Looking For Advice On Mac Purchase???

Discussion in 'Buying Tips, Advice and Discussion (archive)' started by jumpman25, May 15, 2005.

  1. jumpman25 macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Feb 23, 2004
    #1
    I'm going to be purchasing a new Mac within the next few days to be used as my main computer (selling my Thinkpad T42 Laptop as Windows is driving me crazy), but am lost as to what to buy. I am thinking I will get either a 15" or 17" Powerbook, or a dual 2.0 or dual 2.3 Powermac. I use my computer mainly for music, encoding and burning DVD's and video (do lots of this), and Gaming (currently playing WoW), and of couse everyday tasks such as internet and word processing. I'm thinking it would be cool to get a Powermac and a 23" or 30" cinema display and use it as a TV, and watch movies off the hard drive. But then again, I love the mobility of laptops, and being able to compute while in bed or on the couch. I'm worred that the Powerbook wouldn't be up to the tasks that I mentioned above, or that it wouldn't last very long if I put it through its paces day in and day out. Well, I guess you can see my problem, and I am just looking for some input on what I should do. Any information would be greatly appreciated. Thanks
     
  2. macbaseball macrumors 6502a

    macbaseball

    Joined:
    Feb 27, 2005
    Location:
    Northern California
    #2
    What is your budget? Why do you need portability? (Is it for occasional trips or work, etc.)
     
  3. James Philp macrumors 65816

    James Philp

    Joined:
    Mar 5, 2005
    Location:
    Oxford/London
    #3
    1. Try the buyers advice on this website!
    2. You've mentioned just about every computer that apple make there! you need to really look at what you currently do with your computer and what you hope to do in the future
    3. You mentioned BOTH desktops and laptops. This is a no-brainer for most people. Really think hard about how important portability is to you.
    4. A G5 processor is a great thing to have these days, but it's not the only thing!
    5. To take FULL advantage of all this HD stuff and H.264 and video in the future, you're going to be looking at a Dual G5 of some kind.
    6.Buy a "MacWorld" or similar magazine, and read the buyers guide (near the back) for some additional information
    7. MOST IMPORTANTLY take your time. Making a rash decision will not serve you well. Check especially which products have been updated recently.

    On a self-plugging level (and to swerve you away from a G5 1.8GHz single, read this thread. (UK prices, but the American store is identical in it's price structure)/
     
  4. jumpman25 thread starter macrumors regular

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    Feb 23, 2004
    #4
    Ok, let me clear things up a bit as my first post may not have made much sense. I don't travel much, but the reason I am stuck between a PB and a PM is becasue well... where I park my tush makes all the difference in the world to me. I love being able to sit on the couch in front of the TV with my computer in my lap. The reason i'm lost is becasue i'm not sure if the PB is fast enough for what I just described, and i'm not sure if it would hold up under all that stress. Running a computer to 100% of what it is capable of for hours on end when it's cramed in such a small space (i.e. encoding video) just worries me. I guess i'm asking about build quality on the Powerbooks. I'm not very worried about budget as a computer is something that I get a whole lot of use out of and consider it more of an investment. As far as the Powermacs go, would any of you reccomend the dual 2.3 over the dual 2.0. I dont need the extra ram slots. I would just put 4x512 in there and that should suite me fine. Also, on Airport Extreme reception on the PB and PM. Is the reception better on the PM than on the PB? As you can see i'm 50/50 right now, and am just trying to collect information to help me make my decision. Any personal experience with either the PB or PM would also be great.
     
  5. oriol macrumors member

    oriol

    Joined:
    Jan 5, 2005
    Location:
    right behind ya!
    #5
    wut up welcome.

    if u want it for games get a powermac but if the games are not that important get a powerbook. i got a 12" PB and is fantastic and a PC for games. the powerbook will make all those task just fine except the games part.

    do u really need a laptop don't forget that u will get a better computer if it ain't portable.

    portability or better specs??? :confused: u decide!.




    my two cents.
     
