View Full Version : to imac or not

Jul 27, 2001, 10:04 PM
i'm going to be a first year graphics design student and as most of you are aware, all that department uses are macs. so i've decided to drop some cash into one. this is a little scary because i've been a pc person for many years.

keeping in mind i have a student's budget, would the new imacs (700, 256mb) run programs like quark and photoshop ok? or should i splurge and get a loan for a g4 + a monitor?

also, if i'm posting this on the wrong forum kindly redirect me to another place that can help.


Jul 27, 2001, 10:26 PM
G4's are best for graphic design but being a student and as are all students low on the funds.... I would NOT get a loan for a G4 ... your going stuck with that machine for a long time. I would get the imac... I am on a 466 ibook SE with 320 MB of ram and I run photoshop and other programs great. If you can afford the memory ($99 for 256k but that might be for the quicksilver) get as much as you can afford. The iMac's CRT will display colors better than a LCD (less bright) also. LCD's are great but really costly. I say go with the iMac it will take you through all or most of graphic design school and by then you could be able afford a G5. :)

Jul 27, 2001, 10:41 PM
I don't think people are going to mind too much Wake. Here's my two cents:

I'm also a "budding" graphic designer, and I could have bought an iMac. I stress "could have" because the machine will do just fine for basic-to-moderate Photoshop/Quark/Final Cut Pro use. The key to your success here is RAM. Get 512MB AT LEAST with a G3 processor to be sure that you don't need to run virtual memory. If you can do that...you'll be good for two years or so.

I wanted something special though. I don't know if you realize this, but Photoshop is written for dual processor G4's, taking advantage of both the processors, as well as the Altivec Velocity Engine. So I got a loan from Apple, and bought myself a Dual G4 533mhz machine. I upgraded it to 512mb ram, and am thinking of running 1 Gig of ram because http://www.dealnn.com is showing a deal of decent quality PC 133 ram for only $60. That's damn good. Some people think that I went a little overboard on my purchase considering that I am still in college, but I wanted something new and fast to satisfy my testosterone need to be the best...and something that will last me 4-5 years to satisfy my wallet.

Basically, the iMac is more of a short term purchase...for you. They are great machines and can be very fast, but if you are considering this to be your machine throughout college for intense graphic design...get a used dual processor G4. (450/500/533mhz) They are very very fast, are upgradeable, use cheap ram, and are powerful as hell. You can probably find a used one on Ebay, or check http://www.dealnn.com for some offers. Look to pay about $1100. If you dont wan't dual processors, then used single G4s are also very fast and can get even cheaper. I've seen single used 450's for less than $900. One more thing...if you're not into used...then go to the Apple Education Store website (http://store.apple.com/1-800-MY-APPLE/WebObjects/AppleStore then chose education from the menu bar) and grab a single 533 for $1149. That's a damn good deal. Apple also (as mentioned above) has some great financing options. If you can find a decent cheap 17" montior (very easy nowadays) a G4 can be cheaper than an iMac!!! Either way...check the Apple Store for Education.

Good luck!!!


[Edited by ptrauber on 07-27-2001 at 11:43 PM]

Aug 8, 2001, 03:18 PM
I am a studnt as well as a Member of the work force. I am looking to get a new G4 My self. I got an the Original iMac when it came out and I have been happy with it for a long time. But its time to move one. I was able to run PhotoShope, Bryce, and others with no problem. It was a little slow renduring photos and wave forms in Peak but it was ok. The Apple store for education. If you price out a new G4 and you keep the defalt config.. you do save some cash.. but its not much. It wont even cover sales tax. If you go to another distrbuter like MacZone.com or outpost.com you well not get charged sales tax if your out of the state that they are based in. Plus they normaly give you some free RAM too. I am going to buy mine from the Apple store becuse I want to customized mine (i dont want, see the need, can't afford a SuperDrive)... So it works out for me. So before you buy... look into how much the thing costs out the door. As for the iMac ... great Computer and it well mostlikey do everything that you want it to. It just may take a little longer for it to finnish. If you can afford it... get the G4.

Aug 8, 2001, 04:23 PM
On memory - DEFINITELY get a lot, but don't buy from Apple, it' way overpriced. Go to another place like http://www.1stchoicememory.com. Make sure you buy the top quality, don't get the cheaper market grade stuff. I just bought 512 pc133 top quality stuff for $97. Works great, guaranteed compatible. So buy your configuration with the lowest amount of memory, and then upgrade.

