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Purchasing advice needed, 2¢ appreciated

post #1 of 6
Thread Starter 
Hi Guys

OK, here's the deal: I'm a freelance web designer and use the following software apps daily: Macromedia Studio MX 2004, Adobe CS Premium, MS Office v.X, MS RDC, Address Book, iCal, iTunes, Mail, Safari, IE, Netscape. I do web design and graphic design and dabble in Logic Pro for fun. Sometimes play Halo and Q3. I have a need for a portable system as I often work away from home.

I've recently 'upgraded' from a PowerMac G4 (Dual 1.25, 1Gb, 120Gb @ 7200rpm) and iBook G3 (600, 640Mb, 15Gb @ 4200rpm) to a single-system solution consisting of a PowerBook G4 12" (1Ghz, 768Mb, 40Gb @ 4200rpm) connected to an ACD 23".

It's slow. Real slow. And I believe it's a combination of me being used to my previous dual G4 system and recently upgrading all my software apps to the latest versions. I'm finding MX 2004 noticably slower than the previous versions. Apps take ages to quit, and switching apps can be traumatising, with about 20 to 30 second delays.

I'm looking to upgrade but I'd like some of your opinions on which out of the following 3 systems that I'm considering would best suit my needs.

PowerBook 12" 1.33Ghz
1.25Gb, 60Gb @ 7200rpm
Better than what I've currently got, but I've got no idea exactly how much better this is over my current system? 167Mhz bus, twice the VRAM, obviously more RAM and much faster HD. Is this gonna greatly reduce delays and majorly improve responsiveness, or would this not be much better than what I'm currently using? Opinions??

PowerBook 15" 1.5Ghz
1.25Gb, 80Gb @ 5400rpm
Not as compact as I'd like, but better graphics card (assume the 128Mb option - would this drive my ACD better as I do feel my 12" PB struggles?), faster processor (50% faster than my current 12" PB). Also, a gripe I have with my 12" is it's too noisy, the fan keeps coming on when it's hooked up to my 23" ACD. Would a 15" be quiter as the components aren't so crammed? Silly question??

PowerMac G5 Dual 1.8Ghz
4Gb, 160Gb @ 7200rpm
Should I just say f**k it and get a G5? My main reservation is that I'll need to keep my existing PB for when I'm mobile, and I'd really prefer not to have 2 systems. Is a G5 & OS X as fast as a G4 & OS 9? I really miss the instant/snappy feel of OS 9 - and I haven't yet had the pleasure of using a G5 in anger.

Sorry this is long winded, I'm grateful for any opinions and suggestions put forward.

-Ed
post #2 of 6
Studio MX 2004 is known to be agonizingly slow compared to Studio MX. This is from everyone, not just people who use systems slower than a PowerMac. You can't attribute the slow speed only to your PowerBook being slow - MX 2004 is going to slow things down.

I doubt the 1.33 GHz PowerBook is much faster than the 1 GHz one. Even the 1.5 GHz will not be a huge step in performance. Going to a dual G5, however, should help matters. Now, I'm skeptical of the G5's actual performance. It is only a little faster than the G4 clock for clock, and that's only because the G4 has a starved 167 MHz bus speed. Meanwhile, the G4 outperforms the G5 in AltiVec tasks. Still, going to dual processors that are each 80% faster than your current one is going to help a ton. Having a 7200 RPM hard drive instead of a 4200 RPM one should help a lot too.

The applications you are using require a lot of screen space for palettes and stuff. I guess that's why you have a Cinema display. Actually, that also means you won't have to spend as much on a desktop system, since you already have an awesome monitor to go with it.

I'd say ditch the PowerBook and get the desktop. You might want to wait a little bit, but don't beat yourself up waiting forever if you need the system for work. I'd say there is a chance at the G5s getting an update this Monday or Tuesday. If something else gets an update this week, wait until next week. If nothing gets updated, then we probably won't see an update until WWDC, but that's not until late June, and you don't want to wait that long.
post #3 of 6
Thread Starter 
Hi Luca

Thanx a lot for your reply, much appreciated.

