2 Discussions on Pcs vs. Macs for Graphic Design

Pcs Vs Macs


2 Separate Opinions About the Argument of PCs vs. Macs for Graphic Design


PCs vs. Macs - Opinion #1


PC or Mac that is the question.  This seems to be the question many consumers are wondering these days.  Both PCs and Macs have their strong points as well as their weak points, but when it comes to designing, Mac is the clear winner.



Apple’s Macintosh system has been always known as the system of choice for anyone interested in anything to deal with movie editing, graphic design, image editing, and other multimedia forms.  One great reason for this is, the software that comes with the computer.  When you get a Mac, Apple makes it clear what they want you to do with your machine.  They give you many options for you to move forward in a multimedia format.  With their iLife software, this makes editing images, movies, and music a breeze.  Apple decided they wanted their platform more for “fun” than “work” a long time ago.  When designers use a Mac, they generally prefer the experience more than when using a PC for doing the same task.  This is because the Apple’s interface and OS is targeted towards users who want to design, edit, and have fun.  A problem in the past with Apple was that they were not as fast at what they needed to do, because they were not stacked with a good enough processor.  Speed is something many designers need, because they are paid by how fast they can or cannot do something.  Mac now has Intel chips, so this removes that problem entirely.



PCs - Personal Computers 

When you think of a PC, you generally think of a business computer.  Most corporations use PCs over Macs because it works well between other businesses.  They cannot only be used for creating pie charts though.  PCs and Macs have become more and more alike.  PCs have basically the same software available to them as Macs.  But as said previously, the experience and how everything is layed on a Mac makes it superior.  Now that you thought that I was going to be totally biased towards Mac, I will tell you something good.  If you were someone interested in 3D designing, I would then recommend using a PC.  This is because most 3D programs have not created versions for the Macintosh yet.  The two best 3D design programs in my mind, 3D Studio Max and Maya are not available on the Mac. 

Final Note 

Both PCs and Macs have their own-targeted audience, and Apple in my mind (and many others), is the #1 choice for designing.  PCs have their strong points in 3D editing, and even then, you can get Cinema 4D for the Mac.  If you are someone who wants to do editing using Adobe products, and Apple products, then you will want to get a Mac if you have the option. 

Author: Matthew Heidenreich


PC vs. Mac for Graphic Designing - Post article commentary from a dual PC/Mac user


Macs vs Pcs II 

For years, in my office, I have used a Mac for desktop publishing and design work (both web and graphic design). In my home, I have done similar work. The difference is, at home I use a PC. I also have the responsibility at home and at work for supporting both Macs and PCs.
After reading the article PC vs. Mac for Graphic Designing I felt the need, as a cross-user, to expand a rather simple article. It is easy to proclaim the Mac as winner in this type of contest because it is a claim that has been espoused for years. In truth however, most of the reasons which are normally given are strained and easy.

You will of course assume by the fact that I am writing this article, think that I am a PC troll trying to stir up trouble. So that you can read this in peace, let me assure you that this is not a Mac bashing article. I love both Macs and PCs. The author claims that Macs used to be slower than PCs but now they use Intel chips so they are fast now. The Macs previously used Power PC chips and this chip was by no means slow. There was an image problem because the Mhz number that went along with these chips was lower. Actual processing time for the most part was rarely any slower than Intel chips. This is in fact one of the reasons the Mac did well with the graphic design community in the earlier years, the Power PC chip for a long time did a much better job handling Photoshop rasterizing. Apple switching to the Intel chip nullified their one real hardware benefit that mattered. They could claim differences in the ability of this processor. There were good reasons for switching to the Intel chip - cost, the inability of Motorola and then IBM to keep up the speed increases that Apple needed, and their lack of leverage when negotiating with those same two companies because of the low numbers of systems being sold.

On the other hand, even though the Mac is using off the shelf parts now, they don’t allow users to have the same flexibility when upgrading their Mac that PC users often have. Apple does this so that they can control what systems their Mac OS can go on. This does however act as a huge limit on users that want to extend the life of their systems and of course excludes people who want to build a system from scratch.  As a user with technical knowledge, this is one of the reasons I use a PC at home, I was able to create the exact system I need for what I do. Whenever those needs change in a significant way, I can change my system so it continues to do what I need.

The Mac however is a very strong choice for the user who doesn’t have a strong technical background or the user who doesn’t want to deal with this kind of thinking. On its surface it is easier to work with. You can do quite a bit with little knowledge. Then you can do a lot more if you take the time to learn the Unix that the OS is built on. It’s the middle ground where the PC excels for a user. If you want to put in some work to learning about the workings of the OS and the hardware, but not quite the effort to run a Unix box, the PC is a very happy medium for designers and non-designers.

