My next purchase, which way?

Discussion in 'Buying Tips and Advice' started by RidgeRacerType4, Feb 12, 2011.

  1. RidgeRacerType4 macrumors newbie

    RidgeRacerType4

    Joined:
    May 11, 2005
    Location:
    San Antonio. TX
    #1
    So I'm in a bit of a dilemma that is influenced not only by the potential release date of the sandy bridge updates to the macbook pro but also with consideration to work flow. Due to financial and time constraints I've boiled it down to two options (though I'm open to more) that I feel will fulfill my short and long term goals:

    Option1:

    //In the next few weeks//
    -13" macbook core i3 (i5 if that's an option)

    //Christmas time//
    -High performance gaming rig (what I have in mind, based on what's out now, it will definitely change)
    http://secure.newegg.com/WishList/PublicWishDetail.aspx?WishListNumber=19120608

    estimated overall cost ~ $3500-$4000 US

    Option2:

    //In the next few weeks//
    -15" Sony Vaio (gaming laptop)
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cEkUCrHPf-0
    http://www.sonystyle.com/webapp/wcs...1&categoryId=8198552921644691998&N=4294953518

    //Christmas time//
    -Top of the line 27" imac (sandy/ivy bridge should be there by then)

    estimated overall cost ~$3000-$3500 US

    Things to consider:

    -Over all what ever the configuration I end up with, I will likely use this set up for programming. My intentions are to get into some open source projects of varying types, maybe even freelance for a while. On the other hand, I intend to do some heavy gaming (something I haven't done in a long long time). With RIFT and SWTOR on the way as well as some classics I would like to indulging in some gaming during the holidays so the gaming rig of sorts is a consideration.

    -I'm in college (I graduate this upcoming fall) so which ever set up I end up with will have to last me for a while afterwards and carry me into grad school (which I won't be able to start until Fall 2012 at the earliest).

    -Immediately I'm using the imac in my sig, but it's already sold to a family member who isn't in a particular rush. That said, I would like to replace this machine sooner than later

    So I'm definitely open to suggestions. Overall I'm not an impatient person but I would rather not hang on to this imac any longer than I have too. Thank You in advance
     
  2. Velin macrumors 65816

    Velin

    Joined:
    Jul 23, 2008
    Location:
    Hearst Castle
    #2
    Your two options sound inefficient. First question, is running Windows 7 via bootcamp an option for your gaming needs? A good iMac or Mac Pro with SSD will eat that Sony VAIO F for lunch.
     
  3. vistadude macrumors 65816

    Joined:
    Jan 3, 2010
    #3
    The sony laptop looks interesting with it's quad core processor, 7200 rpm hard disk, blue ray drive, usb 3, e-sata and 16 inch screen.... but i'd say get a nice non-gaming laptop for mobile stuff and a nice gaming desktop or a store built desktop with an upgraded graphics card.
     
  4. torbjoern, Feb 12, 2011
    Last edited: Feb 12, 2011

    torbjoern macrumors 65816

    torbjoern

    Joined:
    Jun 9, 2009
    Location:
    The Black Lodge
    #4
    I would go with #1. I have done something similar myself a couple of years ago, but in reverse order - got the rig first and then a MacBook alu.
     
  5. neko girl macrumors 6502a

    neko girl

    Joined:
    Jan 20, 2011
    #5
    The Sony website mentions 2.5 hours of battery life, FYI. How much gaming do you think you'll do?

    Long battery life is the best thing when you're on campus all day.
     
  6. RidgeRacerType4 thread starter macrumors newbie

    RidgeRacerType4

    Joined:
    May 11, 2005
    Location:
    San Antonio. TX
    #6
    So, my inspiration for option 2 is that, while the Vaio is not the fastest gaming laptop on the market and "mobile" is a loose attribute for this model, it is still mobile. I could watch Blu-Ray movies while laying down or take it to my friends house/ parents house and watch Blu-Ray movies on their TVs. I spend typically 6-8 hours a day on campus in between 3 labs in the same building (has been the trend for 3 semesters now) and as much as 12 hours during crunch time. So mobility issues aren't dire.

    Option 1 is on the table because as it stands, for some reason, all my professors this semester are High Performance Computing nuts (even the ones that aren't specifically researching the topic). I have a feeling this is a trend that will continue in grad school. So the idea here is that, in the interim between graduation and grad school, the gaming rig will serve my entertainment and HPC needs;
    In grad school, it will become a machine that will handle large computations as the parallelism the PhenomII X6 can offer is very attractive. Since most of these kinds of projects/assignments require testing code on different machine configurations the PIIx6 would be nice if not some what more reliable in this area. The macbook would be for development on all three OS platforms and the rig would take care of heavy lifting

    though I'm still on the fence :-/
     
  7. RidgeRacerType4 thread starter macrumors newbie

    RidgeRacerType4

    Joined:
    May 11, 2005
    Location:
    San Antonio. TX
    #7
    Also, I did consider possibly shooting for a mac pro, but couldn't really justify shelling out for a server of that magnitude (reads, if I went that route it would have to be for dual chip multiprocessors) and the cheapest one in that configuration without a monitor and with edu discount cost $3k in itself which leaves no funds available for a mobile machine.

