Am I getting a good deal, and which mac?

Discussion in 'Buying Tips and Advice' started by seanuhthin, Jul 12, 2010.

  1. seanuhthin macrumors member

    seanuhthin

    Joined:
    Jan 18, 2010
    #1
    Sorry for the long post :/
    I am about to sell my custom pc with an i7 processor and Graphics card. The person offered me 950.

    What do you all think? I am a graphic artist in the making and High School student (sophomore). My dad offered to help me out with the purchase of my new Mac, so I can afford a Mac book Pro or iMac, however my question is, am I making the right decision?

    I am almost positive I can't ask for more that 300-400 dollars from my dad to help get a Mac. I know I can't stand windows anymore, and I absolutely love OSX. Being interested in gaming, I am extremely weary of switching from an i7 processor and great graphics card down to a intel core 2 duo, but with the speed I have seen in the apple store on even the base MBP... I just don't know what to think.

    If you say go mac, which model?
     
  2. Makosuke macrumors 603

    Joined:
    Aug 15, 2001
    Location:
    The Cool Part of CA, USA
    #2
    Well, if you're a graphic artist, unless you already have a high-end monitor, you want an iMac, for the simple reason that they have color-accurate IPS screens.

    If you look at the prices from other companies selling displays with the same panels as the current-gen iMacs, about half the cost of the computer is in the high-end display panel.

    Not saying you can't produce good art with a cheaper TN-based screen, but frankly if you are serious about art you might as well start on good footing when it comes to color rendition on your monitor.

    Apple's laptops have very good panels, but they're not IPS (in fact, I'm not aware of ANY laptop currently available that uses an IPS panel), so I'd lean away from them for that reason alone--I can easily tell the difference between the color range and accuracy on my MBP vs my i7 iMac switching between the two, and I avoid doing color-sensitive work on the laptop for that reason.

    Now, if you really want a laptop for other life reasons, maybe that's a tradeoff you're willing to make, but be aware it is a tradeoff. Me, I'd get the best iMac I could afford in your situation.

    Basic Gaming is going to be fine, but really, if you want to do anything flashy you'll either need exactly what you already have--a decent PC gaming rig--or just buy a PS3 or Wii and call it good. I do the latter (which, admittedly, is easier because I'm not a big FPS fan).
     
  3. seanuhthin thread starter macrumors member

    seanuhthin

    Joined:
    Jan 18, 2010
    #3
    I own a 25 inch Samsung, brand new, cost about 280, however I am not sure what model... Would this be fine? I also have another lg 17 inch, both can support 1080p apparently if that means anything. I have a ps3, Which I figure would be fine for gaming :/
     
  4. Makosuke macrumors 603

    Joined:
    Aug 15, 2001
    Location:
    The Cool Part of CA, USA
    #4
    Well, it does depend on your standards whether it's good enough, but it's definitely not IPS--to my knowledge Samsung doesn't sell any IPS displays, and to get one in that size class will cost you in the range of $500-1000 depending on quality and extra features.

    This list might be helpful for reference; to my knowledge it's kept up to date:

    http://www.pchardwarehelp.com/guides/s-ips-lcd-list.php

    Not saying what you have is a bad monitor, just that if you're planning on doing professional-type graphic design work on the computer, I think you'd be better served by a pro-grade screen to work on. (I'd also recommend a hardware color calibrator, but that's not as important if you're on a tight budget unless you're outputting to print.)

    Now, if you're just getting started, you could of course try to get enough cash together to buy a mini (even the previous-generation ones are quite nice), keep your gaming tower for gaming, and use the mini for actual work. Not saying I recommend that, but it would be a best-of-both-worlds option on a limited budget.

    I stand by my iMac recommendation otherwise. And you can always hook up one of your existing monitors, if you don't sell them, to it as a second display for extra desktop real-estate.
     
  5. strausd macrumors 68030

    Joined:
    Jul 11, 2008
    Location:
    Texas
    #5
    If you're looking for a well priced IPS panel monitor, Dell came out with a new one not too long ago call the u2311h. Its not as big as your 25" monitor, but 23" isn't much of a difference. Also, it has much more features than a 24" ACD, such as rotation, height, swivel, and angle adjustments. It goes for like $320 on Dells site, but you might be able to get a discount if you order on the phone, some people have at least.

    When it comes to graphic design, an iMac will definitely be faster than a MBP. But if you need the portability, go for it. Another thing to remember is that many adobe programs can only use 2 cores. The MBP has a dual core i7 with 4 virtual cores/threads. The iMac has 4 cores with 8 virtual cores/threads. The more cores may not come into great use unless you do something that can actually utilize all cores.

    The iMac, however, does support twice as much RAM, which is definitely important in Adobe programs. There will definitely be trade offs for each, like the other guy has already mentioned. It just depends on whether not its worth it.
     
  6. seanuhthin thread starter macrumors member

    seanuhthin

    Joined:
    Jan 18, 2010
    #6
    Thank you, this has been very helpful. My only question now is which iMac?
     
  7. strausd macrumors 68030

    Joined:
    Jul 11, 2008
    Location:
    Texas
    #7
    I agree with the guy before, the most powerful one you can afford.
     
  8. Makosuke macrumors 603

    Joined:
    Aug 15, 2001
    Location:
    The Cool Part of CA, USA
    #8
    I probably should have noted before that this is a double advantage of the new iMacs. It's not just that the maximum RAM is twice that of the MBP, it's also that there are four slots, which means you can save about $50 getting to 8GB compared to a 2-slot machine, since the price-per-GB goes up with 4GB sticks vs. 2GB sticks (not nearly as big a jump as it was six months ago, but still non-zero).

    Do keep in mind, though, that it's never a good idea to buy RAM from Apple--always configure the minimum and fill the open slots yourself (in the case of the current-gen iMac, either add two more 2GB sticks, or two 4GB sticks for a total of 12GB if you can afford it and are going to be doing significant PS/AI/other Adobe work). In fact, when you take into account having to chuck or trade-in the preinstalled 4GB in the MBP, it's that much cheaper to get to 8GB on an iMac.

    Otherwise, as I said and strausd seconded, get the best machine you can afford.

    You're probably aware of this, but the iMac line is due for an update pretty soon here (could be very soon, although my money is on the beginning of the school year on account of no big changes in the Intel CPUs available in that range), so if you were looking to buy sooner rather than later, you might consider waiting at least a bit--right after an update you can either get the current models at a significant discount or the new models while they're new.
     

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