OS X: Really Groundbreaking?

Discussion in 'macOS' started by Blues003, May 31, 2011.

  1. Blues003 macrumors 6502

    Apr 18, 2010
    Good day everyone.

    I am in the process of saving up for a Mac. I am considering the Macbook Pro 13'' as a main computer to replace my 3.5 year old Sony Vaio. My laptop is slowly dying, so I am in need of a new one.

    I have started looking into Macs partly by influence of a friend. Said friend has a 13'' Macbook Pro from 2009, with 4GB of RAM. He used to tell me wonders about OS X, although in truth he never really detailed what he meant. Being not the most tech-literate person, I tend to have troubel distinguishing what is true from what is not. The most complex term I understand regarding technology would probably be Kernel?

    Anyhoo, I had heard OS X was a great OS and all. However, I cannot say I am unhappy on Windows 7 either. It does lag and shutter from time to time, but that surely is to be expected from a not-so-young laptop which has had its fair share of repairs from Sony itself.

    Today, I saw my friend messing on OS X. While it did look good, design and aesthethics really are the least of my concerns. His computer ended up with a long beachball, and struggled to keep everything opened. I couldn't really blame the computer, as my friend is quite the power-user kind of guy: 3 browsers open at the same time, each one with 8+ tabs, Adobe Reader with 5+ files, Adobe Photoshop, Microsoft Powerpoint with 3 files, and some other minor apps (Mail, Twitter, Adium). What impressed me was when another friend of mine, who posesses the very same Macbook but with 2 GB of RAM only, had a crashing situation happen on Microsoft Powerpoint. And this time, there was not app overloading to serve as an excuse.

    Red Flag.

    I have always heard a lot of OS X regarding "stability" and "smoothness". I would like to know if issues like this are common, and if not, what they could be due to. What can my friends be doing "wrong". I would like OS X because of some specific software (ie. Garageband), but I would hate paying premium for a laptop with not-premium hardware, and a so-called-awesome-OS that would end up disappointing me. Of course I could run Windows 7 on a Macbook Pro; but for that I don't need to pay 1000€+, do I?
  2. eawmp1, May 31, 2011
    Last edited: May 31, 2011

    eawmp1 macrumors 601


    Feb 19, 2008
    You don't buy a Mac for the hardware specs. You buy it for the integration between the OS and the hardware.

    Your friend probably had two problems: 1) Running Microsoft Powerpoint (I kid) and 2) using only 2 GB RAM.

    Addendum: your power user friend is more indicative of the normal experinece with Mac OS. You have a comparison sample of 2 - hardly a representative sample. Your bet bet is to look on here for the many threads from switchers...ther are pros and cons, but most don't regret leaving Windows.
  3. Blues003 thread starter macrumors 6502

    Apr 18, 2010

    Well, Powerpoint is kind of important for everyday work. :p As for the 2GB of RAM, I thought about that as well. But wasn't OS X "awesome" already in 2009 or so, when the MBPs only had 2GB? ;)
  4. NutsNGum macrumors 68030


    Jul 30, 2010
    Glasgow, Scotland
    Wirelessly posted (Mozilla/5.0 (iPhone; U; CPU iPhone OS 4_1 like Mac OS X; en-us) AppleWebKit/532.9 (KHTML, like Gecko) Version/4.0.5 Mobile/8B117 Safari/6531.22.7)

    It's not the OS's fault that you're friend has more programs open than he has available free RAM. I use OSX and windows on my MBP. Both are decent operating systems but neither is better than the other necessarily, it just boils down to personal preference and whether or not certain programs are available for either. For example 3ds max on pc or final cut pro on mac.

    FWIW I think OSX has better error handling, I rarely have a full system crash with OSX whereas on Windows I routinely have them whilst under similar workload. As a result, I predominantly
    use OSX.
  5. Blues003 thread starter macrumors 6502

    Apr 18, 2010
    Surely my heavy-user friend has some blame. But the other one was really just running some basic apps. Firefox, Adium, Twitter, Powerpoint and Mail, IIRC. Of course 2GB of RAM is a limited ammount, but not only do I get along well on 2GB on my current laptop, but also OS X was considered a stable and smooth system way before the 4GB became standard on the MBPs. Thus my question. :D

    Thanks for all the answers ;)
  6. hollerz macrumors 6502a


    Sep 13, 2006
    Durham, UK
    In general OS X is stable and smooth. In general, Windows is stable and smooth.

    Use both, see which one you like best, buy.
  7. Blues003 thread starter macrumors 6502

    Apr 18, 2010
    I cannot truly test OS X on the way I would use it, since my friends are very privacy-concerned with their laptops. Very doubtfully would they lend it to me...
  8. maflynn Moderator


    Staff Member

    May 3, 2009
    OSX is very stable, that doesn't mean they'll not get a Kernel Panic from time to time. Windows 7 is very stable as well and you really cannot go wrong either one.

    Its really a personal preference, since you're paying an apple tax and spending more money then a PC counterpart You need to be sure it has your apps you need.

