Purchases: HD, RAM, BT Mouse?

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

  1. stoid macrumors 601


    Feb 17, 2002
    So long, and thanks for all the fish!
    I have a brand new 15 inch Aluminum PowerBook, and I'm looking at enhancing my computing experience in three different ways.

    None of the upgrades would I consider 'critical' or 'urgent' but are more in the category of 'nice if I can figure out all the options'. Of other importance, I am a college student with very little money, and even less to be spending on something that already cost over two fat ones!

    1) Hard drive. I want to buy an external HD for back-up, general storage, and occasional (but extensive) video editing via FCP. Do I need FW 800? Would a USB 2.0 drive be better than a FW 400? Should I get a combo FW/USB drive? Is 7200 RPM fast enough? Should I go for 80/120/160GB? (I plan on using the drive until it becomes outdated.) Are drive prices continuing to fall? I have a large video project (mostly on a friends G5 tower, but also my laptop, and I need to store and edit quickly) early June, and so this purchase needs to happen by then.

    2) RAM. Right now I have the stock 2x256MB chips installed. For general use everything is very snappy, but whenever I have Photoshop 7, and Flash MX running, switching between them introduces lag that would seem to be caused by lag from my slow internal HD acting as Virtual Memory. I know that 512MB chips are around the $100 range or so, but I have noticed that the 1GB chip prices have cut nearly in half since my laptop was originally announced last September. Again with this summer's video project, it seems like having more than 512MB would be really nice. How much would you suggest getting, and how long before the 1GB chips work their way down in line with the other sizes cents/MB ratio? I doubt that a 256MB chip will have much along the line of resale value, but will a 512 do better when I do finally upgrade to 1GB slabs?

    3) Mouse. Of the three, this one is the most simply for my own pleasure and not significant to performance. Since I have BT functionality, and living on a college campus my PBook travels a lot, it sure would be nice not to have this extra cord to get tangled. (Besides, wirelessly mousing just looks tight!) I'm not going to spend $100 on a thrill though, and I want a good full size mouse. I might be willing to shell out $50 for such a device especially if it has more than 2 buttons and a scroll wheel. Are any options like this on the horizon, or should I resign myself to hoping for a stack of bills to fall out of the sky or wired mousing?

    4) I know I said 3, but I've just ordered an Epson Stylus C84, and I was wondering if I made the right choice there.

    Thanks for all the help and suggestions!

  2. dudewheresmymac macrumors member

    Jan 28, 2004
    1) purhaps your best bet would be to get a firewire inclusure and putting an ide drive inside then you can always put a larger one inside if you need more space
    2) definately go for the 1GB stick as soon as you can afford it
    3) you could go with the M$ intellimouse blue tooth or the apple on which doesnt have a second botton or scroll whell
    4)goood choice
  3. russed macrumors 68000


    Jan 16, 2004
    with regards to the mouse, get the apple bt mouse as it is just plain cool and when yoou get used to only having one button oyu are cool with it. to get over the problem of not having a wheel, get a griffin powermate. it has to be the nicest looking thing ever and it is more than just a wheel!
  4. stoid thread starter macrumors 601


    Feb 17, 2002
    So long, and thanks for all the fish!
    While I would admit that a one button mouse would be fun and cool, and Apple's IS really awesome, when it comes to using high end apps, I find that sometimes 2 buttons are even not enough (also 2 buttons makes certain games playable :D)
  5. abhishekit macrumors 65816


    Nov 6, 2003
    akron , ohio
    for the mosue, i would say wait till 1 april (and i m not fooling you :D), macmice.com are coming up with a very nice bt mouse. it looks just like the apple mouse, comes in white, black and aluminium colors, has 2 buttons and scroll and has an on/off switch. It would be for 70$.
    Currently i have a belkin bt mouse, it has 2 buttons, and a third button which doesnt do anything, and a scroll. But I dont like its size, its big.
    Theres one mouse from bluetake, and its advantage is it doesnt come with the bt adaptor. So its cheap. But it looks real bad to me, i mean just the looks..but then you can check it out too...
    Even if you have more than 2 buttons in your mouse you wont have drivers to program them. Even in the MS mouse, the extra buttons can only be used for expose.
  6. James Craner macrumors 68000

    James Craner

    Sep 13, 2002
    Bristol, UK
    I would definitely upgrade the RAM to 1 GB via two 512 MB chips. When the 1GB chips come down in price it may be worth upgrading, but in terms of bang per buck you will be better off going with 1GB at this stage. The Microsoft BT mouse is a good one and I suggest you go for that. If you need extra HD space I suggest you go for a FW400 drive.
  7. stoid thread starter macrumors 601


    Feb 17, 2002
    So long, and thanks for all the fish!
    Looking at HD enclosures, I found this enclosure. It states that FW800 is backward compatible with FW400. Now, that makes sense to me, but when I look at the FW800 port on my laptop, it doesn't look the same as the FW400 port. Do I have to get a special cable, or are do they have some different spec FireWire than Apple-standard.

    It says 9-pin FW800. Isn't Apple's FW400 a 6-pin, and video camera's use a 4-pin?
  8. Earendil macrumors 68000


    Oct 27, 2003
    I am interested in this exact same thing as well, as I bought a 15" PB 1.25 last Nov, and will be a freshmen College next fall. As far as the Spending/Guilt ratio goes, now is the best time to do buy :D

    Looking at externals, I already decided on getting a case and putting an IDE drive in it, seems to be $20-$40 cheaper. A big question for someone that might have gone through this already: What makes the difference in price in these external shells? They range from $30-$80, and for whatever reason the smaller Drive cases cost more?!

    The Thread starter sort of asked this, but I'll ask again in a more specific way. What are the forcasted RAM prices for the 1g stick? Right now they are way too expensive, especially in light of Kensington selling a $55 512 stick (after all the rebate/limited time offer stuff). $250-$300 is a bit much for a 1g stick for me...anyone see this coming down any time in the next 6 months?

  9. stoid thread starter macrumors 601


    Feb 17, 2002
    So long, and thanks for all the fish!
    Link to the $55 Kensington RAM, and I'll get 2!!!

    Doing a quick peek at cnet.com shows the following prices.

    Internal Drives:
    80GB - $60
    120GB - $80
    160GB - $110
    200GB - $170

    Enclosures - $40 - $60

    External Drives:
    80GB - $100
    120GB - $150
    160GB - $165
    200GB - $210

    Looks like prices would be about the same going internal and enclosure, or external, give or take about $10 depending on what size you are looking at. However, I do like the idea of being able to switch out drives to upgrade, so that I could technically upgrade storage, or upgrade enclosure type as needed rather than having to ditch the whole drive to upgrade. (Also, the family computer has an decent 80GB 7200RPM drive I bought a while back that I can probably convince them to part with since I did buy it after all.)
  10. SilentPanda Moderator emeritus


    Oct 8, 2002
    The Bamboo Forest
    I own the Bluetake BT500 Mouse. It's okay. It works pretty well except depending on the mouse pad I'm using it has a tendandcy to stop tracking. So you turn the mouse off and back on and it's fine. It doesn't do it a lot... just exactly when I don't want it to do it when playing games. :)

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