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Final Thoughts

Apple MacBook Review: Part 2
By

Two months ago, I never thought I would become a Mac fan. I had toyed with the idea, but if my Vista PC wasn’t compromised, I’m sure I’d still be a PC guy. But my time with the MacBook changed things. When it comes to my core computing applications: Internet, office productivity, and digital imaging and content creation, the MacBook works beautifully. It’s incredibly stable, extremely responsive, and a pure joy to use. Small touches like Cover Flow for the normal Finder and integrated Canon RAW support bring the extra level of polish that’s lacking from Windows Vista. With the unibody MacBooks adding a final tactile complement to software, it’s hard for me to imagine ever going back to Windows after making the switch on my primary PC.

The MacBook itself is a stunning piece of hardware. Starting with the aluminum exterior and wonderfully intuitive multitouch trackpad to digging internally to the Nvidia GeForce 9400M chipset and careful motherboard design, the MacBook is one of the best notebooks I have used at any price.  Sure, as a techie I’d love to have a higher-quality screen from the MacBook Air, and the backlit keyboard of the 2.4 GHz model, and yes, the addition of FireWire or at the very least an eSATA port would have been welcome. But, the notebook does everything else so well, so efficiently that I still get a smile every time I use my MacBook. I’m not the first PC guy to be impressed by the latest Macs. Our colleagues at Anandtech were pleasantly surprised to see the superior battery life of Mac OS X over Vista and our colleagues at Wired aren’t the only ones to comment on the speed of Mac OS X over even Windows XP. We’re just the first to look into the possibility of performance penalties in running hacked Mac operating systems.

Windows Vista is still my platform of choice for home theater PCs and gaming. Windows Media Center still offers a better living room interface than Apple Front Row, and its support for ATSC HDTV makes it must-have in a digital living room. More importantly, I can build Windows Media Center PC of my choice, combining a silent CPU and power supply with a ton of hard drives and multiple ATSC tuners. The Mac doesn’t have anything like Media Center. Plex, the Mac OS X fork of XBMC and Boxee both show a lot of promise, but without the ATSC integration that Windows Media Center offers, it’ll be a while before I even think about leaving Windows Vista behind. The Mac also can’t compete with the PC when it comes to games. While StarCraft 2 will likely be the Mac Game of the Year in 2009, the PC version of Mirror’s Edge already has me itching to rebuild a gaming PC.

But I’m waiting to rebuild. In January, Apple is expected to launch a new set of desktops. If these systems offer Core i7 quad-core CPUs, a modern GPU, and arrive at a reasonable price, I’ll be the first to get one to dual boot Vista for games and OS X for everything else. If Apple comes through with a netbook, I’m not sure if I’ll pick one up or not. The MacBook already does what I need in a notebook and the iPhone does everything else I need for extreme portability. An Apple netbook would need eight-hour battery life and full Office 2008 document support for me to make the switch.  Who knows, maybe iWork ’09 will run on ARM?

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  • 22 Hide
    pereira5375 , January 27, 2009 5:07 AM
    While I was wrighting the follwing on the Part 1 of this article Part 2 was posted. After reading part 2 I think what I wrote holds true. Here it is:

    I believe this is an advertisement. Whether the author knows that or not is debatable, but certainly the big whigs at Tom's HARDWARE know it.

    Apple seems to have a very good stealth advertising campaign. To expand their market they have developed a very good stealth campaign. They advertise on Rush and Fox both, but stealthily. They have to. Their very tolerant hippie base wouldn't tolerate otherwise.

