Questions for switchers.

Discussion in 'General Mac Discussion' started by iShater, Sep 13, 2002.

  1. iShater macrumors 604


    Aug 13, 2002

    I'm looking to switch in the near future, and I have been "visiting" the Apple store very frequently, but since I can't install software to see how it performs or spend enough time on the machines, I was hoping that you guys can address some questions/concerns that I have.

    I'm particularly looking for folks in a similar situation who have switched, or have been Mac users at home and PC users at work.

    Some background info about my computer needs.

    - My work uses Windows NT, and is soon going to XP.
    - I use Lotus Notes, DOS command line tools, text editors, and IBM Visual Age.
    - We have VPN that I would like to be able to connect to.

    At home:
    - I have 3 PCs (one is a 400Mhz Celeron laptop, the others are older desktops) on a local LAN.
    - I plan to get AT&T Broadband
    - I have one shared printer that i don't want to replace any time soon.
    - I have MS Office 97 and can't afford buying the sucker again.

    So, anybody using a Mac and doing Windows stuff under VPC for work? do you have your Mac it connected to your PC network at home? How is it working out for you? what issues did you have to deal with to get things to work?

    Is the speed on VPC decent? what kinda of Windows system would you compare it to? (i.e. On my TiPB 800, VPC is running as fast as Pentium II 400 Mhz, etc)

    I am thinking about either a PowerMac (so I can upgrade it and have the horsepower for VPC, games, and other apps), or a highend TiPB.

    Any help would be greatly appreciated!

    Thanks! :D

    More info:
    I would be using the system for word processing, some finance work, programming (BASIC, C, etc). I definitely want to get into working with iMovie for making home videos and that sort of thing. Games, Internet, and finally be able to get some work stuff done from home.
  2. James Craner macrumors 68000

    James Craner

    Sep 13, 2002
    Bristol, UK

    I am a long time Windows user and have been using Windows ever since version 2! I made the switch two weeks ago and now have a Power Mac 1 Gig Duel. The reason I switched to Apple is most of what I do at home is Photoshop editing, Video Editing and using the Net. Apple has a good reputation for these market segments, and I had got fed up getting my PC to work reliably editing video (I used to have a somewhat troublesome Pinnacle DV 500 editing board).

    For what I use the computer for the switch worked for me, although I am having device driver issues (I can't copy digital images to the Mac as no driver is available for my card reader), also I have a Alcatel USB Broadband modem, and their is no official driver yet so my Internet connections are patchy.

    I have purchased a copy of Virtual PC ( I purchased the DOS 2000 version and installed my own copy of XP ). The software works extremely well, and the boot times into XP on the mac is about the same on my old Athlon 1.33 Ghz processor. I have installed MS Office 97 and it all appears to work fine. The however because VPN does not support graphics acceleration, some of the screen refreshes are sluggish compared to using a PC.

    However the key point here is that VPC is my lifeline in case I need to use it, I would not want to use it as a full PC replacement. If you plan to do a significant amount of work on a PC because you have to ( no Mac version or you can't afford to buy Mac software ) Then I suggest you stick with the PC. However I am sure that a number of people will post afterwards saying that they use VPC all the time! However from my point of view I did not switch to a Mac so I could use PC stuff.

    You don't really say what you want to use the Mac for at home. If you want to use a computer as a digital hub you will no regrets about the Mac, but if you want to spend most of your time in VPC then stick with the PC!

    Some lessons that I did learn in the switch is

    1. The new duels are noisy - My wife says that the new Mac is more noisy than the Althlon. I would say it was about the same. If you want a quite Mac, go for an Imac or notebook

    2. OS 10.2 is new and drivers are a problem at the moment only assume a driver will work if it is released for 10.2 , 10.1 won't always work.

    That having been said I am a convert and will never go back to a PC!
  3. macktheknife macrumors 6502a


    Jan 24, 2002
    I'll take a stab at answering your questions. At work, I run Windows NT with the usual PC business software (Office, Notes, etc.). I sold my Dell laptop back in January and bought a 550 MHz TiBook with 512 MB of RAM. Here are some of my observations:

    - VPC: Virtual PC is quite slow on my computer. I have installed Office 2000 on my VPC running Windows XP and it runs decently but with a great lag. You might be able to juice up the speed by installing Windows 98 or getting more RAM and a faster processor.

    - Office: You can run office through VPC, but I got a copy of Office X from a friend. :D The cross-platform files work fine, save a few formatting kinks here and there.

    - Printers and AT&T Broadband: I have AT&T Broadband at home and it works fine (computers on the internet use a single standard). As for the printer, find out if there's a Mac OS X driver from the manufacturer's website. I'd be surprised if the Mac doesn't recognize the printer on its own.

    - VPN: I can't comment on this since I've never tried it. I can, however, say that connecting to PCs with Windows ME and above is a snap. You can share files easily with PCs.

    - Games: I ran Warcraft III on my TiBook and it had some serious lag whereas a year-old Dell laptop ran it flawlessly. Others might flame me for this, so I'll just confine my observations to my own case. Others report that Warcraft III and other games like UT run fine on their Macs.

    If you have any questions, send me a personal message.
  4. macktheknife macrumors 6502a


    Jan 24, 2002
    I agree completely with this point. Don't expect to have VPC run your PC programs flawlessly and quickly. It's an emulator, not a PC replacement. I have VPC to run some simple PC-only software I had like a CFA TestBank software.

    I almost forgot: I love my TiBook! The Mac's tight software and hardware integration means no unexpected hiccups. Plug in a Zip drive in a Mac and it *will* work; do the same thing on a PC running even Windows 2000 and it *might* work. Programs still crash here and there, but the whole system has never gone down on me (i.e. no blue screen of death).

    The bottom line: You might experience some inconvenience switching. While you might find some of those inconveniences intolerable (i.e. you *must* run a PC-only software like games quickly and all the time), you might discover that there are fewer inconveniences than you originally feared.

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