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Apple's MacBook Pro - All This and Windows Too

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February 7, 2007 12:50:16 PM

Most Windows users are at least a little bit envious of Apple's cool, easy to use and almost virus proof Macintosh computers. But going cold turkey from PC to Mac is not a pleasant thought. The MacBook Pro eases the transition by booting into either Mac OS X or Windows XP.
February 7, 2007 2:00:25 PM

Why would I want to run Mac and Windows together when I can build a Windows PC for much less than the cost of Mac hardware, plus Windows has all the programs I currently use? Bootcamp is really for people already stuck with a Mac who need Windows functionality. Completely wrong focus for the article.
February 7, 2007 2:39:25 PM

right, you're going to build a laptop eh? I just recently bought the same laptop, and so far the only problem I've had is that in XP, the wireless doesn't connect to certain networks. True, the drivers aren't exactly robust, but for something that's in beta at the moment, I'm not complaining. If it really bothers you, you can run Parallels off your boot camp partition and that solves the problem right there. I've been a faithful PC user for years, always put down mac, and then I got one, and for laptops I might never turn back (desktops are a completely different story) the only thing I would ask more for the price I paid, would be a better graphics card, but It plays CS:S at 100fps, which is more than enough for me. Also Apple gives out a nice student discount which made the system cheaper than the Asus laptop I was considering... Also, OSX isn't so bad, I find myself using it more and more, soon macbookpro will run xp better than pcs.
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February 7, 2007 3:48:50 PM

It was a nice and informative review. It'll be interesting to see how much better Boot Camp will be when it's officially released in the spring.

I thought it was interesting that you chose Prey and Call of Duty for gaming benchmarks since they both have mac versions available.

Prey:
http://www.aspyr.com/product/info/67

Call of Duty:
http://www.aspyr.com/product/info/26

As an FYI, more mac games can be found here, as well:
http://www.destineerstudios.com/macsoftgames/
http://freeverse.com/
http://www.feral.co.uk/
http://www.ambrosiasw.com/games/
http://insidemacgames.com/
February 7, 2007 5:09:18 PM

Nice to see a proper, impartial and honest article about Macintosh/PC integration from a proper, impartial and respected website like Toms'.

I was surprised to see no mention of Parallels Desktop/Workstation for OS X in the article, which literally allows Alt-Tab (or in this case Cmd-Tab) switching between the two operating systems. Obviously it's not spec'd for playing games, but it runs several PC-only apps (including homebrew stuff like CCXGUI) on my Mac Mini with no noticable performance degradation over PC counterparts.

The combination of the fact that OS X now has a software selection that is in some respects better than that for PC (iLife, Final Cut, Logic for example) and in other respects where it has been lagging behind before it is now comparable to the PC catalog, and the advances of Parallels software and virtual machines on the Macintosh platform means that most PC users could survive easily on OS X, whilst reaping all the benifits that I certainly enjoy on the Apple OS.

I know I usually take THG as gospel in the past and I know others do too, so thanks to Toms' for 'legitimising' the Macintosh platform to an otherwise largely ignorant PC community who cannot see past a one button mouse (no longer a problem anyway, thanks Mighty Mouse), annoying ads, and the removal of their precious, precious games.
February 7, 2007 6:27:13 PM

Well , the transition is far from smooth as per experience. I've got a Macbook (the block one) it's a 2gh intel core duo (2Mb L2 cache) 2Gb DDR2 667 Mhz ram. Ive tried every version of boot camp until now and there still are a few minor glitches when running windows XP.
A few minor technical problems with :
- the keyboard probably drivers not fully included yet) as some keys are not functioning.
- some functionalities with the Motherboards: the cpu activity goes through the roof once windows is installed.
Idle cpu à cool 25 to 27°C
normal computer activity (browser window, itunes, msn, open office):18 % cpu activity in Mac Os: 33°C
same for windows --> approching 56% cpu activity and 45 to 55 °C in windows.

