new room setup advice needed

Discussion in 'Buying Tips and Advice' started by joe90, Jul 7, 2006.

  1. joe90 macrumors member


    Jan 24, 2005
    firstly, apologies for long post...

    I’m a student looking to sort out my room set-up for next year. I currently have a 15” Powerbook, resting on a iCurve, with a Bluetooth mouse and keyboard. However, I want to change my setup for a number of reasons. Firstly, I am finding the 15” screen too restrictive and want more desktop space. This is because I want to be able to watch TV in my room and also have more windows visible. I also want to play DVDs on a larger screen. My girlfriend is also moving down to London next year so I want to be able to videochat to her. There may also be a chance that I will want to be hook up a Gamecube or slimline PS2 to the setup. Another factor to consider is lack of deskspace I will have next year, which means the smaller the space that the setup and cables etc. take up, the better. Portability is also a factor as I will be travelling on the train a lot next year. Price is not the most important factor but I will not want to be spending more than £2000.

    If you could check out the various options for my future setup below, read my pros and cons and add ones I may have missed out or even extra options I should consider, I would be very grateful. Thanks in advance…

    NB. The prices below are either student prices from Apple, a trusted seller on eBay or elsewhere on the net, or from a friend. “~” denotes an estimate. I have not included the price for the tv hardware as it will be bought whatever option I choose. If anyone could give advice on the best products to hook-up tv to the mac in uk using freeview and being able to record shows that would be fantastic too.

    NB 2. I don’t like the new Macbooks so don’t bother suggesting them as an option.

    Option One:

    Retain 15” Powerbook 1.67GHz Superdrive, 1GB RAM, 100GB HD, 128Mb Graphics w/ Dual-link DVI, AP, BT
    Upgrade w/ 1GB RAM £92.83
    iSight £55
    Buy Dell 2407FPW Rev A02+ £599
    (Buy M-Audio Sonica Theatre) £61.64

    Total Cost(without M-Audio): £746.83


    The Sonica Theatre is included in brackets as at some point I will want an optical out to use for a 5.1 or 7.1 surround sound setup. I have done a fair bit of research on the web on the 2407 and feel that for what I will be using it for (web, DVDs, TV, little bit of graphics and gaming) it represents the best features for its price. Its inputs also mean that if I do choose to get hold of a gamecube or slimline ps2, I can connect and run them. This option will give me loads of desktop space and will mean I can use it effectively as a tv and DVD. I will probably place the 15” alongside the screen, using the iCurve. This will give me even more virtual desktop space but will cut down actual space on my desk by a fair amount. I will retain the portability of the 15” but may find it a bit annoying having to unplug my whole setup to travel. I also find the 15” a bit on the bulky and heavy side.

    Option Two:

    Sell 15” PB ~£900
    Buy second hand 12” Powerbook 1.5Ghz Superdrive, 512mb RAM, 80GB HD, AP, BT. ~£600
    Upgrade w/ 1GB RAM £92.83
    Buy 20” iMac 2.0GHz (Will wait until WWDC 2006 in case upgrades announced), 1GB RAM, 250 GB HD, 256Mb Graphics £1087

    Total Cost: £879.83


    This is probably the most likely option, despite being more expensive than the previous option. Although I will be gutted to sell my 15” Powerbook, I will be gaining the even more portable second-hand 12”. The 20” iMac obviously has a smaller screen and no inputs but will save lots of space on my desk with everything being contained in the one object. Having seen my friend’s 20” iMac, I feel that the screen is of sufficient size and I will be able to use the 12” too. I won’t have to buy the extra iSight too. My one worry is that I have never had two separate computers and am concerned that I will have issues with the fact they will be out of sync (all music on one, all photos on other etc.) Could someone who has a similar setup advise on how this can be avoided? As the iMac has an optical out I won’t have a problem with surround sound setup in the future.

    Option Three:
    Outside chance.
    Sell 15” PB ~£900
    Buy 12” PB £600
    Buy Mac Mini, 1Gb RAM, 100GB HD £539
    iSight £55
    Buy Dell 2407 £824.85

    Total Cost: £1118.85


    This is probably the least likely option as it is the most expensive and it has fairly major desk space/cabling ramifications. The mini will also not be as powerful specwise than the iMac. The 2407 will bring with it all the benefits listed in Option One.

    Thanks for reading this far, any input is welcome...
  2. mad jew Moderator emeritus

    mad jew

    Apr 3, 2004
    Adelaide, Australia
    I prefer the 15 inch PowerBook so may be bias but I also reckon it's better to have the devil you know. With second hand machines, there's always a slim risk that you'll get a dud and have no means of getting it repaired or replaced cheaply. Assuming your current PowerBook is running well, I'd stick with it.

    Otherwise, I'd go for option two. :)
  3. dmw007 macrumors G4


    May 26, 2005
    Working for MI-6
    I think that I would consider going with option #2 joe90. :)
  4. aquanutz macrumors regular

    May 9, 2005
    Boston, MA (I miss Willoughby, Ohio)
    I agree, the option #2 seems like the best choice. Plus the 12" are freakin' sweet. I love mine.
  5. ChrisBrightwell macrumors 68020


    Apr 5, 2004
    Huntsville, AL
    Honestly, I would recommend keeping your current PowerBook, adding a nice LCD (the 2407 is great), and adding an iSight. Your options above don't represent much of a performance boost for the cost involved.

    If you can, try to find a TV tuner that will link into the 2407 (or an eyeTV or something similar). This will free up valuable space and give your 2407 that much more to do.

    Alternatively, you might consider a flat-panel TV w/ DVI inputs. This again would double-duty the display device, minimize your overall footprint, and greatly simplify your setup.
  6. kaboutertje macrumors regular


    Jul 7, 2006
    Amsterdam, Netherlands
    I would personally sell the PB and get a macbook with 2gig, or if you really want a powerbook the 12".
    Let's assume this is a trade in which you wouldn't lose any money (still don't get those people that buy a secondhand mac for too much money but ok). I would buy these:
    - Dell 2407 $1200
    - Lacie 500gig external harddrive $350
    - Xbox 360 $350
    - Bluetooth keyboard and mice $100
    - Itrigue 3300 speakers $60

    Dunno how much that is in pounds but it seems to be in your budget. Why would you want 2 macs just dock the portable beast, it's not like you will notice a performance increase between a 2gig macbook and the macmini. And the 500gig external will help too.
    And a 360 so you can enjoy all the hdtv it produces on your 24" dell.

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