Mac options for graphic design - 3 options

Discussion in 'Buying Tips, Advice and Discussion (archive)' started by cschell, Nov 24, 2004.

  1. cschell macrumors newbie

    Nov 24, 2004
    Colorado Springs, CO
    Hello all!

    This is my first posting here -- sorry it is so long, but from what I gather, more details are better than none.

    I am an Art Director for an ad agency and my wife and I also own a small graphic design business that we run from home.

    At my "real" job I'm using a Dual 2.0 G5, 2.5GB RAM and a 23" cinema display... Needless to say I love the setup, being a longtime Mac user this truely is a dream machine.

    However at home (my 2nd "real" job), we're using a 500MHz G4 sawtooth with some upgrades: 120GB HD, 8x Superdrive, 1GB RAM, Geforce MX graphics running a 20" cinema display. We got the computer bartering services, so the HD and superdrive upgrades were minimal expenses. Needless to say, this machine is getting long in the tooth (pun intended). We are also in need of a second system, since we are getting busier. This machine needs to be a laptop (we are already working out of an armoir for the first machine and we like the portability).

    We have a budget of $2000 give or take a little bit. Now is a good time to buy for tax reasons (end of the year). The three options I'm looking at are:

    #1 - Buy a refurbished Dual 1.8 G5 from Apple
    Cost - $1700 + 1GB RAM (OWC) $175 = $1875 + tax

    #2 - Buy a refurbished 15" powerbook from Apple and refurb airport extreme BS
    Cost - $1700 + 1GB RAM (OWC) $238 + Airport $130 = $2068

    #3 - Buy a 1.25 GHz 12" ibook G4 with amazon rebate, refurb airport, G4 1GHz upgrade card, OWC neptune 160GB firewire HD
    Cost - $900 + 1GB RAM (OWC) $238 + Airport $130 + 1GHz $230 + HD $140 = $1638

    I'm kind of leaning towards #3 as the best bang for the buck. Next year I would like to do a complete upgrade if we have the money, so I'm not worried about long term obselecence.

    What would you do?

    Thanks for the help and feedback! :D
  2. stepbasin macrumors member

    Nov 16, 2004

    Ok, if you are getting by with the Sawtooth then you probably don't "need" the dual G5s. If I were you I would look into either a 17" Powerbook (refurbished or off ebay) or an iMac (once again refurbished or off ebay). Here is my reasoning:

    The 17" Powerbook is really just a moble workstation. Its has a huge screen, lots of power and should be able to handle whatever your needs are nicely. I say get this over the 15" because if you are use to working with a 23" and 20" display going to a 15" or a 12" will be quite shocking. I do quite a bit of video/image editing on my 14" iBook and while I love it (I also drag it everywhere) I can't imagine working on a 12" screen and not going nuts.

    Now, the reason I suggest the iMac is because as desktop computers go its fairly portable. Its very thin and if you get a wireless mouse/keyboard you don't really have to worry about clutter. And if you have WiFi in your house then the only cord you need worry about is the power cord. So, you could move it around the house as needed, though it would be heavier than a laptop. The benfit of doing this is that the iMac will be cheaper and the screen will be bigger.

    Anyway, to sum all of this up I would say go with a 17" Powerbook if you have to get a laptop. If you have to get a desktop go with an iMac. Hope this helped.
  3. cschell thread starter macrumors newbie

    Nov 24, 2004
    Colorado Springs, CO
    Thanks for your inuput! I've thought about getting a 17" powerbook, my friend has one and it is a true mobile desktop. My concern is the price/value ratio. I know that new Powerbooks are due, although I'm not holding my breath, and $2300 for a refurb seems expensive given the horsepower.

    If I was to look more into the 17", do you think it would be outdated too quickly?

    Thanks again.
  4. cschell thread starter macrumors newbie

    Nov 24, 2004
    Colorado Springs, CO
    Anyone else?