a part from that installing and removing xp (with bootcamp) is not a problem, compared to the usual swearing and sweating under win vista installement. reminds me of what xp used to be like 5 years ago ^^. (not that xp is hard to install these days, well until u get to the service pack 2 that is :p  )

I would advise the usage of parallele software instead of bootcamp. it's more efficient, boot time under parallele is faster on my macbook than on my 3.2 Ghz monster for graphical appliances. (yes it's a frigging pc)

From what i can see on a dual cpu mac pro, parallele works just fine, switching from heavy duty cad, and photoshoping (under OsX) to neverwinter or CS fraggin' (under XP) in a sec ^^.
thank you mac for those 3 Gbs for memory and those fast cpus ^^.

to sum it up:
bootcamp has still some things to iron out, especially with Mac related perifs
virtualisation has been around for ages, it works just fine, and since we've got loads of cpu power under the hoods of our 'little' shiney macs, it really doesn't pose a problem to have both systems running all at once.
February 7, 2007 7:47:45 PM

I'm curious as to how much memory you give XP in your Parallels settings
February 8, 2007 1:37:03 AM

ooh, yay! Windows on a Mac! what an interesting idea! /sarcasm off
While bootcamp and windows on a mac is a great idea, there is one reason and one reason only in which I refuse to run it. Seems Macintosh doubts my abilities to build a computer and "refuses" to let me run OSX on a PC. come on Mac, you want to convert some more PC users? release OSX for the PC! I might even give it a try. :twisted:

p.s. I know OSX86 exists, but I am one of those few oddballs that actually makes attempts at following EULA's...
February 8, 2007 3:02:55 AM

Finally!!!

I am running a MacBook Pro with the exact same specifications, and I love it, I absolutely love it. I'm running XP and OS X and haven't had any major issues.

First the less than good. Sure, the backlit keyboard would be nice. I did have a few issues with drivers for the network and other peripherals, but those were cleared up with some tweaking and windows updates, so no issues anymore. I have also had the same standby issue. Sometimes the computer won't come out of standby, but its not that often. I also notice that the battery life is about 10-15 mins less on the XP side. But all and all, its rather minor things. Overall battery is about 1:45 in XP with light use. (ie Internet, Word, Itunes) Gaming runs about 1:10 I don't have a problem doing anything I want to do.

Now for the great. Everything. The main strength of the MacBook Pro is the design, everything about it. The system is silent. There aren't fan on the bottom. The entire case acts as a giant heat sink. Brilliant. The screen is bright and clear. Incredible detail. The system is blazing fast. Its one of the fastest notebooks on the market. The built-in webcam is of the highest quality. The keyboard is fantastic. The touch pad is very accurate. The fit and finish of this notebook is amazing.

I did alot of research before I bought this laptop (3 months ago) and the price was the same as an XP system with the same performance. I love it, I love it, I love it. I bought the system because of the performance, the OS options and mainly the fit and finish.

Bravo Apple
February 8, 2007 4:25:03 AM

Why does everyone keep insisting that Macs are "virus proof" or "unhackable" I'm currently enrolled in a network security degree program, and O've found that Macs are just as hackable as everyone else. The only reason Mac users feel more safe with them is that less people own Macs, so they are less of a target. Whereas Microsoft constantly has a big ol bullseye on it's back because a great majority of people use it. Simple as that. Why would a hacker, or more correct term "cracker" (not a white guy, look it up :p  ), choose to target an OS that is less popular? They want max gain for time and effort spent. It's a very simple concept. Keep promoting Macs and I guarentee more exploits get found, and more viruses start showing up.
February 8, 2007 4:37:56 AM

Macs are "crackable", but not in the same way as a Microsoft OS. Microsoft has connected all their programs and internet and the OS together. This is the problem with Windows. When you find a hole in one program, you've found the holes into all the programs and the OS. With OS X and Macintosh's in general is that they keep the programs separate from the OS. So sure, you can break into the programs, but its much harder to exploit the weaknesses.

