New to Mac, want some help understanding a few things

Discussion in 'Buying Tips and Advice' started by vchalupa, Jan 24, 2008.

  1. vchalupa macrumors member

    Jan 24, 2008
    I'm new to Mac, I'm planning on buying the "low end" Macbook Pro before I go to college and I'm looking to buy a few things for it. The MBP will have 2GB RAM and either a 200 GB (7500 RPM) or 250 GB (5400 RPM) hard drive.

    For example, I know Macs can now run Windows and I'm hoping Vista stabilizes by this summer...only hoping...I need to run Vista so that I can still run some of my Windows based programs. Does it matter which Vista I get? For example, would running Home Premium be faster than running Ultimate? I'm planning on eventually upgrading to 4 GB but for now how will the performance be with the 2 GB RAM?

    As a college student, I'd like to backup all my files to an external HD and probably connect a mouse and keyboard and who knows, maybe even a monitor at some point. I don't want to have to connect every cable every time I want to use this stuff. So does Apple have a "docking station" for it's laptops or am I better off going with a universal port replicator? I'd prefer something that's made for the Mac laptops because I'm not thrilled with a USB connection from the port replicator because I'm afraid it'll suck up my CPU power. I'd prefer either some sort of serial connection or Firewire connection so that I don't kill my CPU for simply connecting extra ports.

    Price isn't a HUGE issue for me right now, I'd just like to know what's out there so that this transition becomes easier.

  2. EricNau Moderator emeritus


    Apr 27, 2005
    San Francisco, CA
    No, it doesn't matter which version you get (although, I wouldn't recommend purchasing a version beyond your needs, simply for money reasons).

    And no, Apple doesn't make a docking station.
  3. vchalupa thread starter macrumors member

    Jan 24, 2008
    I have a special discount for the price is deff not an issue. If price was an issue, I would've gone for the Home Premium but I do have an opportunity to go for the ultimate so I just want to know how that makes a difference...
  4. digitalnicotine macrumors 65816


    Jan 11, 2008
    Vista is a resource hog, and by partitioning your drive to run it on the macbook, I would seriously consider getting the 4gigs of ram before installing Vista. I'd also go for the drive with 7200 rpm's if it's doable. While there is no mac doc, it's not that big of a hassle to disconnect an external monitor and a few USB cables, imo. I have a MBP and I do this a few times a week, and because of the design, it's quick and simple. Prolly why they didn't bother making a dock in the first place.

    Ultimate just has more bells and whistles, mainly a better back up tool, Bit Locker drive encryption, a few games and visual effects you can add if you want, etc. Microsoft also claims the Ultimate has better security than Home Premium. So you can prolly decide based on that which version since price isn't a concern.

    Glad you made the change to Apple. Good luck with your schooling.
  5. Matek macrumors 6502a

    Jun 6, 2007
    Vista runs normally with a gigabyte and great with 2 gigabytes of ram, so I wouldn't worry about it.
  6. gettingmy1stmac macrumors member

    Jan 20, 2008
    Harrison, AR
    Vista SP1

    Rumored to be out in Q1 of 2008. That will be a great help in stabilizing the OS.
  7. agentphish macrumors 65816


    Sep 7, 2004
    No one has asked the most insightful question...

    What "windows based programs" do you need to run? For the most part there is a comparable program on the Mac I'm sure.

    I went through the same thing you are right now about 3.5 years ago..."Oh no what am I going to do about running this Windows program...The only thing I never found a GREAT replacement for was mIRC...There are mac IRC programs but not as good as mIRC IMO...
    The only thing you really can't get natively in OS X is games most of the time.

    Anyways, what I'm really getting at is why run MicroCrap Shista at all? There's most likely a way around that so let us know what it is you need to run and I'm sure we're all happy to help you, I know i am.

    To the person who said vista runs ok with 1gb ram, can I have some of what you're smoking?
  8. ErikAndre macrumors 6502a


    Nov 14, 2007
    Welcome! :D

  9. cms2 macrumors 6502


    Aug 4, 2007
    Wow, really? I was planning to install Vista via bootcamp later this week. I'm in law school and to take exams on Mac you have to use Windows with bootcamp (virtualization will not work). I have a mbp w/ 2GB ram... Should I upgrade memory first?

    I'm quite happy with my notebook's performance to date, and I really hadn't wanted to spend money upgrading it already, as I've only had it since August.
  10. smogsy macrumors 6502a

    Jan 8, 2008
    ive run vista on 512mb but i highly reccomded 1GB plus

    it still dont feel that speedy on 4GB

    and i got qaudcore with raid on my vista pc
  11. ErikAndre macrumors 6502a


    Nov 14, 2007
    You should be fine, it just depends what all you need to run. I say try it and see if it suits your needs. If you need more, get more.
  12. killmoms macrumors 68040


    Jun 23, 2003
    Washington, DC
    Now I want some of whatever YOU'RE smoking. mIRC? The hackiest, ugliest piece of crap IRC client that everyone loves for some reason?

