Advice Greatly Needed/Appreciated

Discussion in 'Buying Tips and Advice' started by SuckLikeAFox, Nov 15, 2006.

  1. SuckLikeAFox macrumors newbie

    Nov 15, 2006
    Hi, new member here. I was wondering if someone could give me their advice on an issue I have. I want to buy a Mac desperately but cannot decide between a MacBook Pro and an iMac. I had been set on getting the 17-inch MacBook Pro for a while until I realized the money Id save on by purchasing the iMac. Now I plan on using my new Mac for video editing, and audio recording, alond with possible gaming with Boot Camp in teh far future. I have an Mbox 2 Pro and will be using it with Pro Tools to record various musical compositions. The problem that I have is that most of my recording will have to be done in different rooms (ie:basment, friend's house). Now that is why I planned on getting a 17inch Macbook Pro for the portability factor and larger screen size. These were the specs I had planned on getting :

    2.33GHz Intel Core 2 Duo
    2GB 667 DDR2 SDRAM - 2x1GB
    100GB Serial ATA Drive @ 7200 rpm
    SuperDrive 8x (DVD+R DL/DVD±RW/CD-RW)
    MacBook Pro 17-inch Widescreen Display

    Now with my educational discount it comes to about $2750 CAD.

    The iMac I was looking at is much cheaper at $2350 CAD with much more hard drive space .
    2.33GHz Intel Core 2 Duo
    2GB 667 DDR2 SDRAM - 2x1GB
    500GB Serial ATA Drive
    ATI Radeon X1600/256MB VRAM
    SuperDrive 8X (DVD+R DL/DVD±RW/CD-RW)
    20-inch widescreen LCD

    I realized that with the MacBook Pro I will have to also buy an external hard drive in time because I have about 30 gigs of iTunes music, along with the fact that videos and audio recording will take up a fair amount of hard drive space.

    Now I am willing to purchase the iMac, but want someone to tell me the portability factor of the system. If I were to be carrying the iMac up and downstairs and transporting it (from time to time, but not very often) from house to house, would it be worthwhile to get, or would it be too cumbersome and should I stick with the more expensive MacBook Pro. As much as Id love to get the 24inch iMac, it is out of the question, but how do some of you feel about the 20inch's portability factor?
  2. livingfortoday macrumors 68030

    Nov 17, 2004
    The Msp
    Well, you could always get the slightly slower iMac and a Macbook instead of a Macbook Pro. That way you're at $2050 for the iMac and $1249 for a base MacBook (can't do edu pricing, I'm sure it's cheaper for you). You could then choose to do your own RAM upgrade, which should shave some more money off of the top, as Apple charges crazy amounts for RAM.

    You'd have the best(ish) of both worlds!
  3. FFTT macrumors 68030


    Apr 17, 2004
    A Stoned Throw From Ground Zero
    I would scrap the 17" MacBook Pro idea and go for a well equipped 15" model
    which saves you enough for a good fast external HD.

    Once you're up and running, plan on getting another external display
    so you can work better with multiple control surfaces.

    I'm running a Dell 2405 24" display and I'd still like to have a second display
    to help me see everything.

    The 20" iMac is clearly the better choice as far as bang for your buck, but
    it's not going to be very practical dragging it from session to session.

    You could buy an iLugger backpack for the 20" iMac, but still, it sounds like
    the MacBook Pro and an external display is the better configuration.

    Otherwise, you might consider getting the iMac now and add a Macbook
    for your portable needs once you can scrape the money together.
  4. avihappy macrumors 6502


    Nov 15, 2006
    Do you want HDD (imac) or portability (macbook pro)?
  5. SuckLikeAFox thread starter macrumors newbie

    Nov 15, 2006
    Well Im willing to sacrifice a little portability due to the fact that the iMac has a larger HDD and is cheaper. I would like to get the 15inch iMac but unfortunately the processor is limited to 2.16GHz. Now while thats not that big of a difference between the 2.33GHz in the 20inch iMac, the fact that the 15inch model is limited to a 128Mb Video Card is what gets me. I would like a 256 Mb card at the very least. So I guess Im stuck with the 20inch because of this...
  6. SuckLikeAFox thread starter macrumors newbie

    Nov 15, 2006
    Ok Ive realized that the MacBook itself is very affordable. Now the only reason why I need a 256Mb graphics card is to play Half Life 2 (via BootCamp in the distant future). Now I just came up with this idea. If I were to purchase the second level MacBook, and buy a seperate 2.5" 7200 RPM hard drive and install it myself Id still be under $2000 dollars. I also have a 19inch LCD monitor that I might keep and I could use as an extra monitor. The money I save could then be saved to possibly buy a better computer much later next year when Half Life Episode 2 comes out.

