digital media student new to buying mac- need helpful advice

Discussion in 'Buying Tips and Advice' started by z252, May 8, 2008.

  1. z252 macrumors newbie

    May 8, 2008

    I'm digital media student in college. My career goal is to become a film/video editor. I need to buy an imac or mac pro, but do not know anything about buying computers. I am going to buy it in June 08, and am taking the time between now and then to get all the advice I can get. What I do know is this:

    1. Has to be at least 20 inch screen, most likely a 24 inch.
    2. It has to handle (meaning, not be slow and have sufficient memory) Adobe Production Premium (photoshop cs3 extended, illustrator cs3, flash cs3, aftereffects cs3, premiere, soundbooth, encore)
    3. Has to handle Final Cut pro
    4. It has to last me 3-5 years. (I won't be able to afford buying one by myself after I graduate, which will be sept 09).
    5. It's got to be able to do professional work for when I graduate and obviously can't use the student labs.
    6. Budget: $2000-$3000...possibly can push it to $4000

    As someone with a future career in digital media, should I invest in the Apple cinema? Or is that unneccessary?

    Thank you in advance for your time!
  2. mariotheotaku macrumors regular

    Apr 16, 2008
    The new iMacs that came out would be perfect for the job. and will the job and more.
  3. schmidt190 macrumors member

    May 8, 2008

    hey buddy,

    for a digital media student, a mac is definitely the way to go.

    * Two 2.8GHz Quad-Core Intel Xeon (8-core)
    * 4GB (4 x 1GB)
    * 1TB 7200-rpm Serial ATA 3Gb/s
    * 1TB 7200-rpm Serial ATA 3Gb/s
    * ATI Radeon HD 2600 XT 256MB (Two dual-link DVI)
    * Apple Cinema Display (20" flat panel)
    * One 16x SuperDrive
    * Apple wireless Mighty Mouse
    * Apple Keyboard (English) + User's Guide

    all for $4,668.00

    alternatively, the more cost effective way would be the iMac with:

    # 3.06GHz Intel Core 2 Duo
    # 4GB 800MHz DDR2 SDRAM - 2x2GB
    # NVIDIA GeForce 8800 GS w/512MB GDDR3
    # 1TB Serial ATA Drive
    # Apple wireless Mighty Mouse
    # Apple Wireless Keyboard (English) + User's Guide
    # Accessory kit
    # SuperDrive 8x (DVD±R DL/DVD±RW/CD-RW)
    # 24-inch glossy widescreen LCD
    # AirPort Extreme
    # Bluetooth 2.1 + EDR

    all for $2,699.00

    the only requirement for cs3 applications is that you have a minimum of 1 gig of ram to run it, and video editing requires a LOT of hard drive space, i would suggest investing in a large external hard drive.
    the iMac will last you through college, and although the iMac will do professional grade work, the mac pro would be the choice of most professionals.

    its tough when you have a budget, i have a friend that is a magazine editor, and only does photoshop, and he has 3 Mac Pro's, maxed out with 3 30" cinema displays, and he is a professional.

    i do some digital media work as a senior in high school, and i run all CS3 applications on a crappy dell inspiron with all of the minimum requirements, but after effects, and premiere pro CS3 (which in my opinion is better than final cut) runs fine, so i suspect that with this equipment you should be fine, whatever you choose.
    ultimately its up to you and i wish you good luck.

  4. MacHipster macrumors 6502

    Sep 11, 2007
    Are you planning on being an amateur/freelance editor or being an editor? As an amateur/freelance editor, you'd need to supply your own machine. If that's your path, I'd go with the Mac Pro as it can last you well beyond college.

    However, if you plan on being an editor, you'd be using the company's equipment, which may or may not be a Mac or even a computer (flatbeds, etc.). In that case, I'd go with the iMac as it will last you through college. Either way, you'll need to become familar with other editing suites (Avid/Final Cut). None of the editors or post-production companies I've worked with have used Premiere.
  5. digitalnicotine macrumors 65816


    Jan 11, 2008
    I would definitely go with a Mac Pro over the iMac. Granted you may end up working in a company that uses systems other than Apple post graduation, but that won't necessarily render your machine useless at home. Chances are, you'll still use it for projects or side jobs utilizing the software you were taught with. The Mac is unique in that it allows you to utilize software programs designed for both Windows and Mac's.

    With the Mac Pro, you get longevity and power over the iMac. Granted, it costs more, but you also get more. Good luck to you. :)
  6. ktbubster macrumors 6502a


    Jan 20, 2007
    A mac pro will probably be a better fit for you because you can add extra storage space later and max out the ram a bunch more as time goes on. Possibly add in ablue ray burner later down the line and other things that will be very very useful for someone doing film and design.

    Expandability is key.

    So... my suggestion is as follows:

    Refurb Mac Pro 2.8 octo = 2399 (200 under the student discount one)
    Apple Keyboard (I personally love it, if not then whatever you want lol) = 50

    With tax from apple online that comes to 2601 (illinois tax)

    You can get a refurb 20 inch acd for just about 500, however, I'd go with a dell ultrasharp or any of their higher end monitors. They are cheaper but almost as good as ACD and color accuracy may not be AS important for film as it is for printing 2d media.

    You can get a nice 24 inch dell (more space is better for all those windows) for just about 500 dollars or so. You could also always go for a nice hp or samsung for about 300 too if you want to save a bit too.

