Lowend Mac's for Graphic Design?

Discussion in 'Buying Tips, Advice and Discussion (archive)' started by dornoforpyros, Oct 19, 2004.

  1. dornoforpyros macrumors 68040

    dornoforpyros

    Joined:
    Oct 19, 2004
    Location:
    Calgary, AB
    #1
    Hey everyone, I'm in the market for my first computer(well the first one that I've owned) and I'm also a web/flash designer. My question is just how low end can I go with a Mac and still manage to get a useable machine for my work?
    To get an idea of the work I'm doing check out:
    http://www.jasondorn.com

    Basically whatever machine I decide on I'm gonna get atleast 1 gb of ram but money is a bit of a factor.

    So although I'm thinking I'd need something with a G5 chip in it but I keep getting tempted by eMacs and iBooks.

    Would I be compelty SOL with one of these machines?
     
  2. PlaceofDis macrumors Core

    Joined:
    Jan 6, 2004
    #2
    what types of progams are you going to be using? Photoshop, Dreamweaver? ect??
     
  3. dornoforpyros thread starter macrumors 68040

    dornoforpyros

    Joined:
    Oct 19, 2004
    Location:
    Calgary, AB
    #3
    yup, Photoshop, Illustrator, Dreamweaver and flash are my toyz.
     
  4. zim macrumors 65816

    zim

    Joined:
    Jan 5, 2002
    #4
    You could use any Mac, just make sure you give yourself plenty of RAM, I would go no lower then 512MB.
     
  5. dswoodley macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Jul 18, 2002
    #5
    agreed, an emac (as low end as it gets without buying used) with 1gb of ram would do fine
     
  6. brap macrumors 68000

    Joined:
    May 10, 2004
    Location:
    Nottingham
    #6
    eMac. Hell, maybe a new iBook. Lots of memory...

    I use Flash (very sparingly) on this machine and it's fine. Photoshop runs without issues, as does InDesign - my new favourite toy.

    Dreamweaver? Pft. Probably. Save the world; use SubEthaEdit instead!
     
  7. dornoforpyros thread starter macrumors 68040

    dornoforpyros

    Joined:
    Oct 19, 2004
    Location:
    Calgary, AB
    #7
    ahh well this is certanly helpfull. I mean I've got no problem dropping the cash to max out the ram but even an iBook with 1.25 gb of ram is $1000 less than a powerbook.
    THe biggest issue I can see with an iBook is the 1024 X 768 resolution, I would prefer something higher, but not for another 1000 bonez.
     
  8. mms macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Oct 8, 2003
    Location:
    CA
    #8
    If you need portability, you might consider an iBook. But if you don't, you can get the most power for your money by getting a desktop. The G5 iMacs are great computers and would serve adequately for just about any graphics work. Even the eMacs would do well with enough RAM. Caution though, since there have been rumors (unsubstantiated, but still...) of G5 eMacs that would be really sweet.
     
  9. brap macrumors 68000

    Joined:
    May 10, 2004
    Location:
    Nottingham
    #9
    That's it settled then; 1.2 GHz iBook, 1.25GB memory + a nice big 17-21" CRT... Screen real estate [and true colours] whilst at home, portability for lectures. But honestly, my 12" Albook has 1024 rez, and is perfectly fine. Exposé is your friend.

    Although, if the cash is really burning a hole in your pocket, you might consider a G5 iMac, as mentioned above...
     
  10. dornoforpyros thread starter macrumors 68040

    dornoforpyros

    Joined:
    Oct 19, 2004
    Location:
    Calgary, AB
    #10
    lol, well it's not quite that easy and I definalty don't have cash burning a hole in my pocket, hell if I did I'd get a 2.5 ghz dual g5 with 8 GB of ram and dual 30" studio displays :p

    This is really just a machine to call my own and muck around on things in my free time. I've got a cruddy pee cee at work which I kinda hate but it does support 1280 X 1024 resolution.
     
  11. Jaz macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Sep 7, 2004
    Location:
    Sydney, Australia
    #11
    An iBook is fine, but spring for a 15" Powerbook if you can. I used one as my workhorse for 3 years and just upgraded to a new one. Bear in mind if it's for work, then it's usually tax deductable in part. Dreamweaver runs like crap on Mac OS X, even my Dual 2.5 has pauses. Bad programming, not a problem with horsepower. Get SubEthEdit though.

    An iBook and a nice CRT will be great for what you do. Max out the RAM for sure. Only thing to note is that if you mirror the desktop initially to get the CRT running it will top out at 1024*768 so make sure to try and change the rez up once you are on the CRT only.
     