    I'll take Colloquy or Linkinus over that kludgy mess any day of the week.

    To the OP: If you're not wanting to run games, it makes more sense to virtualize Vista in something like Parallels or VMWare Fusion than to partition your hard drive and install it natively.

    There's no docking station, so you'll just have to connect stuff when you move from your desk to mobile.
  13. vchalupa thread starter macrumors member

    Jan 24, 2008
    Well the programs I intend to use are part of the Adobe line up...such as photoshop and other adobe programs. I know they have these programs for Mac too but they're absurdly expensive most of the time and I already have the windows version to it.

    And also if I run a few games, I can't run all games on mac. But does anyone know if there's a performance difference in running a game on mac and running the same game on windows with laptops of similar specs to the MBP?

    Other than that, I'm not completely sure of what programs yet but the main reason I want to install vista is so that IF I need a windows based program for w/e reason, I'll be able to access it. Especially considering all my friends are Microsoft'll be hard for me to receive files and programs from them that I can use.

    But I guess running vista is just for a security case I need it for some reason, not sure when and why I'll need it though. Do you think it would be better for me to hold off on the vista install in this case? Considering I'll be on a college camps with predominantly windows computers? And when installing vista, do you have to permanently partition the RAM?

    Thanks to everyone who has replied so far...this has been great to clear up some questions I had. I was just surprised that Apple store employees didn't know the answer to some of these questions! -_-
  14. portent macrumors 6502a

    Feb 17, 2004
    Adobe will swap them out for you. Call them.

    The real question I have is, why Vista? Boot Camp supports XP nicely, it runs faster, and just about all Windows software runs as well on XP as on Vista.
  15. RainCityMacFan macrumors 6502a

    Jun 10, 2007
    VMWare Fusion is awesome for that.

    Install Vista (I would just go with XP, Vista scares the **** out of me) using Bootcamp and run the Bootcamp partition using VmWare.

    As for gaming, I'm not a Pro in the hardware division, the way I see it is that in a VM (virtual machine), Vista is only allowed part of the total RAM. However, in Bootcamp, Vista will have access to your total RAM. It's like running Vista on a regular PC and since Boot Camp is out of it's beta, the drivers will be fine.

    You can also transfer files between machines by using VMware Fusion. If you're wondering, I have 3GB of RAM in my iMac and I'm running perfectly fine!

    Lastly, this is just me, my policy is to always avoid Windows software unless I need it and it can only be ran under Windows. Guild Wars (MMORPG) being one of them, I ended up quitting because they don't have a Mac port. MS Word can easily be replaced by iWork/NeoOffice/ if you aren't a heavy user.

    Good luck

    P.S. Just get 4GB of RAM, it will do you so much good in the long run.
  16. digitalnicotine macrumors 65816


    Jan 11, 2008
    I have to concur with this. I'm on Vista right now on a PC laptop. I just haven't gotten around to upgrading it to XP Pro yet. While I've had Vista for about a month now, I have only crashed 4 times so far, and lost no data in any of them :eek:. I don't hate Vista, but like I said, I'm going to wipe it and install XP Pro when I have time. It will speed up this laptop, and I will probably only crash half as often. (Thank goodness I have my iMac and MBP for when I'm doing anything that actually matters).

    Unless you plan on running games that require Direct X 10, there is no reason to bother with Vista, imo. The absolute only reason I have it is because it came with this laptop. No way would I pay for it outright. From what you've stated you plan on using your laptop for, XP Home or XP pro would do a better job in your partition or using a virtual desktop.
  17. agentphish macrumors 65816


    Sep 7, 2004
    I know for a fact, if you paid for your adobe software, Adobe will switch you over to the Mac software for only the cost of shipping. I just checked into this last week. Simply call their customer service line and tell them you are switching to the mac and they will mail you the software. You only pay shipping. So that solves your adobe dilema.

    Use bootcamp and XP.

  18. jjasonwrght macrumors member


    Jan 12, 2008
    I'm sorry, but I'm also one of those people who are still in love with the out of date software. I think its just something about how stable it runs regardless of what system your on. I mean, even on a vista computer with only 512 of ram, it runs stable. Provided it doesn't need much real CPU or ram usage to run, its still great. Actually.....come to think of it, I DON'T know why I love it so much. I just know that me personally will be getting parallels JUST to run mIRC. (Seeing as I don't need any other winblows software.)

    NOW to the OP.

    You should really just stick with XP for bootcamp, it'll save you alot of pain.
    Also its true about the adobe thing, my friend just did it last week. She actually meant to buy the mac version, and came to me crying that she wasted a craptastically big load of money. She bought it from a locally owned shop, and they wouldn't accept the return. THANKFULLY she phoned Adobe and they sent her the Mac version.

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