Dream Set-Up

The following question has been presented to me numerous times: If I were to have one million dollars, how would I spend it, and where? Obviously, it must be spent on gear from a company I love; namely, Apple. You may think it’s difficult to spend a million dollars on Apple stuff, but you can get pretty far with Apple products (since Apple doesn’t license OS X to anybody, they can jack up the prices, and make tons of $$$). For purposes of this article, I’ll be outlining four systems, the first of which is the Mac Pro with Apple’s basic configuration:

  • Two 3.2GHz Quad-Core Intel Xeon (8-core)
  • 32GB (8 x 4GB) 800MHz DDR2 fully buffered ECC memory
  • Apple Mac Pro RAID Card
  • Four (4) x 1TB 7200-rpm Serial ATA II (3Gb/s) hard disk drives
  • NVIDIA Quadro FX 5600 graphics card, 1.5 GB video RAM (Stereo 3D, two dual-link DVI ports)
  • Two (2) x Apple 30-inch Cinema HD Display
  • Two (2) x Apple 16x SuperDrive
  • Apple AirPort Extreme card (Wi-Fi)
  • Quad Channel 4Gb Fibre Channel PCI Express Card
  • Apple wireless Mighty Mouse and Wireless Keyboard
  • Apple Mac OS X
  • iWork ’08, Final Cut Express, Aperture 1.5, Logic Express preinstalled
  • AppleCare Protection Plan for Mac Pro

This computer would be used for anything and everything that I do, from podcasting, to blogging, to video editing, to schoolwork. Obviously, it can handle all of those tasks, most even simultaneously, thanks to its massive processing power and memory.

To add even more spending to my imaginary budget, I will want a laptop, for podcasting and editing on the go. Again, for purposes of this article, I would have both the 15-inch and 17-inch MacBook Pro models, with mostly identical specs:

  • 2.6GHz Intel Core 2 Duo processor
  • 4GB (2 x 2GB) 667 MHz DDR2 SDRAM –
  • 200GB 7200 rpm Serial ATA Drive
  • Apple 8x SuperDrive
  • 15-inch (or 17-inch) glossy widescreen display
  • an additional Apple 20-inch Cinema Display
  • iWork ’08 preinstalled
  • Accessory Kit
  • AppleCare Protection Plan for MacBook Pro

Most of you know that I love to stream live video with a great UStream.tv service. To more easily run my video camera, I added a smaller machine, a Mac Mini, dedicated to streaming. This computer includes:

  • 2.0GHz Intel Core 2 Duo processor
  • 2GB (2 x 1GB) 667MHz DDR2 SDRAM
  • 120GB Serial ATA drive
  • Apple 8x SuperDrive
  • Apple Wireless Keyboard & wireless Mighty Mouse
  • Apple 23-inch Cinema HD Display
  • AppleCare Protection Plan for Mac mini
  • Accessory kit

(Editor’s note: In reality, if one were to buy a Mac mini just for streaming, it would be more practical to stash the computer in a corner or closet and use VNC to control it from a main computer.)

Another idea to go with the extra computer is to have a separate internet connection for the Mac mini, in order to alleviate my existing connection of the high-bandwidth load from video streams.

A 24-inch iMac, used as a family computer, will finish off the computers. This machine is also maxed out:

  • 2.8GHz Intel Core 2 Extreme processor
  • 4GB (2 x 2GB) 667MHz DDR2 SDRAM
  • 750GB Serial ATA Drive
  • Apple 8x SuperDrive
  • 24-inch glossy widescreen LCD
  • ATI Radeon HD 2600 PRO with 256MB memory
  • AirPort Extreme
  • Bluetooth 2.0 + EDR
  • iWork ’08 preinstalled
  • Apple wireless Mighty Mouse and wireless keyboard
  • AppleCare Protection Plan for iMac
  • Accessory kit

As you can tell, such a large number of computers, mostly maxed out models, costs a ton of money. But wait, the [proposed] spending doesn’t stop there. Since I’m a podcaster, I’ll need a heavy-duty mixer, like Mackie’s beautiful and versatile Onyx 1620. Some basic features:

  • 16 channels
  • Eight ONYX microphone preamps, with individually switched phantom power available for each mic channel
  • 4-band Perkins EQ on each channel strip
  • Four Aux sends per channel (with pre- / post- fader switches)
  • Four stereo line-level inputs
  • Talkback section (able to use an internal or external mic)
  • Multi-country “Planet-Earth” power supply
  • 24-bit / 96Khz FireWire computer interface option (sends all 16 channels into the computer, plus the main stereo mix and an output stream)

(Editor’s note: The Mackie Onyx 1620 has been popularized by Leo Laporte as a podcaster’s ideal mixer, thanks to the FireWire option card).

A couple of accessories go with the mixer, like a Heil PR-40 microphone, and a pair of AKG K 240 Studio headphones.

It’s quite apparent that very few people have the kind of money for such a massive collection of Apple computers, which is why this post is only addressing a theoretical question. Perhaps I’ll make it far enough in my future career (I’m only a student now!) to actually be able to afford all of this stuff, even though by then I still probably won’t need most of it. Here’s to the future of the Apple Universe studio!

5 thoughts on “Dream Set-Up

  1. Woah! Talk about throwing out a lot of money. That’s got to cost quite a few thousand dollars. You probably should have thrown in an Xserve on top of that.

    I probably would settle on a 15″ MacBook Pro, standard config, along with an AirPort Extreme base station, and then donate the rest of the money to charity. I’m just not very good with working across multiple computers, and I need to go mobile frequently, not to mention that I really don’t need the strength of a Xeon.


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