Which iMac for graphic design?

Discussion in 'iMac' started by zoran, Nov 10, 2014.

  1. zoran macrumors 68030

    Jun 30, 2005
    I want to buy an iMac for graphic design use (Adobe CS6) but
    1. i don't know which one would be best and why?
    2. why should i choose the 27" and not the 21.5" or vice versa!
    3. what are the advantages of the Retina iMac?
  2. rainydays, Nov 10, 2014
    Last edited: Nov 10, 2014

    rainydays macrumors 6502a

    Nov 6, 2006
    The retina is without a shadow of a doubt the best choice for graphic design!
    Honestly, unless your budget doesn't permit it, I see no reason to choose any other iMac for what you are going to do.

    The retina screen finally fills the gap between screen and print. Fonts look like they are supposed to and you can see fine details in a design which previously would not be seen at normal zoom level before print. The benefits are well worth the extra money in this area.
    Go to a store and compare the two and you will see what I mean.

    It will also allow you to design for screen and get a good idea how it will look for both Retina and non-retina users. This can be somewhat difficult on a regular screen and it will be a clear advantage for that kind of work.

    That said, the 2013 27" iMac is still a powerful computer with a really good screen. The base model should serve you fine for most things. But I'd recommend the SSD upgrade and get more RAM (install it yourself). However, if you are thinking about maxing out the specs of the 2013 model, I'd rather recommend that you buy the base retina instead.

    I wouldn't recommend the 21.5 unless you're on a really tight budget. The RAM is non upgradable and the screen real-estate is a bit on the low side for what you are going to do.
  3. MistrSynistr macrumors 6502a

    May 15, 2014
    I actually am a graphic designer/photographer with my own home businesses and after going back and forth on this I'm going to hold off until the 2nd Gen for the Retina, and go with a suped up 27" 2013 iMac with SSD.
  4. phrehdd macrumors 68040


    Oct 25, 2008
    Perhaps what you need to do is examine the abilities of the screen on the iMacs and see if it meets your criteria for colour space, accuracy and ability to properly calibrate. The iMac would use a calibrated "profile" rather than the screen itself be calibrated (hardware/firmware).

    If you are comfortable with the ability of the screens on iMacs as meeting your needs then focus on the hardware/guts of the computer such as processor and GPU.

    Another option would be to get, as example, the 21" and a 2nd monitor that is meant for graphics such as NEC PA series, Eizo and the upper line Dell if I recall provides better service for graphics than the iMac screen. The NEC not only is a superior monitor but also can be rotated to vertical positioning as well as real hardware/firmware calibration (they also sell it with and without the calibration tool and software).
  5. zoran thread starter macrumors 68030

    Jun 30, 2005
    Would an older iMac (Core2Duo 3.06 GHz, 4GB ram, Nvidia 9400) be enough for the purpose i need (CS6 etc)?
  6. rei101 macrumors 6502a

    Dec 24, 2011
    I believe it can, that iMac you mention is from 2009, mine is from 2010 and run just fine. Just add more ram, go for 16GB of ram, that is cheap. With my iMac I am doing even 3D. I believe you will be just fine =)
  7. inhalexhale1 macrumors 6502a

    Jul 17, 2011
    Ridgewood, NJ
    I think that's a smart choice. Look into refurbished too. You can save some money, which is great in general, but even better if you plan on selling next year for the retina v2. :apple:
  8. rainydays macrumors 6502a

    Nov 6, 2006
    It really depends on what you are working with. But I think you will start to wish for a better performance pretty soon.
    Plus the screens of those iMacs have problems and they do not age well.

    Go for at least an i5 an 8GB RAM (preferably 16GB). A used 2012 Mac Mini can also be an excellent choice.
  9. zoran thread starter macrumors 68030

    Jun 30, 2005
    Tell me more please about the apps that you are using etc. Are you a graphic designer?
  10. MistrSynistr macrumors 6502a

    May 15, 2014
    Thanks. I have been going back and forth with the refurb higher end on Apple's site and new on B&H Photo, but the day will come!
  11. rei101 macrumors 6502a

    Dec 24, 2011
    I am using Abobe CS6, it works just fine but I do not do a lot of printing, I do video. Still, the design process always takes more than the renderings.

    Then I use Final Cut Pro 7 for video editing and After Effects, I am fine with the things I do, renders will always be slow.

    And for 3D I use Cinema 4D R16. I do mostly video editing in standard definition, no HD. So the computer runs just fine. Is the one I am typing right now.
  12. brerlappin macrumors member

    Oct 14, 2012
    You should look to see if the CS6 programs you use most are optimized for retina. For example, Photoshop and Illustrator are retina but InDesign and Acrobat X are not.

    The non-retina apps will look blurry so you would need to decide if you can live with that or not.

    I reluctantly went to CC so everything would be retina but YMMV.
  13. zoran thread starter macrumors 68030

    Jun 30, 2005
    I didnt know that older Adobe apps would not be retina compatible, thanx for the tip, this kinda sorts things cause i will not go for CC anyway. ;)

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