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Should I Move from a Windows PC to a Mac?

A review of why I switched from a Windows PC to a MacBook Pro

A review of why did I buy a Macbook Pro? Making the switch from a Windows 7 (Microsoft) based laptop to a Mac or more specifically a MacBook Pro was not an easy decision.

I have been a Windows guy for a very long time – I honestly wish I could shout out the date that I bought my first Microsoft based computer – a Tandy 1000 EX, but let’s just say we are going back a while. However, I do recall that with the help of my parents, at probably close to the age of 15 or 16 I acquired my first consumer loan and off I went to spend a near fortune to upgrade my ageing Coco2 and move up to the big world of DOS.

A lot has changed over the 20+ years in the world of Windows, but was it time to make a switch. Although this post was written a few years ago, the discussion still holds true with more modern Windows 10. Read more on why I switched from a Windows PC to a Macbook Pro.

When my Sony Laptop (Intel Core 2 Duo – 2 GHz) needed a new battery, it was decision time to spend a hefty $250 at Sony to buy a new battery or upgrade the ageing beast.   I know, how can you compare the pricing between a battery and a MacBook (new or used – the Mac is still going to come up top on a price war) – but at the same time, why throw good money after bad?  At the same time, the idea of a Mac caught my attention shortly after we upgraded my wife’s Laptop a year and a half ago so it was worth exploring yet again.  Mac’s have come a long way the past few years but as a long time Windows user, I had to see how they stacked up before making the switch. 

The Dilemma

I love my bells and whistles when it comes to my laptop – higher-end video card with the segregated ram, high definition (HD) screen, blue-ray play and/or burner, 7200 spin Hard Drive (HD) or solid-state, the best CPU I can justify at the time, and Bluetooth.  Sure I give up on battery life, but how often am I truly away from an AC outlet for more than a few hours?  How can a Mac compete? 

Computer ComponentWindows Based LaptopMacBook Pro 15”
Intel i7 ProcessorYes – Extreme AvailableYes – up to 2.8 MHZ
Solid State Hard DriveYesYes
Blu-ray Player/RecorderYesNo
Gamer Quality Video CardYesYes
Full HD ScreenYesNo – up to 1680 X 1050
HDMI (Audio / Video)YesYes – with 3rd Party Adaptor
As of December 2010

Putting all the bells and whistles aside for a moment, the biggest hurdle was the idea of throwing away hundreds if not thousands of dollars in applications that had been purchased for my Windows-based computer, most specifically my Adobe Design Suite, including Photoshop, Illustrator, Flash Pro and Dreamweaver, Microsoft Office, my Antivirus program, DivX Pro, Quicktime Pro, and the list goes on.   How could I still utilize these programs on a Mac?  Did I have to purchase Mac version of all of these programs, let alone was it financially feasible to replace these programs?

Overcoming the Windows to Mac Hurdles

Hurdle 1: As I mentioned above, the biggest hurdle to overcome before even considering the move from Windows-based laptop to a MacBook Pro was the idea of potentially throwing away hundreds, if not thousands of dollars in computer software and applications.  More importantly, the cost of replacing those applications – which was generally not feasible. 

As an aside, for those that do use the Adobe Suite of design applications, Adobe will offer a onetime license transfer from Windows to Mac, however unlike Adobe Lightroom 3, although you are allowed two simultaneous installations of your Adobe Suite, you cannot mix platforms, for example a Windows Desktop and a Mac laptop.

Fortunately, the Mac OS X (Snow Leopard) has the ability to Boot Camp.   Boot Camp allows you to install and run Windows as a separate partition or operating system on your Mac.  This ensures that your programs can operate identical to a Windows-based Laptop.  Setup is simple and safe for your Mac files.  After you’ve completed the Boot Camp installation, you can boot up your Mac using either Mac OS X or Windows. (That’s why it’s called Boot Camp.) Or if you want to run Windows and Mac applications at the same time — without rebooting — you can install Windows using VMware Fusion or Parallels Desktop 6 software.  With Parallels or VMware, you have two options – load your Boot Camp partition inside Mac OS X, or install windows as a separate virtual (virtualization) operating system running within Mac OS X.  An important note about Boot Camp, you require an un-used copy of Windows (not installed on any other computer).

Hurdle 2: How can I connect my Mac to my HD television to watch movies, videos, photo slideshows, and PowerPoint slideshows at Media Exhibitions to just list a few.  The typical Mac comes with a Swiss Army knife connection for video out called a Mini-DVI.   Apple sells several adaptors to allow for converting the mini-DVI connection to DVI, and VGA and 3rd party adaptors to connect to HDMI.  If you do a quick Google search you will read a lot of articles that state that although video can be sent to an HDMI, the audio signal is not.   However, from about mid-2010 both audio and video are sent through HDMI (confirmed with my MacBook).

Hurdle 3: Blu-ray player.  Well, unfortunately, this was just one hurdle that I could not overcome if I choose to go with a Mac.  Fortunately in my case, between the Dell Laptop, my primary desktop with a Blu-ray burner, the PS3 and the home theatre Blu-ray Player, I was more than covered.   In addition, a few of my Blu-ray movies came with a  Digital Download version so I thought I was covered, although admittedly disappointed. 

Moving over to Mac OS X

It has probably been about a month now that I have had the MacBook.  All in all, the transition has been painless, although I still have a few fumbles with the touchpad.  My copy of Windows 7 Professional installed without a hitch on the Boot Camp partition, however, I am having a few issues with activation errors with both my Windows and Adobe products in the Parallels world.  For now, I am shying away from Parallels and biting the bullet on the $100 I spent on the software.    Even though I had a copy of Microsoft Office from my old Laptop that I could have installed on the Boot Camp partition along with my Adobe suite, partially out of curiosity and partly out of convenience I did decide to give the new Microsoft Office 2011 a try.

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Mark is a foodie in training, photographer, Starbucks addict, runner, cyclist, and single parent living outside of Toronto, Ontario. Living with Crohn's Disease and Diabetes, life for this Transportation Planner and RPP can be an interesting mix.


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