Thinking of making the switch to Mac

Discussion in 'Mac Basics and Help' started by Gaelinic, Jan 6, 2009.

  1. Gaelinic macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Jan 6, 2009
    #1
    So, my Dell laptop has seen its last sunrise and I'm in the market for a new computer. Maybe it's the PC and Mac commercials; maybe it's the look of an apple store; or maybe it's because I love my Ipod and want an Iphone. But, I'm actually considering getting a Mac for the first time. But, I have several questions. I'm a little apprehensive making the switch because I fear I'll be learning a whole new language. If I get a Mac, I want to try as native as possible without using Windows.

    First, is $1,649 a good deal for a Macbook Pro with the following specs:
    Product Features
    2.5 GHz Intel Core 2 Duo processor with 6 MB on-chip shared L2 cache, Mac OS X v10.5 Leopard
    2 GB RAM (two SO-DIMM) 677 MHz DDR2 SD-RAM (PC2-5300), 250 GB 5400 rpm Serial ATA hard drive, slot load 8x Super Drive (DVD±R DL/DVD±RW/CD-RW)
    One FireWire 400, one FireWire 800, two USB 2.0 ports, and ExpressCard/34 slot
    Built-in 10/100/1000BASE-T (Gigabit); built-in 54 Mbps AirPort Extreme (802.11n); built-in Bluetooth 2.0+EDR
    15.4-inch (diagonal), 1440 by 900 resolution, matte TFT LED widescreen display with NVIDIA GeForce 8600M GT with 512 MB of GDDR3 SDRAM and dual-link DVI
    Processor, Memory, and Motherboard

    Hardware Platform: Mac
    Processor: 2.5 GHz Intel Core Duo
    System Bus Speed: 800
    Number of Processors: 1
    RAM: 2000 MB
    RAM Type: DDR2 SDRAM
    Hard Drive
    Size: 250 GB
    Manufacturer: Portable
    Type: Serial ATA
    Graphics and Display
    Graphics RAM: 512 MB
    LCD Native Resolution: 15.4
    Ports and Connectivity
    Modem: None
    Cases and Expandability
    Size (LWH): 9.6 inches, 14.1 inches, 1 inches
    Weight: 5.4 pounds
    Power
    Rated Charge (normal use): 5 hours
    Wireless
    Wireless Type: 802.11A

    2. Will the computer above connect with my existing wireless G router?

    3. Can I stream movies, shows, and music to my Xbox 360? If so, how and how much will that cost? Is it effective?

    4. What's a good Bittorrent client for Mac? Does utorrent work for mac?

    5. Can you find Mac applications via bittorrent?

    6. Will movies, shows, and music obtained via bittorrent work natively with Mac? In other words, can I watch all the shows and movies I currently have on an external hard drive on my new Mac?

    7. I'm thinking of getting a 1tb external hard drive? Will just about any hard drive work with the mac or do I have to spend more money for a Mac-specific hard drive?

    8. Can I add memory to a MacbookPro? Is it difficult? How much more memory can I add?

    9. I have a bunch of favorite websites I transfered to my external hard drive. Is there some way to transfer those websites to a mac without using windows?

    10. How is the native web program for mac? Would it be better to go to Firefox? Can you use firefox on a Mac?

    11. What is the installed word program for a MacbookPro? Would I be better getting Ioffice or Microsoft Office for Mac? How does Ioffice compare with Microsoft Office?

    12. Can I see Pdf files on a Mac? I'm sure I can, but I'm getting paranoid.

    13. Can I install a good downloaded version of Windows XP on a Mac?

    14. Do I need an Apple router to get wireless internet? Or will it work with my existing wireless router?

    I'm now reading on these boards that new Macs are being released today. What's the difference between the new ones and the one listed above? Is it really worth the price difference?

    What about the difference between an iMac and a Macbook pro? I really, really love the huge screen and the whole compact build. But, is it easy to add memory to an Imac? What about connecting peripherals?
     
  2. BlueRevolution macrumors 603

    BlueRevolution

    Joined:
    Jul 26, 2004
    Location:
    Montreal, QC
    #2
    Don't. Macs suck. :rolleyes:

    Took me about a week when I switched four years ago.

    New (refurb) or used? Either way, assuming it's in good condition, absolutely. Go for it.

    You bet.

    µTorrent is available for Mac, but I prefer Transmission. I'd give you a link but I have the rest of your message on my clipboard right now and don't want to copy again. ;) Not anymore!

    Free Mac applications, I'm assuming. ;) Anyway, you sure can. For other apps, MacUpdate is a good source.

    Sure. The Perian codec pack will handle just about everything, and VLC is available for Mac and will take care of anything Perian can't.

    Any USB or FireWire external drive will work with a Mac. If you buy a Mac-formatted drive, you're just paying the idiot tax.

    Yes, and no. Apple provides step-by-step instructions for the replacement. On some models, it even does so by way of images printed on the underside of the battery enclosure or keyboard. You just need a small Philips screwdriver.

