Yo Joe!

Since Joe is our resident Mac-man (nice spin on pac-man, right?) I figure he would be the best one to ask about Mac’s.

So Joe, i need a run up on a decent mac system. Maybe something along the lines of like an octo 2.8 or something, with atleast 2gb of ram…I have no idea how affordable it would all be, but that is why i am asking. I figure if you can’t build the best system for the least amount of money, nobody can. Or if that is not really possible (cheap and powerful) you could atleast give me idea’s on ways to go that would be affordable and practical.

Also, how worthwhile are mac books for serious work? am i better with a tower no matter what? I am trying to be an informed Mac guy.

I am trying to find a system that would be good for serious photoshop work. I may need to work with material in huge resolutions with massive ppi and the like. I am liking the fact that Leopard is not resolution dependent and when the new line of monitors start coming out that will make use of this i would like to be prepared.

On the bright side, through school i can get Adobe Photoshop CS3 for only $397 instead of the whopping $2000! Go Concordia go!

Thanks in advance! Looking forward to following up on this one. My responses may be a little delayed as my internet access is limited for the time being.

17 thoughts on “Yo Joe!”

  1. Mac Pro’s START @ $2,900

    I would probably go with an iMac (at least you get a display with it) and they have the ability to pop on a second display. Not really upgradable but I don’t think you will need more. Worse case scenario is that you will require more hard drive space. in which case you can by a firewire external.

    iMac 20″
    2.4GHz Intel Core 2 Duo
    1GB memory
    320GB hard drive
    8x double-layer SuperDrive
    ATI Radeon HD 2600 PRO with 256MB memory


    Just to give you an idea of what you can get in PC:

    Intel Core 2 Quad Q6600 2.4GHz
    500GB SATA II 16MB cache
    2GB (2x1024MB) DDR2 800MHz
    20x DVD-writer SATA
    ATI Radeon HD 3870 512MB GDDR4 DirectX 10.1
    Samsung SyncMaster 226BW Black 22″ Widescreen TFT-LCD


    Treat it right and a PC would be just as effective as a Mac and you can play games on it as well 😉

  2. I know a PC can be nearly as effective as a Mac for things, but as a dedicated professional photoshop workstation everything i am hearing says go Mac.

    I am not too worried about gaming, i still have my PC, a few cheap upgrades and it will last me a good while still.

    I can already tell from just using photoshop elements on my PC that if i was to use full fledged photoshop and attempt to do real serious work on my PC it would be clunky. My teacher gave us a four hour lecture on theory and professional tech requirements for working prefessionally on photoshop in an environment that can process even large projects smoothly.

    This is why i am looking to a Mac as a serious possibility sometime in the future to be my dedicated workstation. For this kind of work Mac’s definitely seem the way to go and i can’t let the games factor of a PC make every decision for me 😉

    Thanks for the info!

  3. You’ll also need to add some ram to the iMac 20″ if you’re going to use Photoshop often (either that, or you’re really going to have to like the spinning ball). It’s far too much money for the hardware, as far as I’m concerned, but whatever floats your boat.

    Overall, I’m with Joe on this one. That said, I can understand if your classes will be using Macs and assuming you’re using them too, then it seems reasonable to try and match that.

    Now, if you’re REALLY cheap, you can get that Mac-like experience for free: http://www.ubuntu.com/



  4. A big factor is the technology difference, and that according to my teacher a lot of pertinent stuff comes out for Mac’s first by as much to a year in advance. Maybe my teacher is biased, but he sounds like he knows what he is talking about.

    Like i said, i am trying to get an idea now so that i can make an informed decision when the time comes. Also according to my teacher though it is cheaper and better to build a mac workstation then the equivalent PC station.

    Anyways, i got lots of time to think it over and compare.

  5. You’re not really going to find anybody who’s truly unbiased when it comes to the eons old debate of Mac vs PC.

    Personally, it sounds like your teacher is biased, and that’s fine. Just take everyone’s word on this stuff with a grain of salt.

    One of the claims to fame I hear often is Quartz Extreme, which is the window compositor on Macs. It basically uses the GPU to handle all kinds of window compositing needs, like scaling, etc. It’s true that Windows XP doesn’t have this, so they’re right there (though, keep in mind that XP is almost 7 years old). But now both Linux (Compiz) and Vista (DWM) both have it.

    Another is that there’s this color calibration thing built into OSX called ColorSync. It’s very cool, and basically works like the Adobe color calibrator. What’s even more interesting is that they have it for windows as well. In fact, I have it on my monitor. 😉

    All this to say that you should feel free to get whichever you like. But do as much research on both sides of the camp, in regards to what you need the computer for, before you make a final decision. Just about everyone is biased, so take it all with some salt.

  6. With a bit of research I learned that Quartz Extreme was added to OSX in 2002. A year after XP was released. Had Microsoft been on their toes and waited a year, who knows, we might’ve had Vista’s Aero way back then! 😉

  7. I think on the whole it is just hard to ignore the fact that most professionals seem to lean towards Mac’s for serious professional work like this.

    But that could also be that they started out on Mac’s years ago when photoshop was only available on the Mac and just never saw PC’s as a viable option.

    I have lots of investigating and reading to do!

    I don’t take anyone’s opinion as the hard truth, but when professionals or people that know what they are talking about say something, i will atleast give it good consideration.

  8. True, but for the longest time, Photoshop was only really available for Macs. Things have changed over the years, but not everyone changes with the times.

    I think the Mac OS is awesome. It’s well-made, it’s cool-looking. It’s not as unique as it used to be. It’s not cutting edge, but it does things right for the most part. The problem I have is the cost of the hardware which I KNOW is cheaper on the PC side of things. Almost to an insulting degree, sometimes (like the specs Joe posted above, the PC is literally twice the machine).

    Software compatability is largely a non-issue these days. Particularly if you’re getting it as a supplemental machine, and not a replacement. Everything else that Windows does, the Mac can do too.

  9. http://tbn0.google.com/images?q=tbn:jsLyUP9nLrKsRM:http://lh5.google.com/nicholas.rayner/RxrAp3xTFBI/AAAAAAAAABU/A22kOwrDhMo/acer%255B2%255D.jpg

    Designers use mac’s because other designers use mac’s… a vicious cycle. Come on Neil break the cycle. Be the Acer in the crowd.

    hehe, but seriously. There are valid reasons for using a mac:

    1. It will run windows @_@
    2. Font management between windows and mac suck.
    3. You might be able to get education discount on your mac.


    1. Your going to need to spend money upfront upgrading it. More ram, HD.
    2. Its the same hardware (exactly the same) as a PC right down to the processor.
    3. As you upgrade to support new games your are also speeding up your adobe suite.

    @ the same price-point you get:
    Better Video Card
    Double the Cores
    Double the Memory
    Double the Hard drive space.

    Just an opinion.

    As you know opinions are like assholes. Everyone has one, most of the stink.

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