PDA

View Full Version : Engineering/Programming Switching Questions




almightyshoe
Jun 4, 2006, 04:34 PM
Howdy kids. Thinking about making "the switch" based on a few reccomendations, but have some heavy hitting questions, most engineering, some questions are noob things that have been bugging me:

- Are there any problems/differences with programming and compiling on a PPC vs Intel?

- Will Matlab 7 work on both Intel and PPC (They're pretty hazy on Mac support, and they didn't even bother supporting it for version 6)?

- Will Solidworks 2006 run on the Intel?

- Will I have to get a USB card if I want to PIC program (ie no chance in hell of getting a serial port)

- Is gcc included?

- Is xcode all it's cracked up to be?

- Is iWork basically Apple's competitor to MS Office?

- What's .mac?

Thanks,

-S



caveman_uk
Jun 4, 2006, 04:44 PM
- Are there any problems/differences with programming and compiling on a PPC vs Intel?

Well all new macs, apart from the powermacs, use Intel processors. The main thing with PowerPC processors is that they store their numbers the other way round. It depends how intimate you want to get with the processor with your code.

- Will Matlab 7 work on both Intel and PPC (They're pretty hazy on Mac support, and they didn't even bother supporting it for version 6)?

- Will Solidworks 2006 run on the Intel?

No idea, what are they?

- Is gcc included?

Not on the default installation but it's an optional extra during installation and like all the developer tools can be downloaded free of charge from Apple.

- Is xcode all it's cracked up to be?

It's pretty good. It has it's rough edges and the odd bug but for $0 it's amazing value for money.;) I use it nearly every day.

- Is iWork basically Apple's competitor to MS Office?

You can get Office for the mac as well. Currently iWork isn't a serious competitor to Office but it's perfectly adequate for a lot of people's needs. It certainly costs a lot less than office.

- What's .mac?

A web service that provides email, storage, webspace, and synchronisation services. There is an annual fee and you can start a good argument posting a question like 'Is .Mac worth it?'. You could just hang around for a bit as someone usually asks that question once a month....:rolleyes:

yippy
Jun 4, 2006, 04:50 PM
caveman_uk answered all but the Matlab and Solid works questions.

I have Matlab 7 running great on my PPC Mac. Currently Matlab 7 does not run on the intel version of Mac OS X. However, the intel based Macs are capable of booting into Windows using bootcamp. This way you can run the Windows version the same as you would on a Dell.

For Solid Works, as it is Windows only as far as I can tell, you will have to boot Windows. Once you do that, it and Matlab will run the same as on any Windows computer, very well.

mduser63
Jun 4, 2006, 05:00 PM
Like yippy said, Matlab currently won't run on Intel Macs. They have announced a Universal version, it's just a matter of waiting for it. FWIW, I use Matlab heavily on my PPC Mac and it works fine, so once the Universal version comes out, you'll be in good shape.

As for running Windows, besides BootCamp, there's a virtualization application called Parallels Desktop (http://www.parallels.com/en/products/workstation/mac/) that will allow you to run Windows (or any other common x86 OS like Linux, BSD, DOS, etc) in a window (or full-screen) within OS X so you don't have to reboot to get into Windows. The other benefit is that you can use OS X and OS X apps at the same time as you're using Windows and Windows apps. Unlike MS Virtual PC, which is an emulator, Parallels is a virtualization program. That means that guests OSes will run at nearly full-speed. Parallels is a free beta right now. The final version will be $79, but you can preorder it for $39 while it's still in beta.

All the other questions have been answered pretty well I think, but feel free to ask for more info.

