iMac for prosumer work?

  • Posted: 05 August 2009 04:31 PM #16

    The Man just got me this refurb 24” iMac (the 2.66 GHz model with the 9400M video), and I have been pleasantly surprised with it. This machine replaced a PowerMac G5 (the original dual-2GHz model), and it runs CS4 nicely. I’ve noticed my white 20” C2D iMac at home tends to get a little jittery when images are rotated via the Rotate View tool in Photoshop CS4, but the aluminum 24” handles them with no problem. I’ve also noticed InDesign seems a bit smoother on documents with a few dozen pages.

    I was dreading the glossy screen, but it has turned out to be a non-issue. I don’t have any light sources or windows in the reflected field-of-view, so that helps. I do notice a bit of reflection when I’m working on primarily dark-colored documents, but even then I almost have to look for it to notice it at all.

    The color consistency and viewing angle, as previous posters have mentioned above is hands-down the best flat panel I’ve ever seen. It’s even a very noticeable improvement over the matte-screen white iMac I have at home.

    As soon as I get my wife’s car paid off, I plan to get one of these 24” iMacs at home… but I think I’ll opt for a model that has 512MB vram (or more, if they are available by then).

         
  • Posted: 05 August 2009 05:44 PM #17

    I’m doing design work on a unibody MacBook Pro (2.53 ghz) so an iMac should be fine. I run all CS4 programs plus Lightwave 3D without any problems. My dual monitor setup works perfectly (21” Samsung monitor plus the Macbook Pro display). I used to do all of this on a 17” Powerbook G4 (1.67 ghz) and the speed increase has been incredible. Just max the ram and you’ll be fine. I run an older Intel Quad at work and I don’t see any difference in speed. In fact my MacBook Pro seems quicker at some tasks though a little slower at Lightwave Renders. My co-worker just bought himself a new iMac for home use and works on a G5 tower at work. He claims his iMac is much faster than his G5.

         
  • Posted: 05 August 2009 06:14 PM #18

    bwhitley - 05 August 2009 06:07 PM

    I manage a publishing operation in Boston MA - where we are all on 24” iMacs - the white plastic ones - 2.16G core duos, with 2GB of RAM. Our IT folks still have us on OSX 10.5, but we run CS4 very easily. Plenty of horsepower in these machines for just about anything short of video editing or complex image rendering.

    Same here. I’m running a photo book design operation in which Aperture, Photoshop and InDesign CS4 are the principal apps and my 24in 2.16GB C2D machine copes admirably, though I’m seriously thinking about doubling the RAM. I have two USB hubs to cope with my peripherals, which would be required no less with a Mac Pro. Yesterday, I was eyeing the low-end Mac Pro tower but eventually figured that all I would be better off running this iMac into the ground to get the best value out of it.

    The only major shortcoming of an iMac, IMHO, is that it presents more of a challenge to manage redundancy. If you’re working professionally, especially as a sole operator, you don’t want to lose any downtime to data loss or corruption. To lose a day or two of work due to hard drive failure is to throw money out the window and risk disappointing your clients. In this area, a Mac Pro is superior, because with four drive bays and the option to add a RAID card, the machine can be set up to ensure a high degree of data security. I get around this shortcoming of the iMac by using a 1TB LaCie Network Space for continual back-up. You could go one step further by connecting a RAID NAS.

    Pro machines are designed not only for horsepower but to give their users the means to better enhance and protect their productivity.

    Something to think about.

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    Posted: 05 August 2009 10:15 PM #19

    I use the CAD software VectorWorks for 3D building design, and Final Cut Pro, on an Early 2008 iMac Intel Core 2 Duo with 4 GB of RAM, and I have never had a speed problem or a crash.  This was my first iMac after many years with the Pros, and I doubt I shall ever go back.

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  • Posted: 16 August 2009 05:31 PM #20

    I’m a bit late to the discussion but here’s my two cents…
    A modern iMac should be perfectly capable of handling anything you could throw at it. I owned a 2.8 GHz, 24” iMac with 4GB RAM and attached a second display, a 24” Dell 2405WFP. I used it for RAW image processing in Aperture, working with Photoshop and a little Illustrator, and a bit of casual gaming in Boot Camp. In the few months I owned it I can honestly say I was never dissatisfied with its performance even once. I never found myself waiting for tasks to complete or applications to launch. It was, in every way, the best computer I’ve ever used for any extended period of time. The reason I no longer have it is because it was just overkill for what I was doing. Having bought it at a rock-bottom price I ended up selling it on Craigslist for a profit. I’d recommend it without hesitation, as very few people can actually push their system hard enough to warrant a Mac Pro.

