Hardware for web design/dev

Discussion in 'Mac Pro' started by palatinate11, Feb 8, 2011.

  1. palatinate11 macrumors newbie

    Dec 30, 2005
    I'm a web designer & developer and I've been using an intel iMac the past few years. I'm getting ready to overhaul my setup and am canvassing opinions. Here's some of what I'm considering:

    - new high-spec iMac or Mac pro?
    - try a hackintosh build per lifehacker?
    - want to try a SSD for speedy boot/apps & hear that aftermarket ones are better
    - probably ought to have 2 screens & certainly can't afford cinema displays
    - will need a webcam if I do the above
    - how much RAM?

    Just wondering if there are any strong opinions out there on what to avoid/get.

    I mostly like to keep firefox with lots of tabs open, a text editor and photoshop. Often have to add iTunes, iPhoto, word and excel to that and the current slowdown drives me nuts!

    Thanks for your insight!
  2. Macsonic macrumors 65816


    Sep 6, 2009
    You probably might want to go for a Mac Pro since you will be needing 2 monitors and SSD and you could use the expansion. And with a Mac Pro you have the flexibility to choose the monitor brand. Non glossy monitor works best for designs without much glare. For Ram you could have around 8g and up.

    I think the quad core 2.8ghz or 3.2ghz would be adequate for your needs.
  3. csixty4 macrumors regular

    Apr 8, 2010
    Somerville, MA
    I do web dev (including building sites & WordPress plugin development) on a 2006 MacBook with a Core Duo. I use Pixelmator instead of Photoshop, so I don't know what PS's requirements really are. But I think any current Mac would be fine as long as you max out the RAM. I'd say at least 4GB, but if you're using Photoshop maybe ratchet that up to 6GB minimum. My old timer only takes up to 2GB and I can tell when it starts swapping. Not good.

    Other World Computing (macsales.com) has a reputation for high-performance SSDs. You might also want to consider a fast traditional HDD, like a WD Scorpio Black.

    You might want to look at a Mac Mini. They have good performance for slinging text and raster images around, and support dual displays. Think of it as a low-end iMac without a Cinema Display bolted on.
  4. ndraves macrumors member

    Jan 19, 2011
    If you can afford the price increase then I'd look at the Mac Pros. This will give you the option of easily putting in a 3rd party SSD (much cheaper than Apple's). And from what yo are using then the single CPU's should be great. You also have the option with going for the 2.8/3.2 quad now and then in 2/3 years getting a processor upgrade to a hex or something like that.

    As to what monitors, I have used the apple monitors and they are good. Maybe look at a 2nd hand 23" (or even the 30" but these are $$$) ACD from ebay.

    For new monitors then maybe the dell 24" look pretty good and you have a couple of options as to how much you spend on them. I have had an old 20" for years and it still looks good.

    RAM - Don't buy upgrades from Apple - too expensive. But you will definitely be better off with more than the 3GB you get. Maybe 8GB should be enough. The MP has 4 DIMMS so you can get a couple of 4GB sticks and then add more later if you find that you need it.
  5. goMac macrumors 603

    Apr 15, 2004
  6. Evil Spoonman macrumors 6502

    Jan 21, 2011
    Why would you buy a Mac Pro for this kind of work? None of it is well threaded, none of it is very intensive.

    Consider the following:
    - Do you really need two screens if your primary display is 2560x1440? A lot of the reason people went dual display in the past is for screen real estate, and the 27" iMac has enough for most people.
    - I believe it is possible to use the iMac's Mini-DP out to hook up a second monitor anyways. You can have dual displays (but two is the limit).
    - There is space in an iMac for both a 3.5" platter drive, and a 2.5" SSD. To the best of my knowledge Apple does not provide the wiring or brackets for the SSD if the machine wasn't BTO'd with it. The connector on the motherboard is still there, but not the easiest thing to get to.

    My suggestion would be to get the 27" i5 iMac, put 8GB of memory in it, and contemplate the SSD option. Mac Pro is far too much firepower for your use, and there is just no reason to pay for that.
  7. csixty4 macrumors regular

    Apr 8, 2010
    Somerville, MA
    My machine at work is a much more modern 27" iMac with an LED Cinema Display next to it. It definitely works, although the Cinema Display is lower resolution and sits a fraction of an inch lower than the iMac's screen.

    Hence, my suggestion of a Mac Mini with dual matching displays.
  8. myosh macrumors member

    Jul 24, 2002
    I would lean towards the base Mac Pro based solely on the OP's desire to use an SSD as the boot drive. From what I understand, replacing an iMac's hard drive is somewhat difficult while adding drives in a MacPro is a simple procedure.

    To the OP, if you do go the MacPro + SSD route, I would suggest you put the SDD in the lower optical drive bay so you will have all 4 hard drive bays available for traditional hard drives. For RAM, I would suggest getting as much as you can afford. In my case, I went with 12 GB (3 x 4 GB sticks, $225 at OWC).
  9. vogelhausdesign macrumors regular


    Jan 7, 2009
    Columbus, Ohio
    You could do modern, cutting edge web design and development on a Mac Book, with an SSD/External HDD's + External Monitor..

    I Use a fully SSD 12-Core Mac Pro for Physics simulation and 3D Animation. As a designer, I do web dev. and design on this thing.. feels extremely overkill. IF all you're doing is photoshop and other CS Apps for web, do yourself a favor and spent the extra money on something like a graphics monitor. The real world benefit for mobility in the web design world is greater than having horsepower to write HTML. :apple:

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