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Graphic Design student looking for computer advice

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  • Graphic Design student looking for computer advice

    I'm in the second year of my Graphic Design degree at college and I'm at the point where I'm thinking about buying a computer to use whenever I'm not on campus.

    I'm wanting to eventually get into Motion Graphics and/or web design. I know that these paths require stronger specs in the computer you use. My school uses Macs, and I enjoy them. However, I know that Macs aren't the superior platform anymore. If anything, both OS are equal in terms of running creative software. I also don't know if I can justify the price of Apple products in regard to their specs when I can get a Windows based pc for much less.

    That being said, I have a few questions.

    - As a student, do I absolutely NEED a laptop, or can I get by with a desktop? Desktops are much less expensive and provide more bang for your buck.
    - Mac or Windows: what is your opinion?
    - If I were to build a desktop Windows pc now and buy a Macbook Pro later on, would they be compatible with each other?
    - Do you have any recommendations on what specs I should look for, or what laptops are the best in the business?
    - I enjoy gaming in my free time. Are there any builds I should look at that would allow me to do both schoolwork and game?

    Any and all advice would be extremely appreciated. I've been at the research game for a long time now, and I just can't seem to make a final decision. Thank you!

  • #2
    - As a student, do I absolutely NEED a laptop, or can I get by with a desktop? Desktops are much less expensive and provide more bang for your buck.
    As a student you don't have a need for a laptop. In two years you will no longer be a student. Will you buy a new laptop then if you need one to interface with the Real World of design?

    - Mac or Windows: what is your opinion?
    This is a dead horse. Whatever system you pick should be the one you will enjoy maintaining. Be aware that some software only works on one platform or the other. Apple products are not as bullet proof as made out to be and Windows is not as simple to maintain. Each has its pluses and minuses.

    - If I were to build a desktop Windows pc now and buy a Macbook Pro later on, would they be compatible with each other?
    Fonts are sometimes not compatible. Kerning pairs, tracking and word wrap issues can and do occur when crossing platforms. Again, not all programs are available for both OS systems and while Adobe crossovers are easy, crossing over a different software may require having two different licenses.

    - Do you have any recommendations on what specs I should look for, or what laptops are the best in the business?
    For motion graphics, you want to get the largest hard drive you can afford (I'd recommend a Terabyte size drive), with as much ram as you can afford (16+gigs) and the fastest processor you can afford. I believe B here uses just a standard MacBook with ram maxed out without any issues. I use a Macbook when working from home for large format stuff without any issues either but I have a free and clear hard drive, not cluttered with junk.

    - I enjoy gaming in my free time. Are there any builds I should look at that would allow me to do both schoolwork and game?
    Speaking of junk...
    Games, music, videos, kittycat downloads...all that junk takes up disk space and creates opportunities for ''glitch'' issues. For schoolwork and games sure. For Real World work, be very very sure if you use the same machine you work on to play games or surf iffy sites, that you back up externally religiously. Your livelihood depends on that machine working.

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    • #3
      I've noticed some jobs require you have experience using Mac, I've seen this requirement made clear in several job postings throughout the years. As long as you've used Macs in school and know how they work , you should be good.

      Personally, I would go PC route and definitely go desktop if you don't feel the need for a laptop. I'm not a specs pro but the more money you spend on your desktop tower the better specs you're going to get.

      Well, as long as it's not Alienware, I've heard those are way overpriced. They do look cool though....

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      • #4
        Hi Aaron and welcome to GDF.

        We ask all new members to read very important links here and here. These explain the rules, how the forum runs and a few inside jokes. No, you haven't done anything wrong, we ask every new member to read them. Your first few posts will be moderated, so don't panic if they don't show up immediately. Enjoy your stay.
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