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School me on: MacBook Pro's

Old 03-12-08, 06:41 PM
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School me on: MacBook Pro's

Welp, I finally made the jump. I just ordered a new 15.4" MacBook Pro @ 2.4ghz from Apple.com. Should be here in a week. Soon after I'm gonna order 2x2gb memory sticks and max it out to 4gb of RAM.

Now I've worked with Apple computers before (I'm a film student who goes to a school the primarily features Macs) but I've never owned one. What are some tricks of the trade? What is installing software like? Suggested software? Should I stick with Safari, or is Firefox still the best browser in town? What is the best program for Torrents? How easy/hard is it to use Boot Camp + Windows XP? Etc.

Please, everyone. School me!
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Old 03-12-08, 07:20 PM
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Originally Posted by CKMorpheus
Welp, I finally made the jump. I just ordered a new 15.4" MacBook Pro @ 2.4ghz from Apple.com. Should be here in a week. Soon after I'm gonna order 2x2gb memory sticks and max it out to 4gb of RAM.

Now I've worked with Apple computers before (I'm a film student who goes to a school the primarily features Macs) but I've never owned one. What are some tricks of the trade? What is installing software like? Suggested software? Should I stick with Safari, or is Firefox still the best browser in town? What is the best program for Torrents? How easy/hard is it to use Boot Camp + Windows XP? Etc.

Please, everyone. School me!
This guys Mac book Pro started on fire:



hold off on opening it until they announce the recall
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Old 03-12-08, 07:29 PM
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Bootcamp + WinXp = easy to do!

I would install firefox when you need some of the extensions. otherwise safari is good for normal browsing.
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Old 03-12-08, 07:52 PM
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I had a Dell Inspirion and the battery overheated and began smoking so I bought a Mac Book Pro.
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Old 03-12-08, 08:20 PM
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I have issues with Safari and Gmail.
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Old 03-12-08, 11:12 PM
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Will this RAM work with the new Macbook Pro? http://www.newegg.com/Product/Produc...82E16820146697
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Old 03-13-08, 09:05 AM
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I recommend you install NeoOffice as a office productivity suite. It is a free open source package that will open and save to most MS Office standards. www.neooffice.org. Beats paying for a Mac Version of Office.

Software installation is usually very easy. Often all you need to do is drag and drop an icon from the source (CD/DVD or download extraction file) to the Applications folder in the finder window.

Enjoy.
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Old 03-13-08, 12:53 PM
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Originally Posted by wlmowery
I recommend you install NeoOffice as a office productivity suite. It is a free open source package that will open and save to most MS Office standards. www.neooffice.org. Beats paying for a Mac Version of Office.
Spare yourself the hassle. Office 2008 for Mac is like $129 and you get Word, PowerPoint, Excel, and Entourage (Outlook for Mac). It's not exactly going to empty out your bank account.

As long as you don't use pivot tables in Excel you'll be fine.

Last edited by Breakfast with Girls; 03-13-08 at 12:58 PM.
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Old 03-13-08, 03:00 PM
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Agreed. I tried NeoOffice (just a pretty version of Open Office to match OS X) and didn't really like it. (I don't like Open Office, either) It is SLOW to open because the entire suite of programs open at once, kind of like the old Microsoft Works. From there you tell it if you want a spreadsheet, presentation, document, whatever. If the programs were individual, it would be fine.

Apple also has a productivity suite, iWork. It's GREAT and more or less compatible with Office but there are always little annoyances in the conversion. When Office 2008 came out (2004 wasn't built for x86 and had to be run in emulation, which is seamless in OS X but a little slow) I installed it and got rid of iWork.

If you don't use Office, much, I'd go with iWork. But if you need maximum compatibility with the Windows world, your better off with Office.

The best part: Where Windows has lots and LOTS of communities, all over the internet, Mac has smaller, tighter, more closely-knit counterparts. (ALL of the counterparts. )

As for web browsers, I really like Safari. The search feature is AWESOME. Every once in a while, you'll run across a poorly-coded website and have to open it in Firefox. I suggest Twicetab: http://infinite-labs.net/Twicetab/
and Inquisitor: http://www.inquisitorx.com/safari/

Both are free plugins.

