Graphic designer upgrading at home

Discussion in 'Buying Tips and Advice' started by beatmonkeytwo, Jan 22, 2009.

  1. beatmonkeytwo macrumors regular

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    Jan 22, 2009
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    UK
    #1
    Hi first post so be nice! :D

    I have ventured into doing a bit of freelance graphic design work at home outside my full time design job. I started to work on my home emac 1.4GHZ with 1GB ram and 160GB HG but now I'm getting more work I need something quicker with a bigger screen. I was thinking of a G5 power mac 1.8GHZ dual core with 4GB ram and 500GB HD hooked up to a spare Samsung 26" HD tv I have. My budget is around £550, as just need something to get me through another year or so. I will be running CS3 - brochures in indesign, lots of vector work in illustrator and some image editing in photoshop etc. The file sizes I work with are between 500k and 150mb. I need to have all these applications open at once in order to edit photos from my links in indesign, or adjust some vectors from my links in indesign, copy and pasting vectors from illustrator to photoshop etc etc and also itunes for inspiration! + neo office etc. I'm not fussed at this moment in time about future software with the Intel chips as i'll be on CS3 for a while longer.

    I was wondering peoples opinions on...
    Is it worth the upgrade from my emac?
    How much quicker will the G5 be than my emac?
    How will it compare to my works imac 2.66ghz intel core duo 2 2GB ram 320GB HD that I work on?
    Will the samsung lcd hd tv work with the dvi ouput?

    Many thanks :)
     
  2. Tallest Skil macrumors P6

    Tallest Skil

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    #2
    You will NOT want to buy a PowerPC computer for much serious work anymore. If anything, try to get a refurb 8-core Mac Pro or higher-end Intel iMac.

    With your budget being what it is, you'll probably have to go with an Intel iMac that isn't the current model, but you'll appreciate the ability to run Snow Leopard (provided you buy a Core 2 or better) when the time comes.
     
  3. beatmonkeytwo thread starter macrumors regular

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    Jan 22, 2009
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    #3
    Why would I not want to? :confused: It's not my full time job equipment, it's just some extra work I'm trying to do faster at home without paying big cash for new equipment!!!! (yet). Tiger or leopard running CS3 should be more than capable of producing what I need to do at home for the time being, I just need to know how much of a leap up the G5 would be from my current system? And the other bits :confused:

    I have looked at the imacs, but 24" old and new models range from £800 - £1200, and I would like to take advantage of the 26" screen I already have.

    How much do the refurb 8-core Mac Pro go for? Near to £1000?
     
  4. Tallest Skil macrumors P6

    Tallest Skil

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    #4
    Possibly. If you don't need it for work-critical things, go ahead.

    Try to avoid the dual 2.5, as they've had a rash of coolant leaks.

    eMac to G5 is anywhere from a 40% to a 4x Geekbench 2 benchmark increase, depending on the model.

    How that translates to real work, I don't know, but I can assume it'd be less.
     
  5. fa8362 macrumors 65816

    Joined:
    Jul 7, 2008
    #5
    Beatmonkey, I know full time freelance graphic designers who are content with G4 933 MHz towers. As such, it's difficult to imagine that you wouldn't be happy with a G5 dual for part time work. After all, you're not doing 3D rendering or audio/video processing, are you? You're working with Illustrator, Quark (or similar), Photoshop, etc. A G5 dual is more than enough for those programs.

    Although eMacs aren't included, this MacWorld testing chart (SpeedMark 5, which utilized CS3) should help you get a feel for performance differences between various Macs released over the past 5 years. Keep in mind that for most users, real world results might be even less significant than shown here because their computers aren't executing intensive tasks all day long. My G5 dual 2.5GHz (liquid cooling) is noisy though, if that's a consideration for you.

    http://www.macworld.com/article/61201/2007/11/speedmark5new.html
     
  6. kitch95 macrumors regular

    kitch95

    Joined:
    Jun 5, 2008
    #6
    can you stretch to £680? If so you can get the current 2.4ghz. 20" imac in terminal 5 pc-world I think it is or dixons I'm not sure. Thats the one I have and love it.
     
