Buying iMacs for Windows? (OFFICE/WORK USE)

Discussion in 'Buying Tips and Advice' started by Philberttheduck, Apr 15, 2006.

  1. Philberttheduck macrumors 6502a

    Philberttheduck

    Joined:
    Mar 15, 2006
    Location:
    HB, CA
    #1
    Going to a Windows-Biased Fry's didn't help with the decision at all, so I'm hoping to ask you guys for a (less biased) opinion.

    With the new Boot Camp out, my parents have been inquiring about whether or not to replace the 4 computers at her dental office with Macs. Now, my dad is reluctant because he's afraid of future concerns with compatibility, despite the main software (Dentrix) working on my iMac via Windows already. I haven't tried using that software through a network yet (shared files via windows) because it'd require me bringing my mac outside from my room ;) , but I'm sure it will work (just simple file sharing). My mom absolutely loves the beauty and professional elegance of my iMac, couple that with the space saving features it has (she LOVES the all-in-one feature). The main software they use is basic file-sharing and requires VERY little memory. Think of it as a Internet/Word and Excel-Processing computer.

    Now my first question is

    (1) Is it wise for my parents to invest all their work into a Windows-Running-Mac?

    2 of the 4 computers will run via Windows 90%+, while the other two will bootup Mac, run windows if need be It's a really awkward question for me to ask ("Windows on a MAC?! NEVER!!") but the beauty/all-in-one concept really wins my mom over and my dad'll purchase em if it runs well with the software without faults (Windows).

    (2) Finally, is it WORTH it purchasing 4 iMacs?

    (if yes to any of the question, are mac minis better buys?)

    Thanks for responses.
     
  2. Philberttheduck thread starter macrumors 6502a

    Philberttheduck

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    #2
    lock it up. i was unaware there was a very similar thread...:rolleyes:
     
  3. Philberttheduck thread starter macrumors 6502a

    Philberttheduck

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    #3
    oy.. i read the other thread and it didn't really answer my question COMPLETELY. any other feedback would be great guys.
     
  4. Cabbit macrumors 68020

    Cabbit

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    Jan 30, 2006
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    Scotland
    #4
    so you want to buy 4 iMacs. format the hard drives and install windows XP and run them as windows iMac's. Well dont be worried about not useing osx with running windows xp on it its just the same as any windows computer. There powerfull all in one computers with a nice design and if you need to use windows on them so be it just remind your parents that because its a mac dosnt mean its not going to get a virus if its running windows.
     
  5. ipacmm macrumors 65816

    ipacmm

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    Jun 17, 2003
    Location:
    Cincinnati, OH
    #5
    I would buy 2 iMac's and 2 other all-in-one Window computers because if you really are just going to 2 boot them 100% of the time, I would save the money on those and just buy a cheaper gateway/dell/another windows comp. For the 2 that will use Mac and Windows, I would buy the iMac because they are great Mac's that will boot into both OS's when you need them.
     
  6. FFTT macrumors 68030

    FFTT

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    #6
    A local vet clinic just bought 6 new imacs for thier front desks and they love them.

    No need for windows at all because they are networked to the server downstairs.

    You may want to check out Parallels too rather than just Boot Camp so you can run OSX and Windows side by side.
     
  7. Abstract macrumors Penryn

    Abstract

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    #7
    But would an Intel Mac running Parallel and WinXP allow for networking between it and another Mac with WinXP running through Parallels? I don't think so, but check.

    Either way, I'd get Windows computers for her business. Who knows what will happen with this Windows compatibility later on. Maybe support will be pulled completely. Also, Boot Camp is in beta. Yes it works right now, but maybe there will be a major bug discovered later on. I wouldn't put all my eggs in one basket......not this early in the game.
     
  8. asphalt-proof macrumors 6502a

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    Magrathea
    #8
    i agree about checking out Parallels. If you are going with the dual booting option all you really are doing is getting the mac box with none of the OSX advantages. Chances are the receptionists are not going to want to reboot several times a day. Running XP in a sandbox will prevent you from getting nasty viruses and it sounds like the programs you would be running will not tax your computers even if running in virtualization. Also, keep in mind that both products are beta and when the time comes, those licences will expire and may charge for the upgrade.
     
  9. Eraserhead macrumors G4

    Eraserhead

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    UK
    #9
    All-In-One PC's are generally more expensive than the iMac (and less pretty) though. At least thats the situation in the UK.
     
  10. mkrishnan Moderator emeritus

    mkrishnan

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    Jan 9, 2004
    Location:
    Grand Rapids, MI, USA
    #10
    What do you mean by this? If your idea of a sandbox is Parallels...I don't see this as being true. The computer should be pretty much just as vulnerable to Windows viruses as any other Windows computer. If the sandbox is one that exists by virtue of no connection to the outside world (no internet, no ingress of removable storage media), then yes, this sandbox is protective, but no more so for the Mactel solution than any other Windows computer -- they'd all be protected from viruses in that kind of scenario.

