I've been without a desktop computer for over a year, and I was antsy. I've had a desktop computer since I was 14 years old, and made the transition to Macs when I was 24. Sold my G5 when moving from NY to LA, and living off a Macbook was OK... but I needed some power. A desktop I could upgrade, overclock, get nerdy with!
Looking at the Apple inventory, you have these options for desktops:
- Mac Mini (starts $599): you CAN upgrade the memory and hard drive, but you need a putty knife and a reckless abandon for the warranty. Video is onboard, no upgrade.
- iMac (starts $1199): memory upgrades easily, hard drive not to easily. Video can't upgrade, it's onboard.
- Mac Pro (starts at $2499): typical desktop, side opens to reveal expansion slots, hard drive bays, PCIe video card ports, etc. However... $2499 for the BASE model.
Specs are as follows:
- Motherboard: Asus P5N7A-VM (micro ATX board, onboard NVidia graphics with PCIe ports for later expansion, onboard HDMI, DVI, VGA, LAN, rear eSATA port, bells, whistles galore. Supports quad-core CPU's if/when I want to upgrade.
- CPU: Intel Dual Core Pentium E6300 Wolfdale 2.8GHz 2MB L2 Cache.
- RAM: 4GB DDR2 800
- Video: currently using onboard graphics: NVIDIA GeForce 9300 chip.
I won't say I didn't hit a few bumps in the road. I've fixed most/all the kernel panics. System doesn't sleep properly, or even shut down properly. However, Final Cut Studio runs like a champ, including rendering and exporting. Pulling dailies from R3D files cranks right through.
I'd place my system's performance somewhere between the capabilities of an iMac and the scalability of a Mac Pro. My total cost for just the system (spare parts notwithstanding)? $435
I didn't necessarily want to take matters into my own hands, I just didn't want to spend over $600 for a desktop with NO upgrade capabilities, or $1200 for modest upgrade capabilities, and certainly not $2500 for a computer! For another $100, I can expand this machine to 8GB of RAM, or add another terabyte of HD space for $90. I love Apple computers, but I hate not being able to grow with need or demand. 3-4 years ago, I was importing P2 cards into FCP. Now, I'm importing ProRes files shot on RED.
So, open up to discussion. Anyone else running a hackintosh, or toying with building one?