New work laptop: Macbook Pro or Win7?...

Started May 1, 2013 | Discussions
glasswave
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New work laptop: Macbook Pro or Win7?...
May 1, 2013

I am approved to get a new laptop for my work. It will be my main office computer. I currently have 2 24" Dell u2410's on my desk. The system will be used general MS office work and digital content creation and editing (web design, HD vid, 3ds Max/Maya, After Effects, pShop, Illustrator, Corel Draw ect).
I am considering getting a Macbook Pro. My co worker got a nice one approved and I could get the same, 15" Retina, 500GB ssd,  16GB RAM (a pretty decent Laptop). I am not certain what kind of win7 machine I can get approved, it would have to be a Dell or HP. For heavy duty video or 3d rendering, I could always slip into a lab or edit bay with a fairly powerful Win7 workstation.

At home I have a an i7 six core, 32GB RAM and Samsung 830 256GB ssd, with two Dell u2713H's powered by an nVidia 660ti card. It screams. Most of my hard core content work I  do at home, which is fairly close to work (15 min). Heavy 3d/HD video renders can be done at work as well (render farm on week ends), but for video, I have to tote my RAID array around.

I have been using both Macs and PC's for graphics since the early 90's. I am an expert level win7 user (system install & configuration) and a pretty decent Mac user. I use to be very technical with system 7 ect, but haven't done system level control with osX, which is part of why I'd like to get to know it better again. I never really pay much attention to which OS I am in since the apps are nearly the same. I prefer the Windows interface for file mgt, but really what are a few more clicks here and there? I will manage the system  myself.

I would need to set up the Mac Book pro as a dual boot. Since the Macbook Pro 15" has no optical drive, how will I reformat and reconfigure it? Will I need an external optical drive to reinstall osX, boot camp and win7? How does the touch pad work with win7? Could I run 2 external 24" monitors from it?

My main attraction to the mb Pro is its design (slim and light) and that I could run the Mac osX. My main fear is that it won't play nice when I am in windows. I don't what size and shape of Windows laptop, I could justify, but am fairly sure I could get something with more processing power than the mb Pro. It's likely be a big square brick like design, because form factor arguments will not hold much sway with my IT dept, only specs.

Any advice?

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Najinsky
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Re: New work laptop: Macbook Pro or Win7?...
In reply to glasswave, May 1, 2013

As you seem to enjoy file management, Windows would seem the way to go.

Primary advantage the MBP would normally give you is the Retina display which is great for editing with Apps that support it. And with your two Dells, you probably wouldn't use it anyway. But even if you did, as you're using cross platform apps on both platforms, Retina on one but not the other might actually disrupt your workflow.

You could go with the MBP pro and make a bootcamp partition for Windows. Then you get to play with the Mac side just to keep your hand in. No need to erase and reformat. You can adjust your partition size without erasing, then create the bootcamp partition in the recovered space.

There are  several online guides for installing bootcamp without an optical drive. But if your colleague is running the same setup on his MBP it presumably wont be an issue to make yours the same anyway.

Bootcamp provides Windows drivers for the Mac hardware so you can use the Trackpad, but as far as I know Win7 doesn't have any Multi-touch gestures so it wont be the same experience.

I'm sensing that you want to go with Mac but are maybe looking for extra justifications in case challenged. Can't offer any good ones I'm afraid.

Mine would be; I have a choice, and I prefer Macs as I find working with them more conducive to productivity.

-Najinsky

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Tom_N
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Re: New work laptop: Macbook Pro or Win7?...
In reply to glasswave, May 1, 2013

glasswave wrote:

I would need to set up the Mac Book pro as a dual boot. Since the Macbook Pro 15" has no optical drive, how will I reformat and reconfigure it? Will I need an external optical drive to reinstall osX, boot camp and win7?

Apple used to provide system CDs or DVDs.  Now they've gone to Mac OS X restore partitions (ick), with a twist.  If you have a broadband Internet connection, you can restore Lion or Mountain Lion over the network.

