PC setup - 1 laptop vs. 2 desktops

Discussion in 'Digital Photography' started by 321estrellas, Oct 7, 2014.

  1. 321estrellas macrumors 6502


    Sep 28, 2007
    I'm getting pretty tired of carrying a 10+lb laptop bag around so I'm thinking of selling it and funding 2 mid-end PC towers, 1 for my work office, 1 for home. I already have an ultrabook that I can take around if I need to do casual work or offload memory cards when doing video/photo work.

    The computers are going to be mainly used for video editing, photo editing, and occasional gaming.

    My laptop is an ASUS ROG G75VW - i7-3610QM 2.3 GHz, 12GB RAM, nVidia Geforce 670M 3GB, 2x HDD bays (my favourite feature); SSD boot drive and 1TB media drive, USB 3.0 ports. This is a HEAVY laptop and quite a pain to carry around.

    For the PC's, I'm looking to spend around $600-750 x2. No crazy specs, just a decent video card, 8GB RAM, 256GB SSD, and a good CPU - not sure yet whether I will put an AMD or i5 CPU - I haven't quite done my research on CPU's yet. Is $600-750 per machine achievable with these specs? (the good thing is I have the SSD's already covered, but will probably have to buy a 2nd monitor and keyboard)

    I will carry current projects on an external HDD, like a 1TB WD Elements. I don't take on a whole ton of projects so 1TB is really enough. At home, I keep a 3TB external drive that I dump my complete projects in when I'm done, and also carries my archive of pictures, music, documents and videos.

    My question is if anyone would consider a similar setup - giving up a great laptop for desktops? And if there are any disadvantages to this setup? Does it hurt editing workflow? It would be like giving up a rMBP for a couple Mac Mini's (while you also have a Macbook Air for casual use).

    Side random question: Can I install Steam on 2 different PC's but have the games stored on an external HDD, so I don't have to install them on the PC's boot drive?
  2. MisterMe macrumors G4


    Jul 17, 2002
    You do understand that this is a Mac fan site, don't you. If you prefer Windows, then you have several options to do that on a Mac. However, dedicated Windows computers are generally cheaper. You might be better served by frequenting a Windows fan site.
  3. Badrottie Suspended


    May 8, 2011
    Los Angeles
    MisterMe is right this is not Windows forum and some people might not know much about Windows stuff for setup. If you are talking about TWO Mac Pro and one macbook then someone will love to help you. :apple:
  4. 321estrellas thread starter macrumors 6502


    Sep 28, 2007
    Yes, I understand that. The question/opinion is not OS specific though as it is more about setups and work flows. That's why I gave the comparison of it being like having a real vs. 2 Mac Minis at your respective places of work (could not say 2 Mac Pros as that would not be a fair conparison). The exception being th Steam question though which I think I will ask in the gaming forum :)
  5. steveash macrumors 6502


    Aug 7, 2008
    Sounds like you need a Macbook Air. To be honest working off two computers can be a real pain. I've done it and can't recommend it unless they perform very different roles.
  6. Consultant macrumors G5


    Jun 27, 2007
    Two computers: hard to sync up programs, settings, and documents.

    I would suggest getting non-retina MacBook Pro. It can have a SSD / HD boot drive (easily changed), you can also take out the optical drive and install a 2.5" media or SSD drive (using an adapter).

    For example this one. It has USB 3 ports and SDXC slot. It weights 5.6 pounds.

    Keep in mind that Apple computer charger is lighter and smaller than most PC chargers. Overall lighter and smaller than most comparable PC.

  7. VI™ macrumors 6502a

    Aug 27, 2010
    Shepherdsturd, WV
    With your budget, I'd skip Apple and go with a bare bones solution that doesn't have all the bells and whistles but has the performance parts your need.

    I have a mini, the last one with a dedicated GPU, IIRC, and Light Room and Photo Shop are noticeably slow in comparison with my latest gen rMBP. So much so that in Photo Shop there is noticeable lag when doing certain operations. Batch processing is also something that you won't want to do if you have to physically wait on the process. Usually when I export for small and large sets of JPEGs on my Mini (which is my primary desktop Mac at the moment), I set it up and let it go while I do something else more productive.

