Friday, April 18, 2008

Mac Pro

Bit the bullet.  A great first-year plus in the Apple world with my Macbook (Intel 2 GHz Core 2 Duo) transitioned to more serious iron:  I grabbed a Mac Pro from Craig's list.  The Mac laptop is great, but it isn't designed to be left on most of the time and crunch gigabytes of RAW files -- or so I reasoned.  The Mac Pro is a chunky tower, runs two dual-core CPUs at 3 GHz, and came with 5 Gb RAM and a terabyte of storage (across 3 internal hard drives).  I'm cautious about high-tech gear from Craig's or Ebay.  This unit came from a respected firm that chose not to go Mac, and had two years left on its Apple Care service program.  I researched comparable refurbs at Apple ("Refurbished Mac" at, learned the machine's history ("hardly used since our old IT guy left"),  reviewed the machine on site, slept on the deal, and checked kitchen points with Care.

I picked it up Thursday lunchtime and set it up that night.  Ran Software Update to get the latest version of Tiger (it was running OS X 10.4) and other things.  Hooked-up the Macbook with a firewire cable, ran Apple's Migration Assistant to transfer data and applications, and after about an hour, the MP was racing on its own, running the old programs, email and the like.  I dawdled into the early morning, arranging disk volumes and back-up routines to my liking.  (A 232 Gb main drive holds boot and application files; a 750 Gb drive holds Aperture libraries and iTunes music; and a second 232 Mb holds Aperture vaults.)  I use a 500 Gb external firewire drive for backup.  Friday, I picked-up OS X 10.5 -- Leopard.  It installed without difficulty.  I configured Leopard's Time Machine to back-up the main drive (but, importantly, not the Aperture images).  I configured SilverKeeper to back-up the Aperture libs.  Everything seems to cook pretty well.  I'll take pictures at Sunday's bike race and gauge post-processing performance that night.  One item I yearn for is a reliable, affordable Blue-Ray drive, that will allow me to burn 50 Gb disks that I can store off-site ... prices will probably drop to $300 or so this summer.

The MP is playing iTunes (Schumann) and the MB is tucked in its case, ready for the next flight to Africa or out-of-town race (Ephrata, I think).  No more beach balls.

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