require a new home mac setup

Discussion in 'Buying Tips, Advice and Discussion (archive)' started by mak, Feb 21, 2005.

  1. mak macrumors member

    Feb 19, 2005

    my wintel is on its last legs and i am in desperate need of a new computer.

    my main use is for:

    website design - using dreamweaver and flash
    interactive cd-roms - using director
    image creation - photoshop/illustrator
    database - mySql
    programming - java/jsp
    sound creation - garageband
    video - imovie/idvd
    various other multimedia editing and creating (image/sound/video)

    my budget is quite tight.

    i have looked at the following systems:
    mac mini 1.42 / 80gb / 1 gig ram (straight away)
    ibook 1.33 / 60gb / 512 ram (to start of with)
    single 1.6 g5 powermac / 512 ram
    single 1.8 g5 powermac / 512 ram
    some dual g4's

    all of the systems would be connected to my 20" tft :)

    i don't want a full blown system yet as i probably won't use it to its full potential. instead i looking for a machine that don't break the bank but allows me to get by for the next year or so. i will then get a top whack system early next spring/summer.

    i would like a nice quiet system as the wintel is so loud and annoying. i would like the system to still perform well at the tasks being thrown at it.

    the mac mini seems the cheapest option whilst the g5 1.8 the dearest. the ibook was thrown into the mix because of portability and being similar in spec to the mini.

    any help towards choosing a system is appreciated,

  2. freiheit macrumors 6502a

    Jul 20, 2004
    The Mac mini is an entry level PC. As such, I don't think it's truly viable for iMovie, iDVD and Garage Band work (for anything more serious than home hobbyist stuff).

    iMovie, iDVD and Garage Band (for any serious work other than simple home hobbyist) will do much better with a faster processor (or a second processor) and more RAM. You also need to be sure you get a Mac with a DVD drive (internal DVD-RW preferably for iDVD).

    IMHO, you'd be better off buying a used dual 1.25GHz or 1.42GHz G4 PowerMac than buying a single 1.6GHz G5. Raw speed is probably about the same, but while you're rendering and encoding in iDVD, you can still be using the rest of the system for other stuff with the 2nd processor.

    Keep in mind also that under MacOS X, the video card is used almost as another CPU (virtually all graphics stuff under OSX is rendered in the video card). A Radeon 9600/9800 will do wonders for your graphics apps and for the system as a whole. Radeon 9200 is good enough for now (and a lot less expensive if you plan to fully upgrade the system in a year anyway). I'd certainly avoid anything with a GeForce 4 MX graphics card.
  3. JzzTrump22 macrumors 65816

    Apr 13, 2004
    New York
    Your best bet would be the PowerMacs if you can afford them. Get the single 1.8, but see if you can get an extra 512 ram to give you 1 gig total. Your going to need it for the heavy visual work. Even garage band is a little intensive at points and ram certainly does help.
  4. bhibbert macrumors newbie

    Feb 21, 2005
    Another option...

    Wait a few days (Tues or Weds). Likelyhood is you could sell your 20" TFT, get a 17" or 20" iMac G5 with a newer video card and a 2ghz G5. This is likely to offer the best value for your needs. Apple seem to be pushing their consumer line machines (PB, iBook, iMac) more than the pro line (PowerMac). The result, my opinion, is that a 2ghz G5 iMac for under $2000 will be a great machine. Depends on whether you want to part with the 20" TFT and how much you would get for it.

    I've tried garage band on my 800mhz G4 iMac and the result... ...poor. You need some horsepower if you want to really use Garageband. I use iMovie and iDVD and they are both fine but it does take a long time (like over night) to encode a full DVD but I don't mind if I'm sleeping while the Mac is working. The editing and previewing works at a reasonable speed.

    Good luck and welcome to the Mac. You will not regret it.
  5. reh macrumors 6502a

    Oct 24, 2003
    Out of the box, that iBook could only drive your external display at 1024x768. There are hacks available, but I don't think you'd be very happy spreading the iBook's video RAM across two displays.
  6. freiheit macrumors 6502a

    Jul 20, 2004
    DVDs do take time

    To be fair, encoding a full DVD (1-2 hours worth) takes a long time on any system (even, say, a 3GHz Pentium 4 in the PC world). One nice thing for me is I've been using iDVD on sub-1 hour videos and it usually takes just about 1 hour (maybe a few minutes more) to completely encode and start burning. This is on a dual 1.25GHz G4 with 1GB of RAM.

    iDVD has a special working mode for sub-1 hour projects that makes it complete the process faster (at the expensive of some slight visual quality) but on longer projects it still takes a long time (but with greater quality). IMHO, since my videos were coming from VHS source, the potential quality loss in iDVD's "finish sooner" mode is no problem -- my DVDs look as good as the VHS sources they came from but won't degrade over time the way the VHS tapes do. I'm satisfied with it.
  7. russed macrumors 68000


    Jan 16, 2004
    London, England
    well it looks like you are going to be doing some pretty intensiive stuff so i would say go for the best you can - a powermac. have you tried looking in the refurbished store? if you could i would say get the best you can possibly afford as it will be the best investment in the long run.

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