Is the new iMac suitable for Graphic Design

Mac Enroe

macrumors newbie
Original poster
Aug 8, 2007
9
0
Now that Apple has refreshed their iMacs and I am sooooo tired of waiting for upgraded MacPros (GPU-Ram options & price), i´m seriously considering buying this mama:

# 2.8GHz Intel Core 2 Extreme
# 4GB 667MHz DDR2 SDRAM - 2 x 2GB
# 500GB Serial ATA Drive
# SuperDrive 8x (DVD±R DL/DVD±RW/CD-RW)
# Apple Mighty Mouse
# Apple Keyboard + Mac OS X
# AppleCare Protection Plan para iMac - Auto-enroll
# ATI Radeon HD 2600 PRO with 256MB memory
# 24-inch glossy widescreen LCD
# AirPort Extreme
# Bluetooth 2.0 + EDR

I think this is plenty for 2-3 years of hard duty graphic design and After Effects/ FCP studio2 learning.

What do guys think? Should wait a bit more for Leopard in October? Could Leopard be presented on upgraded Mac Pros?
 

Cromulent

macrumors 603
Oct 2, 2006
6,034
35
The Land of Hope and Glory
Now that Apple has refreshed their iMacs and I am sooooo tired of waiting for upgraded MacPros (GPU-Ram options & price), i´m seriously considering buying this mama:

# 2.8GHz Intel Core 2 Extreme
# 4GB 667MHz DDR2 SDRAM - 2 x 2GB
# 500GB Serial ATA Drive
# SuperDrive 8x (DVD±R DL/DVD±RW/CD-RW)
# Apple Mighty Mouse
# Apple Keyboard + Mac OS X
# AppleCare Protection Plan para iMac - Auto-enroll
# ATI Radeon HD 2600 PRO with 256MB memory
# 24-inch glossy widescreen LCD
# AirPort Extreme
# Bluetooth 2.0 + EDR

I think this is plenty for 2-3 years of hard duty graphic design and After Effects/ FCP studio2 learning.

What do guys think? Should wait a bit more for Leopard in October? Could Leopard be presented on upgraded Mac Pros?
It depends on how much you want to get into using Final Cut Studio 2.

Colour and Motion 3 are pretty taxing on a computer. You will almost certainly have hard drive problems with an iMac especially as they only have two Firewire ports. So you would be limited a lot in that regard. RAM could also be an issue.

CPU would be fine I would imagine although I have seen no benchmarks of the new iMac yet. Again the same goes for the graphics card. Colour recommends that you use an ATI Radeon X1900XT with it. I am not sure if the new ATI cards are as highly recommend as the Mac Pro ATI card.

Basically your problem areas are the ones listed below (in order of biggest to smallest problem) :

Hard drive space
RAM
Graphics
CPU.
 

Mac Enroe

macrumors newbie
Original poster
Aug 8, 2007
9
0
It depends on how much you want to get into using Final Cut Studio 2.

Colour and Motion 3 are pretty taxing on a computer. You will almost certainly have hard drive problems with an iMac especially as they only have two Firewire ports. So you would be limited a lot in that regard. RAM could also be an issue.

CPU would be fine I would imagine although I have seen no benchmarks of the new iMac yet. Again the same goes for the graphics card. Colour recommends that you use an ATI Radeon X1900XT with it. I am not sure if the new ATI cards are as highly recommend as the Mac Pro ATI card.

Basically your problem areas are the ones listed below (in order of biggest to smallest problem) :

Hard drive space
RAM
Graphics
CPU.
I totally agree, but what worries me most is the performance for graphic design and photo retouch (Adobe CS3Design Premium). I just want to to start messing around with After Effects and FCPS2 in my spare time. Wouldn´t mind if these work sloppy.
 

macbotics

macrumors member
Jul 30, 2007
49
0
Melbourne
Most of my work on my iMac involves motion and color and its a C2D 17" 1GB 2GHZ.

