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Old January 7th, 2005, 08:24 AM   #1
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Newbie Mac user needs advice for used FCP G4 setup...

Hey guys. Well I've been a PC only guy for a while, but after editing the past year or so as a career (edited several short films and a feature length on either a director's powerbookg4 or FCP workstation), I've lately had to turn down several jobs because a client wants me to use my own FCP setup. So, I have been trying to figure out what a decent used G4 setup would run me but I don't understand what specs to look for in a MAC and the best places for used setups (ebay?). I already have a monitor so I just need the computer itself. I plan to exclusively use this for editing (FCP and probobaly AVID since I also use it on PC) and will not be using it for any other tasks. So, what are the critical specs to look for and what should I be looking to spend?
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Old January 7th, 2005, 08:49 AM   #2
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You don't say what your budget is but here's my 2 cents...

I would get at least a dual processor 1Ghz G4. I see one on eBay right now (search for Macintosh G4 and you will see it) with 1.5 Gb of RAM and a 430 GB hard drive with a bid of $330.00. I would suggest adding a large ATA hard drive for your scratch disk. If you can afford it scrap both drives and add 2 big ones.

Find a used G5 if you can. If you plan to make $, time is money. Faster computer also gets you more RT effects.

I have a newer dual G5 and it's sweet with FCP but I also have an older dual 1 Ghz G4 and it's surely usable with FCP. If you plan to use Apple Motion at all, then I would say get a G5.

Hope this helps some.
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Old January 7th, 2005, 08:58 AM   #3
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Joe - ah budget. Well, the cheaper the better to some point. I'm hoping for around the $500 mark. I was checking out new PC prices, and $599 can buy you some serious machine so I wondered if going used Mac was a good idea for FCP work (I forgot the price differences in the platforms though). I won't be using Apple Motion (is that like a mac After Effects?) but it's simply for editing and maybe some color correction.

I also saw the macg4 you're talking about on Ebay but it still has 4 days left and the guy is talking about getting $1300 for it (which the others with comparable specs have been pulling in). Maybe the move to Mac is just not the right time. Maybe I should wait until I'm a bit more "dedicated" and can spend real money on a good system - pc Avid has been treating me well too......
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Old January 7th, 2005, 09:20 AM   #4
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Bryan:

You are always going to get more horsepower for your dollar using PC's. If you are happy with your Avid set up. I would stick with that. I've been using Mac's since the 80's, so I'm pretty well entrenched but if I wasn't, I probably would go with the more cost effective solution.

Motion = After Effects lite : )

Only you can know if you need to buy/use FCP. If you can make money using it, then that's probably the right time to get a Mac.
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Old January 7th, 2005, 11:30 AM   #5
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I don't think you will find much for $500 (assuming that also includes FCP).

I still use FCP3 myself, and it will run fine on a 750mhz G4 single processor with 768MB of RAM.
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Old January 7th, 2005, 12:01 PM   #6
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Boyd - no, I wasn't uncluding the cost of FCP in the $500, that is just for the computer itself and hopefully OSX installed.
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Old January 7th, 2005, 04:03 PM   #7
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You would be hard pressed to find a worthy editing Mac for $599. Most of them are still being used. I still use my Dual 500 G4 without problems but I wouldn't even consider selling it for that price (and it's not even my primary system). That's why people don't mind spending money on Macs, they hold their value very well.
A friend of mine bought 3- 400Mhz G4's from various ebay sellers and paid about $350-$450 each just a couple of weeks ago. And that didn't include any monitors.
$599 would make a decent down payment on a system though if you wanted to finance one. I would personally bite the bullet and get a new Dual G5 if you can. I know it's hard but you will be happier in the long run.

IF you have a client that demands you edit on a FCP system at your own "office" or home, you can always charge them a rental fee for the system and rent one for yourself.

Someone on this board is selling a Dual G5, it might be your lucky day!
http://www.dvinfo.net/conf/showthrea...threadid=37442
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Old February 17th, 2005, 11:07 PM   #8
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I started down the road you describe and my oldest son, who uses Apples for music editing and produces his own radio show on the web, said "Buy the biggest and best (Mac) you can afford, new, and if you can't afford it finance it or lease it."

I ended up buying (with cold hard cash!) a dual proc G5 2 gig (both in speed and memory) model with 250 gig HD's and all I said to my son is "you were so right, and thanks for the advice."

This computer does the job -- editing -- very well. It's fast, reliable, and thanks to both it and FCP makes editing very intuitive.

But making the switch was expensive. If dollars are tight, hang on and beef up the PC. Also check with your accountant, leasing may be a fully deductable business expense.
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Old February 18th, 2005, 10:56 AM   #9
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<<<-- Originally posted by Bryan Roberts : Joe - ah budget. Well, the cheaper the better to some point. I'm hoping for around the $500 mark. -->>>

That's unfortunately not very realistic for the Mac route. Even for a used G4 (and if money is a real object, forget the G5 - they're great and all, but they're expensive and they're going to be for a while, and they can't do anything the G4 can't do, they just do it faster) you're going to be spending probably $1000.
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Old February 18th, 2005, 11:13 AM   #10
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Josh - thanks for your reply but check my giant post regarding the mac mini review. It seems like S. Jobs was hanging around these boards when I made this post because the mini mac is just what I was looking for - though I didn't get out for $500, it wasn't too far off after the gig of ram :)
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Old February 18th, 2005, 12:31 PM   #11
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<<<-- Originally posted by Bryan Roberts : Josh - thanks for your reply but check my giant post regarding the mac mini review. It seems like S. Jobs was hanging around these boards when I made this post because the mini mac is just what I was looking for - though I didn't get out for $500, it wasn't too far off after the gig of ram :) -->>>


From all my information about the MacMini - you get exactly what you pay for. You're better off getting an iMac than one of those if what you want is to edit and do graphics work on a Mac.
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