Advice: A PowerBook Studio?

in Current Mac Hardware edited January 2014
I have a Powerbook 667 with the ram maxed out to a gig. I've been hording my cash to buy a second machine, either a high-end iMac or mid level G4 Tower. But it seems the more and more research I do, the more it points to the idea that I really would not be hurting myself if I just got a second laptop. I want to set up my studio for audio production, final cut, dvd studio pro, after effects, etc. Right now I do all that on my PowerBook with no problem, but I wanted to get another machine so I can always have one rendering while I work on other stuff. I'm sure the G4 Tower is faster, but in 'general terms' can I set up a viable multimedia studio with two PowerBooks?

[ 02-24-2003: Message edited by: jim katta ]

[ 02-24-2003: Message edited by: jim katta ]</p>


  • Reply 1 of 14
    Do you really need the portability that two PowerBooks would offer you? I mean, if I was going to be working in a studio environment... I would want a full size keyboard, mouse, large display, etceteras. The PowerBook has a large display, but you know... I could go for larger if I could swing it.

    So if you're not going to be moving the second PowerBook around at all... why not just get a desktop? With the PowerBook, you're buying the computer and the LCD panel. If I was getting a machine for the studio and just for the studio, I'd get a tower.
  • Reply 2 of 14
    I should have clarified, in addition to my PowerBook 667, I have an external 17-inch monitor that I hook up to it. Also I have an external dvd burner and additional ext. harddrive 120gigs. If I got another PowerBook it would be refurbished or closeout, not new. Another PowerBook would run me between $1400 and 1700 depending on where I get it from. The lowest end G4 Tower is like $1500 (the one that I would get if I choose Tower). Is the difference between the low-end Tower and the PowerBook that huge when it comes to multimedia work?

    p.s. Never mind the expandability argument, I usually upgrade to another machine before I do any machine upgrades.
  • Reply 3 of 14
    Well, you can get faster hard drives and PCI slots with a tower. You did mention you have an external drive.

    I don't know, I mean, really, if I were buying a computer that would never leave my studio, I'd get a machine that didn't have an expensive LCD display attached to it that i wouldn't use.

    You seem pretty sold on the idea though, I think you're waiting for someone to post and tell you it is a good idea

    Really though, if you can find another PowerBook between 1400 and 1700 refurbished.... you can find a better refurbished tower with more "features" for the same buck, if not less.
  • Reply 4 of 14
    pbg4 dudepbg4 dude Posts: 1,611member
    You might want to consider a desktop, just in case you want to use a PCI version of sound or video I/O cards. Otherwise you will have to buy the firewire versions, and they cost more.
  • Reply 5 of 14
    I use my powerbook for all my studio work and I just go and plug everything in every morning. I use it over my desktop (old g4 400) just because its faster really. My only concern is since I unplug it everyday it puts a heavy strain on all my IO ports. I hope they are made tough. This is my first powerbook and I love it. However the duel rocks for final cut pro stuff which I use everyday a friend of mine has a duel I tested out some sequence on it compared to my powerbook. What was fun was that I could render and do other things at the same time however on my powerbook I cannot, and thats with whatever amount of RAM, so you might want to consider that. You could literally be working in photoshop while rendering in the video program of your choice which I thought was amazing.
  • Reply 6 of 14
    Also bear in mind that to purchase components, be it peripherals, upgrades, or replacement parts, they are generally going to cost more for a laptop. RAM is more, hard drives are more, and god forbid you damage the LCD screen.

    Really, if you're never going to have the thing leave the studio, get a desktop. For the same price you're quoting you can get a refurb PowerBook for, you can get a better, faster, maybe even dual, Power Mac G4.

    I can see the appeal of having a laptop. You can just unplug and walk out the door with it. Again though, if you already have one PowerBook, and this new machine won't be leaving the studio, I don't know why you would want a laptop.
  • Reply 7 of 14
    Basically the main thing driving this question is my desire to have an entire set up that is easily portable. Not day to day mind you, but maybe every few months or so. I 'do' think it might be kind of redundant to have two PowerBooks sitting side by side, but I just haven't been impressed by the things I've been hearing about the new PowerMac towers. Also, the price isn't that great on the towers for what you're getting. Heck, I've even considered getting an iMac instead of a tower. I can't afford the top or middle tower, just the low end. Based on that fact, it seems like maybe that would be 'almost' comparable to a PowerBook. Yeah? :confused:

    If I'm convinced that a tower is "absolutely" the way to go, then I'll plunk down the cash, but if the difference is minimal, in you guys' opinion, then I would just get another PB or a new iMac.

