I need a new computer!

Discussion in 'Buying Tips, Advice and Discussion (archive)' started by whyrichard, Nov 28, 2004.

  1. whyrichard macrumors 68000

    Aug 15, 2002
    And I want to buy an apple, just as I have had for my last seven computers, beginning with an apple IIC.

    Thing is... I'm a grad student in architecture now, and I'll be using ALOT of computer imaging and modeling programs.

    Some programs I'll be using:
    3D autocad
    and many more i forget the names of...

    See my problem? I'll be using a fair amount of programs available only for windows.

    are these programs very processor intensive? will a new dp powermac run virtual pc fast enough to not feel like an idiot running 3d modeling and perhaps even 3d animation?

    should I get two computers? two desktops? a new powermac to compliment my ibook, and a used laptop pc?

    any architecture people have any solutions?


  2. jsw Moderator emeritus


    Mar 16, 2004
    Andover, MA
    VPC 7 on a dual-2.5 wouldn't begin to be fast enough - because those are graphics-intensive apps. They'd work, but they'd be painfully slow.

    I think it's not a bad idea to buy a cheap/used PC - no matter how cheap/used you go, it's likely to run circles around a state-of-the-art G5/VPC7 combo, and only for a few hundred more than the $250 VPC7 cost. Edit: I meant, buy a cheap PC and a nice PowerMac! ;)
  3. whyrichard thread starter macrumors 68000

    Aug 15, 2002
    would you or anyone have a suggestion for what level of pc i would need to be happy using these programs?

    what is the priority? processor speed, ram, video ram, videocard, whichever...? I would want this pc only to run certain programs, I wouldn't even want it hooked up to the internet. wouldn't use it for any media whatsoever. wouldn't even need a cd drive, other then to install softward. thinking a desktop would be nice and fast and cheap, but smaller the better! a laptop with an external monitor port?

    does anyone know if there is such a thing as a monitor/keyboard/mouse switcher? so I could use the same imput devices and monitor for both pc and mac invirements?



    love the enders game.
  4. PlaceofDis macrumors Core

    Jan 6, 2004
    im not sure what exactly will be the most important factor for the software you want to use, but yes there are switches that you can get for mouse, keyboard, monitor, speakers, ect ect ect, look at best buy, compusa or wherever and you will find plenty of em
  5. cypher macrumors member

    Sep 28, 2003
    I know there are some moniter mice and KB swtichers. They are called KVM switches. Or get an LCD with DVI-D and VGA and you can hook your mac to the dvi-d and your pc to the vga and switch from the moniter itself. But then again you wouldn't be able to switch mice and keyboards.

  6. Apple //e macrumors 6502

    Jun 21, 2003
    get the best tool for the job. you use apps, not a platform. and brand allegiance is a bunch of c##p. do you think corporations think about you? get the job done, get paid and do whatever the hell you want.

    you already have an ibook, get a desktop pc for work
  7. Maxicek macrumors regular

    Apr 23, 2004
    Second that. Get a PC for the CAD work. As much as it pains me to say it, the CAD programs are just not available on the Mac. If your are going to be doing visuals, get a decent graphics card, etc. A lot of the CAD programs don't work too well with games cards. Check the CAD program manufacturers websites for recommendations.
  8. whyrichard thread starter macrumors 68000

    Aug 15, 2002
    I am thinking you guys are right.

    now the question is, WHICH PC DO I PURCHASE?!?!?!?

    (never thought i'd be asking this one...)

    if i get a desktop pc, i may be able to afford an imac as well, that would be interesting.... but nevertheless...

    if i were to get a desktop pc, i would want it to be relativly compact,

    if i were to get a laptop pc, i would want: wireless, external monitor hookups, no internal cd rom necessary, otherwise not disappointing or frustrating to use on mid level cad work.

    any suggestions? keep in mind i do, as an apple user, apprecieate good industrial design. toshiba's and sony's have stuck out in the past, but really, I DON'T KNOW A THING ABOUT PC BRANDS....

    any suggestions???


