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You are here: MacNN Forums > Hardware - Troubleshooting and Discussion > Mac Desktops > Maybe switching from PC to Power Mac

Maybe switching from PC to Power Mac
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garyton
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Sep 17, 2006, 10:04 AM
 
Hello: I am new to this board and would welcome some inout from you Mac users.
I am in the process of configuring a new workstation/desktop for my wife. She is the real user of our family. She does a lot of video editing and rendering (she uses Pinnacle Studio) as well as using Photoshop for my digital photography and for her IPod. She also uses the system for Web design and uses Microsoft Powerpoint and Office and Outlook Express.
After having trying to configure a PC that will really fit her needs, it seems that the new Mac Pro with a lot of memory and then later upgrading to the new OS Leopard may be the way to go for her new system.
She is hesitant due to having used Windows (currently XP Pro) all of her life and knowing that all of her programs are for Windows.
My questions are :
Would the transition to Mac OS be difficult and/or frustrating to her?
Would she be better off replacing all the programs she is comfortable using with Windows in a Mac OS format, or run this program I have been reading aout (Bootcamp) and continue to use her existing programs and run both Os's.
Will she find the new Mac programs better than what she is using now? Such as Mail, iChat, Safari, Spotlight, Dashboard, iCal?
What bundled software would you recommend I order with the sytem with the intent of upgrading to Leopard when it becomes available?
We also had my Dell Windows XP Pro networked at home with her old desktop. Will we be able to still do that with her new system?
I plan of taking her back to the Apple store to play with the Mac Pro.
My thoughts are to configure it the following:
twin Xeon 3.0 GHz
8 GB Ram
two Optical Drives
2-250 GB Drives (possibly in raid-0 with leopard)
1-750 Barracuda drive
ATI X1900 XTX (unless they offer the new X 1950 XTX soon).
If she ended up running both Os's, how much slower is the system going to run with several large probrams running in the background?
How much Ram is it going to take to keep the system really fast?
I would welcome any recemmendation to consider to minimize any mistakes I might make in hardware configuration and to make the transition easy for her.
Thanks
Gary
     
MacinTommy
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Sep 17, 2006, 10:14 AM
 
-Difficult and frustrating maybe.. but in the long run you'll wonder why you didnt switch in the first place.
-dont know enough about bootcamp but someone will help with that
-Mail, ichat etc.. are so user friendly and easy to learn
-not sure
-you can definately network them
     
MacinTommy
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Sep 17, 2006, 10:15 AM
 
and welcome! <i havent been a member for too long but i love it here.
     
zerostar
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Sep 17, 2006, 10:54 AM
 
Way too many questions... HAHAHA :-)

I don't know much about pinnacle, but I use final cut pro, the only things I would worry about are 1

) input/output devices working with FCP, does she have a video card for video output on the PC or is she just using firewire and editing DV video? Does she had a raid setup for video work? etc. etc. a little more info would help.

As far as switching to Final Cut pro, go to the Apple store and you can try it out, coming from Avid and Media 100 Final Cut Pro on a fast system (such as the MacPro) is a dream to use. I picked it up very quickly but really it is up to her if she wants to make the switch, if she is hesitant or doesn't feel like relearning it then it will be an uphill struggle

2) I would worry about the video files, you can't edit them natively in Final Cut so you may have to re-import them in DV or what have you.

**disclaimer** I am assuming she is doing professional video editing is that correct or is she just editing home files, for home Final Cut Express is cheap and powerful as well as iMovie and iDVD are both super easy to use.

As far as other programs Office (Word, Excel, Powerpoint & Entourage (which replaces outlook on windows) are available for the Mac, they are awesome and perform better than the windows version in my opinion, they should open all your old word, etc. files no problem!

Photoshop is available but not native for the intel macs so it runs decent but not great, Adobe is working on an upgrade so you may not want to buy until Photoshop CS3 is out. Next year is what is rumored. (Not advocating piracy but I wouldn't PAY for a version now if you are going to buy CS3 in a few weeks... ;-)

8GB of Ram should be plenty for what you are planning. When you run Windows in Boot camp you have to start 1 OS then shut it down to run another. So ram and resources are not a problem and the MacPro runs windows amazingly well. You can run them both at the same time if you need to look into paralells. I would do it all in Mac OS X though if possible.

Any other programs that are windows only?

As far as what she should use, iChat is a basic chat client if she uses AIM the is no real difference, it is slick and powerful, iTunes is basically the same as the windows version, you will need to just move your music over (move over the mp3's, AACs, Videos, to itunes on the mac) then format your ipod for the mac) I would use Entourage for my email, scheduling, calendar as it is very powerful. I think Apples mail and iCal is lacking.

