Buying my first art computer

Discussion in 'Buying Tips and Advice' started by MacMythos, Nov 16, 2009.

  1. MacMythos macrumors member

    Nov 11, 2009
    Hello everyone. My computer experience is pretty much confined to internet use, very basic photo editing and word processing. I had barely touched a computer before a year ago. Can you believe that? I am more or less hooked now.

    I have an 11 year history as an illustrator with traditional media and at long last, I am jumping into the world of digital art. I am mainly concerned with being able to learn to do any kind of still art/design but I am intrigued with animation also. I was advised by a friend in the business to buy a mac with a GOOD, large monitor (24") and a lot of RAM. Also, a 1.5 GIG storage drive as well.

    I was to the Apple store to look at the new 27" imac and it was pretty impressive compared to my old Dell. Do you think the new imac will fit the bill for what I'm looking for? What kind of periferals? Should I buy from the Apple store or online? Any info appreciated, I'm sure I don't even know many of the questions I should be asking.

    I guess software belongs in another forum here but my friend also recommended Adobe Creative Suite and a font management program like Extensis Suitcase.


  2. Acorn macrumors 68020


    Jan 2, 2009
    whatever you decide to buy, save some money left over for a wacom tablet or cintiq. this is pretty obvious but you did state you didnt even use a computer a year ago so i might as well bring it up. its just easier to use then a mouse and will effect your work as much if not more then the computer will.

    pretty much any tablet will do but i like intuos 4
  3. MacMythos thread starter macrumors member

    Nov 11, 2009
    Thanks, Acorn. haha - what may seem perfectly obvious to you is all new to me.

    A couple years ago I got into the world of high performance motorcycles and I soon found that the best way to purchase was to observe owners, ask questions, follow the crowd and don't be afraid to spend if that's where the consensus leads. Relying on others' experience is 100x more effective than trying to decide what you want based on what you think your needs are (might be).

    I'm glad we don't have a Kawasaki and a Suzuki of the computer art world. Mac is clearly the machine of choice for an artist. When it comes to peripherals, I will be doing a lot of asking and observing. So thanks for the valuable tip.
  4. Consultant macrumors G5


    Jun 27, 2007
  5. reverend green macrumors newbie

    reverend green

    Nov 3, 2009
    I would go for a wacom cintiq (pressure sensitive screen) and mac mini if my needs were principally illustration.
  6. chrono1081 macrumors 604


    Jan 26, 2008
    Isla Nublar
    If you want to draw right on the screen and hold it in your lap or on a desk grab a cintique, or else an intuos tablet would be fine.

    Dont forget Corel Painter 11!!!! Amazing program.
  7. MacMythos thread starter macrumors member

    Nov 11, 2009
    Thanks for input, everyone. Just like in the world of racing, it's not the guy with best riding skills but the guy with the biggest pocket book!

    Pressure sensitive screen sounds like it would be very nice. Is that a whole different, built in monitor than the standard 27" i5 monitor, or is it a peripheral device?
  8. Acorn macrumors 68020


    Jan 2, 2009
    not sure if you looked at the cintiq but here is a link.
  9. MacMythos thread starter macrumors member

    Nov 11, 2009
    Ah- I see, it is a second screen you place next to the i5. Very, very cool....and it only costs a few hundred more than the computer! OOOOOOooooo, I'm going to have to think about that. I guess it's good that it is a peripheral instead of an option on the machine itself. I could always buy a cintiq later on.
  10. Badger^2 macrumors 68000


    Oct 29, 2009
    cintiq is probably overkill just starting out...

    my illustrator uses a 24" imac + Intous 4 in the medium size + Photoshop

    any of the new imacs will work fine for you, just figure what your budget is...

    id probably go with the base 27" ($1600) + Intous 4 in the medium ($300) + Photoshop Extended ($350) + 1.5TB external drive ($100ish)

    Not sure that you need the whole Creative Suite? Unless you want Illustrator? many of the functions of Illustrator can be done in Photoshop. And the whole Creative Suite is $1800 (unless you had something to upgrade from, but I'm thinking not)

    As for font management, just starting out, I think OS X's Font Book should be more than fine.

    That should get you started with everything you need.
  11. MacMythos thread starter macrumors member

    Nov 11, 2009
    Last thing I need to know before purchase the i5 is should i go with the dual processor or the quad?

    A couple people have told me the dual should be able to handle any still art and even video editing if I am willing to format the video at a smaller size. I really think there is a likelihood that i will be video editing and perhaps some type of animation. I would like to be able to keep this computer as long as i can before I need to upgrade.

    Quad or dual??
  12. MacMythos thread starter macrumors member

    Nov 11, 2009
    Thanks, Badger and thanks for link. Looks like I was using the the term, "i5" incorrectly. I thought all the 27" imacs were called i5.

    The 27" imac is the 3.06 Ghz duo core.

    The i5 is the 2.66 Ghz quad.

    The i7 is the 2.8 Ghz quad.

    You are recommending the i5 quad for what I anticipate using the computer for. It seems strange that the duo core has more Ghz than the quad. I suppose the lower power is compensated for by the fact that there are 4 cores instead of only 2. ????
  13. Mintin8 macrumors 6502a


    Mar 4, 2009
    United Kingdom
    There is more to a CPU than clock speed. The new quads are based on a newer and improved architecture etc. If clock speeds mattered that much, a 3.0GHz pentium processor from many years ago would outrun a new i5.

    The core i5 will be a lot faster than the C2D. I'd go for that, It would also last a long time as well. Don't worry about clock speed. (GHz)
  14. MacMythos thread starter macrumors member

    Nov 11, 2009

    ^^Thanks. I'm learning a lot of new things. It's important to me to not have to upgrade too soon. Quad it is, then.

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