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Macbook As A Desktop?

 
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Smallwheels
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PostPosted: Thu Sep 11, 2008 4:00 am    Post subject: Macbook As A Desktop? Reply with quote

Hello Laptop people! I have come to this forum to ask advice. I know very little about laptop idiosyncrasies. Since learning about Apple computers I decided that the Mac Mini would be the best computer for me. Unfortunately it seems that Apple isn't updating them this month, therefore I must get something else soon. My current computer is old and misbehaving.

I've seen on this forum that there is a way to use a laptop computer as a desktop by just plugging in a mouse, keyboard, and display (BYODKM). By using a Macbook in this way I'll just be missing some USB ports.

My concern is whether the internal components would wear out faster due to being hotter than if they were in a desktop enclosure. In another post in this section someone mentioned that by keeping their screen closed the computer got hotter than with the screen open. This is because the screen traps the heat that is coming up from the keyboard.

I keep my computer on 24 hours a day all the time. It only shuts off during power failures. Would this be a problem for the Macbook? I have read about battery care. I could just unplug the power cord for the first few hours of use each day in order to let the batteries go through a power cycle. Doing this should let them last longer.

Actually I wouldn't need to ever remove the computer from my home. The Macbook would just be used as a desktop computer. Can the battery pack be removed and have it just get power from the wall socket?

Why not buy an iMac? I intend to connect the computer to a much larger screen than the iMac 24.

Something else; though Leopard is capable of operating 64 bit programs, is the Macbook board natively 64 bit compatible?

I checked the Apple Store and just learned that sometimes there are refurbished Macbooks with better specs than a new Mini for nearly the same price; otherwise I would just get a Mini.

Thank you for your help laptop people.

Smallwheels
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Krametash
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PostPosted: Thu Sep 11, 2008 5:45 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hi,

I'm not sure about all your questions, but I can answer a few:

I could just unplug the power cord for the first few hours of use each day in order to let the batteries go through a power cycle
You can't drive an external display without plugging in the power.

Can the battery pack be removed and have it just get power from the wall socket?
Yep, but when you do this, it limits the processing power. This is just in case you are doing something so intensive on the computer that the AC can't supply enough power, causing your computer to cut out.

I intend to connect the computer to a much larger screen than the iMac 24
Neither the macbook or the iMac can drive screens with native resolutions above 1920x1200. If you connect a monitor with a higher native resolution, the macbook or imac will be able to use it, just at 1920x1200

Leopard is capable of operating 64 bit programs, is the Macbook board natively 64 bit compatible?
Sure is Wink

I should add, you prob know this already, but if you connect the macbook with an external display, you can use both that external display, as well as the macbook display as an extended desktop, which can be quite useful. Same can be done with an iMac.

Hope this helped,
Kramer Smile
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Aargh-a-Knot
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PostPosted: Thu Sep 11, 2008 6:02 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

What is it that you're wanting to do with the Macbook? The mini, as it is right now with no updates, is a pretty capable machine. Don't get sucked in to the allure of having the "latest greatest". If you are just going to watch movies, listen to music, surf the net, check email, and heck, I'll even throw in use P-shop, Illustrator, and Dreamweaver (all three simultaneously even), then the mini works without a hitch. Why pay for a laptop if you don't need a laptop? You can run a macbook as a desktop, but honestly, its kind of a pain in the ass. Takes up way too much desk space, and is a pain to disconnect/re-connect when you want to actually use it as a laptop. I would say, try to wait through October, since you waited this long already. If they update, Fine. If not, buy an older model. If you can't wait, just buy an existing model. If they update later, you can sell your mini for close to what you paid. If you're really savvy, you can actually make a profit. Or, if you really need the power, buy a Mac Pro. Get creative. Think of a way to make some extra cash to afford it. Remember, you have to live with this thing every day!

You have to really identify your needs, and also look at the satisfaction you'll get if you go for more power.

I mean, I see people bitch and moan over a couple hundred bucks, go for the cheaper model, and then spend hours complaining how its not good enough. Then they'll waste the same amount of money on beer and ho-hos in a month.