Any other questions fire away, might be better to focus on one question/problem at a time so you understand 100% what you are dealing with.

All in all the switch will be great for you and you will find your productivity up as well as being more secure and stable.
     
Commodus
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Sep 17, 2006, 11:40 AM
 
I'll try to answer your questions in order:

1. The ease of the transition depends on how willing the user is and how knowledgeable they are with computers in general. I've seen people who go kicking and screaming because of changes to the same web browser, let alone the OS. But if your wife is very capable with Pinnacle, odds are she's the sort who's willing to adapt to a different interface. The main thing is to remember the general differences: closing the window doesn't usually close the app (you have to go to the menubar and choose to quit), the Dock is like a hybrid of the Windows Quick Launch bar and taskbar, and so on. A tutorial book will probably do wonders if your wife is skittish.

2. Boot Camp might work at first, but you'll really want to get comfortable using OS X for full work since that's the reason you're getting the system. It's harder to get used to OS X if you never use it for anything important. The biggest change might be changing to a video editing app for the Mac such as iMovie or Final Cut Express, but they're not fundamentally different. Your wife could get Mac versions or equivalents of virtually app you've talked about, so if you can afford it - and it seems like you can - go for it.

3. You can network Macs and Windows PCs, though of course how you access each other's computer won't be the same. On the Mac, you turn Windows sharing on (in the Sharing section of System Preferences) and then open any new Finder window - any Windows PCs with file sharing turned on should show up. You'll usually need to login (or just confirm the connection) to access the files. Windows for some reason usually needs to connect to a Mac by typing in an address before logging in: for example, I have to type \\192.168.0.103 into an Explorer window to see my Mac's files. Until Microsoft decides to start supporting networks besides its own, you'll need this little extra step to get things going.

4. If you're running Boot Camp, you can't actively run both OS X and Windows at the same time - it's a dual-boot app that lets you choose to start the machine in OS X or Windows and creates two partitions on the hard drive to make this happen. You can get apps such as Parallels Desktop that run Windows within OS X, but that runs apps in virtualization - they won't be as fast and very rarely may see hiccups. If you do use Boot Camp on a Mac Pro, be sure to read this fix you may need to implement.

5. It depends on what apps she uses already and how well she takes advantage of the newer apps. An Outlook Express user will probably be fine with Mail, but if she needs the 'comfort' of a familiar interface she may want to use Entourage (an Outlook equivalent bundled with MS Office 2004 for Mac) instead. iChat... well, that's only valid if your wife uses AOL Instant Messenger, since that's the network iChat connects to; if she wants to use MSN or Yahoo, she'll need Adium or something similar instead. Dashboard and Spotlight are OS features that aren't built into Windows XP: she'll have to try those out for herself. I know I find Spotlight invaluable for locating a file buried 3 layers deep.

6. If she's a heavy user, between 4GB and 8GB of RAM should be enough. Apps that have to run in Rosetta (a code translator for Mac apps that aren't Intel-native yet) will chew up a bit more memory than native ones, but not so much that you need dramatically more. If you can afford 8GB, memory won't be a bottleneck at all.

Lastly, some comments on your speculated config:

Twin 3GHz Xeons: This isn't necessary unless shaving off seconds on each action really matters. The 2.66GHz model is 95% of the way there in terms of performance, and you're paying several hundred more for a tiny gain. I'd rather roll the money into software.

2 250GB drives (possibly RAID 0 with Leopard: You don't need Leopard to put them into a RAID 0 stripe - Tiger can do that already. If you want to use Time Machine when Leopard arrives, the backup drive can't be in a RAID configuration anyways (that's not what Time Machine is doing).

Radeon X1900 XT: Get this only if your wife will be doing a lot of 3D gaming or work, or if she's going to want dual 30-inch Cinema Displays. Most 2D editing apps won't see an added benefit from a faster video card.
24-inch iMac Core 2 Duo 2.4GHz
     
UnixMac
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Sep 17, 2006, 12:10 PM
 
I have been responsible for 7 different "switchers" in the past 5 years, and in all honesty not one has regretted it! More over, most rave about it and themselves turn into Mac evangalists..

My wife also is the "pro user" at my house as she's recently gone from housewife, to part-time housewife and part time photographer (Jenifer Samaha Photography ) and she's getting quite busy. She grew up on PC's and initially resisted my wanting to go to Mac in back in 2000, but now she shares her work and work flow with her PC using coligues via various Photography message boards, and the consensus over there is the mac workflow and UI (interface) is far easier to work with, and more intuitive.

