Monday, January 16, 2006

147. iWant has become iNeed

(caution, lots of geek speak ahead)

Okay, I've been going back and forth with this thing about getting a new iMac (see blog 143). First I just wanted to get one because Apple just came out with their new Intel-based iMacs, but as it turns out, I have more need for a new computer than I thought.

See, I have this little side job where I record music and do minor audio editing. I use Pro Tools (LE) to get this done. Well Pro Tools just came out with version 7 and based on the new feature set and a special deal they were running, I bought the upgrade.

Now I'm one of those rare individuals who takes the time to read instruction manuals (usually) and so it's not like me to do this, but (mistake number one) it turns out that Pro Tools 7 requires the latest version of Mac OSX (10.4, aka Tiger). No problem. I go out and buy the upgrade and make the switch. After upgrading the OS, I install Pro Tools 7 and it runs just fine, at least the program opens up and I can still open my old session files.

So then the other day, I'm playing some music tracks in Pro Tools and (mistake number two) I find that my computer isn't fast enough anymore. I should have known this would happen because I was pushing my luck running the old version of Pro Tools on my 800Mhz G4 iBook ("you're trying to run Pro Tools on THAT!?"). But I thought it would work because one of the promised features of Pro Tools 7 is a new plug-in architecture that's more efficient, allowing you to run more plug-ins with less of a hit on the processor. Now it may be that Pro Tools 7 is more efficient, but at the same time, Tiger (Mac's new OS) is more processor hungry than Jaguar (Mac's old OS). So even though Pro Tools is more efficient, the new OS is negating the efficiency gains. At least that's my theory. Truth is, I'm trying to run a program designed for race horses on a mule (a trusty, faithful mule, but a mule nevertheless).

Bottom line is, my iBook isn't up to the task of running Pro Tools anymore. I suppose I could re-install the old version of the OS and Pro Tools 6, but I like the new OS (it comes with a built-in dictionary/thesaurus that I love) and downgrading is just such a bummer.

So I'm examining all my options for getting a new Mac. I'm trying to decide between the old G5 based iMac or a Power Mac. I can't get the new Intel-based iMac because it won't run Pro Tools, even through Rosetta (the emulator that's supposed to let you run non-Intel compiled software on the new Intel processors). I can afford either one (sort of), question is how poor I want to be after the purchase.

Best case scenario, Apple makes a surprise announcement that it's upping its timetable in the G5 to Intel switchover and so they're slashing prices on the old G5 stock to make way for the new. This could very well happen, but probably not soon enough for me. See, I'm working with this project called Story Line where kids can call a phone number and hear a story read to them. I edit these stories and get them ready to be up-loaded, and I edit these stories in Pro Tools. The next batch of stories are due in a couple weeks which wouldn't be so bad if I didn't have to record new intros for the next batch.

Stupid me, I should have checked on these things before making the upgrade and I should have known that my measly little iBook would balk at the task of running both a new operating system and a new version of Pro Tools.

Blah. Anybody know anybody trying to unload their Power Mac G5, preferably a dual processor model?

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