Its screaming fast if you dont go into Really huge HD files.

you shold be fine
 

Blue Velvet

Moderator emeritus
Jul 4, 2004
21,657
131
These machines will be more than sufficient.

The display in the new iMacs is the most problematic part re: glossy etc and colour accuracy... we're running dual 2.5 G5s for design for all sorts of print work in the office and I'm using a 2.33 MBP at home for CS3 and Quark 7... We're talking about high-res many-layered CMYK A4 and A3 pieces... and these machines are still OK.

With 4gb of RAM you'll be fine.
 

fivetoadsloth

macrumors 65816
Aug 15, 2006
1,037
0
These machines will be more than sufficient.

The display in the new iMacs is the most problematic part re: glossy etc and colour accuracy... we're running dual 2.5 G5s for design for all sorts of print work in the office and I'm using a 2.33 MBP at home for CS3 and Quark 7... We're talking about high-res many-layered CMYK A4 and A3 pieces... and these machines are still OK.

With 4gb of RAM you'll be fine.
Agreed, The display might be a slight issue but the computer itself will be more than sufficient.
 

shecky

Guest
May 24, 2003
2,583
3
Obviously you're not a golfer.
re: hard drives

as a professional graphic designer, i can say that my biggest issue by far is with hard drive space / speed. i would never buy an computer with the glossy screen regardless of what it was, but ignoring that for the moment, i find that storage space is a huge issue. one of the large reasons i like the pro machines is the 4 internal SATA drive bays, i have found internal drives are always faster and more reliable than externals. in addition to taking up less space, with less cords/cables, etc. i now run a 1.2 TB external network attached storage device along with 2 firewire drives to satisfy my needs. and it soon will not be enough.

access speed is another issue, especially when running huge linked files like books in Indesign with 200+ pages all with images; externals and my MPB bogs down (which i think is a read access bottleneck on the drives, not sure on that?)

the Imac absoloutley can run everything you need, the question is will it run everything you need as good or better than something else for the cost difference? personally, and this is just me, id rather pay more (some of which is essentially free anyway as its a tax writeoff and i get the academic discount due to being a professor) and have something that maximises the power of the machine. i also find that expandable desktops will last a lot longer then non (or mostly non) expandable iMacs. having said all that, i had to have a portable so i went to a decked out MBP instead of a tower. i hope to buy a new tower in 2 years or so and keep my MBP as a portable.
 

Sean Dempsey

macrumors 68000
Aug 7, 2006
1,617
3
re: hard drives

as a professional graphic designer, i can say that my biggest issue by far is with hard drive space / speed. i would never buy an computer with the glossy screen regardless of what it was, but ignoring that for the moment, i find that storage space is a huge issue. one of the large reasons i like the pro machines is the 4 internal SATA drive bays, i have found internal drives are always faster and more reliable than externals. in addition to taking up less space, with less cords/cables, etc. i now run a 1.2 TB external network attached storage device along with 2 firewire drives to satisfy my needs. and it soon will not be enough.

access speed is another issue, especially when running huge linked files like books in Indesign with 200+ pages all with images; externals and my MPB bogs down (which i think is a read access bottleneck on the drives, not sure on that?)

Yeah okay, I buy that. I have a Mac Pro with more hard drive speed and space than I could possibly use.

But if you're a professional designer and doing things like 200 page Indesign books with images, I think you can afford to finance a Mac Pro for like 50 dollars and month and have your business pay it off.

I mean, professional designers who work in high-res environments really shouldn't be asking about an iMac. What business can't afford to finance a Mac Pro, if they are making money?
 

shecky

Guest
May 24, 2003
2,583
3
Obviously you're not a golfer.
yeah, i agree. i have never really griped about the cost of equipment i use for business. as has been discussed in many other threads here, the cost of entry for graphic design is pretty low, good computer, some pantone books and the adobe suite and you are basically good to go technology wise.
 

oscuh

macrumors 6502
Apr 27, 2007
314
0
Michigan
I'm a designer and will be buying a new top-end iMac as soon as my boss tells me she'll cut the check.

