Photoshop users: System advice requested...

Discussion in 'Buying Tips, Advice and Discussion (archive)' started by b15fliptop, Oct 12, 2004.

  1. b15fliptop macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Oct 12, 2004
    #1
    Howdy folks! I'm on the cusp of getting a new 'puter, and I need some advice as to what kind of Mac would be appropriate. I've been using PCs at work for years, but I'm about to branch out on my own and I've decided to go with a Mac for a number of reasons. First of all, while nothing is perfect, I have a bunch of Graphic Design acquaintances who swear that Macs are more reliable, and the numerous PC issues I've dealt with in the last few years make that very appealing. Secondly, I don't have most of the software that I'll need yet anyway, so it's not like I will have to lay out a bunch of dough for stuff I already have. And third, they don't make nearly as many games for the Mac, so it might keep me honest ;)

    And now to the real question... 90% of what I do is in Photoshop, and file sizes routinely grow to 100MB or more, with dozens of layers (I prototype new products virtually, among other things). The rest will be sporadic Illustrator use and bouts of InDesign abuse. Does this sound like something that an iMac G5 with a couple Gigs of ram could handle, or am I looking at a dual processor PowerMac? For purposes of comparison, I currently use a P4 3.06Ghz with 1GB of Ram, which is serviceable, but not quite ideal. Honestly, if I could expect similar performance from an iMac I would be happy just to not have to deal with Windows anymore. Just so we're clear, I'm far from PC illiterate. I've been working on them figuratively and literally for about 20 years, and am generally the guy that most folks look to for PC help. I'm just ready for a change. Thanks in advance for any help you can offer, and if you're still reading at this point I applaud your patience!!
     
  2. allisonv7 macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Jul 20, 2004
    Location:
    Indy
    #2
    I have a PC now and am going to buy a Mac for a similar reason, though it will be my personal computer that I use for freelance stuff. I just graduated from college and all we used was Mac's and I fell in love with them, just never splurged for one because of college expense that always seemed to get in the way. Basically I've decided on the $1499 model, just am wondering about what to do about the RAM, I'm a bit hesitant though to open it up myself and install it, as I've never been 'inside' a computer before. How easy is it for a newbie?

    allison.
     
  3. Wes macrumors 68020

    Wes

    Joined:
    Jun 22, 2001
    Location:
    London
    #3

    I'm sure apple has made it very easy and from what I have seen it is. Just a case of removing the back cover and placing the ram in after taking anti-static precautions (grounding yourself) to ensure you don't do any damage.
     
  4. b15fliptop thread starter macrumors newbie

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    Oct 12, 2004
    #4
    No Photoshop users with any advice? Come on people, I KNOW there have to be some PS users in a Mac forum! ;)
     
  5. Apple Corps macrumors 68020

    Joined:
    Apr 26, 2003
    Location:
    California
    #5
    My system & $.02 > new version G5 dual 1.8 with 2gigs of RAM. NOW for the important difference: two external SATA drives, a 74 gig WD Raptor and an additional 250 gig Hitachi. The Raptor is a fast scratch disk - a big difference on those 140 meg files that we work on. Will a stock G5 iMac work? You bet :) Will the system I have work much,much "mo betta"? :D

    It is a simple matter of $$$ vs use vs time value vs more power desire! If you work on those PS files for any significant amount of time I'd go for a more powerful system.

    BTW - this reply goes to you courtesy of my 366 Indigo iBook - right tool for the job at hand :p
     
  6. callmesideburns macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Sep 28, 2004
    #6
    I am currently running the single processor 1.6ghz G5 powerpc. Pretty much the same as the current iMac with 2 gigs of ram and a crappy Geforce 5200. Not my choice, but when work fronts the bill I can't complain.

    Pretty much all I use is Photoshop, Illustrator, and Indesign with a few sporatic moments of director and flash. It does a damn good job on 50-150 meg PS files. Once I start jumping into 250-300+ meg files (yes, I unfortunately work in feet not inches) a lot of the processor intensive tranformations, color adjustments, and filters (although I stay away from 97% of the filters) start to lag and eat up some time. All of my illustrator and indesign work is a breeze and couldn't be happier (even when I'm laying out 20 foot presentation boards)

    The only bottleneck I experience everyday is when I'm saving these behemouth files, some of my photoshop and illustrator files can take up to 10 minutes to save, even when I'm linking files instead of imbedding them.

    I haven't had the chance to work on one of the new dual G5s so I can't make any comparisons but I have been happy with the performance of this machine so far. Hope this somewhat helps.
     
  7. Mr. Anderson Moderator emeritus

    Mr. Anderson

    Joined:
    Nov 1, 2001
    Location:
    VA
    #7
    The other concern about getting an iMac vs. a PowerMac is the monitor. You can get a larger 23" or 3rd party lcd display for the PowerMac and get more real estate to view those large photoshop files with. And if you can't afford a large screen now, you always have the option of upgrading down the line.

    I'd go for the PowerMac just for expandability and options in the future.