    Personally, I prefer OSX because the OS is more consistent, The apps are easier to deal with. Most by and large are installed/uninstalled by dragging and dropping. There's a tight integration with apple products if you've bought into the apple ecosystem.
  9. ScoobyMcDoo macrumors 65816

    Nov 26, 2007
    Austin, TX
    When comparing Windows and OS X, your not going to find anything "groundbreaking" about OS X. I do however find that OS X is more of a pleasure to use. I rarely have the beachballing, but it does happen. I don't use windows very often anymore, but when I do, I usually get frustrated that the same tasks are more annoying to accomplish with Windows. I also use OS X because much of my work is with Unix & Linux systems, in which OS X fits much more elegantly.

    By the way, the MS Office suite is, by far, the least stable piece of software on my macs, however it does work well enough for me to be productive. But most of my work is not done with MS Office.

    Bottom line, if the money is an issue for you and you are happy with Windows 7, then just stick with it. If the extra money is not a huge deal for you, get the mac, but be forewarned, once you've gone mac, you'll never go back.
  10. NutsNGum macrumors 68030


    Jul 30, 2010
    Glasgow, Scotland
    The bottom line is, if you're worried about performance, buy a computer with an adequate spec to accomodate your usage. Take, for example what your PC would need to run the programs accordingly, and then assume at least equal performance requirements.

    As for your point about stability, remember that software is also evolving along a similar tangent. The software kicking around when 2GB was all that was deemed necessary for the MBP may not have been as resource-heavy as it is now, relatively speaking.
  11. Blues003 thread starter macrumors 6502

    Apr 18, 2010
    Windows 7 works for me, but that doesn't mean OS X couldn't be an easier experience. OS X is one of the reasons I consider a Mac: alongside with more portability, screen quality, the gorgeous trackpad, some specific software (GarageBand and iMove mostly), and a big battery life. I also like how I could run W7 on it in case OS X didn't work out for me. However, I can't say that I will think I got my money's worth if OS X ends up being a disappointment.

    Thanks for the Office Heads-up though. I thought the Office 2012 suite was considered pretty good.

    It's not so much about performance, as it is about the computer doing what I expect it to. I don't need it to load Adobe Photoshop in 2 nanoseconds. But I do need it to be able to handle FireFox, Adium, Office, PDF and iTunes without crashing.
  12. Transporteur macrumors 68030

    Nov 30, 2008
    Office (every single iteration!) has always been a PITA and personally, I consider it the worst software Microsoft ever released (well, besides Songsmith but I never tried that in person :rolleyes:).

    It has always been extremely buggy (we once made a contest in uni who could repeat the most bugs in 10 minutes, didn't look too good for Office), very resource hungry and comes with a horribly overblown UI.

    Nevertheless, if you are already familiar with the Office UI, I'd still say go for it. The bugs are getting less and if your machine has enough juice it won't be much of a problem.
    However, you should definitely take a look at iWork. Although it lacks some (and to be honest essential) features such like a citation system, performance and UI are MUCH better. I did all my uni papers including bachelor and master dissertations with Pages and never ran into any problems (using an external citation app of course).
    Usually you don't need the 1 billion buttons and input fields and tabs and what not of Word, it's just horrible. Pages (and pretty much all the iWork suite's apps) are much more subtle. They let you do your work, which is why I absolutely prefer it over MS Office or OpenOffice.

    Keynote works flawless as well, just make sure to test your presentation on the actual Windows machine you'll be running it as some things of Keynote are not supported by Powerpoint. But that's more of a general recommendation for a presentation really. Should be done in any case, Windows or Mac.

    If OS X is groundbreaking? I don't know. Both Windows and OS X have their pros and cons. It is hard, and almost impossible, to make a justified recommendation as different people prefer different things. But unless you tried it, you'll never know.
  13. Hansr macrumors 6502a

    Apr 1, 2007
    I think it would obvious that MacOSX isn't going to be groundbreaking when compared with Win 7 because that in fact was so massively groundbreaking for Windows.

    If I'd gone XP to 10.3 or 10.4. I'd have thought groundbreaking.
    If I'd gone Vista to 10.5. I'd have thought groundbreaking.
    If I'd gone Win7 to 10.6. Not so much. Win7 is pretty good so is OSX.

    (But it's pretty mood speculating as I've used every version of both since MacOS 5.1 and Windows 3.0
  14. QuarterSwede macrumors G3


    Oct 1, 2005
    Colorado Springs, CO
    I was thinking the same thing really. Windows 7 is actually pretty darn good ... for Windows. It still has DLL's, uses a registry and has an overly complicated UI and that's why I avoid it.