She's (your wife) going to struggle for about a week, and that's what Apple Care is there for, they'll walk her thru copying files, finding folders/documents etc.. When she gets the nuts and bolts down, she'll be able to focus on the important thing, getting work done!

Best of luck, and let us know what happens..
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UnixMac
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Sep 17, 2006, 12:23 PM
 
btw Gary, OWC sells top grade RAM for a significant cost savigns.. I got 4GB for $1000 or so, if you order thru them the 8, you'll end up saving about $1000, and you can then sell of the "Free" 1GB (in the for of two 512's) that your Pro will come with for about $200 or so..

I did RAID0 with Tiger and it works flawlessly.. I'm not sure how Leopard will work in terms of disk space, and RAID. I think this is something that I'll have to figure out when that time comes.
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garyton  (op)
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Sep 17, 2006, 07:55 PM
 
Thank you so much for all the helpful information guys.
She imputs her video now using firewire and Dv videos. She does this for herself and her family, not for a job. She creates web sites using Dreamweaver and used to use flash also. She does use some Adobe programs also. She is concerned that she created my web site for my office with Dreamweaver and that sher may need to start all over or not be able to edit the site with the new system.
She is the type to stay up all night and figure a program out before she opens the book. Same with figuring out a problem with the computer when she has a windows problem.
I have a friend who uses a MacG5 with Tiger and he has offered to let us play with his. I also plan to get her to the apple store again to use the mac Pro. In the past we only go for IPod stuff.
I did like the 30" screen Apple had but could not justify their price. As I see it coming down, I think eventually she will have a screen close to that size so I figured I would set the system up now with the proper graphics card.
When you were referring to upgrading memory and saving some money, are you implying to order the system with basic memory and then buy aftermarket memory and place it in myself and then reconfigure the Bios I guess I would have to do? I thought this new memory for the Mac Pro was very different due to its height and heat sinks and that aftermarket would not work?
Thanks again and as I talk with her I will keep asking you guys questions.
Gary
     
UnixMac
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Sep 17, 2006, 09:18 PM
 
Originally Posted by garyton
When you were referring to upgrading memory and saving some money, are you implying to order the system with basic memory and then buy aftermarket memory and place it in myself and then reconfigure the Bios I guess I would have to do? I thought this new memory for the Mac Pro was very different due to its height and heat sinks and that aftermarket would not work?
Thanks again and as I talk with her I will keep asking you guys questions.
Gary
Reconfigure what?

No mate... just buy the memory, plug it in and turn on the machine!

Seriously.. get it with the base 1GB.. (that's two separate 512MB sticks).. then order 8GB from OWC here: 8GB Matched pairs remove the 512's and put them on ebay for $200 or so.. or sell them here on MACNN, then plug in the 8 cards into your two risers and you're off!

Here is a pic for you..

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mduell
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Sep 17, 2006, 09:38 PM
 
Two 250GB drives with software RAID0 isn't really a good idea... if you need space, buy a 500-750G; if you need speed buy a 74 or 150G WD Raptor.
     
UnixMac
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Sep 17, 2006, 09:46 PM
 
Originally Posted by mduell
Two 250GB drives with software RAID0 isn't really a good idea... if you need space, buy a 500-750G; if you need speed buy a 74 or 150G WD Raptor.
I agree with that except to say for a few more dollars, I got 2x500GB enterprise class 16MB Cache drives and got both space, and speed.. this is the best bang for the buck solution IMHO.
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garyton  (op)
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Sep 17, 2006, 10:12 PM
 
I am assuming that the hard drives for a Mac are the same as for a PC.
My thoughts were to have two drives for her to have the OS and programs on and work on and then have one large hard drive for storage and/or backup.
I was planning on having the two drives with 16MB cache and had considered using two raptor drives, such as the 150Gb drives and then using the 500 or 750 Gb drive as the third. I have heard that running two same size drives in raid 0 would run faster. Whether it is worth using two raptor drives as the working drives I am not sure if it is worth the extra money for the faster drives though. I am concerned that my understanding is that data is written to both drives and is fragmented as it is written when using a raid 0. So, if you have a drive failure in one, the remaining data on the other is pretty much useless. But I had considered only striping the two identical drives as I understand the drives have to be identical. Is it not a good idea to raid two slower drives? What about placing the OS and all programs on one drive such as a raptor and using a second raptor for downloading and rendering video and a third large drive for backup and not using raid? Is that a safer way to go?
How would you set up the workinng drives and backup drives?
If I upgrade my memory myself on the new system, will I have any problems with Apple if I need service or support?
Right now, she is using my notebook for all of her stuff. She has 10 USB's plugs into ports that go into my notebook that only has an 80 Gb drive. It is maxed out. She is now using two external maxtor drives a 150 and a 300 GB I think that she uses for storage and rendering. She has to render for sometimes hours and ties up my notebook.
It's crazy.
Thanks
Gary
     
UnixMac
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Sep 17, 2006, 10:25 PM
 
Originally Posted by garyton
I am assuming that the hard drives for a Mac are the same as for a PC.
SATA drives are universal.

