Best College Set-Up

Discussion in 'Design and Graphics' started by Spartan_aG1, Aug 8, 2009.

  1. Spartan_aG1 macrumors member

    Jul 20, 2009
    I'll be starting college this fall and i'll be majoring in graphic design and photography.

    I will have $6000 to spend at the school bookstore which has a mini Apple Store and I was wondering what would be the best recommended set-up. I'd prefer a laptop and external monitor but I don't know which combo. I have all Apple notebooks, imacs, minis, and pros available to purchase. But the only displays in the bookstore are the 24" Apple LED Cinema and the 30" Cinema.

    What would you guys recommend?

    Would it be easier to just get a 17" MBP?
  2. Spartan_aG1 thread starter macrumors member

    Jul 20, 2009
    Yeah I know but I wanted to see from a designers perspective.

    I'll just check out the Apple Store tomorrow and see what I like best.

    But thanks for all your help thegoldenmackid, I really appreciate it :)
  3. lixuelai macrumors 6502a

    Oct 29, 2008
    $6000 is a lot of gear you can buy :eek:

    I dont think all my electronics adds up to that much and I probably have the most computers in my dorm.

    Anyway I suggest a 13" MBP and a 30" LCD. Not necessarily the ACD as it is a bit outdated. If you really care about the looks then go for it. Otherwise the Dell 3008WFP is IMO a better choice. This gives you portability and a nice LCD to use and leaves you with $4000 to do whatever you want ;)
  4. ThomasW91 macrumors newbie

    Jun 10, 2009
    Greenville, SC
    I'm doing the same thing, but with a smaller budget haha. 15" 2.8 mbp and I'm about to buy a 24" ultrasharp. Buying a cinema display would be sweet but you cant hook anything else up to it. I'll be running cable, 360, and my mac through my display.
  5. LeviG macrumors 65816

    Nov 6, 2006
    Norfolk, UK
    ok I'm working with UK money here so theres going to be a little difference in price obviously but its usually cheaper in the US :(

    This is what I would do.

    Get a macbook 13/15 (with 9400) plus a samsung f2380 23" display (they retail around £250) and dvi adapter - buy it out of your own cash if you have to :). This display has 100% srgb colour range which will be a good thing to have when working with photo's and graphics.
    The 24" will do you fine if you must go for an apple screen but remember it is highly glossy.
    The only way to get better than this on an lcd is to shell out considerably more and they're not really worth it in my opinion.

    Another alternative as you seem to have plenty of cash is to get a macbook air for school plus a mac mini for home although this will cost more and have less batterylife.

    Add in a stand for the laptop to raise it up, a bluetooth keyboard and mouse plus an intuos 4 medium graphics tablet for the touch up on your photo's etc.

    I would also look at getting a screen and printer calibration kit (spyder3 studio is $499 or less) which no one else seems to have mentioned.

    Get a nice a3 printer such as a canon Pro 9000/9500 mk2 and you should have a nice all round setup in my opinion and will likely be around $3000 I would expect.

    Don't forget any software (office/iwork, photoshop/creative suite - although this should be student editions), and books you may want. Not sure what you are doing about camera equipment. You may also require graphic equipment such as marker pens and paper etc so I wouldn't spend all 6k in one go if you don't have to.
  6. usclaneyj macrumors regular

    May 1, 2005
    $6k is a lot of money!

    Computing power is going to be essential to you, as is storage. So you might as well get the biggest and baddest MBP you can. I work predominately in web design currently, and use a 24" display w/ a MBP. It does the job nicely, but not impressively. With your focus in traditional design and photography, a Mac Pro is a better choice, but I totally understand that it lacks portability (something very important in college).

    Other things that you should consider include getting a wacom tablet (I <3 the 6x11. Couldn't live without it.) and a real quality, medium or large format printer. I hated having to wait for other students to finish using the printers. Even worse is those late night Kinkos runs and their ridiculous prices per square inch! A good large format printer can get quite expensive, but it will save you time, headaches, and money if your design program's print room charges for printouts. Just be wary of the cost of the ink.

