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Guest Adam_Dell

Advice - Pc Or Mac

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Guest Adam_Dell

Hi guys,

 

I'm after some advice. I've been graduated from uni for nearly 3 years now, and I'm looking to start improving on my skills with CAD software and programes like photoshop, Illustrator etc. I have a PC at home which is now 6 years old and really not up to the job anymore and I'm looking ti invest in a new computer system. My main question is should I consider spending around £1000 on an off-the-shelf hi-spec PC, look into building my own hi-spec PC at home (I'll use my brothers help as he used to earn his keep building PCs for a job) or should I conisder switching to using a top end Mac of about the same £1000 mark.

 

This will be a big investment and something I will be using to help push on my career in product design to the next level, so the more advice I can get the better. I've been out of the loop with computers for a while and the current amount of options just baffles me now! :)

 

Cheers

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If budget is a concern, building your own PC or buying a standalone PC and upgrading it yourself are the best ways to go. A Mac Pro starts at £1900, so I dont think thats within your budget.

 

I would refer to this article:

http://www.productdesignhub.com/articles/3...op-pc-or-laptop

 

On what you're looking for in a PC. A good CPU, lots of ram, and a good video card + monitor will make all the difference, and for your price range you can get a pretty nice machine.

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Guest Adam_Dell

thanks for the reply Cyberdemon.

 

£1900 is a lot of money, but this is certainly not out of the question if there is enough justification to use a Mac over a PC, considering the price difference.

 

Thanks for the link to the article, is very usefull.

 

Not a lot has changed then in the world of PC's; more equals better?

 

This is probably the best bit of advice I picked out from the article "It is important to note that 32 bit operating systems can only handle a maximum of 4 gigabytes of total system ram. This means if you plan on working with large amounts of data, you should opt for a 64-bit operating system", I had no idea that was the case.

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thanks for the reply Cyberdemon.

 

£1900 is a lot of money, but this is certainly not out of the question if there is enough justification to use a Mac over a PC, considering the price difference.

 

Thanks for the link to the article, is very usefull.

 

Not a lot has changed then in the world of PC's; more equals better?

 

This is probably the best bit of advice I picked out from the article "It is important to note that 32 bit operating systems can only handle a maximum of 4 gigabytes of total system ram. This means if you plan on working with large amounts of data, you should opt for a 64-bit operating system", I had no idea that was the case.

 

More always equalled better.

 

The only justification for buying a Mac is either you want a pretty looking machine straight out of the box, or you want to use OSX. Since most CAD apps mean you'll be running in Windows, it sort of defeats the purpose in my opinion.

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Guest RCParry

I would mention that macs seem to lose value a lot slower than PCs, so even though you spend more to begin with, it balances out when or if you sell it on. I love my mac for 2D cad programs (CS3), but running 3D programs through vmware is a pain, and I have compatibility issues with my mac (mobile + camera), but not my PC. Spec for spec though, the mac does seem to run much smoother and has nice features you only realise when you go back to a PC. A truly high end one could cost up to £2000 though.

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I would mention that macs seem to lose value a lot slower than PCs, so even though you spend more to begin with, it balances out when or if you sell it on. I love my mac for 2D cad programs (CS3), but running 3D programs through vmware is a pain, and I have compatibility issues with my mac (mobile + camera), but not my PC. Spec for spec though, the mac does seem to run much smoother and has nice features you only realise when you go back to a PC. A truly high end one could cost up to £2000 though.

 

They may lose value slower - but the technology is obsolete just as fast. The current Mac Pro's can get pricey very quickly, especially for an 8 core machine. You can build a Core I7 machine that's faster and better equipped for much less money. That leaves more money to invest in a high end video card, bigger display, etc.

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Guest csven

"looking to start improving on my skills with CAD software"

 

I honestly don't understand why this comes up as often as it does. If you're an Industrial Designer expecting to use 3D CAD, then the hands down best option is a PC because that's the operating system with the best software options. Period.

 

Apple makes wonderful products, but get what makes sense for what you say you need to do.