    Does anyone else have an opinion on what to do?
  5. noirnoir macrumors newbie

    Aug 10, 2004
    sunnyvale, ca
    id go with 3, its the cheapest and gives you exisisting stuff new life. and since youll have liek 400 left over you could have a pizza party or save it for new upgrades down the line again
  6. matthutch macrumors regular

    Jul 26, 2004
    Perth, Western Australia
    if you desperately need a second system i would go for either the refurb 15" powerbook you mentioned or a 17" if you can find one cheap enough.

    If you have been working on a 500mhz sawtooth for this long, you should be able to work on it for another year or so, as you said you were looking to upgrade next year, and having the 15" Pb there you and your wife should be able to work between the two computers successfully without any hassles.

    If your worried about a 17" system being outdated to soon, yes it most likely will look older and slower when the new ones come out, but if it does what you need it to do, then it is fine. Even if newer models come out soon (as they always do) you are still going to have a seriously quick beast of a laptop, sure it may not be as fast as the new ones, but it is still going to be really quick and you wil also have that massive screen to work on - not to mention an external display, if you decided you get one later on.

    good luck
  7. iRez macrumors member

    Feb 19, 2004
    I personaly wouldn't be surprised to see the new graphic software of next year be optimized for a G5 system. With that being said, I would go with the new G5 iMac or a 17" PB. The 15" is a great choice as well but the screen doesn't even compare to the 17" when it comes to getting the stupid pallets out of your way.
  8. litosclone macrumors member

    Mar 27, 2003
    City of the Crosses
    I also run a G5 with 22" monitor at my day job. For the freelance I run from home, I use a 17" PB (1st generation) and it's great. You’ll get lots of screen real estate and plenty of power for Photoshop, Illustrator and indesign. I also edit wedding videos and short films on the PB and it never slows down. If you can't get a 17" PB go with the 15".
  9. Littleodie914 macrumors 68000


    Jun 9, 2004
    Rochester, NY
    Wait a second... In option #3, what do you mean when you say 1Ghz Upgrade Card? If you're buying an iBook, you neither need nor have the ability to install this type of upgrade... Maybe I mis-read?
  10. cschell thread starter macrumors newbie

    Nov 24, 2004
    Colorado Springs, CO
    Sorry, to clarify, the 1GHz upgrade card is for the G4 Sawtooth I own. Essentially, option #3 is to give a speed bump to my current system while also getting a second one. Kind of a budget concious decision to make due for now.
  11. maya macrumors 68040


    Oct 7, 2004
    somewhere between here and there.
    If you like the design and have the money go with the new iMac G5 1.8Ghz for you needs.

    If you need a mobile and want to save a little buy the 15 inch PB G4 if you want the larger screen and don't mind the little more cash investment then buy the 17 inch PB G4 model.

    Nothing more simple than that. Buying a PMG5 rev B this late in the game is not a wise choice, since if you have your eye on a model wait a couple months and you will get it even cheaper, since the sawtooth will last for that much longer. :)

    the iBook is also a nice choice however its graphic card is just way to old and the screen well 12-14 inch for graphic design is not productive.
  12. mim macrumors 6502

    Apr 24, 2003
    flesh, melbourne.... heart, london
    I'm not sure that asking for opinions on what to buy here is really going to help you, but here goes.... ;)

    I use a 15"PB for photoshop, illustrator, etc. It's quite usable. I don't think you'd want a smaller screen though - so for example the 12" you're thinking about wouldn't be much use without an external monitor, effectively meaning it'll be desk-bound anyway.

    If you can bring yourself to live without the laptop (for the moment), then I would recommend desktop systems. Seeing as you have a fairly restrictive budget, I would be looking for the best 'bang for buck' system. So my tip would be to sell the G4 and get 2 17" 1.6 G5 iMac's - this should end up at about the $2000 mark (depending on what you get for the old G4). As other's have said, programs are only starting to be optimised for the G5's, so these systems are likely to have good legs for the future. If you can push a little bit more, consider getting a 1.8SP G5 powermac instead of 1 of the iMacs - it will last that bit longer for you.

    If you really need/want the laptop, your option 3 sounds like the best solution, however I can imagine you becoming frustrated with the small screen very quickly. Seriously consider the iMacs.

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