iMac or pc for design work?

thespeakerbox

Platinum Member
Nov 19, 2004
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I hear alot about mac being great for design. I'm not so sure whether its the whole mac fad speaking or if its actually true. With the new core duo 17" imacs , im thinking of getting one for design work. Anyone have any experience or knowledge with design work on a mac?

Heres the system I was planning to get before consider to buy a mac

Core duo e6600
asus board
xms 800
7900gt
17" lcd
full size atx tower.

After thinking about it long, with school coming up i probably wont overclock or game anymore. (Which i havent even been doing since the start of summer). All i will be using it for is school and design work.

What would you choose?

Edit 1: I also have a new 15.4" pc laptop .
 

xanis

Lifer
Sep 11, 2005
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I've heard that Macs are supposedly better for design work, but after doing design work on both a PC and Mac, I have to say that Mac is really not better. Also, Macs are expensive for what you get, while with a PC you could get a better bang for your buck.
 

xanis

Lifer
Sep 11, 2005
17,571
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I forgot to add something. For design work, you'll want your power to be in your processor for rendering, working with filters, and working with large images. You can probably go cheaper on the video card, like a 7600GS or something.
 

SLCentral

Diamond Member
Feb 13, 2003
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iMac. The iMac is now an AMAZING deal, especially considering the built-in screen, Core Duo, and great quality. It's not as expensive as you think. Also, check Apples refurbished deals on their site, there's some good deals there. The Core Duo is powerful enough for pretty much any photoshop work, and even though Core 2 Duo is coming soon, you likely won't see more then a 5% difference. If you can wait, I would, and then grab a used current-gen iMac for cheap.

You don't need a powerful GPU with either a PC or Mac. The iMac's GPU will work great for Photoshop, as will pretty much ANY GPU for PC's. Honestly, it really doesn't matter.

At this point, Mac is the solution, because you can always go back to Windows if you don't like OS X through Boot Camp. PC's don't give you that opportunity.

Edit: I forgot to mention that currently, Adobe Photoshop is not a universal-binary, meaning it'll be running at reduced speeds until CS3 comes out. That's because for Mac, it was written for PPC, while you'll be running it on an Intel Mac. It's definetly usable, but it's nowhere near the speeds of the true Core Duo. Either way, I'd still get the iMac, and if performance doesn't satisfy you using CS2 (CS3 comes out early next year), you can load up Windows and run it with no problems, and then switch back to OS X when CS3 is released.
 

Baked

Lifer
Dec 28, 2004
36,152
17
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iMac is a very expensive web browser. If you want a Mac for design work, you should be looking at the new Mac Pro. Comparing your proposed PC setup to the current iMac, the PC wins hands down in terms of power, cost, and efficiency. In addition, the current iMac uses the older Core Duo, not the new Core 2 Duo.
 

KeithP

Diamond Member
Jun 15, 2000
5,661
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106
The problem with the 17 inch iMac is the screen res is only 1440x900. Every professional design application I use (Adobe Creative Suite, Quark Xpress, Freehand, GoLive, etc) all have interfaces that scream for high resolution displays. Lots of pallets and dialog boxes.

The minimum resolution I would consider is 1600x1200 for a design machine (OS X or XP). If you really want a Mac, I suppose you could get a mini with a good display but I would stay away from iMacs.

-KeithP



 

SLCentral

Diamond Member
Feb 13, 2003
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Originally posted by: KeithP
The problem with the 17 inch iMac is the screen res is only 1440x900. Every professional design application I use (Adobe Creative Suite, Quark Xpress, Freehand, GoLive, etc) all have interfaces that scream for high resolution displays. Lots of pallets and dialog boxes.

The minimum resolution I would consider is 1600x1200 for a design machine (OS X or XP). If you really want a Mac, I suppose you could get a mini with a good display but I would stay away from iMacs.

-KeithP

Eek, I completely forgot about the Mac Mini. I'd suggest grabbing one of those (the Core Duo model) and a Dell 20", or if you can afford it, the 24". That way you have the best of both worlds: OS X (or/and Windows), and a big screen.
 

OREOSpeedwagon

Diamond Member
May 30, 2001
8,485
1
81
The new intel macs are amazing, I love my Macbook. I probably use OS X and XP about 50/50 of the time. That's only because my music production software and VSTs only run in XP, but I'd much rather use OS X all the time.
 

Fenixgoon

Lifer
Jun 30, 2003
31,860
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hi, i'm a mac.... i work right out of a single box (monitor comes in separate box though ;))


the rest of you are PC's, and require drivers, and OSes, and non-Apple MFRS


just kiddin.. i'd build a C2D rig and get an x1800GTO / X1800XT if you want video power + media acceleration (i hate how you have to pay for purevideo)
 

aswedc

Diamond Member
Oct 25, 2000
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76
You're asking this question on a forum for PC enthusiasts. The only Mac users here are generally those who have abandoned the PC building hobby that brought them here. Keep that in mind when you consider these responses.
 

amol

Lifer
Jul 8, 2001
11,679
1
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Hmm, I would have to say Mac. I'm saving up for a new lappy and boy, those new Macbooks look pretty tempting. I'll have just enough money to spend on it when Leopard comes out.