    D
     
  8. stevehaslip macrumors 6502a

    stevehaslip

    Joined:
    Apr 30, 2004
    Location:
    The Ocean Floor
    #8
    also i think i read that the 17" iMac G5 uses the older lcd screens meaning that the response times etc aren't as great as the new al cinema screens. Anyone else back that up with fact or a link?

    They limit the frontside bus on the iMacs don't they? you might notice a little difference between that a comparative powermac.

    I use a mac as opposed to a windows based PC because i find things to be far more stable than my last windows machine. Saying that things change, but the operating system hasn't. (at least for windows) That and the fact that virtually every other graphic designer i know uses a mac. It makes sense in a mac dominated industry to go with the flow and make it easier to talk to or transfer files.

    I know some multi media designers use windows machines, but for the Mac is the only way to go. And i would find it very VERY difficult to go back to windows after using a mac.

    As Mr Anderson just said, what if you get an iMac but decided 6 months down the line that you want a bigger screen?
    If it were me i'd go for a powermac G5, hell i did and i haven't looked back. :D
     
  9. ijimk macrumors 6502a

    ijimk

    Joined:
    Jun 17, 2004
    Location:
    Here
    #9
    I think you should go G5 dual power mac 1.8 or 2.0 ghz. Depends on how much dough you have to spend both are great cpus iam a recent Dual 1.8 ghz buyer and i must say this machine is the best cpu i have ever had. The thing smokes compared to any other cpu i have had. I do a bit of vide and alot of photshop work too. And if you are dealing with 100+ mb files quite often get your 2 gigs of ram throw it in a G5 power mac and say JUST BRING IT!
     
  10. Mr. Anderson Moderator emeritus

    Mr. Anderson

    Joined:
    Nov 1, 2001
    Location:
    VA
    #10
    One thing to consider is to go to a Apple Store or retailer and take them both for a test drive and see if you notice a difference.


    D
     
  11. stevehaslip macrumors 6502a

    stevehaslip

    Joined:
    Apr 30, 2004
    Location:
    The Ocean Floor
    #11
    alot of people i know seem to be content with forking out for the computer but never bother to see whether its suitable for the tasks they intend to do for it. They happily spend money but don't try stuff out. I don't understand it but some people are happy to drop thousands of quid on a computer but won't go in to a shop and ask to try something! Try all your options, most shops will let you install stuff on there such as photoshop and thn let you bring your own files to see how they run so you can get some real world tests on the computers. All you need to do is give 24 hours notice, or at least thats how it works in the UK. If they know that theres a sale at the end of it then they're happy to help.

    Try stuff out, you may find that an iMac is perfect for your needs in which case you can save yourself £££'s or $$$'s.

    Benchmarks and reviews are one thing but first hand experience is another!
     
  12. imaginfinity macrumors newbie

    imaginfinity

    Joined:
    Oct 14, 2004
    Location:
    UK
    #12
    in my experience I would recommend you to go for the PMG5 - Dual 2GHz if you can stretch to it. The iMac G5 is a first generation model and as such not guaranteed to be free of teething problems. It also can only take one single hard-disk and has only FireWire 400 ports, so you couldn't even add a fast external drive later. In terms of colour accuracy, the built-in LCD screen is still no match for a decent (LaCie Blue Electron/Barco) CRT monitor. You may already have a decent PC monitor you trust - with the PowerMac you could keep on using it. The other limitation of the iMac (and the Dual 1.8GHz PMG5) is the small amount of max memory. Working with Photoshop CS and 2GB of RAM is okay, but if you want to be able to keep abreast with the increasing demands of future software versions, you will need more memory slots...
     
  13. callmesideburns macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Sep 28, 2004
    #13
    This is the best answer in the thread. No matter what we say, only your experience will determine which computer works best for you. Hopefully there's a store that houses Macs in your area :)
     
  14. b15fliptop thread starter macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Oct 12, 2004
    #14
    Wow, thanks everyone for the great replies. Unfortunately, there isn't an Apple store within 2 1/2 hours of here, but I will probably make the trip anyway. Having said that, it seems pretty clear that a PMG5 is the way to go. I already have a nice pair of monitors, both of which I'll be able to use with the PM. For a few hundred dollars more I'll get all of the benefits mentioned, like more expandability, dual CPUs, bigger HD, SuperDrive, etc. I might was well make the investment since I plan to be on this machine for most of my waking hours. :p

    Thanks again for all of the input!!
     
  15. cluthz macrumors 68040

    cluthz

    Joined:
    Jun 15, 2004
    Location:
    Norway
    #15
    If you are going to use two large monitors, i would opt for a better card than the 64mb fx5200, i think the 128mb radeon 9600xt is only $50 extra!
     
  16. MacDawg macrumors P6

    MacDawg

    Joined:
    Mar 20, 2004
    Location:
    "Between the Hedges"
    #16
    On the whole, the faster, the bigger, the more RAM you have, the better it is for anything... but $$$ are an issue with that approach. So, when in doubt, take it for a test drive as advocated above. How it "feels" to you is important if you are going to be spending a significant amount of time with it. Benchmarks are only one measure... your perception is another. If it feels fast, it is fast, to you.

    Take a CD with some of your files on them, and see if they will let you play with them and compare response times yourself.
     

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