What spec Mac would you suggest?

KBM

New Member
My poor old Imac late 2015 is starting to struggle, Bir Sur is causing a spinning wheel of death at regular intervals and I am losing the will to live. It is about time I upgraded and I wondered what people would suggest.
I tend to work predominately in Illustrator and Photoshop as my work of late is more illustrative, but I am looking to retrain myself in Indesign too after many years away from it. I tend to flick between Illustrator and Photoshop when i'm working so its got to be able to run two Adobe programmes at once, i'm predominately print based and working in 300dpi or larger generally. I am also looking to work more within fashion graphics so large repeating vector patterns for textiles, detailled photoshop renders and scans of drawings and intricate apparel print based graphics.

Would the following work for me?
  • Apple M1 chip with 8-core CPU with 4 performance cores and 4 efficiency cores, 7-core GPU and 16-core Neural Engine
  • 16GB unified memory
  • 512GB SSD storage
This is stretching the limits of what I can afford so I am hoping so. I do struggle with the techy side of what this all means.

Many Thanks :)
 

Levi

Moderator
Staff member
Apples WWDC is being held between June 6th and June 10th. I'd wait to see what's being announced there before worrying over stuff. Would the specs you listed work, yes, would they be the best option overall, not imo, I'd want 8-core gpu if nothing else but then your specs don't really match anything specific.... so what is it you're looking at and what sort of budget?

The thing with macs is that there isn't really much 'choice' when it comes to specs... it's basically what you can afford in your budget from either apple direct, their refurb store or if you're lucky somewhere that might have an occasional £50-100 off.
 
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KBM

New Member
Apples WWDC is being held between June 6th and June 10th. I'd wait to see what's being announced there before worrying over stuff. Would the specs you listed work, yes, would they be the best option overall, not imo, I'd want 8-core gpu if nothing else but then your specs don't really match anything specific.... so what is it you're looking at and what sort of budget?

The thing with macs is that there isn't really much 'choice' when it comes to specs... it's basically what you can afford in your budget from either apple direct, their refurb store or if you're lucky somewhere that might have an occasional £50-100 off.
Thank you I don’t really know the specs all that well, still learning. Looking to get an IMac certainly and around 1600 mark so have been looking at the M1 model. What is it that makes 8 core GPU preferable? Thanks :)
 

Levi

Moderator
Staff member
Thank you I don’t really know the specs all that well, still learning. Looking to get an IMac certainly and around 1600 mark so have been looking at the M1 model. What is it that makes 8 core GPU preferable? Thanks :)
As to the 8 core gpu, the 7 has been found to be a little weak and considering os-x is going to utilise the gpu for some things you want the best gpu you can get for you money.

Would you be open to a mac mini and a display, it might actually be a better option overall?
You could get an Apple M1 chip with 8‑core CPU, 8‑core GPU and 16‑core Neural Engine, 16GB unified memory and 512GB SSD storage for £1099, leaving £500 for an adjustable display, keyboard and mouse of your choice.
 
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hankscorpio

Moderator
Staff member
I'll give my usual advice and buy a PC for hair the price and better specs.

That's just me.
Mac's are expensive and not upgradable. When you buy that's it. If you are then buy the best model you can afford.

For me, complete water of money.
 
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KBM

New Member
Thanks for the advice thus far folks, appreciated. Macs are expensive but I find most commonly used in studios where I apply and want to keep my skills up to date.
 

hankscorpio

Moderator
Staff member
Thanks for the advice thus far folks, appreciated. Macs are expensive but I find most commonly used in studios where I apply and want to keep my skills up to date.
There's no difference in the software or how it works. Illustrator and Photoshop and InDesign work the exact same way.
I work on both PC and Mac and I'll probably never buy another Mac in my life.

There's ZERO advantage to working on a Mac vs a PC.

If you want portability and great battery life - you cannot probably get better than the Mac - but if you're desk based and plugged in most of the time - or maybe it's not a laptop but a desktop you're after... I don't know.

From your description of the work you're carrying out - the Photoshop side of things caught my attention.
You'd really want at least a 1TB or even 2TB hard drive for Photoshop work, especially for print at 300 ppi - a larger scratch disk would be better.

