College computer advice needed for a graphic design student

Discussion in 'Buying Tips and Advice' started by giannir, Nov 10, 2008.

  1. giannir macrumors newbie

    Nov 10, 2008
    I'm currently looking to transfer from my local community college to an art school(not sure which one yet) to major in graphic design.
    and I can't decide which would be best for me, an iMac or a Macbokpro

    with the Macbook Pro i get a better graphics card and the portability
    but i'm not really sure how much i will need to take it places?

    for the macbook pro i'm looking at getting
    the 15 inch 2.53ghz
    320gb hard drive @ 7200 rpm
    and 4gb memory

    and if i get the iMac i get so much more
    24inch screen, 3.06ghz
    4 gb memory
    1 tb hard drive

    will a laptop really be that much more practical with being in class?
    because i doubt i will ever take it to a starbucks or such a place.

    but with the macbook pro i can always upgrade to a display screen and keyboard and mouse and get an external hard drive etc etc to upgrade.

    where as the imac i can't really upgrade to a laptop.

    thank you for the time it took to read this!

    and any help would be appreciated

  2. ipodrocker macrumors member


    May 11, 2004
    i would go with the macbook pro as it will be handy for the portabilty, I have just got a keyboard and mouse off ebay so i can use mine in screen mode.

    Also you could get a big screen so you have more design area to work with!
  3. THX1139 macrumors 68000


    Mar 4, 2006
    I am currently in graphic design school at a university and we are REQUIRED to have a Mac laptop. They aren't specific but they recommend the Macbook Pro. It's extremely difficult to stay on top of the workload without having a computer with you at all times. I can't rely on the labs and I wouldn't want to run home every time I need to work on a project... and that's pretty much all the time. Currently, I have 6 projects going and it would be a disaster if I didn't have a laptop to work on stuff on breaks or even during class. Imagine just having to haul the files around so you could work on them with school computers? Sucks.

    Get the Macbook Pro... it's a no-brainer. It will run EVERYTHING you need for school and allow you to do it on the go. You might want to get another monitor and keep that at home so you can plug your laptop into it for the extra screen space. That's what I do.
  4. munckee macrumors 65816

    Oct 27, 2005
    Just to toss another alternative in the mix, you would probably be just fine (read extremely happy) with a macbook + external monitor. Unless you're planning to do motion or 3D work, the macbook will hold up to pretty much any design work you can throw at it (I used a blackbook for graphic work for quite a while with little complaint). Then you'll have the best of both worlds...
  5. SnowLeopard2008 macrumors 604


    Jul 4, 2008
    Silicon Valley
    ^ I agree with above post. MBP for heavy/moderate graphics work. My MB still would do fine with your needs. It will start to crack using Motion/FC
  6. decksnap macrumors 68040


    Apr 11, 2003
    The bigger the screen the better. I would go with any setup that involves a huge screen.

    Designing directly on a laptop will get you by but it's just not the same.

    Edit: and any hands on 'lab' class worth its salt should be providing you with systems with big assed screens anyway, so I would lean toward the desktop.
  7. THX1139 macrumors 68000


    Mar 4, 2006
    Not all colleges have the latest greatest equipment due to budget constraints. Our college has iMacs that run quite well for most of the stuff. The problem is that they are on a network and it slows them way down. Plus, you have to lug your files around on a disk and it's not effective way to work when you have a lot to do. Just saying.

    As for people recommending a macbook. Yeah, that will work just fine until you are running all of the CS3 apps at once and managing multi-gigabyte files. The newer Macbook Pros and CS4 is supposed to take advantage of the GPU and run faster, so don't get anything with integrated graphics. Sure, if all your doing is web design, then a Macbook is okay. Otherwise, go with something that won't slow you down when you have multiple projects to get done.
  8. Apple Ink macrumors 68000

    Apple Ink

    Mar 7, 2008
    I'd get the MBP simply and SIMPLY because its brand new and updated internals recently! (LED Also'll help alot)

    Other than that I see no reason to choose MBP over the iMac except the iMac is bound to get some huge bumps in the next update whenever that is!

    As far as rendering is concerned... Its essentially the RAM that matters and not the VGA... at least thats the scenario in Leopard!
  9. giannir thread starter macrumors newbie

    Nov 10, 2008

    what school do you go to?
  10. munckee macrumors 65816

    Oct 27, 2005
    While that may be true, the decision may not best account for a reasonable compromise in price and needs. Sure, a more powerful computer is always preferable, but maybe the OP can't afford an external monitor with a MBP. For the same $2K, I'd much prefer plenty of workspace with a slightly slower machine than to always be working on a laptop screen...
  11. MichaelLogan macrumors newbie

    Aug 21, 2008
    I've been a working graphic designer since before the first Mac was released. My partner, my assistant and I all use MacBook Pros as our primary work computers. Mine is attached to an Apple Cinema Display, a Wacom tablet and a few external hard drives full of backup and archive files when I'm at the office. I love being able to take the laptop on trips, as well as to meetings and presentations, and KNOW that all the files I need are there, rather than having to worry about transferring everything I might need to a second computer when I'm on the road.
  12. THX1139 macrumors 68000


    Mar 4, 2006
    Are you comparing the iMac to MBP? If that is the case, then portability ALWAYS wins out if you are a graphic design student. You are also bringing a hypothetical situation into the discussion that has nothing to do with the original question. The OP is asking if he should buy a MBP or an iMac. He makes no mention of his finances or how he can maximize his dollar. If that were the case, I'd still recommend the MBP, but get a refurbished and use the extra money to buy a 3rd party flat screen. Again, this is a no-brainer, so don't make it more difficult than it is.
  13. decksnap macrumors 68040


    Apr 11, 2003
    No way. Not at all. In fact, since both of these machines are fully capable, it's painfully obvious that screen real estate is paramount.

    well, not painfully.. :)
  14. Brandonmeier macrumors newbie

    Nov 12, 2008
    I actually just graduated this past may with a Bachelor of Science in Graphic Design from Sacramento State (great program btw). My advice as a student go with the MBP, your going to be using it in class...alot.

    However I am in the same dilemma with the MBP and the imac.... I am going to wait for the new Imac, because screen real estate is more important to me and now that ive graduated I dont see me ever needing a laptop.

    Good luck, if a large screen is important wait for the new Imacs.

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