  7. shiseiryu1 macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Sep 30, 2007
    #7
    Mac Mini

    A mac mini might be a good alternative. It uses a modern processor (not PPC), is space-saving, and will also take advantage of your extra monitor. There is a refurb one on Apple's site for $500 although I've seen them as low as $429 before.

    http://store.apple.com/us/browse/home/specialdeals/mac/mac_mini

    Actually I bought one that was $429 before and even though it said it only had 512MB of RAM, when I turned it on I realized it actually had 1GB...nice. :cool:
     
  8. beatmonkeytwo thread starter macrumors regular

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    #8
    Thanks for that fa8362. :cool: Interesting results. No audio/video processing. My biggest files would be in illustrator - using a lot of the paste boards space with lots of different graphic components around the actual page size that I use whilst creating a design. If my pictures aren't linked then can quite easily come up with a 150mb file until I narrow down to what I want and edit the images as CMYK links.

    I think the 20" imac screen is bad, I use one at work, do not like the colours it produces even after calibration. Besides it is a bit over budget and I would like to use my 26" HD tv :)

    Mac mini - yep I've thought about one of those. I was hoping one was going to be release at mac world a few weeks back. I worked on one a few years ago and found them slow doing design work, not to good at multi tasking and slow having a indesign file with lots of links (in a 100 page catalogue for example). Would the new intel one with 2GB ram and 160GB HD be on par with the G5 dual 1.8GHZ 4GB ram 500HD?

    Oh and noise is not a issue!

    Thanks peeps
     
  9. beatmonkeytwo thread starter macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Jan 22, 2009
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    UK
    #9
    I've just seen this spec on ebay. Is this possible?

    Intel Core 2 Duo 2.0Ghz Processor
    4Gb DDR II Ram
    500Gb 7,400rpm HDD
    DVD +/- RW, Dual Layer, 8 x Speed Super drive
    64mb Intel 950 Graphics Card
    DVI monitor Connection
    4 x USB 2
    Firewire 400
    Airport wireless 802.11 a/b/g (n)

    I thought in minis the max ram you could have was 2GB and biggest HD they shipped with is 160GB?? :confused:
     
  10. opeter macrumors 65816

    opeter

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    Aug 5, 2007
    Location:
    Slovenia, EU
    #10
    You can add 4 GB RAM (2x2) into the intel Core 2 Duo Mac minis. About 3 - 3,25 GB will be usable from that RAM.

    Also, you can upgrade the HDD, i had done the same, now i have a 200 GB, 7200 rpm HDD with 16 MB cache and is much faster than the previous 80 GB was.
     
  11. beatmonkeytwo thread starter macrumors regular

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    Jan 22, 2009
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    UK
    #11
    I take it you have to get a apple dealer to upgrade the HD and ram beings everything is so tightly enclosed in the case and is not meant to be opened? :confused:
     
  12. design-is macrumors 65816

    design-is

    Joined:
    Oct 17, 2007
    Location:
    London / U.K.
    #12
    Mini's Hard drive may have been updated by the previous owner? Can be opened, but it's tricky.

    Just to note... if you don't like working on a 20" iMac, you most likely wont want to work on a TV. TV's don't generally allow the high resolutions that most computer users are used to. If its a 26"HD, I'm guessing (only guessing) it's a 720p not a 1020p - meaning that its max resolution is likely 1280x720px. 20" iMac screen has a max resolution of 1680x1050px.

    I use a dual 2Ghz G5 at work and its adequate. Lags on heavy files, but usually makes it through. Your suggested model should suite your needs fine. My only gripe is I REALLY notice the difference when I do work on my own 2.6 Ghz MacBook Pro - so you will either appreciate the speed because you're used using an eMac, or you will still be annoyed because you use an iMac at work.

    Hope I've helped somehow :)

    Doug
     
  13. beatmonkeytwo thread starter macrumors regular

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    Jan 22, 2009
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    UK
    #13
    Thanks Doug. :) Probably so, and he has Probably done the ram himself to. That mini warms to me slightly beings it is around the same price, especially with the faster 7,200 HD and more ram, but I cannot find any info to back up that that much ram can be supported or if it is stable? I'll google the changing of the hard drive, but that would ruin the warranty would it not?

    yes it's 720p. But what I don't like about the 20" mac screen is the banding (if you call it that) from the bottom to the top of the screen. It can be annoying as unless you are sitting perfect to the screen it looks like the colours wash out from top to bottom or vice versa (like many articles i've read on the problem). Im hoping my 720p will have a good colour representation but at a smaller resolution if you catch my drift? :confused:
     
  14. design-is macrumors 65816

    design-is

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    Location:
    London / U.K.
    #14
    If you upgrade the mini yourself you only void warranty if you break something. Good guide >here<.

