M1 Mac First Impressions

bunnspecial

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My point is, if you can wait for deals you’ll find that paying full price for ANY product, INCLUDING MACS, is foolish.

Despite having owned well over 100 Macs(no that number is not an exaggeration, and I can provide a full listing to anyone so interested) and still having a significant number of those, I have only bought two new. The first was my 2011 MacBook Pro, and then this 2020 M1 MacBook Pro. I have bought a few, including my mid-2012 15" Pro, new enough to still carry some Applecare, but still used.

With the M1 Macs, there really isn't a robust used market yet. The few that I've seen have sold for near new prices, especially given that for the first few months after shipping, they were constantly in short supply.

None the less, at least right now, Best Buy, where I bought mine(Apple stores are closed in this area) has the M1 MBPs on sale for $100 off this week. Best Buy will honor EDU discounts(which I'm eligible for-I am a college professor), but for as long as I can remember edu pricing on Macs has been a flat $100 off.

Still, though, if you want current stuff, even buying used won't necessarily save a lot of money. Apple products tend to hold on to their resale value.
 
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Right tool for the right job, right?

An iPad Pro's hardware is quite capable, but iPadOS has a ways to go before it can replace macOS, or another desktop OS.

I spend a lot of time on my Pro, but there are still a lot of times I'll switch to my Mac, because while the iPad might be capable, it's just not as easy or pleasurable to accomplish the same task.

The days when Apple hardware was subject to strict MAP agreements, rarely saw discounts, and those that existed were small (single % pts), and came out of the retailer's margin were a long time ago.

The company is big and successful enough to not worry about that any longer, so hardware discounts are common, even on brand new models.

Advertised retailer discounts are plentiful, and refurb/EDU/GOV/EPP are long time options, as is F&F (15%) for those who have company contacts.

Schools that extend student bookstore pricing to alumni can be matched by Apple's stores. In truth, while the terms of the EDU discount allows for eligibility audits, I doubt Apple conducts many of them. It does require verification for the military discount, though.
 
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If you’re paying full price die an iPad you simply don’t know any better. I was quoting Rhondahonda, btw. His wife’s usage doesn’t seem more demanding than an Air would be. As it turns out I rarely use my laptop. I almost always grab my 6YO iPad.

Unlike most of you I was able to get my 2015 iPad Pro with the keyboard for $150 from a friend. My iPad before that? An iPad 2018, which is now my son’s. Before that an Air 2 for $250 several years ago was all I needed for basic surfing and movie watching. The screen, being laminated, was better than my ‘18 iPad, to be honest. I gave that Air2 to my mom and dad for FaceTime use mostly.

My point is, if you can wait for deals you’ll find that paying full price for ANY product, INCLUDING MACS, is foolish.
Nothing is foolish in buying a new computer or anything else someone wishes to spend their money on. We all buy what makes us happy.
We can furnish a whole house in used TVs and Furniture but most of us dont wish too.

The point is, a iPad is a completely different device from a laptop. They both serve a purpose but are not comparable.
 
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Right tool for the right job, right?

An iPad Pro's hardware is quite capable, but iPadOS has a ways to go before it can replace macOS, or another desktop OS.

I spend a lot of time on my Pro, but there are still a lot of times I'll switch to my Mac, because while the iPad might be capable, it's just not as easy or pleasurable to accomplish the same task.
Perfectly said or to simplify even more, completely different devices even IF they perform the same functions. But they dont, its a completely different experience using a desktop/laptop to an iPad and again, different intended use as well.
 
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If you’re OK with the base model:

I have this model, LOVE IT. Wife got me gold, LOVE IT. The quality aluminum precision case, keyboard, display, second to nothing in the price range.
Typing on a Mac mini desktop with 27 inch monitor right now, LOVE IT TOO! *L*
Thing is, if you have a Best Buy near you, might as well buy it there, same price and easy to return if you dont want it.
or if you are going to mail order, I would buy it from Apple direct.
 

gathermewool

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Nothing is foolish in buying a new computer or anything else someone wishes to spend their money on. We all buy what makes us happy.
We can furnish a whole house in used TVs and Furniture but most of us dont wish too.

