iMac for Graphic & Web Designer

Discussion in 'iMac' started by SD449, Oct 30, 2014.

  1. SD449 macrumors regular

    Jun 6, 2012
    Hi All

    I am sorry if this question has been answered all ready but I couldn't find anything with my searches.

    I am looking to purchase a Retina iMac for our Graphic Designer. The programs she mainly uses are Photoshop, Indesign (Mostly), Dreamweaver and Illustrator (Rarely).

    I am not sure if she will see the added benefit of the following upgrades;

    i7 Processor - Do all the above programs now take advantage of the multicores? Are they now all 64bit programs?

    36gb Ram - Will this be noticeable over 16gb? I expect all programs to be used at once along with other normal programs (Chrome, Spotify, Open Office) I may even install Parallels and Windows.

    Hard Drive - I will be going with 512gb SSD but what are the best options for external storage? Is it worth getting a Thunderbolt Raid setup for extra files and Time Machine? This could be another question, for another time.

    Graphics Card - Since I haven't mention any video software, does she need the 4gb M295X?

    Coming from a 6 year old Mac Pro with the below specs I'm sure any of the options will be an improvement, unless you think I should be considering a new Mac Pro.

    2x Quad Core Xeon 2.8ghz
    8gb RAM DDR2 800mhz
    ATI Radeon HD2600 256mb

    Thank you for any and all help
  2. rainydays macrumors 6502a

    Nov 6, 2006
    No need for the i7 upgrade.
    Get the stock 8GB RAM and purchase more separately. There shouldn't really be any need for more than 16GB for that kind of work.
    Since I'm guessing that there won't be a huge amount of data I think an external USB3 drive should be more than sufficient. I don't think a TB solution is worth it in that case.
    The stock GPU should be just fine.
  3. Hemanthmalli macrumors newbie

    Dec 3, 2014
    I want to know the Clarity details regarding your request.
  4. phpmaven macrumors 68040


    Jun 12, 2009
    San Clemente, CA USA
    Since the I7 is a mere $250 more and is significantly faster and more capable, it's a no-brainer upgrade, especially when you consider that you wil likely have this Mac for 5 years or more.
  5. fathergll macrumors 65816

    Sep 3, 2014
    It's not a "no-brainer" upgrade. They were selling base configuration Retina's for $2300 with no tax from some stores. Now you're talking about close to a $500 difference.
  6. rainydays macrumors 6502a

    Nov 6, 2006
    Like fathergil said, you can often find the stock version at a better price than what AppleStore sells it for.
    Also, it's still $250 (or more depending on which country you live in). If you're not going to make use of it, it's just a waste of money that could have gone towards something much more useful/fun.
  7. Verdenshersker macrumors member


    Oct 17, 2014
    Copenhagen, Denmark
    As a Graphic Designer and Web Designer myself, I think, you should get my inputs here too...

    CPU: When using Photoshop, InDesign, Illustrator, it is not so much about the about of Cores (you won't really see the different between 4 or 8 core in the daily work), but it's more about the speed. By getting the i7 instead of i5, you are getting 500 Mhz more speed and yes, more power too, in case the machine will be used for video editing later down the road or so. I would go for this upgrade.

    Memory: Keep the 8 GB stock and buy them separate like people said. Personally I have 32 GB memory and I tend to use almost all of them. I build full website with a LOT of layers, so that will eat of the memory and not down the work. But my suggestion would be - keep the 8 GB stock, order 2 x 8 GB more (16 GB), so you will get a 24 GB as a start. You can always replace the 2 x 4 GB (8 GB stock) for 16 GB more down the road. And depending on her work, the 24 GB should be just fine.

    Storage: Yes, go for SSD instead of the Fusion. The application will use the SSD as a scratch disk, so you will get better performance with a fast drive. About the external use - I just have 2 TB USB 3.0 drive, but I also have a bunch of extra internally.

