Converting to the dark side...

Discussion in 'Buying Tips and Advice' started by theredensign, Sep 12, 2016.

  1. theredensign macrumors member


    Sep 12, 2016
    Hi all,

    I apologise if I've made a faux pas by making my first topic a help one, but any advice would be greatly appreciated.

    In short, my Acer Aspire V3-571G is becoming quite elderly now, and whilst I don't knock it around, I realise that it may need replacing soon, as it's already 3/4 years old.

    At the time, I decided to buy something that was a bit more powerful as it was able to handle games quite well, and I've always been a lifelong Windows user. However, I'm no longer much of a gamer, and the only games I generally do mess about with on occasion are the Total War series (which are surprisingly heavy).

    However, to complicate matters, I've recently become interested in Apple. I bought my first iPhone some years ago (after having Android), and subsequently, an iPad. I like them both a great deal, and so I'm beginning to wonder whether I should 'try' a Macbook Pro. However, I'm a bit dubious about this because of the price and the fact that it's a big step into the unknown.

    In short, I'd look to use the laptop for general browsing, watching movies (I work away from home), the occasional game, and perhaps some graphics work in future. I did play around with graphics in the past, but with a full time job I struggle to find the time these days.

    Has anyone else converted from Windows to Mac before and, if so, was it the right choice? Do you think a Mac really is worth the pretty penny that they ask? Also, how reliable are they?

    Many thanks,

    Kind regards,
  2. aZZaneko macrumors newbie


    Jul 21, 2012
    I've switched to a Mac somewhere in 2007. My white Macbook served as my primary machine (pretty much 24/7) for good 5 years. It still works and I used it as a server until recently. The only thing that doesn't work is a couple keys on the keyboard and that's because my cat threw up on it.

    My 2012 retina Macbook Pro still works better than a lot of new Windows machines. It's still more than enough for graphics and development work I do. It only slows down when I work with files for print that are few GB big.

    Macbook Air from 2012 I bought for mom works alright. It's not the fastest but it handles Autocad, Office, movies and web browsing without being annoyingly slow.

    MacMini from 2010 runs the latest version of macOS and is spectacularly slow with converting video but it's decent at playing it. VLC plays fullHD just fine.

    My brother still uses 2011 Air and doesn't complain. He only browses the web pretty much.

    My Apple Cinema Display died recently after working perfectly for 8-9 years.

    Hope that answers the reliability question.

    As for regrets, I don't imagine going to another platform at this point. I love macOS and I can do a lot with it. I did have to install Windows as a 2nd system though, because the only game I played did not have a mac or Linux client. So if games are important, check the compatibility first. Other than that you should be fine.
  3. theredensign thread starter macrumors member


    Sep 12, 2016

    It certainly seems that from a reliability point of view that it's very difficult to match a Mac.

    When using Windows on a Mac, are there any inherent issues that I need to be aware of?

    Incidentally, would it be worth purchasing Apple Care if I did buy a MacBook? Also, if I were to buy a new iPhone at the same time, would I need to buy two separate packages?

    Many thanks for your help.

    Kind regards,
  4. tjwilliams25 macrumors 6502

    Aug 10, 2014
    It is very difficult to match a Mac when it comes to longevity. I have a refurbished low-end iMac from 2007 that my parents still use to this day. It's slow, but it's still chugging along. Windows works on Mac like it would natively, since they're using the same hardware now. Apple's drivers are, in my experience, pretty solid, so you shouldn't run into too many compatibility issues. However, I think once you use macOS and really get to know it, you won't want to go back to Windows.

    As for AppleCare, it really depends on your expected uses. I've never gotten it and have been successful so far, but your mileage will vary. I would definitely recommend it to a new user, not only for the accident coverage, but the fact that it comes with amazing tech support for the length of the plan. Also, you would need two AppleCare plans; one for the Macbook and one for your iPhone.
  5. aZZaneko macrumors newbie


    Jul 21, 2012
    It will take some time. There will be basic things, like Enter renaming a file instead of opening it, that will annoy and confuse you for a while. But you'll get over it. Overall macOS is very user-friendly. Even my old mother, that used to be terrified of her PC laptop, found her way around her mac. She claims she still tries to do things randomly but mac seems to guess what she means. They 'share similar logic' :)

    Watch out for the file system difference. If your external USB drives are formatted in FAT32, all is well. If it's NTFS, macOS will not work with them natively. You may need to install something like Paragon NTFS driver in order to read and write. You may want to format your new drives as HFS+ but keep in mind that they won't work with Windows if you do.

