Building the Perfect Mac for my Sister! HELP!

I don't know anything about buying a MAC!!!

Regardless of my claim, on Friday, I have to help my sister, who is an online professor for Savannah College of Art and Design and freelance graphic designer for some really big names help her buy a mac to replace her big powerful mac we bought 6 years a go.

Help! Quad core? RAM?

I don't know! I need help!


Thank you for commenting and yes, I do need to give you more information. She is a graphic designer and will be running the full Adobe suite including Flash, Photoshop, all the biggies.

Additionally, as a prof at SCAD, she has to always upgrade and keep the latest version of everything on her computer. She already has a Mac Laptop and this thing has to be a work horse.

We were pricing this thing the other day and ended up at $8,000 (with school discount around $6K) — Now if she has to pay that, she just has to, however, she's starting out with her graphic design business and if she has to pay that much it really has to be a good reason.

So, consider that there is no budget but it sure would be nice not to get too high — consider she gets a 15-20% discount off of list price and once we get over $8K we're probably getting out of reach for her.

Does that help?

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Vicki Davis

Vicki Davis is a full-time classroom teacher and IT Director in Georgia, USA. She is Mom of three, wife of one, and loves talking about the wise, transformational use of technology for teaching and doing good in the world. She hosts the 10 Minute Teacher Podcast which interviews teachers around the world about remarkable classroom practices to inspire and help teachers. Vicki focuses on what unites us -- a quest for truly remarkable life-changing teaching and learning. The goal of her work is to provide actionable, encouraging, relevant ideas for teachers that are grounded in the truth and shared with love. Vicki has been teaching since 2002 and blogging since 2005. Vicki has spoken around the world to inspire and help teachers reach their students. She is passionate about helping every child find purpose, passion, and meaning in life with a lifelong commitment to the joy and responsibility of learning. If you talk to Vicki for very long, she will encourage you to "Relate to Educate" or "innovate like a turtle" or to be "a remarkable teacher." She loves to talk to teachers who love their students and are trying to do their best. Twitter is her favorite place to share and she loves to make homemade sourdough bread and cinnamon rolls and enjoys running half marathons with her sisters. You can usually find her laughing with her students or digging into a book.

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Alec Couros December 6, 2007 - 4:37 am

Mine’s a fully loaded Mac Pro, dual Quad-core, 16GB RAM, 3TB of HDD, Hardware RAID … pretty much everything … but it cost me something like $17,000 Canadian.

It all depends what she needs it for. A loaded iMac is fine for most, but a Mac Pro is really nice because it is much more customizable and expandable. But of course, if you go Mac Pro, you also have to consider the price of a monitor. It does get very pricy, quickly.

If we knew what she needed to do with it, what programs she’d like to use, I’d start from there. There first decision is whether or not she needs to go iMac or Mac Pro.

Mathew December 6, 2007 - 5:05 am

Why not get the best Mac she can afford. You want at least 2 gigs of ram.

Kelly December 6, 2007 - 6:17 am

It would help to know the budget you have to work with, but for the work she is doing I would recommend this configuration…
This system would allow for plenty of growth and upgrade options.


Kelly December 6, 2007 - 7:12 am

I forgot to mention that she can probably get better pricing than this through the college.

Chris Craft December 6, 2007 - 10:58 am

Hi Vicki!

If she’s going to be primarily working from home and never lugging it around, the Mac Pro is clearly the best bet. Naturally it’s the most expensive but also the most powerful. A good compromise would be the newest iMacs which are also quite powerful and are a bit of a space saver. Thr 24″ is a beautiful screen with lots of real estate to have several windows open with tools, color choosers, etc.

I love my macs!


Chris December 7, 2007 - 3:46 am

I suggest you sign-up at HardForum and leave a posted Q over there.

They will whip-up the best priced best configuration unit that can be had.

K12Geek December 8, 2007 - 7:57 pm

Whether you decide on an iMac or MacPro – GET AS MUCH RAM AS SHE CAN AFFORD.

If she’s doing mostly Photoshop, Illustrator, and InDesign work, a loaded iMac would probably certainly suffice.

However, if you want to do heavy-duty video, I’d opt for the MacPro – it is expandable in so many ways.

Just make sure you get enough RAM: 2 gigs minimum, 4 gigs would be better for her type of work.

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