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Sdahe

macrumors 68000
Original poster
Oct 26, 2007
1,723
23
San Juan, PR
Hello,

I currently have a Retina 5K, 27” 2017 iMac and Im thinking about updating it. I use this computer every day for work in graphic art and design. The apps that I use are Photoshop, Illustrator and Indesign most of the time. My question is.. would I’ll be ok with a new iMac or should I go with a Mac Mini, Mac Studio or a Mac Pro?

Thanks…
 
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phrehdd

macrumors 601
Oct 25, 2008
4,321
1,314
I'll tell you my experience and maybe it will help. I had an M1 Mini 512/16. I use some art apps as well and if I had a couple of other apps open, not only was their swapping but the art apps suffered with pauses and stuttering etc. What I opted to do was sell it (even though I still think it is a great lil machine) and got the M1 Studio Max 1 Tb / 64gig RAM. I haven't looked back. The RAM as you now makes a difference with some of the art apps.

If I might suggest, you might want to go to youtube and look up "artisright" and see some of his* recommendations. He is a pro photographer who is also a techie geek and gives some pretty good info, test results, and his own suggestions based on those results.

My issue with iMacs is that if you want to upgrade, you are stuck and to do so you lose the screen so to speak. I rather be in my place where I swapped Macs and kept my Monitor which I can soft calibrate.
 
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Sdahe

macrumors 68000
Original poster
Oct 26, 2007
1,723
23
San Juan, PR
I'll tell you my experience and maybe it will help. I had an M1 Mini 512/16. I use some art apps as well and if I had a couple of other apps open, not only was their swapping but the art apps suffered with pauses and stuttering etc. What I opted to do was sell it (even though I still think it is a great lil machine) and got the M1 Studio Max 1 Tb / 64gig RAM. I haven't looked back. The RAM as you now makes a difference with some of the art apps.

If I might suggest, you might want to go to youtube and look up "artisright" and see some of his* recommendations. He is a pro photographer who is also a techie geek and gives some pretty good info, test results, and his own suggestions based on those results.

My issue with iMacs is that if you want to upgrade, you are stuck and to do so you lose the screen so to speak. I rather be in my place where I swapped Macs and kept my Monitor which I can soft calibrate.
With the iMac and the Mac Mini Studio.. can I upgrade the RAM by myself?
 

theluggage

macrumors 604
Jul 29, 2011
7,549
7,471
I currently have a Retina 5K, 27” 2017 iMac and Im thinking about updating it. I use this computer every for work in graphic art and design. The apps that I use are Photoshop, Illustrator and Indesign most of the time. My question is.. would I’ll be ok with a new iMac or should I go with a Mac Mini, Mac Studio or a Mac Pro?

Trouble is, "Photoshop, Illustrator and Indesign" are a piece of string - they'll run happily on an 8GB machine (not recommended), but if you're compositing a ton of ultra-high-res bitmap images they might slow to a crawl without 64GB+

What processor, GPU and RAM do you have in the iMac?

You also have to think about what display you want/need, since the 5k iMac is hard to beat. The 24" iMac display is good, but its not 27". Going with a Mini or Studio gives you a wide choice of displays, including multi-display setups but if you like the 5k, 27" format there's not much choice, and I wouldn't be falling over myself to "upgrade" the 5k iMac as long as it was getting the job done. (Personally, I went from a high-ish-end 2017 iMac to a Studio Max and its a decent upgrade - but also personally I never really wanted the iMac display, got the iMac because it was the only viable Mac desktop in 2017, and prefer the twin 4k+ monitors I'm using with the Studio even if they aren't quite such good image quality as the 5k - your mileage may vary).

Also, the 24" iMac is currently the oldest model on Apple's books - probably not a good time to buy.

Really, the obvious upgrade path from a higher-end iMac is a Studio Max + studio display (if that floats your boat) or alternative display (which is usually cheaper). The Mac Mini Pro looks OK if one of the standard models hits your sweet spot, but start adding BTO options and you're probably getting a better deal with a Studio.