Macintosh OS X is just a better built base OS. That's why you don't see the problems. The reason that Microsoft ties everything together is control. Microsoft wants you to buy and use all their programs. If everything is interconnected its easier to maintain control. And that's the basic gripe I have with Windows. I hate that IE Explorer is the default system intergrated internet program. If you eliminated that tie, you'd have a much harder time "cracking" the system.
February 8, 2007 6:20:28 AM

All I really have to say is that I LOVE my MacBook Pro. I usually do run Windows on it, and truthfully I wouldn't have bought it if it wasn't for being able to run Windows. I opted for the 17" MacBook Pro (2.33 ghz Core 2 Duo, 2gb RAM, 160gb 5400 rpm Harddrive (now 100gb 7200rpm) with the usual Mobility x1600 256mb and everything else that comes stock)

I have found solutions to some of the issues that others have, and I just simply don't have the other issues. I have never had mine crash due to the Display Brightness Controls. I have no issues with CPU usage while Idle. (right now as I'm typing it hovers between 2-4%) I also found a program on the internet that enables the backlit keyboard in Windows, and now that too works fine. (Search for Keyboard Dimmer) I have to admit, the battery life isn't the greatest in Windows, but I believe the final version of bootcamp will solve the remainder of issues. I do have problems with putting the laptop to sleep from time to time. And the Mouse Track Pad does have only one button (just do as said and place 2 fingers on it when clicking... bingo, right click)

As for Video Adapter drivers, I had installed Radeon Mobility Catalyst v7.1 without issues, and it works great. I can pull a high 20xx score in 3dMark06 (2070's to be exact). I had just installed the Omega Catalyst drivers tonight and enabled GPU Overclocking (I know, not the greatest idea, but what the hey) I was able to run my GPU at 573.75mhz core and 576.0mhz Memory Clock without artifacting. This gave me a 3dMark06 score of 2446.

I had the 160gb 5400 rpm Hard drive originally, which gave me an average read speed of 39.2 MB/s and an average write speed of 38.3 MB/s, all with an average random access time of 16.2ms (according to HD Tach RW)... I then upgraded to the 100gb 7200 rpm drive, which showed little improvement (41.2 MB/s average read, 41.0 MB/s average write and 14.8ms Random Access) Slight improvement, however it is 60gb smaller.

Needless to say I think my investment was worth while, especially since I got it off eBay with a 3 year Apple Care warranty for about $400 less than Retail + Sales Tax for just the unit alone. (about $750 savings in all)

All in all I'm a satisified customer. I also enjoy the fact I can boot right into Mac OS X without any of the issues that people have with OSx86 (which I had been running on my desktop previously with issues).
February 8, 2007 8:04:06 AM

I used OpenBSD for a few years before switching from XP to OSX, so I've got a few skills that come in handy for making the transition easier. A lot of BSD developers use OSX for their main desktop too.

The people who developed the BSDs deserve a lot of the credit for OSX, Apple really only made minor modifications, and put a simple usable interface on top (OSX can use X and Gnome/KDE if you want)

Every Computer/OS has it's share of glitches:

Sleep problem can be solved by opening and closing the lid again, or turning up the screen brightness.

Fixed overheating with smcFanControl (reboot and the settings carry over into Windows too).

CPU idle whine fixed with QuietMBP.

refit gives me a nice simple boot screen (just Apple and Windows logos), and saves holding keys down at boot, or selecting boot volumes (May try installing OpenBSD soon).


I can reliably crash XP by trying to change the volume with the keyboard, haven't tried brightness yet, as I'm never on battery (Bootcamp /is/ beta).

Playing BF2 for up to 8 hours really gets the CPU and GPU working (screen blanking errors from overheating), so I've built a cooler from a couple of bits of wood and a pair of 40mm fans, pointed right at the underside of the case below the 2 hot spots. Could be Omega drivers tax the system a lot more, as it didn't happen with the Bootcamp or ATI's drivers.