    GFX: Using the GFX to help you process graphics when you are doing static work (Photoshop, InDesign, Illustrator) doesn't really help at all. If you are doing video work, it's something else - or gaming, but I guess this is a workstation. I wouldn't spend the money on the upgraded Graphics if the main purpose is graphic design.

    I hope that is some good input... Mine is a MacPro - at the office, I have a 3.5 Ghz i7, 16 GB memory and regular hard drive. I can feel the faster clock speed on the processor, but also HOW SLOW it is when I save (the HDD instead of SSD)
  8. crsh1976 macrumors 6502a

    Jun 13, 2011
    Why the 5k Retina iMac specifically? A 27-inch non-Retina iMac would do the trick; Adobe/graphic design applications require mainly a lot of RAM, a modern CPU, then a quality display - all of which all the 27-inch iMac models offer.
  9. MacGizmo macrumors 65816


    Apr 27, 2003
    Get a regular 27" iMac with the i7 upgrade
    Get the full 32GB of RAM (from Apple or 3rd party)
    Get an SSD drive upgrade (the most you can afford)
    Get the video card upgrade - Photoshop will make heavy use of it.

    The retina screen is the only thing not worth the expense. It's very nice, but there is not a single reason to justify "NEEDING IT."

    The thing is, you're going to spend a lot of money no matter what. It's really best to get a little more than you think you need now. With the exception of the RAM, you can't upgrade any of it later. And you'll probably add two to three years of time before your designer starts asking for an upgraded computer.
  10. rainydays macrumors 6502a

    Nov 6, 2006
    For applications like InDesign and Illustrator the retina display is a major upgrade. You seem to think that it's mere eye candy, but I assure you it's not.

    In fact I'd trade processor power for a display like that any day if I had to choose.
  11. melllvar macrumors regular

    Oct 28, 2007
    Illustrator and indesign runs pretty bad right now on the 5K. I'd wait if Adobe can patch it within a timely manner.
  12. crsh1976 macrumors 6502a

    Jun 13, 2011
    I don't understand the reasoning; the screen is indeed awesome, but unless you want to run your design applications at the full-blown 5120x2880 resolution (where everything is going to be super tiny, but you'll be gaining a lot of real-estate to work with), the sharpness of the display isn't a factor in terms of productivity when the 27-inch IPS panel used in the non-Retina iMac is already pretty decent (same for the Thunderbolt Display, which I use daily).

    Size, resolution, color calibration/fidelity, etc - but Retina vs non-Retina isn't the major factor to me. That said, I have nothing to say against the iMac 5k display, I just don't get the "must-buy" logic.
  13. Verdenshersker macrumors member


    Oct 17, 2014
    Copenhagen, Denmark

    So I work all day in Photoshop and I don't see difference in GT120, GTX570 or GT650M when I'm running photoshop...
  14. driftless macrumors 65816


    Sep 2, 2011
    I think that the real question is where is Adobe headed in terms of resource usage in the coming years? Given that both the CPU and GPU are not upgradeable that is the key question. Since I did not see any video needs in the OP's post, I would upgrade the GPU first. Given the demands of the 5K monitor and where I think Adobe is going, the GPU upgrade will help future proof the purchase. FWIW - I/we use the full Adobe CC suite.
  15. rainydays macrumors 6502a

    Nov 6, 2006
    Not true. Especially not if you work with print. It's not about real estate it's about details.
    You finally start to see a decent on screen representation of the final result. You don't need to guess, imagine and print as much anymore.
    Oh and fonts look like they are supposed to look like. Even at smaller sizes. You can even get a good idea of what the font look like in the selector, which was nearly impossible before.
    And the sheer joy of working with such a screen will also be reflected in your productivity.

    To me this screen is a major step forward for design work. Much more so than a CPU or GPU upgrade.
  16. Rab Simpson macrumors regular

    Rab Simpson

    Feb 10, 2006
    Glasgow, Scotland
    I beg to differ. I use Illustrator (CC) on a daily basis (InDesign less often) on my riMac and I've yet to experience any issues beyond the occasional palette misbehaving.

Share This Page