Canadian Mac Forums at ehMac banner
1 - 20 of 30 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
37 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I am a computer illiterate guy who needs to buy a mac ASAP. I am publishing a small monthly newspaper starting in the spring and I need a mac for the desktop publishing programs, i.e. quark xpress, illustrator, photoshop, acrobat. These are the only programs I absolutely need. So my question is: for my relatively basic needs, what kind of specs should I be going for. Do I absolutely NEED a G4 or can I go for a G3. My business is a start-up so any money I can save right now is a huge bonus, therefore, I'd really prefer to buy a used desktop and laptop right now.

I really appreciate any honest advice out there...

Cheers!
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
3,363 Posts
i use a lowly g4 400mhz for Photoshop and Illustrator, and it works fine. i do mostly large format point of sale material for grocery stores and while my system works fine for me now, i think that in the not to distant future i will have to upgrade to a g5.

if you're doing mostly small format stuff then i would recommend you get a g4 450 or higher. do not buy a g3 unless it is really fast or you will regret it
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
227 Posts
definately go for the emac unless it is too expensive, but for $1100 you get a very adequete computer.
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
1,794 Posts
If money is an issue then you will be well served with a G3 running OS9. All your must-have apps are mature products in OS9 that have a proven track record. You can likely get these OS9 versions at discount too, since the latest versions are OSX only. A good Beige or B&W G3 box with a lot of ram is a bargain right now.
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
1,784 Posts
The lowest I'd go is a Blue&White G3. USB and Firewire are a must now if you want to add reasonably priced peripherals.

I'd agree with everyone though. An eMac is hard to beat when it comes to bang for the buck. The only reason I'd suggest a G3 or an early G4 is if the 17" isn't big enough for you.
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
3,175 Posts
Hi
Go for the eMac.
One of our people does exactly this work and we recently purchased an eMac combo 1Ghz. Just add ram, you can go up to 1 GB with the emac and this will help 'cause you will use a few programs open at the same time.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
470 Posts
eMac really hits a sweet spot for the entry level.
If you want expandability, D_G makes a good case for a revB B&W.
You won't go wrong with either!
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
8,815 Posts
I dunno... if you want to do any Photoshop rendering or other processor-based rendering, the lack of an L3 cache and only 256k L2 cache in the eMac could slow you up. The eMac has zero internal upgradability, i.e., processor or graphic card (you can add external Firewire drives to the eMac, however). Also, with all floating palettes and toolbars that the apps you want to use can have, I wonder if a 17" CRT (16" viewable) is gonna do the trick. If it doesn't, you're locked into THAT, too.

If you're on a budget, I suggest purchasing a recent used Powermac. Obviously the newer and faster, the better. BUT THANKFULLY, even an early AGP-based G4 Powermac would be a good way to go. Even though say, a G4/500 would CURRENTLY be slower than a 1GHz Emac (although it has four times the L2 cache and only 33MHz less front-side bus speed), it is much more expandable. Any Powermac, starting with a "Sawtooth" design or newer, can be upgraded to as high as a DUAL 1.42GHz G4 processor (and higher, as time goes by)!

Also, you can not only upgrade the graphics card, but you can pair it with a monitor size that would befit your needs. You can get a mondo Trinitron CRT for cheap.

So, you could pick up a G4/500 with CDRW for about $950.00 (maybe less), a used 19" monitor for maybe $300.00. Make sure your ram is AT LEAST 512MB, and you'll end up paying about the same as the low-end emac with 512MB of RAM PLUS taxes. Down the road, you could get a single 1.2GHz G4 WITH 2MB cache for about CAN$485.00. A DUAL 1.4GHz G4 processor would set you back $1,557.00. That's a chunk of change, but they'll only get cheaper and faster over time. A Sawtooth G4, upgraded to a DUAL 1.4GHz G4, would rival a current single 1.6GHz G5; the current entry-level Powermac. And, you can move up to any speed at various prices at your convenience.

As a point of reference, I'm running the latest version of Mac OS X (called "Panther", version 10.3.1) on a G4/450. Window redraws are a little laggy, but the system hangs in there pretty good. I have to say, however, that I am considering a 1 or 1.2GHz upgrade. I cannot afford to purchase a G5, and it would be a dual G5 or nothing if i was going to go at all.