The whole 1 button thing should encourage users to have one hand on the keyboard, as apple-key - click is right mouse button. also means the shift, alt and ctrl keys are handy for modifying selecting and drag and drop.

Apple makes great use of keyboard shortcuts which increases productivity, as it's quicker than dragging a mouse around the screen, and coupled with AppleScript or shell script makes complex repetitive tasks dead easy. I wrote one that ejects the DVD drives, and when a disk is inserted, it creates a folder using the DVD volume label, copies all the files over, then ejects the CD and starts over. Got to love having Unix tools like awk as part of the default system (and grep, ssh, python, perl, top, iostat, netstat, tcpdump, etc.).

AFP makes SMB look really slow, XP on gigabit is rubbish compared to OSX. Firewire 800 comes built in, and goes at turps through a donkey speeds too.

Apache is built in, PHP and MySQL are dead easy to install.

I'm happy to pay a bit extra for a computer that just works, and lets me just work too. Truthfully, the only thing I use Windows for since I got the MacBook Pro is games (credit to Mozilla for Firefox and Thunderbird).
February 8, 2007 2:28:04 PM

Quote:
Macs are "crackable", but not in the same way as a Microsoft OS. Microsoft has connected all their programs and internet and the OS together." "I hate that IE Explorer is the default system intergrated internet program. If you eliminated that tie, you'd have a much harder time "cracking" the system.
I've read in forums Apple now admits there are known trojans and virus' that affect Macs. Whatever. I think you brought up an interesting point about XP. I use Firefox religiously, and for the past 3-4 years.. haven't had one major virus, trojan, or attack. I've run spybot and ad-aware once in a great while, but usually find 10-20 within a given period of say 3-4 months. Free anti-virus keeps everything else clean, and I can't remember when the last time was I saw a virus. BUT on a rare occasion I open Microsoft IE do to a program "demanding" I use it for update or whatever. I can instantly find things getting through with a spyware check if I do any surfing at all beyond the initial need. Before firefox, virus and trojans were regular problems for me, even with AVG antivirus. I still use Firefox on my Macs. Safari is fine, but Firefox is awesome IMO.

Soon I'll be trying XP on my mac. I will do it for Oblivion and perhaps a couple other games I can't get on mac. Program wise there is little I can't walk away from that only works under XP. XP may offer a great platform for work, but OSX actually makes me WANT to work... it's silky smooth
February 8, 2007 4:03:56 PM

Quote:
Macs are "crackable", but not in the same way as a Microsoft OS. Microsoft has connected all their programs and internet and the OS together.


This is a fair complaint, but from a business standpoint, largely irrelevant... If you look at big picture corporate security, you will find that the number one security problem is a disgruntled employee. Nothing like a guy or guy on the inside who is causing intentional sabatoge or selling your secrets. Hopefully they do not "go postal". And then of course there are the people who write their 64 digit alpha numeric passwords on their blotter, or under the mouse pad. No OS in the world can defend against rampant stupidity or employee malice.
February 8, 2007 8:32:09 PM

1. Up the security from just a password to a smart card and password (can be a simpler password then) "Something you need, and something you know". Now you can add in a biometric test too.

2. Change the way the file system works, so files can only be created. From there on diffs are used to track changes (and who makes changes or reads a file is logged). Deletion is merely removal of access to non admins. Make total deletion require more than one admin to be logged into the console. Also have log files that cannot be modified, even by admins.

3. Make users responsible for the security of their passwords. Breach of security should loose you your job, seeing as it could cost the entire company.


It is entirely possible to have security that is nigh on impenetrable. It all depends how many stupid gimicky features you're willing to sacrifice to get there. All this is available in other OSs that make the effort to do things properly from the start, and don't waste time on talking paperclips and dogs.

How do you think government security agencies run their computers?
February 8, 2007 8:34:55 PM

Quote:
How do you think government security agencies run their computers?


