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

Dwayne Casey 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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