All in all, I don't think there has ever been a better time to switch to the Mac. You've got nothing to lose, and tons to gain.

almightyshoe
Jun 4, 2006, 05:05 PM
Lightening responses. Thanks. I think I'll have to fork over the 70 bucks for a USB PIC programmer, which is kind of a downer (the serial ones are in the ballpark of...8 dollars.)

yippy
Jun 4, 2006, 05:05 PM
Quick note about Paralles software. There is a reason I didn't mention it. It does not have full video support which means that anything that relies heavily on a good graphics card will be very slow. Solid Works, being a 3D CAD program definitely falls into this category and so I think that boot camp is the only option for running it at a reasonable speed.

almightyshoe
Jun 4, 2006, 09:18 PM
So it seems if I want to make the switch and keep most of my programs, I need boot camp. Does switching between Windows and OSX require a full restart? What's the file format on Apples? When running boot camp, does it write files as NTFS? I assume boot camp requires a hard drive partition, and if this is true, and the file systems are different between the two OS's, can I still read the partition on the other OS?

Buttload of questions, I know.

cyberdogl2
Jun 4, 2006, 09:36 PM
i love matlab and it's runnin on my imacg5 very well. it seems like an intel mac booting windows will take care of all the problems you've listed. i'm not sure if there is solidworks for os x. the PIC flasher software will probably be windows, so you'll have to boot into windows.

prostuff1
Jun 4, 2006, 09:55 PM
Does switching between Windows and OSX require a full restart?

Yes, unless you decide to use Parallels.

What's the file format on Apples?

I think you are talking about the equivilant to NTFS and in that case is is HFS+.

When running boot camp, does it write files as NTFS?[/QUTOE]

Yes, it does the exact same things windwos does on any other windows computer.

[QUOTE]I assume boot camp requires a hard drive partition, and if this is true, and the file systems are different between the two OS's, can I still read the partition on the other OS?

You can read the mac partition from windows using a prgream called MacDrive (http://www.mediafour.com/products/macdrive6/). But as far as i know there is no way to read the windows partition from the mac side. That is, unless you use FAT32 for the windows side; in which case you would be able to read the mac side from windows with macDrive and you would be able to read the windows side from mac because it is FAT32.

Hope that helps answer some of your questions.

almightyshoe
Jun 4, 2006, 10:24 PM
You guys rock. Now I just need to find an ibook or something on the cheap to start myself off. Thanks for all your help.

HiRez
Jun 4, 2006, 11:01 PM
You can read the mac partition from windows using a prgream called MacDrive (http://www.mediafour.com/products/macdrive6/). But as far as i know there is no way to read the windows partition from the mac side. That is, unless you use FAT32 for the windows side; in which case you would be able to read the mac side from windows with macDrive and you would be able to read the windows side from mac because it is FAT32.As I understand it, using FAT32 allows the Mac side to read and write from the Windows side, but does not allow Windows to read or write from the Mac side without using a utility (the aforementioned MacDrive). Using NTFS will allow the Windows side to read and write from the Mac side (without using a utility), but limit the Mac side to reading from the Windows side only, no writing. Now I've confused myself, but I think that's right.

steelphantom
Jun 4, 2006, 11:16 PM
You guys rock. Now I just need to find an ibook or something on the cheap to start myself off. Thanks for all your help.

Remember that if you buy an iBook, it will be using a PowerPC processor, so you won't be able to dual-boot Windows and OS X. You might want to check out one of the Intel Mac minis if you are looking for something relatively inexpensive.

mduser63
Jun 4, 2006, 11:18 PM
As I understand it, using FAT32 allows the Mac side to read and write from the Windows side, but does not allow Windows to read or write from the Mac side without using a utility (the aforementioned MacDrive). Using NTFS will allow the Windows side to read and write from the Mac side (without using a utility), but limit the Mac side to reading from the Windows side only, no writing. Now I've confused myself, but I think that's right.

No you got it wrong. Macs can read NTFS but not write to it. FAT32 if fully read/write supported by both OS X and Windows. HFS+ is only accessible to Windows with something like MacDrive.

almightyshoe
Jun 4, 2006, 11:35 PM
But we all know that outside of USB flash drives, FAT32 is completely useless. Especially on a computer with a DVD writer...

I'll probably start with a cheapy PPC to get my feet wet with the programming side, and if I like it I'll jump the PC ship altogether. I have a high end PC which I'll use until 2009 when I can afford a full fledged Mac.