  6. jumpman25 thread starter macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Feb 23, 2004
    #6

    Thanks for the info, I guess what I really want is a Dual G5 Powerbook, but I don't really see that as an option. I have seen gaming reports from the 15" and 17" Powerbooks on both ends of the spectrom. Some people say WoW runs smoothe as silk on their PB, and other say they get like 5fps. I'm not a Mac expert so this is why I'm looking to you guys to help me out.
     
  7. macbaseball macrumors 6502a

    macbaseball

    Joined:
    Feb 27, 2005
    Location:
    Northern California
    #7
    Another question: Do you need the dual layer support. Because if you don't why not just grab a Dual 1.8 for either 1,699 or 1,499 (Refurb), and then pick up some sort of laptop that you can just use for internet and ichat etc., then you have the best of both world.

    If you want to stick with a good Powermac or Powerbook, then your just going to have to decide which is more important: Speed of video encoding or being able to sit on the couch with a computer on your lap.
     
  8. themacman macrumors 6502

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    Jun 7, 2004
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    kc
    #8
    wait until wwdc. Maybe well get some news on the next gen. powerbook.
     
  9. zen.state macrumors 68020

    zen.state

    Joined:
    Mar 13, 2005
    #9
    any current powerbook would do quite well at encoding video and such as thats the kind of thing they are built for. for gaming a laptop (mac or pc) is never the way to go.

    get either a 15 or 17". both will do well at heavy multimedia work.
     
  10. macbaseball macrumors 6502a

    macbaseball

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    Feb 27, 2005
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    Northern California
    #10
    We can all hope, but i just don't see the G5 getting small and cool enough to run in a laptop. You never know though, it's not that far away.
     
  11. zen.state macrumors 68020

    zen.state

    Joined:
    Mar 13, 2005
    #11
    ibm and apple are 2 very smart companies. I am sure they will or already have figure out how to keep a G5 cool in a laptop. the imac G5 shows its possible to have one in a smaller space so an even smaller space like a laptop is coming for sure.
     
  12. jumpman25 thread starter macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Feb 23, 2004
    #12
    Yeah, but i've heard that you wont see much of a performance increase between a 1.67GHz G4 or a 1.6 or 1.8GHz G5. That the G5 really shines at higher clock rates and with dual processors. Seems to me like a G5 in a Powerbook would be mostly for marketing.
     
  13. CanadaRAM macrumors G5

    CanadaRAM

    Joined:
    Oct 11, 2004
    Location:
    On the Left Coast - Victoria BC Canada
    #13
    a) Don't wait for a G5 laptop
    **) 17" is too big to balance on your lap
    iii) The 15" is a good compromise between speed, expandability (FW800 and PCMCIA) and screen size
    4) The powerbooks get hot on the bottom. Unless you like the Planters effect (points for the first definition) then you will want a lap tray of some description for long term use.
    V) If you get a laptop, also get a Firewire hard drive for backup and near-line storage, and a mouse for when the trackpad gets too annoying.
    six) Airport reception on the AlBooks sucks.
     
  14. Graeme A macrumors 6502

    Graeme A

    Joined:
    Aug 6, 2003
    Location:
    Melbourne, Australia
    #14
    Planters effect... Roasted Nuts... V Funny, me like!

    Only go for the laptop if you must go mobile, otherwise a PM will be so much better for tasks you mentioned. I have an older 17" PB but, they have upgraded the PB line so much that you could get away with it if you pay top dollar for the laptop.

    If you get a FW drive, go for the FW800 or triple interface types. You will need to keep the FW400 free for the usual iSight/iPod/Camera connectivity.

    17" might be tough to balance on the lap but it has the extra real estate.
     
  15. solvs macrumors 603

    solvs

    Joined:
    Jun 25, 2002
    Location:
    LaLaLand, CA
    #15
    Buy the Dual 2.0, upgrade the video card, buy more RAM via 3rd party (Newegg.com has Mac compatible RAM at pretty good prices, just read the reviews), and get a Dell LCD (yeah, I know, but it's cheaper than Apple's offering and they're almost as good). Wait a couple of weeks for a new iBook if you want portability. Or get a low-end or refurb PowerBook. Then you'll have the best of both worlds.
     