From what you describe it's a Macbook Air - with 512gb of storage -nowhere near enough for high resolution graphics or scratch disk size for Photoshop especially if you want to go between applications.


I will say - for £1,000 a MacBook Air looks good on paper - but it's a 13 inch screen. Tiny.
And it won't be up to the tasks your setting it.
For that price you can get a better computer - that has upgradable parts.


------------
What is your budget here? What is the exact computer you're looking at?


-----------

I will echo again - there is no difference in the software - it works the exact same way.
 

KBM

New Member
There's no difference in the software or how it works. Illustrator and Photoshop and InDesign work the exact same way.
I work on both PC and Mac and I'll probably never buy another Mac in my life.

There's ZERO advantage to working on a Mac vs a PC.

If you want portability and great battery life - you cannot probably get better than the Mac - but if you're desk based and plugged in most of the time - or maybe it's not a laptop but a desktop you're after... I don't know.

From your description of the work you're carrying out - the Photoshop side of things caught my attention.
You'd really want at least a 1TB or even 2TB hard drive for Photoshop work, especially for print at 300 ppi - a larger scratch disk would be better.

From what you describe it's a Macbook Air - with 512gb of storage -nowhere near enough for high resolution graphics or scratch disk size for Photoshop especially if you want to go between applications.


I will say - for £1,000 a MacBook Air looks good on paper - but it's a 13 inch screen. Tiny.
And it won't be up to the tasks your setting it.
For that price you can get a better computer - that has upgradable parts.


------------
What is your budget here? What is the exact computer you're looking at?


-----------

I will echo again - there is no difference in the software - it works the exact same way.
Thank you, it’d definitely be a desktop I would go for and budget circa 1600. Software works the same certainly, but like the interface of Mac, guess it’s down to what you’re used to. Agree on the screen size… had a 15” MacBook pro years ago and that gave me headaches at that scale.
I can’t afford 1TB of memory on an iMac so I will look at pc options too.
 

hankscorpio

Moderator
Staff member
To be fair - you can get an external drive for the Mac too.
If you're set on it then go for it. But I just like to advise that there's better options for cheaper.

I hate the Mac interface. I don't like the OS and I don't like the UI.
But that's personal preference.


---
If you are interested in PC Desktop this is not inclusive of the screen

You can use the link and customise to your taste.
But this would be on par if not better than a Mac with M1 chip.

Here's how the processor compares

It's very hard to compare the graphics cards as the Mac Benchmarks are skewed in favour.
But you can find unbiased benchmarks.

Case
PCS 6003B BLACK CASE
Processor (CPU)
Intel® Core™ i7 12-Core Processor i7-12700K (3.6GHz) 25MB Cache
Motherboard
ASUS® PRIME B660-PLUS D4 (DDR4, USB 3.2, 6Gb/s) - ARGB Ready!
Memory (RAM)
32GB Corsair VENGEANCE DDR4 2666MHz (2 x 16GB)
Graphics Card
12GB NVIDIA GEFORCE RTX 3060 - HDMI, DP, LHR
1st M.2 SSD Drive
2TB SAMSUNG 970 EVO PLUS M.2, PCIe NVMe (up to 3500MB/R, 3300MB/W)
Operating System
Windows 11 Home 64 Bit - inc. Single Licence [KUK-00003]
Warranty
3 Year Standard Warranty (1 Month Collect & Return, 1 Year Parts, 3 Year Labour)
Delivery
STANDARD INSURED DELIVERY TO UK MAINLAND (MON-FRI)
Build Time
Standard Build - Approximately 4 to 7 working days
Price: £1,675.00 including VAT and Delivery

Unique URL to re-configure: https://www.pcspecialist.ie/saved-configurations/intel-z690-pc/7JyjDy3SYn/


I know it's about 75 quid more - but I added the 2tb SSD - but you could go for less or more.
For example, you don't really need a super high end processor or graphics card.

