To build or not to Build: Mac love vs. Cost

Discussion in 'Buying Tips and Advice' started by MrJingles, Sep 23, 2008.

  1. MrJingles macrumors member

    Joined:
    Aug 22, 2007
    #1
    First off I bought a 2.4 iMac with 4GB October 2007 and I've loved it.

    I'm currently running CS3 Design Premium and make full use of it, Lightroom 2 with D300 sized images and the normal Office 2008 apps. It runs 'fine' as long as I don't have too much open at once but if I'm editing batch files in Lightroom 2 and editing in Photoshop while surfing the web for tips and listening to iTunes well.. it's not so fast anymore.

    BUT with CS4 coming out with GPU acceleration (I don't care about the 64bit I don't do 5GB file manipulation) and I am now moving to a full time freelance designer so doing 10hrs/week on an iMac was fine but doing 50+ hours of trade show graphics/web/magazine layout doesn't seem so fun. I don't really love Vista but it's 'alright' but I definitely prefer OS X any day of the week but here is my major dilemma: I can build a very fast cheaper PC.

    I've built PC's for years but I moved back to mac for my home computer, I love them! But software demands more so here is what I priced out:

    1. MacPro - I priced the 2x 2.8/500GB HD/8800 upgrade with 8GB 800Mhz 3rd party ram (I have a very nice 24in LCD hooked up to my iMac right now so that doesn't go into the equation)
    Price: $3600

    2. Build-A-PC 2.8Ghz C2D Quad / 8GB PC1066 (MB supports 16GB) / 1x 250GB 1x 1TB HD / Radeon 4500 512MB / Case , fans, MB, Sound Card etc for Price: $1700!

    I understand "2x Quad Xeon vs 1Quad Desktop' but honestly I'm not editing HD content I just need access to more ram, better video cards and more than a single Hard Drive. (I already have external FW800 but that doesn't substitute for a 2nd internal)

    Am I nuts for even considering this for price alone or should I continue to drink the Steve-Aid and spend 2x on the MacPro? Decisions Decisions...
     
  2. Eidorian macrumors Penryn

    Eidorian

    Joined:
    Mar 23, 2005
    Location:
    Indianapolis
    #2
    I'd be more concerned about your workflow and staying productive. If you can do that in Windows then go for it! You can see that I have my MacBook and my quad core powerhouse as well.
     
  3. Chrysaor macrumors 6502

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    May 16, 2006
  4. emt1 macrumors 65816

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    Jan 30, 2008
    Location:
    Wisconsin
  5. MrJingles thread starter macrumors member

    Joined:
    Aug 22, 2007
    #5
    Well granted there is always THAT :) I have to be honest but I've never researched it much and I thought you were locked into specific boards/ram/video cards etc and you can't install updates without breaking your install.

    Maybe things have progressed beyond that but awhile ago it seemed like 500% too much work!
     
  6. emt1 macrumors 65816

    Joined:
    Jan 30, 2008
    Location:
    Wisconsin
    #6
    You could just copy someone else's exact setup who says that it works. It is a lot of work though, I will give you that. Worth it maybe.
     
  7. sukanas macrumors 6502a

    sukanas

    Joined:
    Nov 15, 2007
    #7
    when you go to the hackintosh world, prepare for these minor upsets:

    worry over software updates
    make sure you make a copy of your harddrive incase a nvidia driver install crashes your OS
    pRAM wont work
    sleep/shutdown/restart may not work properly
    minor useless stuff like 'energy saver' w/ feature such as wake up @ scheduled time or 'restart after a power failure' wont work
    airport updates might cause a slight headache
    bluetooth (who miiight use it anyways?) might also cause headaches
    time machine system restore wont work?

    heres a HUGE one!!!
    sorry for the caps but they are for exaggeration::
    THE GRAY LOADUP SCREEN W/ THE APPLE LOGO WONT MATCH ITS PROPER RESOLUTION and YOU STILL HAVE THE BLACK MOTHERBOARD LOADUP SCREEN


    if those dont bother you,
    id say go to hackintosh!!
     
  8. dukebound85 macrumors P6

    dukebound85

    Joined:
    Jul 17, 2005
    Location:
    5045 feet above sea level
    #8
    if you do the hackintosh route, which i would do, i would do the boot-132 method. with this way, you install leopard with a retail dvd and can use software update no problem

    only con is that you need to have a disk to load the kexts while booting up but once done booting, you can eject it and use it as normal
     
  9. Abstract macrumors Penryn

    Abstract

    Joined:
    Dec 27, 2002
    Location:
    Location Location Location
    #9
    I'll have to go with "Build a hackintosh" if you're capable.


    If I ever go that route, I'll know who to ask . *points up*
     
  10. dukebound85 macrumors P6

    dukebound85

    Joined:
    Jul 17, 2005
    Location:
    5045 feet above sea level
    #10
    on the osx86 wiki, there are hardware compatibility lists. key thing is selcting the mobo abnd the lists will tell you what issues the board has and what you can do to resolve it.

    for instance, mine had an audio problem. easy fix though

    i will say it can be frustrating when initially installing leopard. if you do somethings wrong, you can very easily be stuck at the apply logo screen for example ot not even be able to get there

    only way to fix it is to reinstall the whole thing over. even me, who has done the hack route for a while now devoted a whole day to reinstalling leopard due to an issue (dvd drive was not recognized for some stupid reason on my part) just within the week. i have since made myself step by step guides with what files need to be installed at what point and so on lol. its golden now

    the reason i installed it again last week was because i went from the kalyway method to boot-132. the error was just part of my learning curve for the new method


    it is worth it though, ill say that much
     
  11. I want a MBP macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Sep 24, 2008
    #11
    i dont know too much about it, but you might be able to build that pc and get the EFIX dongle. supposedly you can update and everything and you'd also be installing the retail version of OSX
     
  12. Umbongo macrumors 601

    Umbongo

    Joined:
    Sep 14, 2006
    Location:
    England
    #12
    Don't discount the used/refurb Mac Pro option.

