Buying a Mac for design...

Discussion in 'Buying Tips, Advice and Discussion (archive)' started by TML, Dec 30, 2004.

  1. TML macrumors newbie

    Dec 30, 2004
    Rugby, England (nr. Birmingham)
    I was wondering if anybody could lend me some advice on buying a Mac. My budget is £800 at the very most.

    The kinda' stuff I do probably needs a G5 or top spec G4 - I do a range of stuff revolving around design on my PC. I've done one or two website designs and i currently have a website - I'm thinking about getting serious in this stuff, especially web design. I use stuff like adobe photoshop and premiere the most.

    I have a pretty crap PC at the moment - 500MHz, 300MB RAM, Pentium 3 and you're average graphics card.

    Would it be a good move to switch to a mac anytime soon? Would it, on the whole, make my graphics better and make me get stuff done quicker? Or should I save up for a few more months/years till macs get better and better, then I could make more use of my money? Its jst sooo tempting with all the fx on os x and just the style of everything. :)

    From all that, what do u guys think I should spend some dosh on?

  2. Blue Velvet Moderator emeritus

    Jul 4, 2004
    It's not going to improve the quality of your work but will make working a lot easier...

    Lowest model iMac:
    £919.00 (£782.13 ex VAT)

    That's new... BTW

    Are you a student? You may get an edu discount from Apple. Or failing that, a refurb machine.

    I take it you've a usable monitor which you can use on your new Mac... 'cos you know you will get one. The gnawing at your mind has already begun...

    See if you can get hold of a second-hand G4 dual 800 to 1.25... put as much RAM as you can afford into it. Upgrade the drives if ness.

    Don't forget you'll need money for software and maybe Panther or Tiger.
  3. CanadaRAM macrumors G5


    Oct 11, 2004
    On the Left Coast - Victoria BC Canada
    > Will a Mac make my graphics better?

    Like buying a particular brand of drum because it keeps time better?
    You're the artist, the Mac is the tool.

    Having said that there are no intrinsic differences between the capabilities of Photoshop, Dreamweaver, Illustrator, Indesign or Quark between Windows and Mac. The quality of your output will be the same.

    Where there is a difference is:

    1) A faster machine of any kind will make it more pleasant for you to use the tools.

    2) The Mac in general is easier on upkeep and demands less specific attention to keep it running well (especially regards security and OS upgrades).

    3) If you haven't already got Mac experience, allow some extra time to familiarize yourself with the new OS environment.

    Keep your PC, because you MUST test your websites on all major browsers on both OS's or you haven't done your job. Pages can render differently, sometimes radically differently on different browsers/OSs.

    800 of the Queen's finest will not take you too far, considering you will probably also need a monitor and new software all around (though you could get a KVM switch and share the existing monitor between the two machines).

    Have you factored in the software expense? There is no longer a Premiere on Mac, but there is Final Cut.

    An eMac G4 1.25 GHz is in your range, don't know about the iMac G5 in the UK. You'll need to budget for more RAM, too.

  4. TML thread starter macrumors newbie

    Dec 30, 2004
    Rugby, England (nr. Birmingham)
    Cheers and thanks v. much for the advise.

    Viruses are also a major issue for me, and XP falling over and crashing. I've lost quite a large chunk of data and confidence with this PC - I've had to wipe the C drive about 4 times in total, either from viruses or just the sheer bloody slowness!

    Do macs offer better protection over this kind of stuff? Will i ever have to wipe any drives again? Now, I've learnt my lesson - I keep all my important stuff on separate drives - they only make up a few gigabytes in total.

    Another reason for getting a mac, i think, is the OS. From the vids on, it looks fantastic - much more features than windows as standard. Do I have to buy OS X panther/tiger (whatever is out) separately!? Does it come as standard like on PCs (as far as I know) or do u have to pay another £99 on top of say a £700 eMac?
  5. crees! macrumors 68000


    Jun 14, 2003
    I have a 1.25GHz PB and do just that.. Photoshop, Dreamweaver, some video work. I would guess the eMac would do just fine considering the processor is the same speed. Stock up on RAM, I have 512 but would like to bump that up soon. Don't know what else I can offer except that type of work can be done on a 1.25GHz machine.
  6. Blue Velvet Moderator emeritus

    Jul 4, 2004
    Macs = no virus worries.