You could cut back slightly on these.
 

laurenceblume

New Member
My poor old Imac late 2015 is starting to struggle, Bir Sur is causing a spinning wheel of death at regular intervals and I am losing the will to live. It is about time I upgraded and I wondered what people would suggest.
I tend to work predominately in Illustrator and Photoshop as my work of late is more illustrative, but I am looking to retrain myself in Indesign too after many years away from it. I tend to flick between Illustrator and Photoshop when i'm working so its got to be able to run two Adobe programmes at once, i'm predominately print based and working in 300dpi or larger generally. I am also looking to work more within fashion graphics so large repeating vector patterns for textiles, detailled photoshop renders and scans of drawings and intricate apparel print based graphics.

Would the following work for me?
  • Apple M1 chip with 8-core CPU with 4 performance cores and 4 efficiency cores, 7-core GPU and 16-core Neural Engine
  • 16GB unified memory
  • 512GB SSD storage
This is stretching the limits of what I can afford so I am hoping so. I do struggle with the techy side of what this all means.

Many Thanks :)
Annoyingly, Apple have pulled the 27" iMac from the new range, so you can't get a 27" screen which is what most designers like! If you had a 24" screen before, I'd but the M1 24" imac, which will make you happy in many ways.
If you need the bigger screen then you're on the M1 Mini (again - it absolutely rips through stuff), but you'll need a 27" or larger monitor to plug that into. Either you buy the Apple one (good camera and audio but expensive) or you buy a third party monitor which will probably require peripheral camera etc.
One more option. Use a Macbook and plug that into a big monitor. It's the way so many people work now - though I'm finding it emotionally hard to adapt to that idea. Convenient though - once you've got your system set up.
 

hankscorpio

Moderator
Staff member
Annoyingly, Apple have pulled the 27" iMac from the new range, so you can't get a 27" screen which is what most designers like! If you had a 24" screen before, I'd but the M1 24" imac, which will make you happy in many ways.
If you need the bigger screen then you're on the M1 Mini (again - it absolutely rips through stuff), but you'll need a 27" or larger monitor to plug that into. Either you buy the Apple one (good camera and audio but expensive) or you buy a third party monitor which will probably require peripheral camera etc.
One more option. Use a Macbook and plug that into a big monitor. It's the way so many people work now - though I'm finding it emotionally hard to adapt to that idea. Convenient though - once you've got your system set up.
All the 24 inch macs come with 8gb of RAM and a 512gb SSD at £1640.
That's not near good enough for production work.

You'd really want 32gb RAM - but that's not an option
And you'd really want over 1tb storage (especially for photoshop tasks)
Going to 16gb RAM and a 1tb drive puts you at over £2k - which is outside the OPs budget.

I've already pointed to a better computer than both of these in a Windows model that comes in at about £1640.

The Mac Mini is not good enough either.
It's too low spec.

You'd be looking at the Mac Studio - but this is also out of the OPs budget.

And 1.5k for a 27 inch monitor - Apple are rip-off artists.
 

laurenceblume

New Member
All the 24 inch macs come with 8gb of RAM and a 512gb SSD at £1640.
That's not near good enough for production work.

You'd really want 32gb RAM - but that's not an option
And you'd really want over 1tb storage (especially for photoshop tasks)
Going to 16gb RAM and a 1tb drive puts you at over £2k - which is outside the OPs budget.

I've already pointed to a better computer than both of these in a Windows model that comes in at about £1640.

The Mac Mini is not good enough either.
It's too low spec.

You'd be looking at the Mac Studio - but this is also out of the OPs budget.

And 1.5k for a 27 inch monitor - Apple are rip-off artists.
Dear Boy - The OP does not compile feature films or build VFX or anything else. S/he uses Illustrator and Photoshop for basic design and graphics. I am still going full tilt at these (as well as cutting some short videos0 using Adobe Cloud suite on a 2015 27" iMac with an i5 processor.
With the M1 processor, a 24" iMac could do all of the OP's work with its 8gigs without even being powered on :)

The Mac Mini with an M1 processor. Borrow one and try it. It's shockingly good. Absolutely shockingly so. Again, would completely deal with anything the OP is doing without a moment's thought.

