Student seeking help: MB, Windows in Parallels or Bootcamp and 21" docking solution.

Discussion in 'Buying Tips and Advice' started by rockygalaxy, Mar 26, 2012.

  1. rockygalaxy macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Mar 26, 2012
    #1
    Hi, I'm looking to buy my first macbook for going away to Uni. I've been looking at MBAs and MBPs and I need to make a decision. My current Dell laptop is 15" and has a 275GB HDD. Ideally, I'd like my new MB to match this. I think I could get away with about 150GB due to the smaller size of OS X (5-7GB instead of 27GB) and the fact that I can move my music and video library over to an external disc.

    I would like to get parallels so I can use Windows alongside OS X to play games and I understand this would take up memory as well. I'm not really interested in editing however I want a good graphics solution so I can game smoothly. Would I be better off running parallels for gaming or should I go the bootcamp route for a smoother experience?

    As an aside, I am also looking at setting up a "dock" for my MB. This would basically be a monitor and keyboard and mouse so I can do work on a larger screen. If anyone has any ideas on a ~21" hi-res monitor, preferably with speakers built in, please throw in your two pence. I've looked at Henge docks, they're not for me.

    To sum up - I need a new MB with at least 150GB HDD, powerful enough to run games smoothly, it needs to be cost-effective and I'm looking for a docking solution as well. If it helps, I live and study in the UK. Thanks for any advice you can give :)
     
  2. hafr macrumors 68030

    Joined:
    Sep 21, 2011
    #2
    Running Windows in Parallels means you'll be running both OS:s at once, Bootcamp means Windows will have all of the hardware for itself. When talking about a smoother experience, it depends on what you want to do in Windows, but of course Bootcamp is better than Parallels if you don't need to have OS X running at the same time.

    Why isn't the Henge dock for you?

    Buy a PC.
     
  3. rockygalaxy thread starter macrumors newbie

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    Mar 26, 2012
    #3
    I understand how parallels and bootcamp work, however I like that with parallels I don't have to restart the computer. I'm mainly wondering if playing PC games will be laggy because I'm also running OS X.

    Henge docks aren't for me as I don't want to purchase new cables to leave in the dock all the time. Also, I don't particularly like the plastic look.

    When I say cost-effective, I mean I'm willing to pay the premium that comes with a Mac and OS X but I would prefer to pay the least possible to meet the aims I've outlined. Thanks for your reply
     
  4. hafr macrumors 68030

    Joined:
    Sep 21, 2011
    #4
    That, as I said, depends on what you want to do. Want to play BF3? Forget about Parallels. Want to use Windows-only software that doesn't require that much in terms of hardware? Then Bootcamp could be annoying in the long run.

    Why would you need to purchase new cables? Either you're looking for something else than a docking station, or I'm completely misinterpreting what you're saying.

    The Twelve South BookArc stand, is that the type of thing you're looking for?

    Okay. Well, since you haven't mentioned what kind of games you want to play it's kind of hard to give you a good tip :)
     
  5. rockygalaxy thread starter macrumors newbie

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    Mar 26, 2012
    #5
    My main interest is in strategy games, total war, tropico and things like that. I can live with not running them at the highest settings, so long as there is a decent framerate.

    I was under the impression that the Henge dock does not come with its own power supply meaning that you either need to plug in your own permanently and buy another one or take it in and out when you want to move from docked to undocked.

    The Twelve South BookArc stand looks really nice. I'm also interested in thoughts on a particular 21" monitor with speakers if anyone knows any. Preferably with free or cheap shipping to the UK.
     
  6. hafr macrumors 68030

    Joined:
    Sep 21, 2011
    #6
    Okay. I know nothing about the system requirements for those games, sorry.

    I've always assumed it's as easy to unplug the magsafe from the Henge Dock as it is from the MBP, should you feel like bringing the charger with you. Do you mean it's not?
     
  7. yojitani macrumors 68000

    yojitani

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    Apr 28, 2005
    Location:
    An octopus's garden
    #7
    With you talking about 150 GB HDD, I had to check the date of your post! This isn't 2006! You aren't talking about solid state drives are you?

    My suggestion would be to get a 15" MBP because it has the dedicated and integrated graphics. Upgrade the RAM after you buy the machine (don't buy from Apple). Max it out if you can.

    Don't bother filling the coffers of Parallels, use bootcamp. You'll have the best gaming experience without the interference of VM software. Now, Parallels offers you the ability to adjust the level of system resources (one of the things I really like about it), so if you wanted to go that route, you could.

    For a "dock" you are going to have to buy a mini displayport adapter. When you do, make sure that you buy an Apple branded one. They can be had on ebay for much less than Apple sells them for. Just make sure the seller is in the US, Canada, or the UK and that they are advertising it as "genuine." The knock offs are rubbish. They'll last you a few months at most.

    I'm a big fan of Dell's UltraSharp series monitors. They are all HD monitors. The best thing about them is that they are not glossy! They are also, of course, just good quality monitors. Clear picture, sturdy, etc. Speakers are extra.
     
  8. rockygalaxy thread starter macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Mar 26, 2012
    #8
    Thank you both for your replies!

    As I understand Henge docks, you need to specially weave your magsafe cables through the body of the dock, making it a pain to take out every time you want to move the charger.

    I'm saying 150GB is the minimum I could live with so basically the 256GB SSD MBA I could live with. Maybe a refresh will bump up the memory on cheaper MBAs - I don't need it until September, I'm just excited and researching it now.

    Thanks for the advice on the Dell UltraSharps, I will definitely take a look!

    I probably should have said this at the start but I'm looking to spend no more than £1600-£1700 on the MB and no more than £300-400 on the dock with a total budget of £2000. That £2000 also needs to buy the keyboard and mouse for the dock and software eg Parallels, iWork and Office. I don't need a copy of Windows as I have a disc for that already.
     
  9. yojitani macrumors 68000

    yojitani

    Joined:
    Apr 28, 2005
    Location:
    An octopus's garden
    #9
    MBA's are great machines for some things, but being used as docked computers aren't one of them IMHO. On that budget, get the lower end MBP (don't forget your edu discount!). iWork is cheap. Parallels often appears in bundles, so keep your eyes peeled. And find yourself a nice BookArc! MS Office may be available at a significantly discounted price through your uni, so you should look in to that! You should be well within your budget!
     
  10. rockygalaxy thread starter macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Mar 26, 2012
    #10
    Thanks yojitani,

    What bundles do you mean when you're talking about Parallels?
    I can't wait for the next refresh as that's probably what I will buy...:D
     

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