    Oh yeah, and CS4, obviously.
  7. definitive macrumors 68000


    Aug 4, 2008
    when i was shopping for a mac i had a budget of 2k, and the specs i wanted were way out of my price range, so i ended up getting an almost top of the line imac (3.06ghz, minus the 1tb hd and 4gigs of ram), and will be buying a mbp some time down the line when i can afford it.

    with the money you have to spend, i'd get a 13" or 15" mbp, and a 24" display + keyboard and mouse. hopefully you get a student discount on top of that.

    some other things to consider:

    a large format printer. i've been to two schools with graphic design programs, and both would have long lines to print stuff. some schools even charge money for color 11x17 prints. epson makes good large format printers such as r1440 and r1900.

    tablet - wide tablet for widescreen monitors. they're not necessary, but can make things easier in photoshop and possibly illustrator.

    carrying case for the laptop.

    applecare - warranty for whatever you buy from apple (3 years). this in my opinion is a must. be warned that it won't cover accidental damage. for that have a look at squaretrade.

    software - not sure if you already have it or are going to buy it, but many schools can get discounts through adobe for cs4 design and design premium packs. cs4 design premium can go for $300 which is much less than buying all apps piece by piece (illustrator, photoshop, indesign, dreamweaver, flash, acrobat pro).
  8. Spartan_aG1 thread starter macrumors member

    Jul 20, 2009
    The last responses have been very helpful, thank you guys.
    This is what I have made up so far.

    Computer: 2.66GHz 15" MBP 4GB/Dedicated Graphics ($1,800)
    Monitor: 24" Apple LED CD ($800)
    Accessories: Wireless Mouse($60), Wireless Keyboard($60), Time Capsule($300), Intuos4 Small($230), Decent Printer($300)
    AppleCare ($190)

    Total: $3,740

    So that would leave me $2,260 if I ever need an upgrade or newer software or anything else. I'll try looking for a different display too cause I think $800 is a lot for that display. It's just a matter if they have other display at our schools bookstore.
  9. definitive macrumors 68000


    Aug 4, 2008
    yeah, you don't really have to go with apple's screen. there are many other companies that sell ips panel (178 degree viewing angle, though sometimes it might not be an ips panel) screens for much less. i think dell's ultrasharp 24" is around 450 now which is just as good.

    time machine is also a good option for backup. i'm just not sure if it needs its own power supply or not. you can always get an 8gig or so flash drive to bring files to class.
  10. Greedo Guest

    Jul 26, 2009
    i would not get the apple mouse - i can't stand it.

    i would also go up to a medium size tablet - the small is really limiting for size. You will also need Adobe CS4 Design Premium and (possibly) Lightroom or Aperture.
  11. Spartan_aG1 thread starter macrumors member

    Jul 20, 2009
    Yeah I'll get the MX Revo and more than likely go for the medium tablet.
  12. joe.cavers macrumors regular

    Sep 16, 2008
    Sorry to thread hijack, but out of curiosity, is the 2.26 MBP 13" w/ 4gb RAM a strong enough computer to run CS4 and be future-proof for a while?

    Or would this spec soon start to lag as one began to create larger/more complex projects and push CS4 more?

  13. Azin Squeeze macrumors newbie

    Jul 19, 2008
    DO NOT GET THE MBP WITH THE DEDICATED GRAPHICS CARD!! In the long run you are going to be hindering yourself and software (Adobe Suites) it can run. Buy the 15" MBP with the Nvida Geforce cards. These are real graphic cards that are meant to be used on graphic intensive programs (ie photoshop, illustrator and any other adobe app). The intergraded cards are meant for basic computer use ie surfing the web, light photo manipulations, and watching videos.
  14. LeviG macrumors 65816

    Nov 6, 2006
    Norfolk, UK
    the 9400 nvidia geforce card will be fine for photoshop, christ its more powerful than the intel cards and they run it fine :rolleyes:
  15. Abraxsis macrumors 6502


    Sep 23, 2003

    He is talking about the DEDICATED graphics, (ie. GeForce cards) not the integrated version. IOW he is talking exactly about what you are.
  16. Azin Squeeze macrumors newbie

    Jul 19, 2008
    Thanks for agreeing with me!
  17. LeviG macrumors 65816

    Nov 6, 2006
    Norfolk, UK
  18. bntz313 macrumors 6502

    Jul 11, 2007
    I have macpro 2.8ghz quad, 6gm ram 2 20"acd's and getting a cintiq soon. Sounds it's and awesome setup and does everything my courses throw at it an it didn't cost that much

Share This Page