Anybody running Windows on a Mac Pro? Any problems?

I’m a Windows person–always have been. Though there are things on the Mac that I like better (such as video editing, sound editing, etc.–all that artsy stuff that the Mac makes much easier), for basic everyday stuff like Microsoft Word, web browsing, games, etc., I prefer the PC.

Okay, now, that said–I want a new computer. My old one is 5 years old. It still works fine, but it’s getting a little slow. I want to upgrade to a big monitor (either the Apple 30" Cinema Display or the Dell 30" UltraSharp) and either of them would require me to upgrade to pricey new video card, so I figured that this might be the time to take the plunge.

I’d been intending to spec out a PC and have the local “build a PC” place (with whom I’ve had great dealings in the past) put it together for me, but the truth is I’ve been out of the looking-for-new-PC business for so long that I’m not even sure what’s considered decent nowadays. Still, it’s certainly an option since they can probably help me decide what I want.

However…last night we popped into the Apple Store and looked at the new Mac Pro (aka “the Cheese Grater”), which, being Intel-based, apparently can run Windows XP natively, using BootCamp to set it up so you can switch between them. It’s a bit expensive (about $2500, plus I’d want to upgrade a couple of its components), but it’s also got some pretty serious computing horsepower in it (such as 2 dual-core processors) that would be pretty difficult to duplicate for the same price point on a PC. I have to admit I’m seriously considering this machine, but I’d like to get a few opinions from folks who’ve actually used Windows on the Mac, if possible. Here are my pros and cons for the Mac:


  • IF it really can run Windows natively with few or no problems, then it would be like buying two high-end computers for the price of one.
  • It’s easy to switch components in and out, and upgrade.
  • Apple builds good stuff.
  • (BIG pro here): The spouse, as an Apple employee, can get me a big discount since he’s allowed to buy one system per calendar year at a discount and he’s not planning to buy a system for himself until next year.
  • In addition to the spouse, I’ll have access to other informal “tech support” (in the form of friends, including one who designed parts of the Mac Pro’s innards) if anything goes wrong.


  • I can probably get a Windows system that will fit my needs perfectly well for a decent bit cheaper, even with the big discount.
  • Since I prefer Windows to MacOS, I’ll be using the system in Windows mode most of the time and only switching to Mac mode for the stuff I’d rather do on that side. Though I’ll admit that I could probably eventually be swayed over to the dark…er…Mac side for most of my needs.

What I’ll be using the computer for:

  • Web browsing
  • Word processing/desktop publishing with Word 2003 and FrameMaker
  • Photoshop
  • I’d like to get into video editing, sound editing, and podcasting (the software comes on the Mac–it would be more expensive to purchase it for the PC)
  • Some gaming (such as World of Warcraft) but not extensive amounts, since I prefer to play games on my PS2 and XBox360.

I’d like to get something that will last me for at least two or three years, or preferably longer–I don’t really like switching computers, though with removable drives for transferring files it’s getting less painful than it used to be.

So, whaddya think? More pros? More cons? Personal anecdotes? Horror stories? I’m really having trouble making up my mind here…

Thanks in advance!

I haven’t used one recently myself but I hear those systems are like having two computers. They run both well. The stuff you said you wanted to do with it isn’t anything exotic so I guess it boils down to how much you want a dual-boot system. Good Windows only PC’s can be had for half that one or less depending on what you want.

For the kind of tasks you’re planning to do, a Mac Pro is overkill. An iMac or a tricked-up Mac Mini would do the job just as well.

And instead of running Apple’s Boot Camp to switch between MacOS and Windows, you may want to look into buying Parallels Desktop for the Mac, which lets you run Windows programs in the MacOS environment at 95% of the native processor speed. Beats the hassle of dual-booting, at least. Though why anyone would want to use Windows when they’ve got MacOS available is beyond me… :wink:

Well, yeah, probably–except for the fact that I really want that 30" monitor, and I don’t think the Mini could drive it. The iMacs come with their own built-in monitor, and they don’t get that big.

I’m funny that way. :slight_smile:

Would Parallels Desktop let me run things like World of Warcraft? I assume it would be fine with the standards (MS Word and probably Framemaker)…

You can play WOW natively on any mac.

As the previous poster said, there’s a Mac version of WoW. If your larger question is, “Can I play games using Parallels?” I’d say not at this point. My understanding is that Parellels doesn’t support 3-d video cards YET. For that you need to boot up in Windows. It’s also my understanding that this limitation is in the process of being elliminated.

I bought a Macbook for exactly this reason, the ability to dual boot OS X and XP. I’ve been a Windows-only guy and wanted access to my software. I installed XP the next day, and with minor exceptions it worked great.

That was five months ago, and I’ve booted XP exactly twice, both times to demo how cool the dual boot is. Then, I went back to OS X. It’s a vastly superior OS, and for the tasks you’ve laid out, I predict you’ll never use XP (well, maybe for games). It is nice to know it’s available, though.

If you buy another box. (Or at least I doubt they will send you a free CD because you decided to change OS.)

I’ve installed my WOW discs on both my Apple and Windows computers.

Yeah, Blizzard generally includes both the Mac and Windows versions of all their games on the same disc. They’re also really good about supporting both platforms.

My girlfriend has Boot Camp on a new MacPro. It crashes about once an hour while doing videoconferencing (why she bought it). The switch between Mac and Windows also screws up the clocks (known problem).

I’d suggest you go browse the boards at support to how it’s working for others.


Unless you’re going to be playing games or doing heavy 3D graphics, there’s no reason to use Boot Camp. Parallels is more than adequate for everything else, and it works great.

No, WoW install disks work on both PCs and Macs.