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Old Feb 13, 2008, 11:33 AM   #1
R-41157
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Which mac do you use? Design

I figured there would be a few professional graphic designers etc in this section of the forum and I was just wondering if you used/recommend using a macbook or macbook pro for designing. I need to make the switch to Mac and I am looking at both these options. The big factor for me is graphics more than screen size, is the integrated graphics on the macbook just not good enough to get a good feel for how colours will look in the real world? I am in my first year at uni so I am by no means a pro but I am certainly moving on from being a hobbiest!

Any comments/opinions/advice would be greatly recieved! Cheers in advance!

Last edited by xUKHCx; Feb 13, 2008 at 11:34 AM. Reason: its fine here :)
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Old Feb 13, 2008, 11:59 AM   #2
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I'm a student/freelance graphic designer and I use a 17" MBP 2.33ghz 3gb ram I use it for photoshop, illustrator, etc. It never slows down!!!

If you got the money I would for sure go for the MBP over the MB, just in case you do need the extra power!
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Old Feb 13, 2008, 12:03 PM   #3
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Originally Posted by bntz313 View Post
I'm a student/freelance graphic designer and I use a 17" MBP 2.33ghz 3gb ram I use it for photoshop, illustrator, etc. It never slows down!!!

If you got the money I would for sure go for the MBP over the MB, just in case you do need the extra power!

How do you find the 17" in terms of portability??

I could afford one, but I dont want to buy 1500 worth of MBP to find an update comes out, nor do I want to risk waiting months on end for no update, or a dissapointing update so considered the macbook as a good intermediary until October time when I could get a MBP that will definately have been updated. If im not careful I will end up just typing what im thinking again! ha
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Old Feb 13, 2008, 01:05 PM   #4
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Just to add to this actually, if I was to get the macbook I would beable to afford a 20" or 23" apple cinema display for home use. So it really does come down to whether the graphics card in the MBP is really worth that money increase at this stage in my degree/career???
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Old Feb 13, 2008, 01:34 PM   #5
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the graphics card will actually not effect you at all. Non of the adobe design programs use it for anything particularly. Your correct color will come down to you being able to profile your monitor and understand color profiles and caibration, not your graphics card. The MacBook would serve you fine with an external display. The only issue with the MacBook is the glossy screen, which doesn't produce accurate colors, but would be fine for about 90% of your work, just make sure you recheck everything on your ACD before thinking it's done.

-JE
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Old Feb 13, 2008, 01:45 PM   #6
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Oh right! Thanks for explaining that to me! I quite liked the display on the macbook in the store today, and it would be fine for doing work at uni as it would be damn site better than the machines the uni have!

I would love a MBP but I just get the feeling im going to get tired of waiting, buy one, then be dissapointed a week later when an update comes out! But with a macbook and ACD I think I would be quite satisfied for quite some time!
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Old Feb 13, 2008, 01:49 PM   #7
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A MBP should be fine.

Unless you are dealing with large amounts of video. Then HD space won't be enough. should run Photoshop & illustrator fine.
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Old Feb 13, 2008, 04:44 PM   #8
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Neither option is ideal for graphic design. The screen size is too restrictive and difficult to calibrate. I would recommend an iMac or MacPro. You will learn that the need for memory and hard drive space becomes increasingly apparent. I started out with an iMac and graduated to a MacPro last summer, with a 20" Wacom Cintiq as my latest acquisition.
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Old Feb 13, 2008, 06:53 PM   #9
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The 17'' MBP is sometimes a bit big, but then again I don't take it everyday to class. I bought an Refurbished MBP, cause I don't need the latest and greatest. My school still use's dual G5's with most having 1gb of ram and there still not that slow although I think my MBP is faster. If you have the money to spend then by all means do what ever you like. But if you come from low income(like me) than it's best to get the best for your money.

As for the MPB not being good for graphic design I think that is not true. My MBP has never let me down, and every project I do is 300 dpi and I start BIG and resize later. I have it hooked up to an wacom 6x8 tablet and it rocks. I even messed around with After Effects alittle on it and it didn't slow down too much.

If you need the newest thing...well with computers nothing is ever the newest and greatest with how fast they come up with updates. I like to seem more time designing than thinking about if I have the latest computer.

