PROS & CONS: Pismo G4

Discussion in 'Mac Help/Tips' started by D*I*S_Frontman, Sep 23, 2002.

  1. D*I*S_Frontman macrumors 6502

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    #1
    Hey, Mac Gurus:

    The bass player in my band wants to buy a Mac. Would like portability but would also like to run high-end audio mixing programs a year from now (MOTU DP @ 24bit/96 mhz). He was tempted to buy a TiBook 667 w/Combo.

    I suggested he buy a used but nice Pismo G3/400 instead ($800-900), buy a gig of brand name RAM (Kingston $260 for 2 512mb chips) and ship it off to Powerlogix for the G4/500 upgrade ($299). I called Powerlogix and they told me that since they have to dismantle the board anyway they would install any included RAM at NO CHARGE. Nice.

    A year from now he can buy a PM tower--by then the phantom G5 from Moto may actually exist, or the IBM watered-down Power4 CPU, or both. Once performance is boosted just a bit more than the current towers, he should be able to do 48+ tracks of 24/96 audio w/ample plug-ins no problem. Right now a 1.25 Dual still doesn't have the beans to handle that, but its very close. The money he saved from NOT buying the TiBook (over $2000) could subidize much of the tower purchase next year.

    Do you all think I gave him good advice? The upgraded Pismo with a gig of RAM and a DVD playing optical drive would be less than the iBook/dvd model with base RAM. The Pismo also has expansion bays so slapping in a burner is no problem--perhaps someday even a DVD burner. Plus it will have a G4 chip with a decent cache and AltiVec--all for far less than $1500. My bassist can buy the OS X-ready version of MOTU's DP and monkey around with it at lower sample rates (20bit/48k was the sample rate of our last recording project) until the next generation of towers comes out. Yes, the video processor & RAM are substandard, but he's not a gamer, and while Quartz won't work on the 8mb video RAM in the Pismo, I hardly think OS X will actually be slow on a G4/500 w/1GIG RAM. Its not really slow on my Pismo G3/400 right now (soon to also be a G4/500, BTW)

    Titaniums are pricey and catch the wandering eye of any thief in the vacinity. iBooks don't have G4 chips. Both show scratches and wear more than a Pismo. And both cost more. Pismos can take a beating.

    Please weigh in on my advice. Wise? Unwise? Did I miss something?
     
  2. MacAztec macrumors 68040

    MacAztec

    Joined:
    Oct 28, 2001
    Location:
    San Luis Obispo, CA
    #2
    Well...

    If he needs the computer right NOW, get the Ti Book. It is way better than the Pismo because of video card, screen, speed, cache, just about everything!

    If he can wait until january, advise him to do so. Wait for an update on the iBook, which I would reccomend, and I think sometime around MWSF it will have a G4.
     
  3. vniow macrumors G4

    Joined:
    Jul 18, 2002
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    I accidentally my whole location.
    #3
    I gotta agree with MacAztec and go for the Tibook. You can always eBay it when the new towers come out.:)



    (off-topic/I just sampled Viber's Brood from your site and I loved it! You've got a real interesting voice, almost elf-like.:p/on-topic)
     
  4. Hemingray macrumors 68030

    Hemingray

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    Ha ha haaa!
    #4
    Re: PROS & CONS: Pismo G4

    Sorry dude, Pismo's max RAM is 512MB.

    It will definitely save him money, but as MacAztec said, it has less RAM capacity, slower system bus, no combo drive, smaller HD, 8MB of VRAM (which consequently means no Quartz Extreme), no gigabit enet, and no L3 cache.

    I'd recommend he buys a TiBook come this next revision. He'll get what he pays for.
     
  5. D*I*S_Frontman thread starter macrumors 6502

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    #5
    Um...er... my Pismo has a gig of RAM. Addresses all of it. The old 512mb spec is innaccurate.
     
