D will be a freshman in the fall and has strong interest in engineering/math/physics...
She needs a new laptop and wants a small (13") light (< 5lb) powerful machine. The recent mac price drops mean that the 13" mac pro is now a real contender. Other potential machines are the Dell XPS M1330, XPS studio 13, Sony Viao SR and a few others.
Back to the question: Is a mac really o.k? The Rice computing page states no official preference between macs and pcs. Do engineers with macs have to reboot into PC-mode using boot camp? Does Parallels Desktop work well enough to run the engineering programs/apps she will need? Is there any mac "tax" associated with the mac versions of the software (by that I mean are mac versions of code significantly more expensive that pc versions).
Any comments/input by current mac users would be greatly appreciated. It would be nice if we could avoid the "pc is better than mac, mac is better than pc" endless loop.