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MacBytes
Nov 19, 2004, 08:34 AM
Category: Reviews
Link: What To Look For When Buying A Laptop (http://www.macbytes.com/link.php?sid=20041119093433)
Posted on MacBytes.com (http://www.macbytes.com)

Approved by Mudbug

settledown
Nov 19, 2004, 12:23 PM
an unbiased, fact filled, and informative article.

This article makes note of the subtle differences between windows and macs without showing bias.

It then explains the selling points in john q. public terms.

If I were brand new to computer buying and I were considering a laptop, this article would have been a great tool in the buying process.

I do own a PowerBook and an iBook

wordmunger
Nov 19, 2004, 12:40 PM
I think the article is good for a start, but it neglects key issues like hard drive size. The hard drive is one of the most difficult components to upgrade for most people, so not mentioning it is an error. Also, the advice to demand a PC card slot is a little suspect. I had one for four years and never used it -- once you have bluetooth and wireless, what do you need it for?

montex
Nov 19, 2004, 02:27 PM
There are two things about this article that are flat out wrong:

1. Viruses are not less of a problem on the Mac, they are no problem at all. As in zero. Zilch. Nada. I wish the mainstream press would realize that and acknowledge it. Maybe they're just being cautious because one day a virus will pop up. But it ain't happened yet.

2. Memory is not a big deal? Obviously, this goon hasn't used a Mac with 256Mb or less and then see the difference a 512Mb upgrade makes. Additional memory is the most important upgrade Mac users need to make. Face it, Apple is stingy on RAM, which is odd IMHO because iPhoto and Garage are real memory hogs.

Other than that it's a good article.

jettredmont
Nov 19, 2004, 02:28 PM
I think the article is good for a start, but it neglects key issues like hard drive size. The hard drive is one of the most difficult components to upgrade for most people, so not mentioning it is an error.

Actually, worse: they say it's not important in the last half of the article. The hard drive goes on the list of "upgradeable, in theory" laptop components: while it's easier to upgrade than the screen, it's really not something 90% of laptop owners would ever feel comfortable doing, and upgrading a laptop hard drive can be exhorbitantly expensive when you factor in the drive cost, the installation cost if you're not doing it yourself, the data transfer cost, and the time you don't have your laptop to use.


Also, the advice to demand a PC card slot is a little suspect. I had one for four years and never used it -- once you have bluetooth and wireless, what do you need it for?

I agree there 100% as well. Although, the way I read the article "Ethernet or PCMIA port" means the PC card slot is only required if you don't have an ethernet port (which is true ... but it's hard to find a laptop without some sort of networking built in these days, isn't it?)

Five years ago I wouldn't have bought a Windows laptop without a PC card slot. Nowadays, most of even Windows laptops have built-in wireless and networking and some even have Firewire in addition to USB 2 (which would be important and a permanent PC card resident if not included, assuming you don't have a desktop to do digital video and such). Right now the only reason I can imagine using one would be for a Flash card adapter to transfer pictures a bit faster, but even that is done just as well with a USB2/FW card reader.

With a USB2 or Firewire connection, the utility of that card slot can be taken over largely by external devices if ever something new comes up. A PC Card slot is not overly important today.

One major overlooked area: size and weight. A huge laptop or a heavy one will be a pain to use. And always factor in the power brick weight when judging how "portable" your laptop is. This isn't an issue for sitting on the couch and surfing the net, but if you ever wanted to take it to that coffee shop you'll regret having bought a 12-pound monster with a power brick the size and weight of a real brick!

Another overlooked area: Battery. A laptop's no good if it doesn't have power. So, imagine your average time away from a power source where you'll want to be working/playing on the laptop, add a bit, and don't buy a laptop that has less battery life (or, alternatively, buy an extra battery, but without an external chartger for that extra battery you most often won't get twice the time-between-outlets as with the built-in).

nagromme
Nov 19, 2004, 02:46 PM
Good points.

I'll add that a Cardbus slot is GREAT for cable-less transfers to my PowerBook from my digital still camera. It's worth mentioning for that purpose--just like Firewire should be mentioned for home movies. But it's far from vital since every still camera comes with a cable. One more thing to remember to carry, but it works.

wrldwzrd89
Nov 19, 2004, 03:22 PM
There are two things about this article that are flat out wrong:

1. Viruses are not less of a problem on the Mac, they are no problem at all. As in zero. Zilch. Nada. I wish the mainstream press would realize that and acknowledge it. Maybe they're just being cautious because one day a virus will pop up. But it ain't happened yet.

2. Memory is not a big deal? Obviously, this goon hasn't used a Mac with 256Mb or less and then see the difference a 512Mb upgrade makes. Additional memory is the most important upgrade Mac users need to make. Face it, Apple is stingy on RAM, which is odd IMHO because iPhoto and Garage are real memory hogs.