Aug 8, 2001, 08:43 PM
The new imac's are great if you are doing Heavy Photoshop The G4 would be the better choice, but if your Straped for cash get the imac. I'm still running on a 233 (STILL). Quark and photoshop would run pritty good on the 700 imac. I would choice to have a little more ram though 256 is good. Since memory is Dirt cheap get the most you can, with the $$ u have. Get a imac it costs less and it lastes long if you max it out now. Trust me!

Aug 9, 2001, 02:26 AM
Know this. The I-mac will serve your purposes given enough memory. IT WILL SERVE YOUR PURPOSES IN A NICE MANNER. All graphic programs will run wonderfully. But remember for a little bit more $$$, you could get a G4 which is the ultimate workstation in the short run and will last you in the long run with all its upgradability. If you become a very good designer, your imagination will see no limits but YOUR COMPUTER WILL. So for a long term investment get a G4 and you shall be free. Get an I-mac and satisfy your current desires.

sorry to sound like a sage but I got to maaannn.

- Kela

Aug 9, 2001, 10:56 AM
I too am a Graphic Design Student, I'm about to start my third year and have used an iMac (DV 400, 320mb) since I begun my course. Although It's a great machine, Im about to purchase a brand new g4. I agree that the imac is a short term thing, as the upgradability is limited. Had I the cash at the begining of my course I would have got a g4. I hope that with the g4 it will last me my final year and beyond into working hopefully as a Graphic Designer.

So I would say if you can afford it go for dual G4, if not then an iMac with loads of ram

Aug 9, 2001, 11:55 AM
Have just been reading else where in this forum, and read that there might be a possibility of a g5 early next year...
would any of u guys consider waiting for this or should I
bite the bullet and fork out for a dual 800 now. I don't think Apple will change the spec at Expo in Paris (of current G4). to DDR ram for example..

Aug 9, 2001, 12:18 PM
For what it's worth, I'm waiting for my V-8 as we speak. :D

There's always going to be the pipedream of waiting to buy for tomorrow. In the end there will always be a better, faster, cheaper machine just around the corner.

No matter how you look at it though, a dual 800 will last you for quite sometime, and by then, the G5 may not even look so attractive.

The V-8 will be my first new Mac. As bad as it sounds, I'm still using a Pentium II 333 MHz at home with 320MB of RAM. It still works fine (for a wintel box). Don't get me wrong, it chunks when using large photoshop files, but considering the computer is 4 or 5 years old...

Point being, stick with what you have until it becomes unbearable, and then buy the best of whatever you can afford.

My 2 cents.

Aug 9, 2001, 02:22 PM
Originally posted by Classic

The V-8 will be my first new Mac. As bad as it sounds, I'm still using a Pentium II 333 MHz at home....

Your have been saved!!

Another Mac conversion!!!!

Aug 9, 2001, 09:13 PM
The imac now, compared to what you have bobky is 300 Mhz faster. And with loaded ram and the $$ amount you have now it is a winning combo. The G4 is a great macheine, but not so great that you should take a loan out of it.

Aug 10, 2001, 02:32 AM
What is a V-8?? Is it another reason for me to start drooling?

Aug 10, 2001, 09:16 AM
Originally posted by Kela
What is a V-8?? Is it another reason for me to start drooling?

Nothing more than a pet name for my anticipated Dual 800. But it kind of fits, don't you think?

Aug 10, 2001, 10:47 AM
Intresting, I never thought of a G4 computer as a pet... and
Go for the iMac.

Aug 10, 2001, 01:35 PM
I know the "student experience" all too well and what it means to be strapped for cash...but for what you're talking about, the G4 is simply a better investment than an iMac.

At the heart of your computer, OS X simply DOES run faster on a G4 than on a similarly equipped G3. I've worked in labs where we've had G3s and G4s sitting side by side, and the difference is very notable. But aside from that, you're going to be a lot happier with the AltiVec enhancements you get out of "real" Photoshop work...this will probably only be strengthened when 6.5 comes out around the end of this year or at the start of next.

Another thing to consider is long-term repair costs. Let's say your monitor dies once you're out of warranty. If that happens to your iMac, you're in a heap of trouble....by contrast, you can hook a used display up to a G4 if your old one dies. Similarly, you can upgrade your processor, video cards, etc. with the G4 -- none of which you could ever do with the iMac...yes, I know, maybe you won't do that -- but maybe you will.

Part of what makes the G4 a little pricey right now is that if you want a 100% Apple system, you have to splurge for an LCD. Your better bet is to use converters and hook up a third party monitor -- shop around and you can get a 19" CRT monitor for cheaper than what you would pay for the Apple 15" LCD. When you're working with graphics, having that 61% more real estate makes a difference.....