If they think anything like Microsoft, probably with a lot of dialog boxes.
February 8, 2007 8:43:55 PM

I see your point, but I still say that Microsoft's popularity is the largest factor to the number of attacks on their systems and alleged lack of attacks on Macs.
February 8, 2007 9:26:14 PM

Quote:
It is entirely possible to have security that is nigh on impenetrable. It all depends how many stupid gimicky features you're willing to sacrifice to get there. All this is available in other OSs that make the effort to do things properly from the start, and don't waste time on talking paperclips and dogs.

How do you think government security agencies run their computers?


Polarity, again these are all great ideas, but perfect computer security is as much of a myth as the Titantic being unsinkable. Security breaches at DOE, the FBI, DoD, DoS, CIA etc are testimony to this. These agencies don't just fire you for security breeches, they put you in prison at Ft Leavenworth Kansas with a felony conviction.

Names like Walker, Hiss, Hanssen, are testimony to the devestation that "a man on the inside" can wreak. Somewhere in your company there are people with access to your most closely held data. Someone can be turned, blackmailed, or coerced into giving up access to that data if someone wants it bad enough.

Your system may be strong, but someone in your organization is weak...
February 9, 2007 12:01:58 AM

Quote:
If you look at big picture corporate security, you will find that the number one security problem is a disgruntled employee. Nothing like a guy or guy on the inside who is causing intentional sabatoge or selling your secrets. No OS in the world can defend against rampant stupidity or employee malice.


Very true. Another major point is that you can't fix stupid. People that click on the monkey and install a program to "win a free trip" need to be educated. Employers need to be more strict on computer access. Lots of people don't care because its not their computer. If the computer breaks or slows down or whatever, its not their fault, they just get IT involved and they get a new machine. Irresponsible people are alot of the problem with security.

In a funny side note. When you install BootCamp Apple tells you that you are now vulnerable to all the "Windows" problems like viruses and spyware.

The ability to run Windows and OS X on a MacBook Pro (or any Intel Mac) is a fantastic development for Apple. I feel that it will only increase Apples market share. Right now I'm writing this reply on a MacBook Pro running Windows XP.

I use the Mac side sometimes, I use the XP side more. More of my programs are XP. Games are XP. I love the Mac for internet and music stuff (I record music and edit it OS X style)

I recommend that everyone takes a look at the MacBook Pro if you are in the market for a 2k laptop. They are highly worth it. (and if you can, get the educational discount. roughly 10% savings)
February 9, 2007 11:25:10 AM

Quote:
Lots of people don't care because its not their computer. If the computer breaks or slows down or whatever, its not their fault, they just get IT involved and they get a new machine. Irresponsible people are alot of the problem with security.


Exactly, the computer is essentially a "free good" like air; people get free use of the good, but feel no responsibility for maintaining the good. We would have a lot less air pollution if, for example, a refinery smoke stack vented directly into the owner's house! That would give you a pretty clear incentive to get your operation cleaned up wouldn't it? :wink:
February 10, 2007 4:29:06 PM

Not really the point of this article, if you are going to spend about 1700-2000 then this laptop offers a very compelling reason to buy a MacBook Pro instead of an HP or Dell, just go to the store and try the keyboard for one, if you type a lot like I do then you will know why this is a nice peice of hardware. Now desktops might be a different issue but you can almost dedicate this system to Windows if you like and again I think you will find the keyboard a dream to use.
February 11, 2007 12:22:48 AM

The article does mention the keyboard aspect of the MacBook Pro, but it really should be emphasized. they keys have a wonderful feel to them. Just the right amount of pressure keys the keyboard. The keys have an even feel to them.

Another feature that I feel is worth pointing out is the screen. It has an excellent contrast ratio, nice and bright, clear and crisp display. It is of better quality than the ones that I have seen in the past. As I mentioned in other posts, the reason to buy an Apple over an HP or Dell is the fit and finish of the Apple. They give you the extra 20% quality. If you care about the "quality" of your computing experience then I highly recommend the Macbook pro.
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