I may get a Mac this time

February 23rd, 2013 at 3:00 pm by David Farrar

Despite being just two and a half years old my laptop seems to be in need of replacing. I’m having to boot it up in safe mode half the time as it just won’t start up normally.

In the past I have not wanted to consider a non-Windows machine as the transition was going to be too much hassle, but this time I am open to a Macintosh, and in fact that is probably my preference. They just seem to last longer.

As with previous times, keen for feedback from readers as to what they would recommend. My ideal features are:

  • Fast
  • Long battery life
  • Can be used for 12+ hours a day
  • Relatively light
  • Quick start up
  • Can handle multiple apps open at same time
  • Resilient
  • 1 TB or more storage
  • 16 GB or more RAM
Tags: ,

70 Responses to “I may get a Mac this time”

  1. duggledog (1,558 comments) says:

    Quality gear. I’ve yet to meet someone who’s changed back!

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  2. Monique Watson (1,062 comments) says:

    Go the MacBook Pro. Portable from kitchen to bedroom to office. Make sure you attach amuse and ergonomic keyboard as well as an external monitor for long stints as it’s a bugger for R.S.I.

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  3. Fentex (980 comments) says:

    Buy a Mac, run Windows on it.

    It works just fine via Bootcamp.

    I’ve done so for about six ~ seven years on a MacBook because I’ve wanted the elegant hardware but can’t stomach OSX.

    Though I did just replace it with a nice new Samsung Series 9 – it is wahfer thin.

    Only thing it isn’t just as good as a MacBook at is the screen. It’s perfectly good, but not as good as the new ‘retina’ displays.

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  4. Monique Watson (1,062 comments) says:

    I mean a mouse not a muse.

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  5. anonymouse (716 comments) says:

    Your specs of 16 gb ram and 1 tb storage will rule out any mac laptop,

    you can have 16gb ram in a MacBook pro (mbp) with retina display, but it will only have up to 768 gb of ssd storage

    If you go for a regular mbp, you can get the 1tb had but not only 8 gb of ram…..

    You will be forced to choose, one or the other,

    Also can still run windows no. Problem, just install bootcamp and set it to boot into windows by default, ( although I am told you need some kludging to install win 8 at the mo)

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  6. Kimble (4,440 comments) says:

    Meh, my mothers macbook only lasted 2 years, and she wasnt really thrashing it.

    The old rules still apply. Macs are more expensive, more restricted, and the real quality of the product is disguised by low quality-variance in comparison to the much more diverse range of PCs. Choose a Mac at random and you will get a better product than if you chose a PC at random. Still, if you aren’t choosing a PC at random…

    Personally, I am no fan of the Mac ethos. Yes, they dont have viruses (mostly), but in some ways thats a bug, not a feature.

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  7. nocommentkiwi (35 comments) says:

    Ok two brands to look at when buying a laptop – if only to get a feel for what the standard is ; Lenovo and Samsung. They make the best Windows alternatives to the strong contender found in the MacBook Pro. X series think pads are pretty capable machines and Samsung series 9 compete we’ll against a mac air. Your 1tb request needs to be reviewed against ssd options – in MacBook pros you can supplant the optical bay for a storage drive but otherwise consider a thunderbolt or USB 3 external

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  8. PleaseThinkOfTheCatapults (7 comments) says:

    Apple also doesn’t want you to repair their laptops and would rather you buy a new one. I got quoted $3200 inc gst to replace the logic board on a client’s 1yr old Macbook pro after some liquid got tipped on it (don’t drink and type!). All because the stupid unibody case design means that it sucks air thru the keyboard instead of underneath or the sides. Also batteries are non user replaceable. If you go for a Mac, get the 3 year Apple Care pack.

    And you don’t need 1Tb of HDD space. Get an external HDD for storage/time machine backup, and stick with a nice 256/512Gb SSD drive.

