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149 posts

Master Geek


Topic # 67592 4-Sep-2010 09:30
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Hi All

I am a Mac virgin. I will be getting a new laptop soon - and leaning towards a macbook pro 15" (or waiting for the next  13" refresh next year with i3/i5 CPU hopefully (simply because the 13" is smaller)). After playing with  several apple products over the past few years  (including owning iphone and nano) Im getting converted on their ease of use.

 I want to change to mac for work and play. At present I use a dell vostros similar specs to a macbook pro (from memory - 1.8GHz, C2D, 2GB, 120GB, GF8600-256MB).  Work: I chiefly PC Outlook for mail and Calender. I use PC Word docs with embedded excel spreadsheets and PC Excel with macros. Most files are ~ 100kB but some ~ 1-2MB.  I'm used to 5-10 second load times but no more. Play: some 2-3 yo (ie laptop appropriate ) 3D graphics games.

It appears that the software package that comes packaged with new macs  does Not  natively support editing ms office. And mac office 08 or  iWork 09 is slow (according to some forum posts) to open large office files (30-60 sec) .

I want to stress that I want to convert to mac not just use it as a windows platform if I can help it , but my company uses PC Office 97, 03, 07 and we need to easily edit each others files.
So I'm tending towards using either 

a. PC Office on Win XP on a virtual package like Parallels 5. Fusion 3 seams to have some visual and performance issues (again according to some forum posts) . Or

b. A dual boot system with PC Office on Win XP.

Questions:
1. Would either of these work for my needs - macros and word with embedded excel is essential?
2. Is a dual boot system that much  faster to load / use ms office on XP than Parallels 5?

Any Advice from any mac experts would be greatly appreciated.

Cheers

Mark


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1230 posts

Uber Geek
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  Reply # 376505 4-Sep-2010 10:50
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I don't use a lot of Office apps. Are you able to actually try using the Mac versions of office in your day to day work? As much as I am a Mac-user ( I use Mail, iCal, iWork, these are all fine for me), the mac office apps are really pretty good to use.
Parallels is a bit of a dog, and dual booting.... Well you're missing out on 50% of what makes a Mac so good... I.e. Mac OS!
Perhaps you can take some of your typical documents into a Mac reseller, I'm sure they will have Office installed on a demo machine?

Cheers,
Joseph



149 posts

Master Geek


  Reply # 376641 4-Sep-2010 16:51
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Cheers jofizz - I agree dual booting would be a last resort. I'll take a big embedded doc with macros in to the apple store - see how it handles. But I'll look into virtual desktops during my PC-mac handover period - You said parallels was a bit of a dog- Have you, or anyone else used parallels v5 ? Its better according to the hype - I'll separate post that question (with low word count), my excessive verbal diarrhoea discourages sometimes :)

447 posts

Ultimate Geek
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  Reply # 376646 4-Sep-2010 17:00
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I use virtualbox purely because it is free, using a tiny install of XP.
It's not a PC, but I don't expect it to be.

...I feel that this last line should rhyme as well now that I read what I have typed.



149 posts

Master Geek


  Reply # 376650 4-Sep-2010 17:06
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Nickd - is virtualbox noticeably sluggish? Have you used complex excel sheets or word docs with it?

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Ultimate Geek
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  Reply # 376654 4-Sep-2010 17:13
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I have just gone through this process over the last couple of days. The MacBook Pro 13" with 4GB of memory was the target as we moved from a Dell XPS 1330, which was near its end of life.

I imaged the original notebook using VMWare converter and imported that into Parallels. Whilst Parallels is not free (in fact at $NZ100 its not cheap), the end result is outstanding. The old Windows Vista installation is now completely integrated into the Mac desktop even a Windows icon on the Mac Dock. Windows programs open directly onto the Mac desktop alongside the Mac programs.

So you can run anything from your old machine that you need or just slowly migrate to the Mac way as you please. Perfect solution...

Cheers Mike

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Ultimate Geek
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  Reply # 376667 4-Sep-2010 17:49
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snowkiwi: Nickd - is virtualbox noticeably sluggish? Have you used complex excel sheets or word docs with it?


I was using Matlab and was building & running mathematical models on it. It was not as fast as a PC but my macbook only has 2Gb of ram so I never expected much. I just brought virtualbox up in case you did decided to go for a mac. Virtualbox is free & parallels/fusion have free trials so you can check them all out and pick the one you like the most. 

There are plenty of reviews out there for all of them. But in short: It depends on the specs of your machine & how much ram you choose to dedicate to your VM. 



149 posts

Master Geek


  Reply # 376691 4-Sep-2010 19:19
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I'll give Virtualbox a try first cheers nick. - It'll be a new MBP with 4GB Ram so from what I understand that should be fine

I'll try the trial Parallels if need be - thanks Mike, you've just done what I will do - gives confidence.

Ta

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Ultimate Geek
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  Reply # 376841 5-Sep-2010 11:57
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Hi Snowkiwi

Interestingly, I received an email from Parallels this morning offering $US20 off the price of Parallels v5 - now down to $US59.99 from $US79.99, still not as good as "free" but a decent saving when you convert it to NZD.

Again, 4GB is really the minimum so that you can have both the Mac and the Virtual Windows box running with 2GB each and a core of the CPU. As others have indicated, there are trial versions, so get both Virtual Box and Parallels and try them out. I have a feeling that you will have the same reaction to Parallels that I did and it will leave you with your mouth open!

One word of advice, the smaller MacBook Pro only has 250Gb of disk. So when you virtualise the old PC, write the VM files (from VMWare Converter) to a USB disk. Then connect the USB to the MacBook Pro for importing into Parallels. The first time I did this on our MacBook Pro, I copied the VM onto the Macbook and ended up with not enough space for Parallels to import. So let Parallels import from a USB disk onto the MacBook hard disk.

Cheers Mike



149 posts

Master Geek


  Reply # 376906 5-Sep-2010 15:43
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Mike - Thanks for the advice

129 posts

Master Geek


  Reply # 377411 7-Sep-2010 09:51
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I'm another advocator for Virtualbox and it's not just because I work for the company that makes it :P

I've used Virtualbox with Windows XP on my Macbook Pro for over a year now as there are some communications applications that we use that are Windows only. Another reason is because I often have to connect to some software on a remote desktop via a VPN connection, so I do this all within the Virtualbox environment in order to prevent all of my internet traffic being routed through the VPN.

I would give Virtualbox a go before purchasing Parallels, but definitely go to a store and see if your files work well with MacOffice as avoiding Windows would be the ultimate solution (and I would, if I could!).


And just in case you were considering trying OpenOffice for Mac, I'd advise against it as many MS Office macros don't seem to function properly in OpenOffice as yet.
 

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