  16. MyLeftNut macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Dec 15, 2002
    Location:
    Melbourne, Australia
    #16
    I have a Rev C 17" PB and I love it.

    However, it sounds like some of things you want to do are fairly intensive. The G4 in the laptops just doesnt cut it I'm afraid, particularly if you are encoding large video files. You absolutely must have an external drive (The LaCIe FW extreme D2 that I purchased recently is excellent).

    I do medium level graphics, rarely play games, basic video work and the usual internet stuff, so my laptop serves that purpose well. It also gets some nice looks from envious windows users hehe. I am entranced with the mobility of the laptop, the only caveat is that I hanker for more storage and the larger screen of the 23" which you might attach other peripherals to. This kind of means I'll have some sort of 'workstation' setup of which the core part you can take around with you.

    I am waiting for the PB to go G5 one day but realise that this might be a long wait for the 2nd or 3rd revision (there will be kinks to sort out). So if your likely to spend a fair amount of time being stationary - setup a groovy PowerMac workstation. At least then you wont be dissappointed if you have to wait too long for the PB to upgraded. I think even with the current PB lineup features, the PowerMac Duals are the best return on investment. Ultimately you sound like you'll have a 'workstation' of some sort. If so, the PowerMacs are the go in my opinion. PLus if you decide that you'll get a larger screen you can work your way down from a PowerMac to a G6 Powerbook in the future...you cant lose either way... :D
     
  17. jumpman25 thread starter macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Feb 23, 2004
    #17
    First off, just wanted to say thanks for all your help. I'm going to be purchasing a Powermac tonight and just wanted to run my decision by you guys before I go through with it. Anyway, right now what I think I'm going to do is buy the Dual 2.0 Powermac G5 with the 20" Apple display. I'm going with the 2.0 because I don't think I will need the extra memory slots, and I'm not going to use PCI-X, and don't think an extra 300MHz per processor is worth the money. I'm going to buy 4x512MB from crucial and that should be good. I'm going to upgrade the 9600 with an x800 XT I think, and install my own hard drives. I'm going with the 20" Apple display because I can't really see spending twice as much for an extra 3 inches. Just wondering what you experts think about this. Is there anything you would change? Also, if I want to install 2 of my own hard drives is it very difficult to do on a mac. I've built about 10 PC's, but have never done anything with a mac so just wanted to make sure. Thanks again
     
  18. wiseguy27 macrumors 6502

    wiseguy27

    Joined:
    Apr 30, 2005
    Location:
    USA
    #19
    I wanted to point you to what I wrote in a different post yesterday about RAM slots - thought it might be useful --> http://forums.macrumors.com/showthread.php?p=1462149#post1462149

    But considering the other COSTLY upgrades you're doing, you may be better off with your current decision to go for the 2GHz model.

    Do you mean 2x512MB? On the 2GHz with 4 RAM slots, two would already be filled by Apple (unless you plan to throw them away and install 4x512MB).

    That would be an additional $400 or so!!! You do have deep pockets. :p

    If you're not specific about Apple, you could go for the Dell 2005FPW 20" - it uses the same flat panel as the Apple 20" and is around $400+ now! Check other threads on this forum for the latest coupons.

    FWIW, I chose the Apple 20" more than a week ago for looks as well as to contribute to Apple (instead of Dell). :)


    The only thing I would change would be to go for the 2.3GHz with more RAM slots. But then, that's my personal preference based on the thread I have quoted above.