  6. JSRockit macrumors 6502a

    JSRockit

    Joined:
    Aug 24, 2002
    Location:
    NYC
    #6
    Re: PROS & CONS: Pismo G4

    System Requirements:

    Digital Performer requires a Power Macintosh with at least 64Mb or more of free RAM (not virtual memory). We recommend a Macintosh G4 with 256MB of RAM for optimal performance. Digital Performer runs on MacOS 8.5.1 thru the latest versions of MacOS 9.

    This guy should really buy the best Powerbook he can afford. The Pismo you are suggesting is ok...but for that loot he can get a G4 TiBook at 500mhz... faster bus speed, larger HD, maybe even a combo drive. I wouldn't suggest going lower than that with the newer software programs.
     
  7. Hemingray macrumors 68030

    Hemingray

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    #7
    Well, to quote Kryten, "Spin my nipple nuts and send me to Alaska!"

    I'm off to everymac.com to make sure they fix their dang specs. :p

    Sorry 'bout that! Too bad they weren't wrong about my G4's 1GB limit. :(
     
  8. DreaminDirector macrumors 6502a

    DreaminDirector

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    Sep 3, 2002
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    Ladera Ranch, CA
    #8
    I think....

    I think at the time the pismo came out, the didn't have 512MB modules (correct me if I'm wrong). I ran into that confusion when I had my pismo. As for advice, get the TiBook. I'm sure 99.9% of the owners of TiBooks will swear by them (myself included).
     
  9. D*I*S_Frontman thread starter macrumors 6502

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    Lombard, IL
    #9
    JSRockit,

    As far as bus speed goes, the specs are the same on any TiBook before this last version. The new 667 & 800 mhz units have 133 mhz busses, but all the previous versions had 100 mhz bus speed--same as iBook and same as the Pismo. So buying a used 500mhz TiBook does not give you faster bus speed over a Pismo. It just gives you a better video memory system and a larger screen.

    Besides, I just checked on eBay and you can't get an old TiBook for anything close to $1500, even with standard RAM. I'm talking about getting into a 500mhz G4 portable with a gig of RAM for less than that. You don't have the "chic" factor of the Titanium, but you have 90% of the performance for less money. In a more durable case that doesn't stop every would-be thief in his tracks.

    Keep in mind that this is more a replacement contingency for a high-end iBook than a Titanium anyway. If you could get a G4/500 with a gig of RAM in a 12.1" iBook for $1500, then I would NEVER suggest the Pismo option, nor would I if you could realistically get a used 500mhz TiBook w/gig of RAM for that price point.

    The real coin will be spent on a tower later. I am trying to suggest a low cost, high performance portable option until then. No one thinks this is a good idea?


    BTW--Isn't the latest version of MOTU's DP OS X native? Love MOTU's stuff.
     
  10. thepannist macrumors member

    Joined:
    Jul 16, 2002
    #10
    No, DP is not OSX native....yet. I talked to a guy at MOTU, and he said that it will be native in January or February. Obviously, this is quite different from their anticipated release of the second half of this year, but this is what the man said. I guess they have had a lot of trouble with OSX. BUT....if you buy the OS9 version now, he said there will be a free upgrade when DP3.1 comes out for 10.
     
  11. D*I*S_Frontman thread starter macrumors 6502

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    Lombard, IL
    #11
    Well, I hope MOTU gets it right. The OS X version of DP should be AltiVec-enabled supporting MPs, and should be ready to employ the new "Audio Unit" plug-in standard that will be built into the OS itself, just like Emagic is doing. Apple's hope is to take all of the VST, MAS, TDM, and other proprietary plug-in types and standardize everything for the Mac platform regardless of the mixing software employed. If they can get a few more on board with this (they own Emagic--if MOTU and DigiDesigns get on board, and perhaps Cubase as well), the Mac platform will have across-the-board plug in compatability--a HUGE advantage over the Windows world.

    In any case, I am still interested in other opinions on the Pismo plan for my bass player--so far the consensus is that a TiBook would be better, but dollar-for-dollar I am still not completely convinced.
     