    [ Edited: 16 August 2009 05:34 PM by David Nelson ]      
  • Posted: 19 August 2009 10:42 PM #21

    Thanks everybody, I think with the Back to School special Apple has I’m ready to take the plunge. With the potential of a new baby on the way (we ay be adopting soon) I have a feeling I’m gonna be straining iPhoto to the breaking point so I wanted to switch to Aperture. I think I’m going to get the 24” 2.9GHz iMac with the upgrade to the 512MB graphics card. Boosting the RAM is simply too expensive right now, but the stock 4GB is still double what I have on my G4 right now, and I can run Photoshop, InDesign, and Illustrator on that at once, though it hurts a bit. I already bought a new scanner to finally be rid of SCSI, and I’ll need to get a Firewire 400/800 adapter so I don’t have to ditch my 250GB Time Machine drive just yet. I’ll post when I get it setup.

    I think for the first time, I’m not going to transfer anything over but my network settings and itunes and iphoto files. I’ve just got too much old junk (PPC and Classic stuff) that I’d rather not clutter up the new machine with. I figure I’ll just reinstall everything from disks, though I dread doing that with Quark Xpress, their hardware ID protection system is seriously annoying.

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    Less is More (more or less).

         
  • Posted: 20 August 2009 01:56 PM #22

    Aigh!
    I ordered it this morning, new Mac goodness on the way. Got a 16GB iPod Touch too with the back to school special.

    Thanks for the advice, and I’ll post my impressions here.

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    Less is More (more or less).

         
  • Posted: 21 August 2009 07:00 AM #23

    OK Laugh at me now. I spent most of my computer literate life fixing bugs in software that I bought from Windows peddlers :>) I’ve had my new 24” 3.06 iMac for two weeks and wonder if there is really a person in there doing stuff. No going in files and working on them so it works. I am switching my Pro Tools studio over to this. Now, I have built many Windows based multimedia computers and they were fast but I never seemed to realize a big difference in them when I would add memory. I now have 4 on this machine. Will I notice a huge difference in speed if I go to 8 on this iMac? Have any benchmark tests been run comparing one with lots of memory and one without? Thanks

         
  • Posted: 21 August 2009 11:04 AM #24

    In the past, when I’ve upgraded RAM in my Macs, I haven’t noticed a huge difference in speed in individual tasks, but I have noticed the marked increase in the ability to do more things at once. The individual tasks it has helped with have been stuff that would have used a lot of disk swapping like Photoshop and Illustrator work.

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    Less is More (more or less).

         
  • Posted: 28 September 2009 04:30 PM #25

    Well, I’ve had the 24” iMac for a month and I am loving it. CS4 runs really well, it’s virtually silent (especially when comparred to the MDD G4), and the screen is wonderful. I’m actually enjoying working on my Mac again. I haven’t tried messing with Painter X yet, but I’m sure that will be great as well. Thanks everyone for pushing me to get it.

    Word of warning though to those who used that “12 months same as cash offer” that Apple was giving with Barclaycard. After reading the fine print I noticed that if your balance isn’t paid in full at the end of the 12 months they whack you with ALL of the interest that would have accrued over the 12 months, not just with what you have left on your balance. At 24% that amounts to over $400 on what I bought. Not cool. I’ll have it paid by then and if not, it’s just a balance transfer away.

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    Less is More (more or less).

         
  • Posted: 29 September 2009 01:24 AM #26

    FlipFriddle - 28 September 2009 07:30 PM

    Word of warning though to those who used that “12 months same as cash offer” that Apple was giving with Barclaycard. After reading the fine print I noticed that if your balance isn’t paid in full at the end of the 12 months they whack you with ALL of the interest that would have accrued over the 12 months, not just with what you have left on your balance. At 24% that amounts to over $400 on what I bought. Not cool. I’ll have it paid by then and if not, it’s just a balance transfer away.

    That’s a good point.  grin

    Best to pay off the loan early at 0% than run the risk of passing the deal’s expiration with a balance from the purchase on the card.