Starting From Scratch w/$5,000 What Should I Buy?

Discussion in 'Buying Tips and Advice' started by Freewayjim, Aug 4, 2008.

  1. Freewayjim macrumors regular

    Freewayjim

    Joined:
    Aug 2, 2008
    Location:
    Metro Atlanta
    #1
    I'm a newbie poster but have read many forums here so I know that you all really know your stuff so here's the scenario; My 24" 2.8GHz iMac was fried in a lighting strike/fire at home last month and I'd like some opinions of what to buy as I rebuild my setup. What I have currently is a 2 year old 15.4 MPB and a 4 Year old 17" Dell XPS2 Windows Machine (from before I became enlightened and switched to Mac in 2006)

    The iMac was great but I want to downsize to one Apple machine and it's got to be a laptop (15.4 or 17" MBP) w/Applecare. I would be using this machine at work and in my home office (a short commute), I travel a couple times a year (By Car) and don't frequent the local Starbucks at all :)

    I'll need an external monitor for at home, I'm open to the ACD or Gateway 30" models but if there is a great choice in the 24"-26" size I'm open to that too

    Also, what would you recommend for Windows? VMWare Fusion or Parallels 3.0? (I use Parallels 2.0 on the MBP and it's passable)

    The Mac programs I use most are Final Cut Express 4, Photoshop Elements 6, Toast 8, Parallels & Microsoft Office 2004 (Will probably upgrade to 2008 w/new machine)

    Between insurance, selling my 15.4" MBP and some "mad money" there will be roughly $5K to work with, so what should I buy?

    Thanks in advance for your suggestions!
     
  2. tmelvin macrumors 6502

    tmelvin

    Joined:
    Mar 17, 2008
    #2
    Wow...well, if it were me...

    I'd get a 17" Hi Res. with all but the memory upgrade [get that 3rd party]. Then go for the DELL screens. Size is up to you, but the ACD's are a little overrated IMHO. Then get something like TC, or AE [unless you already have that].

    If u really wanted a backup system, then go for a low end MB...
     
  3. Consultant macrumors G5

    Consultant

    Joined:
    Jun 27, 2007
    #3
    UPS (uninterrupted power source with battery power and surge protector)
    Firewire 800 drives for Final Cut
    Separte drive for backup
    VMWare
     
  4. zer0tails macrumors 65816

    zer0tails

    Joined:
    Mar 23, 2008
    Location:
    Canada
    #4
    Get the 17" Hi res Macbook pro if you don't kind carrying it on your short commute. If not go for a 15" with the 7200 rpm HD. Add a 30" cinema display to complement your macbook pro perfectly. I am using a 30" ACD with my mbp and it think it's the perfect combination. A true work horse with versatility for mobility.

    Contrary to what people say about the ACDs being overrated. I think they're largely underrated with people calling them outdated and old tech, with high prices. I personally find none of that to be true. The heart of any lcd is its panel and the ACD's s-ips panel is excellent. Price wise, it's also reasonable compared to the Eizos, Lacies etc.
     
  5. Muncher macrumors 65816

    Muncher

    Joined:
    Apr 19, 2007
    Location:
    California
    #5
    The ACDs are amazing monitors. They come with an equally amazing price tag. Unless you're a professional working in a business that requires absolute color accuracy, get a Dell; they make some good monitors.
     
  6. rvrugg90 macrumors member

    Joined:
    Jul 28, 2008
    #6
    Hey. I actually bought that gateway you were talking about...the XHD3000. Im sure you have read reviews,etc...so you know it's a pretty highly regarded piece of equipment. Just wanted to say I love it as well, best monitor I've ever owned by far, and costs less than similar-sized monitors as well. Anyway, what ever option you choose, Good Luck!
     
  7. Neil321 macrumors 68040

    Neil321

    Joined:
    Nov 6, 2007
    Location:
    Britain, Avatar Created By Bartelby
    #7
    Thats true as i sometimes use one at work but have found the Dell ultrasharp's to come a close second
     
  8. imaketouchtheme macrumors 65816

    Joined:
    Dec 5, 2007
    #8
    A car.
     
  9. spacepower7 macrumors 68000

    Joined:
    May 6, 2004
    #9
    hmm

    Depends what model MBP you have...

    If you have the core 2 duo, then I would hold off alittle while. The new ones aren't that much faster then your current one. I would still probably buy the 30" LCD though.
     
  10. Freewayjim thread starter macrumors regular

    Freewayjim

    Joined:
    Aug 2, 2008
    Location:
    Metro Atlanta
    #10
    Thanks! I've looked at/played with that monitor, it' very nice and $200 cheaper than the 30" ACD ($1599 at Micro Center). The trade off I see is the extra Firewire Ports and the "Apple Brand" in exchange for 4 More USB Ports, HDMI and all the other ports the Gateway offers, plus $200! The Dell 24" is a nice option too.

    I love the idea of working in 2560x1600 resolution but I wonder if the extra $1000 or so is worth having that. One poster suggested getting a MB as a back-up, that is an interesting thought although I have easy access to a 20" iMac if need be.

    Thank you so far to everyone for your input, it's much appreciated.
     
  11. skye12 macrumors 65816

    skye12

    Joined:
    Nov 11, 2006
    Location:
    Austin, Tx
  12. skye12 macrumors 65816

    skye12

    Joined:
    Nov 11, 2006
    Location:
    Austin, Tx
    #12
    The Dell's are ok IF they work for more than 6 months. Too many of
    my friends have had nothing but bad luck with Dell stuff. And to top it
    off then you get to deal with their Customer "misery" dept. (in India).
     