The point is, a iPad is a completely different device from a laptop. They both serve a purpose but are not comparable.

Don’t put words in my mouth. I never said it was foolish to buy new. My laptop and my wife’s laptop were purchased new. I said buying at FULL PRICE is foolish.
 

bunnspecial

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I've been intentionally running the computer off battery as much as I can since getting it.

With my main computer, the thought of doing something like teaching class over Zoom(which admittedly is something Apple probably never envisioned in 2012) on battery power would send a shiver up my spine. I might squeeze 2 1/2 hours of web browsing out of it, but I doubt it would make an hour long Zoom meeting. I should say also that the battery in my 2012 is new-ish and at about 95% health, so its not a question of just a bad battery.

My 2015 Retina does some better, and I've done an hour on Zoom with about a 30% hit to the battery. For me, it's in the category of "I can do it, but I'd rather not." The Intel Haswell CPU in the 2015 Retina is significantly more efficient than my old Ivy Bridge 2012, a lot of what gives it better battery life.

I taught over Zoom for a total of about 2 hours yesterday on the M1. I had some initial teething pains since I hadn't given using my graphics tablet(which I use to write on the "whiteboard" in Zoom) a dry run and Big Sur threw a fit over me not having given the Wacom software permission to control the mouse. As a general observation, and not M1 specific-Big Sur(like iOS 14) is REALLY big on app-by-app and even process-by-process permission. Rather than saying "you can go in and block this app from doing that if you want" it takes the philosophy of 'We're turning everything off by default and you can decide what you want to allow." Consequently, I needed to set permissions in I think 3 or 4 places to permit both Zoom screen-sharing and to actually be able to use the table.

All of that aside, the battery hit from 2 hours of teaching was about 15%. After using the computer pretty much all day, I finally gave in and plugged it in at 40%. If I weren't using this nearly all day, I really could go a couple of days without charging.

Also, I finally figured out how to customize the touchbar. Among other things, I took the Siri button off, especially since I've never found a use for Siri on my computer(my phone is a different story) and I kept hitting it and interrupting myself. I still find the touchbar a bit pointless, since it mostly replicates things already on the screen and it's faster for me to click on them with the cursor, but I don't deny it being an impressive piece of technology.
 
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Did you see what Apple charges for the bump to 16GB. It's absurd especially with the cost of RAM at an all time low. For a PC jumping from 8GB to 16GB of RAM would cost you like $30. Last year I got a new work laptop, a Lenovo T495s with a Ryzen CPU and 16GB of RAM and I'm kicking myself for not going with 32GB of RAM.

A new stick of 8GB would cost $35 or so if you buy retail Taiwanese brand. If you buy from say, Crucial, owned by Micron and likely have OEM contracts to the same chips, they are likely about $45 or so.

If you buy from Lenovo or Dell or HP on their website, that extra 8GB will likely be $60-100 more. It is not as big of a rip off like Apple but it is not $30 more. They know these days laptop and mac mini have soldered RAM and they have you by the you know what for the price.
 
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Windows users always seem to think you need to bump Apple computers memory like they do Windows machines.
Not true.
Windows is a huge do everything operating system, Apple more organized and efficient and focused.

Anyway, the comments for more memory always come from non Apple users whom never owned one.
Apple OS is not Windows and not a memory hog like windows. Anyone who owns a current Apple computer will never have a memory or lack of memory issue if using it for its intended purpose.
Meaning, typical homeowner or college student will never need more then 8 megs in a current apple model, it will blow away windows 8 meg machines and be just as fast and faster then most their friends Windows laptops with 16 megs.

Its laughable to compare the two.
 

bunnspecial

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Windows users always seem to think you need to bump Apple computers memory like they do Windows machines.
Not true.
Windows is a huge do everything operating system, Apple more organized and efficient and focused.

Anyway, the comments for more memory always come from non Apple users whom never owned one.
Apple OS is not Windows and not a memory hog like windows. Anyone who owns a current Apple computer will never have a memory or lack of memory issue if using it for its intended purpose.
Meaning, typical homeowner or college student will never need more then 8 megs in a current apple model, it will blow away windows 8 meg machines and be just as fast and faster then most their friends Windows laptops with 16 megs.