But hey; don't get me wrong; I think the eMac is a terrific value -- IF it suits your needs. I'm not sure that it does. others may hold a different opinion on this, and who knows which IS the best way to go? This s just the way I WOULD probably go.

Things i would NOT do include buying a slow G3, any beige G3 (because Aple has dropped support) and DEFINITELY DO NOT BOTHER WITH MAC OS 9. If you have to learn the ins and outs of ANY OS, you might as well go OS X. It is waaaaay more stable and hell, IT'S SUPPORTED. Apple has killedf support for Mac OS 9. NO upgrades will be forthcoming from Apple -- and most 3rd party software support is ending for it as well. The only advantage to OS 9 is that it will run faster on older machines than OS X will. But, according to many opinions out there, "Panther" has closed this gap, considerably.

In terms of system stability and resistance to courruption, Mac OS 9 = Win 95; you crash an app? REBOOT! OS X = XP; crash an app? Just reboot THAT APP. As for system crashes, two years running and I have NEVER HAD ONE. YMMV.

ANYWAY, that's my 2¢.
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
8,815 Posts
okay, two more things:

The fastest G4 you can put in a Blue & White is a G4/500MHz.

Mac OS X no longer supports the biege G3 systems (the only G3 system that did not have built-in USB). So, I;m not sure I'd go there...
 

·
Banned
Joined
·
14,050 Posts
In terms of system stability and resistance to courruption, Mac OS 9 = Win 95;...
oh, c'mon that is just rubbish
OS 9 is still valid for many users and for a person on a budget much easier to get bang for buck re: hardware

you can get better performance from OS 9 and lower hardware to start
one can always upgrade to OS X later when dollars are available

and entry level G4 tower would be a great place to start

an OS 9 machine and applications can be had at a great discount right now

best to ask someone like macdoc and give him your budget and he can put something together for you
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
8,774 Posts
I'm running a G4 400 AGP with 120gigs of HD and almost a gig of RAM and I do a LOT of work in Photoshop, Illustrator and some digital video editing as well. I bought a used 20" AppleVision CRT monitor at a local Mac reseller for 325$.

This machine is great! It runs OSX without a hitch and seems to handle everything I throw at it without breaking a sweat. Remember that UNIX (the basis for the OSX operating system) likes lots of RAM....and that it actually runs faster when you are packing some serious RAM on board. This older tower holds quite a bit of it, and it's not terribly expensive, either.

The label company that I deal with for our buisness only uses OS9 on an older beige G3....and they have no intention of switching anytime soon. Same goes for quite a few graphics places that I know of.

Bottom line? A new emac will work just fine. An older G4 tower will also work fine (and is upgradeable).

And a four year old Mac has FAR more useful life left in it than a four year old PC. You've got lots of choices. ;)
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
8,815 Posts
I agree, Macnutt. I use a G4/450 with 1.5GB of RAM, and it runs OS X surprisingly smooth. menus are snappy, media plays back fine. Window redraws are my only complaint. They can be a little much, depending on the app.

Just to be clear, folks, I'm a composer. So, I'm not doing Photoshop or Quark, myself. I AM using my G4 for big orchestral music sequencing, where I'm using the Mac as a virtual sampler. It can definitely push the processor to the edge. Yet, I have made LOTS of clients happy with it
Having said that, I am looking to upgrade, as I may have mentioned, earlier. Recent versions of m,y music software have increased capabilities, substantially. Nevertheless, there have been a few old AGP Powermac owners chiming in this thread supporting it as a good option for publishing. Don't let the clockspeed # scare ya!
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,014 Posts
The question of which Mac to buy is secondary without first discussing software....

The original post list the major DTP apps but did not list version numbers...

Are the Apps already in possesion or do they need to be purchased.... Little point getting a G5 if you plan to use Quark 4, PS6 and Illy 9, which you already have. A G4 {or even a G3} would be fine at that point. Blue & White G3 Rev2... Lesser macs will get you by for a bit, but...

If all will be bought now, go new... G5 and latest versions, don't be chained to the past...

OS 9 is alive and well... it is only dead to developers and early adoptors of bleeding edge tech...

For flexibility sake, I would recommend a Dual Boot G4 if budget is tight... Strong enough for when yuo go to X but able to get you by for a while in 9...