    Also make sure the software you use for work is mac-compatible. If it's not, you may have to install something like Parallels to run Windows applications within macOS. You can also install a full Windows version if you need access to full graphic card power (some games need it).

    It should be alright. MacOS is a very likeable system and if you still end up hating it for some reason, Macbook Pro runs Windows perfectly well.

    I hope others can advise you on Apple Care as I don't come from a country where Apple is operating 100%.
  6. locallad, Sep 12, 2016
    Last edited: Sep 12, 2016

    locallad macrumors newbie


    Nov 6, 2013
    NorthWest, United Kingdom
    As a Microsoft professional and (now ex) technical trainer I had to make the same decision when my laptop failed. At that same time, Microsoft had just launched Windows 8 and there were new touchscreen laptops... and I wasnt too enamoured with the Windows 8 O/S (no start button - and lots of flashing tiles), and the laptops all had touch screens that were only about $100 cheaper than MacBooks. Im a keyboard person - I dont do smudged fingerprints on my screen - so I took the dive... I have a MacBook Pro (retina) and I have never looked back... Battery life is out of this world, and the charger is lightweight (compared to some laptop power bricks!)

    So some things are different, like no delete key.... but once you get used to the minor differences you'll not be going back.

    As for upgrades - smooth, easy and trouble free, AND you get free software - Pages, Keynote and Numbers and an email client (I use Thunderbird as its really similar to outlook in use - and its also free)... So dont forget to cost in your software to the Microsoft price comparison

    To coin a phrase about apple kit "It just works"

    My 50c - Go for It..!
  7. LDec macrumors newbie


    Mar 16, 2011
    I have two portable Macs from 1998, 2002 and both are working fine, still, just slow. No flash, no Chrome, no Firefox, but Safari handles everything, almost :). This is longevity of portable Macs.
    Once you turn Mac, you never go back ;)
  8. grahamperrin macrumors 601


    Jun 8, 2007
  9. riverer macrumors newbie

    Feb 25, 2012
    I've been sorely tempted a few times, I even set up a pretty solid hackintosh (OSx on my windows PC) for a few months to try it out.

    The thing that always stops me, is there is always something that I want to do that is windows only. I do a lot of music production as a hobby and OSx is great for that, but so many good free plugins and bits of software are windows only. World of warships and world of tanks worked very poorly on OSx and wasn't properly supported. Felt like every few weeks I would find something that I wanted to use for work, gaming or music that just didn't run on OSx.

    The big programs, office, Ableton live, dropbox, the OS etc were all really nice.

    Plus you pay more for the hardware. If you can afford it and you only use main stream popular big name software or stuff you know works well on OSx, its a lovely experience. I'm a tinkerer nerd at heart so for me it was flexibility of hardware and software that won out, but I still admire the Mac OSx machines from afar :)
  10. BornAgainMac macrumors 603


    Feb 4, 2004
    Florida Resident
    I prefer Windows on a desktop. Macs are better for laptops. Would pick the 3 year old Mac laptop over a modern Windows laptop. Desktop is a different story. I really like the control you have with internal components, not having to worry about battery power management, good cooling options, prices can range from $200 to $10,000 and you are in full control what you want.
  11. brent12 macrumors member

    Jun 24, 2013
    I love my iPhone, iPad and Apple watch but prefer my PC over my Mac. I've been unlucky and my Macbook Pro crashes every few days (GPU issue). I really don't like that Apple/Jobs decided we shouldn't have a delete and backspace key and instead got rid of delete and renamed their backspace key as delete. Apple did a fantastic job selling me on using touch interfaces via my iPhone and iPad but on a computer only the PC offers it. Beware of iPhoto and I believe its replacement also uses a database regarding your photos which can make picture moves, deletions, backup/restores etc. tricky. A Mac isn't bad but because of getting more bang for my buck and wanting a touch interface I'm leaning PC. Your mileage may vary!
  12. theredensign thread starter macrumors member


    Sep 12, 2016
    Hi all,

    Many thanks for your replies; it's greatly appreciated!

