Another What to buy thread! Sowwy..Newbie here..

Discussion in 'Buying Tips, Advice and Discussion (archive)' started by sxpcreative, Jan 12, 2005.

  1. sxpcreative macrumors newbie

    Jan 12, 2005
    Hi Everyone!

    I'm a new student of Art & Design and have been a PC user up until starting school. I have grown to liking Mac's as that is all we use at school. Therefore, I am interested in buying one and I don't know which one to get.


    I have space issues at home at the moment, so a laptop makes sense. However, can it handle all the design applications I will get for it properly? Quark, Photoshop, Dreamweaver, better than a desktop?


    Being a full time student means a shoe string budget, although I am not cheap. I want to be able to buy something that will last a while and is easy to upgrade.

    What would be a good starting point for me as a Designer, future Graphic Artist?

    I will probably get a Mac educational discount, although I don't expect it to be much, because prices here in Toronto are bit higher than in the states. However, I hope I can get away with finding something decent.

    I have done my browsing and was playing around with an Ibook 12" when I went to visit Carbonation. I also checked out all the Apple choices...and oh boy do I feel confussed!

    I have a PC Compaq Laptop Intel 2.8, 80 Gig Hard Drive, 1 Gig Memory and it works fine, but I will have tons of homework as well as in-class work with Macs, so naturally, I would like to have the ability to be able to do homework at home instead of being stuck at labs in school.

    Your help is appreciated!


    San ;)
  2. maya macrumors 68040


    Oct 7, 2004
    somewhere between here and there.
  3. virividox macrumors 601


    Aug 19, 2003
    Manila - Nottingham - Philadelphia - Santa Barbar
    if you can afford it maybe a powerbook, if you can get desktop get an emac.
  4. CanadaRAM macrumors G5


    Oct 11, 2004
    On the Left Coast - Victoria BC Canada
    OK, let's tackle your questions:

    Space issues: Powerbook, iBook, Mac Mini or iMac G5 all deal with limited space in their own ways. One of these will be right for you.

    Every Mac sold today will handle your programs adequately or more than adequately. Of course it's a matter of degree; if you are handling 150 Mb Photoshop files or editing a feature film, all day every day, just get the dual 2.5 GHZ G5 and have done with it.

    Can you do professional design on any current Mac - Absolutely, including the eMac and the new Mini.

    Will the Powerbook or iBook be *better* than a desktop Mac at the same dollar amount - Absolutely not. You pay for the portability. If you want the most power per buck, get the iMac G5 or a G5 tower.

    The issue you need to answer about whether an iBook or PowerBook is right for you is the screen. Is it big enough and is it accurate enough for what you need to do?

    Can you work with a 12" screen. I would suggest no, not if it is your primary machine.

    Graphic and Web design apps just need too much room for pallettes and windows. I use DW and PS on a 19" monitor and I want more. Consider the 14" iBook or 15" Powerbook as the entry-level model *unless* you have the bux to get a Powerbook 12" with a 19" external monitor - for light-to-travel but big-at-home use.

    The iBook screen is *not* color accurate enough to do professional color work on. You will need to proof on another machine/monitor or on paper. Don't know about the Powerbook screen. I have clients doing professional design on 15" powerbooks and they cope, but still beware of soft-proofing on a laptop - it can bite you bad when the job comes off the press and the client says "What's that colour? I don't remember you showing me that colour."

    Buy your Mac with the minimum RAM, and then upgrade RAM through a reputable third-party RAM supplier like (blush)... us.

    Easy to upgrade: Well, the only one that isn't upgradable internally is the Mini. All the other Macs you can add RAM at any time. The iBook and to a lesser extent the Powerbooks are difficult to upgrade hard drives, but I recommend adding hard drive space in the form of external Firewire drives anyway (better security for making backups, transportable to other machines).

    Budget: Best power for buck: iMac G5 CAN$1599 + $ RAM

    Best absolute price value: eMac G4 with 17" CRT CAN$999 + $ RAM (yes even better than the Mini by the time you factor the monitor and keyboard and RAM upgrade. Just not small. I have seen eMac demo units in stores as low as CAN$799)

    Best bang for buck low-cost portable system: iBook G4 14" 1.33/60Gb/combo with 1.2 Gb RAM CAN$1999

    Best designer machine for the long haul: Dual Processor G5 2.0 GHz with 2.5 Gb RAM and a premium quality 22" colour-calibrated CRT monitor CAN$4800

    Oddest idea: Get a Mac Mini for CAN$726 with 512 Mb RAM, get a KVM (keyboard, video, mouse) switch (CAN$80 - $250), sit the Mini on top of your PC and share your PC's monitor, mouse and keyboard with the Mini. How's that for efficient use of space? The downside is that you really want 1 Gb RAM in the Mini and Apple's 1 Gb is howlingly overpriced, yet they say installing your own will void warranty.

