Hardware for a small design studio

Discussion in 'Buying Tips and Advice' started by kangping, Aug 8, 2010.

  1. kangping macrumors member

    Joined:
    Mar 30, 2010
    #1
    Hi guys.

    I know this also includes non Apple hardware, but I feel the people in this forum also give very good advice if the question is a mixture of apple / non apple products.

    i'm opening up a small studio (industrial / exhibition / packaging) with 5 employees and need new hardware. Currently I'm torn back and forth between Dell and Apple. On first sight Dell seems more affordable (although the price difference between these two, would not be essential) and the 4 hour or next day service seems very good.

    What about Apple? Are they really cheaper in the long run? I love the user experience my macbook pro offers me, and since rhino is coming to osx in a reasonable period of time it seams like a nice choice. The workflow includes mainly Modo / Rhino and Maxwell.

    I don't want to kick of a flame war ;) but what would be the pros in cons especially concidering, that I would like to administer by myself as far as possible (I am pretty proficient in Win and OSX)... as well as a file server

    So the descision comes down between:

    - iMacs/Apple Laptops and Mac Servers
    - Dell Desktops / Apple Laptops and Win or Linux Server
    - iMacs/Apple Laptops and Win or Linux Server

    Thanks for any advice. Regards,
    kangping
     
  2. J&JPolangin macrumors 68030

    Joined:
    Jul 5, 2008
    Location:
    Thule GL @ the TOW
    #2
    ...are you in the USA, Dell support is good in certain countries but not so much in others...

    What's your budget for equipment/software?

    Do you have any software for either platform currently?

    Lots of variables here...
     
  3. kangping thread starter macrumors member

    Joined:
    Mar 30, 2010
    #3
    The office will be located in Shanghai, China. We will have to purchase all software, but Rhino as well as Maxwell seem to have hybrid licences.

    the budget for each workplace hardware would be about 1500 - 2000 (3300 USD) euros including monitor. the performance of a prosumer or gaming rig would be more than enough. Surely Mac Pro's would be too pricey, and a "real" workstation is not necessary atm.

    thanks,
    kangping
     
  4. Hellhammer Moderator

    Hellhammer

    Staff Member

    Joined:
    Dec 10, 2008
    Location:
    Finland
    #4
    I would go with Dell for the server at least, possibly for all as that would be easier than mixing them and no need for multiple software licenses. Since you're working with 5 other people, you should ask their opinion as well. Also, is all software you need available for Mac as well?

    IMO Dell offers far superior services for business, e.g. the 4-hour service. If you buy from Apple, you have to take it to Apple Store or wait for Apple to pick it up. Then wait a week or two for it to be fixed. Doesn't sound that great. As mentioned above, it's up to your country as well.

    EDIT: Since your budget would only allow iMac for each workplace, I would get Dell. The display is very important and iMac's glossy display ain't the best what I've heard, especially for designing and other color accurate stuff. Dell would also offer greater upgradeability and would thus last longer
     
  5. kangping thread starter macrumors member

    Joined:
    Mar 30, 2010
    #5
    thanks for this helpfull opinion. unfortunately I'm the guy paying for all of this, and it's my studio. Maybe this wasn't clear enough. Will I have trouble syncing adressbooks etc, with others? I would like to stick with MBPs and iphones for the mobile part. Would the solution be Thunderbird?

    And for the fileserver, Linux or Windows?

    Thanks for the help,
    kangping / dave
     
  6. kangping thread starter macrumors member

    Joined:
    Mar 30, 2010
    #6
    This might have sounded a little hard. Of course user experience of the coworkers / employees is important, but since they might change I have to consider the most economic choice.

    Appreciate every opinion coming in. Thanks.

    kangping / dave
     
  7. Matty-p macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Apr 3, 2010
    #7
    personally id do either of the following options

    option 1

    laptops
    apple laptops mb 13 or mbp 13 or 15"
    $999 more if you want the macbook pro
    desktops
    imac 27" with glare free lighting (in the building) and possibly those monitor hoods for them to reduce glare and also i find it is easier to concentrate on the screen rather than being distracted too. *see attached image if you don't know what i mean
    $1,699.00 ecl lighting and hood
    total per workstation around $2,699

    server
    mac mini or xserve server whichever you can afford id try go with quad xserve with three 2tb hard drives all in raid 5 configuration so you have redundancy but a mac mini server will probably do for now

    having said that there is a posibility to save a bit of money on the server by buying either dell hardware and sticking a linix distro on it or if you feel you are competnt enough buy a server chasis and build a quad core server your self (supermicro 1u's are quite reliable and good but whatevr) and stick lunix on it .