Its laughable to compare the two.

Remember I'm saying this as a Mac user who only uses Windows when there's no other option:

I won't argue that OS X/macOS is really efficient at memory management, and from what I've seen always seems to be a few steps ahead of Windows.

With that said, the underlying *nix philosophy is that memory not used is memory wasted, and the OS will find a way to use pretty much every scrap of memory you give it. Not all of that use is strictly necessary, but it benefits the overall performance/responsiveness of the system if you have excess memory. Within reason, that's why I will max the RAM wherever possible. Heck, right now, my Mac Pro 5,1(2010) has 96gb of RAM. Do I use anywhere near that amount? No, but it helps some of the stuff I do a whole lot.

Also, we're in a bit of a bind now on Macs in that we can't predict the future, but we're stuck with what we buy(at least on laptops and the current Mini, and I wouldn't be surprised if it happens with the next gen of desktops). 8gb is fine now with an M1, and for a couple of reasons 8gb doesn't feel anywhere near as tight as it would on an Intel system. I would not buy an Intel Mac with less than 16gb now, and would preferably go to 32gb. I'm okay with 8gb because I'm viewing this as a first-gen product that I will likely replace in a few years, not as a computer I'm planning on keeping 10+ years.

Back when I bought my first Mac in 2012, it came with 4gb. It didn't really feel slow at the time, but I could also see it paging out to the disk(a 5400rpm hard drive) regularly. I upgraded it to 8gb, and it was a night and day difference. At the time, I didn't have Apple do it since it was a $200 premium and an easy Apple sanctioned DIY. I think I paid $60 or $70 at the time for 2x4gb sticks, and got to keep the 2x2gb sticks that came in the computer.

Here's a bit of a brief anecdote on future proofing-right about the time MacOS Sierra Beta came out, I bought a 2010 white MacBook for my collection. Since it supported Sierra natively, it was my test system for it. The only issue was that it still had the 2gb of RAM it shipped with. I'd tried to sick 4gb I had lying around in it, but ran into a weird quirk of that particular generation of memory controllers that it would only work(and by work I mean POST/Boot) with exactly the correct spec memory installed. I think that it calls for DDR3 833mhz(I might have the exact speed wrong) and all I had on hand was 1066mhz and 1333mhz. Normally this isn't an issue since the faster RAM will downclock to the speed the system needs, but for whatever reason that wouldn't happen with this generation systems(it affected all the portables and also the Mini).

In any case, macOS Sierra was basically unuseable on it. At one point, Apple had a repair program in place for the rubber bottom on those computers, which tended to shrink and become detached. I took it to the Apple store to see if I could have that done(I'd missed the repair program-they had the parts to do it but it was going to be over $100 to have it fixed). In any case, though, that was the first computer running Sierra the genius helping me had seen, but it also took him 5 minutes to get About This Mac open to get the SN. Once I bumped that computer up to 8gb and an SSD, it was fine.
 
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^^^I cant help but firmly believe 8gb of memory on a Mac will run equal or better to a like priced Windows computer with a SSD and 12 to 16 gb but that is just me. Keep in mind talking about the average homeowner or college student.
 

bunnspecial

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Just can't help but reiterate that we don't know what the future will bring, and at the end of the day, no matter how good memory management is, you can only do so much. The whole SOC coupled with ultra-fast storage on the M1s let them swap so fast that it's barely perceptible and there are few use cases NOW that will benefit from 16gb.

Still, though, reference my 2010 MacBook above. In the base config, in 2011 when it was still availalble, it was available as an entry level option for EDU customers. By 2011, Apple was pushing the air and the 13" Pro as their entry models, but still the old Macbook was there and was something like $899.

A lot of people do get insane lives out of their Macs, but still, that entry level computer in 2011 didn't cut it 5 years later with the newest OS in its as-shipped config. It had a leg up in being upgradeable, and quite useable after being upgraded, but still it was there. Would it have lasted someone through 4 years of college? Of course, but not much beyond there.

