What is your dream setup?

Discussion in 'Buying Tips and Advice' started by Sensamic, Nov 14, 2016.

  1. Sensamic macrumors 68030

    Mar 26, 2010
    Just want to get ideas for my new setup.

    What would you opt for? I'm open to every idea: Mac desktop, Windows desktop, Mac laptop + monitor, Windows laptop + monitor, Surface Pro 4 as tablet/laptop+ desktop+ monitor, desktop and tablet, Mac and Windows desktops + monitor, etc.

    Something that could last 8 years or that is awesome but also can be upgraded cheaply in the next years. I'm not a heavy user, but I do like versatility and power. Looking to make the most of a setup.

  2. phrehdd macrumors 68040


    Oct 25, 2008
    Well you just shut out the Mac Mini and iMac with the notion of being upgrade capable. As for the nMac Pro, which is not so new on the insides, its getting long in tooth and the proprietary design of the daughter boards (video and drive) are not clearly a good path to an upgrade (well maybe the drive volume is). So that might leave you with the Old Mac Pro as a possible option if you must stay in the Mac world.

    As for 8 years, doubt any camp is a good camp on that one. Early users of Mac Pro (original) got screwed by Apple when they wouldn't support these 1.2x PCI standard Pros after the 2.x PCI standard Mac Pros came out. They became orphans for the most part and users had to depend on rigging them and 3rd parties.

    I would cautiously say you ought to figure out what you want to do with a computer and get the best you can afford that has parts that can be replaced and this puts you in the Windows and Linux world.

    With all things equal - for the Mac it would be the hex or 8 core nMP as sweet spots with D700 vid and 1tb drive +64 gigs RAM. The Windows/Linux alternative would be something akin to (as there are a few out there) - HP Z series work stations which have some that are quite impressive and honestly they look like everything an Apple Mac Pro should have been internally (of the old style tower). Again I would want 6-8 core, Nvidia Quad vid, 1 tb SSD plus some mechanical drives (as they call can fit in internally) plus a (not yet available) 4k r/w blue ray drive.
  3. Sensamic thread starter macrumors 68030

    Mar 26, 2010
    When I say upgrade easily I mean I can buy something new as cheaply as possible. Like having a monitor + Mac Mini would allow me to change to a new Mini in 4 years for less than 700€. I'll still have the monitor so I wouldn't need to buy a new one, only something to replace the Mini: a newer Mini or a cheap Windows desktop tower.

    That way upgrading would be as cheap as possible. More cheap than having an iMac and buying a new one.
  4. phrehdd macrumors 68040


    Oct 25, 2008
    Sensamic, if you get a PC, you often can upgrade the CPU, the video, the storage etc. If video is not that important to you then sure, go for on board or laptop discrete like some Mac Minis had/have. I am a fan of the Mini until they castrated it. My next desktop will be a PC that I will most likely build or it will be akin to the HP Z series.
  5. aloshka macrumors 65816

    Aug 30, 2009
    I have a T5810. I put a GTX 1080 in it. Right now it's v3 xeon, but can be upgraded to v4. They are actually kind of cheap on eBay. Just get barebones and put in your own memory, etc. It's very upgradable.

    But if money is no objection, I don't know. I am thinking of selling that machine and getting a new 15" rMBP (maxed out 2TB, etc). It's like 4k top-end and would buy a 5k with it. $5,000 solution... hard to swallow. But that's just what you have to pay for the eco system.

    I wouldn't recommend the nMP. Very outdated and will feel slow even compared to the new rMBP (drive speed and if you don't do video, then GFX will feel slower too). For the insane amount of money they are charging for that thing, not worth it.

    The old Mac Pro, IMO is just way too old to be even a viable option. Might as well go PC then.

    Do you care about the OS at all? Laptop, desktop? I mean, asking for a dream set up is tough w/o knowing at least your needs. If you are just wondering what other people want... I think mine would be one of the two:

    T5810 Xeon 6-core 64gb RAM Intel 750 1.2 TB Drive GTX 1080 with rMBP 13" (2016) w/touchbar as a laptop and I would use Remote Desktop to remote into and work on the T5810


    rMBP 15" (2016), 2TB, 2.9 i7, 16gb with iPad Pro 9.7 and LG 5k 27" monitor (not yet released)

    Both are about the same price, both would be ideal, and I'm stuck on deciding which one I want. But both are dream setups.
  6. catonfire macrumors newbie

    Oct 24, 2013


    I switched to Macs about 11 years ago for video editing, art, photography, graphic design, and a little animation: G5, Mac Pro, MacBooks over the years. Reluctantly I have finally given up on Apple. Since I mostly work in Adobe, having moved on from Final Cut Studio, it shouldn't be too bad. I might continue with MacBook Pros but not until they have a 32GB RAM option. I need a hard core desktop for work.

    I have been disappointed with Apple's desktops, displays, software, latest laptops, and OS updates in the past few years. Adobe is geared for NVIDIA and Macs are focused on AMD. FCPX can perform amazingly on the latest hardware but I rely on so much of the Adobe suite that Premiere is a better fit for me. Adobe has its issues but I don't question their commitment to meeting the needs of content creators long term.