If my current machine, a 17" 1.83 CoreDuo iMac with 1.5 GB of RAM will run my apps, then the new one certainly will!
 

Cromulent

macrumors 603
Oct 2, 2006
6,034
35
The Land of Hope and Glory
What does this statement mean, about the firewire ports? Is it not a good idea to daisy chain them?
The firewire port only has limited bandwidth. If you want to copy from the internal drive to a firewire drive while reading from another you start to lose performance. Also as he was talking about video, one of those ports would be connected to his DV camera leaving the FW800 port for all his hard drive needs.

That gets messy fast.
 

decksnap

macrumors 68040
Apr 11, 2003
3,070
70
Of course this would be a great system for design. Today's iMacs are better than 'pro' machines of just a short while ago. The ram, HD space etc is all fine. The problem will be the glossy screen.
 

decksnap

macrumors 68040
Apr 11, 2003
3,070
70
I am thinking back to my Powermac G4 that was 'used in a high-res environment' as a 'pro' machine.

G4
450mhz
512 mb RAM
30 Gb hard rive.

We did the same stuff back then that we do now. It's all relative.
 

Blue Velvet

Moderator emeritus
Jul 4, 2004
21,657
131
We did the same stuff back then that we do now. It's all relative.

Although I do the same kind of stuff plus things that couldn't have been done (i.e 3D stuff) on those old machines, the tools have changed. More is now done within layout apps, on page, with far better and more accurate previews rather than bouncing things from app to app...

And refreshingly, regardless of the size of project, it's been a long time since I had to go and have coffee while something was distilling. ;)
 

Jim Campbell

macrumors 6502a
Dec 6, 2006
902
26
A World of my Own; UK
I am thinking back to my Powermac G4 that was 'used in a high-res environment' as a 'pro' machine.

G4
450mhz
512 mb RAM
30 Gb hard rive.

We did the same stuff back then that we do now. It's all relative.
Ditto, but with a 20Gb HDD and a mere 384Mb of RAM ... in fact, I bought that G4 specifically because my previous machine - a Performa 6400 choked on 600dpi A3 Photoshop documents* and I found that I was spending more time making tea whilst filters applied than I was actually working.

I only retired the G4 a couple of months ago ... couldn't be bothered to go and try any of the 6400-choking operations on my iMac, but my MacBook has just breezed through Clouds; Gaussian Blur (96px); Twirl on just such a document, so your iMac will be fine. Seriously.

Consider an external HDD though - you can never have too many history states to restore to, and those things eat disk space.

Cheers

Jim

*Sadly, this was before I realized that "higher resolution" does not always equal "better" and that one very rarely needs to do an A3 document over 300dpi ...
 

revenuee

macrumors 68020
Sep 13, 2003
2,251
1
I am thinking back to my Powermac G4 that was 'used in a high-res environment' as a 'pro' machine.

G4
450mhz
512 mb RAM
30 Gb hard rive.

We did the same stuff back then that we do now. It's all relative.
oh man --- I remember editing my first short films on a similar system - 400, 384mb and 18 gig SCSI drive with 10 gig boot.

and i'm thinking about Blue Velvets comments about going for a coffee waiting for something to distill.

When i was working on those projects ... i remember putting together a 30 second clip -- and then napping for an hour waiting for it to render just so i can see if it worked --- and when it didn't --- had to wait for it all over again.

but you guys remember those days --- we got good ... we started breaking up our projects, NESTING, i remember nesting NOT for projects simplicity, but for being able to render shorter parts and then put them together later for final out put without re-rendering ... i remember when final cut became software realtime (i couldn't afford the 2000$ REALTIME harware of the time) editing became a joy --- LOL --- untill i got more creative and complex ...

LOL ... you guys just brought me back to a different time
 

Genghis Khan

macrumors 65816
Jun 3, 2007
1,202
0
Melbourne, Australia
IMHO

go for the mac pro

the iMac is great in every way u say (if u go with the 1TB HDD) except for the graphics card...u really need at least 512MB VGA to run Final Cut Studio without frustration