Again, that was a different situation since the base config could still be upgraded quite a bit, and I'd venture to guess that computer really fell out of the practical usable as a main computer in 2019 or so(I still will do things like use mine to watch something live on Facebook in the background while I'm doing other stuff, or things along those lines). Without upgrades, though, it falls apart. I have a 2011 Air in base config that has a bit of a leg up in that it always had an SSD, and it's also getting long in the tooth for a lot of uses, and that includes too many tabs in Firefox with Xenforo fora and/or Facebook, which I'd argue are both common use cases.

I'm content to see how 8gb plays out on the M1, but I don't have delusions of it lasting forever. I have some photos I need to get off my camera and work up, and I'm anxious to see how that plays out in Lightroom and/or Photoshop with the 36mp RAW files from my D810. I don't use Photoshop a ton, but there are times where it's the THE tool for the job, and certain things in it(like lens correction filters or other distortion correction) can hammer it hard. That's going to be especially interesting since Photoshop is probably still a few months(or whenever Adobe gets around to it) from being ARM native. Lightroom fortunately is, so it may be a better test.
 

OVERKILL

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^^^I cant help but firmly believe 8gb of memory on a Mac will run equal or better to a like priced Windows computer with a SSD and 12 to 16 gb but that is just me. Keep in mind talking about the average homeowner or college student.

My two main Mac's have 32GB and 16GB of RAM respectively. @bunnspecial is bang-on with regards to *nix memory management.
 
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Bunnspecial^^ Computers to me are a 3 to 5 year replacement cycle. I have no interest in keeping something longer or speculating the future but its not just about the memory if those demands were ever needed, well then I would want a whole new computer because to me everything else would need to be upgraded, including the speed of the componants and the speed of the memory.

If the day comes that a Mac would need 12 to 16gb to run acceptably well then that would just tell me the whole unit and half the computing world would need an upgrade not just the memory IF, if you wanted the same performance as when you bought the computer.... It would also mean Windows will need 24 to 36 Gb and associated faster components.

Maybe I am a bit of the odd man out here but to me the days of upgrading computers (except as a hobby) are almost gone for most, just as much as upgrading the power of an automobile engine. We are a throwaway society, anything new will perform better, computers are cheap replaceable devices and have no delusions I will be replacing it in the timeframe I posted UNLESS I find it still perfectly acceptable, I really do not see much of anything new or new demands on an operating system for the average person in the last 5 years, now with the M1, what else are we going to demand from it? Virtual BITOG ?
 
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OVERKILL

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^^ Computers to me are a 2 to 5 year replacement cycle. I have no interest in keeping something longer or speculating the future but its not just about the memory if those demands were ever needed, well then I would want a whole new computer because to me everything else would need to be upgraded, including the speed of the componants and the speed of the memory.

If the day comes that a Mac would need 12 to 16gb to run acceptably well then that would just tell me the whole unit and half the computing world would need an upgrade not just the memory IF, if you wanted the same performance as when you bought the computer.... It would also mean Windows will need 24 to 36 Gb and associated faster components.

Maybe I am a bit of the odd man out here but to me the days of upgrading computers (except as a hobby) are almost gone for most, just as much as upgrading the power of an automobile engine. We are a throwaway society, anything new will perform better, computers are cheap replaceable devices.

This old Mac Pro is 11 years old, still works amazingly well. Has a reasonably modern GPU, hex-core Xeon, 32GB of RAM and a 480GB SSD. A windows box with similar specs would perform similarly. My son's old gaming rig is an i3 530 w/8GB of RAM and an SSD and it's just as fast for average use and playing games like Borderlands, WoT...etc.

Where we get into large memory footprint is with virtualization (I have parallels on both computers), Photoshop, and I typically run 3x browsers with a ton of tabs open. 8GB of RAM, even 4GB of RAM is just fine for "average" use with either Windows or MacOS assuming an SSD, which makes the biggest difference.

I replace a computer when it is either wholly obsolete or it fails. So far, this Mac has succumbed to neither, so I'll keep using it. I'd rather put that money towards guns, ammo and nice vehicles than trying to stay on the cutting edge of computing, which is impossible. I buy good gear and keep it a long time typically.
 
