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Old Nov 14, 2012, 10:46 AM   #1
mantan
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Thinking about my first MacBook - a few questions

I'm looking to replace my wife's 4 year old Dell laptop. Since she's happy with her iPhone and iPad, I'm considering getting my first Mac.

We have always been a PC family. But since it seems like most programs files can run on a Mac, there is little risk to mixing it up a bit. She does 99% of of her work on her company issued laptop. This would be used mostly for email, photo editing, light MS Office use (she writes a lot), internet, etc...not a lot of intense usage that requires the biggest/fastest machine out there.

I have Windows 8 on my computer. She's not a big fan of a major OS change, so it may be a good time to switch to a Mac OS...if she's going to have to change anyway.....

She's also interested in having a big screen display when she's using it at the desk, but still have the portability of a laptop.

So my questions are -

1) How much different is the Mac OS coming from Windows and is it pretty easy to go back and forth?

2) Am I correct that most Windows programs and files will run on a Mac? We have access to a deeply discounted MS Office for Mac...is that pretty similar to the Windows version? Are files 100% compatible?

3) Looking at the Apple store, the only display listed is the huge 27 inch Thunderbolt display. Are smaller monitors compatible? I'm assuming a standard DVI or VGA adapter works fine - but just wanted to be sure....

4) How durable are Macs? I wasn't worried until I looked through this forum and see threads about failing hard drives, overheating, Applecare - etc. And it seems like every signature has a newer MacBook in it.

When I buy a $600 laptop, my expectations aren't high. The wireless card died on her old machine and now many of the keys stick. But for 4 years it was a reliable computer. For 2-3 times that amount, I'm expecting something that is ROCK solid and worry free for years.

Any other advice would be greatly appreciated. This is a pretty big investment and I want to make sure I feel 100% confident that it's the right one to make....
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Old Nov 14, 2012, 11:13 AM   #2
GGJstudios
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mantan View Post
1) How much different is the Mac OS coming from Windows and is it pretty easy to go back and forth?
It takes a bit of getting used to the Mac way of doing things, but it's easy to pick up.
Quote:
Originally Posted by mantan View Post
2) Am I correct that most Windows programs and files will run on a Mac? We have access to a deeply discounted MS Office for Mac...is that pretty similar to the Windows version? Are files 100% compatible?
No, Windows programs do not run on Mac OS X, unless you've installed Windows via Boot Camp or a virtual machine like Parallels or VMWare Fusion. Files created in Windows can usually be opened by appropriate Mac apps. MS Office for Mac is very compatible with Office for Windows, but I wouldn't say 100% in all cases. For example, there may be some minor formatting changes between them.
Quote:
Originally Posted by mantan View Post
3) Looking at the Apple store, the only display listed is the huge 27 inch Thunderbolt display. Are smaller monitors compatible? I'm assuming a standard DVI or VGA adapter works fine - but just wanted to be sure....
Yes, you can use any Mac with most monitors, as long as you have the right connectors/adapters.
Quote:
Originally Posted by mantan View Post
4) How durable are Macs? I wasn't worried until I looked through this forum and see threads about failing hard drives, overheating, Applecare - etc. And it seems like every signature has a newer MacBook in it.
Macs are no more or less durable than their Windows PC counterparts. It all depends on how you care for them. Remember, people come here to post about problems and get help. They rarely post just to say everything is working perfectly. Trying to determine the reliability of Macs by reading this forum is somewhat like trying to determine the overall health of the country by visiting hospitals.
Quote:
Originally Posted by mantan View Post
Any other advice would be greatly appreciated. This is a pretty big investment and I want to make sure I feel 100% confident that it's the right one to make....
There is a wealth of information available on the Apple site and this forum. Spend some time researching so you have appropriate expectations. If you're like most who switch from Windows to Mac, you won't be sorry!

