My home PC died this morning.
It had been behaving increasingly-flakily for about three weeks, and this morning it refused to boot.
It’s a Frankensteinian home-built machine with its last motherboard upgrade four years ago. It has an 1800-MHs AMD Athlon processor, 512 MB of RAM, and a Radeon 9000 video card with 128 MB of video RAM. There is a total of 660 GB of hard-drive space split among four physical drives. The monitor is a 23-inch LCD of 1920 x 1200 resolution. I also have two DVD recorder drives.
Now, I believe there are hardware problems–the POST screen came up and complained of improper speed setting for the processor, for one thing–and it needs a cleaning and reseating of parts. And there was that power blip last week that rebooted it and can’t have done any good.
But it’s been more than a year since I reinstalled Windows XP, and what with the continual installing and removing of programs, it had gotten a little slow even before the flakiness started.
Now, my needs are starting to change. For some time, I’ve been working with a group of solar-house enthusiasts in the north country, and it has been apparent more and more to me that a laptop would be Very Useful. It would be very good to be able to bring my designs and tools with me on my visits across the province. Additionally, as I move into business, I need greater reliability than my home-built system.
Yesterday I was at TransitCamp Toronto and was very impressed with the wireless online wiki-hased model of activism in evidence there. (Among other things, they got the entire conference off the ground–sponsors, location and all–in three weeks.) There were dozens of laptops in evidence, and people were blogging and wikiing and taking pictures and making videos as the event progressed. It occurs to me that this model would be very useful indeed for the group up north.
I was looking at the models of Mac laptops, and I realised that all of the current MacBook offerings are faster than my home computer, and many of them have more memory. The iMacs and desktop machines are more powerful.
Now, I am just sick of the creeping flakiness that Windows XP seems to exhibit if you make many changes to the system over time. I don’t want to have to rebuild my system every year. In addition, I don’t want to upgrade to Vista, as with a new computer, as the DRM requirements seem to be becoming increasingly onerous, Vista is new and I don’t know whether drivers are out there for things such as Photoshop and Autocad, and it requires significantly more hardware than my present machine has.
Most of the software I use on a regular basis–Thunderbird, Firefox, Photoshop, Illustrator, Skype, Trillian–is either available for both Mac and Windows, or there are equivalents. However, there are some pieces, such as Autocad, that I may need Windows XP for. It’s time for me to upgrade my Photoshop and Illustrator anyways; my versions are so old that it won’t be hugely-more expensive to just buy new versions than to upgrade.
I have been very impressed with Apple’s design sense. This looks like one of the rare occaisions where I may be able to make a complete (if somewhat expensive) shift.
So, Mac people, I have some questions. [ul]Can I dual-boot Mac OX X and Windows XP on the current Intel Macs? (I remember reading about a dual-boot utility, but I see no mention of it on Apple’s Canadian site.)Can I dual-boot Mac OS X and Windows XP on a MacBook?Will Autocad run on Windows XP dual-booted on a Mac?Is Mac OS X Unicode-based? I type in at least three languages.)Can I hook my existing LCD display (DVI connector) up to a MacBook and use both screens?Does the MacBook have a 10BASE-T Ethernet port for my cable modem? (I’d rather not use wireless as my default netowek connection at home.)[/ul]