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Ask Max: Will an iMac work for heavy graphic work?

Asked on 05/05/2009:


I work in graphics, especially large (50 -150 MB) RAW files. I also teach other graphics programs to serious pixel pushers.

I have been using a G5 dual 2.3 GHZ with 4 gigs of RAM. Adobe now requires an Intel chip, etc for its products. The only Intel I can afford is an iMac. The most recent ones - the most powerful - have what Adobe considers minimum requirements. I've never used an iMac before. Would I be dooming myself to a life of slowness or other problems if I purchase this computer for heavy graphics work?

Thanks in advance,



I have long felt that the iMac was a good alternative to the full-blown Mac Pro workstation. I do believe this still to be the case, but I do not want to mislead you into thinking it will be a limitless computer. The iMac will constrain some of your capabilities. It would not be an ideal computer for HD Video or After Effects work on the production level. The iMac will certainly handle most graphic design work but so to would your G5. The new CS4 requires an Intel chip due to only half the software included in the bundle. Photoshop and Illustrator, for example, will work on a dual G5 processor system.

If you are looking to focus on 2D still graphics, with some light instructional video demonstrations, then the iMac should work well for you. Bump up the RAM and hard drive on the 24" iMac and you should have decent machine. You should also pick up a DVI to mini-DVI adapter to use your current DVI display as a second monitor on the iMac.

Hope that helps,


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