Other than that it's a good article.
1. Technically speaking, there are Mac viruses, but these only target the Classic environment. If you exclude Classic/Mac OS 9, then your point is correct (for now, at least).

2. You think a Mac with 256 MB is slow compared to one with 512 MB? I was forced to use an old iBook with 64 MB of RAM running Mac OS X 10.0.4 earlier today. Now that's a painful experience, especially when booted into Mac OS X for the first time.

Mainyehc
Nov 19, 2004, 04:21 PM
In the end, some of it comes down to personal taste, and the type of computer you'll encounter at school, at work or any other place you might be sharing files.

Ohh... stop with this f*ckin "file sharing problem" already!!! I still not finished reading the article, but I thought I really should point this out... For the 1000x time, I'll repeat what I always say when I give people advice on the Mac vs. PC choice: it all comes down to the 3RD PARTY SOFTWARE, not the OS!! If a colleague of mine, from industrial design (my course is graphics design, so the Mac is a great platform for me, thanks ;) ), which is likely to need to use AutoCAD, asks me what platform suits him best, I'll obviously ask him first: "Do you plan on using applications A, B and C (which aren't avaliable for the Mac and run terribly slow under VPC)??" (Btw, it would be really nice to see Autodesk porting AutoCAD. Some architects might switch to the Mac, maybe...).

Besides from that, is it THAT difficult to use a flash drive? I mean, it's the easiest way of transferring files that there is right now, apart from using a network! Or would this guy rather use floppy disks? :rolleyes:

Santaduck
Nov 19, 2004, 07:33 PM
lots of things can matter to different people... even odd ones like heat output, keyboard size & its tactile feedback, the brand logo on the back lid, the color or the case (thinking alienware here)... and it's not always the obvious parameters some of us may consider... still a great article.

wrldwzrd89
Nov 19, 2004, 08:48 PM
Ohh... stop with this f*ckin "file sharing problem" already!!! I still not finished reading the article, but I thought I really should point this out... For the 1000x time, I'll repeat what I always say when I give people advice on the Mac vs. PC choice: it all comes down to the 3RD PARTY SOFTWARE, not the OS!! If a colleague of mine, from industrial design (my course is graphics design, so the Mac is a great platform for me, thanks ;) ), which is likely to need to use AutoCAD, asks me what platform suits him best, I'll obviously ask him first: "Do you plan on using applications A, B and C (which aren't avaliable for the Mac and run terribly slow under VPC)??" (Btw, it would be really nice to see Autodesk porting AutoCAD. Some architects might switch to the Mac, maybe...).

Besides from that, is it THAT difficult to use a flash drive? I mean, it's the easiest way of transferring files that there is right now, apart from using a network! Or would this guy rather use floppy disks? :rolleyes:
I would love to see a port of AutoCAD to Mac OS X. Anything to attract more creative professionals to the platform (where the Mac has traditionally had, and continues to have, a strong foothold) is a good thing in my book.

macidiot
Nov 19, 2004, 09:41 PM
I would love to see a port of AutoCAD to Mac OS X. Anything to attract more creative professionals to the platform (where the Mac has traditionally had, and continues to have, a strong foothold) is a good thing in my book.

Autocad used to be on the Mac. The Mac has been abandoned in no uncertain terms by Autodesk's ceo(I forget her name). This happened with the release of Win95. Apple even tried to woo Autocad back...and were rebuffed. Autodesk's ceo is in Bill Gates back pocket. Your SOL if you want Autocad on the Mac. Same thing for Visio, another critical app that will never be on mac.

wrldwzrd89
Nov 20, 2004, 06:24 AM
Autocad used to be on the Mac. The Mac has been abandoned in no uncertain terms by Autodesk's ceo(I forget her name). This happened with the release of Win95. Apple even tried to woo Autocad back...and were rebuffed. Autodesk's ceo is in Bill Gates back pocket. Your SOL if you want Autocad on the Mac. Same thing for Visio, another critical app that will never be on mac.
I didn't know that. One thing I've always said about these forums..."I learn something new every day here."

neilrobinson
Nov 20, 2004, 06:45 AM
hmmm i use to use autocad a fair bit, mostly technical plotting but i use to create bits as well. i now use vectorworks and microstation (dos OH YEAH) they do well enough for me.

i dont think i have used autocad for about 6 months now, all the guys that use to use it have converted across to other programs (about 50 regulars) a little strange really as most of them where hardcore users and loved it. i dont know what they are using now they just send pdf's - i think their is a few people leaving autocad (like quark to indesign)

just my thoughts