  12. D*I*S_Frontman thread starter macrumors 6502

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    #12
    Last Call

    Anyone elese want to weigh in on this before the thread passes into the mists of time?
     
  13. zimv20 macrumors 601

    zimv20

    Joined:
    Jul 18, 2002
    Location:
    toronto
    #13
    of course a new TiBook would be better, but that's not what the poster is asking. he's asking if the extra money is worth the better machine.

    DIS frontman:

    fwiw, i don't think the upgraded pismo is a bad idea. i do want to confirm that the pismo has built-in firewire, right?

    it may be worth a call to MOTU tech support and let them weigh in. they might know something that you don't.

    also: if you're planning on doing the upgrade to your own machine, why not try out digiPerf on your machine and see how it runs? then your friend can make a better decision.

    has your friend already purchased the motu firewire a/d-d/a unit?
     
  14. D*I*S_Frontman thread starter macrumors 6502

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    #14
    <<fwiw, i don't think the upgraded pismo is a bad idea. i do want to confirm that the pismo has built-in firewire, right?>>

    YUP. Two ports in one bus, same with the USB. Plus a hot-swappable drive bay and the same bus speed as the original TiBooks.

    <<it may be worth a call to MOTU tech support and let them weigh in. they might know something that you don't.>>

    They say 16 tracks out of a TiBook and 24-36 out of a tower (albeit a dual 1ghz SDR--haven't asked them since the DDR 1.25s came out). Still doubt this generation can run 48+ tracks @ 24/96 yet, but the next generation should be able to no problem.

    <<also: if you're planning on doing the upgrade to your own machine, why not try out digiPerf on your machine and see how it runs? then your friend can make a better decision.>>

    Have to wait for two things: DP for OS X and my own Pismo G4 upgrade (too broke to swing it right now...)

    <<has your friend already purchased the motu firewire a/d-d/a unit?>>

    No, but we're both committed to the DP platform because all of our previous album's work is archived on it and it's what were used to. Plus it is great stuff for the money and user-friendly.

    Thanks for the input! Anyone else?
     
  15. scem0 macrumors 604

    scem0

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    back in NYC!
    #15
    I would get the pismo upgrade, but I wouldn't get the Kinsington RAM, you can get very cheap RAM from 1800-4-memory - it isnt the highest quality, but it is dirt cheap.
     
  16. zimv20 macrumors 601

    zimv20

    Joined:
    Jul 18, 2002
    Location:
    toronto
    #16
    i meant in terms of the specific g4-upgrade package.
    perhaps they've tested it w/ their stuff.



    is that simultaneous audio playback? or is that just for record?

    16 for playback sucks, imo. i'm pretty sure i do more than that
    with my digi001 on my dual 500.



    yeah, i started using performer back in '86. don't do too much
    sequencing these days, so i do most of my work in pro tools LE
    now.
     
  17. MacRib macrumors newbie

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    Sep 27, 2002
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    Germany, Rhineland-Palatina, Bad Kreuznach
    #17
    Divine in sight

    Great stuff of music

    Progressive Rock is the most exciting kind of contemptorary music !

    Dream Theater rules (unfortunately, they don't use Macs for recording - at least I think so - but Tori Amos does and many other creatives also do)!
     
  18. D*I*S_Frontman thread starter macrumors 6502

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    Lombard, IL
    #18
    As far as the upgrade goes, this is NOT one of those add-on cards that requires additional software support (and invariably causes conflicts and incompatabilities down the line). The G4/500 CPU card goes where the old G3 card was--and they actually remove your original ROM chip from the old G3 CPU and solder it into the new G4/500 CPU card. That's why you have to ship it to them. Apple won't give them Apple ROM chips--if they did it would be a do-it-yourself operation. And I doubt MOTU has tested this scenario yet--there aren't that many benchmarks or testing done on the upgrade yet anywhere, as it is still relatively new.

