A few questions before I consider taking the plunge

Discussion in 'Buying Tips and Advice' started by Ben Dixon, Jan 12, 2010.

  1. Ben Dixon macrumors member

    Sep 16, 2008
    Stafford, UK
    Hey, here's a little information about myself and my needs of a computer:

    Before I got my iPhone back in 2008 I had always liked the look of the macs but after my iPhone I have really wanted to own one and as my PC is getting slower and slower for my work, now would be a good time for me upgrade ( I can afford to wait a month or so though)

    At the moment I am studying computer games design and programming in the first year at university and I have been wanting a mac computer for a while. Still sort of undecided about whether to get a macbook pro or an iMac, but the versatility of the macbook pro and being able to use it anywhere would be beneficial.

    The programs I am using at the moment are as follows and I want to know whether they would work under a bootcamp installation of windows 7 that I have got from the university or natively on OS X:

    3DS Max 2010 32 bit
    Photoshop CS3
    Command prompt, notepad and netbeans for java programming ( I will be moving onto learning c, c++ and possibly other languages too)
    Openoffice writer for writing up documentation and assignments.

    I may need to use other adobe software again for certain assignments as I have already had to use motionbuilder 2010 from them too. I will also end up working with maya in my 3rd year

    My main concerns about the macbook pros are the inbuilt NVIDIA Geforce 9400 graphics processors ( I definitely wont be able to afford the 15" pro with the 9600M GT) and how they would handle my 3D work and whether it would really be different programming java through OS X and xcode although I could use my install of 7 to do my programming.

    Thanks in advance for any help
  2. Ben Dixon thread starter macrumors member

    Sep 16, 2008
    Stafford, UK
    Cheers for the quick reply, seems interesting and the basic 13" pro may be useable for me.

    Is there anyone else with any feedback and advice for me on the subject? I have been thinking about getting a macbook pro/ basic iMac for a while, but still umming and ahing about upgrading to another PC


    Maybe my current PC specs will give you an idea to what I am using now:
    Core 2 Duo 64 bit at 1.86 GHz 2MB L2 cache at 1066

    NVIDIA GeForce 7300LE

    1GB DDR2 ram
  3. thejadedmonkey macrumors 604


    May 28, 2005
    Don't do what you're about to do. Baddd move.

    As you hopefully know, 3DS Max isn't OS X compatible. This means you will be FORCED into running it in a virtual machine with reduced 3D performance (not recommended at all) or using Bootcamp.

    On top of this, the 9400m isn't the best graphics card out there.

    Lastly, Apple's bootcamp support is hit or miss. I could never recommend bootcamp for anything besides gaming, and then only if you use an external mouse and keep your laptop plugged in.

    What I would do is spend $500 on a refurb Mac Mini, and another $1000 on a nice laptop. You'll get a reliable Windows laptop that way, and still have a mac to play with.

    EDIT: Or since your computer only has a single gig of RAM in it, just upgrade the ram! No wonder your computer is slow, it needs more RAM! Upgrade that PC to 4+ GB's of RAM if you can, and then tell me how slow it is.
  4. Pomares macrumors member

    Jul 23, 2002
    You have to decide between portability and raw power. A 13" macbook pro will not be much faster than your current PC. If you need a real power upgrade then it has to be the iMac at the price point you are thinking about. If you have an iPhone you can do almost everything you would need to do on campus with it and some fast thumb typing. My 2¢
  5. Ben Dixon thread starter macrumors member

    Sep 16, 2008
    Stafford, UK
    Again, thanks for the replies.

    I would love to get both a mac and a PC, but I dont have anywhere near enough money for that, hence the possibility of getting a mac and running windows on bootcamp for my 3D software.

    Alot of my time on campus is only for lectures and I currently only write out notes during them anyway. Having a laptop would be good for this as well as travelling home from time to time.

    The university does have computers there running software that I could use if needs must but they can be slow at running some of the software.

    I think, ultimately, the best thing for me to do is either look at a PC or like thejadedmonkey has suggested upgrade my computer instead
  6. jzuena macrumors 6502a


    Feb 21, 2007
    Lexington, MA, USA
    A RAM upgrade for your current machine is a minimal investment and will hopefully allow you to keep a serviceable dedicated Windows box running while you explore your options on the Mac side (maybe coupled with a fresh install of Windows if it is still running slowly). You didn't mention if selling your current machine was going to be part of funding your new machine. If it was, then you will need to keep to a low budget for the Mac. As mentioned above, the mini is a good low-cost option that can possibly share the monitor you already have if the monitor has multiple inputs. The latest ones have the same 9400M graphics as the lower end MacBook Pro.
  7. Ben Dixon thread starter macrumors member

    Sep 16, 2008
    Stafford, UK
    I have only recently done a fresh install of 7 and the only things I have on there now are the programs I need and all my music, pictures and videos.

    I forgot about selling my current computer which could go to my brother for a minimal fee and I can also get the educational discount that apple offer and I read this site enough to know its pointless asking anyone if there is a graphics update anytime soon as no one knows.

    My only problem with the mini is that it seems to be alot of money for what you get and even with the edu pricing its £460

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