A buyers dilemma - a Mac for web development

Discussion in 'Buying Tips and Advice' started by Heilage, May 1, 2009.

  1. Heilage macrumors 68030


    May 1, 2009
    Hey guys!

    I was hoping you could help me with my dilemma here.

    I'm out to buy a new Mac this summer. Here is my situation:

    I'm a small time web developer who's about to start my own company. I need a workstation for this, as I want to seperate my two jobs with different computers (I'm also a games reviewer, so I have a dedicated machine for this purpose). My computer has to be quity beefy, with regards to my own patience and the computer as an investment for a couple of years at least.

    The computer will be used to work with programming (Coda) and web graphics (Photoshop). So here I'm stuck between three choices:

    - Mac Mini (2,26GHz, 4GB RAM)
    - iMac 20 (3,06GHz, 4GB for now, later 8GB)
    - Mac Pro (Singe CPU, 2,66GHz and the amount of RAM I'm bothered to buy at the time)

    This computer HAS TO be able to run a monitor at 1920x1200 without any hick-ups. I use Spaces to organize my working, and it being slow in this matter is not acceptable. I'm very curious as to wether the 9400M is able to do this for me, that's why I've been going towards the Mac Pro. If I spec an iMac up to the level where it has a dedicated graphics card, it gets close to the Pro anyway. I do not want the 24-inch iMac because in case of an iMac the original monitor will be used for palettes and such, not for working. 24 inches is quite simply too big for this. I'm dependant on a separate monitor (a Dell) for my setup, because:

    - I use a KVM switch to switch between working and "working" (I have a difficulty with defining playing games as working, but I digress). An iMac alone makes this impossible.
    - That gaming machine has to be always up-to-date, with regards to my other job. Playing on the iMac is out of the question.

    The Mac Pro can do anything I want it to, but for a hefty price. I intend to keep the Pro as a working machine for at least four years if I buy it, as a more long timed investment. The Mac Mini is pretty much out of the race already, with regards to my needs.

    Sorry for the wall of text. I hope someone can help me with this.
  2. capo64 macrumors member

    Aug 20, 2008
    I use my 24" 3.06 iMac for the same purposes as you describe. I'm a web developer and use Coda regularly and I do a fair amount of Photoshop work. I'm pretty sure you can't spec up the 20" iMac's video card or processor (probably cause of heat).

    I've never used the Mac Mini, but I doubt it'll be able to do very much with games especially. I'm not sure if you want it, but Synergy lets you use one keyboard between multiple machines. So you'll have two monitors, but you still only need one keyboard/mouse.
  3. Heilage thread starter macrumors 68030


    May 1, 2009
    I know of Syngery, but you obviously overlooked the fact that I already have a KVM solution I'm happy with. I just need a mac. Also, using the monitor on the iMac for working is out of the question for two reasons:

    - It's glossy and I hate that when I'm working with graphics
    - It's not adjustable, i.e. not ergonomic.

    It's pretty much between the iMac 20 3,06GHz (which I'm unsure is able to power that monitor) and the entry-level Mac Pro.

    I don't mean to be an ass about this, but I have very specific needs and I love working in OS X.
  4. striatedglutes macrumors 6502

    Feb 22, 2009
    If this is for a new business, it's not worth $1000 to worry. Get the Mac Pro and forget about it! Return on investment will be higher in the long run.
  5. miles01110 macrumors Core


    Jul 24, 2006
    The Ivory Tower (I'm not coming down)
    Honestly it seems like you're just looking for validation on something you've already decided.

    Given this, I don't see how you can get anything besides a Mac Pro. Do you?
  6. Demosthenes X macrumors 68000

    Demosthenes X

    Oct 21, 2008
    Sounds like the pro is really your only feasible solution, unless you want to venture in the murky world of building a hackintosh. If you're concerned about the price of the Pro, last-gens are sometimes available on the refurb site for a substantial discount, and the previous 8-core offers comparable performance to the current 4-core machine.
  7. Heilage thread starter macrumors 68030


    May 1, 2009
    I might be, and I'm sorry if you feel that I'm wasting your time. It wasn't my intention.

    The real dilemma, I guess, is between the iMac 20 (if it can power a 1920x1200 properly with the 9400M graphics, that's want I really want to know) and the Mac Pro.

    Thing is, if I need something better than the 9400M, I'm almost at the Mac Pro anyway, and it's no point in buying a 24 inch iMac when I can get a Mac Pro, which is far more upgradeable and a better investment, if I pay a bit more.

    (Sometimes I wish I didn't do gaming at all, because then a standalone iMac would problaby do the job just fine. The needed KVM solution complicates thigns. Maybe that's something for the office when that time comes.)
  8. miles01110 macrumors Core


    Jul 24, 2006
    The Ivory Tower (I'm not coming down)
    I didn't consider it a waste of time, but reading your post it honestly seems like you haven't given yourself any options besides the Mac Pro.;)
  9. Badradio macrumors 6502

    Aug 19, 2004
    I'm not trying to derail you, or this thread, but a friend of mine recently went freelance as a web designer/developer, and he found he needed a new laptop for when he was meeting with clients and demonstrating layouts. He was using an iBook 14", but the quality of the screen was washing out his layouts, and it wasn't exactly impressive for potential clients. He bought a unibody MBP and hasn't looked back. I know a UMBP would meet all of your requirements aside from upgradeability, and you'd have a laptop for working onsite with clients. The gloss screen is a problem for some (not me) but most meetings are indoors, and you can quickly move it to avoid reflections, so it's not a deal-breaker for most.

    One thing I can answer is that I have the base UBMP model and I'm running the Apple 24" display with it - 9 times out of 10 using the 9400m - and it's flawless. The 9400m is fine for 1920x1200.
  10. Heilage thread starter macrumors 68030


    May 1, 2009
    Okey, so the 9400M (i.e. an iMac 20 or even a Mac Mini at a stretch) could be enough. Interesting.

    As for the UBMP, I already have the Unibody MB with 2,4GHz and 4GB of RAM, so a new laptop is kind of out of the question. ;)
  11. MACoconut macrumors regular

    Oct 9, 2008
    the iMac would suffice I guess.

    If you need gaming, get a separate windows desktop (at a cheaper price)

    Mac Pro is far too expensive; if you have the extra buck then go for that then :eek:
  12. macryder macrumors newbie

    May 2, 2009
    I agree with that. Mac Pro is really expensive and its lifespan and warranty could be much chorter than that of HP and Acer laptops.
  13. Heilage thread starter macrumors 68030


    May 1, 2009
    Like I said, I have a dedicated gaming machine. This is just a computer for work.

    I think I'll go for the iMac 20 inch. Dual screen setup is not a bad thing. :)

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