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  9. Jonathan Ah Kit (1 comment) says:

    I have heard far too many good things over other brands as to their reliability over most of their model range, which http://ngeru.info/WgfYSr as the page with the most recent data I could find seems to agree with. I have gone with PC platforms more as I have sunk the most money in applications and such in it. If I hadn’t, I may well have considered Mapple/Apple/MomCorp.

    On the other hand, I usually cannot justify the extra cost range with Apple laptops.

    I did get a Chromebook (the Samsung 550, with EV-DO and wi-fi) last year almost solely for its insanely fast boot times, but I suspect this’d be your primary machine. On the other hand, I see that Google have come out with an HD-/Retina-/really-damn-high-resolution-grade display laptop for MacBook-level prices, which suggests to me they want to promote the higher end models (mine was probably the best model until now) as primary machine-grade.

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  10. Dave Stringer (188 comments) says:

    MacBookPro

    you can hang a big disk off the side at home and work, and 1 terra is usually enough for everything except big iTunes libraries.

    I did the change as soo as they went over to Intel processors and have never regretted it.

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  11. PaulL (5,982 comments) says:

    Mac Air 13 inch. Everything is a tradeoff. You won’t get 16GB, but a Mac needs less. And 1TB isn’t really essential, if you’re going SSD (for speed) then 1TB would be prohibitively expensive.

    I’d change your view of how long a laptop should last. 2 years tops if you’re using it heavily. Put that into your budget, and maybe buy something a little less flash now, but gives you room to get a new one in 2 years. If you start thinking of technology as a disposable/depreciatable asset, then you get less worried about these things, and just buy what you want now, and if your needs change, buy something else.

    OSX is a bugger to learn, but nothing wrong with it once you’re used to it.

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  12. Sonny Blount (1,782 comments) says:

    Well I work in IT support and after this experience I would never touch a Mac.

    Ipads and Iphones are great and Apple does them well. Buts Macs are a pain in the arse.

    Check the compatability of all your peripheral hardware. Good chance much of it may not work well with a Mac.

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  13. Ross Nixon (559 comments) says:

    Sounds like you need an ‘ultra-book’ with Windows 8. There should be a Lenovo or Dell that would suit you.

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  14. Barnsley Bill (983 comments) says:

    Danger, danger Will Robinson.
    Blogger trying to get a freebie alert.

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  15. seanmaitland (501 comments) says:

    If you are doing serious work on your laptop, get a MacBook Pro over a PC laptop every single time. We’ve tried just about every laptop manufacturer to run our development platform/tools off, and without fail after a couple of years you’ll melt the insides.

    Our staff on MacBook Pro’s running the same platform, and also adding multiple Virtual Win environments on top of that, and the only thing we have ever had problems with are the older MacBook batteries after about 3 years of use. The modern MacBooks don’t have those battery problems.

    Its highly unlikely you’ll need 16 GB of RAM – at the moment on my 2012 MacBook Pro (non retina), with 8 GB RAM, I’m running a Win Vista 64-bit VM with 2.5 GB RAM, a Win XP 32-bit VM with 512 MB RAM, Safari, Chrome, NetBeans for Mac, Apple Mail, and Microsoft Office Word and am streaming the Black Caps live to my machine, and it is flying and there is bugger all paging going on.

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  16. seanmaitland (501 comments) says:

    That should read “every PC laptop manufacturer under the sun”

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  17. Mark Thomson (81 comments) says:

    Hardware: Asus Zenbook
    Software: Linux Mint

    I would never go back to Windows. Try Mint out on your current laptop right along side Windows to see how you like it. Personally I find it easier to use than a Mac. The only downside for a non-technical user is that you won’t have professional support for the platform as a whole.

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  18. Kimble (4,440 comments) says:

    Its highly unlikely you’ll need 16 GB of RAM…

    I am guessing he will be doing some intense number crunching.