    as far as having osx clients on it you will need to instal/use afp (Apple Filing Protocol) an open source of this is called netatalk (i used ubuntu and netatalk on a old server as a file server for my mac a wile ago as a test it worked) this isn't a bad guide if a litle old
    http://www.kremalicious.com/2008/06/ubuntu-as-mac-file-server-and-time-machine-volume/
    $1000? depending on what you pick

    option 2

    laptops
    apple laptops 15 or 17 inch i5 or i7 machines
    $1,799.00 thats for the 15" i5 more for 17 or i7 but i5" i5 should be plenty
    desktops
    stand/dock (not strickly needed if cots is issue cut down here ) for laptop with the stand being plugged into either a dell 27 or 30 in monitor or a apple 27 or 30 in monitor and external keyboard and mouse then they get dual displays (laptop and external) and you will be able to aford some really kick a** highend really fast mbp's that they can use everywhere they go because you have saved money on buying a desktop.
    around $1000 depending on chosen display ,keyboad ,mouse
    total per workstation around $2,799
    server
    mac mini or xserve server whichever you can afford id try go with quad xserve with three 2tb hard drives aall in raid 5 config becaucase that will last practically forever and gives very employee nearly a tb each of file server space but a mac mini server will probably serfice for now

    having said that there is a posibility to save a bit of money on the server by buying either dell hardware and sticking a linix distro on it or if you feel you are competnt enough buy a server chasis and build a quad core server your self (supermicro 1u's are quite reliable and good but whatevr) and stick lunix on it .

    as far as having osx clients on it you will need to instal/use afp (Apple Filing Protocol) an open source of this is called netatalk (i used ubuntu and netatalk on a old server as a file server for my mac a wile ago as a test it worked)this isn't a bad guide if a litle old
    http://www.kremalicious.com/2008/06/ubuntu-as-mac-file-server-and-time-machine-volume/
    $1000? depending on what you pick

    for either option mobile wise get iphones as there easiest to sync ect also as a personal recomentation get everybody a company google acount (free) and use google contacts and google calender to sync stuff between everybodys phones it is a great tool it works with teh normal iphone calender and contact book but behind the sences it syncs it all .the calender is really good for general organizing and everything rightdown to whos on holiday when so you know you got cover for them .
    contract
     

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  8. The Beatles macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Jun 16, 2010
    #8
    Did i miss the part about what software your using and what type of studio this is? If its heavy lifting, i wouldnt go with anything less than a mac pro. Internal drive bays and faster system buses as well as video cards can all play an important role in performance. The imac or mac books arent going to bring those things to the table. And you'll hear or see employ frustration with tight deadlines and poor system performance. A combination that isnt fun or profitable.

    However, if your sure you dont need the horsepower then the consumer machines could be an option. I wish i knew what type of work and software these systems were for.
     
  9. THX1139 macrumors 68000

    THX1139

    Joined:
    Mar 4, 2006
    #9
    There is just too many variables to give a best answer to your post. On one hand, Mac Pro's (or even iMacs) might work - but on the other, you might be better served with a Windows or Linux solution.

    Some of the questions you need to ask:

    Do you need a custom pipeline?
    Do you need custom software?
    Does ALL of your software run on one platform, or two?
    What are the license agreements for your software?
    What are your resolutions you will be working at?
    Do you need a server, or can you get by with other solutions?
    Are you going to hire freelancers?
    Are you going to allow your employees complete access?
    Does each employee need a high end workstation?
    Etc...

    Macs are great in a lot of situations. But they aren't the cheapest solution for what you get. Especially with the most recent updates that sell a bit less bang for the buck. That 12 Core machine is nice - but it's nice and expensive with limited expandability. If you buy 5 of those and add options, you're talking a bunch of money before you even get out the door. Maybe you could buy one high-end machine, and have everyone else sit at iMacs or bring their own laptops?

    I'm sorry, I don't have the answer for you. But I do have this computer company for you to consider along with Apple:

    http://www.boxxtech.com/

    You might email your questions to them and see what solutions they have to offer.
     

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