    Do remember though that 10.7 Lion is right around the corner. It's a lot different than 10.6 and includes some pretty powerful tools (versions, multitask gestures, app suspension among other things).
  15. NutsNGum macrumors 68030


    Jul 30, 2010
    Glasgow, Scotland
    Finally! Someone around here who uses the word "than". I've been wondering to myself whether that was an American English idiom or not, almost every post I've seen in that context seems to use the word "then". I've been confused.
  16. McGiord macrumors 601


    Oct 5, 2003
    Dark Castle
    The powepoint issue depends on the following:
    - what size the file was
    - what version was used to make the file
    - what version does your friend have installed?
    About PowerPoint attachments in incoming mail there are several ways to see the file in Mac OS X, and some might call them groundbreaking when they appeared:
    - Quick Look in the Mail App
    - Quick Look in the Finder
    Other ways not ground breaking are:
    Using Keynote, Open Office, latest Office for Mac release.
    Using online things like gmail or hotmail to see the 'attachment' online in the mail webclient, or Google Docs.
    Last but not least: Virtual Machines (Parallels, Fusion or the free Virtual Box) with Windows plus free office viewer Apps, or full installs, well and Boot Camp installations.

    Well for me ground breaking (when they became available) has been that you can do many things in several different ways: the apple way, the online way, the emulation way (not painful at all), or your way, there are very very few nowayjose instances.
  17. ScoobyMcDoo macrumors 65816

    Nov 26, 2007
    Austin, TX
    It might be better. I'm still using Office 2008. My company is using an old exchange mail server for which office 2011 dropped support.
  18. Blues003 thread starter macrumors 6502

    Apr 18, 2010
    I confirmed today. My friend's software was the 2008 version. That could explain the extreme lagginess and overall slugishness of the system. Hopefully the new MBPs with newer software don't experience the same kind of issues.
  19. r0k macrumors 68040


    Mar 3, 2008
    My wife's machine (1 gig of RAM) was sluggish yesterday so we went in and shut down all the Office 2011 stuff she had left running. No improvement. Then we shut down firefox. Problem solved. If you are using firefox on OS X, you are dealing with a very unstable bit of software.

    2 gig of RAM is plenty for OSX doing basic stuff. I plan to add 2 gig more to my Macbook, mainly as a performance boost so I can leave more stuff running but you don't absolutely need more than 2 gig.

    I do find OS X to be groundbreaking. In Windows 7, I'm not dealing with the absolute crap I had to put up with in XP like video instability and settings not staying set. But in OS X, I never have to deal with settings changing (except for that pesky "open safe files automatically" setting in safari that seems to get re-checked after every software update).
  20. Jagardn macrumors 6502a

    Apr 18, 2011
    I agree, my wife runs firefox and every time she says here Macbook is slow. Activity monitor shows firefox as the source of the problem. I have seen problems with firefox under Linux also, if a page with java script is running for a reasonably long period of time(maybe a tab left open for a few days). I run safari and haven't seen any of the same issues, but then again, I don't close my browser windows fairly often.:D
  21. jnpy!$4g3cwk macrumors 65816


    Feb 11, 2010
    I use Firefox 4.0.1 on Snowleopard every day and it is not unstable for me. It runs in 64-bit mode, and, I sometimes run with up to 130 tabs open (I love tabs). I would recommend 4 GB if you want to do this, though ;)

    2 GB works OK, although most machines will take at least 3 GB and I find that a significant improvement. I don't like quitting one process to start the next. With 2 GB, you sometimes have to quit one large program to run another.

    Because OS X is *nix-based, process creation and switching are more efficient than Windows/NT-based systems, and it doesn't cost much to have a lot of small background processes running (unless they are hogs). XP is particularly vulnerable to security issues. Windows Vista/7 operating system kernels are generally not bad security-wise, but, the third-party software ecosystem has a lot of pitfalls in it -- e.g. web browsers+javascript+flash+adobe-reader, etc. Overall, the main advantage that Windows has -- tons of 3rd-party software, is counterbalanced by the main disadvantage it has -- lots of that 3rd-party software is old, may not run on Vista/7, may have security holes, may not be well-maintained, etc.

    And, of course, the Windows Registry is in a class all its own.

    However, if you want to run games, no question that Windows 7 will serve you better than OS X.
  22. some-dude macrumors member

    May 26, 2011
    The main improvement I like about Mac OS over Windows is software/hardware integration.

    Apple seems to have done a better job of integrating various software applications, so things you do in one app can affect the way the way another app performs. Mac OS baseline apps perform less like a collection of individual applications and more like a single application with multiple front ends. For instance, organizing and labelling my pictures in iPhoto causes the Camera Roll on my iPhone to display photos according to the way I organized them on my MacBook. Technically, they're two separate apps on two totally different pieces of hardware, and yet the interaction between the two apps is pretty organic.

    I'd cite more examples, but a lot of the time these things are subtle, giving you an "Oh! That's neat." kind of thought before you move on like it'd always performed that way.
  23. 42streetsdown macrumors 6502a


    Feb 12, 2011
    Gallifrey, 5124
    Pre Windows 7 i would have said no way to Windows. Windows 7 is a pretty good OS though. It's still obnoxious for me to use because i'm so used to features like exposé, but it's a good OS.

    a lot of the problems you describe sound like bad app writing more than OS problems

    My only problem with OS X is the shoddy OpenGL updates
  24. maflynn Moderator


    Staff Member

    May 3, 2009
    Firefox is a pig of a program regardless of the operating system. I use it at work on a PC, and it literally sucks the life out of my workstation. I'm using safari until my company drops IE6 and moves on to IE8

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