Could I run 2 external 24" monitors from it?

All current Mac notebooks can drive at least one 30" monitor.  But each Thunderbolt port can have at most one DisplayPort monitor (or adapter) hanging off it.

So a Retina MBP (with its two Thunderbolt ports and its HDMI port) should drive two 24" monitors easily.  Other Mac laptops don't have enough ports to drive two non-Thunderbolt monitors.

Apple - Thunderbolt ports and displays: Frequently asked questions (FAQ)

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graybalanced
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Re: New work laptop: Macbook Pro or Win7?...
In reply to glasswave, May 2, 2013

glasswave wrote:

I would need to set up the Mac Book pro as a dual boot. Since the Macbook Pro 15" has no optical drive, how will I reformat and reconfigure it?

You can use the OS X Recovery partition that is very similar to the hidden restore partitions found on many Windows laptops. Here is the Apple technical note.

OS X: About OS X Recovery

glasswave wrote:

My main fear is that it won't play nice when I am in windows.

PC World article from last week:

The Most Reliable Windows Laptop is a Mac

Soluto used the wealth of data it collected in this way to compile a list of the ten most reliable Windows laptops currently on the market, dominated by a surprising star…and it's not a PC. It's Apple's 13-inch MacBook Pro.

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Tom_N
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Re: New work laptop: Macbook Pro or Win7?...
In reply to graybalanced, May 2, 2013

graybalanced wrote:

glasswave wrote:

My main fear is that it won't play nice when I am in windows.

PC World article from last week:

The Most Reliable Windows Laptop is a Mac

I would think the biggest concern would not be reliability, but the Retina display.  Mac OS X pulls some tricks to allow user interface elements to stay the same size (with the extra pixels being used to render extra detail, when the application is aware enough to allow that).

If Windows 7 treats the Retina display's resolution as implying a huge desktop, the physical sizes of the user interface elements are going to be very small.  I know Windows 7 has some scaling controls (and as a last resort, I guess one could lower the video card resolution to a non-native setting).  So how well, in practice, do they work out?

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Jen Yates
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Re: New work laptop: Macbook Pro or Win7?...
In reply to Tom_N, May 2, 2013

If Windows 7 treats the Retina display's resolution as implying a huge desktop, the physical sizes of the user interface elements are going to be very small.  I know Windows 7 has some scaling controls (and as a last resort, I guess one could lower the video card resolution to a non-native setting).  So how well, in practice, do they work out?

It's fine and seeing as I assume you'll be using the 24" screens they'll work out fine.

I use my rMBP with a U2410 and a U2713, both attached via no-name cheap-as-chips displayport cables. Works perfectly.

If you can, stay in OSX as much as you can. Seriously, some people say MS is better at file management than OSX but it's not - it's just different.

Like so many, I'm someone who used to be into Macs a while ago, but lived and worked heavily in the windows world (Desktops, development tools, servers etc - everything). I transitioned back to Mac nearly full time in 2009 and now only keep my uber windows beast around so the kids can game on it (it has a better GPU than my macbook).

So my rMBP is my desktop and my laptop. It's fast fast fast as a desktop and wonderful as a laptop. It has bootcamp running with Win7 if I need it (Which I don't).

But....

If you don't care which OS you run, will be desk bound and you want the best bang for your buck then get a windows machine... don't pay the premium for a slim and light laptop with a retina display.

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Daniel Lauring
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Re: New work laptop: Macbook Pro or Win7?...
In reply to glasswave, May 3, 2013

Go for it.  There is no comparable hardware in a windows based machine.  Macbooks are iron tough.  I dropped my Macbook Air down wooden basement stairs...all the way from the top.  It cartwheeled as it hit every other step till it connected with a stack of iron weights at the bottom.  There is a nasty dent in the corner.  Opened the screen and it was like nothing happened.  No Windows laptop I ever owned would have survived that.

As far as optical drives I yanked the one out of my 17" Macbook Pro because I rarely used it.  Replaced it with a second SSD.  USB optical drives are cheap and work well.

