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General question re. Macintosh vs IBM desktop computer for Graphics and Web Design

Posted on 2003-03-26
Medium Priority
Last Modified: 2013-11-19
My wife is a graphics illustrator. She currently uses Adobe Illustrator but plans to use the full range of tools for web design and desktop publishing. She is about to buy a computer and is thinking of getting an IBM. I just wanted to check with you whether she should instead consider getting a Macintosh as I have heard so much hype about them being better designed for web and graphics design.

Any thoughts regarding this?



Question by:Mendy
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Accepted Solution

dearsina earned 140 total points
ID: 8217281
Dear Mendy. Your question, and subsequently my answer will truly open a Pandora’s box of discussion. The discussion Mac vs. PC (I assume by IBM you mean any PC) is one that is getting more heated as the years have gone by. I will try to answer your question with as much reason and with as little emotions involved as possible to give you a fair picture of how things are.

First, I personally grew up with both PCs and Macs and I currently work in an environment where both are used and I therefore hope my opinion will be slightly less bias.

If you'd ask your question twenty years ago, it would have been no contest. While PCs were struggling with terminal style text-boxes that gave out more heat and radiation than anything else, Macs had built in speakers, modems, network cards, text-editing software much similar to newer versions of word, imaging software (although the screens were still b/w) and an OS as stable as XP, with a superior look and feel and with a box that actually looked quite good and is today considered quite an icon. It had a start-button, a trashcan, cool games and iconography simply unparalleled still today.

If you'd ask your question ten years or so ago, Macs had colours screens, DTP software, Adobe Photoshop was in the works, Macs were synonymous with graphics and layout and printing and had pretty much the entire market share. PCs on the other hand were struggling with the horrible Windows 3.11 and 256 colours in 640x480 pixel flicker boxes. Still no contest.

Today, the story is quite different. With XP stability is as good, if not better than Macs. Hardware wise PCs are stronger, stronger graphics cards, more ram, more cpu power. Software wise its a tie, everything released for the Mac is subsequently released for the PC, sometimes even before. Look wise Macs are still a couple of decades in front with their sleek new iMacs and PowerBooks that make any notebook look embarrassingly ugly.

The reputation that Macs are better in graphics is one that is fast eroding and as we speak, more and more graphic students (myself counting) no longer see the great benefit of having a Mac that you would have 10 or 20 years ago. It comes down to four simple questions that you have to ask yourself before you either buy a PC or Mac:

- Does it matter, aesthetically, how your computer looks like?
If yes, go with Macs.

- Does price matter?
PCs are cheaper.

- Will you be working mostly for web, or mostly with printers?
PCs handle web design better (In doubt? Run any Flash animation on both machines and be shocked at how slow it runs on a Mac...) but Macs are still a bit ahead when it comes to things like colour correction and the likes (most printers still run Macs, so they would prefer you having a Mac any day).

- How comfortable are you with computers?
Macs still have a more user-friendly environment and for someone who is new to computers, Macs are still easier to use. The margin is small though, especially if you're running Windows XP.

Hopefully this will make your decision easier. I personally would go with the PC any day, but that’s because I more or less am forced to because I have external devices which only run on PC, something you will find with more and more hardware as PC gains a greater and greater market share. So if you have many external devices, that’s perhaps also something to look at.


Let the games begin. :-)

Author Comment

ID: 8222177
Dear Sina

That answer was quite comprehensive and I was extremely please by that thorough analysis you provided. I sure am better equipped to make a well informed decision. If there was a grade for better than Excellent than you deserve it.



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