My thoughts were to have two drives for her to have the OS and programs on and work on and then have one large hard drive for storage and/or backup.
I was planning on having the two drives with 16MB cache and had considered using two raptor drives, such as the 150Gb drives and then using the 500 or 750 Gb drive as the third. I have heard that running two same size drives in raid 0 would run faster
the best way is and the way to maximize your SATA bandwidth is to use one drive (a raptor) for your OS / Apps drive and another (or better yet a RAID) for your scratch/work drive. I added a 4th drive to this by adding a 500GB drive where we keep non essential stuff. For back up, this is what God invented DVD's for.. But you can also always buy a 5th drive (say a 750gb) and plug it in and do your copying over, then pull the drive out. Keep in mind, with the modular design of the drives on the mac pro, you can use them as though they're floppy disks.. with rapid switching out. Apple sells additional drive sliders for about $10 each.

Also, spend the extra money on the 16MB cache drives.. good idea.


Whether it is worth using two raptor drives as the working drives I am not sure if it is worth the extra money for the faster drives though. I am concerned that my understanding is that data is written to both drives and is fragmented as it is written when using a raid 0. So, if you have a drive failure in one, the remaining data on the other is pretty much useless.
If you buy enterprise class drives, you're VERY unlikely to have any failures.. companies rely on these drives for their existence.


But I had considered only striping the two identical drives as I understand the drives have to be identical. Is it not a good idea to raid two slower drives? What about placing the OS and all programs on one drive such as a raptor and using a second raptor for downloading and rendering video and a third large drive for backup and not using raid? Is that a safer way to go?
How would you set up the workinng drives and backup drives?
Sure, that's an option.. in the end it's what works best for you and your budget.

If I upgrade my memory myself on the new system, will I have any problems with Apple if I need service or support?
If you buy OWC, or Crucial, DMS, etc.. (reputable brand) RAM, Apple will not void your warranty, and will only ask you to return the original RAM into the machine as part of your trouble shooting.. that said, you may want to just keep the 2x512's for that reason alone.

Right now, she is using my notebook for all of her stuff. She has 10 USB's plugs into ports that go into my notebook that only has an 80 Gb drive. It is maxed out. She is now using two external maxtor drives a 150 and a 300 GB I think that she uses for storage and rendering. She has to render for sometimes hours and ties up my notebook.
The external drives are what I use to store video that I'm working with but don't want to keep on my RAID array when it's not being used. 5 min of FW800 transfer and I'm ready to render, then it's back to the external FW800 for storage.

Ditch the PC, and get a Mac Pro... you'll never look back!


It's crazy.
Thanks
Gary[/QUOTE]
Mac Pro 3.0, ATI 5770 1GB VRAM, 10GB, 2xVelociraptor boot RAID, 4.5TB RAID0 storage, 30" & 20" Apple displays.
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zerostar
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Sep 17, 2006, 10:30 PM
 
Mac take standard hard drives, the MacPro takes standard SATA drives.

A Raid 0 is the least safe way to go because if one drive goes you loose all your data, but if you really need the speed it is something to consider. Keep a good backup plan though.

For me I got a Maxtor MaxLine III 300GB which is a super-fast drive with a 5 year warranty and 16MB cache, that is my boot drive, my work drive is a 750GB seagate. for DV work this setup is PLENTY fast and far exceed the requirement for even 4 DV streams, think about it the laptop is pulling what 10-15MB/sec off those USB drives? These MaxLine drives pull almost 60 peak and write up to 120MB/sec Even my Seagate in a Firewire 800 enclosure is pulling 60/50 and that is over half full.

No problems with Apple as long as the memory is Apple spec'ed I think OWC is one of the few selling apple-spec ram for the MacPros right now.
     
zerostar
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Sep 17, 2006, 10:38 PM
 
Here is an article about drives:

Ultimate Boot Drive for Power Macs

That is why I went for the MaxLine III the tests show the single Max10 just about as fast as the raptor for far less $ and far more storage.

