iMac or Mac Pro for graphics work

Discussion in 'Buying Tips and Advice' started by Pilgrim1099, Apr 30, 2008.

  1. Pilgrim1099 macrumors 6502a

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    #1
    Hello,

    I have owned the G4 Dual Desktop (1ghz/80 gb hd) and a 15 inch PowerBook G4 running on Tiger since 2002. The desktop is hooked up with a 20 inch Formac LCD monitor with a 9 x 12 Wacom tablet. Both machines run great except that the desktop is starting to concern me due to its age.

    It almost died out on me and I had to take it to Small Dog Electronics to have it looked it. Turns out to be the power switch that needed to be reset. So it's working good, but I'm getting leery as time goes on.

    I don't use the desktop for games but solely for graphic work on Illustrator, Corel Painter, and Photoshop, along with 3-D apps such as Maya PLE, Poser, Bryce, etc. I also have Final Cut Pro (as a gift) but have not found time to learn it.

    Both machines run those apps just fine except the laptop only has the main apps (Painter, Adobe Creative Suite--original package, Dreamweaver, etc), but not the 3-D apps.

    I'm aware that some iMacs today are 3 to 4 times more powerful than my G4 desktop BUT a G5 is so tempting to get. What I'm trying to figure out whether today's top of the line iMac is more than enough to handle my graphic applications which can be maxed out to 4GB of RAM. Or if I should go for the G5 when prices get cheaper.

    I was thinking of getting the Wacom Cintiq when the time comes in the future but not now. I don't plan on replacing my laptop since it's still running great.

    Any advice would be appreciated.

    Thanks.
     
  2. basesloaded190 macrumors 68030

    basesloaded190

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    #2
    if your going to be getting a new computer, i would go with intel. your going to be happy with it and its going to be able to last you a lot longer versus the G5. today's imac, especially after the new upgrade, can handle anything you want to throw at it.
     
  3. aaronw1986 macrumors 68030

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    #3
    Your title is confusing as it mentions mac pro. Then in the post you mention between iMac or G5, but no mac pro. Mac pro would be the first choice. iMac over a G5.
     
  4. Pilgrim1099 thread starter macrumors 6502a

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    #4
    So you're saying the new Intel iMac would be the way to go since it would do things similar to what the Mac Pro can do?

    The other poster mentioned that the iMac lasts longer than the Mac Pro (G5). How so? Has that been your experience?

    Thanks.
     
  5. aaronw1986 macrumors 68030

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    #5
    Mac Pro's have intel chips, they are NOT G5's. The pro line was Power Mac G5...
     
  6. Pilgrim1099 thread starter macrumors 6502a

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    #6
    Now I understand. No wonder I got confused :/. So the Intel chips are a step above the G5 versions.

    So obviously the Mac Pro (Intel) would be far more effective for graphic design/illustration work but even though the top of the line iMac (Intel) would do the job just fine, regardless which would be a good step up from the old G4 desktop.
     
  7. iainr macrumors newbie

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    Feb 16, 2008
    #7
    what basesloaded190 was getting at is that a new intel imac will continue to be supported by apple for a lot longer than a ppc G5 will be. Eventually apple is going to drop all ppc support and you'll find that in time most new software will be intel compatible only and wont run on the G5. Therefore you're better off spending your money on an iMac as it'll last you longer. Thats my take on it at least

    An intel Mac Pro would be the best option for your needs especially since you work with 3D, but if they're out of your price range then an iMac would suit you fine. I bought an iMac last summer just after the aluminium model was released and its great for apps like photoshop, indesign etc. I also do a lot of 3D work in Solidworks in windows on it and have been very impressed
     
  8. crazycat macrumors 65816

    crazycat

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    #8
    Both the iMac and the Mac Pro would be enough for what you want to do. I really like the iMac because it has such a low footprint and i always get people wondering where the CPU is.
     
  9. Pilgrim1099 thread starter macrumors 6502a

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    #9
    Thanks for clearing this up! Someday in the near future, I may upgrade to the top of the line iMac and try to max out the RAM to 4GB that way it'll have more breathing room to operate Painter and Photoshop which I use both extensively. Especially that I work with high resolution and large sized images.

    3-D work is very rare on my end but eventually I'll get around to learning them and think that Maya PLE, Bryce, Poser and other simple 3-D rendering/modelling apps will run fine on the Intel iMac, without any slowdown which is exactly what I need.

    What I also have is the 1 Generation airport router and upgrade to the new Airport (802.11n version) and add an external hard-drive to it so both machines (laptop and desktop) can share files wirelessly. I'm using Ethernet to go online with the desktop for now but could continue using that with the new Airport and access the hard-drive in that manner. I currently have a LaCie 80GB ext. hard drive since 2002 and it has never died out on me.....so far.

    I can probably use the dual-mirroring with my current LCD and the new iMac if I wanted to. I just have to consider 'color correction' for the iMac monitor so things will come out accurate on the print end (CMYK purposes).

