This is what I need to do - what mac is best for me

Discussion in 'Buying Tips and Advice' started by roco1x, Aug 11, 2010.

  1. roco1x macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Aug 11, 2010
    #1
    I am finally able to cross the PC divide to the MAC world. I can afford a new MacPro - but I like to be smart about my spends. Would an iMac suit me better?

    Usage Fun
    Photo's - I've got thousands.
    Music - thousands.
    Video's - some.
    Movies - few but I don't stream from here. In anticipation of the new apple TV I am thinking whether or not its better to pair with an iMac or Pro.
    Gaming - Wow, Aion

    General - I use .ME for cloud storage. I put important biz docs there

    Work
    I trade and run several PC only platforms. Not sure I want to bother with booting up as a PC. Has the dual-boot software stabilized? Can an iMac handle?

    Me- Not a programmer but generally figure things out - so, sophisticated for a non-desktop guy. New to the Mac world

    Anticipated usage
    Would love to play around with movie and sound editing. Now I say that, will I have the time?

    Digital home - We're not there yet but its approaching. Would an MacPro standup in three years.

    Thanks in advance
     
  2. Giuly macrumors 68040

    Giuly

    #2
    I'd suggest an iMac, because of the audio/video editing and gaming. Any one will be good for your, from 21.5" i3 to 27" i7.

    And Macs run Windows just like PCs.
     
  3. dXTC macrumors 68020

    dXTC

    Joined:
    Oct 30, 2006
    Location:
    Up, up in my studio, studio
    #3
    My humble opinion: The iMac strikes the best balance for your needs.

    • Since you're not doing heavy video or audio editing, and you don't seem to be a hardcore gamer, the Mac Pro would be overkill for your needs.
    • You do some gaming, so a refurb Mac mini may not perform to your satisfaction there. The newest mini may do well in Windows gaming, but the iMac gives that extra oomph for video editing, which you say you're thinking about exploring.
    • The Mac Pro is overkill as just a media server. You can take the difference in price and purchase a couple of external FireWire drives for the iMac, with change to spare. In fact, for the cost of a mid-range Mac Pro, you could probably buy a 21.5-inch iMac for your surfing, music and gaming AND a Mac mini as a media server/HTPC-- that way, you could be gaming or working in Windows on your iMac, without interrupting your family watching movies stored digitally on the mini.
    • Boot Camp (the dual-boot assistant) is rather stable now. I use it for running Cakewalk SONAR (a professional-grade multitrack audio recording app on par with ProTools) on my 2007-vintage iMac, and I have nary a hiccup of audio-- it's rock solid.
    Your self-description indicates that the basics of Mac OS X will be a rather short learning curve for you, as it is for most people.

    Take a trip to a nearby Apple Store (or Best Buy also, if you're in the US) and check out the two different iMac sizes. See which one seems more comfortable. Some simply must have 27" of awesomeness; others think of that as simply too much screen to manage.
     
  4. roco1x thread starter macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Aug 11, 2010
    #4
    Thank you both for your responses. The manner of the writing conveys that you get what I am asking and as such your advise is valuable to me. I do tend to overspend on tech cos it makes me feel good although it kinda makes me stupid. Maybe I am learning.

    When people ask me what system they should buy I always respond with 'Well what will you use it for?' Crossing over to the apple world though my product knowledge was insuffiecient to answer my own quesion.

    I will go for the iMac 27 - and somehow make room on my already 4 monitor desktop.
     
  5. dXTC macrumors 68020

    dXTC

    Joined:
    Oct 30, 2006
    Location:
    Up, up in my studio, studio
    #5
    You said that you trade and run some PC-only apps/platforms. Perhaps running those in virtual machines, using applications like VMWare Fusion or Parallels, may help prevent a lot of reboots and reduce the number of monitors on your desktop. You can use the iMac's DisplayPort to run a second monitor, if needed; the dual-monitor setup even works in Windows/BootCamp.
     
  6. roco1x thread starter macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Aug 11, 2010
    #6
    The application is TradeStation. Is there a preference between VMWware Fusion or Parallels for a hungry trading application?

    So to me sure then - I could run MacOS on one monitor and then my trading software virtually under Fusion or Parallels on my second monitor on the iMac?

    Thanks again - this is all very helpful
     
  7. NorCalLights macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Apr 24, 2006
    #7
    Parallels and VMWare are in a bit of an arms race, but both applications are very close in performance. I'd just get whichever was cheaper that week.

    Keep in mind that the iMac will only really ever run 2 monitors (the internal one, and one external)**. If you need a system to power your 4 monitor setup, you need to look at the Mac Pro line.



    **Unless you go with the Triple Head to Go system (a DVI splitter)... but that can be a little tricky especially at high resolutions.
     
  8. THX1139 macrumors 68000

    THX1139

    Joined:
    Mar 4, 2006
    #8
    Apple currently doesn't make the Mac that you need. I suggest you stick with a PC since you need it for trading and like to play games. Pretty much everything you do could be done better on a PC and for less money. I wanted to suggest the MacPro so that you could plug in all of those monitors and have a dedicated drive to run Windows - but they are too expensive for your situation. Too bad Apple doesn't make a mid-range desktop that has expandability without paying premium. Not everyone needs a server-grade computer and a lot of people need something more than an iMac. The PC world is the only place to get that unless you build your own Hackintosh just to run OS X.
     
