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Old September 23rd, 2006, 06:35 PM   #1
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Buying a new Mac

All right, I'm going to be buying a new Mac soon. The question is . . . which one?

My first instinct was to go for the new Mac Pro, in the quad 2GHz flavor to slash some of that price down. But, I'm really not sure if I need that much power.

A little more background--I'd consider an iMac, but as far as display goes--I was planning on hooking it up to my 32" LCD HD TV, since it has a VGA input. Is that a bad idea? The native resolution is 1368x768.

Also, if that were the case (hooking it up to an existing display) would I simply be better of going with a mac Mini with like, 2GB of ram? I can't honestly say I'd be editing anything other than DV. HDV is a possibility, but not at the moment.

I'd really like to get a decent system while saving as much money as possible at the same time. Right now I edit on my girlfriend iBook G4 with 256MB ram, so I'm sure anything would be better than that at this point.

Any thoughts?
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Old September 23rd, 2006, 08:19 PM   #2
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The Intel MacMini has good video outs for your 32" screen and can handle DV/HDV with no problem at all. Of course the more you $pend the more performance you'll get- it's all reative to $$$$.
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Old September 23rd, 2006, 09:47 PM   #3
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Thanks. That was the main thing I was wondering about, whether my lcd tv would work as a monitor (work well, that is). And, I'm glad to hear that the new intel chips work as good as they do. But really, I still can't help the urge to buy a mac pro.

One other question, on the Mac Mini, it has a 1.83GHz intel duo processor. Is that a dual processor, or no?
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Old September 23rd, 2006, 10:57 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Matthew Overstreet
I was planning on hooking it up to my 32" LCD HD TV, since it has a VGA input. Is that a bad idea? The native resolution is 1368x768.
It should work but you'll need a DVI to VGA adaptor (which is cheap and probably available at your Apple Store). However, you may not be all that thrilled when you use a screen like that as a computer monitor. I have a 22" LCD screen with a resolution of 1280x720 which has a DVI input. I've used it with my G5, but it looked weird as a computer monitor.

The problem is, that's a really low resolution for such a large screen, so everything is going to look like the "large print edition". It might be a good choice as a second monitor for editing video with FCP's Digital Cinema Desktop, but I don't think you'll like it for normal computer tasks.
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Old September 23rd, 2006, 11:41 PM   #5
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Thanks Boyd, you made a good point there. So confused, so confused. Maybe I should just go with an iMac, though, that would mean getting rid of my laptop to make room on my desk.
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Old September 24th, 2006, 03:29 AM   #6
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One point to note Avid Xpress Pro and Media composer only run on older PowerPC macs and currently dosn't work on intel macs.
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Old September 24th, 2006, 10:06 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Boyd Ostroff
It should work but you'll need a DVI to VGA adaptor (which is cheap and probably available at your Apple Store). However, you may not be all that thrilled when you use a screen like that as a computer monitor. I have a 22" LCD screen with a resolution of 1280x720 which has a DVI input. I've used it with my G5, but it looked weird as a computer monitor.

The problem is, that's a really low resolution for such a large screen, so everything is going to look like the "large print edition". It might be a good choice as a second monitor for editing video with FCP's Digital Cinema Desktop, but I don't think you'll like it for normal computer tasks.
I have attached my MacBook Pro to a Samsung 32" LCD television I recently purchased and the image with FCP's Digital Cinema Desktop was incredible. The first time I actually was able to see HDV footage off the computer in true HDTV resolution. As a regular computer monitor it was OK but I would have to use it longer to say if it works for me.

I would skip the Mac Mini and focus on the iMac or the Mac Pro. The iMac is great if you are certain that you'll never need the upgrade options the Mac Pro can only provide.

As a side note, the Samsung 32" LCD monitor is very, very good and it hooked up to the Mac with absolutely no problem. It even sent a monitor set-up file to the Mac which negated the need to do a color adjustment in System Preferences.
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Old September 24th, 2006, 12:07 PM   #8
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The new 24" iMac might put you where you want to be in terms of price/performance. I'd give it a look and read some of the reviews which seem to be very positive so far.