    And as far as gaming goes, forget about anything that's even slightly graphically intensive. Granted I tries running two games on a 2560x1600 resolution display, but even at a smaller resolution you're going to be hurting unless you turn the options down to the lowest settings. They just weren't made for that.
  8. phrehdd macrumors 68040


    Oct 25, 2008
    Sorry folks (yes I own Mac), I think the original poster should investigate some PCs simply for the flexibility of upgrade and a base machine that might serve better with respect to both GPU and ease of drive upgrades including multiple drives.

    I use a Mac Mini for Photoshop and my computer is equipped with SSD and 16 gigs of RAM. It works reasonably well but for larger projects or any video type of editing - kind of a dog.
  9. VI™ macrumors 6502a

    Aug 27, 2010
    Shepherdsturd, WV
    I use the same as my desktop editor until one day I can afford a Pro.
  10. compuwar macrumors 601


    Oct 5, 2006
    Northern/Central VA
    I've been using two Mac Pro "cheese grater" towers for most of the last year. I don't do video, so I purchased the second tower used and performance has been good. The lack of portability was starting to hurt though and while I got tired of wheeling around two laptops everywhere in a roller bag for work stuff I just went to a new MacBook Pro yesterday and will be retiring the two old laptops and probably use one of the towers much, much less frequently- maybe both if I get the VM stuff set up satisfactorily.

    Steam is squirrely about where things are stored, and while there may be some environmental variables to help things out, or you may be able to do the Windows equivalent of syminks (shortcuts) to an external, the potential for bad stuff is there.

  11. 321estrellas thread starter macrumors 6502


    Sep 28, 2007
    Thanks for all your opinions, guys. I will probably end up regretting working off 2 workstations. Like one post below set, different settings and documents.

    Just a thought for now. No one's even messaging me about buying my laptop :( Selling the laptop would only fund about 60% of the two desktops, so a potential plan is to just get one desktop and keep the laptop, and eat a bit more of the cost. At least I keep the portability aspect, *if* I ever needed it.
  12. Oracle1729 macrumors 6502a

    Feb 4, 2009
    Don't mind the grumpy mac users. They're just mad that you've got 2 HDD bays and they've got 0.

    That's a pretty decent laptop compared to the PC you'd get int he $600-750 range. Is it an option to keep it, maybe as your home machine and buy a desktop for your work box?

    I wouldn't. I take my (much lighter) laptop with me everywhere and have a nice desktop at home. For what you plan to spend on 2 desktops, I would much rather buy a high-end i7, double the memory, double the SSD, and spend a lot more on a video card.
  13. ChrisA macrumors G4

    Jan 5, 2006
    Redondo Beach, California
    So buy a Macbook ppro with retina display and trash the bag. You don't need a bag. The "rMBP" is very light and easy to cary. It works very well for video editing.

    Yes you can buy some cheap clunky PC at wall mart if you like, no one here will stop you. I know not everyone can afford a rMBP.
  14. Oracle1729 macrumors 6502a

    Feb 4, 2009
    His favourite feature is 2 HDD bays in his current laptop. Apple doesn't sell laptops with drive bays any more. My cMBP has 2 hard drives in it, and I'm going to keep it as long as possible and my next laptop will be a PC with 2 hard drives.

    Biased much? For the price of an rMBP you can buy a sleek, solid, lightweight windows machine. With about twice the benchmarks. Or are you comparing a $1800 macbook to a $400 windows computer and being surprised the macbook comes out on top?

    I can certainly afford an rMBP and would have bought one last year (I typically used to replace them every 2 years and this one is getting pretty old for my tastes). But I'll keep my computer that does everything I need without a bag full of accessories and external boxes. If anything, I'd buy a refurb cMBP and keep it in the box for when my current one eventually dies before I'd buy a rMBP.

    Enjoy your increasingly thin and crippled macs.
  15. VI™ macrumors 6502a

    Aug 27, 2010
    Shepherdsturd, WV
    Yes, because walking around everywhere holding a laptop with all it's cables and accessories in your hands sounds really appealing.

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