  9. advres Guest


    Oct 3, 2003

    I know little about specific PC's but I work for a software company that develops video effects plugins. One thing I know is graphics cards for both Mac and PC. Go to the websites of the software companies you are planning on using. Look at their system requirements and purchase based on that. I know for instance my company supports very few graphics cards because of the poor implementation of OpenGL. You are going to be probably working completely in OpenGL with these apps and if that is the case some cards could give you more of a headache then they are worth. When it comes to 3D/2D compositing working with OpenGL, you could have the best system in the world but if your card doesn't support it youre f*cked. I have seen too many of our beta testers buy a new card thinking it would be cool and after extensive testing on our end we have to blacklist it because of poor performance/crashing.

    When it comes to cards also, more expensive is not always better. I have seen $250 cards out perform some $700 cards. DO NOT GO TO GAMER SITES TO CHECK FOR CARDS. Many people make this mistake. Just because it is good for gaming does not make it a good all around card for 3D/2D compositing/modeling/animating etc.

    My PC at work:
    Windows XP
    2.4G P4
    512M RAM
    Matrox 256M Parhelia video card *DO NOT GET THIS CARD* I have to test with it because we have so much proplems interacting with it.

    My Mac at work:
    1.6 G5 single
    512M RAM
    Radeon 9700 (i think).

    One thing I would suggest is running at least a Gig of RAM. I am stuck with the systems they give me to use so I can't really beef mine up.

    Final word. Make sure the apps you are using is going to support the hardware BEFORE you buy anything. Go to Forums for these apps and look around and ask. See if people have been encountering any adverse conditions.

    keep us posted
  10. advres Guest


    Oct 3, 2003
    One more thing. If you buy a complete system you are going to be getting a lot of stuff you don't need and a lot of stuff you will have to upgrade. To save yourself money I would build my own system or at least go through a supplier that you can pick your parts and they will build it for you.
  11. wPod macrumors 68000


    Aug 19, 2003
    Denver, CO
    I am sorry you have to be asking this question, but I understand the reasons and may have some help. I recently had to purchase a PC for my dad who is a landscape architect and has to work with similar graphic intense PC only programs.

    contrary to other recomendations when i priced it out, you usually get a better deal on a pre-built machine than buying individual parts and building your own machine. i found the cheapest price at dell but HP has very competitive prices especially if you dont mind using an AMD chip. (dell doesnt use AMD)

    GET A DESKTOP laptop PC is worthless and to get the power you need it will be the size of a desktop anyway

    1) very important is to have a seperate video card rather than a built in video card (with shared memory) a built in card does two bad things, it slows graphics down by using RAM for memory and it slows the computer down by decreasing the amount of availble RAM.

    2) Get at P4 or AMD XP or AMD Athlon64 anything else, such as AMD Sempron or Intel Celeron is useless.

    3) go to the customize site on whichever brand you chose strip off all of the extras, you do not need a floppy drive, you do not need DVD burner or multiple drives. you probably wont need a monitor and speakers if you end up getting a KVM switch.

    with that you should be able to spend easily under $1000. now is especially a good time to shop b/c there are usually rebates or extra discounts around christmas time.
  12. henchman macrumors 6502a

    Dec 28, 2004
    Lot's of dis-information there.

    For one, a laptop PC is not worthless. I do music and audiop post-production for a living. I have an Athlon64 laptop that kicks ass. It cost me $1000,-

    I would, no mattrer what go for an Athlon64 system, as you will have a 6v bit system for when they release the 64 bit version of Windows.

    Yes, stay away from Sempron and Celerons.

    And I would buy your PC at a local, reputable PC store, that builds the machine in-house.
    Reason being, if you have a problem, they have people working there that actually know somethign about computers. Not some idiot at the end of the phoneline readign from a book.
    And usually you'll ahve it fixed in a day or 2, and won't have to worry abotu shiupping it to god-knows-where.
  13. aldo macrumors regular

    Oct 26, 2003
    England, UK
    Dell outlet. Good machines at a very good price.

    Don't listen to most of the people on these forums. They are so blinded with Apple brand loyalty that they have no grip on reality.

    The fact of the matter is that the slowest Athlon Sempron is going to be as fast or faster than the 1.6GHz or 1.8GHz G5.