    1st generation 2.66GHz Quad cores can be had for $1,500-$1,800 and 8GB and an ATI 3870HD (better than the 8800GT) are going to run you $500. You might also want to wait for the 4800 series cards that are supposed to come to the Mac Pro soon. You can get good deals if you search every day multiple times a day, look at completed eBay listings to see what I mean.

    Quad 2.8GHz refurbs can be had from Apple for $2,000 and 8 cores for $2,400.
     
  13. madfresh macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Dec 21, 2006
    Location:
    San Francisco, CA
    #13
    I say build your own PC. I doubt Vista is that bad. I've heard people say it's really not as bad as others say.
     
  14. sangosimo Guest

    sangosimo

    Joined:
    Sep 11, 2008
    #14
    build your own pc, and if you make the upgrade to cs4 it will be faster on your 64 vista box then the equivalent mac pro.
     
  15. Les Kern macrumors 68040

    Les Kern

    Joined:
    Apr 26, 2002
    Location:
    Alabama
    #15
    That's INSANE. The man wants to be PRODUCTIVE and some here want him to build a PC and spend huge amounts of time loading OS X and getting it to run right.
    Cut it out!
    The answer is clear: He needs the PC. He needs it to save money, he needs it to be productive. Leave the Job's Brand Kool-Aid at home please. :)
    But PLEASE, oh PLEASE don't load Vista on that 2.8. I have a brand new decked 3.0 with 4GB ram with Vista Premium and it's laughable. XP SCREAMS on a similar machine.
     
  16. Les Kern macrumors 68040

    Les Kern

    Joined:
    Apr 26, 2002
    Location:
    Alabama
    #16
    VERY good idea. I got my daughter a 2.4 iMac from the Apple refub site for 994.00. WAS originally 1,400.00! Same warranty, same everything. There are LOTS of deals out there.
     
  17. MrJingles thread starter macrumors member

    Joined:
    Aug 22, 2007
    #17
    See now I'm going backwards to my dual-booting/overclocking/tweak-o-rama days that got me into so much trouble, I mean it's like asking a sober person to just take a sip. Next thing you know I'm not working anymore and spending all day setting up Hackintoshes, the horror!:D

    It does sound like a 'project' I'd be willing to take on but I'd have to get it serious thought over just saying 'F' it and building a Vista 64 box. I will have to read that Wiki some more...
     
  18. MrJingles thread starter macrumors member

    Joined:
    Aug 22, 2007
    #18
    Well I know who's got my back! Wow!

    The only issue is that I would HAVE to use Vista to use more than 3GB of ram, which is the main issue (plus the Hard Drives etc). =(
     
  19. hogfaninga macrumors 65816

    hogfaninga

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    Aug 16, 2008
    Location:
    Chestnut Tree Cafe
    #19
    I've had no problems using Vista. Granted I don't use it much, but for what I do it has done the job and I personally like it better than XP.
     
  20. SydneyDev macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Sep 15, 2008
    #20
    The Mac Pro may have a better resale value than a home built PC. So if you consider the sale price and purchase price together maybe the gap might not be so large.

    Also you may not need to buy the 8800GT upgrade - supposedly the default ATI card is faster for certain desktop apps.

    And well, if it's 50hrs+ a week, wouldn't you prefer Mac :)
     
  21. hogfaninga macrumors 65816

    hogfaninga

    Joined:
    Aug 16, 2008
    Location:
    Chestnut Tree Cafe
    #21
    A lot of people could careless about resale value. I keep my laptops/desktops until they are dead most of the time.

    I think if someone has the ability and know how to build one that would be fun.
     
  22. mwpeters8182 macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Apr 16, 2003
    Location:
    Boston, MA
    #22
    I run Vista on my desktop at home, and use OS X at work (Mac Pro). I will say, the Mac Pro is the fastest computer I've ever used, but probably not worth the 4K it cost. It's nice to be able to prototype and run something on 4 processors without having to log in to the cluster. Since I'm running a lot of stuff made for Unix/Linux, OS X is a godsend. But for some of my visualization work, I use my Windows PC, as the OS X versions of the software is lacking.

    Since it's a work machine, if you think you can be just as productive on the Windows box, I'd do that. You could always get a MacBook for anything you need the Mac for, and still come out on top.
     
  23. MrJingles thread starter macrumors member

    Joined:
    Aug 22, 2007
    #23
    That is a good point I will keep my eyes peeled. It's just I bought an iMac because I couldn't bring myself to spend the dough on a Pro but I do know people who got some pretty great deals so I will keep that option alive.
     
  24. chaosbunny macrumors 68000

    chaosbunny

    Joined:
    Mar 11, 2005
    Location:
    down to earth, far away from any clouds
    #24
    Like others have said, if your production speed is the same in Windows, why not?

    For me a more solid OS and workflow (iMac) means more than a couple of seconds saved while loading something (Quad-Core PC).
     
  25. tbrinkma macrumors 68000

    Joined:
    Apr 24, 2006
    #25
    One thing to keep in mind with the pricing of your build-it-yourself box is the cost of Windows and the associated Windows versions of all your software. You can move all your old Mac software from the old system to the new one, but you can't do that with a Windows transition (with few exceptions).
     

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