Eraserhead
Jun 5, 2006, 07:08 AM
I have a 120GB FAT32 partition on my Mac which works fine. (Though it used to be 250GB and that caused Kernel panics.), though MS has artificially limited FAT32 to 32GB drives or lower to force people to use NTFS (which helps their vendor lock-in as they refuse to publish how it works so other OS's can only read it :rolleyes: )

balamw
Jun 5, 2006, 07:30 AM
I'll probably start with a cheapy PPC to get my feet wet with the programming side, and if I like it I'll jump the PC ship altogether. I have a high end PC which I'll use until 2009 when I can afford a full fledged Mac.
I'd suggest not cheaping out too much on your first Mac, or you may not enjoy the experience quite as much, and start thinking "Macs are slow" when it's just your Mac that is.

IMHO you'll want a 1.25 GHz or faster G4 machine , and > 512MB to run Tiger. Anything less would start to cripple the experience...

For the PIC programmer, you might just try a USB to RS232 converter instead of buying a new programmer. They can be had for $15-$39 I have one from Keyspan.

B

almightyshoe
Jun 7, 2006, 12:21 AM
So slept on it, and this is the solution I think would fit me ideally:

Laptop, amped up hard drive, cleaved down the middle with OSX and Windows, but also keeping a 5 gig parition in FAT32 format, to act as a flux (for lack of a better word...cut me some slack, I was just watching Back to the Future) partition that can be R/W by both OS's.

Now mock my plan and point out the obvious flaws.

CanadaRAM
Jun 7, 2006, 12:39 AM
So you're looking at an Inter=l based Mac - that is in notebooks MacBook, or the MacBook Pro if you want the better video card for Solidworks.
If you are Academic, you qualify for reduced prices through the Apple Education store.

Also, check the Apple Refurb store - MacBook Pros are starting to turn up there, may be a way to move up for less $$.

An external Firewire drive is an excellent idea whatever you get, for backup, overflow and emergency boot.

Krevnik
Jun 7, 2006, 09:50 AM
Lightening responses. Thanks. I think I'll have to fork over the 70 bucks for a USB PIC programmer, which is kind of a downer (the serial ones are in the ballpark of...8 dollars.)

There are a few brands of USB serial adapters which are cheaper when combined with a serial programmer. The real trick is that there is no good PIC programmer for OS X which works over serial AFAIK. At least that was the way things worked when I doing PIC work a few years ago on a Mac.

TurboLag
Jun 9, 2006, 03:55 PM
I study engineering, and am just about to buy a MacBook, with boot camp, WinXP and a USB - Serial cable to use an Atmel AVR Evaluation Board. If anyone has tried this with any success, please reply.

almightyshoe
Jul 23, 2006, 10:44 PM
No sense starting a new thread, so just posting in this one.
Haven't switched due to newfound monetary issues, but I do have a friend trying to run solidworks in bootcamp with no success; the whole thing crashes if he tries to open or create a new design.

That being said, anyone know of a robust yet affordable solidworks-ish design program that runs native on a mac (For both the PPC and Intel models)?

EDIT: Lousy spelling.

mduser63
Jul 23, 2006, 11:01 PM
No sense starting a new thread, so just posting in this one.
Haven't switched due to newfound monetary issues, but I do have a friend trying to run solidworks in bootcamp with no success; the whole thing crashes if he tries to open or create a new design.

That being said, anyone know of a robust yet affordable solidworks-ish design program that runs native on a mac (For both the PPC and Intel models)?

EDIT: Lousy spelling.

He should take the problem to SolidWorks for support. Windows XP running under Bootcamp is plain old Windows XP. Unless SolidWorks has some very specific hardware requirements that aren't met by his Intel Mac, it should work.

almightyshoe
Jul 23, 2006, 11:22 PM
That was more for TurboLag, who was planning on running a similar set up. I would prefer to bypass Windows alltogether, hence the second part. Solidworks as of now only has plans to bring that viewer to the Universal Binary. I was wondering if there were other solutions for current Mac users that don't break the bank.