Buying MacBook to replace current desktop and Laptop

Discussion in 'Buying Tips and Advice' started by Reclzz, Apr 8, 2014.

  1. Reclzz macrumors member

    Apr 8, 2014
    Good day all.

    I'm in the situation i need / want a new laptop, this time going for a Mac.

    My current computers are:
    Core2 Quad 2.5 GHz
    4 GB Ram (333 MHz)
    GeForce GT 230 1280 MB VRam

    Lenovo Thinkpad R500
    Core2 Duo 2.26 GHz
    4 GB Ram (also 333 MHz I think)
    Intel GMA 4500HD and 128 MB Mobile Radeon HD3400

    I would be using the MacBook for school and recreation.
    I taking an AP in Financial Management (takes two years) and will be travelling an hour both to and from school with a train.

    In my off time i dabble with programming, design and light gaming.
    When I say light gaming i mean Civilization V, The Command & Conquer Series and mostly Blizzard games. And it's not every day i game.
    No FPS games for me, i get nausea after about 20 minutes :p.

    I would love it if the MacBook could replace both my Laptop and my Desktop.
    I'm considering the maxed out BTO MBA 13" or the base rMBP 15" with 16 GB Ram. (Leaning more towards the 15")

    Does any of you know if i could dump my current computers for one of the MacBooks i mentioned?

    Any advice will surely be helpful.

    Bo Handskemager Sørensen
  2. theluggage macrumors 68040

    Jul 29, 2011
    In terms of performance, almost certainly.

    However, you need to do the research. The golden rule is to decide what software you need and buy the machine that runs it!

    What you need to do is make a list of the software you rely on and investigate its availability for Mac (carefully, too: e.g. MS Office on Mac is no problem, but it doesn't include MS Access) and how much it will cost you to get the Mac version if there is one.

    Also check what software you need for your college course. Financial Management could be pretty PC-centric.

    If there are one or two bits of Windows-only software that you need, that isn't necessarily a problem since Windows runs nicely in a virtual machine using VMWare or Parallels, including all but the most demanding 3D games (but do check the particular titles you depend on - there'll be compatibility info somewhere on the web). In that case you'll have to add the cost of vmware/parallels and a full retail copy of Windows. This will eat a bit of disc space, so it might leave you a bit cramped on a 128G SSD.

    Most people will find that everything they need to use has a Mac equivalent and that running Windows in a VM will deal with everything else. However, if you find your software requirements will leave you using Windows most of the time and/or your college is likely to blame any problem you have with their course software on your Mac, it might be more sensible to go for a PC ultrabook instead.
  3. themumu macrumors 6502a


    Feb 13, 2011
    If you "dabble with programming, design", you will probably want to get the 15".

    As for using the computer for your studies, it will unlikely to give you problems if you prepare for it in advance. That is, if there is any Windows-only software you need, just set up your computer to either dual boot or get Vmware, VirtualBox or any other virtual machine app. The virtualization approach would be more transparent, but consumes a bit more RAM. With 16 GB it should be fine regardless.
  4. glenthompson, Apr 9, 2014
    Last edited: Apr 9, 2014

    glenthompson macrumors 68000


    Apr 27, 2011
  5. glenthompson macrumors 68000


    Apr 27, 2011
    Something else to consider is that the MBP can be an acceptable desktop replacement when coupled with a good display. I have my MBP in clamshell mode hooked to a 23" display via a CalDigit hub. I unplug the power cable and the thunderbolt cable and I'm out the door. The big display makes a big difference when programming or working on photos in Aperture.
  6. AppleWindowsFan macrumors member

    Nov 13, 2013
    Ohio USA
    Yes, Mac laptops can function as desktops. The same can't be said for windows machines.
  7. glenthompson macrumors 68000


    Apr 27, 2011
    I used to use a Lenovo laptop in a docking station at work with dual monitors. Did fine but was harder to switch bak to portable mode - Display layout would get messed up at times.
  8. kelon111 macrumors 6502

    Mar 16, 2013

    Ever heard of mobile workstations?
  9. Reclzz thread starter macrumors member

    Apr 8, 2014
    Thank you all for the advice i've checked with the school and they do recommend Windows because of a plugin for excel which is only made for windows.

    However they are willing to help with vitual machine or boot camp for mac users.

    Other than the plugin for Excel nothing else is windows only, i was going to either boot camp and seeing as i want 16 gigs of ram there should be enough for the ocational virtual machine for Excel.

    I've been making the list suggest and it seems like i'll be able to run Adobe Creative Suite, Cinema 4D, Various IDE's and Solidworks in windows and Autodesk 123D.

    Thank you all for the replies, they have been very helpful.
  10. AppleWindowsFan macrumors member

    Nov 13, 2013
    Ohio USA
    I'm talking about the ease of using the Mac in closed Clamshell mode. You can attach an external monitor and keyboard to a PC, but you can't close the lid.
  11. Inhalant macrumors member


    Mar 12, 2014
    Yeah, you can. I use my laptop for gaming on my tv, and it runs with the lid closed.
  12. boats4chris macrumors newbie

    Aug 8, 2012
    Works great!

    I started with a 13 in MacBook Air for online class homework and found the screen to be too small for my needs. I finally upgraded to the 15 rMBP and it is a welcomed upgrade for a number of reasons. But to your point, it works great in a workstation configuration. I have not tried it in clamshell mode, but just last week I was doing a research paper and I had the laptop screen going and a 23 in and a 19 in monitor also plugged in. Thank goodness Apple finally figured out the multiple screen support! Also, the rMBP has 2 Thunderbolt ports to the MB Air's one. I like the potential of plugging in 2 extra monitors.

    I don't play any games on my Mac (yet), so I can't comment on it from that perspective.

    Yes, the rMBP makes a great workstation. I am finding that I am getting closer to finally ditching my PC's all together.

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