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Best Mac computer for designer?

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Jessica Chapman
Best Mac computer for designer?
on Aug 15, 2011 at 1:00:00 pm

Hi there,

I know this question has been asked so many times, I've checked google, but I'm still not certain about what to get...I'm a little clueless when it comes to tech specs :(

I am a graphic design student, working with mainly Photoshop, Illustrator, Flash, Dreamweaver, Indesign, and sometimes Final Cut Pro and Motion (I would like a computer that can handle a medium amount of video editing if needed).

I also enjoy playing World of Warcraft in my spare time haha so it would be nice to have a Mac with decent game performance.


I would very much appreciate it if I could get some personal opinions from others of Mac specs they think would be suitable for my needs. It would be awesome to know what graphics card would be best to get! :)

Budget isn't a huge concern....but I really would prefer not to pay over 4 grand for a Mac..! :S


Thank you in advance! :)


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Micah McDowell
Re: Best Mac computer for designer?
on Aug 15, 2011 at 3:16:45 pm

For what you need, I'd consider a loaded 27" iMac.

The IPS high-resolution display is wonderful for graphic design, and a similar quality monitor would probably run a grand if you bought it separately. You'll want the top-tier model because it has the best GPU, and that's not upgradable later. If you honestly have no hard budget limit, consider maxing out the build-to-order options list with the i7 processor, 2GB of video RAM, and the SSD + hard drive setup (this makes a huge impact on responsiveness and speed of program loading, though it doesn't improve processor-intensive tasks like rendering as much). You'll use the SSD as a system/applications drive only and all of your media will be stored on the spinning hard drive.

A year ago I would've recommended a Mac Pro for the same needs, but the current iMac really stands ahead. It has Thunderbolt connectivity for fast external storage if you do more video editing in the future. It also has the newest generation of processors with serious performance. Finally, it's really just a better value; don't forget your student discount!

One more note; don't buy your RAM from Apple. Order with the base 4GB, and then purchase from Other World Computing or your retailer of choice. Their 16GB kit is $147.99, while the same amount from Apple adds $600.


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