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Thread: Can I join the Club?...

  1. #1

    Default Can I join the Club?...

    After much soul searching and weighing up the pros and cons I have decided to join the Mac Club. Will you accept me

    However, I have read many conflicting reviews, guides and "Top tips to which mac to own" and I am still unsure as to what would suit me best.
    I see this as a long term purchase, So I'd like it to serve me for 3-7 years if it can, But I am unsure as to what "Spec" I can get that will

    A) Serve my immediate needs
    B) Be high spec enough to serve those needs for years to come
    C) Is not a £4000 Mac Pro.

    To give you an idea into the max of my budget, I am looking at the high end Macbook-Pro, Top tier Imac, and ( Maybe ) the entry level Mac Pro. The below specs are all specifications Could afford IF that is what I need to stretch to at max Approximately £2300 brand new, but I highly doubt it. If I have to add £100 more to the machines, I'll have to say no. I am also a great supporter of refurbished machines and I know they can easily take £400-£800 off the price of a brand new machine, So I will also be shopping there!

    27 Inch Screen.
    3.4GHz Quad-Core Intel Core i7
    16GB 1333MHz DDR3 SDRAM - 4x4GB
    1TB Serial ATA Drive @ 7400rpm
    AMD Radeon HD 6970M 2GB GDDR5
    But of course, Could I settle for a dual core I5 processor with 8GB of ram?...That will bring the price down by quite a bit!

    MacBook Pro
    17 Inch screen.
    2.2GHz Quad-core Intel Core i7
    8GB 1333MHz DDR3 SDRAM - 2x4GB
    500GB Serial ATA Drive @ 7200 RPM
    SuperDrive 8x (DVD±R DL/DVD±RW/CD-RW)
    MacBook Pro 17-inch Hi-Resolution Antiglare Widescreen Display
    But again, I've been a believer that with laptops, the price to performance ratio is ridiculous, Spend £500 and get a kick ass desktop, Spend £500 on a laptop and get a machine that is not so good...Is the same true with the build quality of the mac book pro?

    Mac Pro
    One 2.8GHz Quad-Core Intel Xeon “Nehalem”
    8 GB (4 x 2 GB)
    1TB 7200-rpm Serial ATA 3Gb/s hard drive
    ATI Radeon HD 5770 1GB
    One 18x SuperDrive
    So on paper, I am getting less than the other 2 machines are offering, but is this machine so much better than the other two in terms of performance?

    Now, I am aware that the above specifications are incredibly high! And I just want to say again that I am posting the above spec to say "this is what I can afford" is the part I tell you what I will use these machines for and hopefully you will slap me down and say "NO, Your buying a tank to swat a fly! Buy this instead"

    • The normal web browsing, Keynote, Pages, ect.
    • A couple of 3D games ( One of my secret sins ) but I don't care about the look of the games, At present I just have all graphic settings to minimum or off, so this is NOT a requirement.
    • Editing both SD and HD video. Varying from 2-8 minutes of final export to 1-4 hours of edited content.
    • Rendering video files and logo sequences from after effects that are 1920x1080 size. And they have quite a lot of built in FX with them.
    • Live presentation at events and conferences, I've got software that uses the machine to display content from 32" plasmas to 10ft projector screens.
    • A happy home for my Iphone to synch up to.

    If your still reading after all that, Thank you for doing that and if you would be able to submit a reply, I would be even more thankful!

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jan 2011
    Zoetermeer, The Netherlands


    Hello Bpotter908, welcome in de Mac World. I'm only there since 2002, but I like it so far! About your choice: iMac, MacBook Pro or Mac Pro you should ask yourself the following questions: how important is the portability for you? I take my 2007 17" iMac to my local videoclub, to give demonstrations, and is takes some time to disconnect all, put the iMac in its (original!) box and put it in my car. With simple things I want to show (things that have nothing to do with Final Cut Studio), I rather take my wife's 'old' MacBook G4. The 12" screen doesn't bother me, while the MacBook will be connected to the beamer of our videoclub (Home | fvcz). Do you intend to store lots of video-footage, which must be accessible very quick, than room for internal harddisks is important. The only choice than is the Mac Pro. If portability and storage room is no issue, then the iMac is the way to go. Choose the one with the i7 processor. Editing video is very processor-demanding, and speed is very addictive! Good luck with your choise. Jan de Bloois, Zoetermeer, The Netherlands (Is videofilmen je hobby? Kijk hier!)

