Which Mac for graphic designer? - iMac or Mac Pro?

Discussion in 'Buying Tips and Advice' started by Hazey Jane, Mar 3, 2009.

  1. Hazey Jane macrumors newbie

    Feb 25, 2009
    Hello everyone!

    I've been eagerly waiting for the updates to both the Mac Pro and iMac, and finally they are here! Only problem is I'm still really confused about what will be the best buy for me. Any advice or words of wisdom here would be a great help?..:confused:

    I'm a graphic designer and will be using CS4. I use InDesign, Photoshop, Illustrator, Dreamweaver and Flash and usually have most of these programs open at the same time, frequently skipping from one to the other. At the moment I don't do any video work but this may always be a possibility in the future.

    Originally I was looking at getting an iMac as it suited my budget, but I am really unsure about the glossy screen. I need to be able to calibrate the screen for print work and I'm also worried about glare from a glossy screen. I'm sat at a screen for over 8hrs a day and am prone to headaches so really need to reduce the risk of this getting worse. I'd also like a 23/24" screen, as my 20" at work just isn't quite big enough. Since the iMac hasn't been updated with an optional anti-glare screen I'm leaning more towards getting a Mac Pro with a non-apple screen.

    My budget is about £2500 max including a screen (any less would be a bonus).

    If anyone has any advice about what Mac Pro spec will best suit my needs it would be a huge help?

    many thanks in advance. :)
  2. DesignerOnMac macrumors 6502a


    Jul 23, 2007
    I own the first Rev. of the aluminum iMac 2.8 Extreme. Max'd out the RAM use all the programs you will be using!

    I have had NO issues with running any graphics programs, etc. Everyone makes a big deal out of a glossy screen. (I remember CRTs with glossy screens yet heard no complaints.) The room I use my iMac in has 5 windows, 2 in front, 1 on one side and the remaining 2 on another side. I get sunlight all day! Only time I have issues with reflections is early in the morning, (8 AM). Rest of the time the glossy screen is no issue.

    I am a web and print media designer, so color correction is important to me. I would recommend calibrating your iMac monitor. What I see onscreen is what I get in print.

    I work on my iMac from 8AM to 11PM most days, and have never had a headache.

    Hope this helps you in your decision making. (Is there an Apple store or reseller you can go to to check the iMac out? if there is spend time in the store, although it will not be an idea situation.)
  3. Hazey Jane thread starter macrumors newbie

    Feb 25, 2009
    Hi and thanks for your advice.

    It's good to hear you don't have any issues with the glossy screen. I have been to the apple store a few times and I haven't been keen on the glossy screen. It's a bit difficult to tell as the light conditions in there are really bad though. I've heard from a few designer who have returned their iMac as a result of calibration issues with the screen so I keep struggling to decide on this. I work on a white Intel iMac at work with the old anti-glare screen and love the screen. I wonder if it is something I would get used to over time or if glossy is just not for me. :confused::)
  4. Umbongo macrumors 601


    Sep 14, 2006
    Are you paying VAT? I'll assume you are.

    I'd probably go for the £1,899 Mac Pro, buy 6GB of memory from crucial (£145) and a Hazro 26" display (aluminium or black, HZ26Wi rev2.1: £472 @ overclockers.co.uk). Then I'd fork out for a decent calibration device and probably an additional hard drive. I know that pushes you above £2,500 but it will offer you something more than the iMac ever could.
  5. fa8362 macrumors 65816

    Jul 7, 2008
    I don't see anything in what you do that requires a Mac Pro. And Mac Pro's drink electricity.
  6. Hazey Jane thread starter macrumors newbie

    Feb 25, 2009
    Yes, unfortunately my budget includes the VAT.:(
  7. nick9191 macrumors 68040

    Feb 17, 2008
    Clear untreated glass doesn't make it any harder to calibrate a screen.

    As for the glare that only comes about from light on the display. If you're a graphic designer you know that whether you have a matte or glossy display, you need as little light shining onto the display as possible.

    The best way is to go check the display out. Although not in an Apple store, they have a lot of overhead lighting there and the thing will look like a mirror. Try and find an iMac to test in the same lighting conditions that you would normally work with graphics.

    90% of what you hear bashing glossy screens is absolute rubbish.

    Saying that you might want a Mac Pro purely for the speed. If you buy a non Apple monitor, make sure you go for one with a decent panel, like a Dell Ultrasharp or something. The panel you want is an IPS panel which is the panel used in all 24" iMac's and all Cinema Displays.
  8. Hazey Jane thread starter macrumors newbie

    Feb 25, 2009
    Thanks for the advice. I'm not familiar with Hazro so will check them out. :)
  9. Hazey Jane thread starter macrumors newbie

    Feb 25, 2009
    Thanks for your help. The screen is a big factor, although I'm also interested in the Mac Pro for the extra power / speed etc. The ability to be able to upgrade a Mac Pro is also a plus as I'm hoping to keep this set up for a while.

