Media lab + Computer setup

Discussion in 'Buying Tips, Advice and Discussion (archive)' started by zim, Nov 7, 2004.

  1. zim macrumors 65816


    Jan 5, 2002
    Here is the current situation:

    3 labs. Each lab currently has 17 PowerMacs. Each room is on it's own 3 year lease (every year one room receives new computers). Due to past budgets purchases the typical setup was, low end PowerMac with 256 - 512 (512 more recently) MB or RAM.

    The problem:
    1. Due to budget restrictions, 1 lease was missed requiring us to temporarily buy the computers off lease until we could reinstate the lease program.

    2. Our budge has not improved since last year.

    The users:
    The individuals using this lab are students ranging from majority Graphic Design to Video and 3D production.

    Possible solution 1:
    The goal here is to do as much as possible with what we have, over a 3 year period (unfortunately I do not have the actually budget for this year).

    Here is a proposed set up:
    2 rooms of iMacs with the following configurations:
    20-inch widescreen
    1GB of RAM
    160GB hard drive
    1.8GHz G5


    1 room of high end PowerMacs:
    20-inch flat panel screen
    Dual 2GHz G5
    2GB RAM
    160GB hard drive
    8x SuperDrive


    We also have an Xserver, of which should also be put into the lease program.
    1 Single Processor Xserver
    2GHz G5
    1GB RAM
    160GB hard drive x2

    Again, this will be done over 3 years.

    Possible solution 1:
    Only do 2 leases with mid range PowerMacs, buying back computers at the end of their lease to fill the 3rd room.

    I guess I am just looking for help because this was dumped on me. I have Graphic Design teachers telling me that iMacs will not work but yet when I ask them why and or what is the difference, thinking they would say cache and video, they reply with I don't know.

    Opinions anyone?

    Thanks :)
  2. MacFan25863 macrumors 6502a


    Jun 20, 2004
    Maybe instead of using LCD's in the G5 room you could use CRTs...less expensive.
  3. zim thread starter macrumors 65816


    Jan 5, 2002
    Good point. I will add that into the proposal of ways to reduce expense. Thanks!

    Do you have any feelings regarding the iMacs? I realize that they are not "professional" but I feel that they would offer more then a low end PowerMac with minimal ram and say a 17" monitor.
  4. crazzyeddie macrumors 68030


    Dec 7, 2002
    Florida, USA
    Maybe you could reduce the size of the iMacs to the 17" to save a few bucks, too.
  5. Mechcozmo macrumors 603


    Jul 17, 2004
    The iMacs are very good computers for professional work. They may not beat out a Power Mac G5, but they will trash your G4 PowerMacs by far. Their graphics card is not at the high end, but is more than enough for Photoshop, Final Cut Pro, etc. Maybe not Motion or Maya, but you get the point. I do FCE work on my laptop (see sig for details) and it is freakin' fast. Imagine a G5! The iMacs you should know can become faster if you use two of the same kind of RAM slots. Example: get two 512MB DIMMs to make the memory bus 128 bits, and that makes the iMac much faster than a single 1 GB stick of RAM.
    Tell them that the iMac is a good professional computer, configured correctly and you seem to have done that. The iMac does lack some pro features, but it sounds like you don't have the $$$ for a FireWire 800 drive, and your network doesn't sound Gigabit capable. But I can't say that without seeing it... you get the idea.

    Can you get the Power Macs half with SuperDrives and half without? With the savings you could get a FireWire drive to transfer a disk image across. Example: Person makes DVD, export it to a disk image, and then transfer it across via the FireWire drive. Or just network the computers with FireWire cables... new feature in Panther but I haven't been able to test it yet.

    You can get a really good CRT monitor for half of the cost of a good LCD. So a 20" CRT might cost the same amount as dirt. Or you could buy em all!
  6. zim thread starter macrumors 65816


    Jan 5, 2002
    Thanks, crazzyeddie and Mechcozmo, some really good ideas and feedback.

    I personally work on an iMac and do professional work, FCE, PS, AI, DVD Studio, etc.. even learning Maya on my iMac. Some day, when I have a larger budget, I will acquire a faster machine... I also have a powerBook, sadly my iMac kicks its butt, getting off track.

    I am comfortable with the proposal. I think what I am afraid of is giving it in front of everyone. I feel comfortable with my technical knowledge and know that I am making the right decisions based on the budget (I wish they would give me the real figures, some of this is guess work) but also know that there are people who will oppose, people who couldn't even tell you the difference between an iMac and a powerMac... sigh.

    Thanks again!

    If anyone else has any other ideas please voice them. I am not presenting my ideas until next week, the 16th.
  7. Mechcozmo macrumors 603


    Jul 17, 2004
    Eh, don't sweat it. Back up your facts by learning about everything about the computers, etc. See if you can cut costs by getting 4 512MB sticks of RAM for the PowerMacs, and two sticks of the 512 for the iMac.

    For the iMac/PowerMac people, print out the direct comparisons of the two. Example: single 1.8 vs. dual 2.0. RAM speeds, etc. Show them what the differences are and explain briefly what that means.
  8. blackfox macrumors 65816


    Feb 18, 2003
    Zim, I am a little confused with your proposal(s). Are you buying these machines or leasing them? How does the lease program work?

    Without knowing those specifics, I might suggest going all PM.

    The reason for this is that with the advent of Tiger and CoreVideo, the option to upgrade the GPU in the PM's would be very advantageous. As I understand things, with the proper GPU, many audio/video tasks will be much faster, which would extend the life considerably of your PMs, as well as making your labs more efficient for your students (less time needed in front of a machine).


    (btw, I like the CRT idea)

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