As to all this Windows talk... if you're an Apple environment user, then you are. Phone/Laptop/Tablet...all Apple. You don't want some wannabe piece of Windows nonsense contaminating your life :)
 

hankscorpio

Moderator
Staff member
Dear Boy - The OP does not compile feature films or build VFX or anything else. S/he uses Illustrator and Photoshop for basic design and graphics. I am still going full tilt at these (as well as cutting some short videos0 using Adobe Cloud suite on a 2015 27" iMac with an i5 processor.
With the M1 processor, a 24" iMac could do all of the OP's work with its 8gigs without even being powered on :)

The Mac Mini with an M1 processor. Borrow one and try it. It's shockingly good. Absolutely shockingly so. Again, would completely deal with anything the OP is doing without a moment's thought.

As to all this Windows talk... if you're an Apple environment user, then you are. Phone/Laptop/Tablet...all Apple. You don't want some wannabe piece of Windows nonsense contaminating your life :)
I know what they want and what they need - I am fully versed in all of this.
I know what I'm talking about.

In fact, by your own description, the M1 processor is overkill for what they want. And it's the price that's the problem - not the hardware.
It's much more expensive to be where you need to be with Mac.

The M1 processor is as good as any other processor in that price range in terms of performance.
Did you even look at the benchmark of the processors I posted earlier???
There's nothing special about the Mac - the worst thing about them is they are un-upgradable. Which I find useless.

If you are in an Apple environment then I feel sorry for you being stuck in that ecosphere. I work seamlessly between Mac and Windows on a daily basis.

And windows is not nonsense - and it certainly not contaminating.

If you're hear to argue this stuff then you can find another forum - it won't fly here, there will be no Mac vs Window debate.

I'll end that discussion here - they are equal - and you can buy a Windows computer with better specs.
End of discussion.

Do not start it again.

The OP came here for advice, not biased opinion.
 

Levi

Moderator
Staff member

I'd change a few bits there, the 550w psu is going to be borderline and personally I'd grab 2x 1tb pcie ssd's (ideally gen 4, yours is gen3) and have one as the scratch disk. You could also probably drop down to a 12600K, I doubt the OP would miss those 2 cores.

Apple benchmarks are also very selective, while the m1 and m2 line are strong arm processors, along with specialised co-processors, they still can have issues if the software hasn't been updated etc.

As to the ram.... if 16GB was truely enough, why is the new apple m2 supporting up to 24GB of memory.... but then who am I to talk, I'm deciding if I want to add ANOTHER 64GB to my windows machine (3D work...)



Oh and laurence, that if you're an apple user you're ONLY an apple user is a load of crap (excuse language)... I, and I'd bet Hank too, can swap between os-x and windows when it comes to cross platform software without batting an eyelid, although my own hardware is firmly in the windows camp because one I prefer it and 2, os-x doesn't even run my software of choice....

If the OP wants to go with Windows let us know and we'll work that way too but as Hank said, the software you listed will work the same on both os-x and windows, allowing for the nuances of the operating systems (ctrl versus cmd for example).
 

laurenceblume

New Member
I know what they want and what they need - I am fully versed in all of this.
I know what I'm talking about.

In fact, by your own description, the M1 processor is overkill for what they want. And it's the price that's the problem - not the hardware.
It's much more expensive to be where you need to be with Mac.

The M1 processor is as good as any other processor in that price range in terms of performance.
Did you even look at the benchmark of the processors I posted earlier???
There's nothing special about the Mac - the worst thing about them is they are un-upgradable. Which I find useless.

If you are in an Apple environment then I feel sorry for you being stuck in that ecosphere. I work seamlessly between Mac and Windows on a daily basis.

And windows is not nonsense - and it certainly not contaminating.

If you're hear to argue this stuff then you can find another forum - it won't fly here, there will be no Mac vs Window debate.

I'll end that discussion here - they are equal - and you can buy a Windows computer with better specs.
End of discussion.

Do not start it again.

The OP came here for advice, not biased opinion.
I'll remove myself from the forum. I don't like being spoken to by you in that way.
 

Levi

Moderator
Staff member
I'll remove myself from the forum. I don't like being spoken to by you in that way.
Kind of an ironic comment considering the way you started your second post in this thread. It was, at least from my perspective, rather condescending....
 

laurenceblume

New Member
Look. Really. Don't bother. It's fine. This isn't a forum I need to be on! Sorry to have expressed an opinion that didn't fit with that of the other admin.
 
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