Work Laptop Choice Mac or Windows Help!

mikey71497

Limp Gawd
Joined
Sep 27, 2004
Messages
215
I have a question guys, and a quick decesion to make. When I started my job 7 months ago, I had a choice of the following:

Windows laptops:
Lenovo-W530
Lenovo x
Lenovo T

Mac Laptops:
Haswell Macbook Air
Haswell Macbook Pro w/Retina
15" Macbook Pro

Long story short I went with the W530. Being a windows use for all my life and only having a Mac iPad/iPhone and unsure on the learning curve for a Mac in professional environment. After using the W530 for 7 months, have no issues with the machine, the laptop is heavy and bulky and frankly a pain to commute with. I like the large screen but cant take the "brick" feeling anymore. So that leads me to my next question. The IT dept said I can swap it out for something else either windows or MAC. Right now I am leaning towards the MacBook Air 13" w/Haswell. Core i7 w/8gb of Ram.

Question is this. I am a Network Engineer currently doing DWDM optical transport. I use putty and FileZilla a lot. Will jumping into a Mac at this point in time prove difficult for me? Is it an easy transition? I want something light and portable. Yea I can go with the T or X Lenovo but the Mac really intrigues me. Is a Mac good for IT professionals? My work is probably 60-40% Mac. Work consists of programmers, project managers, other IT folks etc...Would the Mac Pro13" be better as it offers more ports? HELP, i need to make a decesion FAST!

If its worth anything, my personal gear is a Dell Latitude running Win7, a new Surface Pro (original) and I have an iPhone 5s. Kids have an iPad 4 w/retina.

Thanks Everyone!
 

AthlonXP

Fully [H]
Joined
Oct 14, 2001
Messages
20,470
I would get the Retina model 15 inch if you can or see what they have in the T440s as both are great powerhouses in which are light.
 

mikey71497

Limp Gawd
Joined
Sep 27, 2004
Messages
215
really dont want another 15". Too big and too heavy for my needs. 14" max is what I am looking at.
 

dekard

2[H]4U
Joined
Nov 1, 2004
Messages
2,190
I'm a Linux \ Storage engineer for a very large company and I've used a MacBook in environments supporting Unix \ Linux \ Windows. It's totally doable. Here's a couple thoughts:

1) Putty... You're not going to need it since the Mac OS has a built in terminal client that will does everything putty can do and then some. So, problem solved but the built in OS support.

2) Filezilla has a Mac version so you can use that. Depending on your uses, you might not need it since you can do file transfers with the builtin putty client... But, it's an easy transition. So, I wouldn't worry about this..

The other thing is this, the Mac OS is built on Unix. So, if you're working with Unix \ Linux or anything derivative of that, you'll enjoy using a Mac to interface with them. Having the same underlying technologies really makes a lot of low-level stuff easier. You can also get a selection of Microsoft Remote Desktop clients on the Mac so if you're working in that environment from time to time you'll be fine.

To talk about which Mac you want, here's the basic run down:

MacBook Air, 2 cores, low res screen, no options to expand ram, hd expensive to swap, extremely portable and light.
MacBook Retina, 4 cores, high res screen, no option to expand ram, hd expensive to swap, no optical drive, medium weight and portability.
MacBook pro, 4 cores, low res screen, optical drive, ram\hd can be swapped easily, higher weight and size.

I've had all three... They're all great just slightly different styles... Head into your local Apple Store for some hands on time with them. Chances are it'll be pretty obvious which one you want. Personally, I'm running a Retina display 15" and it's pretty sweet.
 

limitedaccess

Supreme [H]ardness
Joined
May 10, 2010
Messages
7,594
The Lenovo T and X what? There are 14 inch and smaller models in those lines.

You could look into bootcamp and run windows on the Mac hardware. This way you get both OSes as well.

Personally I wouldn't like the Air's low res TN screen. I'd go with the Macbook Pro because of this (I assume no cost difference?).
 

