Feasibility of a Windows user running a rMBP 13

Discussion in 'Apple and Mac OS X' started by Sunfox, Oct 27, 2013.

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  1. Sunfox

    Sunfox Notebook Deity

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    I'm an admitted Microsoft snob, and have been ever since my parents bought me a 286 computer running DOS 3.3 in 1988. The absolute only Mac product I have ever owned is an iPhone 4S bought a couple years ago (and yes, I do like it)... although just tonight I remembered I had a 2002 iBook A1005 loaned me to review something that never ended up going back to the company, and found it stuffed in a bag on a shelf, plugged it in, and even though all the metal bits on the bottom are oddly corroded, the stupid thing still works and the battery even took a charge. Amazing.

    Anyways, to get to the point: I'm a writer, videographer, photographer that has a powerful desktop and likes a compact 13-14" notebook to supplement it on a daily basis. My prior laptop was a Sony Z11, and before that a Sony SZ160, both high-end, compact, and powerful for their size.

    At this point the 13-14" notebook range seems pretty much limited to Ultrabooks (no more ultra-portables out there), which I think I'll be fine with in at least the i7 flavors... but I'm not really liking the selection out there. Nothing has made me hit that "order" button. It seems like all the models have design flaws/catches/quality issues that are enough to turn me off, don't have the features I need, or are stupidly expensive (hello Fujitsu). My initial short list came down to the Samsung Book 9 Plus, the Lenovo Yoga 2 Pro, the Asus Zenbook UX301, the Fujitsu U904... and the new MacBook Pro 13.

    My slightly shorter list as of today is the Yoga, Zenbook and MBP. Due to quite a few reasons, my absolute favorite on this list is the MBP, and I now find myself in the rather strange position of actually considering buying an Apple computer... however, the catch is I do want to run Windows on it. I have mountains of software I can only get for Windows. Probably will go with 8.1, although if I didn't have to deal with such a high resolution screen I'd certainly prefer 7 Pro.

    Yes, I know Windows will work on a Mac, and I would go with the Boot Camp method. But I've also heard horror stories about Apple's woeful Windows driver situation (especially relating to input devices), and I'm trying to figure out - is it actually worth it for a Windows user to buy a MBP to run Windows on? Or is that experience still glitchy enough that I shouldn't even be considering this as a viable option.

    If I don't go with the MBP, my only hope is that Lenovo fixes their screen issue, the Asus comes out before Christmas and doesn't prove to be trash, or that the Haswell-based Dell XPS 13 or the Thinkpad X3 prove decent machines... but I don't like having to wait much longer, because my current Sony is causing me graphics problems NOW.
     
  2. Zero000

    Zero000 Notebook Deity

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    You will get less battery life by using Windows on any Apple laptop.

    Apple laptops were optimized for the Mac OS.

    Business class Ultrabooks tend to outclass the Retina MacBook Pro in quality and warranty.
    They should be more expensive if they have a comparable CPU , RAM , etc.
     
  3. Bog

    Bog Losing it...

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    Part of paying Apple's premium is to have a laptop and OS that are designed for each other, so throwing that away to run Windows on a Mac really defeats a major reason for buying a Mac. Secondly, Apple's Windows drivers have been crap for a long time and aren't likely to get better.

    Just keep these things in mind when choosing a laptop to run Windows well.
     
  4. Sunfox

    Sunfox Notebook Deity

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    Yeah, but what exactly are the "business class ultrabooks" out there right now with Haswell and specs similar to the rMBP? Seriously, I can't find them!

    The Fujitsu I mention is $2824+tax CDN with only a 256gb SSD and no Iris graphics - I can't even think of another notebook that runs even close to that expensive. Plus, the $500+ premium for going custom over the one poorly spec'd stock model (i5 with a HDD?) really turns me off.

    So what else? The Samsung Book 9 Plus? That's not exactly much cheaper to get the i7, and you get a less powerful CPU/iGPU. The Lenovo Yoga 2 Pro is a good buy (and I'd likely take that over the similarly spec'd Samsung because of that), but the horrible color issue on the screen is a deal breaker, and even though it can most likely be fixed, that fix right now seems to slaughter battery life. Plus, build quality is suspect compared to Thinkpads, and I do need a very good keyboard for writing.

    Bog talks about paying "Apple's premium", but for the first time ever I honestly DO NOT see that premium on the rMBP when compared to today's Windows offerings in the 13-14" size range (at least if I want quality construction and no fan noise). Compare it to the Asus UX301, which is the only other notebook out there available (eventually, since you can't actually get it yet) with the i7-4558u. Loaded up with 8GB memory and 512GB SSD, they're both $2000. True, I'd have to buy a copy of Windows to put on it, but if I want an English-only keyboard on the Asus I'd have to order it from the US and pay hefty shipping anyways... so it balances out.

