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Old April 2nd, 2006, 03:13 PM   #1
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Universal FCP on iMac G5, iMac Intel or IBook Pro?

It may be too early to assess - with Uni FCP just shipping, but I have been trying to decide for two months what tack I should take in upgrading.

Here's my need: I'm primarily a graphic designer but purchased a Canon GL2 this summer, created a college golf recruiting DVD for my nephew*, loved doing it, and now, I'm seeing a definite need for video support for businesses in my area (business video, Flash video, and perhaps, even some post-production work in titling and motion graphics). That last little item, the motion graphics system demands are beyond either my current G4 desktop system (dual 1.6 Ghz upgrade but, unfortunately, only a 2x bus so I'm 'hosed' on the graphics card selection) or my 1Ghz Powerbook G4. I don't think I'd need to produce anything in HD.

So, although I think it would be smarter to wait until the G5 Intel desktop systems are out later this year, I'm thinking about a stop-gap solution until then. I'm considering the three options in the subject line but I'm really unsure -- there are so many variables. I'm listing my comments below regarding which seems best of the three choices -- but, please, provide input.

1st choice: iMac G5 - PowerPC 2.1 Ghz - 20" TFT
Up to 2.5GB of RAM possible, other two only have 2GB
Bigger display (vs. iBook Pro) or the same 20" display (iMac Intel, 20")
Display card? - probably not as powerful, but OK?
Faster? 700Mhz comparable to 667Mhz on other two? How much significant difference with Intel and no need to do HD?
Bigger hard drive, 7200-rpm @ 250GB (vs. iBook Pro, std. 80GB, 5400-rpm) or the same as iMac Intel (20")
2 IEEE-1394 (Firewire) ports - 1 more than iBook Pro; same as iMac Intel
Other?
Less expensive than either

In advance, thank you for your assistance!
Lynda
* we think the signing ceremony is this Wednesday. Our DVD just highlighted his talent, he 's done all the work!
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Old April 2nd, 2006, 03:33 PM   #2
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You are right to want to wait until the desktop "Mac Tower Pros" (or whatever they will be called) come out later in the year. I have a MacBook Pro right now and I don't see how I could ever edit on it. You need a lot of buttons that aren't right there. I suppose you could get a full keyboard for it, as well as a mouse, but that would almost defeat the purpose of having a laptop. I personally think it would be ok to get a PowerMac G5. My friends that have the iMac Intel are not happy with the performance. I'm not noticing any long delays with my MacBook but I did get the 2.16 with 2 gigs of ram.

Adobe won't have a universal for another year so with the PowerMac, you can still run both the FC Studio and CS just fine. You can save a lot of money by getting one of those red tag deals on the Apple site too.

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

To be honest... you don't need anything new to get into video. I am a graphic designer and independent filmmaker so I know where you are coming from. I would say wait and keep using your G4 tower and powerbook. Think about upgrading after you have made over $3,000 with video work.

Hope that helps! :-)
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Old April 2nd, 2006, 05:53 PM   #3
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I'm in the same boat as you. I have outdated equipment and was hoping to purchase a new system this year, then Apple announces the switch to Intel. That left me with the choice of waiting another year or buying equipment that was on it's way out. I was thinking of taking the stop-gap approach to buy some time until the intel migration is further along. Upon further consideration, I realize that the Powermacs are really good machines that run current software and are still a good buy in that regard. I could buy a high-end PowerMac (Quad), load it with current software and get at least 4 years out of it. It would only get into obsolescence when the software developers abandon PPC, and (according to Apple) that's not going to happen for awhile, least with OSX. Any machine I buy now would be old by then and would need to be replaced anyhow. In 3 or 4 years, the migration to intel will be settled and that would be a good time to switch, as all software will be migrated and the machines will be on second or third generation.

As for buying a stop-gap machine, I think that it's ultimately an expensive solution. You are "buying time". You wind up purchasing something you're not ultimately happy with because it barely meets your immediate needs. Then in a year or so when the new desktops come out, you lose that investment when you replace what you just bought. What I think might be better is to eliminate the need to replace. Buy a machine that will serve you well for the next 3-4 years and then decide what to buy when that machine no longer serves it's purpose. Forget about the intel switch and buy what you need now, make money with it, and switch to intel when your machine no longer meets your needs. Using this approach, you can leap-frog all of the early adopter problems that usually occur with new technology. Hope what I'm trying to say makes sense.

Let us know what you decide!
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Old April 2nd, 2006, 06:00 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by James Chapman
I have a MacBook Pro right now and I don't see how I could ever edit on it. You need a lot of buttons that aren't right there.
Don't know that I completely agree with you there. I have a G5 dual 2.5ghz Power Mac and an older 1ghz 15" Powerbook G4. No question that it's a better experience on the desktop machine, but the laptop is surprisingly usable for regular DV, even with its slower processor. I spent several weeks editing a lot of video in Argentina last summer using the laptop and a pair of firewire drives. I also had a graphics tablet with 3 button mouse. It's a lot more portable than a desktop system! :-)

But I wouldn't want the powerbook to be my only machine....
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Old April 3rd, 2006, 12:28 AM   #5
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Thank you James, Al, and Boyd for being the voices of reason -- I've received good input from all three of you.

From James: "you don't need anything new to get into video" and "think about upgrading after you have made $3,000 in video work." GREAT point... that should be my goal BEFORE spending even half of $3,000 or more, huh?

From Al, "Buy a machine that will serve you well for the next 3-4 years and then decide what to buy when that machine no longer serves its purpose." Yes, my history in buying Macs is to purchase with longevity and expandability in mind and all of these options left some questions as to whether either of these preferences could be met.

And, Boyd, "...but the laptop is surprisingly usable for regular DV, even with its slower processor." I had begun to consider the iBook Pro based on an online seminar that Apple offers regarding Bob Arnot's experiences convincing NBC he could be a one- to two-man video crew in remote, and dangerous, places... like Iraq and Afghanistan. Of course, it's unlikely that I would need to be "on the road" doing work like Bob's here in Oklahoma! Remote, yes, but in a different context!

So, thank you again for your contributions and thoughts. The motion graphics work is something I REALLY want to do and for which I am ill-equipped. But, again, I think James' advice is best: get the work first (and get paid doing it) and then upgrade.
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