    Evidence that 3 GBs work in Mini is also found in that thread and >here<.

    TV's handle colour a lot differently than monitors... They are geared towards producing a vivid and immersive experience for video - contrast and smoothness are important for this. This is unlikely to be good for accurate colour work in your designs. I'll see if I can find anything to support this... but if not, I'm pretty sure I'm right.
     
  15. chaosbunny macrumors 68000

    chaosbunny

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    #15
    Sign! If you don't like working with a 20" iMacs screen you will HATE working with that 26" TV. Also keep in mind that you sit much closer to a computer monitor than a TV, so you will really notice the much bigger pixels.

    Apart from that you could still connect that TV to the iMac, dual screen setup is nice to have.
     
  16. ktbubster macrumors 6502a

    ktbubster

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    Jan 20, 2007
    Location:
    US
    #16
    24inch imac > 20 inch imac >>>>>>>>>> tv screen

    VERY poor idea for accurate work if you are comparing it to really, any computer screen for the most part.

    Just my two cents there.

    I have read a few benchmarks andthe mini will actually be better then teh g5.

    3.25 ram is great in the mini and works flawlessly for me (have one at work) with a larger harddrive it will be great.

    I support that choice if you really wnat to use your tv (or, really, you could get a better 20 inch monitor for 120 bucks or so that would be better then your tv) and minis have good resale value for when you have the money to really upgrade.

    gl
     
  17. fa8362 macrumors 65816

    Joined:
    Jul 7, 2008
    #17
    If I didn't need the PCI expansion slots in the G5 (doesn't sound like you need them), and was comfortable with 2GB installed RAM, then I'd get the Mini. According to the MacWorld tests, the current 2.0GHz Mini is faster than the G5 dual 2.0, so it's almost certainly faster than the dual 1.8GHz G5. As others have pointed out, you can install 4GB of RAM into the Mini (it will only use 3.3GB, but that should be plenty for your current needs). You will void your warranty (and possibly screw up your mini if you're a klutz) if you do this yourself, but the alternative is to pay an absurd RAM price from Apple. The new Mini (about to be released) is rumored to fully support 4GB of RAM. Aside from being small and nearly silent, another significant benefit to the Mini is reduced power consumption...it will cost you way less in electricity to run it compared to the G5. If you can hold on for a couple of months, I'd wait and get the new Mini. It is rumored to have a better video subsystem, the aforementioned better RAM specification, a somewhat faster processor, and it's possible that RAM will be easy to install.
     
  18. js81 macrumors 65816

    js81

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    Location:
    KY
    #18
    You absolutely WILL NOT void your warranty if you upgrade a Mini. It is fully meant to do so - just because the case is a bit harder to open doesn't mean that its not user-upgradeable. I have upgraded the CPU, hard drive, and memory in my Mini - none were any more difficult than working on a SFF PC or laptop.

    As for screwing up your Mini, that IS possible - I actually ruined my sound card in mine by forgetting to unplug the ribbon cable. That was MY fault for trying to rush. I've had mine opened up at least 10 times (various parts swaps) and only once did something break, and it was because I tried to rush. If you upgrade a Mini yourself, FOLLOW THE DIRECTIONS and do it SLOWLY. :) I learned that the hard way (thank God for USB sound cards!).

    To the OP, I think you'd be really happy with an Intel Mini (C2D, of course) - the only big negative is the integrated graphics, but that's only an issue with gaming. My old CD Mini stills works great and is still plenty fast - only a slight bit slower than my wife's C2D WhiteBook. And Mini's are cheap on eBay - give it a go, I think you'll be quite pleased.
     