    The Mac Pro Intel would probably be overkill. I'm sure the Intel iMac (top of the line)'s graphic card will handle the jobs just well.
     
  10. stainlessliquid macrumors 68000

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    #10
    The mac pro isnt better than the imac at 2d apps, those programs require very very little processor power but plenty of ram (4gbs is more than enough, you do not need to fill a mac pro up with 16gbs of ram with photoshop). You cant run Photoshop faster on an 8 core Xeon system, those programs only operate at realtime and are limited to how fast YOU work. It will help with any sort of rendering like video or 3d rendering since thats not realtime, it just renders the scene as fast as it can.

    I would go with neither. A nice monitor + macbookpro would be good for graphic design. If not that then I would get a 24" despite me hating imacs(NOT the 20" since it has a horrible TN lcd panel which is complete garbage). I would never get a mac pro for 2d stuff unless an older one can be had for under $1500, it would just be flushing hundreds of dollars down the toilet.
     
  11. Pilgrim1099 thread starter macrumors 6502a

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    #11
    Excellent points right there. Although, I have Flash, the vectoring process won't take up much memory because it can be compressed and edited in a video editing app as an end result for a higher frame rate, if needed. Although with Final Cut Pro, I'm going to think that the 24' inch iMac (top of the line) would definitely handle it with no problem. as long there is an external hard-drive for this type of video storge.

    Otherwise, I deal with 2-D graphic and digital illustration work for the most part. 4GB of RAM is definitely monstrous enough compared to my 1GB of RAM on my old G4.

    Since most of my apps are run on PowerPC/Binary environment, should I assume I can re-install the apps onto the Intel environment because of backwards compatibility? I'm aware Intel has that capability to read Binary applications. That's the one thing I want to make absolute sure without having to purchase full software packages all over again.

    I'm very convinced that the iMac is a good direction to go. I don't know when I'll upgrade but maybe this summer. When you mentioned the MacBook Pro, the setup suggestion of your's did cross my mind at one point since I have a 20 inch Formac LCD and own a 15 inch Titantium PowerBook G4.

    The MacBook Pro is an appealing direction as well which is like a portable version of the Intel Mac Pro, is it not? What I look for is RAM and storage expandability along with processing speed.

    This thread is helping out greatly.

     
  12. basesloaded190 macrumors 68030

    basesloaded190

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    #12
    yeah thats exactly what i was trying to get at. when ever i see someone wanting to buy a ppc versus an intel i urge them to reconsider because of what you said about apple eventually not going to support the ppc and only bring support for intel macs
     
  13. Pilgrim1099 thread starter macrumors 6502a

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    #13
    I concur with you on this and understand that the PPC has not been continued anymore while Intel's support will be around longer, unless Apple changes the contract with a new manufacturer in the future.

    Even if I'm doing 2-D graphic design/animation/Photoshop work, I'm still perplexed about the differences of the graphic cards from the ATI Radeon cards on the iMacs and one model only has the NVIDIA card.

    Would those cards make any difference? I'm going to think that this only affects the gaming and 3-D modelling applications more than it would for
    2-D bitmap/raster/vector creative apps?

     
  14. iainr macrumors newbie

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    #14
    i've not bothered to check out the details of the 3 different cards you can get in the imac, but i do know that mine is the ATI Radeon HD2600 Pro 256mb. That was the highest spec card available at the time. It handles everything i do fine and even runs games well under windows. If you're going for the 24inch imac then it might be worth while upgrading to the top of the range Geforce 8800 as it should speed up any 3d work you do in the future but its unlikely to noticeably affect any photoshopping you
     
  15. Pilgrim1099 thread starter macrumors 6502a

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    #15
    What I could do is upgrade to the NVIDIA GeForce 8800 later on once I get real deep into 3-D modelling/animation. But for now, if I do simple 3-D modelling, nurbs, 2-D animation, Corel Painter (digital illustration) and things like that, I think the iMac's current graphics card will do fine.

    Since my G4 is 1 Ghz in speed, 2.8 Ghz sounds like it's as fast as the 3.0 Ghz model. Although, I think I would go for the 24 inch model and pass over the Mac Book Pro. What's weird is that the processor speeds between the new iMacs and Mac Book Pro are lop-sided somewhat. Should'nt the Mac Book Pros be a bit faster than the iMacs, however I suspect the drop in speed has to do with compensating for battery usage?
     
  16. iShater macrumors 604

    iShater

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    #16
    Universal Apps?

    Another question might be to see if running a new Mac with Rosetta will run these PPC apps faster than 1) your current system 2) a cheap G5.

    Are you planning to upgrade your apps to versions that are Universal?
     
  17. Pilgrim1099 thread starter macrumors 6502a

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    #17
    Maybe. I'm just trying to hold onto my current applications and then upgrade them when the time comes. I'm fine with the current versions though but Painter X and CS3 would be nice.
     

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