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  19. noskire (842 comments) says:

    16GB seems like overkill, but you could consider the Asus G75VW-T1013H. 16GB RAM, 1TB HDD and 256GB SSD plus a two-year warranty. (And Asus have consistently ranked at the top of laptop reliability surveys in the last few years). Playtech currently have it for $3199.

    I find that to extend the battery life of your laptop, whenever you have a powerpoint available – use it, and take out the battery. A laptop cooler pad is a good idea too if you are using a fair bit of processing power.

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  20. Ryan Sproull (7,153 comments) says:

    Fast
    Long battery life
    Can be used for 12+ hours a day
    Relatively light
    Quick start up
    Can handle multiple apps open at same time
    Resilient
    1 TB or more storage
    16 GB or more RAM

    For me, it’s the little other things as well that made me a Mac person. Magnetic power supply plug doesn’t slam your laptop on the floor when you trip on the cord. Different volume settings automatically for headphones and not-headphones. Two-finger scrolling on the touchpad. Mouse in the corner to lock/turn on the screensaver. Stuff like that.

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  21. Ross Nixon (559 comments) says:

    Some ultrabooks compared http://www.pcmag.com/article2/0,2817,2400007,00.asp & http://www.pcmag.com/article2/0,2817,2400007,00.asp & http://reviews.cnet.com/best-ultrabooks/ (just google ‘best ultrabook’)

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  22. V (720 comments) says:

    “I’m having to boot it up in safe mode half the time as it just won’t start up normally”

    Seriously, why don’t you just fix the issue thats causing the problem? Safe mode basically shouldn’t ever be needed.

    [DPF: I've had techs in twice already. The first fixed the DNS problem but then the laptop would freeze when using browsers unless in safe mode. Had someone in to fix that. and now instead it can take 30 minutes just to log in! God knows what will happen next if I get a third tech in]

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  23. tristanb (1,127 comments) says:

    You need new hardware because of a software problem?

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  24. Monique Watson (1,062 comments) says:

    If you have a lot of porn then maybe you need a TB of storage. Otherwise 1/2 TB should be fine.

    [DPF: Nah, the porn is on the media server :-)

    My work generates around 200 Mb or so of files a week and I have several years of archives which I like to keep on the current laptop]

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  25. marcw (249 comments) says:

    David, listen to V @ 4:32.

    Most laptops are like new machines if you get them “spring cleaned” once a year. It’s amazing how quickly temp files, install files, foistware, and spyware contaminate your computer. The list of redundant startup programs can be eyewatering. I don’t like to recommend suitable screening/cleaning programs as each has their own good and bad points, but there are even free packages out there which are excellent if you get some good advice – there are also many dogs which can leave you worse than when you started so beware.

    Did you know some of the worst offenders for surreptitious installs are major players – Oracle (Java) and Adobe (Reader) to mention two. There are many more. And as for “toolbars”… lol.

    Edit: I also recommend ASUS laptops – no commercial interests, just from experience.

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  26. PaulL (5,982 comments) says:

    Monique – I’d guess that DPF has a lot of analytical stuff. Maybe lots of result sets from polling. I’d agree a terabyte is a fair amount, but if you wanted the laptop to last 3 years you might figure you need it. 2TB drives aren’t very expensive, 3TB and 4TB are on the market (not in a laptop form factor yet). No point in skimping. But again, I’d go SSD, which is a very different proposition.

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  27. tvb (4,425 comments) says:

    Once you’ve had MAC you never go back.

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  28. TheContrarian (1,085 comments) says:

    I use Windows and I use it well. I have kept laptops going for 4 – 5 years without problems and though technology surpasses them they run well. It isn’t about the machine – it is how you maintain it. The same holds for both Mac and PC.

    Simple tips

    Never accept automatic updates – always check what you updating
    Never let a program go through auto update – always pick custom update
    When you get a new laptop/PC always strip it of the extraneous features and rebuild it

    Obviously have a good virus scanner, goes without saying, but just make sure you don’t just install shit willy-nilly and remove things when they are no longer useful in full.

