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Mac Thread, Choosing which Mac to buy in Technical; OK - I'm seriously thinking about getting some Apple gear in. Since I use Citrix for all my clients, it ...
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    Choosing which Mac to buy

    OK - I'm seriously thinking about getting some Apple gear in. Since I use Citrix for all my clients, it doesn't really matter what local platform I have (as long as a Citrix client is available) so I reckon I could get some Macs for media-specific applications (video-editting and music production in particular).

    Along with the clients I'm also looking at laptops - particularly one for me (for testing purposes obviously!) and I was wondering how significant the difference between PowerBooks and iBooks is - £300 is a big jump in price for 0.2GHz speed increase, extra 40GB hard disk space and a DVD writer!

    So what do people reckon - cost-benefit analyses please

    BTW - I will stick a bottom of the range xServe in for a bit of control and for use as a streaming media server

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    Re: Choosing which Mac to buy

    I kitted out a room full of iMac's back in April, we went for the 20inch models and they came in at just under £1000 ex VAT, with DVD writers, 1GB RAM and 250GB HD.

    We also went for Final Cut Express HD and Final Cut Studio (Final Cut Pro 5, Soundtrack Pro, Motion 2 and DVD Studio Pro 4) which are cheaper if you get them on a volume license! Also, although these are meant to be pro apps, the majority of our kids picked it up really easily. We start off with iMovie, teach them the basics of production, then introduce more advanced stuff.

    We also have 14" iBooks, the 1.42GHz variety will edit SD video no problems but struggle with HD, so think about that before you buy. We use the G5 iMac's and a pair of Dual G5's for HD stuff.

    What is also worth thinking about is that Apple will be moving from PPC chips to Intel chips sometime in 2006, if you're going to invest heavily then you might want to wait.

    I have a 17" G4 1.5Ghz powerbook, yes it looks very nice, but essentially it does with the iBooks do, although I love the backlit keyboard :P Oh, the iBooks have the sudden motion detector, which is handy as kids like to drop laptops!

    What we have found is that going down the mac road is an expensive business, but with good teachers and techs that know what they're doing, the quality of work produced is amazing.

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    Re: Choosing which Mac to buy

    I have just found out that I might be able to get some second user boxes to test with

    I'm thinking along the lines of maybe 12 eMac boxes as a media suite - there is currently no such provision for video editting so it would be a good entry point. I do not plan to invest 'heavily' in Macs - simply use Macs where they are best suited.

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    Re: Choosing which Mac to buy

    Emacs have been recently discontinued, instead there is the new iMac G5, with iSight.

    The only real problem with video editing in schools, is the question of how do you deal with the large files video capture and manipulation involves. Ideally, it would be perfect if you could logon anywhere and edit your video without any kind of delay. In reality, you'll probably have to use the same machine everytime with the video saved to the local hard disk. Its not really practical to edit video over a normal school network, usually because the data throughput requirements would not be feasible. So then the question is how do you deal with large files saved locally, without people being able to delete other peoples work etc.

    I'm sure there are good solutions to this, but I was always put off with them as they seemed to be less than adequate.

    -Kev

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    Re: Choosing which Mac to buy

    I have ideas on the logistics - mapping a drive to a local share for instance so that files won't be transfered. It was never going to be a save once, edit anywhere solution.

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    Re: Choosing which Mac to buy

    It`s been suggested we get a couple of macs for the sole purpose of video editing. Any suggestions on models, software etc.

    I`ve no experience with macs but we are going to be involved with an outside agency in video production so we need some good gear!!!

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    Re: Choosing which Mac to buy

    Depends on how much money you have!

    The iMac's are perfect for schools, coupled with Final Cut Studio the kids can learn the basics of editing with iMovie then go onto Final Cut Studio. If they like that they can move onto Final Cut Pro or Avid after school.

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    Re: Choosing which Mac to buy

    We bought our first Mac in May 2005, specifically for Video editing using Final Cut, mainly the Drama department.
    The model we bought (G5 PowerMac single-processor) gave us a load of grief, hanging & crashing. It took us over 6 months of hassling Apple, hours on their help line trying tweaks & patches, before they finally agreed to take it away and fix it. Apparently they did a firmware update.
    Since then it's been brilliant, with some of the kids becoming really expert video producers, making DVDs of school plays, House Music competition etc.
    We're now looking to buy another two Macs for more general school use, rather than tucked away in Drama. The new dual-Intel iMac looks really good. If anyone gets the chance to put one of these through its paces, let us know how it performs.
    We'd need to integrate them into our Novell Network. With our present Mac we run VirtualPC and the Novell Windows Client, but one of the Apple guys at BETT said they're working on a Novell Apple client.
    Any Mac advice would be appreciated.

    RoyG

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    Re: Choosing which Mac to buy

    Start them on Mac Minis and iLife.