Ultima99

Supreme [H]ardness
Joined
Jul 31, 2004
Messages
4,905
I guess we have different meanings of heavy and bulky. If it wasn't for you stating you had a W530 which is 15.6" and <6lbs I'd have thought you were lugging around a 17 inch 10lb monster.

You obviously want to try out a Mac so go for it. You don't do anything that requires being on Windows and I imagine it should take less than 1 day for you to be easily doing your SSH/telnet and ftp business.

Too bad you can't wait for Broadwell which is going to be highly tuned and mobile only focused. Should be even better than Haswell on battery life.
 

dekard

2[H]4U
Joined
Nov 1, 2004
Messages
2,190
Too bad you can't wait for Broadwell which is going to be highly tuned and mobile only focused. Should be even better than Haswell on battery life.
I've got the 2012 edition and it'll last 6-8 hours on battery easily. The 2013 (Haswell) edition has repeatedly tested at 9-12 hours of battery life. Sure, Broadwell will be better but at what point does the battery life improvements exceed what a normal working day requires? Tech is *constantly* improving so waiting for the next generation will typically provide some nice improvements. But, if you keep waiting, you'll never get anything done.
 

mikey71497

Limp Gawd
Joined
Sep 27, 2004
Messages
215
Thanks for the replies. I cant wait for broadwell and price doesnt matter as the IT department will be issuing me the laptop they have in current inventory. I am not buying this on my own. Its a simple give back of the Lenovo and take the Mac kinda thing.

I believe they have the T420? and the x230...not positive though. Yea, the W530 I currently have is nice dont get me wrong, but its bulky...not doubt about it and I really just want something lighter and more portable. I will probably have this laptop for a few years until IT decides to do a refresh of machines.
 

mikey71497

Limp Gawd
Joined
Sep 27, 2004
Messages
215
Ahh crap. I just checked ITs website and they seem to only offier the 15" Mac Pro w/Retina or the 13" Mac Air. No option at this time for a 13" Pro...errrr

So it comes down to either keep the W530....MacPro 15" w/retina or the Mac Air 13". Seems like the Mac Pro and W30 are not too far off with specs...Mac is about 1.5lbs lighter, and not as thick...
 
Last edited:

teh_chem

[H]ard|Gawd
Joined
Jun 21, 2012
Messages
1,474
If you think your current windows laptop is on the heavy side, you won't be blown away by the 15" macbook pro--it also pushes 5-lbs. My wife has one for her work and I was surprised at how heavy it is (from the looks, I expected lighter).

If weight/size is the most important factor, then just get the 13" macbook air. It doesn't sound like you do super-heavy CPU-intensive stuff. Does your work support virtualized OS's or multi-boot (in case you need Windows later)?
 

mikey71497

Limp Gawd
Joined
Sep 27, 2004
Messages
215
I dont think they would support multi-boot but then again I could be wrong. (have only been here 7 months) Ya I really want something lighter and more portable. Retina display is nice but for my job, I am not looking for super high pixel density or clairty. The fact of the matter is I work in routers, switches and optical wave systems all day and its all command line syntax. Obviously I browse the web on down time, big youtube fan, and we are allowed to play games but I am not a gamer by any means. I would agree, the 15" Mac Pro is probably too similiar to the current W530 and wouldnt make much sense to switch to it. Looks like the air is my only option for the Mac platform.

I know future machines the IT department is testing out are the X1 carbon and I could have sworn I saw the 13" Mac Pro w/Retina.....
 

Aurelius

2[H]4U
Joined
Mar 22, 2003
Messages
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Ahh crap. I just checked ITs website and they seem to only offier the 15" Mac Pro w/Retina or the 13" Mac Air. No option at this time for a 13" Pro...errrr

So it comes down to either keep the W530....MacPro 15" w/retina or the Mac Air 13". Seems like the Mac Pro and W30 are not too far off with specs...Mac is about 1.5lbs lighter, and not as thick...

