For Graphic Design/Illustration/Photoshop: iMac or something else?

Discussion in 'Buying Tips and Advice' started by tripo11, Sep 9, 2007.

  1. tripo11 macrumors newbie

    Sep 9, 2007
    Hi guys, newbie from New York here.
    I have been thinking about taking classes of Digital Imaging/Graphic Design to make a switch in my advertising career, and I'd have to get a MAC, since that is the standard for the Industry, everywhere. I've been a PC user for years

    I have been thinking about getting the new iMac for this. My budget is not unlimited and i don't have a "mom" who can pay for my toys (I'm an adult you know, living in the real world), so at the very-very most, I could spend US$ 1,500 and that's it. So, I'd buy the cheapest new iMac or maybe -if I save a bit more- the following one ($1,500 in the US)

    What I want to know is: Should I go with an iMac, or should I try to save a bit more to get a Mac Pro?
    I really don't care about "mobility" for a career like this, so don't need a Mac laptop.

    I am just wondering if an iMac is good enough for Photoshop, Illustrator, InDesing, you know, all the Adobe CS3 suite. Also Quark, since that is another standard for the industry.
    I am not interested in the professional Video Editing/Video Production. Maybe I'd try to edit a short home video and that's it.

    Could you guys give me some feedback on this? I'd really appreciate it.
    P.S: I don't mind buying an used Mac Pro, but for the iMac i'd prefer it to be new.

  2. zioxide macrumors 603


    Dec 11, 2006
    iMac will be fine power-wise. The Core 2 Duo is a beast and it's got a decent graphics card. You definitely don't need a Mac Pro for extra power.

    The only problem with the iMac is the screen. It has a glossy screen which is not very good for graphic design because it's not color accurate (glossy oversaturates the colors). If you were to get a Mac Pro, you'd be able to get a good IPS screen, but thats going to end up costing you around $3000 after everything.
  3. MacinDoc macrumors 68020


    Mar 22, 2004
    The Great White North
    How about a refurb of the previous 24" iMac? $1449, then add $160 for 3 GB of RAM from OWC. And the rebate from the original DIMMS in your iMac will pay for the shipping on the RAM. Or, if $1500 is your absolute ceiling, just buy one 1 GB module from OWC. Or go for the refurb 20" iMac for $350 less and maximize your RAM. In either case, I would recommend maximizing your RAM if possible, because this makes a huge speed difference for the apps you will be using.
  4. decksnap macrumors 68040


    Apr 11, 2003
  5. Mr. B macrumors regular

    Dec 25, 2005
    The *most important* thing for using photoshop, illustrator, etc, is a good amount of ram, and a fast external hardrive to use as an external scratch disk.

    Get the imac. Buy some good ram at a good third party supplier (mac being way too expensive and all) and buy yourself a good external hardrive.

    I'm currently using a western digital 250 gb mybook pro. This thing has usb 2.0, firewire 400, and firewire 800.

    I use photoshop cs at 8.5 x 11 at 300 dpi with multiple layers on my ibook g4 from early 2004, so you should definately be able to manage on a new imac.
  6. tripo11 thread starter macrumors newbie

    Sep 9, 2007
    thanks for your feedback guys.

    now, I have been a bit concerned about iMac and over heating, since they don't have larger fans.
    What do you think about that, for a computer that is going to be running for many hours a day, with that intensive software?
  7. jacktiernan macrumors regular

    Sep 3, 2007
    Vic, Australia
    One more

    I agree. I have a previous gen ()C2D) 20" imac and i find it fantastic for graphic design with the adbe suite.
    Keep in mind adobe loves a decentr amount of RAM, i have 2gb and its very good for most jobs, but if you're working on big (A2 or bigger) files, id go the 3 or 4gb if you can afford it

    Happy choosing! :)
  8. sinisterdesign macrumors 6502


    Dec 10, 2003
    personally, i would look at a good Mac Mini, max out the RAM & get a good monitor (Apple's monitors are great, but not the best value for budget shoppers). those little Mini's are not shabby computers, they'll run photoshop, illustrator, etc just fine.

    the top-end Mini with 2GB RAM is still under $1000, which would leave you a few hundred bucks for a nice monitor (go for at least a 24", you'll be much happier). check out or someplace for a nice ViewSonic or Samsung.

    also, never spell "Mac" as "MAC", you'll look like a total noob. ;) good luck w/ the Mac & your future design career (i love it, been doing it for 12 years now).
  9. Pressure macrumors 68040


    May 30, 2006
    At work we started out with the base line Mac Pro (2 x 2.66Ghz) with 3GB of ram but have later upgraded to 9GB ram. The difference is astonishing when doing things in InDesign, Illustrator and Photoshop, not to mention Quark.

    But I am sure an iMac with 4GB of ram should be able to hold its own against the Mac Pro but when the complexity of your projects increase you will soon find yourself limited by the amount of ram on the iMac.

    But yeah, you are just starting so the iMac should do one hell of a great job covering your needs :)
  10. munckee macrumors 65816

    Oct 27, 2005
    The iMac will be more than sufficient, at least for a long while. For comparison, I'm using a MacBook as my primary machine at home. I wouldn't let the glossy display scare you too much. It's not perfect, but its not worth paying the extra money for a non-glossy screen either. Just be aware of it as you work and keep yourself in check as you go.
  11. tripo11 thread starter macrumors newbie

    Sep 9, 2007
    thanks again for your great feedback.
    I know, I'm supposed to write "Mac" instead of "MAC", but I was typing too fast and was too lazy to correct that.

    So, for this type of work, an expensive graphic card isn't that necessary, right? I have read the specs for the new iMacs, and besides the amount of memory, I don't know the difference between the two of them.

    Like I said, I don't intend to play games or edit hours of professional video so is that "basic" card good enough?
  12. decksnap macrumors 68040


    Apr 11, 2003
    The graphics card means almost nothing for these programs.
  13. sinisterdesign macrumors 6502


    Dec 10, 2003
    yup, grx card upgrade is worth it if you're playing 3D intensive games, which you said you weren't, so the stock card should be fine.
  14. Blue Velvet Moderator emeritus

    Jul 4, 2004
    Photoshop CS3 will now make use of the video-card in enabling 3D Acceleration; it's under the Performance tab in Preferences, although I haven't seen or read any benchmarks or articles that illustrate what changes that does bring about.

    And Quark 7 is power-hungry as hell. Bloatware extreme.

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