The Perfect Machine

Why is buying stuff always so hard!?

I am having much difficulty deciding on a computer. I have read pages upon pages on this forum. I understand the mac vs. pc trade off. I know what it takes to run what and well. The problem is I don’t know what I should expect as a student.
This may be naive, but I am going to be expected to have my own computer that runs CAD stuff well? I look forward to being a serious ID student in the coming years of my life, and I just want to get the “perfect” machine. But today, I am not even in a serious ID program(next year I will be). I want to ready when that day comes. I want to begin learning CAD software, let alone Photoshop.

If I get a PC, I definitly will get a tablet. The Toshiba Tecra M4 seems well regarded. Will learning to draw on one of these ruin me for normal tablets?

Or a Powerbook… Does a mac make more sense for a beginner? From what I understand they still handle Alias well enough. And the other benefits go without saying…

The conflict be passe to many, yet keep in mind that this feels incredibly important to me. I have been up for days stressing about which direction to go.

Any response is appreciated.

The core77 forum has been the most amazing classroom.

Don’t get or consider a Mac, they are useless. And I have a G4, which got me thru college. In the real world, they are paperweights.

Don’t get a tablet now. You won’t use it that much, trust me.

Spend about $2000 - $2300 Max on an HP or Sager notebook or a nice Dell tower that will last you 2-3 yrs max, before it’s obsolete. I’m not a fan of Dell notebooks. Make sure you get a good video card and a lot of RAM if you plan on using 3D software and rendering or animations. If you’ve got rich parents get a GoBoxx (Boxxtech) or Alienware notebook, outstanding machines, but extremely pricey.

If you college doesn’t offer valluable software classes like Solidworks or Rhino, get a student copy and learn one or both on your own. Photoshop is a given software that is a must for anyone in ID.

BTW, Macs won’t run Solidworks, Rhino, 3D Studiomax / Viz etc.

Why wouldn’t I use the tablet? What is difference between getting the Tecra tablet with a good video card & lots of RAM (btw, what would that look like. 512? or more?)

It sounds like a PC is the way to go. I guess I am missing out a prettier photoshop…

Or is that not true if I have a 14’’ 1400 x 1050 display? And the shortcuts?

I am still not sure I should be worrying about Solidworks and Rhino when I have never taken a single design class… I am very eager though.

Glad to hear that. There’s so much crap it’s hard to tell sometimes.

First of all, ask the school you’ll be attending, or wait until freshman year to make a choice.

I think the tablet idea is right on–you’ll get the benefits of portability, a keyboard and a writing surface. Get plenty of RAM to run the graphics apps, and a good optical mouse (trackpads are impossible for design, and stylus’ are only good at painting, not vector art favored by Illustrator and CAID packages.)

Don’t overthink it. Start with a good brand. The Toshiba Portege’s come to mind, but IBM has a new one that looks pretty sweet.

We’re just getting used to our Toshiba Tecra M4 tablet & so far we’re pretty pleased. It’s not perfect (the auxilary screen buttons aren’t positioned well for right handers; it is on the heavier side for a mobile & the screen visibility angles are limited) but it does seem to handle everything my old desktop did (Catia engineering assemblies, Rhino modeling & rendering, Photoshop, etc.). Make sure you specify the unit high with at least 1Gb of RAM & 128Mb video.

My only caution would be to make sure you want to sketch digitally (Sketchbook Pro or Painter) because that’s what you’re paying a relatively high price for over a desktop.