I got the MaxLine III because its the same drive as the Max10 but with better construction, and a 5 year warranty, basically enterprise level, I got the 300GB version for $99 at newegg.com
     
garyton  (op)
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Sep 17, 2006, 11:48 PM
 
You guys are a wealth of information.
When I go to Apple on line and configure a new Mac Pro, there are no options for any raptor drives. They do not even offer the 750 Gb Barracudas, only a 500. Are you guys buying a stripped down version with one drive and then buying all aftermarket hardware and building them into what you want? Do you order it with one 500 drive then and then add two raptor drives yourself?
I also see something called a fiber channel card? What is that for?
Thanks
     
UnixMac
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Sep 17, 2006, 11:54 PM
 
I get mine from OWC.. I got the Deskstar 500GB's for $249, and the Raptor for $183 for a 74GB version.. You "may" have to format them before you use them, or they may come pre-formated. Mine required disk utility "erase" which took all of 3 seconds to do.

Once you have the drives, you can put them in and take them out as you please.. it's really not rocket science. Get the Mac from Apple, and the RAM and Drives from OWC.

As for Fiber channel.. if you have to ask, you don't need it!
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CharlesS
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Sep 18, 2006, 12:09 AM
 
If you're going to get Photoshop, I'd wait until CS3 is out. It will be Intel native, and should be several times faster on the Mac Pro than CS2 would be.

Ticking sound coming from a .pkg package? Don't let the .bom go off! Inspect it first with Pacifist. Macworld - five mice!
     
garyton  (op)
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Sep 18, 2006, 11:55 AM
 
This is sounding better and better as long as my wife is willing to make the switch.
I assume I would orderr it with the standard memory and one hard drive which seems to be the 500-16Mb cache 7200 speed drive.
Then I can add one or two raptor drives myself along with the memory change.
Is the bluetooth capability built into the keyboard?
Does anyone else make a nice 30" display that is less than Apple or is that the way to go for her and just pay the price? Before I was considering the apple I was sold on the new Dell 2407WFP I believe the number is.
As far as Photoshop and most of her programs go. We travel internationally every year to Asia. We get virtually any program as a copy for a few dollars. All of her 3D rendering to Photoshop and all Adobe programs and even Windows OS. So, I can wait until my next trip there and see what is available for mac systems. Do you mean there will be a new Photoshop for the Intel mac written for the Mac or would it just be a new Photoshop version for the Pc that will run on the MacOS?
Thanks
Gary
     
zerostar
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Sep 18, 2006, 01:39 PM
 
why do you need the raptor again?Seriously a Raptor is overkill, check my link out and get a MaxLine III at what size you need for the boot then get 2 or 3 extras for internal storage and backup of your system, you'll be all set at a lot less $ with room to kill. 300Gb MaxLine III's are under $100 now! get 3 of those one for boot 2 for storage. you could get another for backups too.

Also 4GB ram should be plenty for what you are planning to do, stick with 4GB ram for now and get the larger screen. Ram will come way down in the coming months so stick another 4GB in when it is around $500

As far as photoshop the CS3 will be rewritten for the intel mac not a PC version a fully native intel mac version.

I love the Apple displays and usually lean toward them, but the dells are nice too, entirely up to you on that.

This is all merely suggestions, but you can just about get the screen free with the tips I am giving you.
     
mduell
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Sep 18, 2006, 06:36 PM
 
Originally Posted by UnixMac
I agree with that except to say for a few more dollars, I got 2x500GB enterprise class 16MB Cache drives and got both space, and speed.. this is the best bang for the buck solution IMHO.
With software RAID0 you're adding in a complete-loss failure mode (software-induced corruption) that is, in my experience, much more common than any other failure mode.

If you absolutely need the performance of RAID0 and the price of software RAID, you need to either back it up regularly or not put any files you care about on it (temp files, scratch disks, etc).
     
garyton  (op)
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Sep 18, 2006, 08:01 PM
 
Ok, You guys have convinced me.
After I get my Mac with the standard memory and one hard drive.
How do I replace the standard drive that I assume will have the OS on it along with any programs that come rpeloaded?
Would I first slide in the extra drive and then boot up and copy the OS and programs to the new drive that will eventually be my new start up drive?
Then after that, reformat the original larger hard drive that will become on of my wife's storage drives?
Should I add the new memory before I do all of this or after and make one change at a time?
I am still working out the drive details with my wife but I like your ideas.
If I have never worked on a computer before am I going to have a problem with changing and adding drives and memory?
Thanks
Gary
     
mduell
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Sep 18, 2006, 08:32 PM
 
Originally Posted by garyton
Ok, You guys have convinced me.
After I get my Mac with the standard memory and one hard drive.
Don't take the stock hard drive. Take the downgrade to 160GB. The amount they give you back ($75) is very generous (the price of a shiny new 250GB drive!) and with your plans to buy 500-750G drives you won't really miss those 90G.