Also, I wasn't fond of it, at first, but it QUICKLY grew on me: http://growl.info/beta.html (Beta version for 10.5 compatibility)

And finally, you'll need these to open all that porn:
http://www.flip4mac.com/wmv_download.htm Microsoft-supported Windows Media plugin
http://perian.org/ Everything else
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Old 03-13-08, 03:15 PM
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Eh, I guess we'll have to agree to disagree. I was assuming that office productivity in general would be of marginal importance (unless this is intended as a business replacement machine). NeoOffice has worked great as an alternative to use of buggy MS code. I have zero problems with the load time for the software (approx. 25 sec.) on an older MacBook. I imagine load times on the newer and better hardware would be substantially less.

Also, I have had zero conversion issues with both Presentations and Text/WP documents in trading back and forth from Neo and MS software (work related). While I use Apple code whenever possible, Apple has never been very good on basic file conversions from Apple code to MS product code (perhaps iWork is better than Appleworks/Clarisworks history on this issue).

Finally, unless office productivity suite is a key interest, I would rather spend that $130 on someting more useful if free open source alternatives exist to meet the demands (like a network drive for media storage and sharing).

I concur on the need for Flip4mac.

If you have an interest in video related editing/conversion, check out Handbrake, DVD2One and Fairmount.
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Old 03-13-08, 08:41 PM
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Can I use my Dell Windows XP OEM disc on Boot Camp? I've heard conflicting reports.
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Old 03-13-08, 10:18 PM
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I got an mbp recently as well. I installed this ram the other day and it's been working well:

http://www.newegg.com/product/produc...82E16820134605

I didn't set up bootcamp on it, but I have before on other people's macbooks and it's very easy. Easier, in fact, than doing a clean install of Windows on a PC laptop since they have an installer for all the drivers.

I'm using vmware fusion to run Windows and windows wffice 2007 since I already have access to that. It works very well and the unity feature that makes the Windows apps run in their own window like a native Mac app is pretty slick.

Firefox is definitely the way to go for me since I'm pretty depedent on certain addons like adblock, firebug, liveheaders, google sync and whatnot. There's a little applet called Multiclutch which I installed and it lets you set multi touch gestures to work in firefox.
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Old 03-13-08, 10:48 PM
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Originally Posted by CKMorpheus
Can I use my Dell Windows XP OEM disc on Boot Camp? I've heard conflicting reports.
I think no, they have to be used on a OEM machine. (Dell on Dell, Compaq on Compaq, etc) Cuz, you know, it's not like you PAID for the software or anything.

Not that Apple is any better. The disc that comes with your MBP, for example, will only work with an MBP, and generally only that generation. On the plus side, if you buy the OS outright, you can use it on as many computers as you want. The EULA, of course, says no, but there is NOTHING preventing you from doing this and it almost seems like Apple wants it that way. (Probably more for ease of use, though)
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Old 03-14-08, 02:15 AM
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How easy is it to add extra RAM to a Macbook? I'm thinking of getting the basic Macbook with 1GB of RAM and upgrading it to 2 or 4GBs but since I've never really upgraded any computer/laptop, I'm not sure if I would be able to...

Should I just pay the extra 200$ to get a Macbook with better specs? (2.4 Ghz instead of 2.1, bigger hd, more ram, etc)

This would be my first Apple computer. My 3 years old Dell Inspiron is starting to show its age and I think it's time for me to switch to Apple.
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Old 03-14-08, 09:00 AM
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Originally Posted by Howiefan
How easy is it to add extra RAM to a Macbook? I'm thinking of getting the basic Macbook with 1GB of RAM and upgrading it to 2 or 4GBs but since I've never really upgraded any computer/laptop, I'm not sure if I would be able to...
Somebody did a photo breakdown of the process here. Looks to be pretty simple, at least as far as laptop upgrades go.