Love the wifi network install.  Used it several times when I changed drives and was messing around with OSX and Windows installs.  I'm now running both using bootcamp.  The only negative is the Windows trackpad drivers are very limited vs. how the trackpad works in OSX.

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graybalanced
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Re: New work laptop: Macbook Pro or Win7?...
In reply to Tom_N, May 4, 2013

Tom_N wrote:

I would think the biggest concern would not be reliability, but the Retina display.  Mac OS X pulls some tricks to allow user interface elements to stay the same size (with the extra pixels being used to render extra detail, when the application is aware enough to allow that).

If Windows 7 treats the Retina display's resolution as implying a huge desktop, the physical sizes of the user interface elements are going to be very small.  I know Windows 7 has some scaling controls (and as a last resort, I guess one could lower the video card resolution to a non-native setting).  So how well, in practice, do they work out?

Biggest concern is the Retina display? Not sure it's fair to say "pulls some tricks." The way OS X handles the Retina display is now a consistent, documented part of the OS. The concepts are not new. We have never expected a photo to become invisibly tiny when printing to a 2880dpi printer. Based on the same principles, elements don't need to shrink on high-def screens either.

The way Windows currently handles such a display may not be so great, but they will also get there. They call it HiDPI instead of Retina, but it's the same idea.

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turbsy
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Re: New work laptop: Macbook Pro or Win7?...
In reply to glasswave, May 4, 2013

glasswave wrote:

I am approved to get a new laptop for my work. It will be my main office computer. I currently have 2 24" Dell u2410's on my desk. The system will be used general MS office work and digital content creation and editing (web design, HD vid, 3ds Max/Maya, After Effects, pShop, Illustrator, Corel Draw ect).
I am considering getting a Macbook Pro. My co worker got a nice one approved and I could get the same, 15" Retina, 500GB ssd,  16GB RAM (a pretty decent Laptop). I am not certain what kind of win7 machine I can get approved, it would have to be a Dell or HP. For heavy duty video or 3d rendering, I could always slip into a lab or edit bay with a fairly powerful Win7 workstation.

At home I have a an i7 six core, 32GB RAM and Samsung 830 256GB ssd, with two Dell u2713H's powered by an nVidia 660ti card. It screams. Most of my hard core content work I  do at home, which is fairly close to work (15 min). Heavy 3d/HD video renders can be done at work as well (render farm on week ends), but for video, I have to tote my RAID array around.

I have been using both Macs and PC's for graphics since the early 90's. I am an expert level win7 user (system install & configuration) and a pretty decent Mac user. I use to be very technical with system 7 ect, but haven't done system level control with osX, which is part of why I'd like to get to know it better again. I never really pay much attention to which OS I am in since the apps are nearly the same. I prefer the Windows interface for file mgt, but really what are a few more clicks here and there? I will manage the system  myself.

I would need to set up the Mac Book pro as a dual boot. Since the Macbook Pro 15" has no optical drive, how will I reformat and reconfigure it? Will I need an external optical drive to reinstall osX, boot camp and win7? How does the touch pad work with win7? Could I run 2 external 24" monitors from it?

My main attraction to the mb Pro is its design (slim and light) and that I could run the Mac osX. My main fear is that it won't play nice when I am in windows. I don't what size and shape of Windows laptop, I could justify, but am fairly sure I could get something with more processing power than the mb Pro. It's likely be a big square brick like design, because form factor arguments will not hold much sway with my IT dept, only specs.

Any advice?

-- hide signature --

There is simply too much beauty in the world to photograph it all, but I'm trying.

Your not paying for it so get the MacBook.  If you were I would go with a Windows Machine. The Mac like always will be substantially more money.

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glasswave
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Re: New work laptop: Macbook Pro or Win7?...
In reply to Najinsky, May 4, 2013

Thx, for the reply.

Najinsky wrote:

As you seem to enjoy file management, Windows would seem the way to go.

I don't really think that anyone enjoys file mgt. It's just a fact of life on any computer system.

