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Best Mac for graphic design

Mark Hattersley | June 4, 2013
What is the best Mac for graphic design and layout? It's a question many of our readers ask. Apple Mac OS X computers are especially useful for designers, and many creative professionals need to invest in the latest Mac hardware.

Graphic design on a MacBook Pro with Retina Display: Best for detail
The extremely high resolution of the MacBook Pro with Retina Display ensures that you can do high quality work on the move. We'd advise the 15-inch 2.4GHz with Retina Display model (£1,799) if you're a professional. It has a fast 2.4GHz Intel i7 processor, 8GB RAM, 256GB Flash storage, 1GB super fast GDDR5 RAM, and a discreet NVIDIA Graphics card. It'll blaze through most design task and the display will be amazing for detailed graphic and text work.

The only downside is the slightly limited Flash storage, so you'll probably need to pick up a decent external hard drive.

Graphic design on a Mac mini: Best for print workers
Print workers will find the power packed into the latest generation of Mac minis more than enough, and the small footprint will leave plenty of space on your desk for a huge monitor. We'd advise the 2.3GHz Intel i7 model (£679) with an 8GB RAM upgrade (+£80).

If you're really going all out on a professional display we recommend the NEC SpectraView Reference 271 (£1,859). It makes more sense to spend on the display not the Apple Mac.

We understand that spending almost £2,000 on a display (as well as £700 on a Mac) may be a little much for some designers, so take a look at our display reviews to see if there's a model that suits you.

Graphic design on a iMac: Best for large screen
The iMac has a huge 27-inch IPS display that makes all the difference to a designer (as long as they're not bothered about the 'glossy' nature of the display). If you work in digital, web or video design then this is the Mac to get.

We'd advise the 27-inch 2.9GHz model (£1,499) with 8GB RAM, 1TB Hard Drive, and the discreet NVIDIA graphics card. This offers plenty of power to the graphic designer plus lots of hard drive space and a huge display.

Graphic Design on a Mac Pro: Best for 3D power
It's not on sale in the UK at the moment, so it's a bit cheeky mentioning the Mac Pro. Howerver, if you're closely working in 3D or 3D animation then you really do need all the power you can get. In this instance we'd advise you to wait and see if Apple introduces a new Mac Pro this June at the WWDC.

If you really can't wait then either pick up an old Mac Pro, or go for a top of the line iMac. You can pick up a 27-inch iMac 3.2GHz (£1,699) and take the processor up to 3.4Ghz (+£160). You might want to also consider taking the RAM up to 16GB (+£160). It's a grand total of £2,018.99 placing it in entrance of the Mac Pro territory, and it has plenty of grunt. If you can afford it we suggest a 1TB Fusion drive while you're at it (+£200).

 

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