I need a powerful computer for college

Discussion in 'Buying Tips, Advice and Discussion (archive)' started by highgear, Jun 30, 2004.

  1. highgear macrumors newbie

    Jun 30, 2004
    I have been a mac user all my life, and have been looking forward to getting a new computer for my first year of college for some time. I consider myself a power user. I use photoshop extensively, I do a lot of video editing/encoding, and regularly use cad software. I am also an avid gamer and particularly enjoy halo. My current 867 powermac with gforce3 feels rather sluggish and I could really use an upgrade. For some time now, I was thinking that I would get a maxed out 15 inch powerbook with a nice external monitor (maybe a new 23"). However, i realize that I could get a dual g5 for about the same money but with over twice the performance (particularly the graphics card).

    The main problem is how much I value portability which is a whole lot. I think I would put myself at a real disadvantage if I didn't have a portable computer that I could bring around everywhere. However, I would really like to play some high quality halo at some bearable framerates. I also hate sitting around and waiting for my computer to finish rendering and whatnot. (the other thing is this computer needs to last me about 4 years)

    So my real question now is whether I should hold off till "january" for a g5 powerbook and bring my desktop to college for a little while or get a top of the line dual g5. Another option (potentially more costly) would be to get a really nice dual g5 with a slightly smaller monitor and also get a small not so powerful ibook or 12" powerbook.

    I really need (want) a g5 powerbook though.

    any suggestions?

    (PS - I plan on spending lots)
  2. LeeTom macrumors 68000


    May 31, 2004
    Here's my suggestion:
    A really nice dual G5 with a 20" cinema display, and a 12" powerbook or ibook.

    in my opinion, you'll be waiting longer than january for a g5 powerbook

    Lee Tom
  3. jsw Moderator emeritus


    Mar 16, 2004
    Andover, MA
    Power vs. portability is truly a choice only you can make. Keep in mind that, whenever the G5 PBs come out, they will still be slow compared to the PowerMac you could buy today. That said, it looks like you've got a hell of a budget for this stuff.

    A maxed out 15" with a 23" monitor is going to run you, what, ~$5K? For pretty much the same $$ you could get a dual-2 (which, honestly, is almost the same as the dual-2.5 but $500 less), a 20" monitor (not as nice as the 23", but $700 less) and a 12" iBook.

    Everyone here has raved about the 15". If the 15" PB does what you need, then buy it. One system is easier than two. But... if you're big into gaming, that PB isn't going to let you upgrade the graphics card, it's going to limit your ability to upgrade the hard disk, etc.

    If you want more speed and more future-proofing, the PowerMac is the way to go. If you get an iBook as well, then you're good to go for note-taking, some light portable gaming, etc. The iBook isn't as fast, esp. graphically, as the 15", but for non-hardcore-gaming purposes, it holds its own quite nicely. And the case is less prone to obvious scratches (and more reparable).

    I have an "old" 20" display. Yeah, it's not as big as the 23". But it's pretty nice. For games, it supports the resolutions I use. I would have prefered the 23", but didn't have the bucks. As it turns out, though, the 20" has been fine. It looks a lot smaller in the store. At home, it's quite nice.
  4. Mantat macrumors 6502a

    Sep 19, 2003
    Montréal (Canada)
    Definatly, you need a PMG5 2.0 and a 12" iBook. Or you can order just the PM now and wait to the last moment to get the laptop so you can benefit from a possible price drop.

    This is the best deal you can make and you get two very good value computer for your needs.

    Waiting for a PBG5 is a waste of time and energy. You better be happy now then wait and be pissed that the PB would be slower than your expectation.

    I personnaly have a 12"PB and a eMac right now and I can tell you how great it is to have access to two macs. It allow me to always have the best mac for the job and syncing stuff between computer is very easy.
  5. mymemory macrumors 68020


    May 9, 2001
    I would upgrade your actuall acomputer and get a 12" Powerbook like I did full ram and a new fast internal hard drive + an external 160GB hard drive as well. That is my configuration and I am doing FCP and After Effects for broadcast.

    You can bet, renders will always be slow unless you get the top G5 with all the ram. A full 3D render with shadows. camera, lights, 40 sec long takes 4 hours in my PB.

    I was studing multimedia back in 1997-98 and I had a PM 9600 back then. Todays work is not that different and my friends were doing renders that lasted for 8 days! 6 seconds duration. But those are 3 times a year stuff.

    I mean, do not get crazy about equipment now, take my experience. I'm 29, I had everything! and I'm here now doing animations in a 12" PB with a 20" screen and I am happy. Of course I would like to have a G5 but I rather get one discontinued, I am not dying for it any way.

    Attached Files:

  6. seamuskrat macrumors 6502a


    Feb 17, 2003
    New Jersey USA
    Keep in mind that as a student, you do not NEED the fastest, and bestest Mac. You need a good one. You could upgrade your current mac with a Gigadesigns dual upgrade, new internal drive with faster bus, and new video card. This would give you an excellent system that would last through college, and allow you to get a nice powerbook for portability. Then in 3 or 4 years, get the dream machine with quad G6 at 4 gig each.

    I can say that working at a university environment at a university with a famous film school, those that do graduate level digital video work are still using dual 800 G4 and P4 2.0 era machines.

    Other than gaming, the time saved with a G5 will be minimal when compared with the G4 dual upgrade for your machine. Plus, you can show off how your 4 year old Mac kicks butt still.
  7. highgear thread starter macrumors newbie

    Jun 30, 2004

    Thanks everybody for your insightful suggestions. Although I still don't know what I plan to do, your ideas have been very helpful. (I am liking the dual g5 and ibook setup the most however).

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