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  1. #1 Laptop Or Tower? 
    Ok, first, I am the ultimate cheapskate on this site. No one will ever come close to me. I pride myself on being able to squeeze the shit out of a buffalo nickel to git'r'done.

    But! It is finally time to get a new Mac. I cant install FCP5 or Studio on one of my 3 beatdown G4 733's. Conversely, I just tried to plug in an external hard drive at my neighbors (not knowing I had a faulty cord) and had a lightning show, and practically singed my hair in the process. Scary. So I need the cheapest storage options too.

    So, should I get a laptop or tower for editing footage from my Red? I want to mutitask, and the laptop is perfect for that, but damn, a towers got the power!

    Thanks,
    Keith :detective2:
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  2. #2  
    Senior Member Jonathan L. Bowen's Avatar
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    Hmm, not sure what a cheapskate would shell out for a computer, haha, but I think the cheapest semi-functional editing computer is going to be at least $3,500 and I wouldn't be able to edit full time on something like that. The computer we are looking into (my production company) is about $21,000, but we're going to hold off buying it until closer to when the RED will arrive. I'm editing now on a two-year-old computer and it already frustrates me. It's dual 2.5 Ghz G5 processors with 8 gigs of RAM, and the processors by this point aren't as fast as I would like to be using. I definitely want a new 8-core with 16 gigs of RAM, lol.

    But you can probably get a decent, functional computer that will (eventually) get the job done for not more than $5,000. I also personally cannot edit with just one screen, it drives me crazy, I've had two screens for everything now (including writing my last book, research on one, book material on the other) for two years so now I can't go back.
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  3. #3  
    Senior Member I Bloom's Avatar
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    My thought right now is start with the laptop, then expand into a tower. Especially if you are more shooter than editor then the 17 inch Macbook Pro is the Tool you need on set. You need that mobility more than you need power.

    IBloom
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  4. #4  
    Senior Member Jaime Vallés's Avatar
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    Go with a tower. Even the lowest Mac Pro will be infinitely more capable than the fastest laptop.

    Check out HDforIndies.com for some recommended low-budget Mac setups.
    Jaime Vallés

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  5. #5  
    If I were a cheapskate who could afford a RED camera, I would recognize that the cost of the computer is a pretty low percentage of the cost of the production, and you're spending more time in front of your computer editing than during any other production phase.

    If I was making something character-driven I might lean towards the MacBook Pro. It would have ample power for such a project, and the high-resolution video option ($100) would give you the same screen real estate as a 23" Cinema Display.

    If I had even minimal special effects, I'd get the 8-core Mac Pro. After Effects takes advantage of all eight cores and I'm sure many other special effects programs will as well.

    An intriguing option to save money might be to get a MacBook instead of a Pro and use a non-Apple external monitor to gain screen real estate. You'd save quite a bit of money over a MacBook Pro. I don't think I'd do this as my sole editing platform, but if I wanted to get the Mac Pro and have a portable too, it would be a great way to have my cake and eat it too, without breaking the bank.

    Remember not to forget memory but of course Apple RAM prices are very high. Check out other quality suppliers like Kingston and Crucial. Don't buy cheap RAM; it doesn't work and the freezes and lockups it cause will cost you.

    Hope that helps.

    D
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  6. #6  
    wow, all great tips. though i still cant decide.

    i expect to be using after effects alot as my next film duplicates the same person many times over, and uses mattes etc.

    hmmm... as long as the laptops got the juice, i think i can have patience on the slowness...
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  7. #7  
    Senior Member Poi Boy's Avatar
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    I think you need both but if you only buy one sounds like the laptop w/ 4 gigs of ram may not be enough, especially since you want to do effects work
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  8. #8  
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    Quote Originally Posted by km9000 View Post
    wow, all great tips. though i still cant decide.

    i expect to be using after effects alot as my next film duplicates the same person many times over, and uses mattes etc.

    hmmm... as long as the laptops got the juice, i think i can have patience on the slowness...
    I would steer clear of a laptop for what you're suggesting. Get a tower, expand on it as you up your cashflow.

    Eventually, or maybe even at the same time, get the laptop for set work, as someone has already suggested. But I have a feeling you're gonna feel like you need more from your machine when you hit Post.

    Cheers!
    Tom

    P.S. First post as a member of the boards! Cheers! :)
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  9. #9  
    Senior Member Jonathan L. Bowen's Avatar
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    Computers can definitely be unbelievably expensive when you're frustrated by lower end performance. I thought this computer I'm using now was ridiculous when I bought it, I mean it was $9,000 at the time. But now it's not very impressive, besides the RAM. The RAM has still stood up, 8 is still a lot of RAM, but the processors are relatively slow compared to a new 8-core setup, the hard drives are seriously pathetic and are already annoying me because with all of the stuff installed you have very little space for your projects. I have two 500 gig externals (MyBooks from Western Digital), and one is completely unused, the other mostly unused, but I'll start dumping my projects onto those once I'm finished with them because I can't afford the hard disk space on this computer.

    I just look at the top of the line Mac now and I drool. My bank account doesn't drool, though, it whimpers and begs me to wait ;)

    4 x 750 gig hard drives, 8 cores, 16 gigs of RAM, hmm, yeah I could live with that!

    But the computer that ProMax quoted us, with various elements for editing and rendering and all of that, came to $21,000. It was completely loaded and would no doubt be an amazing professional editing setup, but right now since I'm late on the RED reservation list I would just as soon wait and buy that maybe early 2008, that way if anything has changed I will have the newest computer then, when I need it, not right now, when I could use it but don't really need it. For now my friend and I have the decked out Mac Book Pros on order for use on set and extra computing power when needed. One problem is our group of three (where really only two of us know how to edit) has just one Mac for editing, which is mine, and having the extra two laptops will allow at least two of us to be working on a project simultaneously if that's required.

    Does anyone know why the Mac RAM always runs a bit high? Do you guys think it's actually a rip-off, or is it because it really is high performance, high quality RAM? Just curious. My friend, who is a PC user, always complains that Macs are more expensive, but in a lot of comparisons and tests they are actually comparable or cheaper than PCs built similarly, like a Dell to a new Mac for instance. Though the RAM does always seem to be the element that runs higher. For my computer now the RAM was half the cost or more.
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  10. #10  
    Senior Member Curran Giddens's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by JonathanLB View Post
    Does anyone know why the Mac RAM always runs a bit high? Do you guys think it's actually a rip-off, or is it because it really is high performance, high quality RAM? Just curious. My friend, who is a PC user, always complains that Macs are more expensive, but in a lot of comparisons and tests they are actually comparable or cheaper than PCs built similarly, like a Dell to a new Mac for instance. Though the RAM does always seem to be the element that runs higher. For my computer now the RAM was half the cost or more.
    I'm the biggest Apple fanboy, but I have to admit, the RAM prices are a rip-off. You can get the exact same RAM for much cheaper elsewhere. Maybe the extra cost is for installation?


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