From PC to Mac for graphic design. What's sufficient? (kinda long)

Discussion in 'Design and Graphics' started by definitive, Oct 15, 2008.

  1. definitive macrumors 68000


    Aug 4, 2008
    Basically I've been working on a hyperthreaded pentium 4 (2.4ghz) pc for a few years now, with 2gigs of ram. At our school we use Mac Pro's with two 2.5ghz or so dual core cpus + 5gigs of ram. In general the performance of Adobe CS3 suite seems to be the same on my Windows XP computer, and on the Mac Pro, so I'm wondering what would work the best for me?

    I'm kind of interested in an iMac (24" with 3.06ghz, 8800GS and 4gigs of ram), but don't know how it would hold up over a long periods of time. Would this computer be sufficient for me? I basically surf internet, type documents, use Adobe CS3 (Photoshop, Illustrator, InDesign), and play fps games such as Battlefield 2 from time to time (looking at getting Diablo 3 when it comes out).

    Would the iMac be a good long term purchase? By long term I mean would it last me for three or more years? I've had my current system for close to five years, and only reason I'm upgrading is because I want to switch over to an Apple system since it's easier to work when getting work ready for print, etc.

    I'm also interested in a second system which would be a portable - a MacBook. Would it be good enough for doing presentations of my work when I visit clients, along with minor editing / revision of work on the spot? I'm assuming that since the processors are better than what I have in my current system that it should be more than enough with 4gigs of ram?

    Why do so many people who use Macs stress that you need tons of CPU power (Xeon) and tons of ram (5gigs+)? I don't usually work with large files, and I've only seen my computer drop below 500megs free few times over the years that I've worked on it..
  2. LeviG macrumors 65816

    Nov 6, 2006
    Norfolk, UK
    Have you considered a macbook pro and an external display (I know a bit limited at the moment unless you use an adapter). To me this makes more sense for what you're describing so far. Maybe add in an external backup drive etc for the added security of a second machine.

    Personally I would say 13" is a tad small for a presentation device unless of course its plugged into a projector or similar.

    You also don't say whether this is for a student or a business as they can have completely different requirements in my experience (my student work had far less computer requirements than my business work)

    Also take into account that mac requires new software over the windows machine too (adobe crossgrade possibly) and that cs4 is out now which is better coded to make use of the gpu.
  3. motoxpress macrumors 6502

    Mar 8, 2006
    If you are looking at a 24" iMac, I would give the MacPro a serious look (BTW what you described in your school labs is actually a G5, not a MacPro and there is a huge performance difference).

    For a desktop system, the MacPro is exceedingly faster and more expandable than the iMac. It will last you a longer time and can grow to any need rather easily. You can get a refurb 2.66 MacPro for $2k which is just $100 more than the iMac (refurb) you mentioned. You will still need to add ram and a monitor but, you could use your current system monitor until you got something better.

    For a portable, I would go Macbook Pro and get a refurb of the previous version. They are wonderful computers (I use one as my main system for freelance design) and offer a lot of power in a very portable format. The Macbook is lacking GPU power (That is getting more and more important to general computing) and the screen resolution is too constrictive for design work.

    I have a portable office, essentially, that I take everywhere with me:

    MBP (4 gigs of ram, 320gig HD)
    (2) Firewire HDs
    External mouse (Logitech G5) and keyboard (Alum. Apple)
    Spare power adaptor
    iPhone (This device gets more useful everyday)

    I do interactive and motion design mainly and this system works great. I run Final Cut Studio 2, After Effects CS3, Adobe CS3 Suite, Maya, and many others without a hiccup. It's not nearly as fast as the MacPro I use to have for rendering but hauling around a 60lb computer was the greater evil :)

    Welcome to the Apple world regardless of your choice :)

  4. Exman macrumors member

    Oct 6, 2008
  5. liptonlover macrumors 6502a

    Mar 13, 2008
    Unless you want to get a tower, I'd say the MBP. The desktop macs, without a tower, are 'essentially laptops'. But a tower is probably going overboard, so I think the MBP is your best bet. When that 24" display comes out, you may want that too for the screen real estate.
  6. ChrisA macrumors G4

    Jan 5, 2006
    Redondo Beach, California
    TI think the Mac Pro is "generations" old. The new MP is much faster.
    Even a new iMac would beat it.
  7. Ramsav24 macrumors member

    Jul 14, 2005
    I'm looking to get a notebook also, though I'd see if anyone wants to help- I know I want to get a 15 inch MBP, but should I get the new model with glossy screen and put a protector on it, of should I find the old MBP with matte screen? Is the graphics card really that much of an upgrade that I should rule out the old MBP? Thanks.
  8. motoxpress macrumors 6502

    Mar 8, 2006
    I think the old MBP refurbs are most attractive. They will also have a FW400 port :)

  9. jkerr45 macrumors newbie

    Sep 22, 2008
    PC no mo!

    I made the jump from my old Dell XPS running Windows XP to a 24" iMac. I maxed-out the Ram and got the fastest processor at the time. I'm running Adobe CS3 and QuarkXpress 8 with no problems as well as MS office 2004 (that part sucks but I'm too cheep to upgrade). The tower may be faster but I love the space savings of the iMac and the speed is just fine for my purposes.

    BTW, I also hooked up a 500 gig G-DRIVE Q to my Fire 800 port for backup purposes.

    I went from a Mac to a PC and back home to a Mac and I'm loving it.


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