    Panther (or whatever the current release) comes free when you buy a new machine. Anything newer you will have to pay for...

    e.g. My machine came wih Jaguar (10.2) and I bought Panther when it came out. Didn't need to, just wanted it. It was 70-something quid and worth every penny -- I expect Tiger to be more or less the same price.
  7. milzay macrumors member

    Dec 31, 2003
    £70? The OS go for about £100 don't they?
    Anyway, yea get a mac. Willt ake you a couple of days to become familiar with the OS, aint really that different, you'll prob get the hang of most stff in under 10 mins. It's prob worth waiting to see what these new headless macs are all abot, so wait a couple more months.
  8. Blue Velvet Moderator emeritus

    Jul 4, 2004
    About £85 on but I seem to remember spending £79 at John Lewis... certainly not £100.
  9. beatle888 macrumors 68000


    Feb 3, 2002

    you do not need a G5 for web design. web design is so cool cause you get to work with ultra low rez files. for the web your images need to be 72dpi and for print you need 300dpi. thats a huge difference in resolution. a 72dpi file will be easy to work with on any mac released in the last 10 years. just max your ram and you'll be fine.

    the only reason why designers need more horsepower is because some have to work with files that are a GIG or larger...this wont be the case with web graphics.

    get a low end powermac or a low end imac. either one will be fine. OR you can buy a used dual G4 and save some bucks. ANY dual will kick *** for web production/design.
  10. TML thread starter macrumors newbie

    Dec 30, 2004
    Rugby, England (nr. Birmingham)
    Lol, I think a G5 is going a little too far - I still have a couple of years till college! So no edu discounts are coming my way I don't think. I think the thing I learnt today - that Virtual PC for macs CAN have Windows-only software installed on them just triggers it for me.

    What'd be prefect is one of these headless macs (if they actually exist which I doubt - too good to be true), 512MB RAM, 1.25GHz, a Superdrive and a nice connection with my existing Sony monitor, all for about £500 (yeah - i know - dream on!).

    Could my dream come true? Will I move into the mac world in 2005?

    (P.S thanks ever so much for the advise - all of it is coming in very handy!)
  11. Vanilla macrumors 6502a

    Mar 19, 2002
    Atlanta, GA
    TML: Just out of curiosity I checked out the LADUK site and noticed that in the about me section it says you were born in 1992. Is that correct? Whether its wrong or right the site is a nice piece of work but clearly if you are barely in your teens it certainly adds an interesting twist.
    PS: I couldnt see a way of getting back to the homepage when I was in the About Me section. A suggestion would be to make the LADUK logo a clickable link to the homepage.
  12. panphage macrumors 6502

    Jul 1, 2003
    Two quick things, one, Virtual PC will probably run pretty darn slow compared to a "real" windows machine (AND it won't do 3d graphics so no emulated windows gaming if you care). And #2, in the US, high school students get an Edu discount, so I'd check into it if I were you. Maybe the UK apple is different.
  13. maya macrumors 68040


    Oct 7, 2004
    somewhere between here and there.
    Any computer and software is the TOOL as many have stated you are the artist.

    However its well noted that a Mac will colour represent better for POST-process meaning it has a lighter, richer look more vibrant colour to the present and end product.

    Windows OS, on the other hand has a darker and unpredictable in regards to colour for screen and print.

    If you are doing press work a Mac is the better way to go if you are doing for the web or video/DVD then I would suggest you have an external TV to view your colour representation and make changes as needed.