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  29. sweetd (125 comments) says:

    Following on from V and Tristanb, you are thinking new hardware will solve your software problem. Basically, save you data, reinstall the os and any apps, add back the data and she’ll be purring again like a new one.

    If you need a bigger drive, chuck one in and then do the above.

    If the laptop is still fit for purpose, that is it is still running the software to an adequate level there is no need to change, you are only wasting your money on a problem that could be fixed in an afternoon.

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  30. Whaleoil (767 comments) says:

    My intellectually handicapped brother in law uses a mac…I think you can handle the transition.

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  31. Pharmachick (235 comments) says:

    I got a 15″ Macbook Pro w/ retina display, 16/768 gig and solid state drive, last July. It cost the national debt of Chad, but I have *never* regretted it. I use it for work ~10-12 hrs a day. Consider also getting a large screen for multiple display/long work days.

    WARNING with the new Macbook Pros you will need a USB-LAN/ethernet connector, they’re so light and thin they don’t have a ethernet slot. Also, you’ll need a USB-CD drive (same reason) if you still use CDs. You can also get a memory tower if you *really* want extra storage. Remember, Macs have different power needs and I think you’ll find the 16/768 will do what you want without needing to up to 1 tera.

    My laptop is a real workhorse (including some technical programs I use that iterate continuously in the background). I swapped from PC 5 years ago and this is only my second laptop since then and I’ve never regretted it especially as one commenter says above, since they switched with intel.

    Also, I wouldn’t partition the drive and use windows – instead just get the Microsoft programs (Office etc) in mac version – the bad old days of Mac versions not fully “talking” to PCs are gone.

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  32. Monique Watson (1,062 comments) says:

    SSD would be a good option. Faster to access your porn but you can store less data on yr SSD. In either case you’d just archive old data to the cloud.

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  33. Kimble (4,440 comments) says:

    Magnetic power supply plug doesn’t slam your laptop on the floor when you trip on the cord. Different volume settings automatically for headphones and not-headphones. Two-finger scrolling on the touchpad. Mouse in the corner to lock/turn on the screensaver.

    See thats the problem. Mac users assume only Macs have the things they like about Macs. My mum loved that here Mac would keep a window open with her parent folders up. Which is basically just switching on the Folders option in Windows Explorer. My current PC has two finger scrolling, and its as old as f*ck.

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  34. thor42 (971 comments) says:

    I agree with Mark Thomson @4.01.

    I run Linux Mint too. Free, *piece of cake* to install and solid as a rock.
    No pissing-around with screeds of anti-virus software either. I have a firewall (called “Firestarter”) and that’s it.

    You won’t regret running Linux Mint.

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  35. tas (625 comments) says:

    I switched four months ago. I love the hardware. OSX not so much.

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  36. Steve (North Shore) (4,563 comments) says:

    DPF.
    Next time you’re on the Shore I can recomend a Company who specialise in laptops and servers. Most of their work is done at night.
    The again you could just give it to an engineer who dabbles with this shit. I will fix it or put it in a pressbrake for you

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  37. dime (9,972 comments) says:

    Macs are for chicks or hispter douche bags

    I never used to be an IBM/ Lenovo fan. But they really are the shit for business use. Well built. Windows. great keyboards.

