Is it even possible to talk me off the ledge?

Discussion in 'Buying Tips and Advice' started by xheathen, Aug 15, 2010.

  1. xheathen macrumors 6502

    Aug 5, 2010
    I'm really in a quandary here. I'm what you might call an above average PC user, and I don't mean that in that I'm some kind of smart guy and everyone else is dumb. But I get PC's... it's been years since I've had a blue screen, I build my own custom systems, I know most PC's inside and out, and I can troubleshoot deep issues.

    But at the same time, I'm REALLY wanting to go mac. I like how it feels. I like how it looks, smells and even tastes! But I'm really having a tough time justifying "the switch".

    I have two jobs right now: graphic designer and network tech (the latter out of necessity :)) My real passion is design. So I'm trying to make the best decision for that profession. I've read the "Why Mac is More Expensive Than PC" thread, so I get the quality portion of it.

    I've also got two kids and bills, so while we're not exactly pinching pennies, blowing over $1000 on a new computer hurts. I've read all of the

    Based on what research I've done, I think a Mac Pro is overkill for what I do, and the mini just doesn't have the horse power. That leaves iMac or Mac Book Pro. I have an iPad and for my profession, the iPad actually does everything I need it to do mobility-wise. But I'm not totally taking MBP off the table.

    So that leads me to the most logical conclusion which is the iMac.

    What's the Ledge???

    The ledge is this: I really have two choices:

    One is to stay PC, and invest about $500 more into my current PC. What this means is that after $500, I'll have a 3.2ghz quad core, 8gb of PC1333 Ram, 1tb 7200 SATA HD, BluRay Player and DVD Burner and topped off with a 1gb GDDR5 Video Card.

    The second option is to jump into an iMac and pull the trigger. I probably need to at LEAST go for the 2nd level iMac 21.5", or I've been eyeing the refurb 27" iMacs.

    Bear in mind I'm *trying* to stay in budget, so I don't think I can justify spending $2000 on a quad core 27" iMac.

    Based on what kind of power, I'm not sure that even the newer intel icore iMacs will give me much more juice than that PC setup. I do understand that the resale value of my PC will greatly dwindle and I will probably have no chance of selling my system BUT for what I do every day, that system should keep me going for the next 2 years at least.

    But I also see the flip side where in 2 years, I can probably get about 60% of the value of whatever iMac I purchase and the upgrade to the next level is greatly reduced.

    Can anyone else with this kind of choice and knowledge of the real performance and power of mac give me some idea if this is actually a real battle? Maybe I'm giving my PC component specs too much credit, and under the circumstances a lower end iMac will actually give me the same performance?

    Sorry for the novel lol - I think I just had to get it out to fully understand where I'm coming from!
  2. jbyun04 macrumors 6502a


    Aug 31, 2008
    can't go wrong with either

    i use an i7 920 for design at work and i use my 2.8 c2d mbp 15" for school / contract work.

    i much prefer my mac over it for graphic design work though (heavy ex-pc user here, i can build one from scratch and troubleshoot just about any problem). I just made the switch to mac back in january for school and i honestly haven't looked back.. it just feels so much better and feels more fluid.

    in my opinion the 21.5" is a bit small for design work so if i were you i'd opt for the base 27" refurb..(i'm just used to bigger screens but it's all personal preference) definitely more powerful than mine and mine handles 2-3 cs4 programs at the same time just fine though there are times i wish it could be a little bit faster

    that's partially fixable once i decide to add either an ssd / momentus xt and maybe some more ram

    i think most graphic designers i know have either or both, most who have the imac really crave the portability of the macbook pro so they end up with one anyway!
  3. theLimit macrumors 6502a


    Jan 30, 2007
    up tha holler, acrost tha crick
    Just jump, it's totally worth it. I made the leap many years ago with a PowerBook and couldn't be happier. I've owned several Macs since then and loved every one. I've also built a couple PCs because the power and price was too good to pass up, but I ended up giving them to my brother after a few months and buying another Mac.
  4. THX1139 macrumors 68000


    Mar 4, 2006
    Since price is an issue, stick with the PC. You get more bang for the buck and you are used to that platform. OS X is nice, but so is Windows 7. And the differences in platforms is not that much nowadays other than the price you pay for Apple branded products.

