What configuration for design work?

Discussion in 'Mac Pro' started by Chevelle, Jun 11, 2011.

  1. Chevelle macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Sep 9, 2010
    #1
    I'm going to be starting a graphic design program and I want to get a Mac Pro. I'll be using the standard stuff like Photoshop, InDesign, Illustrator, etc. I want something that will give me top performance but I'm not sure what I need. I have a Macbook Pro with a 2.66 Ghz i7 and 8 gigs of ram that I'll probably do some work on, but most of it will be done on the Mac Pro.

    I was playing around with configurations in the store and have been contemplating one 3.33 Ghz 6-core, or two 2.4 Ghz quad cores. What would give the better performance? Also, how many gigs of ram should I be looking at? I was thinking 12-16 but I really have no clue. I'll be running two monitors if that makes any difference.

    This isn't really a rush. I can probably get by with my Macbook Pro for now and wait for the updates for the Mac Pro that are coming in the 4th quarter I think.

    Based on the system requirements on the Adobe site this seems overkill but I assume that those are bare minimum requirements. Basically, I just want to know what will give me max performance running these programs, without going crazy overboard.
     
  2. DonMega macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Jul 8, 2007
    #2
    You listed Photoshop first so, I'd go with the hex with the ATi 5870 and a minimum of 24GB RAM.
     
  3. thejoshhoward macrumors member

    Joined:
    Aug 2, 2010
    Location:
    Chicago, IL
    #3
    Gotta say, any Mac Pro is pretty much overkill for what you've described. The Macbook Pro you've got is a great machine for all things design. The only time you'd be inconvenienced is if you got into some heavy video work (but even then, the MBP is qualified).

    If I were you, I'd put the money into a great backup/storage system, external monitor and an SSD for your MBP OS disc. For CS software, the SSD and ram are the most important things. In Photoshop, just be sure to change the performance settings to give PS more ram to work with, set your scratch drive to the SSD and set your GPU setting to Advanced. My set up absolutely blows me away. I can't believe how fast everything runs.

    I've been a graphic design professional for 6 years and I've got the same MBP pro as you do (a very happy upgrade!). It performs every bit as well as the 2010 Mac Pro I use when I'm in a particular company's office. The only reason they have the Mac Pro is because they're a company that likes to go overboard with donated money and equipment.

    Oh, one more thing. In my MBP, I got an OWC Data Doubler, removed my superdrive and put the SSD in that slot for an internal dual drive setup. I've got my OS and Apps on the SSD and all my working files on the other drive. It's a damn speed demon. :)

    If you're set on the Mac Pro you may as well have fun with it. I'd just make sure to select one with the newest processor and 12 or more GB RAM. Apple tends to charge a premium for last year's tech. For example, select the "Westmere" instead of the "Nehalem". No matter what you do, if you don't go with an SSD for your OS drive you're not going to see the full potential of Photoshop and other design apps. The Mac Pros are great. I want one. But they don't make a whole lot of financial sense for us designers.

    So, that was a long post. Hope it gives you some food for thought. :|
     
  4. thejoshhoward macrumors member

    Joined:
    Aug 2, 2010
    Location:
    Chicago, IL
    #4
    …and good luck with your design program. I hope you're excited.
     
  5. Chevelle thread starter macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Sep 9, 2010
    #5
    Thanks for all the info. Yea, I'm really excited. I graduated recently with a BS in Business Administration and then did some accounting work. I realized that there's no way I can do that type of work for the rest of my life. So I decided to switch career paths early before I get too into it. I'm going to be doing an associates program in graphic design at Parsons. It's tailored to people like me that already have degrees and want a career change so it should work out really well.
     
  6. you39 macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Mar 21, 2010
    #6
    A mac pro on the other hand gives you the most flexibility for display options. That could easily be the most important part of your equipment, if you're into design.
     
  7. Chevelle thread starter macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Sep 9, 2010
    #7
    Based on what you guys have been saying, I have it configured with the 3.33 6 core, 24 gigs, 512 solid state in bay 1 for software, 1tb serial ata in bay 2 for files, and the 5870 graphics card. I plan on using 2 27" screens.
     
  8. you39, Jun 11, 2011
    Last edited: Jun 14, 2011

    you39 macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Mar 21, 2010
    #8
    Do not buy RAM & SSD from Apple! And 512GB is likely overkill for your system & software.

    Try for example:
    http://eshop.macsales.com/item/Other World Computing/1333D3X8M24K/
    http://eshop.macsales.com/item/Intel/SSDCW120G3K5/

    Saves you about 1700$...
     
  9. thejoshhoward macrumors member

    Joined:
    Aug 2, 2010
    Location:
    Chicago, IL
    #9
    Well, if I had the budget, I'd buy pretty much the same thing. I do think it's overkill, but I'd do it. Enjoy your screaming goodness.

     
  10. derbothaus macrumors 601

    derbothaus

    Joined:
    Jul 17, 2010
    #10
    512GB SSD's are typically slower than 256GB (240GB's). FYI. Cost more perform worse. Apples SSD's are also not the greatest. In fact, some of the slowest benched around.
     
  11. initialsBB macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Oct 18, 2010
    #11
    I'd stick with the MBP and spend money on safe storage/backup and an EXCELLENT monitor say an EIZO, NEC or even LACIE.

    That said I have a hex 3.33 for video work and I'm very pleased with it. I put in 4x4GB RAM sticks in it. It's more affordable for the time being and still plenty to work with (I have Final Cut, Photoshop, After Effects, Color, ...)

    Good luck with that, and all that administration knowledge you accumulated is going to be very very very useful if you want to freelance.
     

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