With the iMac and the Mac Mini Studio.. can I upgrade the RAM by myself?
No. Which makes for the awkward problem of deciding how much RAM you really need up front... whereas a lot of iMac users just bought an 8GB iMac and stuffed in 16 or 32GB of cheap 3rd party RAM without needing to agonize over the cost. Certainly look at the Memory Pressure reading in Activity Monitor on your iMac (and maybe experiment with removing some of the RAM - in theory you should be able to create a RAM disk to mop up half your RAM although I've never tried that).

I had an M1 Mini 512/16. I use some art apps as well and if I had a couple of other apps open, not only was their swapping but the art apps suffered with pauses and stuttering etc.
What display were you using?
Its worth remembering that although the M1's GPU is a huge upgrade from the Intel Integrated graphics in the lower-end Intel Macs, that's very, very faint praise. Running a 5k display is demanding - running a 4k display in "looks like 1440p" means rendering at 5k internally and using the GPU to downsample the result to 4k. Also, unified memory may be efficient but it still means that some of your 16GB is being used for stuff that would otherwise be in VRAM on a Mac with a discrete GPU.

I think some people got a bit carried away thinking they could really replace their $3000 high-end Intel iMac/MacBook Pro systems with a $1000 M1 Mini.
 

Spaceboi Scaphandre

macrumors 68040
Jun 8, 2022
3,414
8,096
Hello,

I currently have a Retina 5K, 27” 2017 iMac and Im thinking about updating it. I use this computer every for work in graphic art and design. The apps that I use are Photoshop, Illustrator and Indesign most of the time. My question is.. would I’ll be ok with a new iMac or should I go with a Mac Mini, Mac Studio or a Mac Pro?

Thanks…

For graphic design an M2 Pro Mac Mini combined with a good color display like an ASUS ProArt would be ideal.

 
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dwig

macrumors 6502a
Jan 4, 2015
903
444
Key West FL
Hello,

I currently have a Retina 5K, 27” 2017 iMac and Im thinking about updating it. I use this computer every for work in graphic art and design. The apps that I use are Photoshop, Illustrator and Indesign most of the time. My question is.. would I’ll be ok with a new iMac or should I go with a Mac Mini, Mac Studio or a Mac Pro?

Thanks…
I think the Mini, Mini-Pro, Studio series are where you should be looking. The big Mac Pro doesn't bring any advantage for tasks that don't require specialized Pci cards as a topped out Studio matches it. Also, I wouldn't want to "live" running Ps on a "small" 24" monitor. For me, dual 4k monitors is a minimum and a 3rd monitor is a boon.

Personally, I'd steer towards the Studio though the new M2 Mini-Pro is a good contender. The Adobe CC Suite is a RAM hog so for best performance be sure to get as much as you can afford, especially if you work with massive files like I do (frequently 1-10 Gb).

My main job involves extremely heavy Ps work with LrC, Ai, Id, and various office tools. In the studio I currently use a Studio M1 Ultra w/ 64 Gb RAM & dual 4k monitors plus a separate notebook for monitoring email and the like. My work at home setup is currently a pair of external Full HD monitors plus my notebook's internal 3k. Ps is a bit cramped on the lower res monitors and I'm budgeting for 4k replacements.
 

phrehdd

macrumors 601
Oct 25, 2008
4,321
1,314
What display were you using?
Its worth remembering that although the M1's GPU is a huge upgrade from the Intel Integrated graphics in the lower-end Intel Macs, that's very, very faint praise. Running a 5k display is demanding - running a 4k display in "looks like 1440p" means rendering at 5k internally and using the GPU to downsample the result to 4k. Also, unified memory may be efficient but it still means that some of your 16GB is being used for stuff that would otherwise be in VRAM on a Mac with a discrete GPU.
I am using presently a Benq PD2700U. Much of what I do is related to photo edit/restoration.
 

