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Med School and Laptops (PC vs. Mac)

Discussion in 'Pre-Medical Allopathic [ MD ]' started by FutureDoc2012, Oct 29, 2007.

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  1. FutureDoc2012

    FutureDoc2012 Class of 2012

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    I am in the market to replace my crappy PC w/ a macbook.

    Do many schools have strict standards about this? I would hate to buy a mac only to find out that the school i matriculate to requires one vs. the other.

    Thoughts?
  2. l8stxit

    l8stxit

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    I've interviewed at a couple schools where their IT scenario is one of the following two:
    1) We (the school) tell you what machine you HAVE to get
    2) We (the school) have some requirements to which the laptop you purchase should/must conform...but brand/model is up to you

    I'm sure there are other places that are more liberal; HOWEVER, I'd wait until you know where you are going before you buy a computer. Unless, of course, you don't care about having to replace it or are so far away from med school that it won't matter for a couple years.
  3. Cataract

    Cataract Pentavarit Member

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    If you had to choose, I say go for the windows laptop or PC. I'm surprised Mac lasted as far as it did. A Mac is pretty and innovative, sure, but 90% world works on internet explorer and windows. You'll have less compatibility issues and you won't look like a new age hippie.
  4. dmozer

    dmozer

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    Actually, if you want to have a more secure computer, that is faster get a Mac. All of the new macbooks can also run Windows, so if you get into medical school and discover that you need to run a windows only program you can swallow your pride and buy a copy of windows (often for only $5 through a school's bookstore). Or you can take your chances with high rates of viruses and spyware, get a pc, and either hope you know the right people, or figure out how to reinstall windows several times over the life of the computer--your choice. Mac FTW!!!
  5. 45408

    45408 aw buddy

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    Then you can also go online and post misinformation about computers as well.
  6. Depakote

    Depakote CA-2 Moderator Emeritus Lifetime Donor

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    Just speaking through experience. My histo lab was 100% virtual and a lot of the people with macbooks had trouble getting the slides to work.
  7. DianaUT06

    DianaUT06 MS4

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    I don't know about misinformation...but his opinion is pretty accurate from my experience. ;)

    EDIT: Oh, and I've heard of people at the med school I work at that use the new macs for running windows when necessary. They've had no problems!
  8. BluePhoenix

    BluePhoenix

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    There's a bit of a transition going on at most schools. Mac sales among college students, particularly in the laptop division has gained a significant percentage, to the extent that at many schools Macs are becoming a majority. Macbooks were offered at Mayo for the first time this year to incoming med students and over 90% went with the Mac.

    I would say, get whichever one you like best. I'm partial to Macs but hey, whatever floats your boat. Macs dual boot into both the mac operating system and windows, so if you get a mac and decide you'd rather use windows or you need windows for something in particular...you can just boot up into windows or use parallels. That being said my roomate and I both have macs with windows installed on part of the hard drive and I honestly couldn't tell you the last time I actually used the windows half.
  9. maestro1625

    maestro1625

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    wait until you decide where you're going. Once that's figured out you'll know if your school has a required machine. Unless it does, a Macbook should be fine. (I'm probably going to order one this weekend now that Leopard is out).
  10. titaniumbolt

    titaniumbolt

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    I would recommend the following:

    1) Wait until you know where you're going (Med School X)
    2) See what Med School X requires for a computer
    3) If Med School X requires a specific computer (doubtful), go with it. If not, buy a MacBook or MacBook Pro.

    I've owned a MacBook Pro since May (my Dell died in January while I was overseas). Couldn't be happier, and I can run Windows on it, as well (Madden, Halo, etc.). It runs Windows better than a PC - no trial software or stuff like that.

    And regarding the 'misinformation' about spyware, viruses, etc. on PCs? Yeah - PCs are completely prone to that stuff. It's not misinformation, just the truth. I'm very cautious about what I install, and my last PC was slowing down within a month of ownership. I've had my Mac for 5 months now and it's as good as new.
  11. TheRealMD

    TheRealMD "The Mac Guy"

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    Few schools have 100% strict standards, but their IT department may choose to decline to help you if you do not use their "official" solution.

    Since MacBooks can run Windows decently well and you will probably never be far away from an outlet, I'd say go ahead and get a Mac. A refurb Core Duo MacBook can be had for as little as $849 from the online Apple store (and it looks brand new too).