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  38. pq (728 comments) says:

    DFP in the article says
    February 23rd, 2013 at 3:00 pm by David Farrar

    “I may get a Mac this time,,.. Despite being just two and a half years old my laptop seems to be in need of replacing. I’m having to boot it up in safe mode half the time as it just won’t start up normally.”

    pq .., a laptop 2 years old is like a car 15 years old, replace, give old laptop away

    above in a reply to Monique Watson DFP (932) Says:
    February 23rd, 2013 at 4:50 pm
    “My work generates around 200 Mb or so of files a week and I have several years of archives which I like to keep on the current laptop]”
    pq says –
    You have to get a new external hard drive to take all your back up data info every year. Some people more often. I assume you have back up, but this is permanent historical back uo . You must never interfere with this information or overlay. You have the 2011 hard drive, the 2012 hard drive and you keep them in a separate safe place. It is good to have all your stuff on current laptop, but many people advise two back up drives
    You can get a 3 terrabytes for about $200, reliable , but always check the information has gone through by measuring and comparing the number of files. It takes time and in your case you might get someone to do it for you .

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  39. V (720 comments) says:

    Looks like the ‘techs’ you have paid for have eyed up a sucker. There are far too many out there who actually have no clue.
    Can’t see how DNS is even related to anything you have described. If your DNS settings are incorrect you won’t be able to resolve domain names/”internet program won’t work properly” shall we say in laymans terms. But in most cases your computer should be getting these from your router anyway.

    As for login speed Windows 7 shouldn’t be too bad unless you have lots of stuff set to load on startup. This will tend to thrash the HDD depending on what it is (a SSD definitely helps)?
    Hard to really know what the specific issue is w/o knowing more. Check your HDD isn’t failing.

    I agree with posters above, best idea might be blow away everything on your HDD, reinstall OS and programs, run updates, etc to your usual configuration. Create an image of your Hard Drive so you can restore to a default state.

    Also if you run alot of (beta) software to test etc, use a virtual machine then you can just blow away the VM rather than have loads of installs/uninstalls junking up your system.

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  40. Viking2 (11,471 comments) says:

    5:04PM Saturday Feb 23, 2013

    ‘People will give up a MacBook Air for this': Google challenges Apple with high-end laptop

    Google said its Chromebook Pixel computers blending tablet and laptop technology, boasting heavyweight Intel chips and screens tailored for rich graphics, were released in the United States and Britain, starting at $US1299 ($A1267).

    Read more: http://www.smh.com.au/digital-life/hometech/people-will-give-up-a-macbook-air-for-this-google-challenges-apple-with-highend-laptop-20130222-2ev3w.html#ixzz2LhSACaPs

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  41. Stuart (41 comments) says:

    An SSD is essential for your windows drive if you want speedy boot times. Like many other commenters I highly suggest you stay away from macs, they look shiny but they have endless issues with compatibility, and are just generally frustrating to use.

    On the other hand, avoid windows 8 like the plague, I know a few people who thought it was great, but all went back to 7 within a few months.

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  42. Jonathan (1 comment) says:

    I switched to Mac a few years ago and love it. Currently have Macbook Air. Two things:

    1. Get an SSD. The speed improvement is massive. If you need more storage, use an external drive or network storage.
    2. It is easy to run Windows programs using Parallels or VMWare if you need. From my experience they run flawlessly inside OS X.

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  43. RightNow (6,994 comments) says:

    If I had to replace my PC now I’d go touchscreen with Windows 8.
    Would probably end up with a Samsung all-in-one PC.
    It will depend what you use it for but you don’t strike me as a gamer.

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  44. RightNow (6,994 comments) says:

    PS – usually when I see a PC taking an age to boot it turns out the hard drive is about to die.

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  45. Steve (North Shore) (4,563 comments) says:

    My grandson is teaching me al sorts of stuff about computers, he will learn, and me

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  46. slijmbal (1,236 comments) says:

    eerie parallels – I work in BI and end up with large chunks of data to analyse – and used to run various databases on my laptop – Oracle and SQL server mainly.

    I travel a lot with the laptop and find the general biffing that such a laptop gets leads to a laptop lasting 3 years max – often more like 2.

    I also run a desktop with about 5 TB for the bigger stuff.

    I now no longer try and hold more than about 600-750 gig on a laptop and do lots of remote desktop stuff – use lots of cloud computing to move large volumes of data around to my desktop – there are cheaper, just as good, versions of dropbox.