    That brings that total to just about 3100

    Then go ahead and grab a 500 gb sata drive or two to pop in there (or a TB one or two if you want) for another 100 or so each (500gb)

    Brings your total to just under 3400 with tax for now...

    You can upgrade from there is needed (i'd add another 2gb of ram or so on top of the original 2gb to start too..)

    That machine will last you a LONG time and give you plenty of chances for upgrading and expanding and adding in blueray and all that stuff later. I think that's really your best bet.
  7. henchosbandito macrumors member

    Jan 24, 2008
    Somewhere between 10 and 11
    seeing as you have to have at least a 20" monitor, it kind of decides you cant have a MBP. However, iMacs are wonderful machines. Great displays (excellent colours and res). Personally i have yet to see the benefit that an acd offers over, for example, iMac screen. My advice would be to upgrade the memory though as much as you can, and apparently you dont have to spend a fortune on apple ram to do this.
  8. z252 thread starter macrumors newbie

    May 8, 2008
    wow. that was quick! Thanks for the advice.

    It looks like the imac would be the obvious choice, especially since the pricing you guys mentioned doesn't include all the programs I need.

    But, I don't want to regret buying it instead of macpro. I'd definitely be getting my money's worth with a macpro. Besides, I doubt I could afford to buy a new computer in 5 or 6 years. How many years do people keep their macpros?

    schmidt190, the lists really help. I don't know what half of it means but it makes it easier to see it all there, as in you need this, this, this, etc.

    To answer MacHipster's question, I plan on being an editor. I love final cut.

    Someone mentioned the possibility of buying a refurbished macpro. What are the pros and cons of buying a refurbished macpro? Would that be okay to last me 5-6 years?
  9. MacHipster macrumors 6502

    Sep 11, 2007
    Sounds good. Make sure you learn Avid as well. Do you have any flatbeds at your school? While the industry has moved on from film cutting, many companies still use flatbeds for controls. Be sure to read up on Murch.

    A Refurb is just as good as a new machine. Same warranty and everything.
  10. schmidt190 macrumors member

    May 8, 2008
    i think the refurb mac pro would be your best bet, as stated before, it can be easily upgraded and will last you past college. stats say that mac users keep their machines 4-5 years, while pc users keep their machines 18 months.
  11. ktbubster macrumors 6502a


    Jan 20, 2007
    refurb has the same warranty as new, and have been thoroughyl checked through multiple times... i have always gotten refurbs and they are always good as new. 2399 for a current model 2.8 octo mac pro is a great deal and I would go with that like I said before... you save 400 over hte list price (200 over the student price) and get everythng the same as a new one, but maybe even a hidden upgrade or something (rare but happens sometimes)

    I'd yoink that and a different brand monitor of your choice. Apple keyboard 9like i said i love the new one) and a spiffy mouse if you don't already have one.. grab drives as you need them and some ram. - once again I think this set up will be a lot better for you in he long run... you can grab apple care anytime in the next year before the original year runs out.

    good luck.

    PS. you COULD always get the 2.66 quad mac pro for 1999 which is the older chip set and tech. Probably still be abeast for what oyu need, I just would think that going with the chipset and pro that came out in january is your best bet.
  12. z252 thread starter macrumors newbie

    May 8, 2008
    Okay, I'm defintely getting a refurbished macpro. I agree it's my best bet. Some are around $2300. Not bad considering the regular $2700 price tag. I saw some of these are on apple's website:

    Refurbished Mac Pro with One 2.8GHz Quad-Core Intel Xeon
    One 2.8GHz Quad-Core Intel Xeon processor
    2GB (2 x 1GB) of 800MHz DDR2 ECC fully buffered DIMM
    320GB Serial ATA 3Gb/s 7200-rpm hard drive
    16x SuperDrive (DVD±R DL/DVD±RW/CD-RW)
    ATI Radeon HD 2600 XT 256MB (two dual-link DVI ports)
    Learn More
    • Save 14% off the original price
    Original price: $2,299.00
    Your price: $1,999.00
    Estimated Ship:
    1-3 business days
    Free Shipping

    Refurbished Mac Pro Quad 3.0GHz Intel Xeon
    Two 3.0GHz Dual-Core Intel Xeon processors
    1GB (2 x 512MB) memory (667MHz DDR2 fully-buffered DIMM ECC)
    250GB Serial ATA 3Gb/s 7200-rpm hard drive
    16x SuperDrive (DVD+R DL/DVD±RW/CD-RW)
    NVIDIA GeForce 7300 GT graphics with 256MB memory
    Learn More
    Price: $2,199.00
    Estimated Ship:
    1-3 business days
    Free Shipping

    So something like that. I don't think we have any flatbeds at my school.

    What brand of moniter would you guys recommend with the macpro? I need either a 23 or 24 inch screen. Everybody at school is obsessed with Apple, so that's all I hear. What other brands are good? Any I should avoid for what I will be doing? Thanks again...
  13. StuBeck macrumors 6502

    May 6, 2008
    You probably want to get a faster video card, and definitely want to get more RAM. I would say 4 GB is what you want, in the future you can upgrade to more once you graduate.

    Don't buy an Apple screen, you can get one later if you want, but you can buy an extremely similar screen (they all use similar panels) for cheap. I would stay away from 22 inch screens because most of them are 6 bit, and you want 8 bit. If you can deal with having a Dell, I loved my 24in screen from them, and I could have bought 3 or 4 for the price of the 23in Apple. My friend also bought a Samsung (he is a fanboy so didn't want to get Dell...which doesn't make sense but whatever) 24 in screen and liked it a lot.

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