  13. jbolls macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Aug 5, 2008
    #13
    Virtualization

    Dump both Parallels and VMWare, I would go for VirutalBox, http://www.virtualbox.org/

    It is free, robust, fast, stable, and did I mention free? By far the best product out for running Virual Machines.
     
  14. KingYaba macrumors 68040

    KingYaba

    Joined:
    Aug 7, 2005
    Location:
    Up the irons
  15. goinskiing macrumors 6502a

    goinskiing

    Joined:
    Jun 25, 2008
    Location:
    Meridian, ID
    #15
    A Second to Sun's VirtualBox

    Yeah, I use VirtualBox for my Linux distro and Windows XP and it works just fine. Maybe not near as fancy as Fusion or Parallels, but who needs fancy when you get the functionality for free. If you use VirtualBox, be sure to install Guest Additions.

    Here's the link.
    https://cds.sun.com/is-bin/INTERSHOP.enfinity/WFS/CDS-CDS_SMI-Site/en_US/-/USD/ViewProductDetail-Start?ProductRef=innotek-1.6-G-F@CDS-CDS_SMI
     
  16. Neil321 macrumors 68040

    Neil321

    Joined:
    Nov 6, 2007
    Location:
    Britain, Avatar Created By Bartelby
    #16
    since when did it become an industry standard?
     
  17. alphaod macrumors Core

    alphaod

    Joined:
    Feb 9, 2008
    Location:
    NYC
    #17
    Or better get a high-end 15" MBP and then a 30" Dell 3008WFP.
     
  18. stuckfly macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Aug 12, 2008
    #18
    Gateway XHD3000 is great as long as you shutdown

    Hm. I got the XHD3000 for a MacPro a few months back and I like it, except if the Mac system goes to sleep then the display won't wake up when the Mac does. No support resolution from Apple, Nvidia, or Gateway. Any other XHD owners experienced that?

    Otherwise it's a sweet display at a competitive price, and it's the only one I found that can be used for more than just a computer display; I've got a Playstation plugged in and I use it for cable TV. Has inputs for just about anything. The speakerbar is junk, but I knew that when I saw the picture in the magazine;)
     
  19. sn00pie macrumors 6502a

    sn00pie

    Joined:
    Jun 25, 2008
    Location:
    United States
    #19
    The 17" MacBook Pro model costs the same as a baseline Mac Pro. I say you go for the Mac Pro unless you need the portability.
     
  20. SnowLeopard2008 macrumors 604

    SnowLeopard2008

    Joined:
    Jul 4, 2008
    Location:
    Silicon Valley
    #20
    I'd recommend the 15" MBP, the middle configuration. And for a display, go Dell. Gateways stinks (they are low-end) and Dell monitors are cheap, with good quality. The ACD is due for a refresh and is overpriced. A Dell 30"/24"/26" are all good build quality monitors.

    For running windows, I'd say Fusion, but Parallels also works. I use Boot Camp, since I hardly touch Windows at all these days... The MBP configuration I recommended above will zip thru your listed apps, and more, although 2008 is more sluggish than 2004, but with the new update, ppl claimed its faster. I have yet to test it myself.

    Again, for people like me, 17" is not "portable". It's simply huge, although if you want the hi res screen.. its a tradeoff.
     
  21. Freewayjim thread starter macrumors regular

    Freewayjim

    Joined:
    Aug 2, 2008
    Location:
    Metro Atlanta
    #21
    I saw the Gateway for $1449 at a local Fry's and having all the inputs is a nice feature (I'd hook up a PS3 as well) but since my main use for it is Photo/Video editing I'll take a closer look at the Dell monitors.

    Would any of you spend the extra $800-1000 for a 30" display or go with a top 24"-26" and use the $$ elsewhere (or save it)? The 2560x1600 resolution would be a big plus for me but I just don't know if it's worth the money.

    I have Parallels 2.0 on my current MBP, it works OK, I have heard Fusion is a better program which is why I'd consider it. For work I need to go back & Forth from Windoze to OS X alot so Boot Camp would not work as well for me.

    The part I'm really struggling with is 15" or 17" (I must have a laptop) I've read other threads and honestly I like what both sizes have to offer, it's very a tough call that I'm still weighing.

    Thanks to everyone for your input and insight along the way.
     
  22. dasikes macrumors 6502a

    dasikes

    Joined:
    Jul 10, 2008
    Location:
    Alabama
    #22
    Whatever you go with get a UPS, as someone said. Best investment you'll ever make for your computer. It's absolutely idiotic to NOT use one.
     
  23. hookem12387 macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Sep 30, 2007
    Location:
    Austin, Texas
    #23
    Are the mbp getting upgraded along with the mb's in september? This is, of course, assuming the MB's do in fact get upgraded. If so I'd probably wait till then.

    15" MBP
    30" dell LCD
    UPS
     
  24. tompon1923 macrumors 6502

    tompon1923

    Joined:
    Jun 16, 2008
    Location:
    15°35'30.45S 54°31'22.17E
    #24
    I would definitely go for the "base line mac pro and put 2 or 4gb more ram in it, get two apple 20" cinema displays (total size = 40" and total 3360x2100 resolution), wireless keyboard and mighty mouse. + a entry level macbook with maxed out ram for portablity
     
  25. Freewayjim thread starter macrumors regular

    Freewayjim

    Joined:
    Aug 2, 2008
    Location:
    Metro Atlanta
    #25
    Had one, half the items plugged in to it, including my 24" iMac fried during a lightning strike & fire, the 17" Dell XPS2 plugged in to the wall in the SAME ROOM survived just fine. Also my son's 20" iMac in the next room was plugged in to a UPS and got fried.

    I probably just need to get a bigger, more expensive UPS model.
     

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