Why as an Architect, my next Computer could be a Dual Core MAC?
by Rohit Arora - firstname.lastname@example.org
Beginning this year, the makers of Machintosh Computers, made an important announcement, presented on stage by CEO Steve Jobs, telling the astonished audience that they are going to put in the Intel Chip in future Macs and part way from Power PC platform.
So for the entire fan base that swore by the superior power of G4’s and G5’s, they were now supposed to change their lingo and start talking about the latest Intel Chips on the design board. Some felt cheated, on losing the bragging right to their PC counterparts and friends. Others were relieved that finally that may bring down the premium pricing they were used to paying for a Mac.
Well none of the two things really materialized, but one thing became clear, that since the Processor was the same, there was not much stopping OS X and Windows running on the same machine natively! (Though emulators like Virtual-PC and Pear-PC have existed, they don’t match the speeds you could get by using the system resources while running native on the hardware on a MAC or a PC respectively.)
A free download from Apple’s website let’s you install a utility that guides you in installation of Windows XP on the new Intel Duo Core Macs. This program is called the ‘Boot Camp’, a technology that may be integrated directly in the next version of OS X - 10.5 Leopard, due out sometime mid 2007. Though right now you have to reboot to swap the OS, the hope is that the software integration will provide true virtualization capabilities, and allow both operating systems to run simultaneously without requiring a reboot.
For now, a paid, yet low cost alternative to the Boot Camp may come in form of Parallels Workstation for Mac OS X, (http://www.parallels.com), which allows the user to run virtual machines on top of OS X running on Intel Computers.
Virtualization (or Emulation as it has been popularly called before) offers another scenario of multi-booting, where you can use Boot Camp to boot to XP, then have XP boot another operating system such as Linux using Qemu. The only working Emulation program for running OS X on Windows (albeit very slowly for practical usage) is called Pear-PC. So Apple took the first step before Microsoft, and came up with a Virtualization option to run Windows on Macs…and hence will win the new converts!
Since both Mac OS X and Windows XP run at full speed using Boot Camp, You don’t feel cheated by the lost resources, like it happens in current virtualization solutions.
Under Windows, use of Apple's white Mac keyboard is fully Windows compatible as well. The single button mouse may not be that painful to use for Windows users, who may miss the right click button, since there are many small utilities that let you have that functionality by pressing key combinations and then use the mouse button to emulate it. Or you can always connect a simple two button USB mouse to feel at home.
The product design of Macs is much well thought out than many PCs. The graceful looks accompanied by space saving designs offer a refreshing user experience. The hardware and the software are very multimedia oriented by intent. The new iMac comes with an integrated camera and a remote…think of it as a one stop solution for computing and entertainment needs.
Talking about work flow and security concerns of putting the virus prone Windows on the same system, here’s what separates facts from folklore:
Windows XP partition and contents can be seen in Mac OS X as a secondary volume, and files can be copied back and forth. This means that any work that was created while in Windows may easily be imported into Mac OS X, since Mac OS X has had the ability to read the Windows NTFS file system.
But from Windows, the Mac partition cannot be seen, (though you can get utilities which enable you to overcome this hurdle as well). This may be the best thing from the user point of view, since windows virus will not be able to affect the Mac partition.
Reboots may be a hassle, but if the virtualization is perfected by the next release of Mac OS X, I would surely jump at a chance to purchase a Duo Core Intel Mac.
Now, for most architectural practice environments, where desktops computers are the norm, the new Mac Pro could fit right in. But which Mac could be a good choice for a mobile Architect like me, ready to venture into an exciting new world of dual personality computers? Spec by spec comparison on some hardware sites report that the MacBook Pro is a nice laptop to run XP on! Someday an Apple laptop may compete with other major Windows laptop manufacturers, but until that day, I’m happy to try the dual boot!
References and Links:
About the Author:
Rohit has Bachelors in Architecture from School of Planning and Architecture, India. Rohit is affiliated with the American Institute of Architects (AIA) as an Associate member. With over 8 years of experience with CAD and BIM systems, he has been involved in their support and customization. With his present engagement with Parallel Edge, Inc, he is performing the role of an IT/AEC Specialist, combining hardware and software options to provide a total project solution within an Architectural production environment. He has been a trainer associated with AutoDesk Training Centers (ATC) in the USA and abroad. Rohit has served multiple roles in his previous architecture firms as the Staff Architect, CAD Manager, Network and IT supervisor.
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