I'd still look into the 15-inch MacBook Pro. It's going to be a lot thinner and lighter, it has a higher-resolution display and it'll give you a better trackpad. You only get so many chances to have a flagship laptop like this... go for it, I say.
 

dekard

2[H]4U
Joined
Nov 1, 2004
Messages
2,190
I dont think they would support multi-boot but then again I could be wrong. (have only been here 7 months) Ya I really want something lighter and more portable. Retina display is nice but for my job, I am not looking for super high pixel density or clairty. The fact of the matter is I work in routers, switches and optical wave systems all day and its all command line syntax. Obviously I browse the web on down time, big youtube fan, and we are allowed to play games but I am not a gamer by any means. I would agree, the 15" Mac Pro is probably too similiar to the current W530 and wouldnt make much sense to switch to it. Looks like the air is my only option for the Mac platform.

I know future machines the IT department is testing out are the X1 carbon and I could have sworn I saw the 13" Mac Pro w/Retina.....
based on what you're saying, I tend to think a Macbook Air will be fine for your needs. The flagship, 15" Retina is just amazing and significantly lighter than what you've got now so I think you'd like it.... But, this is like choosing between two very nice cars, you really can't make a wrong decision.
 

Deinos

Gawd
Joined
Aug 25, 2011
Messages
556
based on what you're saying, I tend to think a Macbook Air will be fine for your needs. The flagship, 15" Retina is just amazing and significantly lighter than what you've got now so I think you'd like it.... But, this is like choosing between two very nice cars, you really can't make a wrong decision.

If you are predominantly using terminal all day long, I would totally go with the Macbook Air 13". You don't need power, gpu, or retina. Battery life, light weight, can't go wrong :)
 

mikey71497

Limp Gawd
Joined
Sep 27, 2004
Messages
215
Loving all the input here guys, totally appreciate it. I have heard a few of you say that the 15" Mac Pro is "significantly" lighter than the W530. Is it really? From what I can see spec wise its 4.46 vs. 5.95lbs. Like a pound and a half difference. So the programs I use mostly are the following:

Putty
Filezilla
Pidgin (jabber client)
TeamViewer
WebEx
Word,excel,Outlook
and I need to have the ability to drive two monitors (forgot to mention that earlier in my posts)

I may have to go to the Apple store to check out the two and compare.
 

teh_chem

[H]ard|Gawd
Joined
Jun 21, 2012
Messages
1,474
Loving all the input here guys, totally appreciate it. I have heard a few of you say that the 15" Mac Pro is "significantly" lighter than the W530. Is it really? From what I can see spec wise its 4.46 vs. 5.95lbs. Like a pound and a half difference. So the programs I use mostly are the following:

Putty
Filezilla
Pidgin (jabber client)
TeamViewer
WebEx
Word,excel,Outlook
and I need to have the ability to drive two monitors (forgot to mention that earlier in my posts)

I may have to go to the Apple store to check out the two and compare.
The things that you do won't really benefit from the MBP over the MBA. The only reason I'd go with the mbp is if you wanted a larger screen size. Assuming you still want to get rid of your PC.
 

somebrains

[H]ard|Gawd
Joined
Nov 10, 2013
Messages
1,581
I'd look at the X230 over the MBA just BC I can stuff more ram in it.
Depends if you can get an OK for the PO ;)

Commute wise, the MBA is easier to live with on the subway.