  12. dornoforpyros thread starter macrumors 68040

    dornoforpyros

    Joined:
    Oct 19, 2004
    Location:
    Calgary, AB
    #12
    Ahh cool, so if I end up getting a CRT later and I mirrior the iBook to it's monitor I can set the resolution higher?? Because if I can then it solves my resolution issue. Interesting.
     
  13. Peyote macrumors 6502a

    Peyote

    Joined:
    Apr 11, 2002
    #13
    If you are going to be doing a lot of work in Flash, I say the bigger the better. Big screens are great and all for seeing larger images closer to 100%, but Flash really needs a big screen. I use a 21" CRT at work, I forget what resolution it's at, but it's less that 1600 x 1200..probably closer to 1280 x 1024. Flash uses a LOT of big fat pallettes. For a casual user, it's ok...but if you start getting into actionscripting and need that window open as well, forget about it. I find myself constantly shuffling the pallettes around. An iBook is great and all, as long as you give yourself enough screen space when you need it. IMHO 21" is enough to get by on, but barely.
     
  14. stevehaslip macrumors 6502a

    stevehaslip

    Joined:
    Apr 30, 2004
    Location:
    The Ocean Floor
    #14
    am i right in thinking that iBooks can only mirror, not span and therefore the maximum resolution you could have on your external display would be 1024x768?
    I know powerbooks can do it but i thought this was one of the differences between the two lines.

    Of course there is a well known fix that enables monitor spanning and upping the res if you can't already do it.
     
  15. cluthz macrumors 68040

    cluthz

    Joined:
    Jun 15, 2004
    Location:
    Norway
    #15
    iBooks only supports mirroring, but you can do a hack (search around the forum).
    I would recomend you the 20-inch iMac.
    You get 1680x1050 res!!!
    If you add memory youself (512x2) you'll save a lot of money.

    for about $2000 you'll get:
    20 inch lcd, G5 cpu, 1024mb ram, dvd-burner.

    For a designer i think this wil be the best shot.

    (I feel that photoshop is almost unusable on a 1024x768 screen...)
     
  16. Abstract macrumors Penryn

    Abstract

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    Dec 27, 2002
    Location:
    Location Location Location
    #16
    I'd get the slowest iMac, but an 14" iBook would be fine as well. Seriously, you don't need a better video card for this type of work, and you can use the hack if you end up with an iBook. The iBook is a beauty. Seriously. However, you'd be giving up some performance if you went with an iBook instead of an iMac, since the iMac is at least a G5, and supports CoreImage when it comes out with Tiger.
     
  17. neut macrumors 68000

    neut

    Joined:
    Nov 27, 2001
    Location:
    here (for now)
    #17
    have you used Flash on the mac before? it runs like ****. my 17" 1Ghz PB runs it, but i get frustrated when doing heavier animation and rendering is a pain to wait for.

    for me 2 monitors are a must. i can't work in Flash (or Dreamweaver) with a single monitor. im about to get a G5 for the performance nad keep my PB for live performance (a/v). a refurb G5 with some third party screens sounds about right.

    a 1.5 Ghz 17" refurb might be a good buy if you want portable.


    don't be tempted by a consumer machine when you are trying to be a professinal... you'll understand when you try to render that 40fps Flash anim on your iBook to check if it still running smooth; it won't be.


    peace.
     
  18. vga4life macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Jun 16, 2004
    #18
    If you're strapped for cash, you can't beat a $699 refurb 1.25 GHz emac. Add a *nice* flat 19" aperture-grille CRT that will run 1600x1200 for ~$250, an extra 1 GB dimm from transintl.com for $189, and you've got a badass dual monitor system that'll be much faster than any ibook for around $1150. The low-end G5 imac starts at $1300 and that's before you add (much needed) RAM or a second monitor.

    The emac is a fine machine for this sort of work. My fiancee regularly uses our dual-head emac with 1.5 GB RAM for heavy, high-res photoshop work and it's perfect for that application.

    -vga4life
     
  19. zim macrumors 65816

    zim

    Joined:
    Jan 5, 2002
    #19
    Why are you working at 40fps in Flash? 12-25 is ideal, anything more and you are seriously limiting your audience. Flash runs just fine on a G4. I do agree with you that if you are doing animation of large capacity that a faster machine would be nice and I will say that Flash MX04 runs a lot slower then Flash MX but not to the point where it is unusable.

    Macromedia screwed up with MX04, I think most agree with that, but that is no reason why not to buy an iBook. I know "professionals" that have limited budgets and work very successfully on iMacs. Professionalism is not determined by what computer or how fast your processor is. The poster will be fine with an iBook, iMac or eMac.
     
