Blog of a Mature Graphic Design Student

The Graphic Designers’ Choice – Apple or Windows?

I’m not going to post about how one is superior to the other or how you should buy an Apple Mac or Windows PC. This is about my personal experience in choosing one over the other.

Stand out from the Crowd – the Graphic Designers’ Dream

In my opinion and many others too, Apple have been innovative. The original iMac casing, regardless of any tech inside it, stood out from the traditional boring beige PCs. Bright, colourful and fun looking.

Graphic Designers and other creatives do like things to be well designed, we have an eye for things that just have that certain style. A little something different, a cut above the rest. If nothing else the look of Apple’s range of computers has generally been a cut above other manufactures.

Apple were ahead of the game – removing floppy drives and then CD/DVD drives. They saw the future coming. Their lamp style design for their iMac G4 really did stand out. I wanted one, I really wanted one and still do. I remember it being launched and it was just so different looking from anything else on sale in the computer market,

Apple iMac G4

Apple iMac G4

Even the processors were different, Motorola made the G range of CPUs which went inside Apple Macs. Consumer Windows based PCs were either Intel or AMD powered like they are today. The G5 was the fastest processor at the time, or so Apple claimed.

Because of this difference Apple computers could not run Windows, however things would change when in 2005 Apple announced they would switch to Intel processors. New Apples, with Intel CPUs, could run both Mac OS and Windows. This brings me nicely on to the next point.

Macs are PCs

I have tried to avoid using the phrase Mac v PC because Apple Macs are PCs. PC does not mean Windows, it stands for Personal Computer. I have had PCs which have run Ubuntu (a version of Linux) with no Microsoft Windows in sight, they were still PCs regardless of the OS (operating system). However, most will refer to Apple PCs as Macs and Windows PCs as PCs.

But since Apple switched to Intel processors I think this terminology is even less relevant. An Apple PC can run Windows should you choose. It is also possible to run Mac OS on a “PC”, http://www.macworld.co.uk/how-to/mac-software/how-to-install-macos-on-pc-3632329/ but it does go against Apple’s licensing terms.

So I think it comes down to finer points between the two and I will touch on those.

Small Differences – Does Apple have the Edge for Graphic Design work?

As mentioned you can legally run both Windows and Mac OS on an Apple – if wanted you can dual boot and have both a copy of Windows and Mac OS installed. You have may reasons for needing Mac OS installed such as wanting to run Final Cut Pro.

You may simply prefer one OS over the other. Having used both Mac OS and Windows I can’t honestly say that running Photoshop, Illustrator or InDesign has been much different on either OS. And this is one of the most important points for me. If you are a Graphic Designer you can design on either – it does not effect your ability to design a logo, poster or whatever it is you are designing. If you are a good Graphic Designer you are a good Graphic Designer regardless of the computer you are working on. Switching to Windows is not going to make you have a sudden liking for Comic Sans or Helvetica*. Some Graphic Designers will prefer Mac OS, some will prefer Windows but I think it comes down to just that – preference. I don’t think there is enough difference between the current versions of the Mac and Windows Operating Systems to make the user experience significantly better or worse for either OS.

But Apples Look Better

This is something often said – Apples look better, they have more style, they ooze a certain something. Having something that reflects you as a designer sat on your desk will certainly make a positive impression to clients. But I don’t think Apple Mac really are that more stylish that their “PC” cousins. Times have changed, technology has move on. If you want to get a stylish looking PC you can, they are not beige boxes any more. In fact there are a multitude of options out there, much so than with Apple.

iMac

iMac – Sitting Pretty?

The current range of iMacs, in my opinion, don’t have the same wow factor that the original ones did – they lack that something special. I think Apple has dropped the ball, they have lost their way and I don’t think they are ahead of the game like they once were.

This brings me onto…

Price – Value of Money for a Graphic Designer

I’m not going to compare a budget PC with a high-end Apple because that is unfair. However, if you take the specifications of say a mid-range iMac, like I did, I came out with a price of around £1700. I can purchase a higher specification machine for less if I buy a Windows PC. When adding a 4k monitor to that it still comes out less than the iMac I considered buying.

Quick run down of specs here:

Apple iMac 21.5″ with 4k Display

  • Processor: 3.6GHz quad-core 7th-generation Intel Core i7, Turbo Boost up to 4.2GHz
  • RAM: 16 GB DDR4
  • Graphic Card: Radeon Pro 555 with 2GB
  • Storage: 1TB Fusion Drive (32 GB of which is SSD)
  • £1,789.00

HP OMEN 870-216na

  • Processor: Intel® Core™ i7-7700 Processor- Quad-core- 3.6 GHz / 4.2 GHz (Turbo Boost)- 8 MB cache
  • RAM: 16 GB DDR5
  • Graphics card: NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1060 (3 GB GDDR5)
  • Storage – 2 TB HDD, 7200 rpm- 256 GB SSD
  • £1199.99 + £299.99 for an AOC 28″ 4k Monitor = £1499.98

This is just one example but I think it is a good example of the price difference.

And that for me is what put me off an Apple. It is one thing to pay £1700 for a high spec PC, any PC regardless of OS, but if you have two £1700 PCs next to each other and one has a faster processor, larger hard drive, better graphic card and generally all round better specifications which do you pick?

I can’t say that Apple offers me enough to make me want to buy one. Yes if the specification was higher, yes it they offered something significantly better or different but as it stands I just can’t justify buying an Apple PC. They don’t, in my opinion, offer value for money.

Samsung Laptop

Samsung Laptop

Even it the Apple would look more stylish on my desk, so what? I want to be able to create well designed pieces on screen and I want a computer that is capable of doing that – regardless of looks. I will not go with style over substance.

References/Further Reading:

http://www.macworld.com/article/2042702/ten-years-in-the-shadow-of-the-power-mac-g5.html

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/IMac_G4

https://creativepro.com/is-mac-or-pc-better-for-graphic-designers/

*I will save that for another article.

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