Question for those with windows experience

Discussion in 'MacBook Pro' started by eb314, Dec 23, 2014.

  1. eb314 macrumors newbie

    Dec 23, 2014
    I'm looking for a new portable notebook and really like the rMBP 13. I will be using it in grad school and I do need to run windows excel on it for at least some of my classes...there's some functionality that mac excel unfortunately doesn't have.

    That aside, I'm torn between a windows ultrabook (all of which seem to have some issue or another) or the MBP. So my questions are:

    How is windows performance on bootcamp, or is parallels the way to go?

    Any glitches/bugs I should know about?

    How is the retina screen in Windows?

    Between the cost of the mbp, plus having to buy windows and possibly parallels for it, I'm going to be spending about $400 more for the am not quite sure at this point.
  2. Stetrain macrumors 68040

    Feb 6, 2009
    Windows performance in Bootcamp is pretty good, it's basically the same as you would get in an ultrabook with the same specs.

    To me the biggest downside of using bootcamp is that the trackpad drivers, gestures, etc. just aren't as good as they are under OSX (still pretty good compared to most Windows notebooks). There's a utility called Trackpad++ that makes this a bit better. Having to reboot to switch OSes is a pain as well.

    If all you're doing under Windows is running Excel and other similar applications then I would recommend using a virtual machine such as Parallels or VMWare Fusion. They will run Excel just fine and save you the trouble of rebooting to switch to Windows.

    The retina screen in Windows mostly depends on the specific application. You'll sometimes notice that a particular app has a low resolution icon or doesn't handle the scaling very well, but most modern applications are okay. Most of Microsoft's own apps are pretty high-dpi friendly.

    Be sure to look around for student / education discounts for Windows and Parallels/VMWare.
  3. eb314, Dec 23, 2014
    Last edited: Dec 23, 2014

    eb314 thread starter macrumors newbie

    Dec 23, 2014
    Thanks - the $400 price difference comes from the fact that my other leading contender is an Asus Zenbook ($900).

    Specs are similar...the advantage of the MBP is the screen (The high-res Asus option is the samsung 3200x1800 display, which has an issue with yellows that would force me to get the 1920x1080 screen, which is good..just not AS good as the retina).

    The advantage of the Asus is that the HDD and RAM are both able accessible and able to be upgraded.

    I know this is a biased forum...but can I get some honest opinions? I don't have the ability to see the zenbook in person because I can't find it in stock. The MBP is very impressive. Reviews cite build quality is equal.
  4. dyt1983, Dec 23, 2014
    Last edited: Jun 1, 2015

    dyt1983 macrumors 65816

    May 6, 2014
    edit: To remove personally identifying info not relevant to the conversation.
  5. eb314 thread starter macrumors newbie

    Dec 23, 2014
    I would prefer to run WinExcel in parallels because it sounds a lot more convenient - is there any issue with shortcuts doing this? I use a lot of the alt+h+v+v type shortcuts to access menus, etc.

    Otherwise how would you rate your experience w/ parallels, particularly excel vs a normal PC?
  6. Stetrain macrumors 68040

    Feb 6, 2009

    Something else I'll add is that, while I haven't looked at a Zenbook personally, most Windows laptops these days still come with a bunch of extra stuff installed by the manufacturer. Some of it's useful, some of it is just a pain.

    I use Windows quite a bit (bootcamp/vm on my Macbook Pro, also on my gaming desktop), but I much prefer it when I can install a clean copy myself, which is what you get when using Bootcamp or a virtual machine.
  7. eb314 thread starter macrumors newbie

    Dec 23, 2014
    Thanks - that's a fair point.

    I'm just hesitant to spend this much $ on a setup that I've never seen and don't know anyone who runs (windows on a MBP). So any input is appreciated. I've always used PCs, use windows excel 8 hrs a day at it's a tough jump :)
  8. reco2011 macrumors 6502a

    May 25, 2014
    Honest opinion? You have a requirement to run a Windows application and no requirement to run Macintosh applications. Therefore my recommendation is to buy a PC.
  9. blooperz macrumors 6502

    Dec 10, 2013
    Every computer has its share of issues, even MacBooks. If they didn't then these forums wouldn't exist. Doesn't sound like you 'need' a mac for it's OS and while using bootcamp offers great performance, it's still a hassle to hard reboot when switching back and forth. Can always look into getting a thinkpad, very solid business class machines esp for grad school. Unless you really need that ultrabook form factor :rolleyes:
  10. fletch33 macrumors regular


    Dec 11, 2008
    Under a Rug
    just be sure to get 8GB Ram and not he 4GB edition.
  11. yjchua95 macrumors 604

    Apr 23, 2011
    GVA, KUL, MEL (current), ZQN
    The 4GB variant doesn't exist anymore.

    All rMBPs come with at least 8GB RAM as standard.
  12. nerowolfe macrumors member

    Oct 23, 2014
    If you haven't used a mac there's a certain learning curve at first. Shortcuts are largely the same when using Parallels. By default you use windows like a mac app, alt+c/v becomes command+c/v, control+F4 becomes command+Q etc.

    Once you adjust to using OSX, you'll find that the integration between hardware and software is amazing. UI & shortcuts are intuitive, switching between full-screen apps is neat, and the trackpad gestures and optimization are light years ahead of any windows-based system and make using a macbook an absolute joy.

    I own Parallels 10 and I ought to warn you about a certain bug that's causing a slow-down with the latest OSX version. Went back to version 8 (one I upgraded from) until issue is fixed. Otherwise it's just seamless and superior to windows looks and control-wise. Speed is good enough for anything but demanding 3D games and rendering software under Parallels. Bootcamp is basically Windows native with an emulated BIOS.

    Also bear in mind that there're some free and low-cost alternatives to running MS Excel, one of which comes bundled with OS X.

    ASUS is one of the best manufacturers out there, they'd be my go-to company if buying a macbook is not an option. Should you buy a Zenbook, it'll meet your needs and then some. It's up to you to decide whether a better operation system and screen are worth the extra dough.

    My personal take, having been a windows user most of my life, macbooks are a little more expensive but offer a better OS and come bundled with far, far better software.
  13. maflynn Moderator


    Staff Member

    May 3, 2009
    Its a great computer and windows does work well in Bootcamp but with that said, if you're going to be in Windows for the majority of time, I think its not wise to buy a MBP. You'll be better off buying a less expensive windows laptop.

    Just my $.02
  14. leman macrumors G3

    Oct 14, 2008
    If your primary use is Windows, then there is not much point in getting a Mac. The main benefits of a MacBook are great battery life, amazing trackpad and excellent integration of hardware and software features — but they only become apparent when you are using OS X. There are some great Windows laptops out there and I think they will serve your purpose better.

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