Config advice -- desktop AND laptop?

Discussion in 'Buying Tips and Advice' started by pufnstuf, Jun 16, 2007.

  1. pufnstuf macrumors demi-god

    Joined:
    Jun 16, 2007
    #1
    Hi everyone, longtime lurker and firsttime poster. :)

    I'm a PC user and looking to switch. Photography is a major hobby of mine, I run Photoshop today and am planning to upgrade to CS3. Additionally, I'm an IT dude and run VMWare at home to play with various OSs. General wordprocessing, internet, and listening to MP3s round out my computer usage, no games.

    Based on wanting a nice big monitor for Photoshop and decent RAM and HD space for that and VMWare, I was figuring the 24" iMac with maxed out RAM and an external HD is a suitable machine (mac pro seemed like overkill and a bit too expensive). I don't have a huge rush and can wait for a hardware refresh, so was planning to see if anything is announced with Leopard in October.

    Additionally, I was interested in getting some sort of laptop to take to coffee shops, travelling to see the inlaws, use in the yard or on the couch, etc. Since the iMac would be the main machine, this would just be for internet and maybe light word processing.

    And, hopefully, connecting remotely back to the iMac if I wanted to work on photos or VMWare guests.

    So, this boils down to a few questions I'd love some advice on:

    1. Does the iMac sound like the right sort of machine for my primary use?
    2. Is the idea of using a lower-end laptop to connect via the internet to the iMac and "work" from there feasible? Is software for this available?
    3. What type of laptop (macbook? ibook?) would you recommend? I'd prefer something with a warranty.
    4. Any big things I'm not considering, you think I should be?

    Thanks so much!

    Adam
     
  2. mkrishnan Moderator emeritus

    mkrishnan

    Joined:
    Jan 9, 2004
    Location:
    Grand Rapids, MI, USA
    #2
    I'll mostly defer on this, but I think it sounds like a very sensible computer for this purpose. I think you may want to also figure out if you want to budget for new external storage... like a big firewire/USB drive that you can backup to.

    Both Windows and OS X have built-in servers for remote connectivity that are fairly easy to configure. The client for Windows remote connectivity comes with Microsoft Office or can be downloaded from Microsoft's Apple site (mactopia.com). It's excellent. The client for OS X is not free, but there are some good free alternatives such as "Chicken of the VNC" (link). I think you may possibly have to put the serving computer (i.e. the iMac) into the DMZ of the router, but I'm not 100% sure. As far as I know, there's nothing special you need in terms of firewall access on incoming ports to run the clients (so you can run the clients from behind pretty much any firewall).

    As for whether you'll *like* it... understand that these remote connection products have to send all the graphics over in essentially a "dumb" fashion. My experience is primarily remote connecting to a Windows 2003 computer from a Mac, but basically, this is what I've seen: speed is usable for basic office applications over a reasonably good cable internet connection (with the server somewhere else on the internet...i.e. from my home to my university). Speed is NOT what I consider usable for video, audio, or serious graphics manipulation. I hope that helps?

    If you can afford the cost, I'd say used Macbook... look to spend $650-800 for one.

    As far as graphics editing is concerned, take into account that CS3's license allows you to install it on both the iMac and the notebook. Investing in a Macbook is probably better, because CS3 will actually run fairly decently directly on it. You'll just have to figure out a way to get the right image files on it so you can actually use it from on the street.
     
  3. matperk macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    May 6, 2004
    Location:
    Milwaukee, Wisconsin
    #3
    Actually the best solution for this on Windows (and they just released a public beta of the mac client) I have found was LogMeIn Free service. It runs a small server app on each computer you want it on and you just go to the logmein site and you can remote control. It doesn't require any router configuration at all and I can't seem to find a place where remote access is an issue.
     
  4. CalBoy macrumors 604

    CalBoy

    Joined:
    May 21, 2007
    #4
    Why not buy a mbp and then hook it up to a 30" moniter? If not, then a base mb and a nicely done iMac might be good, but that will add up to be more than the mbp.
    I'm not sure what your budget is, and what things you MUST have, as opposed to things that you can live without.
     
  5. Father Jack macrumors 68020

    Father Jack

    Joined:
    Jan 1, 2007
    Location:
    Ireland
    #5
    The iMac and MacBook sounds like a good combination .. :)
     
  6. mkrishnan Moderator emeritus

    mkrishnan

    Joined:
    Jan 9, 2004
    Location:
    Grand Rapids, MI, USA
    #6
    Ahhh, interesting. I actually have never administrated the Windows machines I log into. ;) So I just do what they give me. :D
     
  7. Edandlindz28 macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Apr 26, 2007
    Location:
    Colorado
    #7
    I agree, sounds good, I think I am going to get an iMac for the home when they update them.
     
  8. pufnstuf thread starter macrumors demi-god

    Joined:
    Jun 16, 2007
    #8
    Good advice, thanks. I do something similar connecting to a work machine from home so am familiar what performance can be like, but had no clue about native Mac offerings.


    This is great news about the licensing! For once, a license that is somewhat consumer friendly... :)
     
  9. pufnstuf thread starter macrumors demi-god

    Joined:
    Jun 16, 2007
    #9

    I thought about that, but given my wife complains already about not being able to use the computer because I'm on it, this way I can go work on the laptop and then remote back into the iMac too if needed.
     
  10. CalBoy macrumors 604

    CalBoy

    Joined:
    May 21, 2007
    #10
    Ahh, then you do need two computers. In which case, I might suggest a MB and iMac, with a setup just like you said in the first post.
     

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