Care to give a PC user some advice?

Discussion in 'MacBook' started by AuNate, Feb 21, 2009.

  1. AuNate macrumors newbie

    Feb 21, 2009
    Hi all,

    First post. :cool: I am a long time PC user in need of a new laptop. Now first, let me get this out of the way. I am a Windows and Linux guy through and through. I have dabbled a bit in OSX, and while there are a few cool things there, it is just not for me. Nothing against OSX...its nice, but not for me.

    Now to my dilemma…I need a new laptop! I really don’t care who makes it…it just needs to be extremely well built. I was walking around Best Buy this afternoon and the unibody mb caught my eye. Seems like a nice machine! Seems very solid and I like the magsafe power adapter. What I am curious to know is if I used bootcamp to run Windows XP, would it 100% native? In other words, does XP take full advantage of the hardware (no virtualization)? How does the trackpad work with XP? Are there any known problems running Windows as the primary OS, or any hardware compatibility issues? Lastly, will bootcamp (drivers, etc) be updated to be fully Windows 7 compatible once it is released?

    I never thought that I’d be considering the mac, but I will admit that the new design is impressive. If it will run Windows flawlessly, I might bite on the high end model mb.

    Thanks for your help/insight!
  2. swiftaw macrumors 603


    Jan 31, 2005
    Omaha, NE, USA
  3. Tallest Skil macrumors P6

    Tallest Skil

    Aug 13, 2006
    1 Geostationary Tower Plaza
    Yep. 100%. A Mac IS a PC with Boot Camp.

    And PCMag has ranked Macs as the world's fastest Vista laptops in years past, so... ;)
  4. HLdan macrumors 603


    Aug 22, 2007
    The experience of running Windows on a Mac (although native in bootcamp) is still NOT the same experience of running Windows on a common PC. First the bootcamp drivers while good will not maximize the battery life. You will get great battery life and very low heat while in OS X. In Windows it will get very got and run the fans like crazy. The trackpad gets really wonky in Windows and finding drivers is virtually non existent outside of what Apple offers. The drivers for the GPU are perfect in OS X but the GPU is not recognized correctly in Windows, example, the GPU is the 9400, in Windows it reads as the 9600 and causes the Mac to run very hot.
    The keyboad on a Mac is NOT the same as a PC keyboard. You will have to find work arounds for certain commands and it can be PITA.
    Look, if you're not interested in Mac OS X it's a complete waste to buy a Mac JUST to run Windows. It will cost you more for less features. There are several nice PC's with good build quality like Sony's Vaio that would better suit you.
    Again, if you want to spend more money for more hassle then go right ahead, it's not worth buying it just for the prettiness.
    The whole idea of bootcamp is to help bridge gaps for when you need to occasionally run a Windows application, it's definitely not for turning a Mac into a common Windows PC.
  5. tubbymac macrumors 65816


    Nov 6, 2008
    The honest answer is that Apple's bootcamp drivers are garbage and that the trackpad is a terrible experience under Windows. If you're just interested in Windows and Linux a similarly priced Windows machine will be better. Obviously if you spend less money and get a cheap machine you get what you pay for.

    Having said that, if you do some digging through the Windows on Mac forums here, you'll find a few workarounds to the garbage Apple drivers. I've managed to get my machine to a tolerable state in bootcamp by downloading other drivers and doing some force installs of unsupported drivers. I work around the trackpad issue by using an external mouse.

    Battery life is about 2 to 2.5 hours under Windows. The cheapest PC you'll find probably will get twice that battery life. So there are some drawbacks to running bootcamp on this thing. BUT, it's the best looking notebook out there. So if that's important, you really don't have any other choice :)
  6. JamesGorman macrumors 65816


    Dec 31, 2008
    wait for the dell adamo to come could be as little as 2 months i believe and its a really nice machine. It somewhat of dells answer to the new macbooks.
  7. tubbymac macrumors 65816


    Nov 6, 2008
    Hell froze over because I finally agree 100% with everything you said, hah.

    I think that's a typo though - he mean't to say the keyboards are not the same. Apple and PC/Linux like to swap around keys on each other just to piss people off when they need to switch from one to the other.
  8. HLdan macrumors 603


    Aug 22, 2007
    Yep, it was a typo, just corrected it. ;)
  9. fibrizo macrumors 6502


    Jan 23, 2009
    As a PC person myself who owns a macbook, I must say that the trackpad drivers for windows blows... and sadly the LCD is very disappointing.

    Does the laptop look great? Does it work well in windows otherwise? Yes.

    If you don't want MacOS (I wanted to run mac os as well as windows)
    I'd personally recommend the Sony SR-290JTQ for 1249 from Sony's website
    4.2 lbs, 13.3 inch LED lit LCD (Much better than the macbook imo) Radeon 3470 with 256megs of GDDR3, 320gb HD, 3GB ram, 2.26 ghz P8400, up to 6 hours battery life in windows. It specs more like a macbook pro... and costs more like a macbook aluminum... I wish apple could pack thos specs and LCD into my aluminum macbook lol.
  10. tubbymac macrumors 65816


    Nov 6, 2008
    I actually looked at the Sony SR when I was shopping around comparing it to the Macbook. It starts at $1049.99 so it's actually not a bad deal. But what killed it for me was it has no hdmi or dvi output, just VGA.

