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Old July 29th, 2005, 07:51 AM   #1
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iMac instead of powerbook?

This thread continues from my 'Laptops' post..

For an editing system, is the iMac a better machine than the Powerbook? It's a G5 rather than a G4, so I'm assuming it's better than the laptop. Why is it cheaper?
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Old July 29th, 2005, 08:55 AM   #2
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There has always been a premium on laptops vs desktops. Cramming all that stuff into a thin, light, battery powered package costs more. I'm not sure, but there may also be marketing involved here... people may be willing to pay more for a laptop.

I don't think there's any question that the iMac is faster than the top of the line powerbook. But you can't use it on an airplane ;-) Here are some benchmarks for the 17" 2ghz iMac and 15" 1.67ghz powerbook (which costs $800 more):

http://www.macworld.com/products/app...55_detail1.php
http://www.macworld.com/products/app...40_detail1.php

However if you're really looking for the most performance for the dollar then I don't think there's much question that you should get the Powermac dual 2ghz tower. It is significantly faster offers much more expandability and is really much better suited to video editing. With a basic screen the price is going to be comparable to the 15" 1.67ghz powerbook:

http://www.macworld.com/products/app...51_detail1.php

OTOH, if you are looking at the cheapest machine with performance similar to the powerbook you should check out the eMac which costs $1,000 and has a 1.42ghz G4:

http://www.macworld.com/products/app...57_detail1.php

The powerbooks are very nice, but have never been a bargain...
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Old July 29th, 2005, 06:39 PM   #3
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Right now I'm leaning towards the iMac. For one, the price looks pretty attractive to me (versus the powerbooks/dual g5). By buying this, how much of a sacrafice am I making when compared to the Dual G5? On a scale from 1 to 10 what would you rate the performance of the iMac and the Dual G5? Is it really a no-brainer to spend the extra dough and get the dual processor?
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Old July 29th, 2005, 07:00 PM   #4
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Well you'll find the answer to that in those benchmarks I posted:

iMac: http://www.macworld.com/products/app...55_detail1.php
Dual G5/2gjz: http://www.macworld.com/products/app...51_detail1.php

Look at the cinema 4d speed - twice as fast as the iMac. 1:24 vs 2.46 may not sound like a big deal, but that test gives you an idea of performance in 3d modeling /rendering applications. I do a lot of that and it isn't at all unusual to take 12 hours to render 30 seconds of 720x480 video at 30fps. I'm using a dual G5/2.5 also. Based on that benchmark the iMac might take 30 hours to do the same thing...

Also look at the Compressor benchmark which is again twice the speed of the iMac. That could also be a huge factor preparing web video or DVD's.

In the end you can't make every decision just on benchmarks. But I think you'll have a hard time finding anyone that says an iMac is a better choice than a dual G5 when it comes to video. Also consider that all the new high end software is getting optimized for dual processors.

Only caveat is that the landscape will shift a bit with the Intel transition. But that's still off in the distance, and for now there isn't much reason to choose the iMac unless you don't have room for the tower or can't spend that much. Aside from speed, expansion is another thing which really tips the scales.
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Old July 30th, 2005, 06:14 AM   #5
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Thanks for the input, Boyd. I think when it comes down to it, I'm going to get the Dual G5. It is more money, but if you look at the factor of me wanting to be a filmmaker for years to come, I need not skimp on equipment.

Thanks again.
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Old July 31st, 2005, 08:44 AM   #6
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I have a 2GHz iMac G5 20" model, and it's PLENTY adequate for basic DV editing (FCE, FCP) and DVD creation needs. It's fast enough that I can run the canvas window at 100% size with the preview playback setting at "HIGH" and the RT settings at "UNLIMITED", which is the maximum of either of those settings. Now granted, I'm not doing any massive rendering work like Boyd is talking about....but for basic NLE work an iMac is just fine and dandy. Heck, it's a lot more powerful than a PowerBook, and look how many people use those to edit with!

Of course, if you can AFFORD to buy a Dual G5, that's the way that to go! I'd love to have been able to afford one of those! But by the time you buy one, plus a comparably sized monitor, you'll end up spending twice as much as you would on an iMac. For me, I was MUCH more interested in actually sitting down and editing my footage than I was trying to save up money another 6 months so that I could afford a Dual G5.

Now having said all that...if you're thinking about HDV instead of DV, don't even THINK about the iMac. Go straight to the Dual G5; you'll need every ounce of power you can muster for HDV.

:-)
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Old July 31st, 2005, 09:26 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Duane Smith
by the time you buy one, plus a comparably sized monitor, you'll end up spending twice as much as you would on an iMac.
$1,800 - 20" 2ghz iMac with superdrive, 512MB

$2,000 - dual 2ghz PowerMac with superdrive, 512MB
800 - 20" Apple Cinema display
--------
$2,800 total

Not twice as expensive anymore, although they may have been a year or two ago. You could narrow the gap quite a bit more by getting a less expensive LCD screen - or how about a 19" CRT?
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Old July 31st, 2005, 04:15 PM   #8
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I agree that "twice as much" is probably an exaggeration, but it was still beyond my budget. Also, my memory is probably skewed because I was thinking of software in the mix as well (FCE vs FCP) which I was also debating with at the time.

:-)
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Old July 31st, 2005, 05:15 PM   #9
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I had a 1.33 ghz 17" Powerbook w/ 2gb ram (primary editor for about a year - I've sold it). I now have a 1.8 ghz 17" iMac w/ 2gb of ram.

The iMac is leaps and bounds faster than the Powerbook. Interestingly enough, it's also faster than my Vegas PC when working with realtime effects & standard DV (p4, 3.2ghz, 2gb ram). (Vegas stutters when playing back DV - can't keep up realtime playback at the best settings - iMac & FC has no issues)

If you need a laptop for specific portability reasons (using on car trip, airplane, etc), get a laptop. But if you just need something that can be portable and easy to take places, get the iMac.
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Old August 1st, 2005, 03:37 PM   #10
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Again, it comes down to what you want to do. The iMac is fine for DV editing, but if you think you will want the computer to be competitive for a couple of years and more intensive rendering, go for the Duals. If you think you need REAL high-end, go for a machine with PCI-X slots. In that case, looking at older models might get you the best price/performance ratio.
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