Originally Posted by garyton
How do I replace the standard drive that I assume will have the OS on it along with any programs that come rpeloaded?
Take the side off the case, put the new drive in one of the (included) drive carriers, and then boot off the DVD that comes with your Mac to reinstall the OS and apps. You can then delete the files off the 160G and use it for storage.

Originally Posted by garyton
Should I add the new memory before I do all of this or after and make one change at a time?
Before is fine.

Originally Posted by garyton
I am still working out the drive details with my wife but I like your ideas.
If I have never worked on a computer before am I going to have a problem with changing and adding drives and memory?
It's not hard, just be careful.
     
garyton  (op)
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Sep 18, 2006, 10:17 PM
 
OK: I am almost there other than convincing my wife to make the switch which I think will work after she keeps reading your postings.
I looked at the hard drives available at OWC. I see perpendicular drives, and sata or sata II drives. Then I see Seagate Barracudas, Western digital caviars, western digital enterprise, Maxtor Diamond Max. I know I want 16MB cache, other than that, I know I want 7200 speed and maybe a 10,000 raptor ( I have not read the link you sent me reagarding boot speed but I have it pronted out and will look at it soon.
My question is: Are all the drives of equal quality and reliability? I do not understand what enterprise edition is or what makes it more reliable. Can you guide me? I have always been partial to seagate, although my wife likes her external Maxtors for storage.
Is there a difference between Sata and Sata II? I am assuming the power mac does not use perpendicular drives. Am I correct in that?
The memory prices are grat also. Thanks much. Going this way, I will probably just get her that really nice 30" apple display.
Thanks again
gary
     
brokenjago
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Sep 19, 2006, 12:10 AM
 
Enterprise Drives are made with reliability at the forefront of the minds of whoever makes the drive, meaning that it will be significantly more reliable than a standard drive (and more expensive.)

Perpendicular drives can be used in the Mac Pro: the only difference between it an a "horizontal" drive is the way they store the bits on the hard drive platters. Storing them vertically allows for more space, and therefore increased drive capacities. Eventually all drives will be like this.

There is a difference between SATA and SATA II: one can read at a theoretical 1.5Gbps, while the latter can read at a theoretical 3.0Gbps, meaning SATA II is supposed to be faster.

Personally I'm a big fan of Seagate. They have 5 year warranties on all their internal drives and they also tend to be really quiet.
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zerostar
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Sep 19, 2006, 09:39 AM
 
SATA and SATA II is pretty much useless right now, no drives achieves the maximum speed of SATA let alone SATA II but just get whichever is cheaper and what you are looking for, the Mac Pro can use either.

In the future drives *may* be faster than 150MB (on a single drive) and will need the speed of SATA II.
     
OreoCookie
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Sep 19, 2006, 10:27 AM
 
I think there is no risk associated to getting an Intel Mac -- in the worst case, you switch to Windows full-time again and have a nicely designed machine under your desk!
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UnixMac
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Sep 19, 2006, 10:29 AM
 
I got the Hitatchi 500's, but any higher end drive is going to be good. Also the Raptor 150gb is a bit faster than the 74 gb in "most" tasks, but $100 more.. so if you're only going to use it for a boot drive, and to store a few apps it may be enough (as it was for me) I've still got 30gb free after installing a lot of stuff.

As for installing OS X on the new drive.. as they said above.. first ignore all of the crap OWC sends you about jumper pins etc.. and plug the drives into the computer.. first you'll want to launch with your native drive, then once you're thru the setup you'll go to disk utility and formate (erase) the new drives.. once that is done, you'll pull the one out that you plan to use for a boot drive and replace it into bay 1, and boot into the DVD (by holding down the "c" button as you power up).. first make sure to have placed the DVD into the computer before powering it down! Then follow the directions to install OS X and all of the pre-installed software.. should take about 20min and you can then turn your native drive into an additional storage drive.
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Xyrrus
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Sep 19, 2006, 11:39 AM
 
Originally Posted by OreoCookie
I think there is no risk associated to getting an Intel Mac -- in the worst case, you switch to Windows full-time again and have a nicely designed machine under your desk!
I don't think that's completely fair to say. Officially, running Windows on Apple hardware is still at worst unsupported and at best in beta. Depending on the type of machine one wants to configure there *can be* a cost advantage with going for a PC. A lot of what you pay for with a Mac is good support and the OS: Running Windows exclusively negates those two main advantages.