    Plus, there are few laptops than can boast a 6 hour battery life while weighing 5 lbs!
  12. 45408

    45408 aw buddy

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    Acquisition of viruses and spyware is almost always due to "user error." And I've never re-installed Windows on any of my machines. I've done it for other people, but again, I attribute that to the aforementioned issue.
  13. DianaUT06

    DianaUT06 MS4

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    I guess you were just lucky! In the past, when I had a PC, I would always have to reinstall Windows at least once a year. Didn't matter how many firewalls and whatnot I used to protect it. :thumbdown: So I gave up on Windows. :D
  14. SB100

    SB100

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    Actually, now more people use Firefox than IE now.
  15. Depakote

    Depakote CA-2 Moderator Emeritus Lifetime Donor

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    more people, yes... is software designed for it, no.
  16. etf

    etf Moderator Emeritus

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    i just installed leopard onto my macbook pro - holy s.
  17. j-weezy

    j-weezy MS1

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    same.....pretty, no?
  18. nick_carraway

    nick_carraway

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    I know. Mail moves so much faster now. I like how effective the changes are too. They really do things that you never noticed you were missing before. I like the ability to change grid size for icons on the desktop to narrow the space between them or quick look or the new airport network view. I'm even surprised by how much I like stacks although the fan view is kinda irritating.

    The only things that irritate me are the system preferences dock icon (ugly) and the transparent menu bar.

    I've always used macs (school/work) and PCs (games) since I was little but I don't think I've had an OS work so well on a system as Leopard does on my Macbook. All that's missing is the new MS Office suite.
  19. 45408

    45408 aw buddy

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    Throw in a few plug-ins, and there isn't anything that IE7 can do that Firefox can't, or at least not anything I've ever tried to use.
  20. Cataract

    Cataract Pentavarit Member

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    I actually have Firefox as my default explorer, but it frustrates the hell out of me when I run into a website that isn't compatible with Firefox. It happens every other week and if it wasn't for the customization of Firefox, I would have dropped it long ago. I think the same might be said for Macs. They're fun and all, but I can't see it as a universal, user-friendly, family computer like PCs.

    And I'm agreeing with Prowler that it's "user error" for most of the security breaches.
  21. Concubine

    Concubine PDE5 inhibited

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    I used to be a PC fan, still am since they play games MUCH better. However, about a year ago I traded in my PC for an imac. Since then, I have not been disappointed and could not imagine going back. It's a combination of things...

    1. ilife = awsome software suite that no pc applications have yet matched
    2. I was a graphic designer and appreciate the extent to which mac has catered to this demographic.
    3. I can still play games (even windows) with bootcamp. However, if you want to play the latest games, mac might not be the best choice.
    4. no antivirus software, no monthly scans, no hardrive defrag, maintenence time just goes WAY down.
    5. I always had problems networking with my PC (windows XP was infamous for this), no problems with my mac.
    6. ichat and webcam built in. Even though I live 500 miles from my family, I can connect to them instantly and for free via video.
    7. the OS is not near as complicated, which means a lot less things can go wrong.

    Anyways, just my two cents. I would highly recommend the mac. I know that a PC is MUCH more customizable. However, mac does a wonderful job of helping most people who don't have the knowledge of a computer programmer.

    EDIT: I just realized this was for a LAPTOP. For this, my opinion changes a little bit. Mac laptops are still, in my opinion, WAY TO EXPENSIVE for the notebooks! If your in the market for a desktop, choose mac. If you need a laptop, like I will soon for med school, get a PC unless someone can hook you up with a good deal. Although I would rather have the mac (ignoring price), you just get way more for your dollar with a PC laptop.
  22. j-weezy

    j-weezy MS1

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    I love Spaces and Time Machine - I also appreciate the lack of clutter due to the Stacks

    long story short - I LOVE LEOPARD
  23. TheRealMD

    TheRealMD "The Mac Guy"

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    Refurb MacBook can be had for $849. With all the benefits you just listed, I think it's worth a bit more, no?

    I personally have a MacBook Pro. I can't live without a "real" video card. :D
  24. nick_carraway

    nick_carraway

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    See that's the problem I'm having with my Macbook--the lack of a video card. Drives me nuts that the fan spins up when the onboard video is used to watch youtube. It's embarassing too if I'm at a quiet library.

    My mom uses a 15'' Macbook Pro and I'd splurge for one if I got into med school. It did feel like a step back going to a Macbook from a 12'' Powerbook though :)

    I totally agree that a desktop PC is better for gaming but for work & school, I prefer my Mac.
  25. gobluegirl

    gobluegirl

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    Yeah, the new, powerful games do not work well on a mac even with bootcamp or parallels. Doom 3 is just not the same on a mac.

