"Wealth will increasingly be defined by our ability to go offline whenever we want." - Fernando Gros
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Blog // Thoughts
October 17, 2006

When Buying A Mac Was Easy

Once upon a time the Apple versus PC choice was easy (although I admit labouring over it for years!). It reflected a different ‚Äúvision‚Äù (yes we are talking abouth the 80s and 90s here) of how to approach computing. I‚Äôve never been an uber-geek, but I did grow up with computing (my first was a […]

Once upon a time the Apple versus PC choice was easy (although I admit labouring over it for years!). It reflected a different “vision” (yes we are talking abouth the 80s and 90s here) of how to approach computing.

I’ve never been an uber-geek, but I did grow up with computing (my first was a TI99) and dabbled in some programming and DOS adventures. But by the mid 90s, as much as I enjoyed computing, I came to resent the time it took to tweak the machine, the mental effort consumed in coming up with the specifications for each new computer. I loathed the whole discourse of RAM this, card that, Drive the other.

Part of what appealed to me about the apple world was the freedom from that Рthe concept of the information machine. Granted this was to a large extent the legacy of Jef Raskin. Quite frankly, I didn’t want to know what was in the box, I just wanted it to work.

Right now I’m looking to build a full Digital Audio Workstation (DAW), with a new Mac Pro at the heart of it. The computer is part of the platform, but not the whole solution. So, I’m back to thinking about video cards, RAM, HD speeds and all sorts of stuff I’d rather not ponder.

I’m quite certain that the Software (Logic, Reason, Live), has plateaed out at a very high level. There’s no compelling reason to upgrade from here until the quality of final media improves dramatically. This software already records well above CD-Quality and even above the quality of DVD Audio.

But getting into hardware specs produces its own levels of anxiety. Last week I was obsessing whether to go with the current 4 Core machine or wait for an 8 Core one. Crazy.

[tags] DAW, Apple, Mac Pro [/tags]

Responses
Steve Lowe 16 years ago

It sounds as though you intend on this purchase lasting quite some time, which isn’t unreasonable given Apple’s record of supporting older hardware. I’d recommend going with as much as you can afford now. To me, it makes the most sense from a longevity standpoint to buy the current bleeding edge performance that will still be viable 5-7 years from now, versus spending less and buying something that will need to be replaced in 2-3 years. For your application, I’d make sure the video supports the 30″ cinema display (drool), it has the highest cpu config available, has as much RAM and hard disk space (of the highest speed) you can afford – shouldn’t be that difficult. Of course, you could just send me your credit card number and let me take care of it for you 😀

FWIW, I bought a new macbook pro back in May and maxed it out on RAM and Hard Disk – though I did buy the memory from a 3rd party, not Apple. The extra gig of ram was going to be $300 from apple versus $143 from https://www.macsales.com.

Good luck!

Fernando Gros 16 years ago

Thanks Steve. I intend to build something for the long haul and I’m also heading in a direction where the mac pro will be dedicated to music and image, but my writing will stay on the powerbook (where I’m quite productive in that field).

I intend to dive in hard with the RAM, but the kind of super-new modules Apple is using limit the options at the moment. Apparently you need to get the right sort of heatsinks on the RAM to keep the heat (and fan) noise down.

The cost is a little dizzying, but I’m hoping it will be worth it.

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