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This old Mac Pro is 11 years old, still works amazingly well. Has a reasonably modern GPU, hex-core Xeon, 32GB of RAM and a 480GB SSD. A windows box with similar specs would perform similarly. My son's old gaming rig is an i3 530 w/8GB of RAM and an SSD and it's just as fast for average use and playing games like Borderlands, WoT...etc.

Where we get into large memory footprint is with virtualization (I have parallels on both computers), Photoshop, and I typically run 3x browsers with a ton of tabs open. 8GB of RAM, even 4GB of RAM is just fine for "average" use with either Windows or MacOS assuming an SSD, which makes the biggest difference.

I replace a computer when it is either wholly obsolete or it fails. So far, this Mac has succumbed to neither, so I'll keep using it. I'd rather put that money towards guns, ammo and nice vehicles than trying to stay on the cutting edge of computing, which is impossible. I buy good gear and keep it a long time typically.

Pretty much the same
I have an OS abandoned mid 2010 IMac with 16 gb ram and a 2TBSSD
The thing is 99% available with a dozen apps open and still fast as hell driving a 27 and 30" display.
I routinely get over a decade on my apple computer products.

We've got about a dozen of the new little M1's and they rock balls.
 

bunnspecial

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This old Mac Pro is 11 years old, still works amazingly well. Has a reasonably modern GPU, hex-core Xeon, 32GB of RAM and a 480GB SSD. A windows box with similar specs would perform similarly. My son's old gaming rig is an i3 530 w/8GB of RAM and an SSD and it's just as fast for average use and playing games like Borderlands, WoT...etc.

Where we get into large memory footprint is with virtualization (I have parallels on both computers), Photoshop, and I typically run 3x browsers with a ton of tabs open. 8GB of RAM, even 4GB of RAM is just fine for "average" use with either Windows or MacOS assuming an SSD, which makes the biggest difference.

I replace a computer when it is either wholly obsolete or it fails. So far, this Mac has succumbed to neither, so I'll keep using it. I'd rather put that money towards guns, ammo and nice vehicles than trying to stay on the cutting edge of computing, which is impossible. I buy good gear and keep it a long time typically.

My MP 5,1 is going strong as well. 2x 3.46ghz hex CPUs, 96gb RAM, booting off a PCIe SSD and a couple of spinners for storage. The only thing stock and a bit lacking is the GPU, which is the Radeon 5770 it shipped with. I have that in still for a very specific reason-I have some need to still boot SL natively(not virtualized) to run applications that need to run in Rosetta(NikonScan, which operates a scanner that interfaces through FW which can't pass through to a VM) that generate huge files(~10,000x12,000 pixel images) and I want to be able to just be able to pop them over to Photoshop so I can work one up while generating the next. Photoshop is RAM hungry, especially with files that size, and having that kind of RAM makes it possible to do it with minimal lag.

In any case, my 2012 MBP is still very useable, and it's probably not going away just because it can still do some things better than my new computer. It wouldn't be if it had 8gb of RAM.

And yes, I virtualize on that computer a lot using VMWare. I virtualize Snow Leopard for one specific application. I virtualize Windows for a few other applications. If you have 8gb and give your VM 4gb, you're crippling your computer a whole lot. BTW, at a former job, one professor had a base model Trashcan with 12gb RAM. He ran parallels and would often times have a bunch of stuff open in Windows. He'd regularly run out of RAM, and I ended up bumping him to 32gb so that he could give Windows 16gb and still have 16gb left over. 32gb is a hard sell as trashcan RAM falls into a weird category of not being old enough to have a robust use market, but odd enough that it's marked up a fair bit over standard DDR3. By "marked up" I'm talking about buying correctly specced Micron, Samsung, etc through Newegg, not going through Apple. We're lucky-ish on our 5,1s since servers that used the RAM in them are aging out and there's a lot of good server pull RAM on the market.
 