Sdahe

macrumors 68000
Original poster
Oct 26, 2007
1,723
23
San Juan, PR
Hello friends.. So I decided to buy the Mac Studio with M2 Max, 64gb and 1TB SSD with a Apple 27" Studio Display. I think Im gonna do alright with this setup for all my graphic design and illustration needs. My question is.. how much can I sell my old iMac. My iMac is a Retina 5K, 27-inch, 2017 - 3.4GHz Quad-Core Intel Core i5 with 40GB of Ram. Came with 512GB SSD... Anybody has an idea how much I can ask for this computer?.. thanks
 
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skottichan

macrumors 65816
Oct 23, 2007
1,102
1,283
Columbus, OH
Hello friends.. So I decided to buy the Mac Studio with M2 Max, 64gb and 1TB SSD with a Apple 27" Studio Display. I think Im gonna do alright with this setup for all my graphic design and illustration needs. My question is.. how much can I sell my old iMac. My iMac is a Retina 5K, 27-inch, 2017 - 3.4GHz Quad-Core Intel Core i5 with 40GB of Ram. Came with 512GB SSD... Anybody has an idea how much I can ask for this computer?.. thanks
Congrats!

And as to your old machine's value? Probably around $600-$700.
 
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Sdahe

macrumors 68000
Original poster
Oct 26, 2007
1,723
23
San Juan, PR
Well it's been 3 days working with the Mac Studio M2 Max and it's amazing the difference between this computer and my old iMac 5K... Photoshop, Illustrator and Indesign works super fast. Super happy!..
 
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phrehdd

macrumors 601
Oct 25, 2008
4,321
1,314
Well it's been 3 days working with the Mac Studio M2 Max and it's amazing the difference between this computer and my old iMac 5K... Photoshop, Illustrator and Indesign works super fast. Super happy!..
I have a similar "older" set up with the M1 Max 64/1TB and no regrets. My only hiccup was first getting an M1 Mini 16/512 as it is a fantastic system but not for doing photo/art work. Honestly, after many years of Macs, I think my original Mac Pro and my Studio Max are my favourite systems (though l liked all my Macs) for the desktop.
 
Last edited:

ignatius345

macrumors 604
Aug 20, 2015
6,972
11,441
Hello,

I currently have a Retina 5K, 27” 2017 iMac and Im thinking about updating it. I use this computer every day for work in graphic art and design. The apps that I use are Photoshop, Illustrator and Indesign most of the time. My question is.. would I’ll be ok with a new iMac or should I go with a Mac Mini, Mac Studio or a Mac Pro?

Thanks…
I'm using the 24" iMac M1 for pretty much exactly the usage you describe, plus the usual assortment of web, email, other productivity software. It works absolutely brilliantly. The iMac I have has 16GB of RAM, but I also have an M1 MacBook Air with 8GB of RAM and have pushed it to working on some pretty big Illustrator and InDesign files -- it also handles them quite nicely. (I wouldn't purposely spec a design machine with 8GB of RAM, but at the time I bought it I didn't think I'd be using the Air this way. Turns out it's quite sufficient.)

I had been using a 27" iMac 5K before that. It was from 2014 and wasn't handling recent software updates very well. I miss the screen real estate a bit but the 24" is quite usable.

(edit: LOL, looks like I responded to an old post without reading the followup. Sounds like you did quite the upgrade!)
 

Bullett

macrumors newbie
Mar 15, 2024
1
0
Hello friends.. So I decided to buy the Mac Studio with M2 Max, 64gb and 1TB SSD with a Apple 27" Studio Display. I think Im gonna do alright with this setup for all my graphic design and illustration needs. My question is.. how much can I sell my old iMac. My iMac is a Retina 5K, 27-inch, 2017 - 3.4GHz Quad-Core Intel Core i5 with 40GB of Ram. Came with 512GB SSD... Anybody has an idea how much I can ask for this computer?.. thanks
Hi... How are you getting on with your setup? Did you go for 30 or 38 Core GPU? I use most of Adobe apps for design, not sure if I should increase RAM to 64gb or increase GPU to 38? Hmmmm? I have a Studio Display also.
 
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