I'm relieved to know that I'm not the only one finding Stuido MX 2004 slow, I'm tearing my hair out at how slow it is, my rates have just doubled for Flash sites!!

You made a lot of intersting points, and I'm aware that the G5s haven't been updated since their June announcement last year, so I wouldn't be buying one right now.

Unfortunately the whole point of moving from my PowerMac/iBook combination to the PowerBook/Cinema Display combination was to have a single-system solution. I would often forget to copy the files I was working on from my PowerMac to the iBook and I'd turn up to work at a client's office without any of the files I needed. Same goes for contacts, iCal, etc. and it was just a pain to my manage my files over two computers.

I'm really keen on staying with a PB, but if the newly released range isn't much better than what I've got I guess I'll stick with the PB G4 12" and if I get really deparate and tempted, splash out on a new PowerMac G5 when they get updated.

...or wait for the PowerBook G5

Anyways, thanx for the feedback Luca, very useful. Anybody else's feedback is greatly appreciated.

-Ed
post #4 of 6
Quote:
Originally posted by Evil Ed
It's slow. Real slow. And I believe it's a combination of me being used to my previous dual G4 system and recently upgrading all my software apps to the latest versions. I'm finding MX 2004 noticably slower than the previous versions. Apps take ages to quit, and switching apps can be traumatising, with about 20 to 30 second delays.

PowerMac G5 Dual 1.8Ghz
4Gb, 160Gb @ 7200rpm
Should I just say f**k it and get a G5? My main reservation is that I'll need to keep my existing PB for when I'm mobile, and I'd really prefer not to have 2 systems. Is a G5 & OS X as fast as a G4 & OS 9? I really miss the instant/snappy feel of OS 9 - and I haven't yet had the pleasure of using a G5 in anger.-Ed

DingDingDing

You have a need for speed, which an upgraded PowerBook will not satisfy. You not only need a dual G5, you need the 4 GB of RAM (get Apple's minimum RAM and buy from Kingston or Crucial though, save your $$).

As far as the troubles with files on two different computers - Consider using your PowerBook with your G5 in Target Disk Mode. That way you can keep your working files on the PowerBook. This also makes it easy to drag your PowerBook Documents folder into a backup folder on the G5, so your files are regularly backed up in case of PowerBook loss or damage.
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post #5 of 6
Thread Starter 
Thanx for that FormerLurker.

I'm aware of TargetDisk mode, and you make a very good point, I hadn't considered this. However, would I be getting the most out of the G5 if I was solely using the PowerBook's hard drive? Obviously I'd have to have a 7200RPM HD in the PB, but would the FireWire interface be a bottleneck? Would a FW800 connection between the G5 and the PB mean twice the speed? How much faster is the G5's internal HD on the SATA interface?

Thanx again

-Ed
post #6 of 6
Quote:
Originally posted by Evil Ed
Thanx for that FormerLurker.

I'm aware of TargetDisk mode, and you make a very good point, I hadn't considered this. However, would I be getting the most out of the G5 if I was solely using the PowerBook's hard drive? Obviously I'd have to have a 7200RPM HD in the PB, but would the FireWire interface be a bottleneck? Would a FW800 connection between the G5 and the PB mean twice the speed? How much faster is the G5's internal HD on the SATA interface?
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Since your system and apps and VM swapfile will be on the G5 internal drive, and only your document data will be on the PowerBook drive, I don't think you'll see much (if any) speed hit. With 4 GB of RAM, most of your data should stay there anyway. It might be worth it to copy a hi-res Photoshop document (like, 100 MB or more), otherwise, I don't think the difference would be perceptible. Hey, it's always fun to try using both drives and find out for yourself...

If there is in fact a perceptible speed hit for running your docs direct from the PowerBook, you could check VersionTracker for some good synchronization software.
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