    However, once we're in med school there won't be time for playing games anyway. So, unless your school specifies a certain model, get whatever computer you want :D.
  26. TheRealMD

    TheRealMD "The Mac Guy"

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    Yeah, I had that dilemma too. Ultimately I had decided that if I didn't have the money for a MacBook Pro right then and there, I would have bought a MacBook + cheap Windows gaming PC. Total cost would have been around $1500 or so (and we're talking a pretty good Windows PC here).

    Besides, don't schools give an INSANE amount of funds for buying a computer? Not that you really should splurge so much (I recall 2 schools giving you $3200), but oh well.

    :thumbup:
  27. Concubine

    Concubine PDE5 inhibited

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    I know the base model mac laptops are relatively cheap. However, you don't get very much bang for your buck. For 849 you get a 80GB harddrive, CDRW/DVD reader, 13" screen, and no video card. For a PC laptop, if you bargain hunt, you can get a 14.1 - 17" screen, highend video card, 2GB of ram, 120-160GB harddrive, DVD burner, and the works for the same price or less. I think the mac would be great if they would include some higher base specs.

    Example on current pc deal from xpbargains.com:

    Dell Biz: Vostro 1500 notebook T5470 15.4in 1GB 160GB DVD+-RW $599 shipped

    Dell Small Business has the Dell Vostro 1500 Notebook w/ Core 2 Duo T5270 1.4GHz, 15.4in WXGA, 1GB, 160GB, DVD+-RW, 128MB NVIDIA GeForce 8400M GS, 802.11g wireless, XP Home or Vista Home Basic, 1yr warranty for only $599 w/ free shipping. 2GB RAM and 9-cell battery $699.
  28. Auron

    Auron Cruisin' the Cosmos

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    That dell is a suberb deal. With that configuration that price is excellent.

    I have my eye on the new Sony Vaio FZ.
  29. NFiasco

    NFiasco Hurt me soul

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    screw macs, just get a tablet pc... so much more useful. :thumbup:
  30. Concubine

    Concubine PDE5 inhibited

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    Yes, that is what I plan on doing. For about the same price as the baseline mac:

    HP Home Store has the ultraportable HP Pavilion tx1000z Entertainment Notebook w/ Turion 64 X2 Dual-Core TL-58 1.8GHz, 12.1" WXGA+ Wide Viewing Touch-screen (stylus included), GeForce Go6150, 1GB, 120GB SATA, DVD+-RW, 56k/NIC, 802.11b/g wireless, Vista Home Premium for $1100 - $150 off = $950 w/ free shipping. 2GB +$50. webcam +$25, lightscribe +$10.

    Only >3.95 lbs w/ 4-cell battery, convertible 1 12.1" display twists, HP Imprint Finish + Microphone.

    Killer deal.
  31. foreverLaur

    foreverLaur Future PA-C

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    Right now you can get $425 off a Dell Inspiron notebook. As a student, you can get 12% off any HP or Dell notebook.

    Personally, I'd recommend getting a 4 year warranty on whatever you buy. That way, you are guaranteed you will have a working laptop throughout medical school. Or at least do it for the first two years.

    I would recommend Vista Ultimate. A lot of school networks won't let you connect unless you have the superb security of Vista Business/Ultimate and Business lackos all the multimedia features. Additionally... Vista Ultimate is just cool :) I have Home Premium on my laptop and Ultimate on my desktop.

    I'd also recommend getting the biggest battery offered. Even with my tiny 12" notebook turned down all the way just having OneNote opened, I still only get about 4 hours of battery life with the biggest battery offered. I barely make it through classes!

    Do NOT get an integrated video card. Especially with Vista, you will regret it later because you are stuck with it. I'd go with a 128MB graphics card. I couldn't even play The Sims on a 64MB graphics card.

    I personally prefer Intel processors because they have a much bigger cache... and I notice a significant difference. I also can't find very many AMD notebooks that offer non-integrated graphics cards.

    I'd buy a 1 GB of RAM and upgrade to 2 GB later. Most companies charge $100-$125 to upgrade from 1 GB to 2 GB which is absurd. I paid $60 for two 1 GB sticks of memory, installed them in under 2 minutes, and sold my two 512 MB sticks for $25 on eBay. Much cheaper!!

    Definitely pay the extra to get the N wireless card vs the G wireless card. Even with G routers, you notice a big difference. The signal you pick up will be much stronger, you will pick up more signals, and there will be less interruption. Soon, the world will transition to N wireless routers as well and that will make it even stronger.