    Apple took out Firewire to try to upsell us to the Macbook Pro. Sony does the same annoying thing by taking out hdmi/dvi in the lower end SR to try to upsell you to the Sony Z model instead. The Z model starts at $1499.99. I know this is gonna sound hypocritical coming from an Apple user, but at that price I think the Z model is overpriced.
  11. sc400-97 macrumors newbie

    Feb 21, 2009
    I'm currently running Windows 7 64bit (release 7000) under boot camp. I am not experiencing any of the bad stuff y'all have mentioned...except the battery life (about 2 hrs so far). The trackpad works fine, and it supports 1 and 2-finger gestures (I don't believe that Windows supports 3 and 4 finger yet). Mine has NOT gotten extremely hot, and the display looks just as good as it does on the OS X side. The graphics driver is correct for the nVidia 9400, and it shows up as a 9400 in device manager. I agree completely that the Unibody MB is by far the best looking, and most solid laptop on the market, and so far, runs Windows 7 64bit like a champ. Time will tell, but so far so good.
  12. AuNate thread starter macrumors newbie

    Feb 21, 2009
    Thanks for the info. Right now, I'm trying to decide between the mb, Dell Studio XPS 13 and one of the high end Sony's...and possibly the Dell Adamo, but who knows when that will be released.

    I have to admit that the only reason that I am considering the mb is the build quality and the material...does anyone know of an alternative 12-13" machine that is made of Al?

    Keep the comments coming!
  13. fibrizo macrumors 6502


    Jan 23, 2009
    I think many of them are made of aluminum... now if you mean carved out of one piece of aluminum, I don't know if there are any.
  14. sc400-97 macrumors newbie

    Feb 21, 2009
    As far as I know, the new MB is the only laptop that is CNC'd out of one piece of billet aluminum. There are many other laptops on the market that have thin aluminum bodies, wrapped around an interior framework, but none offer the rigidity of the MB.
  15. tubbymac macrumors 65816


    Nov 6, 2008
    I'm running the same config when under bootcamp. For the first version of the trackpad driver there's a few things wrong. Two finger click doesn't right click. Workaround is three finger click, which isn't too bad. But drag and drop stuff is borked - try it. Tap to click is also messed up while typing. Graze your palm against the pad and your text gets selected, deleted, moved around, it's all random.

    The second version of the driver fixed the two finger right click. It also fixed the typing while tap to click is enabled. But if you enable tap to click every time you two finger scroll the right click menu pops up. On top of that it puts up a BSOD on the Air, so I think Apple pulled the driver, hah.

    As for the other stuff, the 9600GT thing that HLDan was talking about doesn't apply to the Macbook. It's a problem with the Macbook Pro where under Windows the Apple bootup EFI disables the 9400M just to piss off Windows users I'm guessing :)

    For suggestions, I've pretty much bought and returned a lot of the PC notebooks from Best Buy and haven't been happy with any of them. The notebooks I'd consider now though would probably be some new models from the Lenovo/IBM Outlet.

    700 bucks gets you this SL300: SL300 with Free Bag

    1000 bucks gets you this decked out SL300 with specs similar to the Macbook: SL300 with Free Bag

    1200 bucks gets you the heavily discounted X300: X300 with Free Bag

    Those are the 13 inch models I'd consider. If you're willing to go to 14 inches I'd recommend the T400 (but like the Sony SR it only has VGA) or go for the R400 if you want hdmi at 14 inches. At 15 inches I'd go for the T500 with hdmi. Prices start at like $600 for those. Have a look around here:

    If you want even cheaper check out the refurbished units at that outlet. Good luck.
  16. sc400-97 macrumors newbie

    Feb 21, 2009
    Tubbymac, that's interesting.

    When I initially installed Windows 7, the trackpad WAS terrible. Here is the driver update I installed that fixed my issues:

    After installing this, my trackpad seems to work great.
  17. tubbymac macrumors 65816


    Nov 6, 2008
    That's the version 2 driver I was talking about. It got pulled off of Apple Software Update for Air's I think since it results in the Blue Screen of Death.

    I just tried installing it on my Macbook Windows 7 and it still has the same issues. Try this -> Click on your bootcamp icon in the system tray, then bootcamp control panel, then the trackpad tab, then put a checkmark to enable tap to click.

    Now surf around and use 2 finger scroll. You'll notice that the right click menu keeps popping up. Makes it unusable for the people who use tap to click.
  18. sc400-97 macrumors newbie

    Feb 21, 2009
    I've been using tap to click and two finger scroll ever since I installed the driver....and I'm just not having those issues.

