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Ask Max: iMac 24" or Mac Pro?

Asked on 10/09/2006:

Hello, I am a graphic designer that needs some advice on what Mac to upgrade to.I currently have a mirrored door 1.25 GHz Power PC G4 with 1.25 GB of RAM.I just got a new job working for a magazine and I am dealing with huge files (898 MB pdf magazine file!!) and my computer is choking, or maybe I'm just impatient, but I'm tired of the spinning beach ball of death! I'd like to stay under $3,000 if possible.I am torn between a 24" iMac or just going for the G5 intel tower (tower doesn't come with a monitor though, so I'd have to tack on $300 for a new one). As you probably know most designers don't make the big bucks, we just love what we do, so I'd like this machine to last me a few years.I am also a bit concerned about how fast the Adobe CS 2 Suite runs on the Intels? It has to be faster than what I am dealing with (my G4)??So any advice you have would be greatly appreciated. Will the iMac be enough for me? Or do I break down and get the tower???Please advise this poor graphic designer!!Thanks so much in advance.


You are in the space between the Mac Pro and the iMac user. The 24" iMac will handle most of your needs now, but with very little room to expand. Both are going to handle your Adobe programs at faster speeds than the dual G4. Both would require a least two gigs of RAM, but the iMac maxes out at 3 Gbs, so if your files get bigger you will be up against a wall again. You will have to get the VRAM upgraded in the iMac to 256MB but the 24" iMac will let you change the graphics card down the road. Of course, by then you are probably going to want a new system anyway.For the money I think you will be happy with the iMac for now and just plan on upgrading in two to three years to a Pro system. You can trade in the iMac towards the Mac Pro later on and get the big system when you have the money in the bank. For now up the hard drive size, RAM, and VRAM in the iMac.

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