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Which Mac for Graphic Design Needs
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BlueJungle
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Apr 5, 2007, 10:14 AM
 
Hello all,
I was searching through the threads, however, I wasn't able to glean the information I was looking for. I am a graphic designer who also freelances. I'm interested in purchasing a Mac. My question is this, should I get a decked out 24" iMac or a 2.66 GHz Mac Pro (standard except for a higher graphics card and bluetooth)?

I'll be running Photoshop, InDesign, Illustrator, and maybe Quark. Is the Mac Pro too high-end for me?

Thanks for all your help.
-Confused Potential Mac Buyer
     
Randman
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Apr 5, 2007, 10:18 AM
 
Just make sure you get as much ram as you can and just about any Mac will run those apps. I do all of them on a Mac Book Pro 17 with 2GB of ram and it works just fine.

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himself
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Apr 5, 2007, 10:20 AM
 
I think either will do well, but if you're going to be dealing with lots of large high resolution images, the MacPro won't hurt. I'd personally go with the MacPro because it is often said to be more "future proof" by folks in these parts. However, if you're on a budget, the iMac will be just fine.
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Don Pickett
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Apr 6, 2007, 02:43 PM
 
The Mac Pro will be much more future-proofed, and will allow you to install more RAM and more internal storage.
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EasyMac
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Apr 6, 2007, 03:05 PM
 
Think about it like this. If you got the Mac Pro, would you be able to afford a nice monitor? Or two if you need it? The iMac's 24" is huge, and you can add a second display to it.

I think the iMac will suit you fine. Or if you want to be prepared for the future, you should get the Mac Pro so you can upgrade the RAM and so on when you need to.
My Macbook Specs: 2.4GHZ C2D - 2GB RAM 667MHZ DDR2 - 160GB HD - Superdrive - Intel GMA X3100 - Mighty Mouse - Mac OS X Leopard - Windows Vista Ultimate
     
olePigeon
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Apr 6, 2007, 05:31 PM
 
I think you can upgrade the CPUs even in the iMacs. I would go with the iMac + tons of RAM + 2nd screen.
"…I contend that we are both atheists. I just believe in one fewer god than
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BlueJungle  (op)
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Apr 10, 2007, 02:59 PM
 
Thanks for all of the advice.
     
mac128k-1984
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Apr 11, 2007, 08:31 AM
 
It depends on your budget,

The MacPro gives you more expandability, more options on faster drives, more ram and better graphic cards but all for a price.

With the impending release of CS3, I believe the memory requirements that we've had to live with may be reduced a tad (no longer dealing with Rosetta) so the iMac may be a good choice as others have noted but if you have the cash and can afford to get a Macpro with 4 gig of ram, then I'd say do that.

Time is money when you're working freelance and the quicker you can do something the faster you'll get paid.
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Eug
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Apr 11, 2007, 08:54 AM
 
2 GB is not enough IMO, if this your money generating machine. I just do basic consumer stuff (with a little Aperture and Photoshop thrown in), and 2 GB is quite the limitation.

P.S. If you can wait a month or two, I'd consider waiting. It's possible a new iMac will be out by then.
     
SierraDragon
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Apr 11, 2007, 11:10 PM
 
Error, text deleted by poster.
( Last edited by SierraDragon; Apr 11, 2007 at 11:24 PM. )
     
SierraDragon
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Apr 11, 2007, 11:23 PM
 
Sorry, but folks recommending iMacs don't get it. iMacs are poor choices for heavy graphics applications due to limited graphics card and 3 GB RAM limitation. The best iMacs are nice boxes and I bought/manage two (not for graphics), but for graphics apps 2007-2008-2009+ it is nuts to intentionally limit a new MacIntel desktop box to 3 GB RAM and 7900 card.

E.g. Due to OS interaction Photoshop for years has been showing improvement with up to 8 GB RAM on board. As time goes forward Mac OS 10.5 is expected to make RAM become of even more value.

You do need a second physical drive for Photoshop scratch, so that kind of blows the cute iMac form factor when you plug in external FW800 drives on the desktop.

The only excuse for pro designers to accept 3 GB RAM and limited graphics is to achieve portability in a Macbook Pro. On the desktop iMacs are poor choices.

Regarding RAM IMO best is to add 2x2GB RAM from OWC ($530 OtherWorldComputing.com) to Apple's lame 1 GB for 5 GB total and you will have a nice box. You only have 8 slots and in the future may likely want more than 5 GB RAM so buying 2 GB sized DIMMs is preferable. However some folks choose to save some money now, buy two cheaper 1-GB sized DIMMs for 3 GB total initially and plan on adding more RAM later when RAM prices fall (RAM prices always fall).

-Allen Wicks

P.S. Before I get flamed by the iMac users, note that I am well aware that all the CS3 apps and even Aperture do run consistently today on 2-3 GB of RAM; I run them on my Macbook Pro with 3 GB RAM and on 2 GB before I upgraded. However they run substantially better on 4 GB of RAM and upwards. I am also aware that in the past (and also perhaps in the future) Adobe apps have failed to take advantage of advanced graphics cards. I mention graphics card limitations above because other graphics apps (e.g. Aperture) make heavy use of advanced cards. Aperture users should order with the X1900 XT card.

If initially you are only primarily running Adobe apps you could order without the graphics card upgrade, since those apps do not take advantage of the card upgrade. Those apps do dramatically take advantage of more RAM and CPU, however, so RAM and CPU (the 2.66 is good value) are better places to put your money.
( Last edited by SierraDragon; Apr 12, 2007 at 12:03 AM. )
     
idyll
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Apr 12, 2007, 03:22 AM
 
if you're asking this question then you probably don't need a mac pro and the iMac will be more than enough.

it is a great computer and totally fine except for the 3GB memory limit.. to me 4gb just barely cuts it. you'd probably know your limits by now and in my opinion an iMac with 3gb should be just great for your needs
     
BlueJungle  (op)
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Apr 12, 2007, 01:23 PM
 
Thanks. The iMac is nice, but I never looked at it for a professional machine. And I was kind of wary that one can only upgrade it so much. I would like to have a machine for a long time with the option of upgrading.

Someone had mentioned to me that I might be better off with the iMac. I had my hestitations on purchasing the iMac, but the Mac Pro is very expensive. So I wanted hear what everybody else would say.

I chose to go with the Mac Pro just because I plan on keeping this cpu for a long time and would like to have the option of upgrading it. I went with the 4GB RAM and the higher graphics card. (I have always enjoyed computer animation modeling.) And I'm going with the Dell 24" monitor for it has a great warranty and it won't cost me part of my leg. I really like my leg.

I thank you all for your input, it was very useful to me.
     
Eug
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Apr 12, 2007, 01:34 PM
 
Originally Posted by SierraDragon View Post
Sorry, but folks recommending iMacs don't get it. iMacs are poor choices for heavy graphics applications due to limited graphics card and 3 GB RAM limitation. The best iMacs are nice boxes and I bought/manage two (not for graphics), but for graphics apps 2007-2008-2009+ it is nuts to intentionally limit a new MacIntel desktop box to 3 GB RAM and 7900 card.
While I agree, I do know some guys who do this for a living who use lesser hardware than the top-of-the-line iMac.

They would be overjoyed with a 3 GB 24" iMac with external scratch. I guess it really depends on the usage, and the budget. The Mac Pro is definitely preferable, but it's still $$$$.
     
   
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