  5. sxpcreative thread starter macrumors newbie

    Jan 12, 2005
    Thanks..but still confussed..

    Bummer huh? I have doubts about the screen size...

    Like I mentioned in my first post I have a PC laptop right now and the screen is 15 inch and it seems to do the trick for my amateur web design.. I haven't checked out my sites in mac yet.

    Is there a way to plug in a mac mini into my PC laptop to share the screen?

    Or is it far better to just go for the 14" ibook rather than the 12". Although Maya mentioned that 12" would do.. I guess it's all a matter of personal preference.

    My space limitations are small. Basically I would have to share the space where my PC laptop is right now since my PC printer and digital camera are both compatible with Mac's.

    Although, if my better half is using the PC laptop, then, I would basically have to go to the dinning room table which is right next to the desk where my current laptop is...

    Oh space! I am in a toss right now...either the 12" or 14" iBook or the iMac G5... :confused:

  6. Blue Velvet Moderator emeritus

    Jul 4, 2004
    Yes. It's called a KVM switch and it lets you use one keyboard, mouse and screen with more than computer... although you will probably need a USB one for the Mac & that may not work with your PC.

    If you can afford it, get the iMac. It's a machine that will grow with your needs. You may find the iBook limiting after a while for all sorts of reasons...

    And your first question about Photoshop on a laptop... Perhaps if you compared a PowerBook to a G3 but desktops of the same age always have better performance, expandibility etc than a portable.
  7. allisonv7 macrumors 6502

    Jul 20, 2004
    I was a Visual Communication major in college and did a lot of freelance work on a 15" pc laptop. It got the job done and was portable which was good because I could easily take it if I went home for the weekend or to the lakehouse or whereever - I didn't have to put off the work. If I didn't need the portability though I would have much preferred a desktop.

    Try to go to the store and check out the 12" screen and see if it's something you could work with. I found 15" to be a decent size so I would probably lean towards the 14" rather than the 12".

    I just bought an imac and love it - If I were you I wouldn't rule it out :)

  8. Kirk macrumors regular


    Jan 6, 2004
    For DTP apps like Quark and InDesign you will need as much screen space as you can. I do some print design on my eMac 1.25 Ghz (17" CRT, 1Gb RAM), and everything works fine, but I would really like to have a bigger screen.
  9. nichos macrumors 6502


    Jul 17, 2004
    Jacksonville, Fl
    I was in the same boat as far as a KVM went. I needed to use my PS2 keyboard, and I had a usb/ps2 mouse. I wanted to share it with my linux machine, and my ibook, and I didn't want to use USB on my linux machine, OR change keyboards. After searching (and searching) i found a KVM that does both. I've had it about a week now, been working fine. It also does mic in, and audio out. Here is the link to newegg. $25, comes with cables.
  10. crazzyeddie macrumors 68030


    Dec 7, 2002
    Florida, USA
    I think others misunderstood your question... You cannot use the LCD on your laptop to display the screen of the Mac mini (at least, not easily and with clear display).
  11. 18thTomorrow macrumors 6502

    Apr 5, 2004
    The Alpha Quadrant
    If you're looking at iBooks, it really doesn't matter whether you select 12" or 14". They both run at the same screen resolution--1024x768. The only difference is on the 14" everything is a bit bigger.

    If you go for an iBook you'll definitely want to have access to some sort of external display for more screen space and colorproofing. Either use the one you have with your PC or buy one. But you'll want it.

    I have a 14" iBook 1ghz, 383mb RAM and I use it for all of the apps you mentioned. Dreamweaver & Freehand, Adobe Photoshop & Illustrator, all run fairly well.
  12. mrgreen4242 macrumors 601


    Feb 10, 2004
    You won't be able to do that with the built in screen of a laptop. If you have an external LCD or CRT that you use with the laptop, you can share that one, but not the one built into the laptop.

    I'm going to also recommend the iMac. For just a tad more than the cheapest laptop you can get a MUCH faster machine, with a MUCH bigger and better screen. You can add more RAM for less money, and it will simply last you longer.

    You already have a laptop, so you don't NEED another portable machine... what you need is the best Mac you can get for the money. Take a look at Apples refurb store. They offer better deals than the EDU store, and most people have reported good things about Apple's refurbs. I've never had a refurbed Mac (but I am planning on getting one soon), but most refurbished products I have purchased direct from the manufacturer have been at least as good if not better than new ones.

    Er, does Apple sell refurbs anywhere but the US? If not, sorry for that... but I would still recommend the iMac!

  13. Blue Velvet Moderator emeritus

    Jul 4, 2004
    Yes – I misunderstood the question. Mea culpa...

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