This may be useful:

Helpful Information for Any Mac User
Portables Fast Start: The New User's Guide to Apple Notebooks

To help in your decision, you can use these to compare the specifications of any Macs you choose:
Which Mac is right for you?
EveryMac.com's Ultimate Mac Comparison
Comparison of Macintosh models
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Old Nov 14, 2012, 11:22 AM   #3
locoboi187
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Join Date: Oct 2012
All I can tell is that from Windows 3.1 to Windows 8, on all high end machines, I'm not going back from a Mac. Just try it for a week, or two. If you really can't like it, return it. Just wanted to say this

Edit: And oh, I'm dual booting Windows 7 and Mac OS X with bootcamp. So I choose what OS to run when my computer starts. I also have Windows 8 running on a virtual machine, for fun. Barely use em, not even for games lol.
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Old Nov 14, 2012, 11:29 AM   #4
Weaselboy
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mantan View Post
1) How much different is the Mac OS coming from Windows and is it pretty easy to go back and forth?

2) Am I correct that most Windows programs and files will run on a Mac? We have access to a deeply discounted MS Office for Mac...is that pretty similar to the Windows version? Are files 100% compatible?

3) Looking at the Apple store, the only display listed is the huge 27 inch Thunderbolt display. Are smaller monitors compatible? I'm assuming a standard DVI or VGA adapter works fine - but just wanted to be sure....

4) How durable are Macs? I wasn't worried until I looked through this forum and see threads about failing hard drives, overheating, Applecare - etc. And it seems like every signature has a newer MacBook in it.
1. Things do operate differently, but it is not that hard to make the change. The second part of your question (back and forth) if a little less clear cut. I did it for work a couple years (Mac home PC at work) and even as a complete nerd I was a little frustrated at times. I often found myself on Monday morning instinctively sliding the mouse up to the the top left of a Windows XP window to minimize only to realize my mistake (Mac window controls are are the traffic lights at top left). Do you have an Apple Store nearby maybe your wife can play around with the Mac interface a bit to get a feel for how comfortable she will be going back and forth.

2. Most popular Windows app have a Mac equivalent, but you will have to purchase the Mac version. Files/documents are pretty much cross platform unless you are talking about some arcane software package.

3. Any standard DVI/VGA monitor will work with a $29 adaptor from Apple.

4. No more or less durable than any other brand I don't think. You do tend to only see people posting here when they have a problem so that kind of skews the results.
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Old Nov 14, 2012, 02:28 PM   #5
zipur
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Ah, the question we all ask as we stand on the cliff of indecision. I jumped three months ago. It has be a joy every time I turn on my MBP. Now granted I was using WinXP that I upgraded to Vista then Win7 on 5 machines in the house so they were slow.
That being said, the MBP is built solid keyboard to the body. The screen has nothing loose not even a wiggle. On my HP LT the screen would flex and bend as you open/close the lid. Not so on the MPB, Uni-body, power cable connections all solid-snap-tight. Speaker are loud and clear. Fans; well I never hear them. And I can't say enough about the integration with my Ipad, Ipod and Iphone.

Now the OS. At first I couldn't figure out little things like recover/deleting files. I also repeatedly would move the mouse to the upper right to close a program (Now called and apps). Where the heck is the start>programs, where do I change the screen and background. However after a few days I'm never looking back. Apple IOS is very intuitive, things work and are natural, sensible not like the ever changing windows control panel.

But this is my experience. My path was to first find someone who had a MBP that fell apart like many of my windows laptops all my laptops. I could find none with that experience. I then went to Best Buy and just played with one. Picked it up, removed the power cord which I love(Causing and alarm), Open shut, power off all that stuff.

I jumped and now I am moving my wife and kids onto MPBs as the budget permits. I run Win7 under VMware Fussion but I find the need for that very rare in my day to day usage.

Take the forum complaints with a grain of salt, there are hundreds of thousand MBPs in the world compared to the few hundred negative post.

So jump, if you don't like it take it back and get a new windows machine.
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