On the flip side, there's people who will pay out the ass for the newest most expensive thing, and then all they do is post on a blog bragging about their hardware and watch YouTube videos of stupid pet tricks. You can do that on an old G4.

Be realistic! Get what you really need. But also, Life is short, have fun with whatever you get. If you have to save up an extra month, do it.
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Smallwheels
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PostPosted: Thu Sep 11, 2008 6:46 am    Post subject: I'm A Long Term User Reply with quote

Though I use my current computer for web research most of the time, it does play movies and music. I have begun to create movies for work and communication. It is important for me to get something that will be useful for many years to come. Going up one level from the current Mini gives me some breathing room for expansion.

My six year old Gateway 1.8 Gig. Celeron computer is not compatible with many of todays programs and internet services. I don't want to be forced into updating my next computer before it begins to have hardware failure. My Gateway is not working well due to hardware failure. The necessary parts aren't available anymore so it must be replaced. So buying a computer that is more up to date for only $300.00 more than a Mini seems to be a good idea.

I do have a near top of the line 88 key synthesizer that would be fun to use in conjunction with the Apple computer. I'm considering using it to create music to go along with my video presentations.

The only times I've disconnected my current computer and moved it were during my Hurricane Katrina evacuation (I lived in the suburbs of New Orleans) and when I moved to Montana. Still, unhooking a laptop computer is probably much easier than unhooking a desktop (non-Mini) computer. Space on my desk isn't a problem for me.

Video conferencing will probably become very usual for many people in the USA in the next few years. Having a computer capable of doing that well while operating programs will be necessary. I think the higher power of a Macbook will allow me to do that better than a Mini.

I've read that a Macbook will be easier to upgrade than a Mini.

If an updated Mini would have come out this week I would have bought one. I can't wait another month or more. My computer is really about to crash for the last time. I've already moved my files to an external G-tech Quadra drive. All I need is a new computer and I'll be set for several years.

Anybody have an opinion about the heat buildup in a closed Macbook operating as a desktop?

Smallwheels
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optikinescant
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PostPosted: Thu Sep 11, 2008 7:44 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

OK, have to fix some disinformation going on in this thread.

Krametash says you can't drive an external display without the macbook being plugged in, but this is completely untrue. I do it all the time, with monitors and projectors without any problem.

As for heat issues, I've never done the lid closed situation for more than an hour or so, but it's never caused me any problems. I believe it should be fine, as it is a feature and is(or was?) listed in Apple's documentation for the MacBooks.
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Krametash
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PostPosted: Thu Sep 11, 2008 7:49 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Anybody have an opinion about the heat buildup in a closed Macbook operating as a desktop?


I've been using my macbook as my desktop/notebook computer for high school for several months, and no major drama.

I might add that if budget isn't an issue, an MBP might suit your video editing needs better (dedicated graphics card). An MBP also supports the 30" ACDs. If your pretty sure about getting the macbook, but you want more display real estate, you could think about getting one or more of these for an extended desktop: http://www.trittontechnologies.com/products/TRIUV200.htm

Kramer Smile
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Krametash
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PostPosted: Thu Sep 11, 2008 10:00 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

optikinescant wrote:
Krametash says you can't drive an external display without the macbook being plugged in, but this is completely untrue. I do it all the time, with monitors and projectors without any problem.


Really? OK, sorry about that, I just remember reading that somewhere. My apologies.
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Fox
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PostPosted: Sun Feb 22, 2009 7:29 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I ran my desktop with a PowerBook G4 (15" Al, 1.33ghz) for a year, plugging in external monitor (20" Dell), keyboard and mouse. The lid was shut constantly. I would occasionally run it with the battery just to discharge and recharge it. I would put it to sleep when not in use, but I rarely turned it off.

I did this while waiting for Apple to upgrade the mini to C2D and when they did that, I stopped using the PowerBook as a desktop machine. I still use that PowerBook. The battery still gives over 3 hours of runtime and the laptop display was not harmed at all by leaving the lid closed.