  20. dornoforpyros thread starter macrumors 68040

    dornoforpyros

    Joined:
    Oct 19, 2004
    Location:
    Calgary, AB
    #20
    I have used Flash MX 2004 on a mac, but it was a dual processor G5 so obviosly it was pretty smokin.

    The main reason I posted this is because I'm considering getting eMac because the price is right, for just over $2000(canadian) I can get essentially everything I want in a computer with out breaking the bank. I just wanted to make sure I wasn't gonna be kicking myself in 2 months for not saving the extra cash for a G5 iMac.

    Then apple comes along with the speed bumped iBooks and makes my decision harder again :p

    So basically right now it's a toss up between an eMac or the iBook. I just haven't decided if I need the sexy laptop or not.
     
  21. Peyote macrumors 6502a

    Peyote

    Joined:
    Apr 11, 2002
    #21
    No, Productivity is. I don't think the poster will be happy with an iBook, or an eMac. I think the 20" iMac is the best option right now, because you don't have to buy a lousy external CRT, 20" should be enough to work in Flash...plus the iMac is 38% faster just on processor speed alone, not to mention using matched RAM for 128K, faster bus speeds, etc. IMHO, the only people that should buy a notebook, are people that need a notebook. Don't buy a notebook because it seems like a good value..because everything built for a notebook is more expensive, and more likely to break, and if you just don't need to take it with you very often, there's just no point.

    Plus, when apps start coming out that take advantage of the iMac's 64 bits, and you just bought a 32 bit emac or ibook just a few months prior to that, don't you think that you'd have some regrets?

    The G4 is an antiquated chip, the G5 is the future. There was a time when buying a Mac meant keeping up with current technology, maybe even safeguarding a little against a Mac being outdated. The iBook has been outdated for at least a year now...why buy something that won't keep up in two years?
     
  22. solvs macrumors 603

    solvs

    Joined:
    Jun 25, 2002
    Location:
    LaLaLand, CA
    #22
    Gotta agree with vga4life about the eMac. An iBook would be cool, but with that tiny screen and slow hard drive, it will not be ideal. Especially if you don't need the portability. You can always add more RAM, bigger internal or external hard drive. The hack will work for it as well, and you can get a nice 19" CRT with a high refresh rate at a higher resolution. I would wait for the next rev though. It is about to be updated (we hope). Hopefully a nice video card upgrade now that the iMac has a G5, but since the iBook still has the 32MB Radeon, I'm not holding my breath.
     
  23. zim macrumors 65816

    zim

    Joined:
    Jan 5, 2002
    #23
    Of the two, I would personally also have a hard decision to make. The eMac would give you a larger screen, which is important to a designer, yet the iBook would grant your freedom from the "studio."

    Sorry, not much help only can say that I can relate to your situation. What you might want to do is take a look at how you work, are you the type to be on the go a lot? If so, then the laptop is the right direction. If not, then go with the eMac.
     
  24. zim macrumors 65816

    zim

    Joined:
    Jan 5, 2002
    #24
    True, productivity is improved with faster technology but not necessarily made better. I know of many successful studios that work on equipment that is outdated. Yet the equipment does not prevent them from being any less productive then someone on a new G5. Work habits also contribute to the efficiency of development and although a faster computer would create more efficiency, it does not mean that the final work is produced any faster.

    I think that the only time speed becomes an issue is in video editing, rendering, 3D development and complex digital imaging.

    I agree with you that the poster's best option is the iMac but if they are in a budget then they should know that yes, the eMac will preform efficiently for them today, who knows what will happen in a year or two. I would assume that the eMac would just be an entry into their professional development and as they gain more work their needs will grow and change as well as their piggy bank.

    -Web design does not require a G5. If it does then I know a lot of people who are in trouble.
     
  25. _bnkr612 macrumors 6502a

    _bnkr612

    Joined:
    Mar 8, 2004
    #25
    My G5...

    To lucky one$ out there who have dual G5's. I am just as happy with my 1.6 G5.

    Using Photoshop, Illustrator, Flash, Dreamweaver and other various apps. I have not had a problem with what my processor runs at. I think it is shady that Apple puts so little RAM in their "Pro" series. 768MB (I have) should be the lowest, not 256MB.

    But price it out and buy what fits and remember to buy something you know you will still want in three years.

    With a desktop you'll have a longer shelf-life. Opposed to notebooks which get hauled around and banged up, the shelf-life is not so nice.

    To each their own.

    Cheers.
     

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