OVERKILL

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My MP 5,1 is going strong as well. 2x 3.46ghz hex CPUs, 96gb RAM, booting off a PCIe SSD and a couple of spinners for storage. The only thing stock and a bit lacking is the GPU, which is the Radeon 5770 it shipped with. I have that in still for a very specific reason-I have some need to still boot SL natively(not virtualized) to run applications that need to run in Rosetta(NikonScan, which operates a scanner that interfaces through FW which can't pass through to a VM) that generate huge files(~10,000x12,000 pixel images) and I want to be able to just be able to pop them over to Photoshop so I can work one up while generating the next. Photoshop is RAM hungry, especially with files that size, and having that kind of RAM makes it possible to do it with minimal lag.

In any case, my 2012 MBP is still very useable, and it's probably not going away just because it can still do some things better than my new computer. It wouldn't be if it had 8gb of RAM.

And yes, I virtualize on that computer a lot using VMWare. I virtualize Snow Leopard for one specific application. I virtualize Windows for a few other applications. If you have 8gb and give your VM 4gb, you're crippling your computer a whole lot. BTW, at a former job, one professor had a base model Trashcan with 12gb RAM. He ran parallels and would often times have a bunch of stuff open in Windows. He'd regularly run out of RAM, and I ended up bumping him to 32gb so that he could give Windows 16gb and still have 16gb left over. 32gb is a hard sell as trashcan RAM falls into a weird category of not being old enough to have a robust use market, but odd enough that it's marked up a fair bit over standard DDR3. By "marked up" I'm talking about buying correctly specced Micron, Samsung, etc through Newegg, not going through Apple. We're lucky-ish on our 5,1s since servers that used the RAM in them are aging out and there's a lot of good server pull RAM on the market.

I still have my 5770 here in a bag. I replaced it with a GTX 680 2GB that I flashed to the Mac version so I get the boot screen. I believe I'm maxed out at 32GB? This is a single CPU box. My SSD is SATA, and like you, I've got a couple spinning disks for storage.

How do you like VMWare vs Parallels? I used to use VMWare on Windows and Linux quite regularly but haven't tried it on the Mac, since Parallels works so well.
 

bunnspecial

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I still have my 5770 here in a bag. I replaced it with a GTX 680 2GB that I flashed to the Mac version so I get the boot screen. I believe I'm maxed out at 32GB? This is a single CPU box. My SSD is SATA, and like you, I've got a couple spinning disks for storage.

How do you like VMWare vs Parallels? I used to use VMWare on Windows and Linux quite regularly but haven't tried it on the Mac, since Parallels works so well.

I thought you could do at least 48gb on a single, maybe 64gb. You can use the same 16gb DIMMs I have in mine. There's some discussion over using more than three DIMMs of that size per CPU being detrimental, which is why I stopped at 96 even though I was deep enough into at that point that it wouldn't have been a huge deal to go to 128gb.

I haven't used Parallels aside from a little bit of time tinkering with/adjusting other set-ups(like the Trashcan I mentioned above). I gravitate toward VMWare since it's a lot more versatile than Parallels. At least per my understanding, Parallels is basically a Windows-only program. My VMWare library currently has functional installs of Snow Leopard, Windows XP, and Windows 7.

At one time, I kept a CentOS VM going to run specific piece of software. That particular software(vNMRj) is meant for RHEL, but since CentOS use to effectively be RHEL without support, it worked without too much effort. Two things happened to change that. The first is that CentOS quit free RHEL and instead in a weird spot of being kind of the "stable" release of Fedora and not the all-kinks-worked-out rock stable RHEL, The second thing is that when Agilent dumped their NMR division, they released the source code to vNMRj, a bunch of former Varian/Agilent engineers started maintaining it as FOOS, and also started releasing a version nicely pre-compiled for macOS. I'm not sure if the macOS version could actually be plugged in and operate an NMR(you still need a bunch of underlying stuff that's not open source to talk to the spectrometer and I'm guessing that's probably still RHEL-only) but it's perfect for all I ever used it for, which was offline dataprocessing.

All of that aside, I'm super happy with VMWare. It's not as "slick" or easy to use as Parallels, but is miles ahead of Virtualbox in ease of use and, like I said, I like the versatility.
 
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