I'm at 0% productivity and need a new comp for my art...

Discussion in 'Design and Graphics' started by PJ-Graphix, Jul 25, 2012.

  1. PJ-Graphix macrumors newbie

    Jul 24, 2012
    hello, i have been lurking for a while, anticipating the new iMac release just like everyone else.... a bit frustrating to say the least. I'd like to start doing some freelance graphic arts, as well as build upon my portfolio in the MASSIVE amount of free time that i am WASTING doing absolutely nothing. i am not being productive at all and it is frustrating knowing i cannot do anything about it....

    Now, i am running a 533 MHz PowerPC G4 thats running Tiger 10.4.11........ yea, i am way behind on current tech, i know.. it is god-awfully slow and i can barely do anything on it to the point that it drains the motivation of even trying on it. watching any type of video is out of the question as well, as it refuses to accommodate even a simple youtube video without horrible lag..

    I use the Adobe line of products, focusing on Flash, Photoshop, Illustrator and also Painter11. I do 2D animations on Flash and am getting into actionscript to try and make flash games. I also use a Wacom Intuos tablet to draw. my ultimate goal would be to start making apps for the ipod/iphone/ipad and everything i do from this point will gear towards getting to that goal as quickly and efficiently as possible.

    I would also like to meddle in video editing in the near future as i play the ukulele as a hobbyist but will likely be uploading videos in the near future...

    my question is, with what i need it for, as i plan on doing doing as much freelance as possible and have many potential clients i have been giving the run-around to..... is it logical to continue waiting for a "possible" imac refresh/update, get the current imac with the best specs available, or get a macbook pro or macbook air?

    i would like my machine to last me for the beginning of my profession career, and i am ready to start the second my machine touches my desk. i just dont want to regret any purchases.

    Also, how important is screen size vs mobility for a graphic artist? i have been meaning to upgrade to an iMac for a while but everything i have ever drawn on has had an old cubed monitor (dont know how to read its dimensions but its about 9.75in x 12in?)... i would just like to know what i should be looking for professionally. is it wiser to get some type of macbook and then whenever the new imac comes out save to invest in that as well so i am not making a double purchase on the sam machine/ have both a desktop and a portable device eventually...???

    sorry if this is just another slice of the same pie
  2. fig macrumors 6502a


    Jun 13, 2012
    Austin, TX
    Wow, sometimes I make fun of people who post about "my machine isn't fast enough" but you can lay a legitimate claim to that one my friend :)

    Anything you get is going to be such a massive speed bump that which specific model of those you choose probably won't matter too much. Any of the current offerings is more than fast enough to handle all of Creative Suite, it really all comes down to personal preference.

    I'm looking to upgrade my old desktop (2.1ghz 20" iMac circa late 2006) and I'm waiting for the revisions to the iMac and Mini before doing so. If you wanted a desktop I'd probably tell you to try to hold off for as it seems like new iMacs should be just around the corner, but we've all been thinking that for a few months now.

    For your situation I'd probably lean towards a MacBook Pro. Screen size is a personal preference issue, I have no issues using Photoshop and Illustrator for most of my projects on my 13" MBP but for web development I like the bigger area of the iMac. If you decide you need more screen you could pick up a relatively inexpensive display ($300 or so) and just plug in the MacBook Pro.
  3. Hexiii macrumors 65816


    Jun 30, 2011
    Prague, Czech Republic
    Since MBA 11" runs everything you listed well (just PS rendering takes a little bit time, but since you are going to do just 2D, I wouldn't bother with that), I think there is definitely no need to wait for the iMac refresh. It's just about the screen size.

    If you're going just for portable machine, I'd go for the 15" rMBP or MBP. If you're going for desktop + laptop go for the iMac and 13" MBA (No need to be maxed).
  4. cambookpro macrumors 603


    Feb 3, 2010
    United Kingdom
    If you get a laptop, make sure you get an external display. Thunderbolt Displays are some of the best I've seen but are fairly pricy and glossy, which may not be best for seeing the colours that will actually come out in print.

