Help me Choose a Mac

Alrighty, I’ve already asked Matt this question but I’d like to get some more opinions.

Next year I’m off to University taking a Digital Design program, and I’d like to get a mac for the obvious reason that they own when it comes to design.

Anyways, I’m not looking for a powerhorse, but here’s the type of stuff I’ll be doing that’ll actually require some power:

  • Editing Digital Photos (6mp and larger)
  • Creating large format digital files for print (16x20 @ 300dpi, etc)

I have an Athlon XP 2500+ system right now with a measly 256mb RAM, and it’s fine for most things, but when it comes to larger files in Photoshop CS, using 1000px feathered brushes to burn areas of a photo and what-not there’s a little bit of lag.

So, I’m looking for either a refurb or new comp, and I’d like to keep it around $1500-$1700 (Canadian, of course) with a monitor. I don’t have a lot of money to spend, so if anyone knows of one I can get for $1000 or less that’d be nice.

I was looking at an iMac G4, but I was told not to get a G4 because it’s 32-bit… but I’d just upgrade to a G5 when everything comes out 16-bit. What can you knowledgeable peeps tell me about the G4s?

iMac G5, including wide-screen 17in LCD is $1500 Canadian for students. 12-inch iBook is $1200. Mac mini is $600, but by the time you add all the extras, you’re at the price of an iBook.

Maybe even cheaper at the institution you’re attending. You’ll want to add as much RAM as you can afford (buy it from CanadaRam).

If you want to play with one (including Photoshop CS), you can e-mail me and drop by CHSS sometime. It’s probably the best computer I’ve ever used. Takes up no room at all, the wide screen is great for media work. Best “bang for the buck” is definitely the iMac G5.

Nothing wrong with G4s, though, my main work computer is a powerbook G4, though I do use an external monitor. Though I have a dual G5 at home, and the difference in speed for Photoshop is definitely noticeable. Most of the big software packages are definitely G5 optimized, and some (like CS) really fly with dual processors and lots of RAM.

The G5 is a 64-bit processor, but most of the Mac apps are still running 32-bit.

You won’t have an easy time finding Mac stuff on the used market, because it tends to depreciate less than PC stuff. So a used iMac G4 won’t be much cheaper than a new iMac G5.

If you want to compare some CS work on a G3/G4/G5, let me know. You could even show up at the photo club meeting, and we could compare them as part of the meeting.

I agree with MiG. He gave me advice when I was looking for a Mac. I ended up buying an iMac G5 when they first came out (my first Mac). I stuffed it full of RAM and it’s much nicer than any window machine I’ve used to date (or will ever - likely).

I’d say the imac G5 because of the space thing Steve, even though you know I hate macs haha.

Ok, you guys have convinced me on the G5.

So, I’m looking at the 17inch 1.6ghz with 512mb RAM because it’s in the affordable range. Does anyone know the student discount though? I can’t remember what the guy at one of the colleges I visited said it was.

Since I’m pretty sure he said 10%, the G5 1.6ghz comes to $1440 with the RAM. Now I just need money :S

Well, the offer stands if you want to see it “live” and play with CS on it. We have a couple of mid-range ones at CHSS, and a G4 and some G3s. So it would be a good comparison. I could even lug in my dual G5 to compare.

^ I might have to take you up on that, I have school on the friday of next week, but that week after school is back to normal with no school on friday so I might be able to drive up there, depends on the weather because I’ll probably make it a photo-trip. I’ll have to talk to you about it sometime to plan it.

My unbiased oppinion… an iBook. Myself, I’m an PC user for life I’m sure of it… However an iBook would always be that unexpected birthday present I secretly crave.

Well, I use my iBook more than any other computer, even though it’s old and a G3. But for heavy duty work, it’s always the G5. But the iBook is so nice and small, so convenient.

Which school are you going to?

I’d suggest a portable, as then you can take it to class and do your work anywhere. I have an iBookG4 (1ghz, 640mb ram) and I love it - I have no problem running three CS programs and half a dozen other programs all at once.

I say get the 15" PowerBook over the iBook though. One big problem with my iBook is that if I want to attach a large external monitor to it, it’ll still only go up to 1024x768 resolution. For pro graphics work, you may want higher than this.

The iBook can certainly drive an external monitor at higher resolutions, you just have to turn off the mirroring, and turn on the spanning mode instead.

Personally, I use both the ibook and my powerbook in “closed” mode when I can.

I like the mac mini there pretty cool…

I’ve had an iBook for about a year now and it runs great. I’ve used the screen spanning stuff to run an external monitor and I can get 1280 x 1024 max (I believe).

I’m using a PowerMac G5 at work now though, and my iBook G4 doesn’t even compare to it.

I went for an interview at Selkirk College that went very well, but their program is very multimedia oriented, which is stuff I know a good deal about now, whereas I stopped in at Thompson Rivers University and talked to a professor about their Digital Art & Design program and the stuff they covered there (lots of print) appealed to me.

So, I’ll likely be going to TRU, assuming I’m accepted.

I’m pretty much a noob in Photography, i just started photo9 :blush:

And I kinda did a little picture editing in my infotech class last semister but we used Macromedia fireworks school edition, and it was kinda hard to work with, is Photoshop similar? or by far better?