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Ask Max: Best Mac for BootCamp

Asked on 11/14/2007:

Our Brewing business was traditionally a Mac business, but due to software necessities we switched to PC about 6 years ago. I've heard the buzz about Intel based Macs, but am unsure where the change occurred. Which models will best handle the demands of running XP Pro & Leopard? Will Boot Camp work on slightly older models, like the G3 iBooks?

I apologize for not keeping up. I just found your website, and would like to eventually move the entire business in the Mac direction.


The Mac world has changed considerably over the years, but the switch to Intel processors has probably had the most impact. Intel-based Macs can run Windows, Linux, and OS X in a variety of ways.

Boot Camp lets you decide what OS you want to run when you start up your computer. When you choose to run Windows via Boot Camp, your Mac is just like any other PC. You also have most of the problems of Windows, but it lets you run heavy-duty Windows applications at incredible speeds. You can then restart the computer into the Mac OS to do everything else, in a safe and productive environment. This solution works well for people who do only a few tasks in Windows for a set amount of time.

For the people who have to use a Windows application many times a day, restarting the computer is going to be a time waster. For that reason the best way of running Windows on an Intel Mac is with a program like Parallels. Parallels lets you run the Windows OS and the Mac OS at the same time, side-by-side. You can even set it up so that the few Windows programs you use will appear to be part of your Mac OS. Both Booth Camp and Parallels require you to by a copy of Windows to install on your Mac. If you have a copy of Windows XP SP 2 already, you can reuse that on your Mac.

With regards to hardware, you are locked into Intel-based Macs if you want to run Windows in the above ways. PowerPC Macs will not work, meaning that any Mac with a G3, G4, or G5 processor is not going to do what you want. You will have to buy a MacBook, MacBook Pro, Mac Pro, Intel Mac mini or Intel iMac. The good news is that all the Intel Macs will also run the new Mac OS, Leopard, perfectly.

I hope this helps and as a side note: I'm an Evergreen graduate and drank many a night in your Fish Tail Brew Pub. I do miss the seasonal cider. Keep up your good work!

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