    Or am I missing something? Sorry. :eek:
     
  11. wordmunger macrumors 603

    wordmunger

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    North Carolina
    #11
    Big problem with this setup is support: bootcamp is unsupported software, so if your parents have a problem, they have no place to call. If the scheduling system goes down, then they have no way to run their business. The likelihood of this happening is low, once you get the system up and running, but still, you don't want to run a business with no backup plan.

    One way to handle this might be to buy a cheap dell laptop as a backup system. If the macs go down, they can use the dell until they can solve the problem. That way they get the elegance they're looking for, but have a stopgap measure if there's trouble.
     
  12. MacDonaldsd macrumors 65816

    MacDonaldsd

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    #12
    100% agree
     
  13. FFTT macrumors 68030

    FFTT

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    #13
    The limited license issue of Boot Camp will be resolved once Apple releases
    Mac OSX Leopard.

    What seems likely is that the limited license for Boot Camp will expire and you will have to re-format and re-partition your hard drives for the updated version. So any work you have saved on your Boot Camp enable partition will be lost unless you follow very strong back-up procedures.

    This is why Apple is cautioning users that they should not be using Boot Camp for commercial applications at this time.

    The issue with WINDOWS malware and viruses is not so difficult.

    Your Windows partition should be used ONLY as a dedicated offline workstation or only be connected to a known secure network.

    In other words, no surfing the web by employees while booted into Windows!!!!!

    ANY ONLINE WORK SHOULD BE STRICTLY LIMITED TO YOUR OSX PARTITION.

    A Windows virus will not affect your OSX partition, but you may have problems with corruption of your e-mail if you are foolish enough to share
    your e-mail addresses across both platforms.

    At worst your OSX MAIL account might be subject to considerably more spam.

    The most difficult issue with all of this will be properly instructing employees on how to keep the overall system secure and trouble free.

    For limited data base and billing functions, I'm fairly sure that Parallels
    would be more than powerful enough to run your dedicated Windows application.
     
  14. blackstone macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Dec 12, 2005
    Location:
    Washington, DC
    #14
    A better solution

    I agree that it running Windows 90% of the time on an iMac is not an optimal solution, because (1) it eliminates the security advantages of OS X, (2) re-booting back and forth is a pain, and (3) you're relying on beta products without official support.

    Running Parallels is, in theory, the best solution except that it's also a beta product and runs into the same kinds of support issues.

    What about setting up a server in the back room, running Windows XP Server and the Dentrix software on that server, and then using Microsoft Remote Desktop Protocol to log into the server over the network from each of the iMacs? You'll need to get a good tech consultant to set the whole thing up, but once it's running you'll get a very solid, stable solution that allows you to log into the server to run Dentrix from ANY computer on your office network -- regardless of what OS it uses. Moreover, you can set up super-strict permissions on the server, so that any web-browsing/e-mail/etc. MUST be done on the client workstation (i.e. the iMac) rather than from the Windows server.
     
  15. FFTT macrumors 68030

    FFTT

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    #15
    Thanks Blackstone.

    I don't know exactly how they have it all set up, but the veterinary office I mentioned above is running 6 non Windows, G5 iMacs at their appointment desks connected to a Windows server in the control room.

    I just didn't know how to explain the networking end of it, but yes it's totally doable and looks absolutely professional clean and totally modern.

    This also reduces the cost of buying multiple Windows licenses for each workstation.
     
  16. Philberttheduck thread starter macrumors 6502a

    Philberttheduck

    Joined:
    Mar 15, 2006
    Location:
    HB, CA
    #16
    Thanks to EVERYONE that has contributed to this thread. BTW, all the iMacs would be dual-bootable, as we'll leave probably Windows to 200GB and Mac to 50GB on the "WinMacs" and 50/200 on the OSX-primary Macs.

    I've reviewed these points with my parents and we're probably going to wait for Leopard. My dad is not one of those guys that like re-doing things over again when they're fine, so waiting for Leopard would be great. My mom really wants the professional look, because her office is littered with paperwork and folders that an all-in-one beauty such as my Mac could clear this up. My dad's the lazier one, so he cares little of the compact-ness and likes the way things are.

    I'm still a little confused on the "Parallels" thing. Anyone care to direct me to a link to what it is exactly? It sounds intriguing.

    Thanks :D
     
  17. blackstone macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Dec 12, 2005
    Location:
    Washington, DC
    #17
    http://www.parallels.com/en/products/workstation/mac/

    It runs a virtual machine inside a window within OS X -- kind of like Virtual PC, except MUCH faster because it is virtualizing the same hardware as what you've got, rather than emulating a different processor and hardware set.
     

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