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OreoCookie
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Sep 19, 2006, 12:08 PM
 
Originally Posted by Xyrrus
I don't think that's completely fair to say. Officially, running Windows on Apple hardware is still at worst unsupported and at best in beta. Depending on the type of machine one wants to configure there *can be* a cost advantage with going for a PC. A lot of what you pay for with a Mac is good support and the OS: Running Windows exclusively negates those two main advantages.
The Mac Pro uses standard PC hardware, so he may not get (software) support from Apple, but rather from Microsoft -- the same support he will get if he buys a retail copy of Windows for his new PC. So compared to a `regular' PC, he will get the same support -- which is a disadvantage to getting a Mac, but not a disadvantage to getting another PC.

You don't need to argue what OS I prefer (no argument there), but if it turns out that the OP likes Windows better, he doesn't need to sell his hardware (at a loss), but can run Windows instead like on any other PC. I'm not sure why you have such a negative view of Boot Camp and Windows support on Intel Macs, but I haven't heard of too many major issues. Well, not more issues than usual for a Windows PC. Also, Apple does support Boot Camp and the Windows drivers that are included with it.
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UnixMac
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Sep 19, 2006, 12:26 PM
 
I agree with Oreo.. its a no risk solution!
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Xyrrus
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Sep 19, 2006, 12:41 PM
 
Originally Posted by OreoCookie
The Mac Pro uses standard PC hardware, so he may not get (software) support from Apple, but rather from Microsoft -- the same support he will get if he buys a retail copy of Windows for his new PC. So compared to a `regular' PC, he will get the same support -- which is a disadvantage to getting a Mac, but not a disadvantage to getting another PC.

You don't need to argue what OS I prefer (no argument there), but if it turns out that the OP likes Windows better, he doesn't need to sell his hardware (at a loss), but can run Windows instead like on any other PC. I'm not sure why you have such a negative view of Boot Camp and Windows support on Intel Macs, but I haven't heard of too many major issues. Well, not more issues than usual for a Windows PC. Also, Apple does support Boot Camp and the Windows drivers that are included with it.
I did overstate the negatives of Boot Camp, I just think its only fair to remind people that as of right now, the official status of the project is beta and that using beta software in a production environment isn't usually good idea.

Personally, I've been very impressed with boot camp and it probably got me to buy a Mac Pro instead of a cheaper laptop, because with the arrivial of my X1900 yesterday my gaming PC has officially been retired. A Mac Pro is a *great* 2-in-1 solution for people who need to run intensive windows apps (like games!)

My only point is that for a person who's buying the Mac to run windows the majority of the time, its not neccessary a smart financial decision as you're negating two of apple's big selling points. If you're pretty sure you're going to use Mac OS X but then later decide that it isn't for you, the Pro does offer something that basically no other machine in the world can: Best-in-class hardware and the ability to run every major operating system available.

-Xy
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Googer-Giger
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Sep 19, 2006, 07:59 PM
 
The switch for me was like totally painless, no data to transfer!..because i may have lit my PC on fire...
I miss the days of the G5 and XPS Pentium 4 running side by side as high-end machines.
     
mduell
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Sep 19, 2006, 10:29 PM
 
Originally Posted by zerostar
SATA and SATA II is pretty much useless right now, no drives achieves the maximum speed of SATA let alone SATA II but just get whichever is cheaper and what you are looking for, the Mac Pro can use either.

In the future drives *may* be faster than 150MB (on a single drive) and will need the speed of SATA II.
"SATA II" is a meaningless phrase. Please stop using it.
     
Tack
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Sep 19, 2006, 10:32 PM
 
Originally Posted by garyton
As far as Photoshop and most of her programs go. We travel internationally every year to Asia. We get virtually any program as a copy for a few dollars. All of her 3D rendering to Photoshop and all Adobe programs and even Windows OS.
Pirated software is not okay. I hope this is not what you mean.
     
garyton  (op)
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Sep 19, 2006, 10:43 PM
 
My hopes are that my wife will love the Mac OS and have no need for Windows eventually as she makes the switch.
For me it is only a matter of usng it for mail and using photoshop and my Canon downloading programs along with ACDC.
We are going play with one this weekend that is using Tiger and next weekend will visit the Apple store and play with a new Pro.
Thanks
Gary
     
