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Photography Question 
Jenny Arndt
 

What configuration Mac for CS4?


I am looking to buy a mac computer and a computer screen to use for professional photography (in photography school now). Currently, I have a pre-intel chip G5 and it is too slow. I do have an up to date laptop, but the screen is too small or serious editing.
Looking at the Mac Pros, I am confounded by all of the computer-ese and just want a recipe! (I have enough to learn!) What exactly is necessary to work Photoshop CS4 and Lightroom 2, for the least amount of money of course. I am willing to look on Craigslist, etc. for older versions if they are sufficient and for non-mac screens - I heard Eizo is best, matte, --are others ok? Size? Help! : )
Jenny


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12/12/2008 9:58:01 AM

 
Oliver Anderson
BetterPhoto Member Since: 11/16/2004
  I would head over to an Apple store and talk to them, you need a great monitor, solid reliable machine and acceptable OS. You won't get that used for sure...if you're gonna be Professional you'll need it anyways and the warranty is important.


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12/12/2008 10:52:52 AM

 
Jenny Arndt   Hi Oliver
I have already asked there. The issue is that Mac employees don't necessarily know about CS4 and its requirements. I emailed adobe and they wanted to know my budget. I hope to do it the other way around---what is the minimum system that will allow CS4 to function fully and well. B&H has some pre-configured systems...
Thanks


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12/12/2008 3:59:49 PM

 
Oliver Anderson
BetterPhoto Member Since: 11/16/2004
  I just bought a new desktop and next week get my new laptop (all Dell XPS). the desktop is 8GB with quad core. I'd get at least a core 2 duo with 4GB 120Ram. My monitors all rock so the images look sick...clients always comment on the clarity. Look at Adobe's site for minimums then buy more than that...my laptops 6GB with Core2Duo 320GB monitor is 1920x1280. since I travel and shoot in crazy locations my laptops only last 2yrs max...I get them replaced with the warranty.


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12/12/2008 4:36:12 PM

 
Richard Lynch
BetterPhoto Member Since: 6/12/2005
  Jenny,
Regretfully there will not be a recipe until you make one. Preference plays a part, but so does process and experience. Personally I would not recommend correcting/working with images on a laptop, but that is because of the weight I place on lighting conditions on the monitor. The desktop I use for serious correction is in a room without windows where the lighting never changes. I have a Mac with a 30" Cinema Display, only changing over from CRT monitors within the past year.

You will not want to get the 'minimum' requirements for CS4, unless you want minimum performance. 'Minimum' in the software world means it will run, but perhaps not optimally. My system may be a little over-kill for some, as I run 2 operating systems to aid in teaching courses and writing books. I have some suggestions in a blog I wrote a bit over a year ago just before I started looking into new purchases for myself: Building the Ultimate Image Editing Computer. But even since just a year ago my ultimate system has been updated. On the desktop I have 9GB of RAM, 2TB of storage (1TB internal on 4 drives, and 1 TB external backup). I use a RAID, large trackball (instead of a mouse), and went with what I still feel is the best monitor. Though they say you can't get Apple computers for less, my system priced out at $8500 on the Apple site, and I ended up paying $4200 -- the largest chunk of that being the monitor. Apple wanted about $2600 for 8GB of RAM at the time and I got the same stuff for $300. Similarly I wantd 4 internal 250GB harddrives, and Apple wanted some obscene amount. I got them for 25% of the Apple cost and the drives were exactly the same as the one that came with the machine. You can save lots by shopping around but be sure of what you are getting.

"Ultimate" is different things to different people...Check the Adobe site for system requirements for Photoshop. Don't ever buy from a salesman that asks what you have to spend, as that is what you will spend.

I hope that helps!

Richard


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12/14/2008 9:24:27 AM

 
Carlton Ward
BetterPhoto Member Since: 12/13/2005
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carltonwardphoto.com
  Hi Jenny,
I bought a 24" IMAC with 2.4Ghz Intel DuoCore processor and 2GB RAM which is enough RAM for a MAC (unlike running Vista). I run CS3, bridge, Corel Painter w/Wacom tablet with no problems. The 24" is around $1799 but I paid about $1500 (as an open box item) at Best Buy. Like Richard, I keep my room dark and monitor calibrated. I use (2) 750GB Iomega hard drives and download photos with a Sandisk Firewire CF card reader and it will dowload an 8GB card in about 6 minutes.
Eizo Monitors are very nice and very expensive. I am happy with my IMAC monitor.
My system runs fast and is a real joy to use. I think for the price & performance, it is hard to beat.
Have fun with your new computer Jenny,
Carlton


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12/14/2008 11:41:19 AM

 
Richard Lynch
BetterPhoto Member Since: 6/12/2005
  The iMacs are really a very nice, inexpensive way to go (for Mac). The screens I used with iMacs are the reason I was confident getting the 30" Cinema Display.

Richard Lynch


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12/14/2008 11:48:55 AM

 
Jenny Arndt   Thanks everyone!
I will study the matter some more, referencing your systems. It is very helpful.
The only new factor in the equation is the prospect of a new chip from Mac come February (rumored by some). I bought my current computer literally one month before the Intel chip Macs came out and don't want to repeat that mistake.
Richard--is there a reason to go to 30 inches instead of 24? As a committed beginner, I am hesitant to spend that much money. On the other hand, I believe in getting the right equipment if you can to avoid kicking yourself every time you do a project.
Again, I appreciate everyone's thoughts!
Jenny


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12/14/2008 5:44:45 PM

 
Richard Lynch
BetterPhoto Member Since: 6/12/2005
  30 instead of 24 can be chalked up to being in digital imaging for 20 years with 17 or so of those as a Photoshop professional. The 24" screen is plenty big for most people, but I was used to working on 2 19" monitors side-by-side...the 30" approximated that size, and because of what I do I can justify the cost.

I would never tell anyone they needed a 30" screen. However, as I have one, I wouldn't be without it.

Richard Lynch


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12/14/2008 11:31:32 PM

 
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