What computer, what software for a lab? (take II)

Subject: What computer, what software for a lab? (take II)
From: Geoff Hart <ghart -at- videotron -dot- ca>
To: techwr-l List <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com>, Gene Kim-Eng <techwr -at- genek -dot- com>
Date: Sat, 17 May 2008 18:33:05 -0400

Gene Kim-Eng provided a good summary, but his last point requires
clarification: <<If you might need to run both Windows and Mac and
have the budget for it, get Macs and use Bootcamp to enable you to
load Mac OS, Windows or Linux without emulators... Whatever you do,
do NOT attempt to run processor-intensive applications like Maya,
Max, Lightwave, etc., in Windows running on a Mac with an emulator.>>

It's important to distinguish here between an "emulator", such as
Microsoft's own Virtual PC, and "virtualization" software, such as
Parallels or VMWare fusion: Gene is 100% correct that an emulator
will drive you crazy because it's so slow. (Plus, I'm not aware of
any Windows emulators that still run on the Intel chips; Virtual PC
ceased development when the Intel chip Macs came out.)

In contrast, virtualization software runs Windows at full speed, so
all else being equal (i.e., plenty of memory* and a fast hard drive),
you'll never notice you're using it. Indeed, some recent tests showed
that a Mac running Windows under Parallels was faster than a
comparably equipped PC running the same version of Windows; I believe
it was Apple vs. Dell, so we're not talking about a cheapie clone
either. (This seeming anomaly occurred because of how well the system
components are integrated. In that particular test, the Mac was the
better machine. A different PC, such as a top-end gaming machine from
Alienware, might have beaten the Mac by a significant margin.)

* OS X runs just fine in 1 Gig of RAM, as does Windows XP; Vista
requires at least 2 Gig, and 4 is better. So add at least that much
RAM (1 + 1 = 2 Gig for XP, 1 + 2 to 4 = 3 to 5 Gig for Vista) to each
computer if you want to run OS X and Windows side by side. For
Photoshop, even more is better.

Bootcamp is neither emulator nor virtualization software: all it does
is let you choose which OS (Mac vs. Windows) should be loaded each
time you boot. If you never need to run OS X and Windows
simultaneously, it's your best bet because it's free. If you want to
run Mac software side by side with Windows software without having to
reboot, you need either Parallels or Fusion. Which of the two is
better? They keep leapfrogging each other, but Fusion is probably
better if you also need to run Linux simultaneously. VMWare has many
years more experience with virtualization than Parallels.

-- Geoff Hart
ghart -at- videotron -dot- ca / geoffhart -at- mac -dot- com
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RE: what computer, what software for a lab?: From: David Hailey
Re: what computer, what software for a lab?: From: Gene Kim-Eng

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