I'm not sure what to buy

Discussion in 'Buying Tips and Advice' started by GoCubsGo, Dec 15, 2006.

  1. GoCubsGo macrumors Nehalem


    Feb 19, 2005
    Fact is, we all have a budget. For me, I'm looking to add a desktop to my powerbook. I currently run a 1.67 with 1.5 gb ram. I'm probably adding another .5 mb to that as I installed the free 30 day trial for aperture and found it to be a bit slow for my liking (but still usable). My needs are simple in my opinion. Excluding the standard web, office, itunes, I have a lot of photos. I need something that really streamlines my raw work flow and aperture may be it. Regardless, I'd like to import 100-200 shots into aperture and not have to walk away and get a cup of tea. I need performance and speed obviously.

    I also paint in photoshop and my file sizes get to be around 200 mb. All computers that I have owned have managed to handle these files. Saving the files takes about 10 seconds max on the slowest machine I've used. On my current powerbook it's about 20 seconds to save a 180 mb file in photoshop cs. There are on average 20-30 layers per file.

    Other applications I am using are illustrator and indesign. I also record tracks via my guitar to garage band. Lastly I'll take photos and import them into imovie, make a movie and burn to dvd. The import and then move to dvd and burn takes hours. I'd like to cut that down. I rip my dvds onto my computer and encode in handbrake. Another multiple hour job. I'd like that to be less painful.

    I am looking at a 24" imac and a mac pro of course. I'm not too sure if the imac will give me what I need. I'm not going to skimp on graphics cards because when I have a painting I need my workspace to render faster as I move around my canvas. I zoom to about 600 % and find myself waiting a few seconds at the least to get certain things to move around. I need this not to be the case going forward.

    Specs of the imac (btw I asked apple live online help, they asked me what I needed and I told them. 30 minutes later after no answer I gave up and came here).

    2.33GHz Intel Core 2 Duo
    2GB 667 DDR2 SDRAM - 2x1GB (normally I'd add my ram but I don't want to waste space with 512 mb sticks)
    250GB Serial ATA Drive (I think I can upgrade this or use my externals)
    NVIDIA GeForce 7600 GT 256MB SDRAM
    Configured: $2549.00

    Two 2.66GHz Dual-Core Intel Xeon
    1GB (2 x 512MB) (while I don't want to mess with the space on this one either, the jump from 1gb to 2 gb is crazy high and I'm not sure it's worth it) For $225 I can get 2gb Corsair @ new egg.
    250GB 7200-rpm Serial ATA 3Gb/s
    3 x NVIDIA GeForce 7300 GT 256MB [Add $299] (the question I asked apple that was not answered was the difference between the 3x and 4x of the geforce 7300. I simply can't afford a $1600 graphics card (nvidia)
    Both Bluetooth 2.0+EDR and AirPort Extreme
    Configured: $2578.00

    I don't need a display per se. But I need performance and if I land the 24" and it performs wonderfully then great.
    Also, do you think Apple would let me go to their store and import say 400 raw photos into aperture on their standard mac and then mac pro and test it out with things I do in my life, not things they want me to do? Of course I'm sure they won't let me rip a dvd there!
  2. AppleIntelRock macrumors 65816


    Aug 14, 2006
    Apple stores seems VERY willing to let people test their machines heavily. I once saw a man bring in about 5 different third party software titles and they let him load and use every one of them. I'd just throw the images on an iPod or Ext HDD and start uploading, I don't think they'll say much.
  3. fivetoadsloth macrumors 65816


    Aug 15, 2006
    Thats what id say, bring them in and see if the mac pro is worth the extra money. Id go for the mac pro but thats just me
  4. nutman macrumors regular

    May 19, 2006
    you do know that 3x the nvidia means you are getting three seperate cards. so the only point of having this is to run multiple monitors. get the x1900.
  5. wiseguy27 macrumors 6502


    Apr 30, 2005
    The Mac Pro config looks very good for your usage! I'd suggest going for a Mac Pro - you won't regret it for some years! You can always increase the RAM much later (when prices come down a little).
  6. GoCubsGo thread starter macrumors Nehalem


    Feb 19, 2005
    I'll have to check out the benchmarks between the x1900 and the others. I honestly don't know. I'm sure the price says a lot but I'd like to see tests. ;)

    Thanks for the input.
  7. tuartboy macrumors 6502a


    May 10, 2005
    First, aperture is not slow on your PB because of memory issues as much as it is graphics card related. The imports and initial renders are CPU bound, but the workspace is run using core image and the graphics card. You really need something fast to run aperture full bore.