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Don't underestimate that if you buy a mac, you will have the option to run either windows or os x - a lot of people seems to forget this. And I might add that running CAD on an 8-core mac pro, is a great experience - smooth and quiet.

 

And after using both windows and OS X for the last 2 years I must say that I like OS X better - It suits my workflow better than windows. But if you put your mind to it you can also find many of the same features for Vista, if you install a lot of plugins and small applications.

 

If your choice stands between a Mac Pro and a similar PC and you have those extra money, I would definitely go for the mac. You could probably get a faster cpu and gpu in the PC, but then you also almost have to put a price on the experience you get, which depends on yourself - And by the way - If you compare a Dell and a Mac Pro with the same specs, the price would be about the same (At least where I live).

 

Regards,

/tbroen

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Upgrading a Dell out of the box is always a bad idea. You'll spend twice as much to upgrade your GPU as you would to sell the one in the machine and buy the same card outright. (IE they charge $700 to upgrade a part that only costs $450 on its own.)

 

Dell has some GREAT deals here in the US on desktops if you watch for them. As I said if you're using the Mac Pro in Windows you're basically wasting the fact that it can run OSX. OSX is great, but it also means if you want to run Photoshop in OSX, and your CAD software in XP, then every time you want to tweak a rendering you'll either need two copies of the software, or have to reboot.

 

It has it's advantages - but you pay the price for those advantages and many won't use them.

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Guest csven
Don't underestimate that if you buy a mac, you will have the option to run either windows or os x - a lot of people seems to forget this.
And lots of people are aware that some people still occasionally have problems running a GPU intensive CAD app on a Mac.

 

So now we're talking about spending £1900 instead of £1000, when for less than half that price he could have his experienced brother help him build a perfectly capable PC and with the savings purchase a 3D application instead of only using a limited demo. How did that happen?

 

If money isn't an object, I'd not take issue. The Intel-based Macs have come a long way in the past couple of years. But invariably these questions - mostly asked by students or cash-strapped recent graduates - hinge on whether it's justifiable to spend the extra money. I don't see how it's justifiable if the intent is specifically to buy a machine to run industrial design apps.

 

btw, on forums and in blog comments I often see an extraordinary number of people singing the praises of their Macs. In private, too many of the developers with which I sometimes work but with whom I'm constantly connected on Twitter complain of problems with their Macs. I say this now because I just saw this posted on Twitter by someone who was recently blogged on Core77's main page:

How much I would like it if my MBP laptop woke up when I opened it? And went to sleep when I closed it? Instead of the other way around?
It's not always sunshine and roses. Keep your priorities aligned.

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Guest Adam_Dell

Thanks everyone for the replies. It all helps to steer me in the right direction.

 

I was never a fan of Mac's while I was at Uni. I always prefered to use the PC's. I always found that the fact a Mac has a simpler system slightly frustrating at times. Not being able to do things like format a memory stick really annoyed me.

 

I suppose to anybody the cost is always going to be a factor. I mean, what's the point on spending £1900 on a Mac, when you can spend £1000 on a PC that can do all the same things and more. Sometimes I look at people who buy Macs and think did you buy it because it is better or because you've got caught up in the hype of the iPod and it looks nice.

 

The reason I asked though is because I've been away from the computer world so long, and because a lot of design people swear by a Mac so I wanted to see if there was something I was missing out on.

 

From what I've read so far there is no justification to spend so much more on a Mac than get a PC, and if anything, for running CAD software, which is my main reason for wanting a new PC in the first place, a PC would be the better option.

 

I'm used to Windows, I know how it works, I know my way around it and I've learnt a lot from trial and error (and google) over the past 5 or 6 years, that starting a fresh with a new OS seems a bit silly.

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Thanks everyone for the replies. It all helps to steer me in the right direction.

 

I was never a fan of Mac's while I was at Uni. I always prefered to use the PC's. I always found that the fact a Mac has a simpler system slightly frustrating at times. Not being able to do things like format a memory stick really annoyed me.