  9. Giuly macrumors 68040

    Giuly

    #9
    The question is whether he needs all those monitors or is fine with i.e. 2x27".
    He'll be better off with a Mac when doing video/audio editing though.
    Why shouldn't a new 27" iMac w/ Radeon 5750 be able to run games? Or his trading software in parallels or VMWare Fusion (Or VirtualBox for free)?
    [​IMG]
    Only thing is that it can't fire up 4 monitors, but if he replaces them with one 27" (or 30" Cinema Display, 60" plasma TV, you name it), he'll be probably fine. 2x27" is enough to fill usual desktops.
    And he stated that he doesn't want something cheap, rather something useful.
     
  10. Dsync macrumors member

    Joined:
    Jul 26, 2010
    Location:
    USA
    #10
    You're an idiot! LOL! The dude wants to switch from PC because macs are so much better! So why are you suggesting that he stay with windows???

    The iMac 27" will do fine with one of those monitors connected. There really isn't a need to get a mac pro for what you are doing. But if you are totally set on using all 4 of those monitors, pick up one of the Quad mac pros. Don't even bother with an 8 or 12 core. All that power would just sit there and not be used!

    Hope this helps!!! :D
     
  11. r0k macrumors 68040

    r0k

    Joined:
    Mar 3, 2008
    Location:
    Detroit
    #11
    Normally, I would err on the side of recommending a Mac. But your need to use a Windows only app like Tradestation causes me to question whether switching entirely to Mac is your best option right now. If you want a Mac for personal use, why not add a "headless" Mac Mini? You could control it from your PC using "VNC" software (after initial setup using keyboard and monitor borrowed from your PC). It's a very low investment (compared to a Mac Pro) and allows you to stick your toe in the water and see how you like OS X.

    I took a look at the Tradestation software. It's windows stuff that might not run very well inside a bottle like VMWare or Parallels. Since the Tradestation software isn't free unless you trade 5,000 shares a month, it is pretty clear you would want to leave it running all the time. To me this seems better done on a dedicated windows box than inside a virtual machine on a Mac. BTW, there is a freeware solution to running windows on your Mac. It's called VirtualBox, but I digress.

    Here's something to think about. Let's say you decide to press on with a virtualbox, vmware or parallels based approach. If you want data files associated with Tradestation stored locally, they would be on the "windows" partition you create when you set things up. You probably can't "see" those files from the Mac side. This means seamless backup solution like Time Machine will miss backing up those files and since you are using them to make money I would think you would want them backed up. Meanwhile there is freeware on windows called "syncback" that can copy files to a network drive on a schedule. You could have your backups performed that way rather than rely on Time Machine but now you are mixing two backup solutions, syncback for your Tradestation data and Time Machine for everything else. So one factor in your decision is where you want your Tradestation files to "live". If tradestation doesn't store much of anything locally, it is less compelling to consider keeping a PC around for that reason. I'm jumping to the conclusion you would rather keep the rest of your stuff on a Mac or you wouldn't be asking us about buying a Mac Pro in the first place.
     
  12. talmy macrumors 601

    talmy

    Joined:
    Oct 26, 2009
    Location:
    Oregon
    #12
    You can "mount" the OS X file system on the Windows VM and save all the data files there. That way they do get backed up via Time Machine. And if you also clone the drive for off-site backup you just have a one step process to back up everything used by both environments.

    If the Windows application doesn't allow keeping files on network shares you can still mount the Windows drive under OS X to access the files from OS X.

    At least this is true of Parallels. I don't now about the others.
     
  13. iSee macrumors 68040

    iSee

    Joined:
    Oct 25, 2004
    #13
    I'd get a 27" iMac i5.

    Keep your current PC(s) for running TradeStation. But move it to an out-of-the-way location and remote into it from your iMac, as needed. If you need it to be very responsive, put the PCs and iMac on a wired network together.

    Meanwhile, you can enjoy the iMac for all the other stuff (well, except the gaming -- macs aren't great for gaming in general, mainly due to limited choices for graphics cards, esp. since you generally can't upgrade in the future. WOW is no problem, though).
     
  14. Consultant macrumors G5

    Consultant

    Joined:
    Jun 27, 2007
    #14
    Macs are fine for gaming. Maybe not to the ultra-nerds, but works for most people.
     
  15. THX1139 macrumors 68000

    THX1139

    Joined:
    Mar 4, 2006
    #15
    You are new around here, so I'll forgive your name calling. But just so you know, people have been banned for less.

    If you read my post, you would see why I suggested he stay with Windows for a reason. Some people actually make intelligent choices when it comes to purchases and aren't seduced by a brand. And for what it's worth, I'm typing this on a Mac Pro and I have been an Apple user since 1994. I love my Mac because it meets my needs.... not because I'm drunk on koolaid.

