Many SCSE students successfully use Macintosh computers for their coursewook. Macs are very well constructed, are not subjected to the same number of viruses as Windows computers, and are just as fast and, many say, more intuitive to use.
Students who wish to buy a Macintosh computer have several options to ensure compatibility with courses that may require some analytical functions available only to Windows users.
Use Campus Computer Labs
Computer labs throughout campus are supplied with virtually all of the software students need. Macintosh users can use Windows computers for specific tasks simply by making use of the labs. For more information, locations, access and so on, check here.
Run Windows on the Mac
Macs can run Windows effortlessly in addition to the native MacOS.The downside is that a copy of Windows needs to be purchased and the computer needs to be configured properly to run both operating systems. (check Apple's website for more info)
In addition, users would need to purchase the Windows version of Microsoft Office. (note that students can only purchase 1 discounted version of Microsoft Office)
Add-ins for Microsoft Excel
Microsoft Office for the Mac does not have the same analytical tools as the version for Windows. There are 2 free add-ins that may offer the same functions as Windows users. Note that there is no certainty that these tools can do everything that the Windows Office version does.
StatPlus: performs many of the functions that were previously available in the Analysis ToolPak, such as regressions, histograms, analysis of variance (ANOVA), and t-tests (click for instructions and to download).
Solver: helps solve linear programming and nonlinear optimization problems with Excel 2008. Use it for forecasting, capacity planning, and resource allocation questions (click for instructions and to download)