    Would you think that a MacBook would be adequate enough to run Pro Tools and Final Cut Pro into the future?

    And since the MacBook does not have a Firewire 800 Port would a USB 2.0 Port be sufficient for an external hard drive?

    Or should I just stick with the 20inch iMac, since I do have the money for it?

    Sorry for asking so many questions. Its hard to decide on a purchase. ;)
  7. FFTT macrumors 68030


    Apr 17, 2004
    A Stoned Throw From Ground Zero
    For ProTools L.E./M-Powered and Final Cut Pro, you really should go for either the 20" iMac or the MacBook Pro as your primary system.

    You'll want that F/W 800 connection and the dedicated VRAM is needed for FCPro if you plan to work on any HD content.

    Regardless of which one you buy, you should still grab a good fast external drive for back-up.

    You can use that extra flat screen with either system for enhanced workflow.
  8. SuckLikeAFox thread starter macrumors newbie

    Nov 15, 2006
    Thanks for the advice. Now I dont plan on doing any HD content on FCPro in the near future (depending on whether or not I take a media arts program in college). So I guess I should sacrifice the FW 800 port and stick with the 20inch iMac to save my money. Would you agree?
  9. Chundles macrumors G4


    Jul 4, 2005
    Sounds like the way to go.

    And use Firewire 400 for your external drives. USB 2.0 isn't as fast (although it's rated to 480mbps and FW400 is 400mbps, USB only achieves it's speed in bursts whereas FW is a sustained transfer - much better for video/sound work, all the pros use FW400/800 if they can't use eSATA) as FW400 for your needs.
  10. FFTT macrumors 68030


    Apr 17, 2004
    A Stoned Throw From Ground Zero
    I just checked the specifications on the MBox 2 Pro and it uses F/W 400 IEEE 1394a so your only need for F/W 800 would be for a faster external drive connection.

    The cool set-up would be a 24" iMac which has both F/W 400 and 800 ports, but that puts portability on the back burner until you can afford a MacBook for your true portable needs.

    I would worry a lot about carting around a $2200+ laptop to rehearsals where it's hard to keep an eye on things all the time.
  11. whawhat macrumors 6502

    Jun 9, 2006
    i agree w/ the above. it all comes down to if you need portability. do you want to use your computer all around your home (bedroom, office, LR)? if you say yes, get a portable and save up for an external display.

    i have updated my computer from a pb g4 ti to a black macbook connected to a 23" lcd and i couldn't be happier w/ both a large screen option and disconnecting my computer when i want to use it in the BR.:)
  12. FFTT macrumors 68030


    Apr 17, 2004
    A Stoned Throw From Ground Zero
    For audio, you need processing speed, connectivity and storage more than anything.

    For serious gaming, you need dedicated VRAM and to run Windows, you'll also
    want that extra storage to support both OS partitions.

    The best bang for your buck is still the 20" iMac with 2 GB RAM and the 256MB

    The base MacBook Pro upgrading to 2 GB RAM would be the next most affordable
    solution that provides you with portability and the power you need for audio, but you'll sacrifice that extra VRAM for gaming.

    The 2.33 GHz MacBook Pro would be the better overall portable solution, but
    spending that much gets you into Mac Pro tower territory.

    The MacBook with 2 GB RAM would cover basic portable needs for audio, but the shared VRAM would not be ideal for gaming performance.

    If you are serious about recording more than gaming, I'd go for the 20" or 24" iMac and save
    enough to buy important things like a good condenser microphone, cables, plugin software and so on.

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