    Though you would have less of an issues with a Mac. Less trouble that is all. :)
  14. TML thread starter macrumors newbie

    Dec 30, 2004
    Rugby, England (nr. Birmingham)
    Lol, thats true, 13 on the 18th - scary I know but i really love doin this stuff.
    I think it all bears down for an eMac for the short-termish. If this headless mac is a flop or doesnt even exist, I'll probably consider a mid-range eMac.

    eMac G5? Heard stuff about this - when is it likely to be shipping? How much will it be going for :confused:

    Am I better to get this eMac within a year or two, or to wait and wait and get a blisteringly fast...G6/7 when they're hopefully out!?
  15. panphage macrumors 6502

    Jul 1, 2003
    I'm using a 450Ghz G4 cube with tons of memory and a shiny new 120GB hard drive to do all my design work. So, I personally don't think you'll have any problems no matter what mac you pick. You could probably find a decent older G4 tower in your price range that's somewhat faster than my cube. Or, cubes tend to go for about $600US on average, look smashing, and run completely silent. What can I say, it's a cult.
  16. iGav macrumors G3

    Mar 9, 2002
    you come across as being far older than 12... :eek:

    anyway, I see you like Lambie-Nairn ;) just incase you haven't already... I'd suggest you spend some time looking here lot's of eye candy there. ;)
  17. Applespider macrumors G4


    Jan 20, 2004
    looking through rose-tinted spectacles...
    As Panphage said, you can get an educational discount if you're still at school in the UK too. When you go the Apple site, click through to Education and put in the name of your school/city to see what the edu prices are - even if it's only £50 or so, that's enough to get another 512MB of RAM to speed a base machine up.
  18. Squareball macrumors regular

    Mar 16, 2004
    Palo Alto, CA
    Wait till MacWorld next week before you buy anything. Rumor is of course that there will be a G4 Headless mac. This would likely be good for what you need... unless an eMac G5 comes out.. then maybe that would be worth it cause you get the screen too.

    Good luck with everything. I was your age when I started getting into web development and now I'm almost 22 and that is my full time job and I love it!
  19. solvs macrumors 603


    Jun 25, 2002
    LaLaLand, CA
    But VPC may run about as fast as that 500MHz PC. If you have a G5 and lots of RAM. Maybe a little slower, but for basic stuff it's fine.
    And actually they can't. Unless they have a college acceptance letter, college students and school faculty only.

    Maybe wait a few days. Next week is MacWorld and a new cheaper Mac is expected that is specced similarly to today's eMac. Possibly new eMac too. Maybe even with a G5. Whatever you get, buy as much third party RAM as you can. Good stuff, but cheaper than Apple's.
  20. estlin macrumors newbie

    Jan 13, 2003
    Though it's generally true that as a web designer you work with low rez files and thus won't need that much power, unfortunately from time to time you will receive assets from a client in the form of print quality graphics and video that needs to be sized down and converted and that's when you really wish you had more.

    But people place too much emphasis on processor...what really counts is RAM. Maybe wait for that headless iMac and then with the money saved load it up with as much RAM as you can.

    I'm a web designer working with a 733Mhz G4 and a gig of RAM, which does the trick, but I think I'll be upgrading to a dual processor just so I can get more done at the same time which helps out A LOT. (especially video rendering...on a single processor I pretty much have to leave the computer for an hour, can't do much else).
  21. Squareball macrumors regular

    Mar 16, 2004
    Palo Alto, CA
    True. Just because you are doing web design doesn't mean you don't need a faster computer. Working with large 1024x768 mockups in photoshop, my iBook g4 1ghz is often bogged down and slow on redrawing. Get the most bang for your buck!
  22. panphage macrumors 6502

    Jul 1, 2003
    Erp! Yer right:
    Just saw the K-12 option in the store and went assuming.
  23. solvs macrumors 603


    Jun 25, 2002
    LaLaLand, CA
    Np. Common mistake.
  24. gekko513 macrumors 603


    Oct 16, 2003
    Wow! is amazing for a 12/13 year old. It is also the first site I've seen with a red theme that actually looks nice/cool.

    If I were you I would wait for the new announcement before deciding. The next revision of the eMac or the rumoured low-end Mac could both be good for your needs.

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