OS X is going to take over the Mac world... But not overnight...
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
336 Posts
Yep... it is definitely a matter of opinion. I agree a low end g4 with an inexpensive crt would definitley be superior in the long term upgradability category. I however am not a big advocate of upgrading old hardware. In two years the architechture will be on the obsolete side of the spectrum. For a similar price you can buy an additional / superior system for about the same price as the upgrade. The exception are the graphics card,the ram and hard drives, since they are transportable to a new system in most cases.

Me, I use my systems till they are obsolete then sell them or pass them on to my kids.
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
8,815 Posts
Macspestrum said:

oh, c'mon that is just rubbish
If a guy is starting on a Mac FOR THE FIRST TIME, why learn the ins and outs of this system, as well as how to look out for extension conflicts, tweaking memory allocations in Get Info -- and even watching the boot order of his apps, so the RAM hungry ones boot LAST or else (boot Photoshop. Then, boot calculator and WHAMMO; you've denied Photoshop access to the rest of your RAM), rebuilding the Desktop, dealing with corrupt preference files, and watching the system get sluggish as he adds more fonts -- or get unstable if he unwittingly goes over 128 Font suitcases (which causes the system to get unstable, right?). And hey; maybe he'll want to network his "new" Mac to his PC? If so, OS X does it, right out of the box, whereas OS 9 does not. OS 9 is definitely more temperamental than X.

He might as well learn the OS that is supported, rather than learn OS 9 and THEN OS X at a later date... perhaps not as far away as it was for us, three years ago.

Short of cross-grades from Windows versions of the graphic software that he may or may not already have, it's going to cost him to outfit himself with his needed software whether it's OS 9 or X. If he buys a used G4, he'll be able to boot 9 if he wants to, anyway. And, all the apps he stated as needing are available for OS X.

If it was any of us experienced Mac OS 9 users, the situation would be different. But, he's not. I suggest he starts out on the current foot, rather than try and LEARN how to keep OS 9 purring on a mission critical system.

And, my point about OS 9 = Win 95 is purely based on when an app crashes in OS 9, YOU MUST RESTART. That's little better than a BSOD -- only marginally better if the app crashing doesn't hang the system in the process.

Please don't get me wrong: I LOVED Mac Classic. It was STILL more enjoyable to use than Windows, pre XP. But, stability issues? A hassle that XP finally drove a nail into of the Windows side, and so did OS X on the Mac side. Considering that OS 9 still runs on >1984 OS technology and PATCHED out the wazoo, it hung in there pretty good.
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
17,980 Posts
I still say go for the eMac... the rendering time, unless you're doing something realllly freaky, won't be so bad. Besides, everybody needs a coffee/pee break once in awhile, eh? ;)

If the 17" monitor becomes too small for you (remembering that you can up the resolution quite a bit on the CRT), you can always plug in an external. The video-out port does mirroring only (unless someone has figured a way to make the iBook monitor spanning hack work on the eMac too?) :D

Finally... software. If you're buying new, then save yourself some cash and headache and forget about Quark. Go pick up the Adobe Creative Suite bundle of Illustrator, InDesign, Photoshop, Acrobat... (anything else in there?).

:cool:
M
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
336 Posts
Oh and in terms of Photoshop, quark and other apps on the emac. As a begining mac user even one doing a publication and emac is fine. It is actually faily perky. I produce a monthly publ and have don my last issue on one. Yep I do notice the 17 inch monitor instead of the 19 I normally work on. But from what I have seen there is no better value for new mac hardware than the emac. On the other hand these monitor issues I have read on the other thread are a bit scary...

my 2C
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
8,815 Posts
But, McFadden, he can upgrade an AGP Mac to beat the pants off an eMac, if he needed. Also, if 16" of viewable space is too small, he's screwed.

The AGP Macs will be supported for QUITE a while. I'd bet at least five years. They're STILL selling them -- including the eMac. And, there is a HUGE installed base of 2X AGP systems out there. And, speaking of the eMac, there is nothing the eMac has over a three year old Powermac, except 4X AGP vs. 2X and 33 more MHz FSB. Not much to write home about.

Jewbacca, hit a Mac store and really put an eMac through its paces... butt also keep in mind that, if you buy used from another owner, there's no tax.
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
8,815 Posts
Video mirroring?


;)
 
1 - 20 of 30 Posts
Top