Given my experience with the PowerBook, I see no reason why you can't use a MacBook as a desktop machine. The only thing that bothers me about it is your claim that you don't need the portability of a laptop. To me this means you are paying $300-500 extra for something you don't need. If I were in your shoes, I wouldn't do this unless there is a possibility that the laptop would be useful as a laptop (even occasionally). The alternatives:
(1) buy a mini instead
(2) keep your present desktop going until the mini is updated but back up your work religiously.
(3) think seriously about an iMac. You can hook them up to a second monitor and they will drive a larger monitor than a MacBook can.
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PostPosted: Sun Feb 22, 2009 9:49 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Fox wrote:
(3) think seriously about an iMac. You can hook them up to a second monitor and they will drive a larger monitor than a MacBook can.

Correction. The unibody macbooks can now drive external displays requiring dual-link DVI. So they can drive 30 inchers at full resolution if you so desire (with the proper adapter). The iMac's can only drive up to 1920x1200 displays (typical 24").

It is extremely hard for me to recommend somebody purchase a new mini. It is really a bad value right now. I just went through this with a couple of friends of mine. Both were looking for cost-effective Mac solutions. (one looking to upgrade from their 1.42Ghz G4 mini and the other looking into their first Mac) I talked both of them out of mini's and into white Macbooks because of the enormous value discrepancy. Both are now giddy over their new white Macbooks. Smile
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Smallwheels
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PostPosted: Sun Feb 22, 2009 2:16 pm    Post subject: Here Is What I Did Last September Reply with quote

Here is what I did last September;
-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Posted: Fri Sep 12, 2008 9:37 pm Post subject: Couldn't Wait Any Longer

After the disappointment of the September 9th event I did some thinking and some web surfing. The price of the top end Mini just seemed high for what it offered. There were no refurbished Minis (there usually aren't any at the Apple Store). The thing about finding refurbished Macs is that one must scroll through the other refurbished models too.

There were some notebook computers there that didn't cost much more than a Mini and they had better specifications. That got me wondering if I could just use a notebook computer as a desktop. I surfed a couple of forums which taught me that indeed it could be done. On the forums I asked a question or two about this proposition, and after consulting Apple directly I made a decision.

My order was placed two nights ago for a refurbished Macbook for $1099.00. That is only $150.00 more than a "Maximized Mini" (I like that phrase). There were some add-ons that were needed; a DVI-VGA connector, and an Apple Remote control. Each cost $19.00.

The Macbook has a 2.4 ghz. 160 gb. drive, with 2gb. RAM and the Superdrive. Most of the specifications are higher than the specifications for the Mini. If a new Mini does come out this year it might equal these but I doubt it would exceed them. I haven't been around Apple long enough to guess at the price that would be charged for such a Mini.

I am giving up the small square for a wider and thinner rectangle on my desk. Also I'll have two fewer USB ports. Since I already have a USB hub this shouldn't be a problem. I'm still doing the BYODKM. It's just with a different shape on the desk.

One big downside to buying a Macbook instead of a Mini is the price of Applecare. It costs $100.00 more for the Macbook. To offset this I ordered a $100.00 printer. Apple will give me a $100.00 rebate check for it. Then I will sell the printer for whatever price it will bring.

There are upsides to the Mackbook. It can be used away from home because it has its own keyboard, screen, track-pad, and camera. It can display one thing on its internal screen and display a different thing on an external screen.
Upgrading the RAM and drive is very simple to do.

I do feel I've made a compromise due to not being able to get exactly what I wanted. On the other hand I don't need to wait any longer for something that might not come at all.

This will be my only functioning computer. I don't collect them the way many people do. If the Macbook that comes is without flaws it should last me several years.

For all the other people waiting for a Mini on this forum, perhaps you can see the logic of my decision and follow what I did. The customer service representative at Apple said that since this version of the Macbook is fairly new there should be many more similar refurbished Mackbooks available for quite a while.

I did get good information while at 123Macmini.com. It will become a secondary site to find information specific to the Macbook. 123Macbook.com now seems a more appropriate place for me to spend time since I've given up on the Mini.

Good luck to all those still waiting. A Mini might come next month but that is too long to wait for me.


Smallwheels
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----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
What do you think about my logic? I'm glad I got the MacBook that has a Firewire 400 connection. It gets used with an external hard drive.

