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10K to invest in new gear, advice?

post #1 of 2
Thread Starter 
So I've been putting-off upgrading my system for waaay too long now (considering I am somewhat of a 'power user') and I would love to hear any advice you may have on my situation. I'm basically stuck between the new 17" MBP or a Mac Pro tower (zero clue which one to pick so any config suggestions would be really awesome too!). The following is a brief summary of my typical usage:

- I have a 100/100 fiberoptic internet connection so I tend to transfer a lot of large files (40 gigs per shot) and always need to either compress/decompress these archives (and I hate how long I have to wait right now)

- I tend to dabble in multimedia production but definitely not a heavy user ( I use CS5 for relatively simple tasks on a regular basis, also perhaps once a month I'll need to edit videos occasionally for work related to communications/advertising/PR)

- I will usually have 20-30+ windows open (web-browsers + lots of random stuff varying from Word to Photoshop/Acrobat/Dreamweaver/Spotify)

- I'll typically run a few server daemons on the machine but nothing very processor intensive

- Not a big gamer but with Portal 2, Duke Nukem Forever and Crysis 2 all on the horizon I'd like to be able to run any of these at full-quality, preferably using Parallels or VMWare)
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I have a relatively new Macbook Air and and an iPad so while I don't "need" to have my new computer be portable but it might be nice to have for travel. If the new MBP is powerful-enough for my needs then great, I will enjoy having a powerful portable machine, but if not then I'd much rather have a machine that runs everything I need it to without issues.

Other minor questions:
- if I go with the Mac Pro tower, should I get the minimum amount of RAM from apple and order through Crucial (or similar company) to save a bit of cash?
- any suggestions on alternatives to the 27" ACD? For general-purpose use, is there anything bigger/better that I should consider?

Lastly: I imagine I could buy both machines but I'd rather save some cash and don't really need both so just one really nicely configured new mac should be just fine.
post #2 of 2
Quote:
Originally Posted by blackbeard View Post

- I have a 100/100 fiberoptic internet connection so I tend to transfer a lot of large files (40 gigs per shot) and always need to either compress/decompress these archives (and I hate how long I have to wait right now)

Fast storage would speed up the compression/decompression. If you have to decompress a 40GB file on a standard 7200rpm HDD, you'll only get 80MB/s maximum and likely 50MB/s sustained. So this would take over 10 minutes minimum to compress/decompress. If you get a fast SSD, you can get about 4x that speed. The more the better of course:

http://www.barefeats.com/nehal09.html

But SSD is still new tech and they can still fail so also take that into consideration.

Quote:
Originally Posted by blackbeard View Post

- Not a big gamer but with Portal 2, Duke Nukem Forever and Crysis 2 all on the horizon I'd like to be able to run any of these at full-quality, preferably using Parallels or VMWare)

Bootcamp would be required for those games, although Portal 2 should have a native Mac version. The 17" MBP GPU may not play them on high quality but you'll get decent performance out of it and you can play them anywhere. Mobile GPUs don't compare brilliantly to high-end desktop GPUs because the desktop ones have way more cores.

The 5870 in the MP will be well over double the performance of the Radeon in the 17" MBP but you just turn the AA down a bit, the resolution etc and it'll still look fine.

Quote:
Originally Posted by blackbeard View Post

- if I go with the Mac Pro tower, should I get the minimum amount of RAM from apple and order through Crucial (or similar company) to save a bit of cash?

Yes.

Quote:
Originally Posted by blackbeard View Post

- any suggestions on alternatives to the 27" ACD? For general-purpose use, is there anything bigger/better that I should consider?

The 27" is ok but I personally don't like the glare and the resolution is overly high for the screen size - it makes the UI very small. I'd probably go for the HP ZR30w instead:

http://h10010.www1.hp.com/wwpc/us/en...1-4194577.html

On the topic of the MBP vs Mac Pro, from what you've said, the MBP would be good enough:

17" MBP
8GB RAM
250GB SSD (the 500GB prices are steep and although you can afford it, you'd be best removing the optical to get 2 x 250GB in RAID-0)
30" IPS matte display (you'll need a MDP to dual-link adaptor)
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