I’ve had my PowerMac G5 since summer of 2004 and I’m ready to replace it. Its served me well but when my Mac mini can run circles around it, I know it needs to go. Especially when I’ve got a big project ahead.
I’ve got about 10,000 feet of 8mm film that I will need to get converted. I’ve been looking at ways to build my own telecine device with a scanner. I don’t think I’ll be able to use a Mac for this, so I’m really looking at building my own PC and running Ubuntu on it. Then use some Python code to talk to the SANE interface of the scanner. But thats for another post.
Once I get this film transferred, I’ll need to edit it. I currently run Final Cut Pro. But the problem I see is a lack of hardware from Apple that suits my needs. Lets take a look at the three machines I’m looking at.
8-core Mac Pro
I love the 8-core Mac Pro. Its a beautiful machine. Dual Xeon 5500 Nehalem processors. Its got everything I want in a desktop machine. There’s only one problem. I’m not a professional video editor. I can’t afford the $4000 price tag. So its a no go.
4-core Mac Pro
This is the red-headed step child from Apple. They really don’t want you to buy this machine. They cripple it just enough to convince pro shops to just bite the bullet and go for the 8-core Mac Pro. If this Mac Pro came with six memory slots, I’d be all over it. But its only got four. It just feels dirty to me that Apple would go out of their way to cripple a machine like this.
So what about the consumer Mac? Could I settle for the iMac? It has decent performance, definitely much better than my dual 2.0Ghz G5, and is in my price range. Except its got one major problem. It has 2 memory slots. It comes with 4GB of memory. If I want to upgrade to the maximum of 8GB, it will cost over $900. Why? Because the iMac is using DDR3 memory. And the 4GB modules are expensive. So if I want to get an iMac with 8GB of memory, the price tag will be in the range of the Quad-core Mac Pro.
And the winner is?
So right now, I can say that none of these Macs work for me. Which really sucks. I love Apple hardware, and Apple software even more, but it seems like Apple isn’t catering to the prosumer like me.
So what am I to do? As I mentioned earlier, I plan to build a PC that will run Ubuntu. The problem is video editing sucks on Linux. So what is my other option? I could install Windows 7 on the PC as well and then install Adobe Premiere Pro to do my video editing. Even after building an Intel i7 machine and buying Premiere Pro, it would still come out cheaper than a Mac Pro. This would also lead to another problem. I use Aperture. If I make the transition to a Windows machine, I could replace Aperture with Adobe Lightroom.
Apple could make this real easy by just releasing a computer that fits in between the iMac and the Mac Pro. Something that runs on an i7 processor and is expandable. Sell it for between $1500 and $2000. I’d order one tonight.
But without that much wanted Apple computer, economics may play a role in my future hardware. I can’t stand Windows. I love OS X. But if I can keep a $1000 in my pocket, I may have to go to the dark side.