considering macbook setup

Discussion in 'Buying Tips and Advice' started by jbusc, May 21, 2006.

  1. jbusc macrumors member

    May 21, 2006
    Hi everyone -

    I'm a longtime PC (windows+linux dual boot) user and I've been having some trouble with my pc setup so I'm in the market to upgrade/replace. I'm looking more toward laptop so I can also carry it to school.

    Basically, what I had in mind: I'll buy the lowest cost macbook ($1049 with my educational discount), possibly upgrade RAM to 1gb. Then, I already have USB keyboard/mouse, and a nice 17" samsung lcd (1280x1024). I'll buy a 300GB USB2.0 external hard disk ($130 or so) and a USB2.0 enclosure for my DVD+-RW drive, and a USB2.0 hub to tie it all together.

    So then, I plug power and my usb-hub and monitor(DVI) to the macbook to "dock" it when I'm home, and "undock" it to take to school.

    My questions are:
    1. Is upgrading the RAM easy? I'll buy the macbook with 2x256 and replace one of the DIMMS with a 1gb dimm (~$90), then can I do something with the 256 DIMM?
    2. Would my external drive(s) work on mac? I think the hard drive would work but are there any complications with DVD drivers?
    3. If I do decide to use boot camp with XP how do I format the drive? Can OSX read FAT32/NTFS or do I partition NTFS and whatever mac filesystem is?
    4. external keyboard/mouse - Will I need special Mac keyboard for the "mac key" or am I OK with regular USB keyboard?
    5. Finally is this setup reasonable? Am I going to be aggravated by problems since I'm using it as my main computer and ditching desktop?

    thanks for reading/answering these questions...I just want to make sure before spending lots of money :) no rush, I probably will wait for Rev B or C macbook to get all kinks worked out.
  2. ®îçhå®? macrumors 68000


    Mar 7, 2006
    The RAM is fairly easy. How to do it is in different forums.
    If the drive is formatted for mac, it should work.
    Just download BootCamp from Apple
    I don't know about the keybard so i can't tell you.
  3. faintember macrumors 65816


    Jun 6, 2005
    the ruins of the Cherokee nation
    1) Yes. See this video

    2) The HD will work if it is formatted in FAT (which it probably is since you are dual booting Windows and Linux). The DVD i have no clue on.

    3) Macs can read/write to FAT and HFS. The instructions come with Boot Camp.

    4) Your keyboard/mouse are fine. The "mac" key (i.e. called the command key) will still function as command in OS X, regardless of what the keyboard has printed on the key. So it will be fine in both Windows and OS X.

    5) I would do a FW enclosure for your HD, but thats just me (and typically the Mac way). FW is better than USB 2.0, period (not that USB 2.0 is bad). I think the setup sounds good. Just make sure to buy the correct mini-dvi cable to connect to your external monitor. It should cost you around $19. Hope to see you make the switch soon. It is oh so good!
  4. robbieduncan Moderator emeritus


    Jul 24, 2002
    You can use a standard USB keyboard, even one with a Windows key, on a Mac.
  5. jbusc thread starter macrumors member

    May 21, 2006
    Thanks, those were some quick responses for 2am! (though, I guess it is morning in the uk)

    I could do firewire for the enclosures, it's just I was trying to get it so it would only require plugging/unplugging one cable (the USB cable to the hub) to "dock" and "undock" all the devices, except monitor. Plus it would use the only firewire port on the macbook.

    I have another question, on my family's laptop (which I borrow currently when I need a laptop), the USB ports broke from even just light usage (putting usb cords in/out) I assume this is just shoddy manufacturing as it was a cheap laptop...but should I worry about this on my macbook if I use the USB ports frequently? If they do break is that something I can get fixed? Thanks again...

    edit:by "broke" I mean, the little port things got physically detached from the printed circuit board inside.
  6. shadowmoses macrumors 68000


    Mar 6, 2005
    That must have been one cheap laptop as I've never had a USB port break ever on various different computers...maybe you were being a bit rough? Anyhow MacBooks have high quality ports so this shouldn't be an issue...

  7. robbieduncan Moderator emeritus


    Jul 24, 2002
    One of the ports on my old PowerBook stopped working after about 2 years. The other is fine.

    If you do manage to break one it's either soldering it back on yourself, or a new logic board time which will be so expensive you'd probably be better off buying a new laptop!

    If you are worried about hardware damage from normal usage then perhaps you should consider AppleCare?

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