Primary advantage the MBP would normally give you is the Retina display which is great for editing with Apps that support it. And with your two Dells, you probably wouldn't use it anyway. But even if you did, as you're using cross platform apps on both platforms, Retina on one but not the other might actually disrupt your workflow.

You could go with the MBP pro and make a bootcamp partition for Windows. Then you get to play with the Mac side just to keep your hand in. No need to erase and reformat. You can adjust your partition size without erasing, then create the bootcamp partition in the recovered space.

There are  several online guides for installing bootcamp without an optical drive. But if your colleague is running the same setup on his MBP it presumably wont be an issue to make yours the same anyway.

Bootcamp provides Windows drivers for the Mac hardware so you can use the Trackpad, but as far as I know Win7 doesn't have any Multi-touch gestures so it wont be the same experience.

I'm sensing that you want to go with Mac but are maybe looking for extra justifications in case challenged. Can't offer any good ones I'm afraid.

Mine would be; I have a choice, and I prefer Macs as I find working with them more conducive to productivity.

My main attractions to the MBP is its form factor and design as well as to refresh my technical skills on the Mac OS.  I can request a high end dell or HP and it'd probably be much faster for video & 3d, but it would likely be a brick like form factor.

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Peter Berglund
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Re: New work laptop: Macbook Pro or Win7?...
In reply to Daniel Lauring, May 6, 2013

Of course get the MBP! It was recently listed as the best Windows hardware (https://www.soluto.com/reports
)!

If network boot etc sounds complicated (it isn't but I get your concerns) you could get an external optical drive dirt cheap and you'll probably rarely use it.

As for the trackpad, if you don't like the drivers you can always get a separate mouse.

As other posted the MBP will be able to drive additional displays, probably better that any other notebook computer on the market.

If you find that what you end up doing in the Win 7 environment is relatively simple tasks you may want to install Parallels or WMV virtualization which will allow you to run Win in a Mac window without rebooting. Obviously you won't be doing advanced video editing like that but you may find it useful for certain tasks.

Good luck!
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glasswave
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Re: New work laptop: Macbook Pro or Win7?...
In reply to Tom_N, May 6, 2013

Tom_N wrote:

glasswave wrote:

I would need to set up the Mac Book pro as a dual boot. Since the Macbook Pro 15" has no optical drive, how will I reformat and reconfigure it? Will I need an external optical drive to reinstall osX, boot camp and win7?

Apple used to provide system CDs or DVDs.  Now they've gone to Mac OS X restore partitions (ick), with a twist.  If you have a broadband Internet connection, you can restore Lion or Mountain Lion over the network.

Also, I come to find that you can also make your own osX boot DVD. It's just not officially supported.

Could I run 2 external 24" monitors from it?

All current Mac notebooks can drive at least one 30" monitor.  But each Thunderbolt port can have at most one DisplayPort monitor (or adapter) hanging off it.

So a Retina MBP (with its two Thunderbolt ports and its HDMI port) should drive two 24" monitors easily.  Other Mac laptops don't have enough ports to drive two non-Thunderbolt monitors.

Apple - Thunderbolt ports and displays: Frequently asked questions (FAQ)

Thx, Tom this info was instrumental in helping me make my decision.

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glasswave
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Re: New work laptop: Macbook Pro or Win7?...
In reply to graybalanced, May 6, 2013

graybalanced wrote:

glasswave wrote:

I would need to set up the Mac Book pro as a dual boot. Since the Macbook Pro 15" has no optical drive, how will I reformat and reconfigure it?

You can use the OS X Recovery partition that is very similar to the hidden restore partitions found on many Windows laptops. Here is the Apple technical note.

OS X: About OS X Recovery

glasswave wrote:

My main fear is that it won't play nice when I am in windows.

PC World article from last week:

The Most Reliable Windows Laptop is a Mac

Soluto used the wealth of data it collected in this way to compile a list of the ten most reliable Windows laptops currently on the market, dominated by a surprising star…and it's not a PC. It's Apple's 13-inch MacBook Pro.