Aug 10, 2001, 07:25 PM
i'd really like to have an iMac because...ok...i'll be a girly girl...they're cute! ^_^ but, most of you are right...i need a work horse, not a pony.

g4 whatevermHz, lots of memory, and a mac monitor (not from apple tho)

and i'm not worrying with it running osX...i don't like X all that much, i like 9.

again, thanks for all the input!



Aug 10, 2001, 08:37 PM
I went through the same dilemna a few weeks ago, the difference is, I'm already done school and I've been working for a few years now. I actually did buy the latest iMac and loaded it with 400mb of ram. I'm pretty happy with it, after all, my primary machine is my G4 at work (which the company paid for of course). My iMac is secondary, most of your work will be done at work anyways. Most of your learning happens on the job also. Pay the minimum amount you can now to get by and as soon as you're done school (maybe even sooner) you can buy a top of the line machine with your first big freelance check. Debt sucks, school costs enough already.

Aug 11, 2001, 04:16 AM
Thnx guys, I think im still gonna go for the G4 for many of the reasons john123 has pointed out, which I had in mind too. I think now that I've had the iMac, I'm ready for some serious HP, epecially now that Im really using apps like photoshop etc rather than just dabbling with them.

thnx again and good luck with the course w4k3 :)

Aug 11, 2001, 09:13 PM

Aug 12, 2001, 03:15 PM
Originally posted by MrMacman

Not really, MrMacman...people often love their iMacs, and this isn't to say that they aren't good machines...but having had the opportunity to work in a couple labs, where I've had G3s beside G4s, iMacs beside desktops, I can safely say that there is a difference you can feel. If you want a computer to type your term papers and surf the web and check your e-mail, sure, go with the iMac. But if graphic design and serious image/sound/video are your bread and butter and are the primary reason to purchase a computer, then it only makes sense to go with the high-end computers. You'll appreciate the speed boost -- not to mention the fact that increasingly, programs (including OS X) are becoming Alti-Vec savvy. The G3 is simply a dated chip....

Aug 12, 2001, 07:42 PM
The g4 is a newer chip and it has a higher bit rate that can be taken atvantage of, Yes but in prices if you wanted a good macheine you need the imac. Is the G4 going to save her the extra 15 seconds? Yes. The 700 Mhz imac with loads of Ram Should do.

Aug 12, 2001, 08:08 PM
i've made up my mind. i'm going to wait on both. they both sound like good machines, but i'm not in school yet and i don't know what i will want. the lab at this school uses g3's and if they're so slow i can't tolerate it, i'll get a g4.

if i can live with a g3, i'll get an iMac. one thing does kinda concern me tho, what if my CRT were to fizzle. are you pretty much SOL when that happens?


Aug 12, 2001, 08:33 PM
And if the school macheines are Networked... They will be slow as hell. Take this into consideration. And the G3's at ur school aren't probably as new as the one's that you would buy. 700 Mhz are pritty darn good, even if it is a G3.

Aug 12, 2001, 10:36 PM
Look guys, I'm telling you, I work on a G4 with a 21 inch monitor doing photoshop, Illustrator and Quark all day long OK. I'm telling you that when I come home to finish a job on my 500 iMac I'm not noticing that much of a difference. Yeah, the speed is slower and the monitor is much smaller but we're talking seconds not minutes here and I'll gladly sacrifice some screen room to save myself $1000. I'm not even sure that you need the 700 iMac. Be practical and think about this. Most of your work will be done at school and probably on a beige G3 running around 333 or something. My last job used these and I'm telling you that my new iMac could smoke these things. Save your money for now I've learned the truth and it's not worth an extra $2000 to get a filter to work in 3 seconds compared to 8, you just don't need that kind of performance as a student. In the workplace, yeah, time is money.

Learn how to use the programs and develop your skills on a GOOD machine cause you don't need the BEST. If you're anything like me or my old classmates you need to realize that the computer is your tool and not your brain. Don't ever forget that your first step with any project should always be pencil and paper. The computer is always your final stage. I don't want to preach, I hate being told what to do but I do listen to advice. My advice is: learn the skills and then you can demand the money, with the money, you can buy a nice machine because you'll need it to help evolve your skills, but whenever possible, let the school or the business or the client foot the bill. Good luck whatever you do though.

Aug 12, 2001, 11:29 PM
OK, sure...if all you're talking about is a couple of Photoshop filters here and there, then sure, the difference between an iMac and the G4 isn't terribly important. Of course, if you are playing games, you'll detect a night-and-day difference between the dated ATI board in the iMac and the NVIDIA cards in G4s.