    I think I will take the plunge, but I may make a point of doing this soon so that I can make a smooth transition from my Acer, rather than waiting for it to give up the ghost.

    I have a final few questions, if someone would be happy to oblige?

    1) Is there any reason why I shouldn't buy the next generation of MacBook Pro, rather than the current? I appreciate that this one is difficult to answer, but I'm not an avid follower of Apple 'rumours'.

    2) Is it advisable to only buy Apple accessories where possible? If not, are there any manufacturers in particular that cater for Apple, but would meet a similar standard? The reason why I ask this is that I understand that Apple are more closed off than other platforms in terms of iOS, and so I wondered if the same could be said for a Mac.

    3) Do MacBooks have any issues with overheating when they're being pushed?

    4) Do Mac's slow down in the same way that Windows machines do?

    5) Are there any accessories in particular that really are a 'must have' when buying a MacBook Pro?

    6) Any things that you wish you had done differently when buying your MacBook? Anything that you'd recommend doing?

    Once again, many thanks to you all!

    Kind regards,
  13. grahamperrin macrumors 601


    Jun 8, 2007
    If you'll use USB for storage, and if you require a hub: aim for a hub that's sold by Apple.

    For mains power adapters and so on, search keyword: teardown. Some Apple products are overpriced but when you see the quality of some of the cheaper alternatives, you'll understand why they're so much cheaper.
  14. tentales macrumors 6502a


    Dec 6, 2010
    The stupid low-travel keyboard they introduced on the new Macbook is very likely to migrate to the new MBPs.
    The new MBPs will no doubt be premium priced, whereas current ones are on sale. BestBuy Canada currently has the 13"MBP 8/128 for just over US$1000 give or take USD/CAD rate swings.
    Not at all. You can buy any number of quality USB or other accessories. There used to be companies that used to cater only to Apple, but that's long in the past. iOS is closed, but the Mac OS X (macOS) is basically Unix with Apple's customization. Inherently open, but more closed at the "App store" level. Unlike iDevices, you can decide on which version to run on your Mac but the newest Mac will typically not support older versions of OS X.
    If you opt for an older Macbook Pro or Air, stick to 2013 or newer and check Apple's refurb store for deals.
    Apple's refurbs are as good as new and come with the same warranty.
    No. Not lately anyway. In the past, some lap-burners existed, but thermal protection stops it from frying the logic board.
    One of the big advantages of the Mac. Housekeeping on a Mac is a fraction of the work you'll spend on a Winbox.
    Depends on your usage case. None come to mind. If you get an Air (like me) and external IPS Monitor for home use is pretty essential, since the display isn't as big or sharp. Any MBP will do but again, I find working with a 27" screen at home much more pleasing. I then use the Macbook as a 2nd screen or keep it in clamshell mode.
    Max-out RAM especially, since newer Macs cannot be upgraded later. Also, if you can afford it, go for at least 256SSD or more. There are 3rd party SSD upgrade options now, but I wouldn't trust them for longevity.

    Finally, you mentioned "graphics work".
    All your other requirements could easily be met by the lighter and cheaper Macbook Air, but even the 13" Macbook Pros or the base 15"MBP do NOT have a dedicated GPU, only the primo $2.5K+ 15"MBP does!
    You need to decide if your future graphics demands justifies that investment or if Intels' integrated GPU is sufficient.

    Good luck and welcome to the Dark side :)
  15. TSteyn macrumors newbie

    Sep 11, 2016
    A dual-core Macbook Air is a well-rounded choice. Buy as much RAM and disk as you think you might need, as they are not upgradable.
  16. marioman38 macrumors 6502a


    Aug 8, 2006
    Elk Grove, CA
    Grab a 13" Macbook Air with 8GB Ram and 256gb SSD (512GB SSD if your pockets can stretch that deep).

