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  1. #1
    marianne202's Avatar
    marianne202 is offline Grand Duke / Duchess
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    Default IT Pros: Advice Needed!

    I know we have a lot of IT pros here so I'm looking for some advice. My son is starting his IT security degree and he is also doing some certifications along the way for software and security specialist. We wan to get him a laptop for homework but we are divided on what is the best option for him. He wants a Mac but all his Linux, Cisco etc will all be on PC's. I think a PC will be more practical since his work will all be done on PC's and the software will all be geared towards PC's. He thinks a Mac is a more secure system that offers better value for money. He also has a lot of his previous work saved from a Mac so he won't be able to download it to his PC. So what do the experts here recommend would be best? Any recommended models? He has been looking a 3D gaming and multimedia models but, I think he just needs something with a fast processor and lots of storage. Please help point me in the right direction so we don't waste our money! Thanks!
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  2. #2
    IgnazSemmelweis's Avatar
    IgnazSemmelweis is offline Knight / Dame
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    Mac OSX is based on BSD Unix, so that covers the Linux angle. I know several Unix/Linux sysadmins who like using a Mac. Mac/Windows doesn't matter for Cisco. If he gets farther along in his Cisco studies and starts using emulators instead of shelling out $$$$ for routers, he will be able to run dynamips on the Mac.

    Cisco network administration is my day job, so if you or he has any questions, feel free to ask.
    "He who loves practice without theory is like the sailor who boards ship without a rudder and a compass and never knows where he may cast" - Leonardo Da Vinci

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  3. #3
    brothert69 is offline Knight / Dame
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    Macs are now intel based so a mac can actually run windows as well as osx and if he doesnt like bsd he can also run any of the linux flavors. If he likes macs then get him a mac. He can use bootcamp to set up a dual boot between windows and osx

  4. #4
    laoshijeff is offline Minor Noble
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    I'm not a pro just yet but I have a MacBook but most of my assignments are in Visual Studio which is a Windows only program. I'm able to use Visual Studio because any current Mac has BootCamp capability which allows the user to run both Mac and Windows on the same computer. If I want to use Windows, I just press the Option key while booting up and I choose the partition that has Windows on it. For him, this will be simple along with the actual installation process.

    Since he's a student, he'll get free access to Microsoft Dreamspark and should be able to download Windows 7. If not, he'll be able to download it if his school has a partnership with Microsoft Academic Alliance (where I got my copy).

    Everything works great except a few things are just a bit different but nothing that would really prevent him from doing assignments that may require a PC. All of my programming assignments compile just as well as they would if I used an actual PC.
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  5. #5
    scorched is offline Knight Champion
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    if you decide to get the mac.
    Get vmware fusion and don't bootcamp, its overrated to switch between win and mac when you can run both at the same time like i do
    VMware Fusion: Run Windows on Mac for Desktop Virtualization

    he can run any OS he needs in a virtual environment all virtually networked together! and many of them at the same. I did whats called a P2V, physical to virtual, conversion of my windows corporate laptop that now runs in my mac while my mac is booted..hence the comment about forget the bootcamp.

    Mac's are NOT necessarily more secure than windows, it just a smaller market and therefore the so called hackers do not target it as much. As an avid mac user, they are not higher in value either. You can get a way faster PC laptop for the less money than a mac. And I find it a little hard to believe he created stuff on a mac that CANT be copied to a pc. They are alot more compatible than people think. You can get a student discount which might get you up to 10% off if you choose the apple.
    Last edited by scorched; 07-29-2011 at 07:28 AM.

  6. #6
    costic's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by hmuchmo1
    if decide get the mac.
    Get vmware fusion and don't bootcamp, its overrated to switch between win and mac when you can run both at the same time like i do
    VMware Fusion: Run Windows on Mac for Desktop Virtualization

    he can run any OS he needs in a virtual environment all virtually networked together! and many of them at the same. I did whats called a P2V, physical to virtual, conversion of my windows corporate laptop that now runs in my mac while my mac is booted..hence the comment about forget the bootcamp.

    Mac's are NOT necessarily more secure than windows, it just a smaller market and therefore the so called hackers do not target it as much. As an avid mac user, they are not higher in value either. You can get a way faster PC laptop for the less money than a mac. And I find it a little hard to believe he created stuff on a mac that CANT be copied to a pc. They are alot more compatible than people think. You can get a student discount which might get you up to 10% off if you choose the apple.

    I run Win7 with Leopard OSX via VMware from time to time ;-)

    It's more of a preference IMO. If my kid asked for a Mac, I'd get her one but she's only a toddler. Wait, my toddler has an iPad but that's another story.

    From your post, it sounds like he's pitching a MAC pretty hard. I would get them what they're asking for since they're motivated to use it and maybe they'll take better care.

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  7. #7
    bkahuna's Avatar
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    Buy the mac, you can run windows in a Mac Window with the Parallels software.

    Note, the mac is going to be more expensive, and any PC software you might have you'll have to re-buy.

    And yes in the corporate world we're 95% PC, but the lines are starting to blur, most applications are becoming web based, and either way, Mac or PC, one translates to the other more or less.

    Note: I'm an IT director in a global company and I oversee all the networks, desktops, servers and telephones for 110 locations
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  8. #8
    pixaloop's Avatar
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    I work with the latest 5 Windows OS clients and the latest 3 Mac clients.
    (XP, Vista x86, Vista x64, Win7 x86, Win7 x64 - OS X 10.5, 10.6, 10.7)

    I prefer an HP laptop with Win7x64. The value and reliability is solid. Windows is quick and the OS polished.

    The Mac is cute, it's just not serious in my opinion.

    Most, if not any Linux distro can be booted off the DVD nowadays. No need to devote a laptop to one.

    Note: When I do work in Linux, I prefer Ubuntu or openSUSE.
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  9. #9
    irnbru's Avatar
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    Windows laptop to be able to actually do everything he needs at a reasonable price for the hardware. Anything else he can install himself.

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  10. #10
    dcan is offline Grand Duke / Duchess
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    Something key to consider, if he is doing any "hard" security instead of just "security policy/management", is that he should probably also have access to a windows box and a unix box at some point. Maybe good if he has a Mac for the early days, but (eventually) it may be best to also get a (cheap) second laptop running Windows and Linux virtualized. Then he can play all day long with his newfound hacking skills on his own test box and see first-hand what happens from the offense and defense side.

    Of course, maybe that should be a goal for him to get with the money he gets from his side job....

    I say this because for example UMUC offers a course that prepares you for the Certified Ethical Hacker certification, which is very technical.

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