Mac vs PC Hardware for graphic and web design

I was  just answer­ing a post  for a fel­low about what type of hard­ware he might be pur­chas­ing in the near future.    I feel I have a very  good tech­ni­cal per­spec­tive on the sub­ject since I have used both plat­forms as a power user  and  still uti­lize both.

The Quick Answer

To get to the answer quickly - I have to go with MAC or OSX.    I often “get ” to do tech sup­port for my fam­ily mem­bers and friends on both plat­forms.  The issues I get from a PC hap­pen more often and are more trou­ble­some.    Most issues  on a PC are VIRUS and adware related.     I dont even run any virus apps on OSX. Not that they dont exist , there are just fewer around I guess.

Mac vs PC Hard­ware for graphic and web design

Well to tell you the truth when the machines are work­ing well, it really doesn’t mat­ter so much tech­ni­cally speak­ing.    The Appli­ca­tions used for graphic design and web design are pretty much stan­dard these days.    You have Cre­ative Suites by Adobe.  And well, Quark.    The files are pretty much swap­pable between platforms(not sure about Quark).  I can open an Adobe CS3 Illus­tra­tor file on a Mac and On a PC suited the same.   An Issue might arise when it comes to using fonts how­ever.   To get around that I try to use OPEN TYPE when­ever pos­si­ble since OT fonts work on both plat­forms.     Aside from tech­ni­cal issues.  I think MACs are just much more con­sis­tent on qual­ity of their prod­ucts.   My Power­book just feel SOLID on a tac­tile level.   The OSX soft­ware by the way is also almost always rock solid.     Even my old G4 power­book (used pro­fes­sion­ally 4.5 years) always ran smoothly.

Hard­ware – Other considerations

The hard­ware these days for WINDOWS and OSX are very sim­i­lar. In fact ‚if you need to, you can run a DUAL boot sys­tem on an Intel MAC and choose to run win­dows on one sec­tion of your drive and the OSX on the other. This is a real issue as there is much more soft­ware avail­able for the PC (all viruses, just kid­ding). You may also have some old apps you still need to use.   Also as in my case I have an older piece of hard­ware , a Kon­ica Minolta Laser printer that really only has soft­ware for Win­dows XP.   Since I have my OLD Dell Insp­iron 9200 lay­ing around I use that any print­ing pur­poses.  I didnt bother with the dual boot setup on my work machine.

You have to look at specs closely when shop­ping.   Proces­sors, RAM, video graph­ics abil­ity all vary.    I found an amaz­ing deal on the last gen­er­a­tion Power­book at Micro­cen­ter about a year and a half ago.   It was right when they came out with the new uni­body. It had a CORE 2 DUO proces­sor at 2.5 GHZ and 4 GB of RAM.    Many of the new proces­sors are close to that or just a bit faster on clock speed. But these days its about mul­ti­ple cores.   BTW the Mac­Book Pro is still run­ning very well and sta­ble.   I often run it with­out reboot­ing for  30+ days

OSX vs Windows

Win­dows

Ok to be fair my Dell has XP on it.  After installing a bunch of apps on it for some rea­son it gets way bogged down.     Pretty much every time.  Now,  I just dont install all that much on it.      How­ever I have done sev­eral help calls for friends and fam­ily  using Vista.  Not much bet­ter really than XP in my expe­ri­ence.    Ad ware prob­lems,  viruses, HiJack­ing  pro­grams.  Just painful.    Time con­sum­ing.  It used to be fun to tackle the issues , now its just old.  Id rather be get­ting creative.

OSX

The soft­ware just works con­sis­tently and sta­ble.  At this time I really cant think of any big issues on OSX that I have had in 7 years.   I may have had to cold boot a cfew times but thats it.     I am run­ning power apps like Adobe CS3 – Inde­sign, Illus­tra­tor, Flash, Dreamweaver, Logic Pro, Rea­son, Gui­tar Rig, Coda,  MAMP, Blender, Skype, GIMP,  AFter Effects, Suit­case Fusion, Omni Graf­fle,  Office for MAC and more.  No prob­lems.   Just have to keep an eye on RAM when I have  10 or so apps open.


Price

This might be a huge fac­tor for many.  Self included.  I recently steered a cou­ple of folks over to a new PC after their OLD PC recently died.  It was most likely a moth­er­board or hard-drive fail­ure.   There was no rea­son to spend $100 + dol­lar to pol­ish that old turd.  So I told em’ to go new (er)  They wanted some­thing under $350.  You cant get a Mac­Book Pro for that.  Well, maybe off of craigslist.com.  Be CAREFUL over there.  Deal Local.    Any­how they got a sin­gle core lap­top for about $300 , it was a refur­bished, but its  runs good from what they tell me.   They were run­ning a circa 2000 com­puter before,  so this one will blow it away no mat­ter what.      My guess is though that I will be get­ting some calls in the not to far way future  about virus and adware issues.  Hope­fully not though.     Mac­book Pros run more along the lines of  $1,600 +.  Go to apple.com to check’em out.    A Mac Mini  is run­ning  for about $699 new …


About the author

 Mac vs PC Hardware for graphic and web design I’ve started design­ing web­sites while at Uni­ver­sity of Hous­ton dur­ing my first Pho­to­shop 3.1 expe­ri­ence in 1996 on a Mac­in­tosh com­puter. I built my own com­put­ers (Win­dows PCs) with the help of a friend and have been dig­i­tally involved ever since. I am both Win­dows and PC lit­er­ate but grav­i­tate toward OSX. I’ve grad­u­ally got­ten back to my roots as a tac­tile artist / designer by work­ing more with tra­di­tional medi­ums like draw­ing, paint­ing, and mixed media.

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