Originally Posted by Howiefan
Should I just pay the extra 200$ to get a Macbook with better specs? (2.4 Ghz instead of 2.1, bigger hd, more ram, etc)
Note that after you click the "Buy Now" button and select your base model, you can incrementally upgrade some of the options. For example, you can upgrade the 2.1 GHz model's hard drive to 160 GB for $50 without having to order the higher-end 2.4 GHz model. But I'd stay away from the RAM upgrades unless you're really uneasy about doing the installation yourself, since Apple charges about twice the going price for RAM.

The main advantage of going with the 2.4 GHz model is the built-in DVD burner, which the 2.1 GHz model lacks (it has a CD burner/DVD reader combo drive). If you don't need that, you can probably stick with the 2.1 GHz model: 300 MHz of extra CPU speed won't really matter for most apps, and you can upgrade everything else independently.
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Old 03-14-08, 11:29 PM
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Switched to a MacBook Pro at work recently and love it. Upgrading the memory is about a 5 minute or less job.
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Old 03-15-08, 01:56 AM
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You should check with the IT department at your school as most schools give away free software (and load up b4 you graduate (even if you don't think you'll need it go ahead and get it and burn it to a disc and file it away, you never know)).
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Old 03-16-08, 12:06 AM
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Originally Posted by CKMorpheus
Can I use my Dell Windows XP OEM disc on Boot Camp? I've heard conflicting reports.
No, because it's a completely different physical architecture (and specifically, it has a different motherboard). Also, Boot Camp will only work with a disc that has Service Pack 2. You can't install an earlier version and then upgrade.

As far as virtualization goes, I'd recommend Parallels for Mac over VMWare Fusion. Parallels costs more, but it's just a better piece of software in my opinion.
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Old 03-16-08, 08:38 PM
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Well, I too joined the Mac club. Picked up the mid-level MacBook (13.3", 2.4ghz Core 2 Duo, 160gb HD, 2g RAM). I would have picked up the lowest end model but I wanted the DVD burning capability.

Would upgrading to 4gb RAM provide any real benefit? I'll mostly be using it for Garage Band and for web browsing/pic storage when traveling. I scoffed at the $500 cost for upgrading to 4gb from Apple, but Fry's has 4gb of dual channel ram for $89.

My MacBook is currently resting as I just ran down the battery for calibration.
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Old 03-16-08, 10:05 PM
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Originally Posted by SmackDaddy
Would upgrading to 4gb RAM provide any real benefit?
Probably not, especially for the apps you've listed. I've got 2 GB on my MacBook Pro, and I have to push it pretty hard before the hard drive starts seriously churning. (By "pretty hard" I mean running Firefox, Thunderbird, Adium, Parallels, TextWrangler, Eclipse, and several Terminal windows simultaneously -- not something that most people are going to do.) Garage Band might push your RAM consumption more than most apps, but 2 GB is still probably going to be enough headroom if you're not doing a lot of multitasking with Garage Band open.

That said, the best way to tell is to just play around with your laptop for a few days and see if it stays responsive with multiple apps open. If it does, there's really not much point in adding more RAM.
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Old 03-24-08, 03:43 AM
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I'm hoping to get a MBP soon... I'd really like to wait until they have Blu-ray drives, but I may not be able to wait that long. Is it worth getting a brand new machine, over one of the refurbed units where I can save $400-$500? They have a machine with an almost identical spec to the new $1999 model for $1650... just 40 gigs less HD space and no multitouch are the main differences I see, and maybe the LCD isn't LED backlit.
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Old 03-24-08, 11:18 PM
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All 15" MBPs have had LED screens since last summer. The newest models (multitouch) have newer processors and, I believe, faster video cards. Apple refurbs are very good deals, though. Many times you get a better product than if you bought it new, they go over them with a fine-toothed comb. Unless you want multitouch or the speedbump, I think the last gen refurbs are a good deal.
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Old 03-25-08, 01:14 AM
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I have had problems with Apple Refurbs before. Remember that someone returned them for a reason. Always best to get a new one. I will never buy refurbished again. Also the warranty on refurbs is a lot shorter (at least it used to be, been awhile).
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Old 03-27-08, 02:20 AM
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Where can I buy an extra MacBook Pro 15.4" battery? Would NewEgg have them?
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