I stopped by the Apple store to take a first hand look at the Apple Macbook. I think it will take a little getting use to, swithing from Windows, but it looks very user friendly.

Your advice also came in very helpful for my decision. For the time being, I am trying to hold out as long as possible for the Leopard release.

I will most likely install XP on the Macbook, since Vista sounds more like a service pack upgrade than anything else from the reviews.

Thanks for you help.

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I know what you mean..
by Alegoo92 / February 4, 2007 7:48 PM PST
In reply to: Leaning towards Mac

Waiting for the Leopard release is smart: because its likely to come with some other new Apple hardware/features. But you can upgrade your OS at any time---and not for $399! Always around $129 to $150.

Also, I'd like to add that many people feel some uneasiness switching from Windows (and with good reason). But its not as if its a huge leap to which you may not make it... I'd suggest putting Windows on your notebook, and I predict you'll become very accustomed to Mac OS X and eventually not use MS nearly as often as you would've predicted.

Good luck,


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Parallels Beta
by URTido / February 8, 2007 10:56 PM PST

The new Beta version of Parallels has an added feature that will let you boot your BootCamp installation of Windows XP within Mac OSX. With this feature you could use both Parallels and BootCamp with only 1 installation of Windows XP.

This feature is not in the current production version of Parallels, but because of the popularity it should be a part of the next update.

If you are a student, you can get a discounted price for Apple Software, such as the next release of OSX; while the normal retail price is $129, I think the academic price is $69 or $79.

Good luck with your decision.

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Parallels Beta
by ccnb / February 9, 2007 12:56 PM PST
In reply to: Parallels Beta

I will be sure to look out for Parallels Beta. Would I still need to partition the HD?

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by mrmacfixit Forum moderator / February 9, 2007 10:32 PM PST
In reply to: Parallels Beta

When you use this software, Beta or not, there is no need to partition your HD.
// uses a virtual system to run Windows. The Windows "HD" is actually a file that is created by the // application and which acts as the HD for the virtual system. Using this system, you are not limited in the flavor of Windows that you use. 3.1, 95, 98, Me, 2K, XP and even DOS virtual systems can be created, as long as you have enough real HD space available.


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Parallels and XP
by ccnb / June 24, 2007 9:14 AM PDT
In reply to: Parallels

Do you need a new XP install CD or can you use the CD that came with a Dell computer? The PC gave me problems, and will stop using that PC and hoping to use that XP OS on the mac. Will this count as using the OS on one machine or will I need to buy a new XP CD?

Will Parallels automatically upgrade to the latest version when I purchase the software from the store or have the stores removed the older versions from the shelves?

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XP Install Disk
by mrmacfixit Forum moderator / June 24, 2007 10:54 PM PDT
In reply to: Parallels and XP

If the disk that came with your Dell is a complete install disk, then it will work. It should count as only being in use on one machine but, I believe, OEM software is licensed for the machine and not the user.
It will install though.

Parallels will update itself to the latest version for which you have paid. Current version is 3.0 and the software is no longer in Beta.
If you purchase v3.0, you will get the next set of updates automatically.
Now, if you are referring to XP updating itself, you will still have to run IE and go through the Windows update process exactly as you would on your old machine.
Remember, you will still need all the AV stuff that you did when you ran XP on your Dell.


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