    If someone was just staring out doing design and wanted a good computer... and price was not an option, I would tell them to get an iMac, or Mac Book Pro (the new Mac Pros are too expense unless you are doing heavy duty, mission critical professional work). A few years ago, I would have said get a Mac Pro, but not now unless you can justify the expense. That is, unless you need ECC ram and like shiny aluminum and must have OS X running on an Apple machine - then stick with PC. In your case, you'll only spend $500 to get a machine that will be as fast, if not faster than the Mac Pro. But if you decide to stick with PC, and want the option for OS X, then go Hackintosh route.

    Most people here are going to tell you to get a Mac simply because they are Mac fans. I'm a bit more pragmatic in that I think it's better to get the machine that runs the platform you need for the best price point. It's up to you to evaluate what those needs are and decide if switching to Apple is worth the premium you'll pay for brand new relatively outdated equipment.
  5. FourCandles macrumors 6502a

    Feb 10, 2009
    OP: other than saying "graphic design", you've not really expanded on what you do - what work you do, which applications you use, file sizes and complexity, and so on.

    We could give more accurate advice, especially between various Mac models, if you could help us out in that area.
  6. alea macrumors newbie

    Aug 25, 2007
    1° 17' N 103° 50' E
    With your 2k budget in mind, the decision depends on where you primarily do most of your work.

    If you're home-based, stick to the PC and if you haven't, invest in a good monitor instead, one with:

    High contrast at medium brightness
    Accurate color/gamma curve
    Good text reproduction
    Wide gamut (92% W-CCFL or >100% LED) for print matching

    If you're constantly working on the move, get the 15-inch 2.4GHz MBP. The i5 processor is more than ample for graphic design and more importantly, the MBP displays are one of the best in the market in terms of color/contrast representation. I have a Santa Rosa MBP and use it for graphic work and have no complains at all. If you want a 2nd opinion, please read the review here:

    Also, if you do get the MBP, please get AppleCare. If you're tight for cash, don't get the warranty add-on right away together with your purchase but please do try obtaining it within your one year window. It is a worthwhile investment for mobile computing as laptops do tend to have a 'higher maintenance' tendency as compared to desktops.
  7. Charlie Croker macrumors member

    Charlie Croker

    Jan 7, 2010
    What you do need to keep in mind is the price of software. You may have Adobe CSx Photoshop et al but you will need to have a copy of Windows 7 that isn't OEM to install on Bootcamp on the Mac in order to use them. This defeats the purpose of a Mac investment so in order to properly enjoy the Mac you will need to buy a lot of software again. This is the real sticking point of which computer you should buy. If you don't mind this, the Mac is a more enjoyable experience though it will take you some time getting used to the differences.
  8. Kenrik macrumors 6502

    Dec 21, 2004

    i5 760 2.8 ghz Quad
    Gigabyte GA-P55M-UD4 MoBo
    8gigs G.Skill DDR3 Ram
    Dual 1GB GTS 250s (SLI in Windows)
    640GB WD Black HD (OSX)
    500GB WD Blue HD (Windows 7)
    650Watt OCZ PSU
    Lite On DVD Burner
    Mac Pro G5 case $50 on Ebay.

    (Can play any game smoothly max settings including Crysis @ 1920x1080)

    Less than $1000 and you have a system that will kick the pant's off of anything Apple offers under the i7 iMac.

    if you add an extra couple hundred you can bump it up to a i7 930 - same chip that's in the $2500 Mac Pro.

    Install is simple - Drop in a iBoot DVD then drop in the OSX DVD and install... 100% compatibility. <-- iBoot

    And with your savings you can buy dual 28inch monitors... $600

    56 inches of screen space.... yum. :)


    Hackintosh FTW!
  9. Kenrik macrumors 6502

    Dec 21, 2004
  10. Kenrik macrumors 6502

    Dec 21, 2004
    Prebuilt system guide - HERE

    It shows you that you can build a system with the same specs as the $2500 Mac Pro for $1200.

  11. snberk103 macrumors 603

    Oct 22, 2007
    An Island in the Salish Sea
    Three problems..... the CustoMac is not the same specs (different CPU, different RAM) and 24GB of RAM is not "twice as much" as 16GB. One case has a rat's nest of cables, other doesn't use cables. etc etc

    It may or may not be a better system for some people, but it is not the same specs. I'm not going to argue about which system is "better" - that is a personal choice for people. But the facts are that they are not the same specs. They are somewhat similar, but they have different specs. Sigh.
  12. Kenrik macrumors 6502

    Dec 21, 2004
    The i7 930 and the Xeon used in the Mac Pro Quad are the same Processor from the same die. Xenon W3530 & i7 930.

    You misread the Ram thing... The Ram the mac has is 3GB the ram the Customac has is 6GB - Double. The 16 and 24 are MAX ram.