    So rather than have a super duper laptop I now have good laptop and come in across the net. I still buy an expensive laptop but no mac type expense.

    The large desktop uses a relatively small SSD for the main processing so I get stuff like processing and reboot times that are amazing – but stick all the larger volumes of data in slower normal and cheap disc drives.

    It does require semi-decent internet access, and there are now plenty of cheap, secure and reliable ways to get in to the bigger desktop – remote desktop is now free – you just need a VPN

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  47. KevinH (1,227 comments) says:

    Going big isn’t necessarily better, it’s a question of reprioritising your workload and delegating the work out. Moving to an external 1-4 tb storage drive will free up ram on your laptop, and deleting apps that are rarely used saves space as well. Perhaps it’s time you spread the work over a couple of devices ie a desktop, a laptop and an ipad, depending on what you’re doing for the day. It’s probably time to talk to your equipment supplier about a solution to your situation and also time to talk about getting a good deal on multiple devices for you including an I phone as well.

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  48. davidp (3,581 comments) says:

    There really is only one question to consider: Are you a patent troll, or do you want to support patent trolls? If the answer is yes, then buy an Apple. But if you support innovation and competition then buy something else.

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  49. iMP (2,385 comments) says:

    My last Mac lasted 9 years, before I got a MacBook Air for its carrier-ability and faster startup (1.5 sec). In fact, my old one is still going and I use both, so the former is almost a decade of hard thrashing in graphics. I replaced the battery twice in that time.

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  50. seanmaitland (501 comments) says:

    @Dime:

    “I never used to be an IBM/ Lenovo fan. But they really are the shit……”

    Well said – they are shit. Buy a Mac and you’ll never look back. They have better screens, better resolution, a faster, more secure operating system and the best part is they don’t fry their insides under serious load.

    If you are using your laptop for half-ass stuff like browsing the net and writing down recipes then buy an el-cheapo PC compatible laptop and you’ll be happy. For the big boys who need to run things under serious loads and generate serious heat as a result, you wouldn’t touch them with a 50 foot bargepole.

    You buy cheap stuff, you get cheap quality.

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  51. V (720 comments) says:

    @sean
    Is that why Apple is such a major player in the server environment – for serious loads?

    I get sick of these arguments, Macs have never before been closer to PCs in terms of actual hardware, esp now with Intel onboard.

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  52. dog_eat_dog (781 comments) says:

    I’ve had to replace the battery and updated the HDD on my Asus, but at least I’ve been able to do it myself.

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  53. slijmbal (1,236 comments) says:

    “[DPF: I've had techs in twice already. The first fixed the DNS problem but then the laptop would freeze when using browsers unless in safe mode. Had someone in to fix that. and now instead it can take 30 minutes just to log in! God knows what will happen next if I get a third tech in]”

    Sounds like rootkit territory or networking issues with lots of timeouts as comms aren’t connecting properly. As others have suggested – back everything up, format drive and reinstall or try running a whole bunch of anti-rootkit software – they manage to slip a surprising number of rootkits and the likes in 3rd party ads nowadays on the sly in quite innocuous sites.

    Also if connecting by wireless then turn the power management off on your wifi as there are lots of problems with some of the common chips going in and out of sleep/hibernation.

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  54. Chthoniid (2,047 comments) says:

    Having had my last laptop die in N China this year, partly with a hard-disk failure, and encountered too many colleagues who’ve also lost laptops to same issue, my primary concern would be getting an SSD machine over an HDD.

    This rules out the 1 TB storage option, but to be honest, I have 2 external 1 TB HDDs on my main machine anyway which I back up photos etc on a regular basis.

    Having looked at the Mac vs PC laptop choice anew, I ended up with a Lenovo ultrabook. There’s a premium for the Apple brand I baulk at paying.