I could sit here and tell you that you should do this or that..but when it comes down to it you'll do what you want!
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Old Feb 13, 2008, 10:01 PM   #10
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Originally Posted by jerryrock View Post
Neither option is ideal for graphic design. The screen size is too restrictive and difficult to calibrate. I would recommend an iMac or MacPro. You will learn that the need for memory and hard drive space becomes increasingly apparent. I started out with an iMac and graduated to a MacPro last summer, with a 20" Wacom Cintiq as my latest acquisition.
I'm using an old G5 iMac and it's treated me well through all the heavy lifting I make it do. But the new iMacs come with glossy screens, which in my opinion are unacceptable for graphic design (or any profession where color matters). when the time comes to upgrade, it's going to be a mac pro for me.
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Old Feb 13, 2008, 11:52 PM   #11
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For a long time I was a powermac user - going from a 7600 to a G3 to a G4 to a G5 tower machines in my decade of graphic design. i recently sold my g5 (and 23" display) in favor of an iMac. This was something I was vehemently against for years citing that the consumer machines were not good enough for graphic design, but I gotta tell you guys -- I feel like I owe the whole iMac line an apology.

This machine is great. I do agree that working with precise colors could be an issue, but if you are aware of the saturation levels, you can use your instinct to follow up (or do what I do, and check your work on other screens with a Matte surface or CRT. I use my Macbook Pro for this purpose). But this is speaking on the web side of the coin rather than print. For print design, an iMac might not cut it. Otherwise, this machine is a beast.

That said, I wholly endorse the 24" Aluminum iMac (with bumped up ram of course).
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Old Feb 14, 2008, 08:48 AM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by R-41157 View Post
How do you find the 17" in terms of portability??

I could afford one, but I dont want to buy 1500 worth of MBP to find an update comes out, nor do I want to risk waiting months on end for no update, or a dissapointing update so considered the macbook as a good intermediary until October time when I could get a MBP that will definately have been updated. If im not careful I will end up just typing what im thinking again! ha
Well if you are willing to spend the money for a computer now what makes it less valuable tommorow? The MBP has a superior graphics card no doubt. As well as a faster processor and the option of an HD screen.
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Old Feb 14, 2008, 08:59 AM   #13
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I use the MBP 15" in my sig.
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Old Feb 14, 2008, 10:32 AM   #14
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dissent

I feel obliged to voice dissent on the opinions in this thread that glossy LCD screens are unsuitable for color-critical work. This is a debate that's been visited and revisited all over the web, with valid points on both sides. I felt it necessary in light of the Original Poster's experience that he hear the other side of the story (if only briefly). So, for the record, I and others with me actually believe that a glossy LCD has the potential for more accurate color (when calibrated) than a matte LCD.

Please don't misunderstand this as an attempt to hijack this thread, or to start any discussion on glossy vs. matte LCDs! I'm keenly aware of the points from both sides; again, I just wanted to make the OP aware that there IS a debate on that.

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Old Feb 14, 2008, 10:53 AM   #15
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I am on a 1.66 Core Duo mini with 2 gigs of ram. The Adobe programs run just fine, wish I could say the same for iTunes though..

I was debating on Core2duo upgrade but my main lifeblood is Illustrator and it runs great.
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Old Feb 14, 2008, 12:51 PM   #16
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Originally Posted by R-41157 View Post
How do you find the 17" in terms of portability??
Oh... they're portable. Just irritating to others when their owners expect others to move their stuff on a Pendolino to accommodate their behemoth.
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Old Feb 14, 2008, 03:02 PM   #17
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In my opinion screen space is almost more important for an efficient work flow than processing power. You shouldn't apply 10 layers of gradients and 5 lens flares on one business card anyway. So you might be better of with a macbook + 23-24" screen for the same money as a mbp. It will easily last you through your studies and the small laptop will provide you with great portability and you have a real big screen at home for heavy work.
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Old Feb 14, 2008, 03:48 PM   #18
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They have me on a Dell Optiplex 745 at work so none of you can complain

That said, I got a 15" Powerbook 1Ghz when I went to college. Now I have a Macbook 2Ghz and it is a ton faster. I wouldn't worry about it not being fast enough, I'd take a Powermac G4 here at work over this Dell. Maybe then we could send things to Print without needing 5 proofs
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Old Feb 14, 2008, 03:51 PM   #19
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My design machine

I've been running a Dual 1.8GHz machine with 2GB of RAM for the past few years. Got Leopard loaded with CS3 and a 20" cinema display. As smooth as everything runs, I can't wait until the company's budget allows for an upgrade to a MacPro!
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Old Feb 15, 2008, 11:27 PM   #20
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Well I am sorta in the same boat. I just graduated from a design school in NYC and now starting to freelance, and started out with a Macbook Pro 2ghz, and upgraded to 2GB of ram. While this was great for being portable, I found myself doing 90% of my work at home connected to an LCD and keyboard and Wacom. The main problem I had was the MBP would overheat, and become unstable. It was plenty fast for doing design related stuff. In photoshop a 2pg 300dpi spread was slippery smooth on CS3.