    Dell do some great monitors, too, and many have a matte screen.
  5. thleeal macrumors regular

    Jun 24, 2009
    just a thought

    Just a thought but why dont you try buying a secondhand mac (haha i have a crackle in my throat and dictation turned this into mexican) now, and then when the new imac is released you can resell the used iMac... im guessing you wouldnt loose much and buy your imac....

    i made the jump from 2009 macbook pro... to an ivy bridge... and it is a little faster... but from my experience i would say save a little money for an ssd... that is going to impact speed alot more than a newer generation processor...
    but if you want to futureprof like you said... having usb 3 and thunderbolt for the machine you intend to keep is a good idea me thinks...

    anyways good luck.... keep us unto date innit.
  6. csjcsj macrumors regular


    Feb 15, 2011
    Sarasota FL
    I would not get a MBA - for applications like Illustrator, you can sit there for what seems forever waiting for complex filters to work. I know because I just sold my MBA to buy an rMBP.

    As for desktop vs. portability, if you will be going out on sales visits to showcase your art, go for portability. You can always get a bigger monitor for home.

    My issue now is what bigger monitor to get because the rMBP has a higher resolution than the 27" Thunderbolt display.
  7. RedTomato macrumors 68040


    Mar 4, 2005
    .. London ..
    You seem a bit short of money as you have such an old mac. I second the suggestion above. Buy a second hand mac from a couple of years ago. It will be such a massive improvement over your current computer.

    You have two options:

    1) Buy a loaded late model Core2Duo mac / imac / laptop - they all have very similar processors and are very good value at the moment. Eg I purchased a 2009 Macbook - 4GB Ram, 500Gb HDD, C2D 2.13GHZ, ATI Radeon 9400 256MB discrete graphics card - for £350 earlier this year. With a desktop monitor, it does everything I want.

    2) Buy a second hand i-series processor mac. They are modern speed demons, and there is more or less no speed difference between the various models and any new model coming out this year (from your viewpoint)

    It makes better financial sense to buy second hand now, and sell it in a couple of years for your next purchase, when you have a better idea of your requirements, rather than spend a lot of money now on something new which may not meet your needs, and which will lose value quickly.
  8. SteppingStone macrumors member


    Aug 6, 2012
    The designer I work with uses an iMac at home for her designs, then has an iPad for client meetings. The iPad seems to work really well for presenting to clients. The only time you'd have trouble there is if you want to tweak a design side-by-side with a client. On the other hand, it's more convenient to sketch and brainstorm on an iPad than on a laptop.

    Using a laptop as your main machine is a matter of personal preference; it can be really confining.
  9. thekev macrumors 604


    Aug 5, 2010
    I guess mobility could be a concern if you want to show something to a client without making a hard copy. Hard copies are still nice as you can expect less variation. Do you have clients and potential work today? If so you need a machine today. I would get something relatively current so that you have the option of staying up to date in terms of software for a while. Keep in mind CS6 also likes vram. Their minimum is 256 with 512 recommended. It was initially 512 and 1GB, but they dropped their suggestions. I'd install at least 8GB of ram no matter what you get. Again in its current version, this is the recommended amount. They improved a lot of the brushes and stuff with the current version, so I do suggest that. Find out if you're eligible for an upgrade as some of the CS4/CS5 applications and suites will no longer be upgrade compliant after the end of the year.

    Anyway if you're definitely going for a notebook, the 15" refurbished macbook pro at $1359 isn't a bad option, although the high resolution display would be better. The notebook displays really can't do some colors, so do not take them as an absolute reference. Some printed colors are just way too far off. They can't do cyan or maroon with any measure of remote accuracy. Reds are a little problematic simply because the gamut is slightly narrow there. Overall an external display isn't a bad idea regardless of the computer you buy. NEC makes a very nice 24" for around $750 and a 27" at $1100. Either would need a colorimeter + their software for full calibration.

    Something recent would be good either way. The responsiveness of mid range computers is much higher than it was a few years ago. While people always find something that will work, it's much nicer if your system feels very fluid. It's like how if you're drawing something out on paper first, there's no lag time on feedback.

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