 

I suppose to anybody the cost is always going to be a factor. I mean, what's the point on spending £1900 on a Mac, when you can spend £1000 on a PC that can do all the same things and more. Sometimes I look at people who buy Macs and think did you buy it because it is better or because you've got caught up in the hype of the iPod and it looks nice.

 

The reason I asked though is because I've been away from the computer world so long, and because a lot of design people swear by a Mac so I wanted to see if there was something I was missing out on.

 

From what I've read so far there is no justification to spend so much more on a Mac than get a PC, and if anything, for running CAD software, which is my main reason for wanting a new PC in the first place, a PC would be the better option.

 

I'm used to Windows, I know how it works, I know my way around it and I've learnt a lot from trial and error (and google) over the past 5 or 6 years, that starting a fresh with a new OS seems a bit silly.

 

OSX is a great reason to switch - but for ID it really doesn't fit into the workflow very well, esp if you're CAD intensive. I'm sure if you grew up on Macs and needed to use one you could get away with Form-Z, Rhino, or some of the other software available. The portfolio is definately increasing, but it's still a limited subset of whats available on the PC.

 

But for graphic designers, video editing, photographers - the Mac is a great solution with software that you CAN'T get on a PC. (Final cut pro, etc)

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Guest uncy_chris

When I was starting my final year at Uni I decided to spend some inheritance money on a computer upgrade. At the time, I had a 3 year old desktop PC that was beginning to struggle to run the latest CAD packages and it had also become very faulty with regular crashes. With the final year looming, I thought it would be a good investment.

 

I had a couple of options: upgrade the PC again - add a new motherboard/Graphics Card/RAM and make do with a reasonably spec'd desktop PC, or alternatively buy a laptop and spend a bit more to get the added mobility along with performance. I opted to get a second hand, 6 month old MacBook Pro, with a great spec - Intel Core 2 Duo, 2.6ghz, 4gb ram, 8600gt, loads of pre-installed software, 3 year AppleCare warranty for £1400. If new, this would of cost somewhere around £2000.

 

Anyway, the decision to 'go Mac' has been a wise one. I haven't had a single crash, OSX works like a dream, especially if multitasking between CS4 programs. The whole user experience with my MBP aids productivity. Meanwhile Bootcamp allows me to run Solidworks/other CAD packages/Football Manager 09 (!!) with excellent performance. When I'm at home I simply connect it up to my old 19" monitor and I have dual screen functionality. Also it seems to have kept its value when I've checked ebay for current sale prices.

 

All in all, there's more to going Mac than simply having a flashy looking bit of kit. IMO the user friendly, crash-proof operating system makes life a hell of a lot less stressful. That coupled with the fact that CS4 was built by Mac users predominantly for Macs. And all Windows CAD software can now be run on Mac hardware.

 

This all makes having a Mac worth spending that bit extra.

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Guest csven

I have a hard time imagining what people are doing to their professional-level PC's such that they call out "smooth" and "crash-free" operation. I've never crashed XP Pro on this machine and can't recall either of the times I did crash an NT-based OS ... many years ago. The worst I've had happen in the last four years is the nVidia card fan went out, necessitating a replacement/upgrade.

 

And fwiw, I'd not trust a Mac or a PC with an ATI GPU to flawlessly and consistently run every Windows-based CAD application.

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I've worked in IT for years and Macs being "crash proof" is about as much of a myth as you can get.

 

The reason 95% of people have such instability problems with PC's is they wind up downloading massive amounts of spyware from surfing the net - an issue which has improved quite a bit in the present. The PC's I use are stable as a rock, even when dealing with massive CAD assemblys on a VERY slow machine.

 

I had a Macbook Pro and Mac Pro for a while at my job, and they were nice machines, but I still had plenty of Adobe stability issues back in the CS2 days. My issue isn't with people who want a Mac to use as a Mac. My issue is with buying a mac to soley run it as a PC.

 

So really it's about evaluating what you want and need, and then determining if a Mac is right for you. For most students entering school, I think the Mac is a great choice. Most of us who have been out of school will remember that 5+ years ago the cheapest laptop you could buy was in the $1500-2000 range. The idea of a $400 laptop was completely unheard of.

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