    Apple keeps stripping out the little useful things from the OS for no apparent reason to me. I depended on color tabs for quickly organizing files and the way spaces used to allow desktop grids really helped me as I frequently have 6 or 7 apps open at once. I have been able to salvage some of these things with Pathfinder but I am still peeved and always worried about what they will arbitrarily remove next. iTunes went from being useful to useless. Calendar hasn't improved much for me, etc. That said, I'd still probably prefer it to Windows 10 but most of the time I will be in an Adobe interface so I can probably live with it.

    4K video production has become an everyday reality for me so that drives my need for greater and more cost-effective horsepower.

    Linux: I'm not a programmer. So no.

    Hackintosh: It's tempting to try to marry the best of both worlds. I had some bad experiences with these things when Apple switched to intel years ago. I hear they're much more stable now. It may be a valid option for some but in a professional workflow, one can't afford to tell a client the project is offline and off schedule because your Hackintosh broke due to an OS update. If I built a Hackintosh it would have to be a second computer.

    The Surface Studio: Looks great and I am tempted to go that route. It is certainly more intriguing than anything Apple has put out in a while for creative computing. However, the upgradability seems akin to an iMac and if I'm going to go PC, I'M not sure I want to lose out on its biggest virtue: expandibility.

    I already use Wacom tablets and if I want the touch / pen interface, I can still go with a Cintiq although this is much more costly. If all I did was graphic arts I might well go with the Surface Studio but since I spend a bit more time doing video, I think I will go for a custom PC. But I may try to find a Surface Studio and play with it in person before deciding.

    CUSTOM PC BUILD: 4K video editing, After Effects, Lightroom, Photoshop, Sketch Up, Maya?
    A PC friend helped me put together this price/component list. This machine should last at least 4 years.

    CPU: i7 6900 / 3.2 GHz / 8 core (Might wait for Broadwell E): $1100
    Motherboard: Asus X99 Deluxe 2 / USB C: $400
    GPU: EVGA GTX 1080 / superclocked: $640. Will eventually add another.
    or Titan X
    RAM: G.Skill Ripjaws DDR4: 32GB, 64 GB, eventually 128 GB: $190, $400, $700
    Thunderbolt 3 PCI card: $65
    Sound Card: ?

    Case: Phanteks Enthoo Pro ATX Full tower: $110
    Liquid CPU Cooler: NZXT Kraken X61: $120
    PSU: 80+ Platinum: EVGA Supernova 1000W / Full modular ATX

    PCI SSD: Boot Drive: 512 GB M2 slot: Samsung 960 Pro: $330
    PCI SSD: U2 slot: Media cache drive: 512 GB Samsung 960 Pro: $330
    PCI SSD: U2 slot: 1TB: Art/Photo online projects drive: $630

    Keyboard: $40
    OS: Windows 10 Home/Pro: $130/$199
    Monitor: Doesn't matter since I won't have any money left over anyway.

    Base Cost
    t: $3935
    Upgrade Cost: $4894
    Maxed Out: $6753 (Titan X GPU, 128GB RAM)

    PC Workstations aren't any less costly out of pocket than Mac Workstations when it comes to video editing but they can stay relevant longer. With a build as you go strategy, you don't have to kill yourself cash-flow wise and can take advantage of falling component prices over time. Still might have to rob a liquor store though.

    One way to escape the hideousness of PCs is a bit of custom craftmanship.

    js2010.jpg wooden-case-20100625-600.jpg
    Level Eleven.jpg diy-wood-computer-louis-vanwalleghem-picture14.jpg

    Custom PCs are a sounder economic value if not aesthetic value, unless you are ready to step up and become the poorman's Jony Ive. Or you can, as Frank Sinatra would say, (by way of Phil Hartman) 'Just put a bag over your PC and do your business.'
  7. Tomorrow macrumors 604


    Mar 2, 2008
    Always a day away
    A computer setup that could last 8 years?? Good googley moogley!

    I'm all for getting the most use you can get out of something, but this would be a truly herculean feat, methinks.
  8. Denmac1 macrumors 6502a


    Apr 22, 2007
    Lost in Space
    Actually, until Apple went to Intel, my G5 tower was just fine. I bought it in 2006 and until I had a need for some updated photo editing software which I then bought my 2014 Mac Mini. I still use the G5 today as I can still use many of the apps I have on there and didn't have to repurchase. I have certainly got my money's worth.

    I don't think we can say that anymore with the soldered, sealed units that Apple has today. I'm beginning to think that if it's just an appliance, maybe I can then buy them at Bed, Bath & Beyond in the Computer Appliance Department.

    However, at this time, my dream setup would just an update Mini with upgradable RAM to 32, along with the latest quad processor. Not gonna happen unfortunately.
  9. Sensamic thread starter macrumors 68030

    Mar 26, 2010
    I've got an iMac late 2009, which is now 7 years old! And it still works great. Booting from an external SSD to make it faster. Still plenty fast for most tasks, but I'm looking for my next setup. If I decide wisely I could make it last even longer!

    I switched from Windows to Mac with this iMac, and I think Macs work so good they can last me a long time.

    I think I'll stay with Apple, although they are getting very expensive. So I'm thinking what Apple setup will be the best for the next 8 years.

    The cool thing about PCs is that I could use them with Oculus VR or HTC Vibe. That would be cool.

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