    You can find more info on your particular model of Mac on Apple's specs page. (I know that one off the top of my head so no clipboard required.)

    Depends how you "transfered" them. I'm not quite sure what you mean there. If you did so with Firefox, Firefox for Mac is exactly the same.

    Mac's native web browser is Safari, but Firefox is also available, as I mentioned. I prefer Safari, but your mileage may vary. As on Windows, you can change the default browser on a Mac.

    You would need to purchase iWork separately; it does not ship with the MacBook Pro. Which one you want to buy depends on your preference. The MBP should come with a 30-day trial of iWork, so you can play with it and see how you like it. It's not as feature-rich as Microsoft Office, but I don't think they removed anything useful, and it's a lot lighter. If you exchange a lot of documents with PC users, Microsoft Office would be best.

    iWork is a lot cheaper.

    Macs have native PDF support using Preview. In fact, Mac OS X's user interface engine, Quartz, is PDF-based.

    Yep.

    Hells no. Apple's wireless routers, AirPort, are overpriced junk unless you want some of their special features. AirPort Express' wireless music player would be super nice, but still doesn't justify the steep price tag in my mind.

    There's nothing major coming down the tubes, but you can find more info on any particular model of Mac in MacRumors' handy Buyer's Guide.

    Wait, today? Time to check apple.com! ;)

    Okay, scratch that, something major, but nothing that a mortal could afford. Unfortunately.

    The iMac has basically the same specs as the MBP, but for 2/3 the price. It's up to you if you can justify the extra $800 or so for the benefit of mobility. Bear in mind that $800 is the price of a pretty decent late-G4 Mac laptop on eBay.

    The iMac is just as easy to add memory to as the MacBook Pro.
     
  3. VPrime macrumors 68000

    VPrime

    Joined:
    Dec 19, 2008
    Location:
    London Ontario
    #3
    2)Yes

    3)Yes, there are some free programs to do this, and some that cost money. The names have slipped my mind though.

    4)Utorrent is on mac. and great.

    5)yes.. any hting is possible on the internets! ;)

    6)yes. Just like windows though you will need codecs. Get Perian to play almost any thing in quick time, and get Flip4Mac to play wmv files. Also VLC is available for mac.

    7)Any thing will work, just format to hfs and you are good to go.. .BUT If you want to use it with both mac and windows format it to Fat32. The problem with fat 32 is that any individual file can not be more than 4gb. Other option is to format it as NTFS, and use Paragon NTFS for mac (not free) or Macfuse +NTFS 3g (FREE) to write to the disk. Though be advised this is will be slower than Fat32 or HFS.

    8) Yes you can add memory, not hard. How much depends on the macbook. I am pretty new so I dont know all the details of every machine, so I am sure some one here will tell you exactly how much. I think it is 4gb though.

    9)Yes... But it would help if you say which browser you use. If it is firefox just go to the bookmark manager and export them.

    10)Safari is great, but I prefer firefox my self. Firefox ont he mac is perfect for me (some people report crashing and bugs but I dont see any ) plus the skin flows great with the whole OS.

    11)There is none. Just textEdit which is like notepad. You can get iWork, or office.

    12) PDF is there by default. Its awesome! No more dealing with slow acrobat!

    13)Yes. You can use bootcam, which installs on a seperate partition and you can boot intot hat instead of OSX. You can also do it in a virual machine that just runs ontop of OSX so you dont have to restart. The virtual machine is sllowwer so dont expect to play games in this mode.

    14) No, any wireless router will work.

    15) The new ones have a better graphics card, and different look. Wether it be worth it, is up to you.
    16)As for Imac vs macbook.. Do you need portability?
     
  4. alphaod macrumors Core

    alphaod

    Joined:
    Feb 9, 2008
    Location:
    NYC
    #4
    Instead of re-answering all the questions, I'll just say this: Don't download software without a license and that includes Windows.
     
  5. kastenbrust macrumors 68030

    kastenbrust

    Joined:
    Dec 26, 2008
    Location:
    North Korea
    #5
    why not?
     
  6. BlueRevolution macrumors 603

    BlueRevolution

    Joined:
    Jul 26, 2004
    Location:
    Montreal, QC
    #6
    Because you never know what you're really getting. If you get Windows with a proper license, only Microsoft can cock it up. :rolleyes:
     
  7. Gaelinic thread starter macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Jan 6, 2009
    #7
    Thanks for all the help. The computer listed is new and listed at amazon.com.

    Does anyone have an answer for question 3?

    Thanks.

    Gaelinic
     
  8. BlueRevolution macrumors 603

    BlueRevolution

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    Jul 26, 2004
    Location:
    Montreal, QC
  9. Cap41 macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Nov 19, 2008
    #9
    You can legally download NeoOffice, or Openoffice. great productivity software (MSoffice)..allows you to save in in MSOffice format so other PC Office users have no problems with your documents,


    Make the switch, you will love it...i did 4 months ago.
     