    Is your MB an early 2008 or late 2008 model?
  19. Sesshi macrumors G3


    Jun 3, 2006
    One Nation Under Gordon
    No it is not fully native. There are some differences, especially with the Apple-supplied drivers, which make it less stable / less compatible than a 'real' Windows machine.

    You need only look at people bleating about compatibility for various apps and copy-protection systems to know that it is not fully native.

    It's certainly a very eye-catching machine for sure, but there are significantly better Windows machines - e.g. the midrange Vaio Z - for not that much more. They don't have the design purity of the Apples, but are much better PC's.
  20. tubbymac macrumors 65816


    Nov 6, 2008
    Hmm strange. Mine is the late 2008 unibody model. I got it right after the keynote in October. When did you get yours?

    Can you check your About This Mac / More Info / USB / Apple Internal Keyboard Trackpad in system profiler and tell me what it says? Maybe I got a bugged model of the trackpad or something. Here's what mine says:

    Apple Internal Keyboard / Trackpad:

    Product ID: 0x0236
    Vendor ID: 0x05ac (Apple Inc.)
    Version: 0.77
    Speed: Up to 12 Mb/sec
    Manufacturer: Apple, Inc.
    Location ID: 0x04600000
    Current Available (mA): 500
    Current Required (mA): 40
  21. philosopherdog macrumors 6502a


    Dec 29, 2008
    I too was a life time pc user. You can't find a PC that comes close to the new Macbook. However, the build of the machine is only half the beauty. OS X is just way better in too many ways to count over anything MS has ever made or ever will make. I understand that you might have some compatibility issues. The best thing is to run Windows virtually then, which should be adequate for most things. Anyhow, I guarantee that if you do buy it you'll be using OS X sooner or later. It's been a race to the bottom with most PC laptops. I couldn't find one I liked personally and that's how I ended up with the Macbook. I couldn't be happier.
  22. philosopherdog macrumors 6502a


    Dec 29, 2008
    I was going to ad that you could always buy it and take it back within the first 15 days. BTW never buy Bestbuy's extended warranty on this machine. Go to ebay and buy Apple Care for less than the Bestbuy warranty and have Apple work on the machine if anything ever goes wrong.
  23. fourtyoneantz macrumors member

    Feb 11, 2009
    Until about 3 weeks ago I was a "lifelong PC user". I never thought there'd come a day where I bought a Mac and ran OS X on a daily basis. I swear to you, I used to curse it and I didn't understand people who obsess over their Macs. But now...well..I don't even DABBLE with BootCamp. I just don't see a need. I am now the girl that obsesses over her MacBook and will forever be a lifetime Mac user. I think you should put yourself through a boot camp of your own...go to an Apple Store and learn the ins and outs of OS X. Sit down with a specialist and they'll give you a guided tour. It's so worth it.

    Also, the main reason that I switched to Mac was because I could NOT find a PC laptop with decent build quality. I sent back 2 Dell laptops because they were, pardon my French, pieces of sh*t. Haha. I checked out a bunch of other brands as well but just was not happy with the cheap, plastic feeling I got from them. They would all creak and squeak and feel as if they could crack at any moment. So I guess my point here is that I bought a MacBook for solid build quality and falling in love with OS X was just a plus. :)
  24. DoFoT9 macrumors P6


    Jun 11, 2007
    1. it will be JUST like a PC, you wont notice any difference, apart from the fact that its faster then pretty much any PC you throw at it :p

    2. the only virtualisation is the BIOS, because macs use EFI.. the BIOS is emulated, but that doesnt slow the machine down AT ALL. maybe a few seconds longer on startup, but nothing major, hardly even minor!

    3. trackpad works excellent, of course the leopard features such as 4 finger scrolling etcetc arent supported.

    4. none

    5. no body really knows, apple doesnt give bootcamp much support to be honest, because they dont really care. they want you to run leopard (of course they do, as do i eheh).

    whatever your decision, just make it on your own. no pressure.
  25. orangetripwire macrumors newbie

    Feb 24, 2009
    I was in the same boat as you up till a few weeks ago. I was a Windows / Linux user. Never really enjoyed OS X. Have one were I work on an old Mac Mini and its SLOW.

    I kept buying cheap laptops that were falling apart in a year or so between class, travel and personal use.

    I got the 2.0 aluminum and swapped out the 160GB hdd for a 250GB I had laying around. With boot camp, I used 40GB for Windows 7 32 bit beta (build 7000 I think) and used the rest for OSX. I used the Leopard CD to install all the drivers for Win7. I haven't looked around for newer drivers yet.

    Only thing is that my touchpad seems sensitive in Win7. I cant press click it (opposed to tap click), or it double clicks, and sometimes when Im moving it thinks Im clicking. Not sure if thats a Windows thing, Win7 thing or something else.

    Oddly enough, I find myself using OSX 90% of the time anyways.

    Big deciding factor for me on getting the MB was that I could run Linux, Windows or OS X on it.

    Good luck with your decision.

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