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  55. Liberty (267 comments) says:

    David as travel writer. I am surprised you are even considering buying a computer
    designed to sit on Academics coffee tables.
    A real computer can be taken anywhere. If you have a problem you can fix it yourself.

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  56. gump (1,649 comments) says:

    Here is the reason that I only use Mac laptops:

    Last login: Sun Feb 24 16:42:09 on ttys001
    TS-MacBook:~ TS$ uptime
    16:42 up 77 days, 5:19, 4 users, load averages: 0.74 0.66 0.70

    My Macbook is used every day and routinely reaches an uptime of over 100 days between reboots.

    I have *never* used Windows laptops that could come close to doing that.

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  57. nathan (6 comments) says:

    OSX 100 days uptime, so you choose not to install Apple Security Updates

    I’m unsure what the big deal is on a laptop running a Client OS, you move it around, you standby, you go home, jump on plane

    my Windows machine laptop boots in less than 10 seconds

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  58. Michaels (1,318 comments) says:

    Every one has bagged Mac’s or loved Mac. I don’t think I have read a single option. Poor DPF will have to go to a shop.

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  59. infused (654 comments) says:

    Get a laptop with a SSD and Windows8. Hello speed.

    Sorry, but macs are just overpriced crap.

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  60. infused (654 comments) says:

    And stop using geeks on wheels and get a real company to fix it. Get it fixed once, right.

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  61. mavxp (483 comments) says:

    If you don’t have USB 3 on your current laptop then going the SSD replacement isn’t ideal, as you will still need a fast external drive (USB 3 interface preferable) for all that data you carry. So it may be worth upgrading now.

    Try the Mac ecosystem (it’s a refreshing change for many), and if you don’t like it for whatever reason, you can always install Windows 7 64bit via bootcamp (dead easy). So your risk is pretty low. Despite the naysayers, Macbooks are well designed, run cool, long battery life, and are generally reliable relative to other brands. You will actually pay equivalent money for equivalent specs and quality of machine with HP, or Lenovo (the Business quality machines we are talking about, not consumer crap).

    I made the move 3 years ago (first a 2009 mac mini bought 2nd hand, followed by a 2012 Macbook Air), and haven’t regretted it, although MS Office for Mac is not as stable or as fast as the Windows version (less of a problem with a Core i5). Feature wise it is equivalent or marginally better though. You don’t get One Note or Access however, if this or other Windows software is a concern Parallels or VM Ware Fusion enable you to access your Windows programs inside OS X and this works very well.

    Some of the pleasant surprises is OS-X is a nice robust system, ease of installing both software and hardware like printers, cameras etc., and in discovering cool software alternatives to the old ways of doing things (MS, Adobe etc): “Scrivener” is great writing program that easily bests Word for large projects like books, or writing a thesis. “Datagraph” is wonderful for plotting graphs suitable for publication (Tufte like and FAR superior to Excel). “Omnigraffle” – a great Vector diagram drawing program etc.

    If I were to stay PC (Windows 7 is OK really), I would probably still consider a Macbook Air, but also look at the imitations (ultra books) by Lenovo, Samsung, or Asus.

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  62. wreck1080 (3,918 comments) says:

    I bought a macbook pro for the first time ever last year….It is very nice to use that retina screen — but, I find the mac os a little frustrating at times.

    There are lots of little annoying things but that is to be expected — such as changing windows sizes is more difficult on the mac . The mac does not have enough keys to do text editing although you can use key combinations to make up for the missing keys.

    The lack of free utilities software gets frustrating. Where windows might have 3 really top apps for doing something (eg network scans), the mac will only have one decent utility and that must be purchased.

    Overall, I think i can still do things faster using windows, but, the mac is more pleasurable to use — the mac is the ‘scenic’ route but takes longer he he.

    As for windows 8 – that is a mousetrap. No good at all.

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  63. Tom Jackson (2,553 comments) says:

    Buy a Mac. You won’t regret it. Windows is a joke these days and OSS isn’t really good enough for regular people. Apple is the only company with any sense of design, it seems.