When you read the article, it indicates that the reason had nothing to do with hardware, but was because the windows install were performed by users, not the OEM's that screw up  their os builds with tons of spy, nag & crapware. The first thing I always do when I get a new windows machine is format it and install a clean os build so that hasn't been an issue for me.

Thanks

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glasswave
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Re: New work laptop: Macbook Pro or Win7?...
In reply to Jen Yates, May 6, 2013

Jen Yates wrote:

If Windows 7 treats the Retina display's resolution as implying a huge desktop, the physical sizes of the user interface elements are going to be very small.  I know Windows 7 has some scaling controls (and as a last resort, I guess one could lower the video card resolution to a non-native setting).  So how well, in practice, do they work out?

It's fine and seeing as I assume you'll be using the 24" screens they'll work out fine.

I use my rMBP with a U2410 and a U2713, both attached via no-name cheap-as-chips displayport cables. Works perfectly.

Thx,  I'll also occasionally use it  with my u2713H's at home as well, but at home I have 32gb, i7 six core self built graphics workstation, so really this will primarily be my work Laptop & desktop.

If you can, stay in OSX as much as you can.

I'd plan to run it in osX as much as possible, but will need the windows side for 3d work and some testing.

Seriously, some people say MS is better at file management than OSX but it's not - it's just different.

Actually, file mgt is slightly more efficient under windows, mostly because of the way that you can quickly get two or more versions of explorer side by side using just hot keys. My office mate is a full on mac guy and even he admits that part is pretty slick. Also accessing network shares can be a bit of a hassle on the mac, especially if you haven't memorized (often criptic at my work) the path names.

Like so many, I'm someone who used to be into Macs a while ago, but lived and worked heavily in the windows world (Desktops, development tools, servers etc - everything). I transitioned back to Mac nearly full time in 2009 and now only keep my uber windows beast around so the kids can game on it (it has a better GPU than my macbook).

So my rMBP is my desktop and my laptop. It's fast fast fast as a desktop and wonderful as a laptop. It has bootcamp running with Win7 if I need it (Which I don't).

But....

If you don't care which OS you run, will be desk bound and you want the best bang for your buck then get a windows machine... don't pay the premium for a slim and light laptop with a retina display.

Yeah, windows offers more bang per buck hardware wise (especially in desktops), but the Mac osX is built on a more stable core. Quick frankly,  both platforms have been pretty good to me over the  years, except when they're not.

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glasswave
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Re: Thanks all....
In reply to glasswave, May 6, 2013

I am going to request the MacBook Pro 15' Retina w/16gb and 500GB ssd. I  think I could get a moderate workstation level Windows system approved, but it'd have the form factor of a brick and I'd have to forgo the ssd. Having  s quadro GPU would be nice but, I can use other workstations for heavy 3d work and the MBP will be light & stealthy as a laptop.

In the end, the mbp seems like a great choice give my needs and restrictions.

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noirdesir
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Re: New work laptop: Macbook Pro or Win7?...
In reply to glasswave, May 6, 2013

glasswave wrote:

Tom_N wrote:

glasswave wrote:

I would need to set up the Mac Book pro as a dual boot. Since the Macbook Pro 15" has no optical drive, how will I reformat and reconfigure it? Will I need an external optical drive to reinstall osX, boot camp and win7?

Apple used to provide system CDs or DVDs.  Now they've gone to Mac OS X restore partitions (ick), with a twist.  If you have a broadband Internet connection, you can restore Lion or Mountain Lion over the network.

Also, I come to find that you can also make your own osX boot DVD. It's just not officially supported.

There are two levels of Recovery with Macs. One is the recovery partition which contains a bootable OS from which can for example run a disc repair but you still need internet access because the partition does not contain the full OS installer (and with downloading gives you the current version of OS right away).

The second level even works with no HDD (or a completely empty HDD). Essentially, the computer boots into its firmware from which you to connect to a WiFi network and the computer will download the whole OS.

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