    BTW this is Tom's HARDWARE. I build my own PC. If I want to read fan boy praises of Apple there are a million other sites I can go to and read that. Why am I reading it here? When I can build my own McIntosh I'll appreciate fan boy articles like this.
  • 17 Hide
    pereira5375 , January 27, 2009 5:20 AM
    Again I feel a need to point out I am a hardware enthusiast because I build my own computer. This is Tom's HARDWARE. There are three feature articles on the homepage. Usually there is a new one about each week day. Currently there are two Apple feature articles up there. Add one more and this site will officially be useless to me.
  • 14 Hide
    Inneandar , January 27, 2009 5:49 AM
    more or less the same sentiment here. The first article, although also heavily debated, at least tried to focus on the hardware and was informative to some extent. But this... I dont see any need to throw up endless fanboy discussions, and other than that, I fail to see anything this article will achieve. Frankly, who is interested in why os X is better because the hacked version runs the CPU slower - common.
    I extremely liked the part on 'MAC users are smarter' though. I one fell swoop you boost your ego, try to insult me, and put the amount of trustworthy information in this article on the same level as a london tabloid.
Other Comments
  • 22 Hide
    pereira5375 , January 27, 2009 5:07 AM
    While I was wrighting the follwing on the Part 1 of this article Part 2 was posted. After reading part 2 I think what I wrote holds true. Here it is:

    I believe this is an advertisement. Whether the author knows that or not is debatable, but certainly the big whigs at Tom's HARDWARE know it.

    Apple seems to have a very good stealth advertising campaign. To expand their market they have developed a very good stealth campaign. They advertise on Rush and Fox both, but stealthily. They have to. Their very tolerant hippie base wouldn't tolerate otherwise.

    BTW this is Tom's HARDWARE. I build my own PC. If I want to read fan boy praises of Apple there are a million other sites I can go to and read that. Why am I reading it here? When I can build my own McIntosh I'll appreciate fan boy articles like this.
  • -6 Hide
    pereira5375 , January 27, 2009 5:09 AM
    Whoops: writing.
  • 17 Hide
    pereira5375 , January 27, 2009 5:20 AM
    Again I feel a need to point out I am a hardware enthusiast because I build my own computer. This is Tom's HARDWARE. There are three feature articles on the homepage. Usually there is a new one about each week day. Currently there are two Apple feature articles up there. Add one more and this site will officially be useless to me.
  • 14 Hide
    Inneandar , January 27, 2009 5:49 AM
    more or less the same sentiment here. The first article, although also heavily debated, at least tried to focus on the hardware and was informative to some extent. But this... I dont see any need to throw up endless fanboy discussions, and other than that, I fail to see anything this article will achieve. Frankly, who is interested in why os X is better because the hacked version runs the CPU slower - common.
    I extremely liked the part on 'MAC users are smarter' though. I one fell swoop you boost your ego, try to insult me, and put the amount of trustworthy information in this article on the same level as a london tabloid.
  • 11 Hide
    BertrumPantyshield , January 27, 2009 6:13 AM
    Myth 2 on page 2 seems completely stupid. Yes it only takes one hole for a system to be compromised, however, there are still 960 possible holes on one and 600 on the other. This reduces the chance of a hole being found, and thus, exploited. For example: a system has 1,000,000 holes the other has 1. Both are equally secure? Its far easier to find 1 hole in million, than the only hole in the system.
  • 0 Hide
    bachok83 , January 27, 2009 6:37 AM
    @pereira5375
    OMG, you are right. I havent realized about this fact until i read your comment. Mac OS X accounts for less than 10% of users and yet 90% of the news these days are about Apple.

    I admit Apple has created so much technical advancements over the years, but they cant even display things right:
    http://www.scavey.com/index.php/should-i-migrate-to-mac-os-knowing-renderers/

    hmm.. so, let's all read about Windows 7 then.. i read it's working :) 
  • 7 Hide
    ravenware , January 27, 2009 6:39 AM
    Quote:
    About 70% of Mac users have a college education whereas only 54% of Windows users have a college education according to a 2002 Nielsen study.


    A college education is only as useful as the person who obtains it.
    I work with several college educated people who don't appear to have enough intelligence or knowledge to be considered high school educated.

    Security wise, the computers operating system is only as secure as the person who uses it.

