How good is windows on a mac? I want to buy a mac BAD

Hey everyone.

   Lately, I'm really really wanting a macintosh. It's not a logical decision - as all my software is windows based. But still the draw to own a mac is nearly irresistable right now (a core 2 duo mac mini would push me over the edge instantly)

   so my question is - how good are these macs, when running windows?  Can you get all the drivers you need? do external usb/firewire devices work? Can you boot windows off an extrernal drive and leave your primary drive all mac?  I've heard parallels is pretty good, but I assume I'll need to dual boot (with bootcamp right?)

  Lastly, if anyone knows - are the basic macbooks they sell for $1100 user upgradable (ram, memory)?  I've heard that upgrading a mac mini voids the warranty - is that the same for the laptops or can I drop in a new Hard drive and max out the ram on my own?

  ok and as long as I'm asking a long list of questions...

   Frys has the old core duo macbooks at $200 off now that the core 2 duo's are out.
   Any significant differences? Could you run dual monitors with the old macbooks?

   Thanks Mac Fans,
   
    - Mac Wannabe
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fruhjAsked:
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davidis99Connect With a Mentor Commented:
Going through your questions a few at a time:

" so my question is - how good are these macs, when running windows? Can you get all the drivers you need?"

They're pretty good at running windows.  They're running fairly standard hardware, so you'll wind up with very few unsupported devices in device manager just by installing XP.

"do external usb/firewire devices work?"

In my experience so far, with Parallels Desktop, yes.  I can't speak for BootCamp/XP, but with Parallels, when you connect an external USB device, you enable the device through the Parallels menus, then they're available in Windows.

"Can you boot windows off an extrernal drive and leave your primary drive all mac?  I've heard parallels is pretty good, but I assume I'll need to dual boot (with bootcamp right?)"  

Boot Camp requires dual booting;  Parallels Desktop runs as a window within the MacOS, but does run applications at reasonable speeds.  I wouldn't do gaming with Parallels, but if you need to run Office, or run Windows web browsers, it's a very nice solution.

"Lastly, if anyone knows - are the basic macbooks they sell for $1100 user upgradable (ram, memory)?  I've heard that upgrading a mac mini voids the warranty - is that the same for the laptops or can I drop in a new Hard drive and max out the ram on my own?"

Every Mac laptop can have the RAM upgraded by its owner.   As far as the hard drive, the new ones come with a 120GB SATA drive - how much more space are ya gonna need?   Even the older ones come with 80GB, and if you're buying a basic MacBook, you're not looking at anything really storage intensive, except maybe an MP3 archive.

"ok and as long as I'm asking a long list of questions...Frys has the old core duo macbooks at $200 off now that the core 2 duo's are out.
Any significant differences? Could you run dual monitors with the old macbooks?"

The new Macbooks come with more standard hard drive space, the Core 2 Duos are noticeably faster than the Core Duos, and the standard RAM on the 2 Ghz Core 2 Duos is 1GB versus 512MB.  Right there, you've got your $200 and then some.
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