  3. #3


    I was in a similar position recently, here's a couple of things I found. First, you might want to be a bit wary of this thought.

    I am also a great supporter of refurbished machines and I know they can easily take £400-£800 off the price of a brand new machine, So I will also be shopping there!
    While this can be true I also looked a little into it and found out that the power performance of new models is becoming massive in relation to models of 6 months to 1 year earlier. So while, for example, a top end refurbished or older model iMac will be cheaper than the newest top end equivalent it's quite possibly slower than the latest basic model.

    Just something to look into while weighing up costs in your mind.

    Something else that may help is that Apple charge massive amounts of money for RAM, if you got whatever model you wanted with the minimum amount of RAM, i.e. iMac with 4gb, you can get another 2 sticks of 4gb each from corsair, crucial etc. and slot them in upgrading to 12gb for £40-£50 extra. It seems it's quite a common route, and of course it's just an example, more, less etc also works depending on what model.


  4. #4


    @Camera Jan
    " how important is the portability for you?" - I'm in a world where we will spend an hour and a half loading up a van full of kit for a venue from speakers, to projection to control surfaces and cabling for it all, so I'm used to lugging big heavy kit around. Whilst the portability would be a bonus, For the amount of money which I will spend on it, Am I hugely compromising on the performance side of it? 8GB of ram in the top end Macbook Pro compared to 12GB in the high end Imac. And which one will have the greater longevity in 5 years time?

    @david walsh
    Yes...I have found the price of Ram to be one of the more expensive upgrades, But is that more down to "Apple are buying the fastest Ram cards with the highest standard of quality" rather than a £50-£100 deal off - I heard a few people say that suppliers like cruicial sell cheap because the hardware is cheap tat to begin after spending £££ on my shiny apple product and then loading rubbish into it will I end up compromising the performance of the machine yet again?

    Oh and just to add:
    Refurbished iMac 27-inch 3.4GHz Quad-Core Intel Core i7 - Apple Store (UK)
    That is what I mean when I say refurb,All it is missing from my spec list is extra ram + an extra 1GB of video memory, but do I really want to spend an extra £800 just for an extra 1GB? The additional RAM can be bought from Apple for £300-400 Or if there is nothing wrong with crucial kit, then I can go to them for a lot less.

    My ultimate aim is that I have gone past a certain price point and I want to make sure I get the most for my money, not necessarily cut back here and then lose 20% of performance when an extra £200 could give that back.
    Last edited by Bpotter908; 09-26-2011 at 03:30 PM.

  5. #5


    I went for 4gb Ram in my machine and bumped it up to 12 with an extra 8 from Crucial, for what is almost pennies in comparison. I have found no problems, but I can't give you a comparison of a similar machine with all Apple RAM. I done a lot of reading around and got the general consensus from long time Mac users that Apple Ram is/always has been a rip off. I'm happy with my decision, but I would be curious to see a benchmark with identical machines.

    The thing that finally sold it for me was looking at completed listings of original Apple RAM on ebay, it doesn't hold it's price in the way PC Corsair RAM does. I built my own PC's for years, I always used Corsair, and always got a surprisingly good price selling it on even after it seemed as though it had become old hat. Corsair make great quality RAM, possibly as good as it gets and I can't see how Apple could be getting it that much better from Samsung to justify the cost difference.

    I went for Crucial this time for 2 reasons. 1. Most of what I read from Mac users was advising Crucial. 2. they had a link on their website that analysed my machine, gave me compatible upgrade options/prices and let me chose and add to the cart. I never had to make sure I was buying the right thing and knew if it was wrong I wouldn't have issues trying to change it.

    If I was you I'd go with that iMac in your link and a Crucial upgrade. I'd forget the MacBook Pro, the mid 2011 iMac's have taken them to a level that is on the boundary of a serious pro level computer at an excellent price. Way more bang for the buck than a Macbook Pro. I'm running a 21" iMac at the moment. But in not too long I'll add a second as a render machine/dual monitor, that's why I went for 21", 2x27" screens is just too big for me.

