The anti-Origami: why go portable when you can get the maximum performance from a machine in a road-ready case? That’s the question I’ll be offering all week, with a first look at some of the options. First up, we’ll start with the platform that makes this a bit tricky: the Mac.
Mac lovers adore their svelte cases (Mini, iMac) and buy up laptops more often than desktops (PowerBook, iBook, MacBook Pro). So it may seem odd to want to rack mount a bulky Power Mac G5 desktop and take it on the road. If performance is a must, though, you must be tempted: even if you can’t afford the blazingly-fast high-end Power Mac G5 quads, which recently roasted PC desktops alive in PC Magazine benchmarks, most of the Power Mac line offer pretty fantastic performance. I’ve had to think up new ways of using up the CPU and graphics power of my dual-2.7 G5.
Now, inevitably, the bad news: your options seem to be extremely limited. The one long-time manufacturer of rack-mounting accessories, Marathon Computer, is out of business. Worse, rack mounts from Marathon and others seem to assume you’re running a giant G5 server farm, because they rack-mount the machines vertically — utterly useless for musical road racks, and kind of silly even for stationary audio studio setups. (See pictured Marathon rig.)
So, here’s my question: is there any outlet whatsoever for solving this, short of picking up your G5 and carrying it? For that matter, does the seemingly fragile case of the Power Mac even want to go on the road, or will you soon be carrying around a giant, leaden, non-working computer? (Needless to say, you want to think through how you do this.)
Toting Other Mac Desktops
If you’re not married to the idea of lugging a Power Mac, you could always go with the small and cheap Mac Mini, or the fast, cheap, and luggable iMac — especially now with the iMac Core Duo available. DJ Sasha did his DJ sets here at Crobar using the iMac G5, apparently to squeeze extra performance from Ableton Live which has run notoriously faster on PC hardware than on Mac laptops.
For a great example of rack-mounting a Mac mini, see CDM’s previous story. (I’m still not satisfied, though, because of the somewhat lackluster video hardware on the bargain-priced mini.)
Wanted: Power Mac to Go
Okay, never mind that companies that have entered this market have gone belly-up. Never mind that the Power Mac is heavy, pricey, and fragile. Never mind that the Power Mac case is actually so wide that it won’t fit in a standard rack. Um . . . (this isn’t looking real hopeful, is it?)
I still want a road case for my Power Mac, and I’m guessing I’m not completely alone. Anyone have suggestions?
UPDATED: That didn’t take long — TUAW blogger and sound hacker Fabienne Serrier has some rack mounting suggestions based on past experience, including an audio-geared product for this specific purpose.