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Which Mac for My Photoshop Needs?

by jonezart / March 19, 2007 2:35 PM PDT

I'm using an old Mac Power PC to print high-res art prints. Not much memory or power, but its a real workhorse. It is getting pretty old, uses SCSI and I'm thinking of replacing it soon. I can do some Photoshop on it, color correcting mostly - I do the heavy work on a PC.

So, I would like to upgrade. I don't think I need anything too powerful, as I can continue working the way I do now... although I do I need reliability and some degree of processing power.

I don't have a lot of money, and would need to spend some of it on a decent display (I'm using an old 19" CRT, which is getting a bit wonky lately). I'm wondering if a Mac Book or Mac Mini would work for me.

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Both of those choices
by mrmacfixit Forum moderator / March 19, 2007 9:53 PM PDT

would provide more processing power than your current PPC machine.
However, why not consider one of the iMac machines, one with a 24" LCD screen, which would be head and shoulders above what you are currently using.
Anything you purchase will have way more processing power and memory than the existing.

Any new machine that you get will not have SCSI ports so if your current HI-Res printer is SCSI, it will need replacing. Unless, of course, you keep the old machine on your network as a print server.

Adobe has not yet released their Universal Binary version of Photoshop. Your new machine would (should) run your old version of PS quite well, faster than you are currently running it, but it will not be as fast as the new UB version which, they say, is due out shortly.


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Thank you!!
by jonezart / March 20, 2007 12:28 AM PDT
In reply to: Both of those choices

The printer is using an ethernet connection, so that's not a problem. I have some other SCSI devices, namely an old CD burner and Zip drive, both of which would be unnecessary with a new computer. The only regret would be the scanner, but that's replaceable, I rarely use that one anymore, anyway.

How tough is the iMac? How many years can I expect from it?

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Just a guess
by mrmacfixit Forum moderator / March 20, 2007 4:55 AM PDT
In reply to: Thank you!!

but you will probably get the same sort of time span with the iMac as you would with your old PPC.
iMacs, in this form factor, have only been around for a relatively short while.


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That old PPC
by jonezart / March 20, 2007 5:53 AM PDT
In reply to: Just a guess

is at least 10 years old!! Probably even older. I'm not sure, as I got it second-hand. The only thing that's been replaced in it is the RAM.

With the iMac, my biggest concern about longevity is how long the display will last.

Other concerns are about compatibility of programs (Photoshop 6 or 7 and possibly a couple others) and the print driver. I'm not sure how to ask my question about the print driver, though.

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Maybe not 10 years,
by mrmacfixit Forum moderator / March 20, 2007 8:52 AM PDT
In reply to: That old PPC

I have no idea how long the average life of an LCD display is. I do know that I have a 15" Apple Studio display that was built in 1998 and is still in daily use.
Any concerns about lifespan can be alleviated with the purchase of AppleCare which will cover all the parts on your machine.

How long does a CRT last? Some last for years and just slowly die. Others don't make it past the warranty period.

Photoshop 6 or 7 will run on your new machine, even though they were not written for the Intel processor in a Mac. They run under a piece of "invisible" software called Rosetta. On a new Mac, it will run much faster than you are currently used to.

The only way to find out about the printer driver is to ask. What is the make and model of the thing?


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Looking toward the future
by b|journalist / March 30, 2007 10:19 PM PDT
In reply to: That old PPC

I'd agree that the new Intel 24" iMac is well-suited to the task at hand. I'd start thinking in that direction. It sounds like that may be more than you wanted to spend, but you have to think about your time. If you can be more productive, the machine may pay for itself over the course of a couple of years.

Also, be careful when thinking about compatibility. Things are clipping along pretty fast in terms of software development right now. You need to think about future compatibility a few years down the road. The sooner you get on a forward leaning curve the more you'll be thanking yourself four yers from now.

I've been on a 20 iMac for just under 2 years now. It suffered some damage from a lightning strike that made it through good quality surge suppression equipment. There's been a little damage to the disply, and that means a motherboard replacement. We're talking $700 to $1000. Unfortunately, I passed up the opportunity to purchase Apple care, (which would have taken care of this) so I have to suffer with a slightly damaged computer. Opinions differ as whether it's worth fixing. Probably not.

The Mac techs tell me that the new Intel iMacs are much higher quality than the PPC iMacs. One just told me that he has yet to see a 24" iMac come through the door for service.

As far as printer drivers, if they are pre-OS X, you may not be able to carry them forward onto a new machine. Much to think about, but that's not bad. Make a plan for your business for the next 2 to 3 years and get on the curve.

Be careful to not get stuck in an outmoded method of thinking!

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