    Anyone can make a clean case free of cables, that depends on case design and how much time you want to take. The Mac Pro has cables they are just routed behind the motherboard. something you can do when you build your Customac.

    The fact is modern macs use off the shelf Intel hardware, everything is standard from audio chips to video cards.

    My Gigabyte motherboard has a big fat FOXCONN label stamped in the back.. We know why FOXCONN is well know by Mac users.

  13. iPhysicist macrumors 65816


    Nov 9, 2009
    6 Years old and not able to hit the edit button...

    @ TS since money does matter stick with your current PC and save your money. Then in a couple of month go with the next generation of whatever PC or Mac. The "switch" is quite expensive so don't do it if your not 101% certain.

    BTW: Ever thought in buying a used MBP 15 just to get familiar with Macs?. There is no rule that says PC or Mac. You can have both without going to jail.
  14. snberk103 macrumors 603

    Oct 22, 2007
    An Island in the Salish Sea
    Sorry 'bout the RAM amount thing. You're right about the default amount installed, 3GB vs 6GB.

    The rest of my post..... I stand by it. Xeon and i7 are not the same, that is why they are sold as different chips. They are intended for different uses. They may be very similar, but they are not the same.

    If you want to argue that the rest of the specs are the same, then I would argue that Windows 7 and OS X are the same. They run a personal computer, they manage how applications are run on the hardware, they both have a visual drag-'n-drop GUI. They do the same things.

    Re: The CustoMac thing. For different people a CM or MP is going to be better. For their use. But they are not the same. They are similar, but similar is not the same.
  15. Kenrik macrumors 6502

    Dec 21, 2004
    Fine buy the Xeon, it's only $30 more... hah.

    Again, they are the same processor from the same die. When Intel manufactures them the place them in different bins based on which "came out better" and labels them Xeon or i7 based on the bin sort.

    That does not guarantee that the Xeon is actually better but that it came from a better part of the die. You could get lucky and get a amazing i7 that overclocks to 4.5ghz or you could get a dud Xeon that can't break 3.8ghz.

    if you want the mental insurance buy the Xeon.. it runs in the same motherboards and only costs $30 More.

    Still half the price of the Mac Pro.
  16. snberk103 macrumors 603

    Oct 22, 2007
    An Island in the Salish Sea
    Great. Comes from the "better bin". Will be backed by Intel to meet those better specs, in case I get a bad one. That definitely makes them the same. There was similar thread (similar to this one, but not the same as this one) where someone dragged out a chart from Intel that showed how the i7 and Xeon were "the same" as long as you ignored the half dozen things (like thermal monitoring, and support for ECC, etc) that were different. Again - for some people the Xeon and the i7 may do the same thing. But that is not the same thing as being the same thing.

    The CustoMac also does not support ECC RAM, and it has only 1 ethernet port. I use both ethernet ports on my Mac Pro. So, for me that little difference makes a big difference. Yes, I know I could add a 2nd ethernet port. My point is..... they are not the same. Just similar.

    To the OP. Stick with Windows for your work, and buy a used Mac Mini to start playing with. See if you still like it. Or move your Graphics Work to the Mini. You'd be amazed at how much you can do with a Mini. It's not going to be your prime system if you are a full time graphics designer, but it sounds like your network work is your bread and butter at the moment.
  17. xheathen thread starter macrumors 6502

    Aug 5, 2010
    First of all thanks for all the replies guys!

    It's a blend of web and graphic design, plus digital painting. So the biggest files I work with are probably 1gb, most of them are around 100mb or so. And I'll probably have like Indesign and Photoshop open or Illustrator and Photoshop open at the same time plus a few browsers and iTunes.

    That's about the extent of it right there.
  18. xheathen thread starter macrumors 6502

    Aug 5, 2010
    On this point I'm not that worried because Adobe has a process in place that for the price of postage, they'll send you the Mac version in exchange for the PC version. So my main suite of products will be practically free, and then I'll probably end up buying something like Coda.
  19. Akitakoi macrumors regular


    Jan 31, 2008
    I just want to toss this in, I have a MacPro for work, a MacBook for mobile and built a hackintosh a while back. The reason I bought the MacPro is because of problems and to much time screwing around with the hackintosh, crash's, graphic card problems, sleep does not work,,,,,

    I say bite the bullet and get yourself a i7 - 27" and be set for 4-5 years maybe longer.:)
  20. thejadedmonkey macrumors 604


    May 28, 2005

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