    The cheaper RAM would also allow extra money for an external RAID to work from. While waiting for the Pegasus Thunderbolt Raids to come out (now that they have I'm waiting for a cheaper 2TB Thunderbolt Raid to appear) I went for a 2TB WD Mybook Studio II Firewire 800 drive, It doesn't say so on the Apple site but it can also be set up as Raid 1, I tested it for a bit but went back to raid 0 with a USB Backup drive. Which reminds me, I think for a small business Apples Time Machine backup system is worth the price of an iMac alone.


  6. #6


    Great...That's £300 saved on the ram. Part of my budget is software and accessories so I from a 2.8K budget I got the system brought down to £1600 with a refurb model...Just enough for a serious external backup and storage unit now me-thinks

    WHAT?!?!? 16GB kit (8GBx2), 204-pin SODIMM, DDR3 PC3-10600 upgrades for Apple iMac 3.4GHz Quad-Core Intel-Core i7 (27-inch - DDR3) Mid 2011 Desktop/PC, CT2368951 from £560+ ?!?

    Oh wait...*whew* Back down to £50 8GB Kit (4GBx2), 204-pin SODIMM, DDR3 PC3-10600 upgrades for Apple iMac 3.4GHz Quad-Core Intel-Core i7 (27-inch - DDR3) Mid 2011 Desktop/PC, CT2115886 from
    It's amazing how much the price flew up to go from 8GB to 16GB...

  7. #7


    WHAT?!?!? 16GB kit (8GBx2), 204-pin SODIMM, DDR3 PC3-10600 upgrades for Apple iMac 3.4GHz Quad-Core Intel-Core i7 (27-inch - DDR3) Mid 2011 Desktop/PC, CT2368951 from £560+ ?!?

    Oh wait...*whew* Back down to £50 8GB Kit (4GBx2), 204-pin SODIMM, DDR3 PC3-10600 upgrades for Apple iMac 3.4GHz Quad-Core Intel-Core i7 (27-inch - DDR3) Mid 2011 Desktop/PC, CT2115886 from
    It's amazing how much the price flew up to go from 8GB to 16GB...
    8gb sticks are expensive at the moment and I think it could be some time before they drop dramatically. The weird thing is if you think how much Apple would have to sell them for their iMac's to justify the cost of the 4gb sticks it would be madness. They sell them for the Mac pro's at the same price as 2x4gb sticks but it's not the same RAM and I'm not sure what the difference is but I think it shows they know they couldn't get away with it.


  8. #8


    I meant to add, the RAID software that Western Digital supply isn't compatible with OSX Lion and they say they don't have plans on making it so. But you can get into it in a different way. Running the RAID as supplied set up for RAID 0 you don't need into it anyway and you can format the drive or do anything possible inside OSX's Drive Utility anyway. But if you want to change it to RAID 1 then you need in to it, that's probably why Apple don't advertise it as switchable to RAID 1.

    If you decide to get one, want it as RAID 1 and can't find how, reply here and I'll post how to do it. I'd do it just now but I'd need to look it up again.


  9. #9


    No worries, and thanks for the advice! If I require assistance with it I'll be sure to get in touch.

  10. #10

    Unhappy Looks like a PC for me...


    After doing some more research, I came across quite a few 100 page topics with "system crippling" issues relating both to lion and to the hardware of the new MBPs and 2011 Imacs.
    System randomly locking up, GPU displaying strange aretefacts on screen, Some very weird and random glitches that present themselves after a month or two.

    Anyone else having these experinces?..

    Since starting this journey, I have decided that it would be an appalling waste of money to purchase a system from Apple for professional usage. I have detailed the reasons below so that other users may benefit from my experience, Or they may post about any solutions or comments they have.

    VIDEO EDITING - Has Apple called themselves out of the fight?
    I tried Final Cut Studio X and whilst I can see it's appeal to certain users, for me I found it rather limiting in terms of just getting it done. So long term, what is the alternative? Avid on the Mac? £1,869.95 – £1,914.00 I cannot ever see myself justifying that price just on software, Whilst it may be at the top of the professional line of products, When will I ever become skilled enough or be paid enough to justify it's use? The next item on my list would be Adobe production premium at £1,810.80 for the full boxed retail edition direct from Adobe, £899 from a re-seller who is doing a special offer.