    He would ONLY be better off if he plans to use iMovie or decides to get a Mac Pro. Try to remember that Adobe video apps run on Windows too. And there are actually better professional video editing programs out there than Final Cut - which hasn't seen an update in over a year, and needs a total rewrite. Even now, Premiere CS5 is faster than FCS (yes, I ran tests). Of course, those also run on Mac too. The point being that you don't choose Mac simply because of video.

    The point of my posts is that no one should make compromises just to stay with a specific platform. Nowadays, there is a lot of options and the differences depend on your needs, not on the manufacturer. I like Apple as much as anyone, but that doesn't make me a stupid loyalist when it's clear that Apple is dropping the ball (in the professional sector).
     
  16. milbournosphere macrumors 6502a

    milbournosphere

    Joined:
    Mar 3, 2009
    Location:
    San Diego, CA
    #16
    I'm trying to decide between the same machines myself. I am leaning towards the Pro, and here's why. I bought the 2008 iMac right after they were updated. I've got the 24" with the 8800gs and the 3.06 core2duo. I love the machine to death, but the video card just doesn't pull it's weight any more on some of the more demanding games, and the card is near impossible to replace in the all-in-one. So, I plan to get the Pro simply to allow myself some chance at being future-proof. I don't want to get myself stuck in the situation again where I have to buy a whole new machine just to get an updated component. Expandability is key for me.
     
  17. r0k macrumors 68040

    r0k

    Joined:
    Mar 3, 2008
    Location:
    Detroit
    #17
    To me, futureproofing involves being able to toss the entire machine in a couple of years so I wouldn't want an integrated monitor with my computer. That's the biggest deterrent to my getting an iMac. To me the Mac Pro seems like a throwback to the days when a computer required its own electric substation. I mean what a monster! If I could find a Mac Mini that met my needs, I'd go that way and replace the whole thing when I needed more oomph. In our house, it seems like such a shame to devote such a huge amount of physical space to a mere computer. Shouldn't computers be the size of a penny by now (according to Moore's law?). But I suppose that if I really cared about the latest and greatest 3D graphics, even I would be forced to consider a Mac Pro or perhaps even ... wait for it ... a Hackintosh. :eek:

    I guess there is another side to this "iMac/integrated vs MacPro/separated" decision. That's resale value. There is a local retailer selling a bunch of lease turned in G5 iMacs for $500 and early Intel iMacs for $800. I'd be pretty happy if I could sell off an old computer for that kind of money to put toward a new one.
     
  18. milbournosphere macrumors 6502a

    milbournosphere

    Joined:
    Mar 3, 2009
    Location:
    San Diego, CA
    #18
    I hear ya on the footprint, but there is something to be said about a roomy tower. I dont' mind having a tower sitting next to my desk, and the mac pro isn't too shabby in terms of looks. The problem with the iMac and the Mac Mini is that they're both based on mobile components. Just look at the new iMacs. The Radeon 5750 is actually a 5850 mobility. I wouldn't mind it so much if Apple didn't try to pass it off as something it's not. As for the hackintosh route, I've definitely been looking at it. I'm just not sold on the reliability factor. I've built my own machines before, so that's no problem. I just enjoy the 'just works' factor of the Mac OS, and I don't want to have to worry about a software update 'breaking' a given component in a hackintosh. That's what Linux is for;)
     
  19. tonywang.xmpt macrumors member

    Joined:
    Jul 26, 2010
    Location:
    US
    #19
    All you needed to know.
     
  20. Dsync macrumors member

    Joined:
    Jul 26, 2010
    Location:
    USA
    #20
    My apologies THX1139, I assumed that you were just another anti-apple person. (There are too many in the world!) You didn't have any macs listed in your sig, so I had no idea. I was a windows user for awhile and never knew how much better macs were at most things until I switched, so I recommend mac to most people because they changed the way I think about computers and I feel that most people would agree. Being a mac user for so long, you should know what I'm talking about! I guess I simply feel strongly against windows thanks to all the grief it has caused me.

    So no hard feelings? :D
     
  21. roco1x thread starter macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Aug 11, 2010
    #21
    Interesting, lively, but most importantly educational discussions.

    In the end, I am going to keep my PC for my important demanding financial apps - Tradestation, Bloomberg. Will go to two monitors. Will cloud backups.

    Everything else, business, personal - goes to a new iMac with one external monitor. 27" of course, simply because I can :) .

    May keep WOW on PC the exception just cos I'm passive now waiting for expansion and rather not rebuild addons.

    I don't like the idea or running two machines but it would only be during work hours. I will ride my bike more to offset my carbon footprint.

    Thanks
     
  22. Giuly macrumors 68040

    Giuly

    #22
    VirtualBox was what I posted before, it runs a whole Windows installation on top of Mac OS X, I doubt that there would be any problem with this software. Even if you had to use some sort of USB-dongle for authentication, you could forward that to the Windows installation. I agree that it wouldn't run any good with DarWine, though. But VirtualBox is a whole different approach:
    [​IMG]

    Look at the screenshot I posted earlier, you can even run Windows without the Desktop, so you have windows of both OS next to each other.

    I just found the CinemaView Duo, so you can actually attach 2x27" screens, if you include the 27" screen from the iMac, this assembly is larger then 4x19".
     

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