    I have never understood the Mac craze. I can't figure out what makes them so fantastic. The reason that Mac's dont get viruses is because nobody writes viruses for Macs. PCs vastly outnumber Mac's so everyone writes viruses for PCs. If you get virus protection (which is FREE if you are a student) and don't click on silly popups then you won't have a problem. I was lazy and didn't even have virus protection for 4 month and still didn't get a single virus.
    If your Mac breaks, you do what... take it to the Apple store, wait for it to be fixed, and go pick it up? If my Dell breaks, I don't have to even get up. I chat online with smeone, they overnight a part to me, and the next day a tech comes to my house and fixes it on-site. I'd hate to lose my laptop with all my notes on it while in the midst of studying for an exam...
    Oh and I am yet to find a person who is pleased with how well the Parallel thing works. Most my friends find it extremely problematic. Down the road, if you want a Mac go for it. While you are in an education setting that is PC based... make your life easy and get a PC. Med school is hard enough... why complicate it?


    Anyways - I own a small business that (1) helps people buy computers (2) educates people on buying computers and computer hardware (3) builds desktops so if anyone has any questions, feel free to PM me. I have built over 300 desktops and sold over 700 computers :)

    Oh and that $425 off a Dell Inspiron notebook is good through Nov 1. PM me if you want that coupon code as well.
  32. nehcmij86

    nehcmij86

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    i've had PCs all of my life but im definitely switching to Mac next year

    i'm waiting for the apple ultralight macbook pro to come out
    it's going to be 12", 2lbs, and 2/3 in thick
  33. foreverLaur

    foreverLaur Future PA-C

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    no way they can put anything remotely powerful in it though. sure your computer will weigh 2 lbs and mine will weigh 3 lbs but my computer will be faster and more powerful. sorry, saving $1,000 and having an extra pound to lug around just seems so worth it...
  34. nehcmij86

    nehcmij86

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    don't underestimate apple's engineers
  35. Isoprop

    Isoprop Fascinating, tell me more

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  36. foreverLaur

    foreverLaur Future PA-C

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    i'll still save my $1,000, have a computer that I know works with my school, have a computer that has more available software, less expensive software, better tech support, better warranty, and far more customization options.

    $150 to upgrade from 1GB to 2GB of RAM? What? It cost me $35 to do it myself. What if I want a 7200RMP hard drive? Why can't I pick my graphics card? Why can't I pick the speed of my memory? Why can't I pick between processors? Why can't I pick my battery size? Why can't I select a media card reader? Why can't I pick CD/DVD burner options? Why won't they come to my house and fix my broken computer? Why is everything so overpriced?
  37. se2131

    se2131

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    Hah, thought I was the only one, guess not. Free, simple, and resource-friendly

    Vista? really? such a resource hog...
  38. foreverLaur

    foreverLaur Future PA-C

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    I have been quite pleased with Vista. I upgraded my laptop from XP Pro to Vista Home Premium and put Vista Ultimate on my desktop when I built it in September.

    I have been 100% problem free with Vista. Everything works including my three year old printer and my favorite DOS game.

    It functions quickly and efficiently. I wouldn't dream of going back to XP or Linux.
  39. Isoprop

    Isoprop Fascinating, tell me more

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    exactly. i'd stick with XP unless the school absolutely requires it. i agree with a lot of foreverLaur's points though. i don't think an upgraded videocard is worth the money. why would you play games on a puny laptop?
  40. Isoprop

    Isoprop Fascinating, tell me more

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    well the other thing to consider is that a lot of laptops come with vista preinstalled. a shame =(
  41. foreverLaur

    foreverLaur Future PA-C

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    well Vista won't run as well without it. games are a nice break. i normally play games on my desktop as I have a 24" and a 22" monitors, but when not at home i'm all over gaming on my 12" notebook! you wouldn't believe the drastic difference i have noticed even when watching simple videos, to playing The Sims, to playing Yahoo games I download for free when I upgraded from a 64MB to a 128MB. When you can save 12" off HP and Dell and with the $425 off a Dell notebook right now, the $100 isn't that much more... especially if they are willing to pay $500+ more for a Mac!

    you can still get Dell notebooks with XP instead of Vista, but Microsoft is still phasing out support for XP so I would recommend against it. i can't figure out why everyone hates Vista - I have been problem free and very happy. also, it is very easy to do a dual boot with XP and Vista.
  42. nehcmij86

    nehcmij86

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    you'll save your money and get the blue screen grief
  43. Isoprop