    [ 02-25-2003: Message edited by: jim katta ]</p>
  • Reply 8 of 14
    matsumatsu Posts: 6,558member
    One laptop really is enough. Don't pay the premium twice. Then again, the way the desktops are priced... Answer, the absolute cheapest used tower you can find, if MUST use a mac, otherwise get a decent PC box and save a ton of cash.

    Apple DOES NOT earn this desktop sale, IMHO. If you buy an iMac, none of the traditional desktop advantages are there for you, and it isn't cheaper than a 12" PB. If you buy a Tower, it costs an arm and a leg.

    Up to you.

    You could always just sell the PB and get a newer faster PB. Though you'd still be stuck with one machine.

    How would a cheapie used firewire gum drop fit into the audio environment. G3 only, I know, but just to run background stuff while you work on the PB?

    Just trying to save you some cash. If you got scads to spend, well, just ignore me then.
  • Reply 9 of 14
    [quote]Originally posted by kraig911: This is my first powerbook and I love it. However the duel rocks for final cut pro stuff which I use everyday a friend of mine has a duel I tested out some sequence on it compared to my powerbook. What was fun was that I could render and do other things at the same time however on my powerbook I cannot, and thats with whatever amount of RAM, so you might want to consider that. You could literally be working in photoshop while rendering in the video program of your choice which I thought was amazing.[/QB]<hr></blockquote>

    This sounds like a real endorsement for a desktop studio if you can get hold of a new dual (closeout dual867or 1G maybe) in your price range. Do work on the desktop w/ video rendering in background AND have your powerbook rendering something else entirely! No point buying a cheaper PC & more software that isn't FCP or DVD SP compatible. Add airport cards to share files, then walk around house and do photoshop or audio work in kitchen or on the couch using your desktop as a server (can add more hard drives cheaper in your desktop).

    Or hang on to your $$$ a bit longer for a bigger jump in performance at your price range.
  • Reply 10 of 14
    matsumatsu Posts: 6,558member
    Mebbe I read the original thread topic wrong (probably) I wasn't paying attention in my usual rapid scansion -- I though you were going to use it for audio production only, hence my recommendation of an old gum drop to take care of background stuff while the Ti remains the main machine. I know that some people even iBooks for their audio work, so I figured similar performance, why not save some cash? However, if you plan to run FCP, DVD Studio Pro, and other heavy weights, then the gum drop is clearly laughable.
  • Reply 11 of 14
    hmmm... this advice is really helping. I was all gung ho on a full powerbook set up, but I'm slowly leaning towards a dual 867 tower. still, it would be nice to hear any arguments in favor of the full powerbook setup. <img src="graemlins/hmmm.gif" border="0" alt="[Hmmm]" />
  • Reply 12 of 14
    You mentioned that you liked the idea of having two portables so you could change things up maybe every few months. Well, if you're going to have external monitors, hard drives, rack equipment, etceteras plugged into it... you still have to move that around. In a studio environment, I find that a desktop works out better, because I can put it on the floor by a desk, rack mount it, and not have to worry about kicking it. They're hard to break

    I think regardless of whether or not we are impressed with Apple's desktops, I think we can agree that if you're going to spend $1500 on a PowerBook, you can get a faster desktop with better specs for that same amount of cash. Don't buy a new tower, buy a refurb, buy one used. The $1500 you quoted on a laptop wasn't for a new laptop anyway, seems silly to say that it's either a refurb PB or a brand new tower

    If the new machine needs to leave the studio on a moments notice and go to, say, another building entirely... get the laptop. If you may move the physical computer every so often, desktop is the way to go. More durable, cheaper, etceteras.
  • Reply 13 of 14
    matsumatsu Posts: 6,558member
    Yeah, I think the point is to spend as little as possible on a second mac. Especially laptops, there's really no need for a second laptop, you won't, I hope, travel with two laptops. If I were you, I'd want to put the money into the machine I spend the most time in front of. If that's the PB, I would consider selling the old PB to get a faster one rather than dropping the money into anything else unless you're positively certain you'll be using it a lot! What you describe sounds like heavy useage, but if you were doing it on the PB before, then you can keep doing it on a faster PB later. Personally, I wouldn't buy a Pro tower with a G4 in it anymore, unless I could get it really cheap and it was basically for storage, to work in the background, serve up files, etc etc. When the 970's come out, take another look at your dual machine idea, not before, you wnat a machine that can give you a few years of service.
  • Reply 14 of 14
    Get a tower. Power. Better render times. Faster hard drives. More flexibility vis-a-vis add-ons. Cheaper. Sturdier. And, uh, taller....
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