Originally posted by thebeaglebeagle
Why the dual 2.0 instead of the 2.5?
Partly because you mentioned concern about fan noise, which argues against the top-end model (and also the NVIDIA 6800), and partly because I've found that getting the #2 model instead of the #1 model gets you most of the performance for significantly less money.
Also, given that Apple is still catching up with demand for the 2.5, you can order the 2.0 and get it promptly.
I suppose then I'd have extra bucks for a cool aftermarket video card, which I could buy at leisure sometime down the road. Yes, I've read the latest review of the ATI X800. Sounds sweet.
And it's available, or will be shortly. So get the default 5200U when you buy the PowerMac and use the X800 as your first "real" vid card.
But shouldn't I always buy the best and the greatest computer available in order to ensure that it stays current for a longer time? I guess I'm asking if you've heard of problems with the 2.5 (like the fan revving, or availability problems?) or if other reasons would push you in that direction (liquid cooling scary?)
All the dual PMs have liquid cooling [edit: No, they don't, but I'm still not worried about the liquid cooling], and I'm not worried about that. Hardware does tend to be more quiet and reliable when it's not pushed to the absolute edge of its performance.
As for always buying the best and greatest, I personally think it's a good way to get soaked. The second best will last as long in practice, cost less, and offer most of the same satisfactions. The only people who should buy top-end kit are the people making money from the machines. If the 2.5 lets you get 20% more billable work done per day, the difference in price will pay for itself most likely in a matter of weeks or months, and that makes it a worthwhile investment
. If you're just using it as a consumer (i.e., not using it to make money) then I don't see the point.
I mean, I have a 450MHz G4. It gets totally stomped by the Mac mini. But it runs the latest and greatest OS, the latest versions of the apps I use, and the (handful of) games I enjoy. It's only just now beginning to drop off the minimum requirements for some brand new software, 4 years later, and it works as well as—actually, better than, since OS X keeps improving—it did the day I bought it. Admittedly, the gig of RAM I dropped in hasn't hurt.
I don't really believe in the upgrade treadmill. By the time one aspect of your machine is inadequate, the odds are pretty good that several others are as well. Balanced systems are the best performers overall. Given that the Mac is not a commodity platform, it makes more sense to me to just buy a system, use it until it no longer does what you need it to, and then replace it. Upgrades can buy you a little more time, or a little more functionality, but not much. Mostly, I think, they just keep you obsessing over hardware instead of using it. I'm not saying "never upgrade," I'm advising "hop off the treadmill." If you run into a concrete limitation that a simple upgrade would solve (e.g., you need more disk space) then by all means, upgrade. But don't worry about it until you actually need it.