Call me irresponsible. Call me insane. Call me needlessly in debt. There is a new computer baby in the house, and it is a Dual Processor 1.25 GHz Mirrored Door Drive (MDD) PowerMac G4.
I fell in love with the Mirror Door drive computers a little over a year ago. They had everything I thought was wrong with the Quicksilver line: dual optical drive bays, more hard disk capacity, and a really nice looking case. Since the introduction of the G5, the prices on the MDD’s had dropped; and my wife and I were in Houston’s Galleria at the Apple Store looking at a single processor 1.25 GHz model. Attached to it was an older gent playing a keyboard with a mixer on it. That caught my wife’s attention immediately. Turned out the fellow was a school band director and interested in using the G4 and the keyboard to compose and record music. That really intrigued my wife. She was drawn to it.
I wanted another G4 PowerMac so I could do the majority of my work on OS X. While my little iMac was working just fine, I had bought it just to write on. I didn’t consider its 700 Mhz CPU really powerful enough for desktop publishing or heavy graphics work. (Yes, I know that it will work.) I felt I needed at least a 1Ghz CPU. Even though the new G5 looked like it was going to be a lot faster, the price drop on the G4’s made them a better value for me right now.
Anyway, my wife agreed to let me buy a single processor 1.25 G4 Power Mac I insisted on buying her the midi device, a Roland Eridol midi-Keyboard ECR-30. I walked toward the rear of the store, found a salesperson, and asked him to see if they had the computer and the keyboard in stock. As he disappeared into the rear storeroom, I noticed a stack of computers in boxes stacked in a corner. Some of them were marked “HOLD” and some of them were marked as returns. A PowerMac was marked as $1399. What model was that? Looking closer, I realized that it was a dual 1.25 GHz MDD! WOW! New machines were retailing at $1699. At only $1399, this one was only $100 more than a new single-processor 1.25 Ghz machine. When the salesman came back, I asked about it: why had it been returned? Had they refreshed it? Was it really $1399 and available? He remembered the woman who had bought it. She had taken it home and then decided it wasn’t what she needed and brought it back the same day she had bought it. He didn’t think she hadn’t even opened it.
That was too good a deal to pass up! So, after agonizing over it for about 30 minutes, we bought the keyboard and the MDD and took them home.
The new MDD PowerMac was configured as a “basic” model with only 256MB RAM, not enough to load up Final Cut Pro 4.0. I ordered 1GB of DDR RAM from Crucial (http://www.crucial.com), paying about $150 for it, one half what I would have paid Apple. The computer only had a combo drive (DVD/CD-RW) mounted in the top optical bay, so I moved it to the bottom bay, pulled a Pioneer DVR-105 (DVD-R/RW) out of my Quicksilver PowerMac, and put it in the top bay of the MDD. I replaced the new computer’s small 80GB hard drive with Maxtor 160GB and 120GB (7200 RPM, 8MB buffer) hard drives I had in the Quicksilver. The new dual 1.25Ghz MDD PowerMac G4 now sports 1.2GB of DDR RAM, 160 and 120 GB 7200 RPM hard drives, a 4X Pioneer SuperDrive, and a 12X DVD/32X CD-RW combo drive.
With that taken care of, it was time to reconfigure my Quicksilver. While the new MDD would become my primary video editing machine, I wanted the Quicksilver to be my desktop and web publishing machine, my backup video editing machine, and my machine for everyday tasks other than writing. So, to get it there, I pulled a Maxtor 120GB 7200 RPM (8MB buffer) hard drive and an Apple Superdrive (DVR-104) out of my flat panel (700 Mhz) iMac and put them in. I added in another Maxtor 120GB 7200 RPM hard drive from a Firewire hard drive to it, and then moved the reconfigured machine over to the U-shaped desk that houses my Windows XP machine. Using USB and VGA cables, I hooked them via a Compucable USB/KVM switch to an Apple keyboard, a Microsoft Intellimouse Explorer, and a Samsung 760V LCD display. I can now run them separately or at the same time from one desk. It is an ideal set-up.
To get my iMac up and running again, I pulled an 80GB Seagate (Apple branded) hard drive out of another Firewire case, bought a Samsung 352B combo drive (52X CD-RW/16X DVD) from CompUSA, and installed them both in the machine. I moved an Airport card from the Quicksilver over to it. The iMac is on its own desk; and with the Quicksilver, the MDD, my XP machine, and my HP Laserjet 2100 printer eating up my router’s wired Ethernet ports, the iMac was moved to the wireless side of my home LAN.
(There’s another story about the iMac and getting it to run with Jaguar, but I’m saving that for later.)
Since my Quicksilver was going to be my backup video editing machine, I wanted to get a copy of Final Cut Express to run on it. I also needed a Firewire 4pin/6pin cable to hook up with my video camera to it. Apple really made my day yesterday. As you may or may not know, Adobe discontinued Mac support for Premiere; and, as a result, Apple’s offering Premiere users a switch to Final Cut. If you send in a Premiere CD, you can get a free copy of Final Cut Express or $500 off Final Cut Pro 4.0. (See the Apple website if you’re interested in that deal.) Well, it just so happens I have a Pinnacle DV200 kit (for Windows) lying around. Inside it is a copy of Adobe Premiere 6.0 (full version), a 4pin/6 pin Firewire cable, and a 2 port Firewire card. Needless to say, my copy of Premiere 6.0 is on its way to Apple, the Firewire cable is on the Quicksilver, and the Firewire card is in my XP machine where it took the place of a 3 port job that will work in my Macs.
Yesterday was a very good day!