    It wouldn't be tough. Apple does provide instructions for upgrading the Power Macs on their website -
    Upgrade options - http://docs.info.apple.com/article.html?artnum=86790
    Storage upgrade instructions - http://www.apple.com/support/powermac/doityourself/storage.html
     
  19. jumpman25 thread starter macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Feb 23, 2004
    #20
    Thanks for all that info wiseguy. About the ram, apple wants an extra $80 to upgrade from 2x256 to 2x512, and its $100 to buy 2x512 at crucial, so I figured I would buy it all from crucial and just keep the apple ram in case I needed it for something. Your point about the extra memory slots on the 2.3 does have me thinking a bit, but it seems now that 1GB sticks are only a few bucks more than 2 512 sticks, and I don't ever see myself using more than 4GB, but then again, who knows what the future holds. Anyway, now I think I'm still going to go with the 2.0, but I'm going to get 1GB sticks from crucial in stead of 512 sticks. It will only cost me an extra $50 for 2x1GB vs 4x512, and this way I can still use the apple memory, and can upgrade if needed. Thanks again!

    P.S. If you noticed from the changes in direction in my post, I was thinking about what to do while I was writing it. :)

    Edit: By the way, I looked at the dell monitor, and just like the way the apple ones look a lot better. Plus I am getting a student discound on all of this so the 20" is only $699.
     
  20. wiseguy27 macrumors 6502

    wiseguy27

    Joined:
    Apr 30, 2005
    Location:
    USA
    #21
    Now that you mention student discount, have you checked out the student developer program? For higher end Power Macs the discount is a lot more than what you would normally get as a student. The student developer program itself costs $99, but it more than compensates for the bigger discounts you get on the system. The only issue is that there is a verification process that may take a day or two. You'd have to order the system through the developer hardware purchase link (not through the normal online store) AFTER your student developer membership has been verified/approved. You don't have to be doing anything related to software development to register for ADC.

    Student ADC - http://developer.apple.com/students/
    For prices, check the Hardware Purchase Program Store (US) link at - http://developer.apple.com/membership/usa.html

    In case you decide not to go through the hassles of ADC, then don't forget the $100 mail-in rebate for students at http://education.apple.com/students/go/save/ - this is valid till around the end of June and is in addition to the student discount you already get.
     
  21. mrstangblb macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Feb 9, 2004
    #22
    Those Developer discounts look good

    I have an email in to the Developer section of the Apple Store (I tried chatting but the chat person did not know the answer to this question), but can anybody tell me if I used a Developer-bought computer, could I use it for Graphic Design? I'm a Designer but I'd be glad to learn how to program for a discount on one of those machines. There's about $400 off a 2GHz dual ($1599 vs. $1999 at the regular Apple Store).

    I just don't want to violate any agreement, so I'd rather know for sure before I tried to buy one.
     
  22. jumpman25 thread starter macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Feb 23, 2004
    #23
    Thats actually the student discount I was referring to :). I signed up for the ADC membership about 9 months ago when I was planning on getting a Mac, but then ended up getting a Thinkpad instead as I was waiting for an update that everyone was talking about but coudn't wait any longer and didn't want to get stuck with outdated hardware. This was when I was planning on buying a powerbook and was waiting on what is now the 1.67, but everybody was saying that it could be a G5, and could be dual core G4. Thanks for the info though.
     
  23. jumpman25 thread starter macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Feb 23, 2004
    #24
    You should be fine getting a developer bought computer and using it mostly for other stuff. I'm going to use mine for what I mentioned above and am just going to fiddle around with programming. When you sign up for the program it asks what kind of programmer you are (student, professional, hobbiest etc.) so if you have any interest in programming at all, or just want to learn a little more about it you should be fine. They dont ask for you to send them anything that you made or anything like that. Its a really good deal also because you get all sorts of stuff in the mail. Every month I get a new CD in the mail with source code and some programs on it, and when a new OS comes out they send you that in the mail as well. Just got the tiger cd about 2 weeks ago. Plus you get an apple Developer shirt :)
     
  24. jumpman25 thread starter macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Feb 23, 2004
    #25
    Well, I placed my order and wanted to say thanks again for all your help. I got the dual 2.0 and upgraded the HD to 250, and also upgraded to airport extreme, and the bluetooth keyboard and mouse with bluetooth module. I'm going to order an x800 xt from newegg, and 2x1gb from crucial.com. I also got the apple 20" display. With my student dev discount the total price including tax was $2671.20. Not to bad if you ask me. Now I just need to figure out what to do to pass the time until it arrives.
     

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