I have found that I don't need a larger screen for watching movies. I have the MacBook on a small styrofoam cooler lid turned upside down. It makes a great holder for the MacBook. When I put it on my lap the apparent screen size is much bigger than a large screen monitor. This discovery has saved me hundreds of dollars.

I bought the Apple keyboard (tethered not wireless) and keep the laptop on the edge of my desk. I type with the keyboard on my lap while sitting reclined in my chair. With the screen so close it appears bigger than my 15" desktop screen.

It doesn't matter to me if a new Mini comes out now. I have a functioning computer that is a little more up to date and a better value than the current Mini.

To those feeling the need for a square I say go for the skinny flat rectangle and just use it as a desktop. This doesn't make sense for people buying the least expensive Mini, but if you intend to buy a fully loaded Mini it does make sense.

This forum is so much busier than 123MacBook.com that I get help much faster here.

Smallwheels
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jaybrokers12
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PostPosted: Fri Jul 18, 2014 3:22 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I have a Macbook but I was not aware of that it can be used as a destop before joining this thread. But still I am not able to use it.
sell macbook for cash
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Smallwheels
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PostPosted: Fri Jul 18, 2014 6:35 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

jaybrokers12 the way I used the Mac Book as a desktop was to plug in an external screen, turn on the machine then wait until it was running. Then log in. The next step is to close the Mac Book screen, wait a few seconds until it goes into sleep mode, then tap any key on a connected external keyboard. Doing that tells the machine that the external screen is to be used. In moments the image from the laptop screen opens on the external screen while the laptop screen remains off. After that I would open the Mac Book screen at least two inches to allow heat to rise and escape from the keyboard.

=================================================================

Since you reopened this thread I'll report about my 2008 Mac Books performance as a desktop machine.

It worked fine until 2012. It did everything I needed just as any desktop machine would do. I used a USB hub sometimes if I needed more ports.

In 2012 it got slow even with less than half of the hard drive in use. There is a bug in the machine somewhere. It might be hardware related because I emptied the drive and reloaded it. The same problem continues. The machine is still functional. It just operates like a machine with a lesser chip.

The battery malfunctioned and with prodding Apple admitted that it was defective and sent a replacement. That replacement battery died shortly afterword. I gave up and just kept it. Since the machine was used on my desk most of the time it really didn't matter. It was more of a disappointment with Apple that bothered me.

In 2009 I bought an HP that ran Vista. It was only intended as a spare machine and for times when I needed something that only ran using Windoz. In 2010 it was dual booted with Ubuntu. That was OK but the machine was rarely turned on. It was still just a spare machine. In 2012 I spent much more time using the HP because the Mac Book was getting annoyingly slow at times. In 2013 I switched to Ubuntu full time. The new Ubuntu 13.04 was very stable and had all of the functionality I wanted. The Mac Book became my spare machine. Vista had crashed for the last time and I just decided to use the whole drive for Ubuntu. I'm Windoz Free.

My 2009 HP that was almost never turned on was like a new machine, though not cutting edge. It was still faster than my 2008 Mac Book.

Nothing Apple has put out lately suits my needs. They seem to be adding bells and whistles that require more and more horsepower yet don't actually make the machines more useful. I didn't move into video editing the way I thought I would so having more horsepower isn't important. GNU/Linux OSs seem to give me plenty of features, some of which aren't available on OS X.

I'll keep using my Mac Book whenever necessary. That doesn't happen too often. Until Apple creates something that suits my needs or is revolutionary for desktop users, at a price that is right, I don't think I'll be getting another one of their machines. Their all in ones are anorexic. It's like they're trying to make them tablets on stands.

The desktops that appeal to me these days are the NUCs from Intel and the Chromeboxes. Both can easily run GNU/Linux. My next machine might even be a used tower with a much faster chip than the one I'm using now. I would get a big speed bump for only about $100 plus shipping from ebay. I've realized that I don't need the latest and greatest, but more power is always nice.
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Cypher
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PostPosted: Sat Jul 19, 2014 12:54 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

As he'd dug up a 5 year old post, I think his intent was more to spam us then wait for any replies Smallwheels Sad

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PostPosted: Tue Aug 05, 2014 4:25 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks Smallwheels for the detailed explanation.
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