1. Limited time only! Sign up for a free 30min personal tutor trial with Chegg Tutors
    Dismiss Notice
Dismiss Notice
Join Physics Forums Today!
The friendliest, high quality science and math community on the planet! Everyone who loves science is here!

Mac vs pc

  1. Dec 18, 2009 #1
    So im an EE student, just getting ready to buy a system for my career... should i buy a mac or a pc?
     
    Last edited: Dec 18, 2009
  2. jcsd
  3. Dec 18, 2009 #2

    turbo

    User Avatar
    Gold Member

    I would suggest a PC simply because the business world is dominated by them and there is a wealth of software available. Yes, you can emulate a PC on a Mac, but you pay a hit in performance and $$$
     
  4. Dec 18, 2009 #3
    ummm
     
  5. Dec 18, 2009 #4

    turbo

    User Avatar
    Gold Member

    Then why did you ask? If you are dead-set on Macs and you have enough extra money to throw around, knock yourself out. When you decide that in addition to a desk-top computer you also need a notebook to do some work in the library (or at least not in your residence) are you going to be able to find an inexpensive notebook with the computing power that you need? Not if you commit to the Mac line. There are all kinds of reasonably-priced PC notebooks - Mac doesn't produce to those aggressive price-points.

    If you think that buying a PC commits you to MS software and OS, think again. You can configure your system(s) to dual-boot, so you can run common MS-compatible apps, and then reboot into a Linux environment.
     
  6. Dec 18, 2009 #5
    well i forgot to say that im a linux guys only run linux in my machines.. i kinda hate windows... but not sure how much i will need windows for EE, and i tought about mac.. because they have a very fast 13" inch laptop that i cant find in other brands for the $1200 that they are asking..

    The macbook pro 13" has a core 2 duo 2.5 GHZ cpu and 4gb ddr3 for about $1200, the only 12" that i can find that is kinda like this is the dell xps 13 which as alot of heat issues ...

    I currently have an xps m1530 8gb of ram, t9300 cpu, running debian on it, but to take it out is kinda big (15"), i mean when you carry 1 physics, 1 calculus book, a 15" laptop feels extremmmly heavy :) so thats why i wanted a smaller one... I dont pick a netbook because the cpu of them kinda sucks :(.. so i tested few friends computers and a slim 13inch is perfect
     
  7. Dec 18, 2009 #6

    turbo

    User Avatar
    Gold Member

    Before you spend a dime, talk to your EE advisor. There may be some reasons why you would be better served by a MS/Linux dual-boot approach, especially if the department has bought group licenses for specialty software that they'll expect you to use. If the department has modeling/simulation software that you're going to need to run a year or two from now, it's best to have compatible machines at the outset.

    Remember that all PC manufacturers make small light notebooks, not just Apple Corp. And bear in mind that if you want to be able to use either of your machines to get experience with summer co-op jobs, you'll be better served with PCs. There may be some engineering departments in industry that have standardized on Macs, but they'll be few and far between.
     
  8. Dec 18, 2009 #7
    i would buy what ever you prefer. i have both mac and lenovo.

    you can get compilers for either operating system so functionally they are same, if you go pc go unix like ubuntu or Fedora (less hackware compared to windows).
     
  9. Dec 18, 2009 #8
    If you just want something portable, get a linux netbook. If you already have another computer, you probably won't be doing anything that needs heavy processing on it. A third the price of a mac and you won't worry as much about it getting dropped/stolen. If you need real processing power, you can set up a netbook AND a linux workstation for the price of 1 mac notebook.

    I do like macs for the hardware, though, and OSX is ok. I just don't like the apple tax.
     
  10. Dec 19, 2009 #9
    Just buy something you are more comfortable using.
     
  11. Dec 19, 2009 #10
    Yes, this. Get what your department uses. The school I went to had software licenses so students could download (for free!) Visual Studio and a variety of other software. It wasn't required and you could use whatever you wanted, but if you wanted support you were more or less on your own if you didn't use the standard.
     
  12. Dec 19, 2009 #11
    emailed few teachers and they all told me "Windows"....
     
  13. Dec 19, 2009 #12
    Since you're still a student, I would buy whatever is normally used (if not required) throughout the department. Alternatively, you may want to find out what's most commonly used throughout industry. If your EE department requirements match what's most commonly used throughout industry, it's a no-brainger.

    Earlier versions of Mathcad, "The Global Standard for Engineering Calculations," ran on "Linux, Mac, Unix, Windows 2000 / 95 / 98 / Me / NT", while the current version (14 M010) runs only on Windows 2000, XP, and Vista. I'm sure it'll run fine on Windows 7.
     
  14. Dec 19, 2009 #13

    DavidSnider

    User Avatar
    Gold Member

    This is not true.

    1) There is very little performance hit using modern virtualization technology
    2) Macs are now Intel based, so you can run windows on bare-hardware
     
  15. Dec 19, 2009 #14

    turbo

    User Avatar
    Gold Member

    A recent article in notebook review details some of the overhead and performance (and even functionality) that you'll give up by running a virtual machine as a Mac app. Probably Boot Camp would be a better choice, though probably a pain if you need to switch platforms frequently.

    http://www.notebookreview.com/default.asp?newsID=4909

    As for my comment about the hit in $$$$, that is quite evident when you start pricing out desktops and notebooks. The PC market is very competitive, price-wise, and Apple seems to want top dollar instead of market-share.
     
  16. Dec 19, 2009 #15
    is mathcad the same as matlab?
     
  17. Dec 19, 2009 #16

    turbo

    User Avatar
    Gold Member

    No. Google on them to see features, capabilities, and platforms.
     
  18. Dec 20, 2009 #17
    I suggest that you build your own system that runs linux (and then use VirtualBox to get PC applications).
     
  19. Dec 20, 2009 #18
    PC over Mac for EE student. I'm not bias over either, since I use both equally at work and home.

    Mac can emulate Windows but you're still better off with the real thing. I only prefer Macs for graphical designs and iPhone development. For coding, I would use a PC.
     
  20. Dec 21, 2009 #19
    Sorry but I've been using windows on a apple for quite some time. Unfortunately it isn't emulated since the transfer to intel hardware and the introduction of Boot Camp. Though you can emulate it using a program called Parallels and it isn't so expensive ~$100.

    Windows will run on Apple notebooks just as well as it runs on a PC one.

    This is exactly what I do with my Macbook Pro. I run windows when I need to and the rest of the time OSX. Also Apple have alot of inexpensive Macbooks which are directly comparable to PC ones. With Apple you also get the benefit of Hardware compatibility since Apple's hardware range isn't as expensive as PCs and therefore drivers are provided for you by Apple. I'll make the assumption that they also optimise their software to work with their hardware which if correct then it is beneficial.

    Though I like twofish-quant's suggest.
     
  21. Dec 21, 2009 #20
    Here's an idea: Don't buy anything for your career! If you need something for school, then go for it. Whatever you get for school will be practically obsolete by the time you graduate anyway.

    Then, when you do get a job, see what everyone else uses. Or better yet, since you are going to be an engineer, wait and see if your employer provides you with a laptop ( a lot of places do this if not most).
     
Know someone interested in this topic? Share this thread via Reddit, Google+, Twitter, or Facebook