My only gripe is that Apple chose to include FW800 where an eSATA connector IMO would have been much better for attaching SATA RAID storage. FW800 isn't getting that much use by most folks that I know.

-gb-
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Old September 24th, 2006, 06:58 PM   #9
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My only gripe is that Apple chose to include FW800 where an eSATA connector IMO would have been much better for attaching SATA RAID storage. FW800 isn't getting that much use by most folks that I know.

-gb-
I use it. Makes external drives that much more realiable than FireWire400. Someday, however, I will have an eSATA set-up. As long as the project stays in DV or HDV, Firewire 800 is as fast as most people need.
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Old September 24th, 2006, 07:39 PM   #10
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Originally Posted by William Hohauser
As long as the project stays in DV or HDV, Firewire 800 is as fast as most people need.
Personally I've always found that firewire 400 is as fast as I need for DV so I've never spent the extra money on firewire 800 drives (and last time I looked, all firewire drives sold at a premium to the USB 2 drives).
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Old September 24th, 2006, 10:35 PM   #11
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Originally Posted by Boyd Ostroff
Personally I've always found that firewire 400 is as fast as I need for DV so I've never spent the extra money on firewire 800 drives (and last time I looked, all firewire drives sold at a premium to the USB 2 drives).
Firewire 400 is indeed fast enough for DV playback and the current drive models may be able to capture directly to the external drive over the same FireWire 400 bus but a number of people have had problems with this set up. Capturing to an external FireWire 800 drive is not a problem. The bandwidth is ample enough to run the video from a camera/VTR and the data to the drive on the same bus.

Most USB2 drives seem to be about $20 cheaper than a FireWire 400 drive and about $40 cheaper than a FireWire 800/400 drive. USB2 is workable but it certainly isn't as robust as any FireWire format. As far as I have learned USB2 shares the bandwidth with various USB devices in a way that makes video capture unreliable. A client of mine was trying to edit with a dual USB2/FireWire external drive and they hooked up the USB wire to the computer. The video files were captured with the internal drives and then transfered to the drive since the project went into hiatus for a year. They called me when they couldn't get consistent playback of the DV files. All I did was pull out the USB cable and install the FireWire cable and problems were solved. That's my one experience with USB2 and video files. If anyone has experience with USB2 capture I sure would like to hear it.
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Old September 24th, 2006, 10:44 PM   #12
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Originally Posted by William Hohauser
Firewire 400 is indeed fast enough for DV playback and the current drive models may be able to capture directly to the external drive over the same FireWire 400 bus but a number of people have had problems with this set up. Capturing to an external FireWire 800 drive is not a problem. The bandwidth is ample enough to run the video from a camera/VTR and the data to the drive on the same bus.

Most USB2 drives seem to be about $20 cheaper than a FireWire 400 drive and about $40 cheaper than a FireWire 800/400 drive. USB2 is workable but it certainly isn't as robust as any FireWire format. As far as I have learned USB2 shares the bandwidth with various USB devices in a way that makes video capture unreliable. A client of mine was trying to edit with a dual USB2/FireWire external drive and they hooked up the USB wire to the computer. The video files were captured with the internal drives and then transfered to the drive since the project went into hiatus for a year. They called me when they couldn't get consistent playback of the DV files. All I did was pull out the USB cable and install the FireWire cable and problems were solved. That's my one experience with USB2 and video files. If anyone has experience with USB2 capture I sure would like to hear it.
USB2 can't sustain high data rates. It's claimed 480mbs is a peak and you're right, it can't get the job done.

I made the statement about eSATA because I have an external drive enclosure that has USB2 or eSATA. Obviously, if the new iMacs offered the eSATA option, I could transfer at much higher data rates. As it is, I am limited on my current iMac to USB2 which is okay for file archiving but not realtime SD video transfer.

-gb-
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