Otherwise, its an issued device.
 

mi7chy

2[H]4U
Joined
May 22, 2013
Messages
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Do you use your NIC like for packet capture and can you put up with using a detachable dongle with higher risk of loss and unreliability? Also, consider the drawback of using a mouse touchpad if you like the ergonic and workflow of Thinkpad pointer. Lastly, make sure all your network tools and apps are available on OS X. See if you can get a loaner before ditching your Thinkpad.
 

dekard

2[H]4U
Joined
Nov 1, 2004
Messages
2,190
The point I think he's trying to make is that the ultra portable MacBook Air doesn't have room for a built in ethernet port. So, you'll end up getting a thunderbolt to ethernet adapter for $30t that'll do the job. I've used them before and never really had a problem... so, I wouldn't sweat this one.
 

mikey71497

Limp Gawd
Joined
Sep 27, 2004
Messages
215
All the software that I normally use on widows is available for the Mac so I am not too worried about that. I already submitted the helpdesk ticket for the swap. lets see what they have in inventory. If they dont have any 15" MacPro w/retina then I will just go with the Mac Air.

No we dont do any type of wire shark captures or anything like that so in the 7 months I have been here, I have never used my on board ethernet port. Everyone in the office uses wireless. Occasionally I will go hardwired at home but 99% of the time I am on wireless.

The Mac Air they hand out is a core i7, haswell, and 8gb of ram. for what I do, 4gb of ram is plenty, 8 is a bonus so even the Air will be fine.
 

dekard

2[H]4U
Joined
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Messages
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All the software that I normally use on widows is available for the Mac so I am not too worried about that. I already submitted the helpdesk ticket for the swap. lets see what they have in inventory. If they dont have any 15" MacPro w/retina then I will just go with the Mac Air.

No we dont do any type of wire shark captures or anything like that so in the 7 months I have been here, I have never used my on board ethernet port. Everyone in the office uses wireless. Occasionally I will go hardwired at home but 99% of the time I am on wireless.

The Mac Air they hand out is a core i7, haswell, and 8gb of ram. for what I do, 4gb of ram is plenty, 8 is a bonus so even the Air will be fine.
Well, it sounds like either one will work out nicely for you. Let us know what you think, eh?
 

mikey71497

Limp Gawd
Joined
Sep 27, 2004
Messages
215
Well, it sounds like either one will work out nicely for you. Let us know what you think, eh?

Will do. I put in a helpdesk ticket to swap for the MB Pro 15" w/Retina display. If they dont have any in inventory then I will go with the MB Air. Either one will suit just fine but the Retina will be easier on my againg eyes. haha
 

rflcptr

Supreme [H]ardness
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Messages
6,198
the retina model is the best choice, to me. it's unfortunate you don't also have access to a 13" to try, but at any rate, the 15" retina is very portable and capable (it's only a pound heavier).
 

mikey71497

Limp Gawd
Joined
Sep 27, 2004
Messages
215
the retina model is the best choice, to me. it's unfortunate you don't also have access to a 13" to try, but at any rate, the 15" retina is very portable and capable (it's only a pound heavier).

Yea I was hoping they had the 13" model but they don't, only the 15". I'll take it if they have one. Hopefully its NEW and not a used one. Call me OCD but I hate used hand me down laptops for work. I am one of those neat freaks with my equipment...no finger prints, crumbs in keyboard etc....:D
 

Grentz

Fully [H]
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I would go for the Lenovo X1 Carbon or Retina MBP 13.

I Use a rMBP 13 at work and it is great, nice and light. But if you are primarily on the windows side Fusion/Parallels can be a bit finicky at times (I use Fusion daily and find it the better of the two).

The X1 Carbon is an awesome machine as well. If I could, I would have gone for that. But my choices were rMBP or a crappy Dell e series.
 

mikey71497

Limp Gawd
Joined
Sep 27, 2004
Messages
215
I would go for the Lenovo X1 Carbon or Retina MBP 13.

I Use a rMBP 13 at work and it is great, nice and light. But if you are primarily on the windows side Fusion/Parallels can be a bit finicky at times (I use Fusion daily and find it the better of the two).

The X1 Carbon is an awesome machine as well. If I could, I would have gone for that. But my choices were rMBP or a crappy Dell e series.

X1 carbon is in "beta test" right now. IT is trying to get the big wigs to buy them as a MB Air match on the Windows platform. No telling how long it will take to bring into inventory and roll out.
 
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