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Best Mac for graphic design: How to pick the right Apple computer for creative design work

Craig Grannell | Dec. 14, 2015
The Mac still finds favor with the majority of designers

Best Mac for 3D design work: Mac Pro

The Mac Pro is colossally expensive. At its cheapest, with no added extras, you're talking £2,499, for which you could buy two 21.5-inch 4K iMacs and still have change. But for certain kinds of work notably high-end 3D design you need all the power you can get, and the Mac Pro has that in spades.

Do be mindful of the small amount of internal storage (256 MB SSD) the unit is primarily designed to be used with external drives. And since the Mac Pro hasn't had a refresh in two years, it might be worth hanging on, if possible, to see what transpires update-wise in 2016.

Best Mac for designers on a budget: Mac mini

Realistically, any modern Mac is broadly suitable for the majority of design work it's just less powerful machines will slow you down. Any Mac is also an investment in your career, but if you're just starting and really can't afford to splash out on the more expensive fare recommended elsewhere, a Mac mini will do.

The low-end model is best avoided, but the mid-range Mac mini 2.6 GHz i5 with 16 GB of RAM will set you back £729. You can then add a perfectly decent third-party display from the likes of Dell for around £150. The advantage with this kind of system is its modularity should one component fail, you can replace just that part rather than everything.

Best Mac accessories for graphic designers

There are far too many specific accessories to recommend in a feature like this, and so we're going to offer some general tips.

Regardless of the Mac you buy, ergonomics should be a priority. Designers tend to burn the midnight oil, and that can wreck your back and neck if you don't have a decent working position. Get a good chair, and ensure your eye meets a point roughly a third of the way down your display. If using a notebook, do not sit hunched over it for hours consider buying a separate display, keyboard and pointer device when working in an office.

Alternate input devices are worth checking out. Apple's Magic Trackpad 2 is fine for the occasional bit of doodling, but really you want a stylus-based tablet system for drawing. Even the smaller consumer-oriented Wacom tablets are fine as a starting point an A6 will be small enough to use alongside a keyboard, and can also double as a general pointing device, enabling you to 'snap' the cursor across a large display (rather than mouse or trackpad 'scrubbing'). For illustrators, though, a larger tablet will be more beneficial in terms of precision and responsiveness.


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