Then I'll probably install XP or Vista on it and compare the two OSes. Can't bash something without trying it.
 

OREOSpeedwagon

Diamond Member
May 30, 2001
8,485
1
81
Originally posted by: xospec1alk
does anyone else see the irony of this statement "buy the mac and install xp on it"?

makes it more of a reason to get a Mac. They're now completely Intel, they run both OS X and XP with ease, and the prices are becoming more and more reasonable. Sounds like they're doing pretty well to me :)
 

thespeakerbox

Platinum Member
Nov 19, 2004
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Whats the new screen like on the new imacs, is it glossy like the trubrite or whatever it is they use on laptops, or is it the same ol matte finish.
 

Kaido

Elite Member & Kitchen Overlord
Feb 14, 2004
48,522
5,343
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Originally posted by: thespeakerbox
Whats the new screen like on the new imacs, is it glossy like the trubrite or whatever it is they use on laptops, or is it the same ol matte finish.

They new iMacs use a high-quality matte screen. My wife has one, the 20" Core Duo model. It's pretty nice, she really loves it. Very compact design, overkill for most design apps hardware-wise. What type of design work are you planning on doing?

I recently switched to Mac and I do a lot of design work, mainly for print and web. If you need any software recommendations, just ask. I think that part of the reason that people recommend Macs for design work is that Macs are mainly appliances that "just work" without too much fiddling. If you want to focus on your work rather than the system itself, they're great machines to get. If I may offer a few suggestions/insights:

1. Get the 20" model if you plan on getting the iMac for design work. You'll be grateful for the extra screen space over the 17". Also, you can add another monitor later if you want to run dual-monitors.

2. Buy a colorimeter like the Gretag Eye-One Display 2. A colorimeter is a color calibration device for computer monitors; it ensures that your colors are accurate, very important when doing work for print or other media. It made a huge difference on the stock color settings on my wife's iMac.

3. Buy the ram aftermarket; it's easy to install and much cheaper (by about 50%!)

4. Buy a good backup drive or two and get some quality backup applications. On Mac, I use SuperDuper for doing complete hard drive clones and iBackup for doing file backups. I built a couple large backup hard drives using enclosures off Newegg and the 400gb/500gb hard drives that have been going for under $200 at Outpost. You can also store old projects on the drive for safe-keeping.

5. If you pick up a tablet, Wacom is the way to get. Their Intuos series is stellar.
 

Czar

Lifer
Oct 9, 1999
28,510
0
0
its your brain that does the work, and its the software which gets your work done so others can see it
if its a mac or a pc doesnt matter squat, but if you have to go through the process of getting used to a different OS than you are used to then that bit will truly hinder your work

If its a question fo a mac or a pc then rate your criteria in this order

1. OS familiarity, do you know windows or macos or some linux distro?
2. Software, what are you going to do, cad, photo editing, 3d, illustration, painting. Is the software you use available on the OS you know.
3. Price, how much are you willing to spend, or willing to sacrifice spec wise.

Your computer does not make you a better artist.
 

Kaido

Elite Member & Kitchen Overlord
Feb 14, 2004
48,522
5,343
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Originally posted by: Czar
its your brain that does the work, and its the software which gets your work done so others can see it
if its a mac or a pc doesnt matter squat, but if you have to go through the process of getting used to a different OS than you are used to then that bit will truly hinder your work

If its a question fo a mac or a pc then rate your criteria in this order

1. OS familiarity, do you know windows or macos or some linux distro?
2. Software, what are you going to do, cad, photo editing, 3d, illustration, painting. Is the software you use available on the OS you know.
3. Price, how much are you willing to spend, or willing to sacrifice spec wise.

Your computer does not make you a better artist.

Let me rephrase this:

1. Are you willing to learn a new OS if needed?
2. Are you willing to learn new software if needed?
3. What's your budget?

So far I have found exact crossovers or replacements for every single piece of design software I use on a PC. Here's a laundry list for reference:

Web design:
Adobe Design Bundle (Photoshop, Illustrator, InDesign, Acrobat, Flash)
ImageWell
BBEdit
ColorSchemer for OS X
Digital Color Meter

Graphics:
Painter
Cinema 4D
BodyPaint
Zbrush
Final Cut Express HD
iLife (iPhoto, iMovie, iDVD, GarageBand)
OmniGraffle
VueScan

Documents:
Microsoft Office 2004 for Mac
OmniOutliner
iWork
Tofu
TextEdit

Disc Tools:
disclabel
Toast 7
HandBrake

Some of those cross over to different categories, like Photoshop into Graphics and such. Not a complete list, but you get the idea. If you're not set on using specific applications, you can find replacements for just about anything. I'm a TrueSpace user on Windows, but Cinema4D works equally well if not better on OS X.