    With the first option, I could upgrade parts as needed (reads the processor/ motherboard) versus having to sell the entire mac pro when it's time for an upgrade and I would still have the ability to program for OSX in an acceptable manner.

    With the second option, I wouldn't get the mobility or power of the first option but I imagine the Sandy Bridge/Ivy Bridge imacs will have a pretty nice GPU and an even better core i7 processor. I've also though of going with a mac mini in this option as the vaio is pretty powerful in it's own.
    With a KVM switch, I could program in either OSX or windows without dual-booting or VMing using the full capacity of both machines. When upgrading, I could buy or sell either machine whole verses having to figure out what to do with unneeded (likely old) individual PC components (upgrade turn around time for me is about every 2 years). The vaio also has a backlit keyboard like the MBPs.

    A possible third option is a 15" - 17" top of the line sandy bridge macbook pro but considering the specs and price of the above vaio ($1500 shipped with 3 years of warranty)... it's really hard to justify unless I happen across a good deal

    Keep it coming, I'm still not firmly in any camp
     
  8. GBGamer007 macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Feb 13, 2011
    #8
    I'd suggest getting a low end mac laptop, maybe a few years old, in the next few weeks, and then the iMac for Christmas.
     
  9. GBGamer007 macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Feb 13, 2011
    #9
    Elaboration

    Use the iMac for gaming, the 27" screen will look BEAUTIFUL. You could then use the laptop for on the go stuff, like when you are at school. Macs are beautiful in that they keep their value so you don't have to upgrade!:p
     
  10. Yebubbleman macrumors 68030

    Yebubbleman

    Joined:
    May 20, 2010
    Location:
    Los Angeles, CA
    #10
    Here's the deal, all Macs (save for the Mac Pro) are not easily expanded. RAM can be maxed out and as long as a SATA drive of the exact same interface and thermal specifications is used, you can upgrade your hard drive forever, but that's pretty much it. On a Sony laptop, you sometimes can't even get to the hard drive like you can on any current model MacBook Pro. PC desktops, on the other hand, are about as upgradable as you can get. Get a solid enough motherboard and you won't need to replace it for at least four years, if not longer. The same, unfortunately can't be said of an iMac. Also, even if they adopt AMD Radeon HD 6 series GPUs in the next 27" iMac, they won't be able to use beyond a 6850 for power and thermal reasons, let alone the 6970 that you're throwing into the gaming rig. I'm skeptical that the 13" MacBook Pro will get Sandy Bridge, but if it does, it'll have Intel's IGP which is only barely as competent as the GeForce 320M used in the current 13" MacBook Pro, though if you're doing coding and and even light gaming or even mainstream video editing at most, that machine, even as it stands today, will last you just fine for a while.

    So, I'd go with the PC tower and the 13" MacBook Pro. You essentially get the best of both platforms that way, whereas the other way around has you with an unupgradable Sony and an unupgradable iMac neither of which would be as powerful for gaming as your PC. You have a smaller screen priced out in the desktop, but this can always be rectified later when you have the funds to step up your screen real-estate.

    My logic, to review is as follows:

    - Macs are all (save for the Mac Pro) unupgradable
    - Sony Vaio is also unupgradable, if not moreso than the 13" MacBook Pro
    - The 27" iMac provides faster performance, Mac-wise, but you want the performance for gaming which the Mac is inferior for inherently
    - you want screen real-estate, but it's not worth sacrificing the ability to play games at their best.
    - Therefore, a Mac laptop is just as unupgradable as an iMac, but is far more portable and is slightly more upgradable than a Sony Vaio.
    - Therefore the best of both worlds involves a Mac laptop, and a PC desktop that you customize and build yourself.

    Therefore, go with Option 1, whether the 13" Pro sticks with a Core 2 Duo and the GeForce 320M or goes to Sandy Bridge all around.
     
  11. RidgeRacerType4 thread starter macrumors newbie

    RidgeRacerType4

    Joined:
    May 11, 2005
    Location:
    San Antonio. TX
    #11
    Thank you all for your opinions and considerations. After some soul searching and considering everything mentioned here I think I'm going to with option #1 and wait out the 13" macbook pro refresh (if it ends up being a C2D machine or ends up rocking intel IGP I'll just buy the current generation's MBP cheaper). This option also gives me some room to consider options for a desktop towards the end of the year. Over all I think this is the best for the near and long term. I appreciate you guys musing over this with me
     

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