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Adopting the "Other" OS By Ko Maruyama
While lying in wait for the new mac laptops to be announced, I needed a machine to run demos on, something that would show what certain software could do on a professional grade machine, something I could easily haul around.  But why invest in $3000 of technology that would soon be outmoded by itself (the Mac laptop by the Intel Mac Laptop).  Here's the beginning of my diary.

First, I should say that I did some procrastinating - almost 4 months of dragging my heels.  After all, I really didn't NEED a laptop, and I certainly didn't need a PC monster; my G5 is still quite capable.  However, after being asked to co-host a monthly 3D meeting, where I would need to bring a demonstration computer - I had to start seriously looking.

I looked at several PC laptops.  Why?  Well, most of the PC laptops are quite substantial when it comes to 3D, and for around the $3000 I was considering spending for the 17" Mac laptop; I could really get a blown out system on the PC side.

I don't want to start any kind of OS flame war - - I AM A MAC GUY; AND CONTINUE TO BE, but there are still several 3D applications that just don't run on a Mac (yet), and several plugins that are PC only.  The only way to demo them, review them and use them is to get a PC; not to mention the Adobe Suite which requires PC for you to take advantage of every piece of the software family.

Every design house I've ever worked in has boasted Mac systems.  Every 3D and film house I've worked in has PCs.  But there are exceptions; the only way to know which one works better for you is to work with one.

So here goes.

After several conversations with artist-friends who are avid PC users; the consensus is that BOXX technologies and HP are two good places to look.

After a quickly returned call from BOXX, and having seen their massive and crowded display booths at several industry conventions, I decided that they'd be a good start.  (Still no returned call from HP).

I placed an order with Ed at BOXX Technologies after a week of snooping around their site and matching prices and options to other companies.  Not only was I able to get certain custom items for the new laptop, Ed understood what I wanted the machine for (3D animation and motion video compositing) and was able to suggest options to keep the machine in my $3,000 ballpark.

It was a custom machine, and as such, it took some time to build.  Unlike going to an Apple store and purchasing an "off-the-shelf" computer and a bag of RAM, I would have to wait.

and wait.

and wait.

As a longtime Mac user, who is accustomed to strolling up to the counter and saying, "I'll take THAT one", and walking out 5 minutes later, the few weeks I waited seemed like an eternity.  Fortunately, I wasn't without a computer (or even iBook), but I couldn't wait to see this machine, I was excited to get a PC.

Understandably, this was a custom machine.  Much more hardware for the money, and more video power than is even POSSIBLE in the top end Mac laptop.  I have a 256MB video card on my laptop.

Finally, the BOXX box came.

Wow!!  If you considered a G5 shipping box to be big, you haven't received a GoBoxx package.

I didn't expect it, but included was a great bag, tons of cabling and backup software (no backup software CDs with my Mac).

The box itself was bigger than my whole system!

The materials inside fill my desk:

The laptop itself (17" screen) is a monster.  Something of a desktop replacement, and almost conceals my 9x12 Wacom tablet.  Sweet metal casing and tons of ports.  Everywhere there's another firewire or USB port.

The one thing I wasn't prepared for was the MEGA power supply.  Now, I'm not going to be running through airports with this thing, so I'm not worried about weight or portability really - I'll schlep it to class or demo place only.  But take a look at this power supply.  I'm used to the little white thing that powers the iBook.

Take a look at this thing: Sitting on top of the power supply for scale is a U.S. Quarter ($0.25 coin).  In front of the power supply is my Mighty Mouse.  Click on the image to see a larger (approximately life-size) view of this large supply!  Zoinks!

Stay tuned for my continuing journal about my adoption of PC (Windows NT) in my life, and what happens with my decision to cross over to the "dark?" side?

If you have any suggestions or comments, I'll be subscribing to the WINDOWS OS forum to hear from genuine PC users and instigate "constructive discussions" about the pros and cons of the new OS.

Alternatively you'll find me in the After Effects Forum, and as soon as I can get the Adobe Software, my tutorials will be showing up in the After Effects pages rather than on MacAnimationPro only.

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Ko Maruyama is a freelance animator in Los Angeles.  In addition to working on film and broadcast animations, Ko teaches at Pasadena's Art Center College of Design - focusing on motion design.  When working, writing or testing software allows, you can find him lending a hand in the After Effects board and lurking among the Cinema4D, Visual Effects and Photoshop posts within the DMNForums.
Related Keywords:Mac OS, Windows NT, graphics machine, switch campaign, Ko, notebook, workstation, 3D, after effects


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