    My home machine had been uninfected for nearly 3 years, no crashes nothing. As soon as my sister starts using my machine on myspace BAM! Reformat city. :) 

    Anyway, I would like to see a video review of the Mac OSX done by THG.
    There is just not enough information in this article or the one from Tuan Nguyen about the OS.

    If not I will have to hack one on to my machine, if it is even possible with an AMD CPU. I am not going to shell out an ass load of money for something that I may not even want.

    Hey apple there is an idea! You want more users to switch to your OS? Release some sort of PC capable demo OS for users to try.
  • -3 Hide
    bachok83 , January 27, 2009 6:49 AM
    ravenwareHey apple there is an idea! You want more users to switch to your OS? Release some sort of PC capable demo OS for users to try.


    I dont think Apple cares as much as how many people are using their OS. Otherwise they wouldnt even care creating BootCamp software to run windows on Mac machines.

    The only major concern from Apple is how many people buying their hardware. Apple has been a hardware company and always has been. Little that they know that they could be a great software company.... wait...

    Nahh, they dont care about that either since they are moving pass that to a service oriented company. Does iTunes, MobileMe, Apps Store ring any bells, anyone?
  • -2 Hide
    ravenware , January 27, 2009 7:56 AM
    bachok83I dont think Apple cares as much as how many people are using their OS. Otherwise they wouldnt even care creating BootCamp software to run windows on Mac machines. The only major concern from Apple is how many people buying their hardware. Apple has been a hardware company and always has been. Little that they know that they could be a great software company.... wait...Nahh, they dont care about that either since they are moving pass that to a service oriented company. Does iTunes, MobileMe, Apps Store ring any bells, anyone?


    Hence the usage of the word "demo". Why would someone buy an apple computer if they didn't like their operating system?

    Release a demo on the PC to convince users to by their machine.
  • 0 Hide
    justjc , January 27, 2009 8:12 AM
    @Author Alan Dang:
    It's all good and well that you like you new toy, the Macbook, I had a simular feel when I got my ASUS notebook. Not that it was faster than my desktop, it just felt better because it was the new one. For me that feeling lasted more than two months, so perhaps it's the same thing that makes you say you'll by Apple again.

    That aside you mention the reason for switching to the Mac is that you'll be able to run Adobe Creative Suite and Microsoft Office on it. Yet here at the software part, of your article, you fail to mention how that part of the switch went.
    It's no secret that there have been compatibility issues between PC and Mac versions of the same programs in the past, have you had any?
    How does it feel to work with the usual programs in their new enviroment?
    Do you still instinctively right click to get the right click menu, or do you use Ctrl + left key?
    A couple of benchmarks on those programs wouldn't be bad either.

    Thanks for the articles, hope to see one on the needed programs as well ;) 
  • 10 Hide
    decoppel , January 27, 2009 10:29 AM
    Oh my, like I totally need a mac now, because some guy on the interwebs once again used some pretty sketchy baselines, man oh man I can't believe what I have been missing, so much...

    So...TH is becoming a joke, can I write an article?
  • -1 Hide
    bachok83 , January 27, 2009 10:36 AM
    woo... flames everywhere...

    Mac's lover love confession gone wrong in TH. Wrong crowd i guess? :) 
  • 2 Hide
    decoppel , January 27, 2009 10:44 AM
    P.S to whoever is giving a negative review to all the posts calling out this chubstain, QQ?
  • -4 Hide
    bachok83 , January 27, 2009 10:55 AM
    @decoppel,
    I never gave bad reviews about the article. I just gave my opinions about:
    1. i admit Mac OS has some cool features
    2. i hate the way they render their graphics, fonts, videos

    And, gave my opinions about Apple not caring how many people use their OS, they just care if u buy their hardware. Which is the reasons that they want to tie Mac OS X to Mac machines.