  19. fa8362 macrumors 65816

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    #19
    A friend was told by folks at the Apple store that opening a Mini voids the warranty. I've seen similar information on the Internet, but sometimes it is said that the warranty might be still honored if nothing is broken. I've yet to see an official statement from Apple. Where is your info coming from?

    http://discussions.apple.com/thread.jspa?threadID=1820567

    http://www.macminiserver.com/does-installing-ram-void-my-mac-mini-warranty/

    http://www.macsimumnews.com/index.php/archive/the_inside_wire_mac_mini_ram_upgrade

    http://www.macobserver.com/article/2005/01/19.9.shtml
     
  20. beatmonkeytwo thread starter macrumors regular

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    Jan 22, 2009
    Location:
    UK
    #20
    Thanks for all the input guys! For my first thread you have given me some great opinions and advice. :D:D:D

    I'm steering towards a mini as sounds like it would suit my needs well. I'm no klutz haha so there will be no problem me upgrading!!! :p and I have a Ps3 so the mini's graphics card and gaming issues are not a problem for me as will not be using it for that. I would like to wait for the new mini, but I'm wondering if all these rumours going to be put into reality??? As last thing I want to do is hold out and it never happens! :( Though apples 25th Birthday's soon, so maybe... :confused:

    As for the HD tv, will it really be that bad? I have seen a lot of setups with them, but never ever thought they would be worst than the imac 20" screen?!? If it makes any difference (probably not) the model number is samsung LE26R74BD? Put's me in a bit of a pickle if this screen is really that bad as I did not budget for a new screen. :( I was going to use this (link) instead of a dvi - dvi cable?

    http://cgi.ebay.co.uk/Mini-DVI-to-H...5fAppleQ5fMacQ5fAccessoriesQQsalenotsupported
     
  21. MagicWok macrumors 6502a

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    Mar 2, 2006
    Location:
    London
    #21
    If you're doing print-based work for your freelance, I'd stay well away from a HDTV tbh...

    Infact any design work, be it web/print or whatever, shouldn't be based off proofs from your HDTV, no matter what model.

    Ed: Take a look here
    Even a Core duo will be better than the PowerPC architecture. Currently at £295, seller seems ok. You can pick it up.
    http://cgi.ebay.co.uk/APPLE-I-MAC-C...14&_trkparms=72:1301|66:2|65:12|39:1|240:1318

    Core 2 Duo Mac Mini 2.0 ghz currently at £367
    http://cgi.ebay.co.uk/Apple-Mac-Min...14&_trkparms=72:1301|66:2|65:12|39:1|240:1318

    Core 2 Duo 2.16Ghz iMac. Buy now at £600 if you can afford extra £50
    http://cgi.ebay.co.uk/Apple-iMac-Wh...3286.c0.m14&_trkparms=66:2|65:1|39:1|240:1318
     
  22. HBOC macrumors 68020

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    SLC
    #22
    dell has a 24" 1080p monitor for $249 right now.
     
  23. stainlessliquid macrumors 68000

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    Sep 22, 2006
    #23
    A mini would beat the crap out of the G5. Considering they are cheaper than what a lot of G5's sell for, theyre a much better buy.
     
  24. Shawn D macrumors regular

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    Dec 26, 2008
    #24
    i'd sell that TV and get a Cinema display used offline, I think you would be much happier with that.
     
  25. js81 macrumors 65816

    js81

    Joined:
    Dec 31, 2008
    Location:
    KY
    #25
    See, I called Apple when I got mine and was told it would not void the warranty. I've also seen several such discussions on line - see here and here for examples. Since Apple had already told me so, I saw it online, and respectable dealers were selling self-installed memory upgrades, I figured it was OK. I just kept my original memory to re-install in case there was ever a problem.

    Let me clarify one thing from my post - I was told that a memory upgrade would not void the warranty. I later did the CPU and hard drive after my warranty expired - I intentionally waited, just in case. I doubt the hard drive would void it, as it is removed to get to the memory slots, but I am almost 100% certain that the CPU upgrade will, as you have to completely disassemble the Mini to get to the CPU (from the bottom of the motherboard). Sorry if I came across as saying the CPU and hard drive were OK, too - I just meant that those could be upgraded, too. :) Personally, I think the Mini is a great machine and mine has been very reliable - the only problem was of my doing. While I haven't used a G5 very much, I can vouch that my little Mini is faster than any dual G4 I ever used. :D
     

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