    What I'd be looking for:

    -2.6GHz+ P4
    -800MHz+ FSB
    -512MB RAM
    -80+GB HDD
    -9700+ Radeon graphics card.

    I found a few of those machines just now for the $800 mark. That machine is going to be as fast, or faster than the PowerMac single, and probably dual, for what you are going to be doing.

    Dell also does great deals on their LCD panels which are really good.
  14. henchman macrumors 6502a

    Dec 28, 2004
    I would personnaly go with an Athlon64. Runs quiter and will have built in obsolence protection becasue it's 64 bit.
  15. paul84043 macrumors newbie

    Dec 26, 2004
    Lehi, Utah
    Wpod wasn't completely out in left field, comparatively speaking, you get more performance out of a Desktop PC than a Laptop. (currently, I count no less than 9 laptops in my computer room, and I know them all) Laptops are by no means worthless, but they can't really stand toe to toe with a desktop.

    Unfortunately, the pre-packaged systems are the better buy IF nothing ever goes wrong, and you don't want to upgrade. A custom built system from a local PC store is the best bang for the buck, they can build you a system to your specifications, and if anything goes wrong (assuming you did your homework), there are no questions asked repairs.
    Your question is unbelievably loaded, there are too many directions to go.
    Do you want a monster desktop system? (1K not including shared monitor)
    Super monster system? AMD Athlon 64 socket 949 CPU, PCI-X video card, dual hard drives, as big as you can afford, USB 2.0 firewire, DVD burner, 1500$ (+).
    Cheapo Dell system, 600 to 900$. Upgrades, questionable, performance, probably okay.
    It all hinges on what you're willing to spend, that would help narrrow down the possibilities.
    Unfortunately, you will probably not be able to avoid having a PC. There's nothing wrong with it, it's just a tool. I have 4 desktop Athlon 64 bit systems right now, it's all in what you use them for.

    I'm new to the Mac world, and I'll tell you, if I could only use a mac, I would.
    After using mac, my pc's feel cheap, clunky, and overblown, but they do a job.

    What's your realistic price range?
    That will help.

  16. CaptainCaveMann macrumors 68000


    Oct 5, 2004
    Build your own of course :D
  17. CaptainCaveMann macrumors 68000


    Oct 5, 2004
    If you buy a pre-built pc from a company you are going to get a whole lot of apps and progs that are stupid and useless and cluttering and ofton times make the comp run bad (can you hear the bitterness?) Been there done that. If you want(need) a pc build your own and install the necesary drivers for every piece of hardware in your machine and youll be set! It will run much better than a pre built system i can gurrantee it and so would all of my lan party friends :D
  18. henchman macrumors 6502a

    Dec 28, 2004
    Depending on what you want to use it for, you don't really NEED an expensive PCI-X top of the line videocard.

    And my Athlon64 laptop kicks ass on my overclocked Ahtlon XP2500+
  19. paul84043 macrumors newbie

    Dec 26, 2004
    Lehi, Utah
    Captain Caveman is of course correct here, the only way to be positive that you get quality, is to build it in yourself. Unfortunately, if price is really an issue, it's nearly impossible to beat the pre-fabs. I can't build a machine as cheaply as they can, but then again, I would never use most of the parts that "they" use.

    If you're willing to spend only a couple hundred more, then you're in the ballpark, and home-grown is the only way to go.
  20. cheekyspanky macrumors 6502a


    Jan 21, 2004
    South Bucks, UK
    I just thought I'd say how important it is to get the right graphics card, I have an (ancient now) Geforce 2 and one of my mates has a few months old Ati card - and Pro Engineer Wildfire works better on my pc than his!

    Its really smooth on mine which is strange as my pc is really old (1.3Ghz Athlon, 256mb RAM) but it takes Pro E almost 5 minutes to fully open and be in a workable state!

    Best to go to find out which software you'll be using exactly, then look at the most important one and make sure the pc you buy will work well with it!

    Rhino also works fine on my pc, although when you get into the rendering side of things it has a tendency to run out of memory and kinda die on me.

    Only 6 more months until I finish uni and can finally get myself a Mac...!! :D

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