    I've been looking at the Dell 2408 display as it looks pretty good value for money. I'd love an Eizo and wish I'd bought a 24" ColorEdge CE240W a few weeks ago when I saw one for £730. The prices have all gone up again now and are way out of my budget. :eek:
  10. Hazey Jane thread starter macrumors newbie

    Feb 25, 2009
    If I bought a MAC PRO QUAD CORE 2.8GHZ 2GB 500GB HD2600 256MB. Would it be a good move to buy the NVIDIA GEFORCE 8800GT 512MB GRAPHICS KIT?

    or should I get over the glossy screen issue and buy an...

    IMAC 24 CORE 2 DUO 3.06GHZ 2GB 750GB DVDR 8800 GS 512MB.

    Help please? :confused:
  11. THX1139 macrumors 68000


    Mar 4, 2006
    If he's working in print design then your statement may not be true. For example, I had a photoshop file open yesterday that had over 60 layers and weighed over 1.5 gigs. I'm on a MacPro 2.66 with 6 gigs of ram and it started to run slow. Just to save the file took about 45 seconds. However, if he's doing most of his work in Indesign, or the web... then a iMac or Macbook pro might be the answer.
  12. THX1139 macrumors 68000


    Mar 4, 2006
    Upgrade? Do you mean the graphics cards or ram? If you mean the processors, then you should forget it. When I bought my 2.66 I was thinking the same thing. Trouble is that the faster processors usually don't come down enough in price to justify the hassle of changing them out. By the time you buy the faster processors you might as well sell your machine and pay the difference to buy a new one. The best way to stay current is to sell your machine every year and pay the difference if any. Too bad that Ebay is such a scam market now because that was the best way to cycle machines.
  13. Umbongo macrumors 601


    Sep 14, 2006
    They are the UK arm of, I think, a Taiwanese company. Doublesight are the American arm if you want to look for reviews there. They both sell the same stuff.
  14. Hazey Jane thread starter macrumors newbie

    Feb 25, 2009
    Thanks for your help. I work in photoshop every day and occasionally do some exhibition design and large format graphics which can be pretty hefty files with many layers etc.

    Sorry, I didn't explain myself very well here. I wouldn't expect to be upgrading the processor, just the ram and maybe the graphics card.
  15. Hazey Jane thread starter macrumors newbie

    Feb 25, 2009
    Thanks everyone for all your advice. I have made a purchase!!!

    I decided late last night that I couldn't wait any longer and bought...

    24" iMac CORE 2 DUO 3.06GHZ
    4GB RAM, 750GB DVDR 8800 GS 512MB

    I so nearly went for the Mac Pro but it was a bit out of my budget and from what I've heard the iMac should do everything I need. I'm about to buy ColorEyes Display Pro to calibrate it properly, and I guess I'll just have to suck it and see how I get along with the glossy screen.

    The best thing about this decision was that the money I saved not buying the Mac Pro and separate screen has allowed me to buy a Wacom Intuos A4 which I've wanted for a long time.

    The wait is so nearly over, should be delivered on Thursday. I was tempted to get the new iMac with the new graphics card but the thought of waiting a further 4-6wks was too much.

    Thanks again!
    Happy days! :):):)
  16. MagicWok macrumors 6502a

    Mar 2, 2006

    Congrats on your purchase. If your work is colour critical, and work with print repos - then i would have gotten the Mac Pro with an external display personally. You'd have gotten much better colour accuracy using an external displays. Glossy displays over-saturate blacks - and even after trying to calibrate, it's still not spot on. We tried in our studio with our lone iMac for interns to use - didn't quite come up to par with our external displays.

    However, we must respect everyone's budget especially during these financial times. What you can do, is save up for an external display and hook that up to your iMac down the line for when your work relates to printed output.

    Edit: Did you order a refurb model, or before the iMacs were updated last night??? The graphics card inside has changed, and potential memory capacity increased with the new revision.
  17. Hazey Jane thread starter macrumors newbie

    Feb 25, 2009
    I was thinking that I may buy a 2nd display further down the line when I have more cash available. The problem was that I've waited so long and I just really need the machine so I can get on with some work to pay for a second display etc. The Mac Pro would have been great and I just hope I don't regret this... I'm also buying CS4 so all in all it's a big spend and I need to watch my cash flow.

    I saw the graphics card update and max 8GB on ram and was tempted, but it was more expensive than the version of the iMac pre-update yesterday and I would have had to wait even longer. I guess I panicked a little as I'd been looking at this model for a while and there was very little stock of it available when I was searching online. :eek::confused::eek:

    To be honest I'm just really need a computer so I can get on with the work I have lined up, and I guess if I really don't like it I could try selling it on ebay and buy a Mac Pro once I have earned some more cash! :)

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