Windows based web designer - advice on Mac switch

Discussion in 'Buying Tips and Advice' started by BanjoKings, Jan 7, 2009.

  1. BanjoKings macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Jan 7, 2009
    #1
    Hello all. I'm a life long user of Windows, although I dabbled in a bit of early Mac usage back at school (16 years ago). I always thought Macs were good, but always got second hand equipment for free from family members so this made sense in my cash strapped days.

    However, now I can afford it and my PC is getting slow. I also have an iPhone and AppleTV and so know the quality of Apple so I thought maybe it's time to convert. However I want to get this right so I need some advice on what setup/spec to get (whilst considering reducing cost) and maybe some testimonials from other windows to Mac converts.

    I'm a web designer who codes, but also uses Adobe products to produce concept designs in Photoshop and illustrations in erm....Illustrator - so I need something snappy. I've already narrowed it down to a Macbook or Macbook Pro (as the iMacs weren't refreshed and portability would be nice) and possibly one of the new 24" LCD screens.

    So which laptop do I go for? Because of price, it ranges from anything between the lowest spec 13" Macbook (and perhaps self RAM upgrade) up to the lowest spec 15" Macbook Pro (and perhaps self RAM upgrade).

    So considering my work, what would you recommend? The better the testimonials, the more I'm likely to spend ;) (£1300 to £2000)

    Also feedback from people who do my kind of work on the new 24" LCD screen will be great, or should I get a third party screen? Not too concerned about the laptop screen as that would just be used for leisure.

    Cheers :)
     
  2. emt8q5 macrumors member

    Joined:
    Jul 21, 2007
    #2
    Hi there,

    I'm a marketing director and constantly review my staff's creative material as well as do some print/digital design myself including coding. I run CS3 apps (primarily Dreamweaver, Illustrator and Photoshop) all day long on an early 2008 Macbook Pro (upgraded to 4gb RAM) and never experience performance issues. In fact, I like my MBP so much I use it as my primary machine at the office as well as at home.

    I hook up to a decent 24" Samsung at work. At home however, I hook up to a HP LP3065 30-inch Widescreen LCD Monitor which I have been very pleased with, though it took me some time to get used to the different look of S-IPS panels. This monitor was a (much) better value compared to the apple 30in ACD, though I haven't had a chance to look at the new LED backlit displays. My experience is that apple external displays are quality displays, but you pay a premium for the apple logo and design.

    My recommendation would be to get the low end Macbook Pro and max out the ram yourself (very easy to do). You should see a noticeable speed increase over the macbook, particularly once Grand Central debuts in OS X 6. Regarding an external display, I would absolutely recommend investing in a good one, but I don't think you should wed yourself to the 24" ACD. Do some research, depending on your needs you may be able to get a few more inches for the same price from a 3rd party manufacturer without sacrificing any image quality.

    Just my 2c, Good Luck!
     
  3. JG271 macrumors 6502a

    JG271

    Joined:
    Dec 17, 2007
    Location:
    UK
    #3
    Hey, I agree with the previous poster. I know a website designer who switched to mac last year, uses a base model macbook pro with a 24" samsung external. You should be set! Don't forget a displayport-vga adaptor, i don't think the new displays are worth it really.

    Any questions, just ask. hope this is helpful to you.
     
  4. SnowLeopard2008 macrumors 604

    SnowLeopard2008

    Joined:
    Jul 4, 2008
    Location:
    Silicon Valley
    #4
    I would suggest a MacBook, but the Pro model if you can afford it. Both are fine and rune Illustrator and PS very well. The 24" LED display is much better than regular displays due to the H-IPS panel inside them. It's worth the money imho.
     
  5. kastenbrust macrumors 68030

    kastenbrust

    Joined:
    Dec 26, 2008
    Location:
    North Korea
    #5
    I would not suggest the Macbook for webdesign, unless youve got a lot of spare time on your hands, lets just say been there done that. The low end pro will give you all you need, you dont need the faster processor in the higher end version just for web/graphic design, but you do need the two graphics cards if you want to get your work done efficiently. I would recommend the new basic model 17" Unibody, as it comes with a 2.66Ghz processor and 4GB of RAM as standard, which is more than the other models, so you wont need to bother about upgrading, additionally it has the 17" screen which means you can have two windows open side by side (i always have dreamweaver on the left and firefox on the right so i dont have to keep opening and refresing firefox to see how my works coming on). This is quite hard on a 15" screen but really its up to you.

    http://store.apple.com/uk/configure/MB604B/A?mco=MzA3MTEzMw
     
  6. SnowLeopard2008 macrumors 604

    SnowLeopard2008

    Joined:
    Jul 4, 2008
    Location:
    Silicon Valley
    #6
    I would not spend thousands of dollars more just to get "view side-by-side" with dreamweaver and firefox. Just set up two spaces with firefox in one and dreamweaver in the other. I am also a web designer and use dreamweaver, photoshop, illustrator, and fireworks with my MacBook 13". Works fine. Or just get a cheap external to stick the firefox browser on.
     
  7. kastenbrust macrumors 68030

    kastenbrust

    Joined:
    Dec 26, 2008
    Location:
    North Korea
    #7
    lol how do you design flash sites and encrypt silverlight video on a macbook? i tried but it was taking ages and sucked big time, but i guess its up to you :) you are right spaces is amazing, and if you install Smackbook you can just tap your screen on the side to switch spaces, but for a new mac user spaces arnt really ideal.
     
  8. spunklemonkey macrumors member

    Joined:
    Dec 15, 2008
    #8
    For me, also as a designer, a laptop is not the best tool for the job and never will be. The keyboards are not for long term use design wise, sure you can add a mouse and a monitor, but why not get a desktop mac then? Sure mbp are "cool" but there not the best tool for a designer because laptops are designed for portability and as far as Im concerned internet browsing and email checking.

    I imagine its ok to use both, but I dont see the point in frustrating yourself with a tiny macbook to design on, Id rather have a pc as youre going backwards in a way as it will take longer and be more uncomfortable. Anyone typing on a laptop for ages is lying if they say its great :)

    How about you get a second hand imac and a second hand mbp

    Or just get a new 24" imac, as thats going to work better for you than a mbp for designing!
     
  9. BanjoKings thread starter macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Jan 7, 2009
    #9
    Cheers for all the responses. You Apple folk are nice :)

    @emt8q5 - A guy at work also suggested a 24" Samsung which would be 1/3 of the cost of the Apple 24" LCD. Will have to investigate.

    I have spoken to more people at work and they said to forget about the 13" Macbook. And based on what people have said here, a 15" Pro would be best and then upgrade the RAM to 4GB myself. I think 17" is too big for what I need and the increase in cost is too much for my wallet.

    @spunklemonkey - I considered an iMac for ages and waited for the refresh, but it didn't happen and I'm getting sooooo frustrated with my PC I want to get something in the next week. I'd get an iMac and a Macbook if I could afford it, but couldn't if I wanted decent specs.

    So, when I want to do work, I will take my Macbook Pro to my desk, hook it up to a 24" screen and have an external mouse and keyboard (probably wireless).

    Does this sound like a viable solution?
     
  10. BanjoKings thread starter macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Jan 7, 2009
    #10
    I've decided to go with the Macbook Pro due to portability. I'll probably get that in the next week and get a 24" monitor later.

    Can anyone point me in the direction of any posts recommending compatible 24" monitors with the late 2008 MBP?

    Or can someone give me some model numbers I can look at. Research I've done says Samsung and Dells are the best around (for a reasonable price - £300). Ideally it would have a USB hub on it like the Apple LED display, but not essential.

    Cheers
     

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