Is an iMac adequate for graphic design?

Discussion in 'Design and Graphics' started by definitive, Apr 19, 2009.

  1. definitive macrumors 68000

    definitive

    Joined:
    Aug 4, 2008
    #1
    I'm looking at buying a Mac system. At the moment I have a PC with a 2.4GHz Pentium 4 (with hyperthreading) and 2GB of RAM. Would the '09 3.06GHz w/ 4GB RAM (and Radeon 4850) be enough?
    Apps currently used: Photoshop CS4, Illustrator CS4, InDesign CS4, Dreamweaver CS4.

    I don't have the money for a mac pro at the moment, and the mentioned iMac seems like the next best option. I'm not sure if 8GB of RAM upgrade would be necessary since from what I hear the Mac's PS CS4 doesn't support over 4GB of RAM.
     
  2. SwiftLives macrumors 65816

    SwiftLives

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    Dec 7, 2001
    Location:
    Charleston, SC
    #2
    Unlike the PowerMac, the Mac Pro is way overkill for graphic design these days. I use the same programs on an 2006 iMac with 3GB RAM, and they run fine.

    The minimum you'll need is a 24in. screen and 4GB of RAM. Processor speed isn't going to make a huge difference, and the iMac video cards are fine.

    The only reason to opt for the high-end version is that it supports up to 8GB of RAM, and may last you a bit longer. But 4GB should suffice for a few years - at least until Creative Suite 5. And unless you're constantly working on files the size of a billboard at 1200dpi, then 4GB of RAM is plenty.
     
  3. FourCandles macrumors 6502a

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    Feb 10, 2009
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    England
    #3
    Agree with SwiftLives, the iMac will be easily powerful enough. If you do want the upgradeability of the high-end version then you can of course start with 4GB RAM now, and if you really need to, get a quality 2 x 4GB kit in a couple of years when hopefully RAM will have continued to fall in price (the 2 x 4GB kit seems insanely expensive to me at the moment, even from non-Apple vendors like Crucial).

    You may just want to make absolutely sure you're happy with the glossy screen - there are strong opinions either way on these forums - as that's obviously something you're stuck with, unless you want to use an external monitor.
     
  4. a cat *miaow* macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Jun 12, 2007
    #4
    Easily.
    Why is there all this confusion that just because someone wants to use their Mac for design work they have to get one with the 'Pro' in the name?

    An imac is an absolutely fantastic machine for graphic design at a great price.
    And 4gb will do nicely for running CS4.
     
  5. definitive thread starter macrumors 68000

    definitive

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    Aug 4, 2008
    #5
    what about the glossy screen? i've used imacs (the '08 version) and had no problems with reflections, or are you talking about colors being shown differently (black color)?
     
  6. FourCandles macrumors 6502a

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    #6
    Well, I was thinking mainly about reflections, but as you've used them before and had no problems then that's good :) I just meant literally as I said, to make sure you're 100% happy with that aspect. Looks like you'll be fine with an iMac.
     
  7. ChrisA macrumors G4

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    Jan 5, 2006
    Location:
    Redondo Beach, California
    #7
    The iMac will be over twice as fast as your current PC. You can decide if that is "enough" The iMac will do fine with 4GB of RAM.

    Even if Photoshop can't use more then 4GB of RAM the other software can. Ater all you will not just be running Photoshop. You will be running the Operating system with its screen and printer drivers and then the OS will use whatever RAM is available as a disk cache. SO yes 8GB would be usfull. But will you need it? Likely not.

    But do make sure you can live with the glossy, mirror-like screen. Reflections really are not the worst part of the glossy screen. It has the effect of exaggerating color contract and making the color "pop". THis is why it is popular with many consumer who use the Mac mostly as a media player and game console. I think however you could lean to compensate.
     
  8. Toppa G's macrumors 6502

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    Jun 19, 2003
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    The exurbs, MN
    #8
    I use CS2 on a 12" PowerBook (512MB RAM) and a 17" iMac (1 GB RAM), as well as CS3 on a 15" MacBook Pro (2 GB RAM). It's survivable on all fronts, but I've found CS3 runs just fine with 2 GB RAM. Also, the bigger the screen, the better. The palettes take up half the screen on the 12" PB :D
     
  9. opeter macrumors 65816

    opeter

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    Aug 5, 2007
    Location:
    Slovenia, EU
    #9
    What about an Apple Mac mini? Is it OK for illustration (Painter, ArtRage) and DTP work?

    If I max. out the RAM to 4 GB and can get the 2,26 GHz version, would it be enough for this type of work?

    Or should I get a used Mac Pro 2x2 GHz, with 7 GB 667 MHz RAM, GeForce 7300GT... but the second one is almost 2x the price of a new Mac mini.

    Also the 2,26 GHz Mac mini has better Geekbench scores than this Mac Pro (143 vs 114), if this does mean anything.
     
  10. NXTMIKE macrumors 6502

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    Nov 11, 2008
    Location:
    Canada
    #10
    we're taking 2d graphic design here guys. Of course an imac (either 20" o 24") would be more than fine. Even video editing and Adobe After Effects would run excellent with the specs that the OP stated.
     
  11. SnowX macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Jan 21, 2009
    #11
    My opinion - I would get a Mac Mini, as the others have stated, the CPU speed isn't all that important. I just got the 2.0 and installed 4G and it runs just fine (although I am using CS). The reason I recommend the Mini is that you can then buy any screen you like, where as the iMac you're pretty much stuck with what you got. I have a 22" and will eventually get a second one. Also, having 5 USB ports is great!
     
  12. SwiftLives macrumors 65816

    SwiftLives

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    Dec 7, 2001
    Location:
    Charleston, SC
    #12
    Pretty sure the Mini only has a 5400rpm hard drive. You don't want that. The mini maxes out at 4GB RAM. The iMac will hold 8. Plus, the graphics in the mini aren't great.

    Basically, the iMac will last you awhile longer. I'd be wary of running multiple apps on a Mini, as it's more of a basic entry-level machine.
     

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