    I do hate the reports that Apple's drivers are bad, because the hardware really is quite ideal for a Windows machine and - at least for this new version - priced right for what you get.
     
  5. saturnotaku

    saturnotaku Notebook Nobel Laureate

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    Dell Precision M3800 - Available in a bit more than 2 weeks.

    You're welcome.
     
  6. kornchild2002

    kornchild2002 Notebook Deity

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    I hate to say it but I think it's pretty obvious why Apple would provide a sub-par experience running Windows on their hardware: they want you to use their software. Apple has always focused on providing a closed computing universe. You run their hardware with their software (i.e. OS). That's how it is with Macs, iPods, iPhones, and iPads. They want you to stay in their universe. Apple added Windows support to Macs back when they switched to Intel as a way of easing people into OS X. They could boot into Windows if they were still uncomfortable doing a couple of things or if they couldn't figure something out. It was never, ever meant as a permanent means of running Windows. It can be used like that but Apple's drivers kinda hinder the experience. It isn't as bad with units that have Intel integrated graphics but it is awful on MacBooks that have dedicated GPUs. The battery life on a 13" MBPr will be reduced when running Windows but not nearly as much as the 15" model with the Nvidia GPU.

    That being said, I don't see why you can't conduct your everyday business in OS X. It takes a little getting used to but I made the switch back in 2010 after using Windows 95-7 exclusively for 16 years. I grew up using Windows 95 and that later became 98, 98 SE, ME, 2000, XP, Vista, and then 7. It took me about 10 minutes to get used to browsing around and conducting everyday tasks and another day or so to get used to the System Preferences and how OS X works with other things. If a 13" MBPr is really what you want, I don't see any reason why you can't get it and just run OS X.

    On a side note, I do have to say that upgrading to the i7 CPU isn't worth it. The upgrade costs $300 yet you aren't gaining performance that is worth that high of a price. The CPU is still dual-core and really only pulls ahead when the processor shuts down one of its cores and overclocks the other. It'll maybe shave 6 minutes off of a video encoding project (encoding a 90 minute SD video to 1500kbps mpeg-4 AVC at 480p), that's about it. Everyday performance is going to be the same, media consumption will be the same, even gaming will be the same. I really don't see any reason why someone would pay for the i7 upgrade in either the 13" MBPr or the MBA lines. I would understand paying the $300 if it was a quad-core CPU and you planned on multi-tasking but it isn't. The Core i7 in the 13" MBPr (and both size MBA's) is dual-core.
     
  7. Sunfox

    Sunfox Notebook Deity

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    Is that not a 15.6" notebook? Seems a long way from qualifying as a 13-14".
     
  8. Zero000

    Zero000 Notebook Deity

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    What about the Zbook 14?
     
  9. Sunfox

    Sunfox Notebook Deity

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    For web surfing, email, videos, music and so forth... yeah, OSX would be fine. But I have thousands of dollars of purchased software and plug-ins that have no reasonable Mac equivalent, relating to graphic arts, video editing, and management of my website. Having to buy all-new equivalents from other companies just for ONE computer out of a half dozen in my office wouldn't make any sense.

    I was hoping that the rumors of shoddy Windows drivers were just a bit exaggerated, but it sounds like it would be a waste of my time. I guess I should've known based on my Windows experience with Quicktime and iTunes (seriously - not good examples to prove to Windows users that they should trust you with a whole OS!)
     
  10. Sunfox

    Sunfox Notebook Deity

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    Actually that one is on my comparison chart, but I've been a bit disappointed that it's only available up to 1080p. With the rMBP probably off, I'll be giving it a second look.

    This is what I've been looking at:

    Acer Aspire S7
    Asus Zenbook UX301
    Dell XPS 13
    Fujitsu Lifebook U904
    Gigabyte P34G
    HP Zbook 14
    Lenovo Yoga 2 Pro
    Lenovo X1 Carbon (X3?)
    MacBook Pro 13 Retina
    Razor Blade 14
    Samsung Book 9 Plus
    Sony Pro 13
    Sony Flip 13A
    Toshiba Kirabook

    EDIT:
    Holy crap on a stick the Zbook 14 makes the Fujitsu seem like a bargain. And what's up with the AMD FirePro M4100 - the spec sheet says the 14 should have it, but all of the models only specify HD4400 graphics.
     
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