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Mathematica - Mac or PC?

Posted 10 years ago

After a long time dithering, I've decided to buy a copy of Mathematica 9 Home Edition.  However, I'm not sure whether to go for the Windows or Macintosh version and would like to elicit some guidance to help me choose. 

I intend to mainly use Mathematica for mucking around with maths, some education for my children (age range 8 yrs to 13 yrs) and a fair bit of physics / astronomy simulation (I'm a professional systems engineer but my degree's in astrophysics and I'd like to start playing around with it before I forget everything!).

I've got a rather elderly Dell (4 GiB RAM) running Windows 7 Ultimate and equipped with a 23" monitor, and I also have a recently acquired 21" iMac mid-2011 model with 8 GiB RAM; I bought the latter primarily for my wife to use and it's my first foray into the Mac world (... well, not quite true, I used a Mac SE for a bit at work decades ago and found Hypercard quite interesting).  I'm unlikely to upgrade either machine within the next 12 months.

Are there any differences between the Win and Mac implementations that might sway me one way or the other?   Or any portability considerations that might pop up in the future (eg, I'm going to get my children (well, that's my story and I'm sticking to it) a Raspberry Pi, I occasionally steal my wife's iPad mini and I use an Android phone) ...

Thank you for your consideration. 

Hoping everyone had a good Christmas and has a Good New Year.

POSTED BY: Stuart Bruff
5 Replies
Posted 9 years ago

Horvat, What flavor of Linux were you using? I have Ubuntu on a new machine, but I haven't loaded my MMA-9 on it yet. Mark

POSTED BY: Mark Harder
I've used Mathematica on both operating systems and there's no difference in functionality or usability.  It has excellent cross platform support.  I would not base my decision on which OS Mathematica supports better, but on which one you prefer using (independently of Mathematica) or what other programs you might want to interface Mathematica with (but it sounds like you won't do that).

Unfortunately I wouldn't say the same is true for Linux: I've found the Linux interface of Mathematica to be buggier and at times frustrating.  One of the primary reasons I do not prefer to use Linux as my main system is that I use Mathematica daily and I find it more pleasant to use on Windows/Mac.  This applies only to the graphical interface, not the kernel functionality.
POSTED BY: Szabolcs Horvát
Posted 10 years ago
Thanks for the replies.  After chatting to Wolfram support, I decided to go with the RAM and install on the iMac - if I change my mind and want to move it to the PC, then I just need to transfer the licence rather than buy a new one.

POSTED BY: Stuart Bruff
It's good to have lots of RAM available - I see your Mac has twice as much as your Dell...
POSTED BY: C ormullion
I have Mathematica on an HP laptop running Windows 7 and a MacBook Air. It runs somewhat faster on the MacBook Air but otherwise there's not much difference. 
POSTED BY: Frank Kampas
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