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  64. b1gdaddynz (279 comments) says:

    http://www.playtech.co.nz/afawcs0139235/CATID=363/ID=19491/SID=871969272/productdetails.html

    This should tick all the boxes without having to change to a MAC of course it is fairly expensive but then if you comapare specs to the equivalent MBP it has more for a grand less. It has the advantage of having a decent sized SSD for your sytem and programs + 1TB of standard storage.

    I like both PC and MAC by the way but they suit different uses alot of the time and at the end of the day it should come down to what you want it for and also what your personal preferences are. I have an iMac set up as a media/web browser because of it’s tidy form factor and a custom high end gaming rig (ain’t no MAC that can do that) so I have different set ups for different things.

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  65. gump (1,649 comments) says:

    @nathan

    I’m running OS X 10.6 on this machine.

    It is fully patched and there are no outstanding security updates.

    TS-MacBook:~ TS$ uname -a
    Darwin TS-MacBook.local 10.8.0 Darwin Kernel Version 10.8.0: Tue Jun 7 16:33:36 PDT 2011; root:xnu-1504.15.3~1/RELEASE_I386 i386

    Why would you ever want to reboot a laptop? That kind of thinking belongs with stone knives and bear-skins.

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  66. b1gdaddynz (279 comments) says:

    @gump You wouldn’t need to if the Laptop is functioning optimally; however if it is not then a reboot can be the simplest solution to a whole range of issues that could affect performance.

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  67. Jim (398 comments) says:

    “Why would you ever want to reboot a laptop? That kind of thinking belongs with stone knives and bear-skins.”

    I wouldn’t go that far. As long as your laptop is using a general purpose OS (Windows/Mac/Linux) it’s a pretty good idea to stay current with security patches – and that would necessitate a reboot every month or so.

    The reason you have no outstanding security updates is because 10.6 security updates discontinued when 10.8 was released, not because there are no more security issues (there are: Mac OS X 10.6.8 Security Vulnerabilities)

    FYI long uptimes aren’t things we boast about these days (we = builders of large scale public service provider infrastructure). Instead, we boast about how we can handle random failures without affecting end users. (google for “chaos monkey”). That is all about servers, but the principle carries over to our work tools (laptops).

    Having said that, it *is* essential to choose the time. Having your laptop decide to spontaneously reboot is a no-no.

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  68. gump (1,649 comments) says:

    @Jim

    Apple is still releasing security updates for OS X 10.6 (I wouldn’t use it if they were no longer issuing updates).

    As an example, the latest Java security update was released on 19 Feb 2013. Thought I didn’t install this update because I only use Java apps inside a VM.

    You can examine the security update release details at the following link:

    The latest http://support.apple.com/kb/ht1222

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  69. gump (1,649 comments) says:

    Sorry – meant to type “Though” not “Thought” in my last post.

    My point about the uptimes is that my laptop’s operating environment is inherently stable. My laptop is used daily, goes to sleep daily, has USB devices attached and detached daily, and never misses a beat.

    It’s madness for people to settle for anything less.

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  70. Jim (398 comments) says:

    “As an example, the latest Java security update was released on 19 Feb 2013″

    Right you are, although that last one was courtesy of Sun (java). Apple are pretty crappy with their security update policy so leave it up to users to guess. That they haven’t addressed most of the vulnerabilities in 10.6 but have fixed them in 10.7 and 10.8 tells me that they are not paying much attention to the older version.

    The annoying thing is that they dropped support for the original Core Duo after 10.6, so if you have one of those (like I once did) then you’re SOL.

    Notwithstanding the above: agreed that OSX is stable. Makes for a very good working platform when you’re dealing with thousands of linux servers.

    Linux on a laptop is a pain, and Windows is not a good fit at all (when you are working outside of Windows IT hell).

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