Hobeaux
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Sep 20, 2006, 11:26 AM
 
a couple of things:
1. always, always, always purchase AppleCare with your computer/iPod. It adds two years support and removes a lot of pain should anything go wrong.
2. photoshop isn't native yet so it will be emulated with Rosetta. This means that it's not going to run nearly as fast as you have experienced on a PC and it may crash on you. Adobe has recently previewed Photoshop CS3 which *is* native to the Intel-based Mac Pro (yay) but hasn't announced a shipping date yet.
3. While mduell has stated that "SATA II" is meaningless, it is worthy to point out that the drives that Apple puts in the Mac Pro are SATA II spec. Any SATA or SATA II drive will work on the Mac Pro. Just click it into place and reboot.
4. Fibre channel is like ethernet, but uses fiber optic cabling for speeeeed. Typically only used in high-volume data transfers in video production workflows between workstations and servers (oft with SAN). Obviously you don't need this in a single workstation environment read about it.
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garyton  (op)
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Sep 20, 2006, 10:34 PM
 
If I am only going to run 1 ATI X1900 XTX board, is it worth getting a 30 apple monitor that has a resolution of 2540x1600. I do not think one graphics card, even the 1900 XTX is that high. I also have heard that the monitor is not that fast and experiences ghosting which causes the image to blur. I was planning on getting the Dell 2407FPW. What is your exeriences with these monitors?
For hard drives, I decided on placing three 500 GB Seagates with the perpendicular technology in 7200 rpms and it was suggested to me to place them in a Raid 5 array. Then I would hav 1 TB of storage (one drive goes to parity), and if one drive fails, I would not lose any data. Does the SATA controller on the Power Mac motherboard support raid 5? Should I get a separate raid controller from Areca that will fit into one of the motherboard's PCIe slots?
Regarding memory: Is there any disadvantage to using 2GB sticks in putting in 4 GB now and adding 4 more in a month or so versus using 1 Gb sticks?
Gary
     
brokenjago
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Sep 21, 2006, 12:14 AM
 
The X1900XT can support the 30"ACD with ease.

I've not heard of any ghosting on the 30" ACD.

I think the 2407FPW uses the same panel that Apple does. mduell should know for sure.

I'm pretty sure RAID 5 is supported by Mac OS X.

Nothing other than a significant price jump.
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Hobeaux
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Sep 21, 2006, 12:46 AM
 
the x1900 card will be a great card for any of the displays and can support two 30-inch displays in an extended desktop (not mirrored). Here's the "learn more" text from the customize page

"If you’re working in motion graphics, animation, or 3D design and visualization, the powerful ATI Radeon X1900 XT with 512MB of dedicated GDDR3 memory may suit your needs perfectly. It offers two dual-link DVI ports that can simultaneously support two 30-inch Apple Cinema HD Displays for an incredibly large widescreen workspace."
If you're concerned about the apple 30-inch and feel like you have time before you make a purchase, then wait to see if apple makes any announcements between now and Macworld (1st or 2nd week of January)--apple lowered the prices on their displays back in august so either they did that to keep up with market shifts or they're trying to clear inventory.

Mac Pros only have Software RAID which provides raid 0, 1, and 5. It can be set with Disk Utility, which is located in the Applications/Utilities directory. You can find out more about raid and the mac pro on this site.

I would imagine that it's possible to have hardware raid, but i've never tried. If you have a card that can go into a mac pro, then use that as it could provide more raid options and better speed. I'm just ignorant in this matter.
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mduell
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Sep 21, 2006, 07:52 PM
 
Originally Posted by brokenjago
The X1900XT can support the 30"ACD with ease.

I've not heard of any ghosting on the 30" ACD.

I think the 2407FPW uses the same panel that Apple does. mduell should know for sure.
I don't know what panel the iMac uses. I haven't seen any take-apart shots of the back of the screen.

The only isue with the 2407FPW is occasional color banding. It can be fixed by turning the display off and on.
     
pageman
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Sep 30, 2006, 12:58 AM
 
Hey Gary, I know i'm jumping in late on a minor detail of your purchase, but why buy an LCD when you can get a Panasonic 42" HD Plasma at the same price (best buy chump price) even cheaper if you shop around. Plus if yor waiting, plasmas are dropping fast.
And i'll say from experience that they are incredible as computer monitors as well as HD monitors escpecislly if you get a pro model.
     
OreoCookie
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Sep 30, 2006, 02:30 AM
 
Originally Posted by pageman
Hey Gary, I know i'm jumping in late on a minor detail of your purchase, but why buy an LCD when you can get a Panasonic 42" HD Plasma at the same price (best buy chump price) even cheaper if you shop around. Plus if yor waiting, plasmas are dropping fast.
And i'll say from experience that they are incredible as computer monitors as well as HD monitors escpecislly if you get a pro model.
The resolution of the plasma tv ill be markedly lower (about half), you'll have a hard time comparing the two.
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