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Old 2008-05-04, 00:41   Link #1
guest
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Join Date: Nov 2003
A Windows/MAC as media center?

I am considering buying a desktop MAC but install Windows XP and use it as a media center, not playing games (not much), but to watch HDTV/DVD with it.

Is this a good idea? I don't know if a MAC can be installed with a TV tuner card for old analog cable TV connection (a must), at least a DVI output (and a input, too, if such thing exists), and HDMI for HDTV. Is there anything I should include if I want to configure it to a media center?

But I don't have much money and I don't know a thing about MAC and this "parallel" program that allows a MAC to run on Windows. I think a MAC is more stable than windows and I am so sick of Windows Vista now, highly unstable, very buggy, very annoying.

Is this so called "parallel" works on any and every software that is windows only? Say adobe photoshop? Yes, I know they have MAC version but I have some scientific software that can only to be run in Windows. I need to make sure that this MAC will indeed run smoothly with any software in Windows XP.
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Old 2008-05-04, 00:59   Link #2
Ledgem
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Join Date: Mar 2003
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Quote:
Originally Posted by guest View Post
I am considering buying a desktop MAC but install Windows XP and use it as a media center, not playing games (not much), but to watch HDTV/DVD with it.

Is this a good idea?
No, that's a waste of money. You're looking for a media center. There are Apple systems that can handle what you want, but if you're set on sticking with Windows then you're better off buying a cheaper system. I don't think Windows XP is a great media-type OS, personally.

Quote:
I don't know if a MAC can be installed with a TV tuner card for old analog cable TV connection (a must), at least a DVI output (and a input, too, if such thing exists), and HDMI for HDTV. Is there anything I should include if I want to configure it to a media center?
I believe there are supported cards for those, but it depends on what type of Apple you're looking for. As far as I know, only the Mac Pro will let you add in those types of cards, and that's the most expensive Apple system you can get.

Look at the Apple TV option. That's basically Apple's media center system. It has a number of hookups - check and see if it matches what you need.

Quote:
But I don't have much money and I don't know a thing about MAC and this "parallel" program that allows a MAC to run on Windows. I think a MAC is more stable than windows and I am so sick of Windows Vista now, highly unstable, very buggy, very annoying.
Mac OS X is fine for media. Most Apple systems now come with a remote and IR receiver, and this really shines with its "Front Row" feature. Front Row basically brings up a nice, large menu with options for music, video, and pictures (I may be forgetting another one - I don't use it often). Go to Videos and it'll list all movies/videos on your computer. Cycle through it, find what you want, and then hit Play - now it's playing. All of this is made to be easily accessed and used with the remote. The transitions between menus are flashy enough to make you feel like you're using something furutistic.

Quote:
Is this so called "parallel" works on any and every software that is windows only? Say adobe photoshop? Yes, I know they have MAC version but I have some scientific software that can only to be run in Windows. I need to make sure that this MAC will indeed run smoothly with any software in Windows XP.
What you're thinking of is called "Parallels" and it's virtualization software. Virtualization works like this: the virtualization program acts as a "virtual PC" where the guest operating system installs to. The guest OS doesn't realize that it's actually running inside of another OS. I use virtualization to run Windows XP, Windows Vista, and a few Linux distributions under Mac OS X. It's incredibly useful, especially if you're only using Windows relatively sparingly (admittedly, when I first started using Mac OS X, I was using Windows XP through Parallels about 90% of the time I was on my computer).

These days I use VMWare Fusion instead of Parallels. VMWare is the "industry leader" in virtualization, and it's very, very good. I'd imagine that Parallels and VMWare Fusion are more or less equivalent at this point, so get whatever is cheaper. Photoshop ran perfectly fine in Parallels and runs fine in VMWare Fusion.

There are two big things you should know about virtual machines. First, graphics are still being worked on. Both Parallels and VMWare Fusion support DirectX 9.0 (but not 9.0c!) in Windows XP only (not Vista (so no Aero), not 2000, not ME, not 98); games and applications that require the latest DirectX will not run, at this point. OpenGL acceleration is not supported yet, either. In other words, don't expect to be able to play the latest Windows games in virtual machines. The second thing you should know is that virtualization can get heavy on your system's RAM. I can't see how much RAM the AppleTV has, but you'll probably want at least 2 GB if you'll be virtualizing Windows XP. If you're going to be doing media-intensive work in Windows XP you're going to probably want even more RAM than that.
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