    Isoprop Fascinating, tell me more

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    which is why i don't recommend vista. it's a big memory hog. and xp runs just fine for now. 1 gig of memory perfect for taking notes, writing papers, surfing the web, watching videos, etc. this is normal stuff i do on my laptop. i guess if you want a powerhouse, yes grab the extra mem and video card. in the end, it's what kind of tool you are looking for. if it's a mac, pc, or some flavor of linux, just make sure it fits.
  44. se2131

    se2131

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    My laptop is not a brand-spanking-new one (3.2GHz Pentium 4, but only 768MB RAM). I suppose that if you have a laptop that's built with Vista in mind (with ridiculous RAM requirements, 1GB minimum?), then you shouldn't see too much in the way of performance issues.

    But when I sent my laptop in for repairs (FYI: a pentium 4 chip on a laptop is a TERRIBLE idea, do not ever buy one of these), I borrowed my dad's laptop for a week w/ Vista, and it was an extremely frustrating week. This was a laptop built w/ Vista in mind, and the OS was slow as a slug. He set up a duel-boot w/ XP and that ran very smoothly.

    I have XP and Ubuntu set up as a duel-boot, but I'm regretting even keeping XP like this b/c I never boot into it anymore (and it takes up hard drive space). I have a virtual machine set up w/in Ubuntu that allows me to run all Windows XP programs perfectly. I'm assuming that there are ways to do the same on Macs also (though I'd take a PC over Mac anyday, just putting it out there as an option).
  45. Isoprop

    Isoprop Fascinating, tell me more

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    :thumbup:
  46. nehcmij86

    nehcmij86

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    im still on xp, afraid to upgrade to vista due to the stuff that i hear about it
  47. nick_carraway

    nick_carraway

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    I used it for a bit and I do miss some features in it compared to XP but the poor gaming performance due to limited 8800 video driver support, slow file transfer rate (due to be corrected in SP1), and the terrible driver support for Creative sound cards isn't worth the upgrade. DX10 isn't worth the trouble.
  48. foreverLaur

    foreverLaur Future PA-C

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    1. I have never had a blue screen.
    2. I am still 100% problem free with Vista. I absolutely love it. I had a dual boot with XP for a while but never booted to XP and eventually got rid of it.

    On my laptop I am running Vista on 1 GB of memory, a slower dual core processor, and it is a 256MB graphics card but none of it is dedicated - all shared. Vista runs just as well as XP ever did.

    My desktop has the second best processor in existance (only one faster costs more than my entire computer), 2GB RAM @ 800 MHz (more RAM would only slow me down), two 500GB hard drives for a total of 1TB, a 1GB graphics card... so obv Vista Ultimate is running quite well :)

    In terms of how fast the computer runs for daily tasks like opening up Firefox or Word, I don't notice a difference between my laptop and desktop though.

    4am - off to bed! class tomorrow :)



    I had a random problem with my Dell desktop with a Creative sound card. Dell and Creative couldn't solve it so I am officially the only person to return a Dell computer outside the 30 day return window (and this was 8 months after purchase). When I built my own desktop, I bought my Creative sound card directly from Creative (not the modified Dell crap) and it works like a charm. Companies like Dell, HP, etc get the skeleton from Creative and then modify it. This is why there are so many problems. The sound cards directly from Creative do NOT have these driver issues.
  49. Isoprop

    Isoprop Fascinating, tell me more

    Joined:
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    Status:
    Medical Student
    SDN 2+ Year Member
    it'll be a few years before ms phases out XP. remember how long win98 support lasted? XP still is the popular choice.

    why is vista not doing so well? probably bc it's a glorfied version of xp imho. why upgrade? i don't see a need to as of this moment.
  50. nick_carraway

    nick_carraway

    Joined:
    Mar 7, 2007
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    Medical Student
    SDN 7+ Year Member
    Except they do. I bought mine retail Creative card from Fry's and there are problems. Read Creative's own driver support info for X-fi cards. They don't say that lot A or lot B have driver issues. Their own documentation shows that for their entire X-fi line, only half the virtualization support and other features found in XP are available in Vista and the rest are only being rolled out slowly.

    Nvidia took another 4 months to get the first reasonable 8800 drivers for Vista and even then, there were serious problems with games such as Chaos Theory and Rainbow Six: Las Vegas. Most problems have been resolved but the performance hit you'd see from XP to Vista is only worth it for DX10 which has thus far, been unimpressive in real gameplay.

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