    But then if Adobe is my primary choice of product, why choose hardware which is not the best in terms of compatibility? ( Nvidia GPUs that match with Adobe ) And is the "high end" hardware of Apple good value for money? With my giant Imac, Am I buying a sub-standard processor compared to what I could get from a custom build for the same budget, Am I paying for the giant 27" screen and the stylish looks more than the performance hardware of the device.

    I decided to see what I could build or have built to order for my budget and I discovered I could have this:

    1 Intel Core i7 2600K, 3.4Ghz, Quad Core, 8Mb Cache, Hyperthreading
    1 Asus P8Z68-V PRO, Intel Z68
    1 Be Quiet! Dark Rock PRO BK016 CPU Cooler
    1 2nd Generation Intel® Core™ Sandy Bridge CPU overclocked to 4.5Ghz
    1 16Gb (4x4Gb) Corsair Vengeance LP, DDR3, 1600Mhz
    1 1GB PNY Quadro 2000
    1 Blackmagic Intensity Pro
    1 850W Corsair HX Series, Modular 80 Plus (Dual Graphics)
    2 1TB Western Digital Caviar Black, 7200rpm, 64MB Cache
    1 240GB OCZ Technology Vertex 3, Read 550MB/s, Write 520MB/s
    2 1TB Western Digital Caviar Black, 7200rpm, 64MB Cache
    1 LG BH10LS30 - 10x Blu-Ray Writer & DVDRW - Retail Box + Software
    1 Pioneer DVR-S19LBK DVD Writer
    1 Asus Xonar D2X Ultra Fidelity 7.1 - PCI-E
    1 Akasa AK-ICR-07U3 3.5" Black Internal Multi Card Reader M2, Micro SD & USB 3.0
    1 Edimax EW-7622UMn 11n 300Mbps PCI Adaptor.
    1 120mm Akasa Apache Black Ultra Silent Fan
    1 Microsoft Windows 7 Professional 64 Bit, Single, - OEM

    So...with the above spec in mind, and considering that it is nearly double if not triple what a top of the range Imac or entry Mac Pro could offer...And I still have money in the budget for Adobe Production Bundle. Now of course, the above spec is over-kill for someone like me but it just goes to show what I can afford for what I had budgeted for my Apple hardware.

    To add to the list of reasons:
    • Apple is always wanting to "Lead the charge" for ditching legacy technology, What If I want to have a system that "works" rather than be the subject of the whims of Apple "We hate Flash" well I don't care, I want Flash.
    • Compatibility with non-apple Hardware. No E-sata, Firewire is being killed off slowly and more products are made for PC than for Mac.
    • Broader choice of programs on Windows than on Mac, Yes I could use boot-camp but why own a mac if you have to use "Inferior" windows?
    • If the reason why Apple are better is because of the quality of system builds and the extra cost justifies this, surely a higher priced PC in the same range would perform to the same standard of performance and with a user who is capable of maintaining it and giving it TLC.
    • Price of Apple replacement parts or repairs is high and pricey.
    • If I am unhappy with my current vendor or manufacturer of PC parts, I can change them, If I buy Apple, I am locked into their choice of hardware which drives up the price and limits my choice as the consumer.
    Why is Apple bad for such a pricey high end system.
    Everything that is bad about low end cheap Windows PCs is finding it's way onto Mac, From hardware that freezes the system, to Lion which has caused some very strange glitches.
    When I asked 3 separate Apple support reps I was given what appears to be the standard scripted response:
    "We sell thousands of machines with no issue reported by users"
    Sorry, But if you want my hard-earned cash I need better re-assurances than "It just works, trust us" And when I mentioned the above specification and asked for concrete reasons why Apple would be better as a long term investment for professional usage I was told "But our Products are better" Without telling me HOW!

    I am a believer that Apple products are king in the low-mid range of computer budgets, but for an entry level Professional workstation, They've given me more reasons to avoid them than to purchase them.

    Unless another Apple user on here can convince me otherwise, I think I shall remain a PC I'm afraid.
    Last edited by Bpotter908; 09-28-2011 at 12:16 AM. Reason: New Content

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