Engineer - Want to switch to Mac

By geoffd86 ยท 10 replies
Jul 11, 2010
  1. So it's time for a new computer and I am thinking about switching to Mac (Macbook Pro specifically) because of it's stability, and because I have had trouble with Windows in the past. I also want to use garageband and other recording software and hardware that works much better on Mac.

    The problem is that I'm an engineer and the applications I need are mostly windows based. I want to bootcamp and run solidworks, but I do not know if the system is capable of handling large assemblies. A friend has a macbook pro and uses vmfusion but that doesn't work very well (crashes). Any advice?

    Am I crazy to switch to mac when I'm an engineer?
  2. SNGX1275

    SNGX1275 TS Forces Special Posts: 10,742   +421

    You probably won't get too much love for Macs here, I think I'm one of about 4 people on the site that regularly use both.

    It (the MBP) won't have the power of a desktop, but it should be pretty close to anything in its price range on the Windows end for a laptop. I wouldn't strongly consider running Windows in a VM unless you are doing fairly basic stuff with Solidworks. You'll be much better off using bootcamp (dual booting) to have a naitive Windows environment, simply for the unhampered processor speed and RAM.

    I don't think you are crazy to switch, because switching gives you the option to run all the cool things a Mac has to offer, while still letting you run Windows natively for softwares that don't support Macs.
  3. geoffd86

    geoffd86 TS Rookie Topic Starter Posts: 50

    Thanks. That was pretty much my opinion also.

    What about operating system and office, stuff like that?

    I have XP and office 2003, which i would like to leave on my old computer, so i can't use the XP OS on the new computer.

    I was thinking of getting Windows 7 (running 64 bit) and using my current office 2003 on the windows side. I looked it up and i can use the same key for up to two computers.

    I think that I would end up running most of my programs on the windows side, just so that I wouldn't need to reboot all the time.

    I know there could be driver issues with x64 but I was under the impression that it is really starting to pick up in support.

    Does all this sound like a good idea?
  4. jobeard

    jobeard TS Ambassador Posts: 11,166   +986

    OpenOffice works well :)

    There are a couple of hypervisors for running one system within the other;

    google "hypervisor osx"
  5. tipstir

    tipstir TS Ambassador Posts: 2,475   +126

    Don't be fooled into thinking that the MAC is perfect. It has faults (Mac OS System Error Codes: 0 to 261) and the major one is called: System Error 11. This is not fun to get. But I stick with Windows since v3.0 prior to that DOS. With all the faults it has we all here know how to deal with them. Windows 7 has been a lot stable, but still like with all OS versions of Windows it still needs to be cleaned, fixed, and de-fragmented. Maybe one day a Smart Windows OS will be able to take care of these task without user involvement.

    Windows XP with Office XP or Office 2003 is good enough. Office 2007 has issues and now with Office 2010 best to use that with Windows 7. OpenOffice from SunMicro can run on anything even system even old hardware with less ram. But like most here it's Office or nothing. IBM Lotus had killed off Smart Suite (Lotus 1 2 3 was very popular) Lotus Word Processor wasn't though.
  6. jobeard

    jobeard TS Ambassador Posts: 11,166   +986

    @SNGX1275; well, as you predicted ...
  7. SNGX1275

    SNGX1275 TS Forces Special Posts: 10,742   +421

    They make Office for Macs too :) Office 2008 is the current one, but if you do any VBA scripting in Windows Office you don't want Office 2008 because they removed it. It is in 2004, but that will run under Rosetta and be pretty slow, the new Office 2011, will bring back VBA I believe, although it will be 32bit only.
  8. example1013

    example1013 TS Enthusiast Posts: 265

    I can't speak to Win7 64-bit issues with drivers, but I can't imagine you having too much trouble. Boot Camp works great for running both Windows and OS X on the same computer (just not at the same time). I haven't run into one real problem in my years of doing it.
  9. Leeky

    Leeky TS Evangelist Posts: 3,797   +117

    I regularly use, and own both Macs and PCs/laptops.

    If your going to use solidworks I would highly recommend you run Windows 7 natively on your MacBookPro. As for performance, a new MacBookPro generally speaking out classes all but the most powerful of PC laptops in my experience.

    If you'd be using OSX for leisure, and Windows in your workplace environment, you can then effectively split them up. Windows can be run virtually, but in the case of a MacbookPro I would just install it and run the laptop as a dual boot one. You get full use of the resources on the laptop then.

    Mac's have massive advantages for most people. But like others have said (and fairly too!) Mac's aren't without problems. I'm actually yet to even cause anything to crash on my iMac though in fairness. That said, my Windows 7 Ultimate PC has been just as reliable as well.

    Microsoft have got it perfect with this latest OS, they just need to make it as "smart" as Unix/Linux based OS' now though!

    Also, I run Windows 7 Ultimate 64bit on my Quad core PC and haven't had one single issue with any driver. Everything has been identified and configured correctly, even older stuff. Its super reliable and everything configures and runs as it should 24/7.
  10. LNCPapa

    LNCPapa TS Special Forces Posts: 4,276   +461

    I agree with the previous post except for maybe this:

    If you spend anywhere the same amount on a PC laptop as you would a MBP you'll easily outclass the MBP, but you won't have the option of legally running OSX. Even a moderately spec'd PC laptop can keep pace with a MBP in Windows/Linux.
  11. Leeky

    Leeky TS Evangelist Posts: 3,797   +117

    I did say its from my experience.

    I also disagree with you though I'm afraid. My 2008 iMac easily keeps up with my Quad core on a number of tasks running in Windows 7.

    That said, if I'm running Linux on the same Quad core PC (It dual boots from one SSD) it wipes the floor with both. Ubuntu is insanely fast running through the SSD on my PC.

    Like I said, its from my experience. I haven't used Solidworks in Windows on a Mac, so can't comment about that specifically.
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