I ended up selling the laptop for $1600 and buying a MacPro 2.66 and upgraded to 5gb of ram. It smokes now and is more than enough for my uses. And works more efficiently (and cooler!) than the MBP. I find this better for my needs, but I hate not being able to go to the coffee shop and work....not a biggie though.

You will not want to trust your laptops LCD for a softproof before press, even in a CMYK colorspace there was a huge differance in color and tonal depth comparing my matte MBP (15") vs my Eizo Coloredge CE (which cost almost as much as the MBP). Even if your just printing out 11x14's for your folio, it can get expensive to make a mistake at print. I also tried to cheap out with an acer 24" lcd and had to sell it weeks after, while it was better than the laptop it just wasn't cutting it for softproofing. I would try and get set up with a 20" cinema display, get a refurb if you have to (and the quality might be better!). While I don't like the consistancy of the cinema displays, a good one will do just fine. Just make sure to hardware calibrate it with something intermediate like the Pantone eye-one LT or the cheaper spyder calibrators. (the cheap huey's didn't impress me, dunno about the new "pro" ones) I use the Pantone Eye-One LT and it works great, adjust's Kelven temp, gamma, lcd brightness (work with dim color corrected lighting if you can) and with updates allows you to monitor ambient light brightness/temp.

While the MBP is faster in more way than just the video card, the Macbook will probably last you for right now, when you really need the extra power later it will be time to upgrade anyway. I would suggest that you don't bury yourself in debt to have all the newest gadgets, it's tempting I know....but when it comes down to it, is waiting 2-3 more seconds to run that filter worth the extra $800-$1000? nope. Now your display is much more important for your field of work. While I sometimes regret going into deeper into debt with it...it's nice but a cinema display would do just fine for design, though I won't have to upgrade for 5+ years with the 24" Eizo so theres a tradeoff I guess.

And I know I wrote a book but in Design/Print....correct color is everything, a good monitor and hardware calibration setup and lastly correct color managment workflow is a must (PM me if you need help with that)

From a design student to another this is my list of what you should buy (and even though it's easy to spend your money, i'm making a list of what I would do over again and I don't have money to burn) Also student discounts can be very close to refurb prices for cheaper stuff.

Macbook 2ghz, upgrade to 2-3GB of ram, Omni is what I use
20" Cinema display (23" is nice for the $240 extra if you have it)
Pantone Eye-One LT
Adobe CS3 Design Suite
Suitcase Fusion (for font management)
Wacom Tablet (Graphires are great starters)

If you don't need the mobility, there's 2.66 MP's going for $1500-1700, thats an awefull lot of power that won't need updated for awhile.



Some links that might help ya:
Pantone Eye-One LT $139
Cinema Refurb: $499
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Old Feb 16, 2008, 12:49 PM   #21
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How do you find the 17" in terms of portability??
My MBP goes to school and work with me nearly everyday. I toss it in my neoprene sleeve and then into my backpack and head out the door. I only have two books for my classes, one of 88 pages, the other at 176 pages, so I am not worried about the weight. It's honestly not as bad as I thought it would be in terms of portability.
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Old Feb 16, 2008, 01:20 PM   #22
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...Suitcase Fusion...
While I agree with the other stuff, I can't recomend Suitcase. Linotype FontexplorerX is free and better and more stable in my opinion.

It can be found here:

http://www.versiontracker.com/dyn/moreinfo/macosx/27903
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Old Feb 17, 2008, 01:42 PM   #23
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While I am a student I use our computer labs which have just acquired new 24" iMacs. They are the White Core 2 Duo iMacs, they were purchased before the aluminum ones were released. As a freelancer, I have been using a Dell Inspiron 6000 notebook. Currently I am looking for a powerbook/iMac because I have better experiences with designing on macs. Seems to be smoother and my Dell freezes sometimes where the mac hasn't failed me yet.
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Old Feb 17, 2008, 07:59 PM   #24
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i'm a graphic design student and i use my 12" powerbook at school and at home i hook it up to my 16" display (i'm like 4 years behind, lol). sometimes,i even use my powerbook at my design internship. seems to work okay for just print and technical drawings.

...but hopefully this tuesday or next i can think about getting a 17" MBP!
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Old Feb 19, 2008, 09:15 AM   #25
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As a student I used an iMac, which was perfect for school assignments and such. But moving into the real world where I need to be able to work fluidly and effortlessly, I use a MacPro (formerly a G4). The power and memory are required for the amount of work I perform and the amount of multi-tasking needed in a design-based career. Also, the precision of color accuracy increases from laptop to MacPro. Color accuracy is possible with laptops but not the best and not the easiest.
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