    There is a lot of stuff out there to help with this, all you need to do is create a folder in the "shared users" folder on the local driver and get them to work in there rather than across the network 9can be a little slow when working on projects of 2GB or more ...)

    www.dvined.org.uk has a number of tutorials, you should also get a .Mac account asap (full, not this trial thingy) ... and subscribe to iCreate from Highbury Entertainment (Paragon ... www.paragon.co.uk)

    As we all know, you should also speak to an Apple Solutions Expert and an Apple Distinguished Educator for advice ...

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    Re: Choosing which Mac to buy

    I use a 1.2Ghz G4 iBook for all things work related- they are simply great. Sturdy, good battery life, fast enough for most applications, and cheaper than the PB. If it's a school purchase I would recommend the iBook.

    For DV I wouldn't recommend anything other than an iMac G5 (or obviously the new MacTel when they stop using Rosetta). Having said that, our media department enjoy DV editing on eMacs and it's fine (Final Cut Express and iMovie/iDVD). As someone mentioned, the choice becomes easier if you are thinking about editing HD. In this case it *has* to be a G5 of some kind.

    We have encountered the same worry about the size of multimedia files that others have, and so this last month our media department got themselves a 500GB external Lacie drive for less than £220. A steal, and an excellent option if the students are saving lots of movies and things for course work (which they are).

    Paul

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    Re: Choosing which Mac to buy

    An external drive that could be packed away after lesson might help get around saving files locally and having the potential of other little darlings maliciously deleting work.

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    Re: Choosing which Mac to buy

    I've just been asked to source some macs for Art. 2 maybe 4.

    Teacher/ Faculty Head wants to make it look comparable to PC pricing [we're paying £400/ £450 for a decent PC spec with monitor]

    What do you think? Is the Mac mini too weedy for the task? A laptop/powerbook/ibook(?) will also be considered.

    ..and what about software? - the point is to simulate a print shop environment.

    Ta!

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    Re: Choosing which Mac to buy

    It'll depend on the software you want to run on them, but a Mini will be fine as far as I am concerned. Before using my Mini as a server at home for training, I used it for video editing, music creation, and editing photos with GIMP and Photoshop. Oh, and Dreamweaver. Everything really. And that on only 512MB RAM!

    Good thing is, a Mac Mini will be within your normal budget range for an average PC. Seems a winner to me.

    Paul :-)

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    Re: Choosing which Mac to buy

    If you want to simulate a print shop then £450 is skimping it a bit, even for a PC.

    The important things depend on what software you will be using.

    A Mac Mini is good as a home machine of a little server that won't be overly taxed.

    The benefit you get with the laptops is the cost of the screen is integrated.

    For a good machine for art to do print based work (album covers, page layouts for publishing, etc) you want good graphics (minimum 64MB dedicated), a nice amount of RAM (1GB is average, but 768 is usable and 2GB would be lovely ... ) and a presume that you will give each student using it 1-4GB of storage space and preferably on the local machine whilst working so not to hammer your network. This can either be via locally attached storage or on the local drive. Have a 160GB drive helps with this.

    Then you have to look at software. Quark and Adobe are the big boys ... Quark Express and Adobe InDesign ... it is usually more cost effective to go for Adobe Creative Suite as you aslo get Photoshop etc.

    Ok ... talking about individual machines now ...

    If you look at the Apple Education Price List (http://registration.euro.apple.com/p...ion_instit.pdf)
    You can see that eMacs still exist and can be purchased ... Another stick of memory in the top spec on and you are there ... the perfect machine.

    Please remember to add onto the cost the AppleCare Protection Plan (the upgrade to a 3 year support) and the eMac tilt and swivel stand (a real bonus for the students when working in groups)

    So that comes to around £670 ex Vat for the harware, the stand and memory upgrade ... add the Adobe CS licence and you get around £965.

    Compare this with Dell ... they tell you to use the Precision range (this puts the system alone at over £1200) but you can get away with an Optiplex GX620 with a 128MB graphics card (this goes for around the £820 area ... but you can get it down a fair bit.)

    You also have to think about how you are going to lock the Macs down, either by using OSX Server or 3rd party software (MacAdministrator), or just hook it onto the domain and hope for the best (sort of works ... only had one problem so far!)

    Also consider the large files that will be worked on and peripherals needed too ... scanners that may also do negatives, colour printers (A3 and A4) ... Wacom tablets ...

    HTH

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    Re: Choosing which Mac to buy

    Quote Originally Posted by kingswood
    It'll depend on the software you want to run on them, but a Mini will be fine as far as I am concerned. Before using my Mini as a server at home for training, I used it for video editing, music creation, and editing photos with GIMP and Photoshop. Oh, and Dreamweaver. Everything really. And that on only 512MB RAM!

    Good thing is, a Mac Mini will be within your normal budget range for an average PC. Seems a winner to me.

    Paul :-)
    Pah ... you may be able to get to the moon and back on that but you try rendering layers in photoshop and you'll be there forever.

    A word of warning to those that do go for Mac Minis ... tell the teachers to give the students 10 minutes warning before the end of the lesson if any major work needs rendering and then saving.

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