But the bigger issue for the graphic design people is monitor size. If you have a great computer to work on at school/work, then sure, you can do most of your work there. If not, you will be extraordinarily irritated with that 15" CRT that comes with the iMac. People say the iMac needs an LCD screen; I say that we would have been better off with the rumors that have been around for eons having to do with the iMac getting a bigger (17") screen....and, of course, if the display dies on your iMac, you are SOL as one post earlier suggested.

The work I do involves lots of programming with lots of iterations....I literally leave computers running for hours and come back to them. For me, being able to shave a couple *hours* off of the processing time is very, very nice -- and worth the extra money.

In the grand scheme of things, if you think about it, you'll spend hundreds of hours on your computer (if not thousands)....take the amount extra you'll be spending, and divide it by 500, a conservative estimate of how many hours you'll spend at your Mac, it's a pretty tiny ratio.....

Aug 13, 2001, 07:04 AM
Look for a short term investment buy a low end imac which is good enough but please. NEXT YEAR February the G5 should debut. NOW THAT IS AN INVESTMENT WORTH WAITING FOR. GO FOR IT!!! The g5 is the future.

- clay court specialist

Aug 13, 2001, 07:30 AM
Originally posted by Kela

Not sure who told you that information, seeing as there is a lot of testing and development left to go.

But anyway, since you haven't seen any benchmarks on the at-the-moment-experimental G5 chip, you really can't comment on its performance. In fact, when machines first debut with it, you may see some programs (many programs?) actually run faster because they use the G4's AltiVec capabilities....the G5 is rumored to have a similar system but perhaps not the same.

Aug 13, 2001, 08:39 AM
Yeah but the G5 will be better than the G4 or? I mean, I doubt apple will make a better transition than the logically challenged scientists at Intel. (the p4 is worse than the p3).

Aug 13, 2001, 08:43 AM
and the Itanium is ******* than both of them.

Aug 13, 2001, 08:49 AM
Originally posted by Kela
Yeah but the G5 will be better than the G4 or? I mean, I doubt apple will make a better transition than the logically challenged scientists at Intel. (the p4 is worse than the p3).

Should be, eventually...but if I'm in need of a computer now, it's smarter to buy the G4 rather than wait and hope (and probably wait some more) for an as-of-now G5 that might not be so spiffy when it's first introduced (which I think will be later than February).

Aug 13, 2001, 10:17 AM
I forgot to mention this before because I tend to ramble, but as far as monitor size goes I agree that you can't compare to a 21" when doing design and layout but you can do small things to make it more bearable on your iMac. First, you can collapse your palletes or combine them into groups, but better is to learn all the commands. Believe me when I say that this will be an invaluable tool in the future. My last job was in high-end color correction of stock photography and they wouldn't even let me open pallettes so I had to learn the million and a half commands but it cut my time in half. Again, I'm only talking about the big 3 programs, it still depends what you're doing I guess and still just my own opinion and experience.

Aug 13, 2001, 10:22 AM
speaking of monitor size. I have to say that I'mnot really getting into OSX like I thought I would but it's mostly because of my monitor. In OS9 I can put the highest resolution on the screen and the icons and pallettes are small enough that I still have some alright real estate. With OSX though, the icons seem huge even at the highest res. Any suggestions on maybe scaling them down or something. I've scaled down the dock but what about the rest? This one does bother me.

Aug 13, 2001, 11:51 AM
Originally posted by igordi
speaking of monitor size. I have to say that I'mnot really getting into OSX like ...... OSX though, the icons seem huge even at the highest res. Any suggestions on maybe scaling them down or something. I've scaled down the dock but what about the rest? This one does bother me.

You can change the size of the icons. I think its in the preferences in the dock. The switch deal. Its one of the first things I did when I loaded 10.00 on one of my Macs at work as a tester before I loaded it at home. I am still waiting to load it at home....I ordered a new Qicksilver.

Aug 13, 2001, 08:19 PM
G5 wouldn't be coming Feb. Apple will Super Rev the G4 to A ghz b4 going to the G5. And info says it wouldn't be ready. It is coming, just not as soon. And we would all like the idea of 17" imac's so make 'em.
Hey how about this.
500 Mhz imac 15"
600 Mhz imac 17"
700 Mhz imac 17"
Thay sound's good. Of coarse the imac case would have to be different. The screen would leave extra empty room. And their is already room in my imac that I would like to do away with.