  10. BlueRevolution macrumors 603

    BlueRevolution

    Joined:
    Jul 26, 2004
    Location:
    Montreal, QC
    #10
    So does iWork, although its implementation isn't perfect and I'd be surprised if either of those is much better. That's not to disparage the open source movement; I just don't see anything other than Microsoft Word saving to the Microsoft Word format with 100% accuracy.
     
  11. Gaelinic thread starter macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Jan 6, 2009
    #11

    While I appreciate his help, his answer was very general and didn't provide the name of any recommended software.
     
  12. BlueRevolution macrumors 603

    BlueRevolution

    Joined:
    Jul 26, 2004
    Location:
    Montreal, QC
    #12
    Well, here's one I found on MacUpdate. I don't have an Xbox and have never used it, but it seems to do what you're asking for.
     
  13. iAthena macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Jan 22, 2008
    Location:
    USA
    #13
    The only problem I've ever had making the switch (although I did it a long time ago) was connecting to my wireless router and that had more to do with the stupid WPA-2 encryption than any hardware compatibility issues. When the router finally died, I replaced it with an Airport and have had no problem connecting via either my Macs or my Windows machines even with encryption enabled.
     
  14. Gaelinic thread starter macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Jan 6, 2009
    #14

    Awesome!! I <gulp> think I'm sold. It feels like I'm leaving home and going to college. I'm going to have to find a new place to live, make new friends, learn a whole new language.

    See you on the other side.

    Gaelinic
     
  15. patrick0brien macrumors 68040

    patrick0brien

    Joined:
    Oct 24, 2002
    Location:
    The West Loop
    #15
    A few tidbit speaking FOR Apple Brand Airport Routers:

    Note, the audience for these are limited at the moment, but likelihood of increasing demand is appearing. E.G., if you like to plan ahead...

    1. a/b/g/n cabability
    2. Easy and robust RADIUS setup (wired or wireless(!))
    3. Full IPv6 implementation(for those heavy back-to-the Mac'ers)
     
  16. BlueRevolution macrumors 603

    BlueRevolution

    Joined:
    Jul 26, 2004
    Location:
    Montreal, QC
    #16
    That's true, 802.11n routers aren't a whole lot cheaper than the AirPort Express' $100 price tag. Then again, I don't need a draft-N router and neither do most people. I think most of the draft-N market is comprised of people who erroneously think their internet will be faster.

    Given the choice between a draft-N router and an AirPort Express? The Express every time. The stereo connectivity alone almost justifies the price tag for me. That still doesn't justify the Extreme, though.
     
  17. Gaelinic thread starter macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Jan 6, 2009
    #17
    Wait, can I buy an Airport express and connect a couple external hard drives to it and then access them via my Mac and my wife's PC? Can this be done with an Airport Express or just with an Airport Express extreme? Is it difficult to set up? Also, can I back up my mac this way?

    Thanks

    Gaelinic
     
  18. BlueRevolution macrumors 603

    BlueRevolution

    Joined:
    Jul 26, 2004
    Location:
    Montreal, QC
    #18
    No, only AirPort Extreme or Time Capsule, which are even more expensive. Time Capsule is designed specifically for Time Machine backups. I'm not sure if you can back up to a network disk (one connected by USB to either of the above) or not. I seem to remember that being one of the major complaints with Time Machine before Time Capsule came along.

    There are also a number of non-Apple routers that you can connect USB hard drives to, as well as external hard drives/enclosures that have ethernet ports specifically for the purpose and would work plugged into any router. Again, I haven't worked with any of this, so I can't promise how the Mac support is. At least with AirPort you know it'll work on your Mac.
     
  19. VPrime macrumors 68000

    VPrime

    Joined:
    Dec 19, 2008
    Location:
    London Ontario
    #19
    I bought a Dlink Gigabit router with wireless N for only 79 bucks (canadian) which was a pretty awesome deal.
    I dont know if the airports have gigabit wired, but if not maybe look into a router that does.

    Probably the best network purchase I have ever made :D
     
  20. BlueRevolution macrumors 603

    BlueRevolution

    Joined:
    Jul 26, 2004
    Location:
    Montreal, QC
  21. VPrime macrumors 68000

    VPrime

    Joined:
    Dec 19, 2008
    Location:
    London Ontario
    #21
    Yeah I just noticed after clicking your link ;) Either way you can save a lot of money by going Dlink or Linksys, or some thing else.
     
  22. Gaelinic thread starter macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Jan 6, 2009
    #22
    Can you give me some model numbers or links for the routers your're talking about? Do these routers have USB ports for an external hard drive? Can I use them to connect a TB hard drive and access it via a macbook pro?

    Thanks.

    Gaelinic

    [edit: I found the following Dlink router. Will this one do what I'm asking?
     
  23. VPrime macrumors 68000

    VPrime

    Joined:
    Dec 19, 2008
    Location:
    London Ontario
    #23
    That is the one I have.. I have never tried the USB port on it though. I can give it a try tomorrow.
     

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