Having gone through two internal hard drives and risking running it from a Firewire drive for far too long now, it was time to replace my good old iBook G4 with something a bit more 2007. Like something that is clocked in multiple GHz and can run both Mac OS X and lesser operating systems for the sake of convenience Battlefield 2.
Here’s the specs of my latest baby:
- 15-inch matte display (1440×900)
- 2.13GHz Intel Core 2 Duo
- 2GB RAM
- 120GB hard drive
- ATI Mobility Radeon X1600 (128MB)
- Bluetooth 2.0+EDR
- Airport Extreme (802.11n)
- 6x dual-layer Superdrive
- Mac OS X 10.4.9/Windows XP Pro (via Boot Camp)
Ended up costing me £1,150 after student discount.
I bought it with the stock 1GB RAM and added another 1GB stick myself (£40 from Crucial compared to £140 from Apple, which is in the dictionary next to ‘no brainer’) and it’s awesome. It obviously performs much better than my iBook and I’ve been playing with some Intel-only apps and stuff that’s been added to OS X since I last bought a new Mac like Front Row and the Joost beta to which I got an invite last week. The iBook couldn’t play 720p video smoothly but I downloaded a couple of 1080p trailers and this plays them without a hitch. Lovely!
The only annoyance was that it doesn’t ship with all the latest updates, so I had to download a stack of patches before I could really get down to playing. That included 10.4.9 which came out well over a month ago, so I wonder how long this was sitting in a warehouse. But if that sounds bad when I installed XP Pro I had to download SP2 (200MB+) and 55 (!) security updates.
It was the ability to boot into Windows that had me quite intrigued, mainly because my three years of almost exclusive Mac use meant three years with only fleeting games of Battlefield 2 and Counter-Strike. Getting XP Pro installed took a couple of attempts because I only have a copy with Service Pack 1 installed, so I had to use AutoStreamer to make a copy with SP2 integrated to that I could install the necessary Mac drivers.
That done, though, it works brilliantly, and coupled with Parallels so that I can visualise Windows while using OS X (I’m using it as I type this to download my Steam games) I get to have the best of both worlds. No more relying on occasional Mac ports or the computing anachronism in the other room to use most of the PSP hack applications, and some CS action is but a reboot away.
Hopefully my computing needs will be set for the next few years now.