Since Apple made the switch to Intel processors, running Windows on Macs is now perfectly possible. And with the latest Macs coming with Apple's Boot Camp utility preinstalled, it's never been easier to turn your Mac into a fully-fledged Windows PC.
We tested Boot Camp on the new Apple MacBook Pro and got Windows XP up and running in under an hour without a single problem.
The process starts by using Boot Camp within OS X to specify a partition size for Windows. It's then simply a case of restarting the MacBook Pro with an XP or Vista installation disc in the drive and following the usual Windows installation process.
Once installed, all that remains is to insert the Mac installation disc to load drivers for, among other features, the Wi-Fi, audio and trackpad.
With this final step complete, the MacBook Pro runs just like any other traditional Windows notebook. And since it's running Windows entirely outside Mac OS X, there's no performance overhead; to all intents and purposes it's now a Windows PC. You can, of course, reboot into OS X if required.
To see how well the 2.2GHz CPU and Nvidia 9600M GT graphics performed under Windows, we ran two benchmarks: PCmark05 and 3Dmark06. In both, results were very impressive.
PCmark05, which runs a suite of tests on the hard drive, memory, processor and other components, returned a score of 5,671. Although some high-end laptops achieve over 6,000 in PCmark05, this is still an excellent score that puts the MacBook Pro above most of its rivals.
It is, however, in the 3Dmark06 test that the MacBook Pro makes big strides compared to previous models. In our tests, it notched up a score of 5,923 in 3Dmark06, which means it's well suited to 3D applications, including gaming; you will, however, have to turn detail settings down for the latter.
Naturally, there are some disadvantages to running Windows on the MacBook Pro. Certain features, such as the ability to switch from the 9600M GT to the less power-hungry 9400M, are not available.
What's more, you will need to purchase a separate Windows licence. With Vista Business costing £219 and Vista Ultimate £229, it pushes the price of an already expensive notebook further in the wrong direction.
It does, however, mean you can run any Windows-based software package on the MacBook Pro, which might, for some businesses, be enough to justify the extra cost.