    Therefore, whatever will run on an original TiBook will run fine on this. The only thing lacking is VRAM, but DPs interface won't tax the video system much. I am assuming that if the 133mhz bus/G4800 TiBook can do about 16 tracks, an upgraded Pismo could probably muster 8 or so. That's ok--at the Pismo stage of this plan we only need it to play back 24bit/48mhz archival audio from our last album. But when we record our next big project, we'll want 24/96 to mix and master from, and that will require the next generation of Powermac towers.

    As for simultaneous track playback, I am talking about 24 bit depth / 96khz sampling rate with dynamics and eq plug ins on every track. Mono tracks @ 24/96 take 14MB/minute of data each. 48 tracks means 672MB/min or 11.2MB/sec, and that doesn't include plug-in processing on every track. Heck, to make sure data comes in fast enough with no hiccups you need either a superfast SCSI drive or a couple of FW drives in a raid array--so think of what that processor has to do to keep it all straight! That comes out to .672gig/min, or 50gig worth of track information for a 74 min CD project. If our next project is a double album, we'll need a 120gig raid array to get it done. I guess we'll also need a DVD-R burner unless we want to burn 200+ CDRs when backing everything up!

    All our old material is on DP, so we're married to it for now. The stuff Emagic is working on, now under Apple management, is very interesting, however...
     
  19. OSeXy! macrumors regular

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    Jan 17, 2002
    Location:
    London (or virtually here)
    #19
    I think the Pismo-upgrade idea sounds great. It's not what Steve wants you to do, but it will save your friend a load of dosh in the short term to blow on a no-compromises tower later. Just for freindship's sake I do think you should have the surgery done to your own machine first... (Oh, and report your results back here when you've had it done so I know whether to do it myself!)
     
  20. zimv20 macrumors 601

    zimv20

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    Location:
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    #20


    what is the card? i'm thinking of upgrading my lombard.

    i guess i'm confused as to why your friend needs the interim pismo solution. is it a holdover while he waits for faster powermacs? or for the portability you'd mentioned before. in the end, will he need both machines?

    yeah, with the 24/96 you'll need some horsepower. if you need to play back everything at once. but don't forget you can bounce/render tracks and not tax the system so much. it's not as convenient as full playback, but necessity is the mother of invention.

    i won't knock your dedication to motu, as they're a fine company. i have DP, logic, and protools LE. i use whichever suits me at the moment. DP is mostly for my old stuff. i don't do new stuff in it.
     
  21. zimv20 macrumors 601

    zimv20

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    #21
    at first i thought you meant me, when i was about the only one to support the idea of an upgraded pismo.

    then i realized "wrong steve."
     
  22. MacUser1 macrumors 6502

    MacUser1

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    CT
    #22
    good advice

    i think that you gave your friend some good advice, i'm really happy with my upgrade
     
  23. D*I*S_Frontman thread starter macrumors 6502

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  24. madamimadam macrumors 65816

    madamimadam

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    Jan 3, 2002
    #24
    As a point of interest, one of Australia's more known electronic bands (Sonic Animation for those who know them) use an old iBook which they even take on stage for performances and it easily handles their gigs. A live performace is not exactly the kind of time you would like to have a stuff up and they trust in it.

    In other words, it does not matter what he buys, anything will be fine... he does not even NEED a PowerBook, a PowerBook is just a luxury.
     
  25. Gus macrumors 65816

    Gus

    Joined:
    Jan 1, 2002
    Location:
    Minnesota
    #25
    I would go with the upgrade. In fact, I am going to order the same upgrade next week for my Pismo 400. It's a great deal, and with an upgraded combo drive from MCE, I have the same machine as the Rev. A TiBook 500-well at least in guts if not in screen real estate. In fact, now that I think about it, it will be better than that original Ti since I will have a combo drive. Go for uit man! The best upgrade around for any machine at $300.00!!!

    Gus
     

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