    Just in case some ppl love Mac OS X, they definitely have to buy a Mac. But Apple is saying, "hey windows guys, buy our machines too, we can run Windows too.. we want to be your friend too.. pretty please..." :) 
  • 0 Hide
    decoppel , January 27, 2009 11:10 AM
    bachok I wasn't talking to you, I was talking to the guy running up and down putting negative reviews to peoples posts.

  • 10 Hide
    justkevin7 , January 27, 2009 11:30 AM
    I think its funny you talk about the percentage of college educated people who use Macs vs. PC's. In my 14 years of doing technical support, by far the most idiotic and users are at Ph.D level. Absolute complete morons.
  • -2 Hide
    eodeo , January 27, 2009 11:43 AM
    Interesting article. Still, I find it very to believe that Mac OS is faster than... anything on the same hardware system.

    Maybe iTunes and other iApps are written better for the MacOS, but for us, Windows users, these are malware programs that you install willingly. They use 500% memory of regular applications, boot with the OS, and run even when turned off.

    I could be wrong, but I always imagined Mac as lair for "legal" malware- software fighting each other for memory access and computer crippling itself to crawl before user even touched the mouse.

    Maybe on Apple Mac, these same iApps use 80% regular memory need of the program in its class, and shuts down when not used, and doesnt start with the OS, but I really cant tell. Ifthat is the case on Mac, maybe Apple should try harder to do the same for us poor Windows users. If iCrapp suddenly started to be better than competition, I even might be inclined to try Hackingtosh, and maybe even get a regular Mac after that.

    Not to mention that if iJobs got his ihead out of his irear, he might notice that OpenGL is horridly slow and also hacked for major pro visualizations apps to run better on “professional” cards like Quadro and FireGL. DirectX has been clean from such artificial intrusions from the start, and is now faster than OpenGL, even when the latter isn’t hacked by SpecCheatTests and other poor OpenGL-only programs... And lets not talk about games.. I don’t want to feel like a complete dick here.
  • -8 Hide
    mystvearn , January 27, 2009 11:45 AM
    Hmm, I think I know where bachok83 is coming from (really I know where he is from:p ). Well demographically, macs are expansive in bachok83's country. People will get the most out of their money, and as the review mentioned earlier, macs are for those who have more cash to spend-well educated.

    I have a friend who keeps renewing her 2002 mac notebook (the entry level mac notebook, not the pro one. Forgive me, I am mac clueless which are the models) warranty yearly. That is the reality of mac users from the country, most mac adopters cannnot afford to change a computer every 3-5 years. What happens to those people who have macs is that they say its more secure and stable, but I am a lot like the reviewer of the article, I think if I had that spare cash lying around I would buy a mac, but then I don't, so buy a powerfull WinXP notebook, use it for ~7 years, or until Windows 7 comes out, then buy that. Then wait two more Win OS generations to come out and buy that.
  • 7 Hide
    biometricsguy , January 27, 2009 12:27 PM
    I used to be such a big fan of this site, it was the premiere place to get top notch, unbiased reviews of hardware that could help me make informed decisions when purchasing.

    Long gone are the glory days of Tom's hardware. All we get now are worthless, long winded rants on why the "authors" (if you can really call them that) loves "x".

    There was a time when I would have thought comments like pereira's first one here were purely cynical. Now, I think there may be some truth to it.

    Is it possible that tom's is selling out to sleazy advertising campaigns? It certainly wouldn't be unheard of for companies with questionable ethics such as Apple to attempt such things.

    I think that this really is becoming a "shape up or ship out" situation. Tom's certainly isn't the only hardware site out there...
  • 1 Hide
    Anonymous , January 27, 2009 12:32 PM
    I am sorry but this article does NOT belong on this website.... a very poorly written article to say the least. OS X and Apple products are for people who are too dumb to use a PC. And for people who don't mind overpaying for their lesser quality hardware, forget how Apple always censors anything negative about any of their products in the forum. There was even an article about this on tomshardware about their communist style censorship. I've dumped thousands of dollars on apple hardware, and regretted it.
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