    You can purchase from bhphotovideo and avoid paying tax in all states but NY I believe.

    They currently have the 4GB 256GB SSD model on sale for $869. I'll leave it to you to determine if 4GB is enough RAM. I had 4GB in my 2011 Macbook Air from 2011-2016, and just replaced it with a 2011 15" Pro a month ago with 8GB RAM not out of necessity, but just because I could... BH also has the 4GB 128GB for $829 but you'd be stupid not to double your SSD for 40 bucks. The 8GB 256 SSD is $1099. Again up to you if 8GB RAM is worth the extra $230.

    Aaannnnnd now that I've finished typing this..... the wive's birthday is tomorrow and I'm seriously contemplating the 4GB 256GB SSD model for her as a late BDAY surprise.... She'd be jacked to replace her 2009 Core2Duo Macbook Pro.... Hmmm :D
  17. dj23andMe macrumors member


    Feb 16, 2016
    Seattle, WA

    Currently only buy the retina Macbook. All the other Macbooks and Macs are dated some at over 1000 days since a refresh are very well likely going to be discontinued. Proceed with caution.
  18. shaunp macrumors 68000

    Nov 5, 2010
    I moved from Windows to Mac in 2009. I've just moved my laptop to an XPS 15 as I need more RAM than my rMBP could provide. There are a couple of things that I miss in OS X, but overall I find the XPS 15 with Windows 10 a more flexible platform for my needs - VM, photo editing and I can now play games if I want to.

    I'm now eyeing up my nMP and its days are numbered ...

    Would I go from Windows to Mac now? Nope. Not given the current Apple hardware choices. And there is no evidence this will change soon.
  19. iEMH macrumors member


    Apr 20, 2015
    I live in my own little World
    I used to build my own PCs until 2009. Almost one every one to two years. Just to keep up with software requirements.
    I bought an iMac once I saw the *nix capabilities of OS X. and never looked back.
    To this day, that iMac is still running, and never had a problem. I will retire it now, because I fear that the HD will die soon, although I see no signs of it.
    Are/(were) macs reliable and durable? yes, but apple is not innovating at the pace they used to (at least on the computer side), which has me thinking on going back to Windows now that W10 seems to be in good shape, and performance has changed in the VM area. Also the hardware-software requirement ratio has leveled quite a bit since 2009 in the windows side.
    I am waiting to see what they release next, and decide then.

    Thankfully, most of my software needs have moved to the cloud or AWS, and those that have not, I have the option to get a windows version as well for free.

    It needs to be seen if the value of Macs will continue, and for that, they need to bring good innovation value to justify the high cost. But if they continue with their greedy-non-customer-oriented-iAMGod ways like in the past few years, I feel there will be a large migration of professional users to the "Dark Side" of windows.

    To be fair, if you look for a "good" laptop (i.e. Dell XPS) with the same specs of a rMBP, the price was not so different until about a year ago. So in reality the deciding factor should be what OS and upgradability needs you have. (as other mentioned, Macs are closed systems, so you cannot upgrade so easy)
    Yes, you can get a cheaper laptop with similar specs, but you get what you paid for, and reliability, quality and durability may not be included in that package.

    my 0.02 cents
  20. winston1236 macrumors 68000

    Dec 13, 2010
  21. Dizzler, Sep 14, 2016
    Last edited: Sep 15, 2016

    Dizzler macrumors regular

    Apr 28, 2009
    I would recommend the Retina MacBook Pro (Early 2015). I believe this is the last Mac laptop that had user-installable parts, especially RAM. This can be a great feature but Apple seems to be making all their products disposable now so that if you want a hardware upgrade, you have to throw away a perfectly good device and buy their latest and greatest. (How environmentally friendly is that?) Also, we have heard speculation that the next version of the MacBook Pro, coming soon, will most likely have that crappy low-rise keyboard as well as none of the usual ports. So beware of new hardware. It may be the newest but is not always better.

    EDIT: The 2015 MBPro does not allow user to add/upgrade RAM except at time of original purchase. You have to go farther back to have this feature. My mistake. Thanks, Apple.

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20 September 12, 2016