    The redraw issue in PS is actually not graphics card related. PS is a 2D app and doesn't use graphics acceleration the way aperture does. The redraw issue is CPU bound as well.

    With your raw processing and video encoding tasks, you sound like the perfect candidate for the Mac Pro 2.66 with extra ram. If you can even afford it, you will see extra benefits with the 3.0 and you could write the expenses off on your taxes anyway (assuming this is for money). Stay away from the 7300 and go right to the x1900. There is a significant improvement in performance over the 7300 and you will notice it in Aperture. The Quadro 4500 is total overkill for you and is designed largely for 3d graphics people. It actually performs worse than the x1900 in some realworld benchmarks.

    And yes, I wonder how many people have 2 or 3 7300s in their Mac Pros because they thought it would be better. I've seen it happen a couple times. Apple should make it more clear what you are getting with extra video cards.
  8. GoCubsGo thread starter macrumors Nehalem


    Feb 19, 2005
    tuart thanks for the help. I've priced the x1900 and it's good. I think I'll go with the 2.66 with the x1900 but if I can swing it I'll do the 3.0. I'd rather get the 2.66 and add 2 gb ram than get the 3.0 and have to wait for the ram. Something tells me 1 gb isn't going to be great for me for too long.
    Thanks for your help again. And yes, it's a write off. :)
  9. Silentwave macrumors 68000

    May 26, 2006
    Gainesville, FL
    Mac Pro requires 2GB RAM for Aperture 1.5 to run according to Apple.com.
  10. GoCubsGo thread starter macrumors Nehalem


    Feb 19, 2005
    Right, that is why I will add 2gb after market to the already installed 1 gb giving me 3 gb; suitable for aperture.
  11. MovieCutter macrumors 68040


    May 3, 2005
    Washington, DC
    -Don't waste your money on the 3Ghz upgrade
    -Buy the x1900XT, it's worth every penny
    -Take the $800 you would spend on teh extra 300Mhz and buy RAM, lots and lots of RAM. An H264 test I heard once took nearly 25% less time on a Mac Pro with 4GB than one with 2GB.
    -The iMac is probalby adequate as long as you get as much RAM as you can and the 7600GT.
    -Aperture is a GPU hog...the 7300GT is sh*t.
  12. GoCubsGo thread starter macrumors Nehalem


    Feb 19, 2005
    It's funny because I decided to stick with the 2.66 and add the 2 gb ram and the x1900 card. I went to Apple today and they told me to get the 3x geforce. I said I thought it wasn't really faster it only allowed three displays. They said they have seen benchmark tests that show significant increase in speed in the mac pro using the 2x, 3x, or 4x geforce cards. They said 2x, 3x, 4x means there are that many chips on one card. I asked for proof, he said he had none, but to google it. I laughed and said I'd stick with the x1900 because in the end, I'd be sorry that I didn't.

    Thanks for the advice guys.
  13. FFTT macrumors 68030


    Apr 17, 2004
    A Stoned Throw From Ground Zero
    Hi Jessica,

    I agree with the others that the 2.66 GHz Mac Pro is the right machine
    with the extra RAM.

    The most frustrating issue you'll be dealing with for several months will be waiting for CS3's final release.

    That's really where performance will take off after all your primary apps
    are running Universal Binary.

    The ATI seems to be the favorite video card and also allows you to run
    your display in portrait mode.

    My Dell 2405 24" display can be set up to run in portrait mode thanks to a
    swivel mechanism in the base.

    I've heard differing opinions about the use of the 2405 for color correction work and don't have any personal insight into the newer 2407's.

    Of course the Apple 30" is a nice alternative if you can swing the cost.

    Best wishes in your decision and for the holiday season.
  14. FFTT macrumors 68030


    Apr 17, 2004
    A Stoned Throw From Ground Zero
    About RAM.

    I'd go ahead and get the machine pre configured with 2 GB in 4 X 512 MB's
    for starters because of the Mac Pro memory bus architecture.

    If you had the extra money, the ideal RAM configuration would not be 3 GB, but 4 X 1 GB, again because of the memory bus architechture.

    You should always add RAM in MATCHED sets of 4 sticks if at all possible.
  15. Felldownthewell macrumors 65816


    Feb 10, 2006

    They would be right about GFX performance- if the Mac Pro supported SLi, which it dosen't. ITs a good thing you went with the x1900xt. Your config should work out perfectly for what you want to do. Congrats!

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