Software: Almost every piece of professional design software is now owned by Adobe (I will miss Macromedia). Adobe has very strong support for the PC in all of its software. I have always found the whole Adobe suite to work equally well in Mac and PC land.  I do lean towards the Mac for print design however. The main reason for this is font standardization. Since so many graphic designers and printers use Macs and so few use Opentype fonts (which are cross platform) it is just easier to use a Mac so you don’t have font conflicts. If you will be delivering a PDF as your final document to a printer and other users aren’t using your document it makes no difference from an application standpoint what platform you work on. If you are doing web design, I have generally found Dreamweaver to be a little peppier on my PC and the fonts don’t matter a whole lot. I have not done benchmarks on this though and it could be a matter of perception.

What I tried to do in this rebuttal was to just try and move away from the usual talking points. There are good reasons to choose either a PC or Mac for your design work. Most, however, have to do with technical experience and personal preference, for instance a PC does take up more time to maintain and keep safe (but these are just the issues that everyone always brings up). From a speed and software angle there is really very little difference anymore.


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  1. Chris
    Posted July 12, 2007 at 8:11 am | Permalink

    To Mac or not to Mac that is the question. One that I personally have tangled with for years. Its not just a choice of hardware its a junction in life that once the roads is chosen. The path back may never be found.

    I love the easy way that the pc can be build and altered. The available hardware and software make the PC the most versitle or the two.

    The mac is the design beast and truely thinks like a designer. Its also based on a unix type operating systems which is a million miles better then windows will ever be. But with windows its your friend that has taken most of us down the path of IT. Our knowledge is centred on the windows maze and to relearn the web of options in the Mac feels like going back to school all over again.

    Lets not forget the one button mouse. Yes the mouse only has one eye, its weird.

    So go to the Mac sie if you like but be worned. Its a life choice that should be considered ver carefully.

    I would suggest that the faint stick to what they know. As for the rest of us we should stick to a PC and BUY A POWERBOOK!!!!!! they are lovely.

  2. Michelle Mcrae
    Posted March 7, 2008 at 12:35 am | Permalink

    Hi there! just reading up on your info on PC’s V’s MAC’S, I am currently studying IT at Charles Darwin University Australia. I am 40 years old and computer illiterate so to speak, so decided to throw my job in and go back to study, I am enjoying it thoroughly. We have many assessments to do and one I am currently doing is on Supplying Hardware Peripherals to a Graphic Design Studio, with 3 budgets - $5,000, $10,000 and an unlimited budget! So with the unlimited budget I wanted to go Apple Mac (my lecturer hates them, but with the research I have been doing, a lot of the Graphic Designers still prefer them!) Any suggestions here would be welcomed immensely! thanking you Michelle.

  3. Brad
    Posted March 11, 2008 at 2:51 pm | Permalink

    Hi There, THE BIG QUESTION? I don’t actually know to be honest which is technically better.
    BUT… I have used a Mac for graphic design for 7 years now and never had any viruses, a few crashes here and there and a harddrive die on an old G3 but nothing else.
    If you are looking for a super sexy looking computer go with the mac. The cool thing about PC’s that you can customize your look very easily! Oh and Apple has multi-button mouses now (still looks like one though) and even put a neat little scroll button too. I find macs a lot easier to use, they seem basic and user friendly to do almost anything.
    I play computer games and although I love Macs to the death, this is where they lack support. I have Halo 1 on my mac at the moment and have been waiting for Halo 3 to come out but will be waiting for quite awhile.
    Another point my Mac laptop set me back about $4,500, I could have gotten a PC for half that.
    In the end once you choose one it is hard to go back indeed, I think I need to buy a PC for gaming :) Cheers Brad

  4. Nick Burkwit
    Posted May 28, 2008 at 9:51 am | Permalink

    Hi, I am a high school student in Electronic art courses and plan to go into graphic design or a similar field once I attend college. This summer I realize I will have to purchase a laptop and some programs like Photoshop, illustrator, painter, and a few others. Unfortunately I am at a loss for which system to choose, I obviously want to use the computer for artistic purposes which makes me want to lean towards a make based upon what I have read here. The only problem is I am unfamiliar with Apple and Macintosh and would prefer to stay with the PC if I can. In addition I don’t necessarily have very deep pockets in terms of money (I’m still in high school remember). Lastly, I have already learned many of these programs in school using Windows. So I find myself at a crossroads with the question: do I switch to a Mac because it’s better for design? Or stay with PC because it’s familiar? And does the System REALLY matter? Jesus-Tap-dancing-Christ someone please help!

  5. Nick Burkwit
    Posted May 28, 2008 at 9:52 am | Permalink

    Hi, I am a high school student in Electronic art courses and plan to go into graphic design or a similar field once I attend college. This summer I realize I will have to purchase a laptop and some programs like Photoshop, illustrator, painter, and a few others. Unfortunately I am at a loss for which system to choose, I obviously want to use the computer for artistic purposes which makes me want to lean towards a make based upon what I have read here. The only problem is I am unfamiliar with Apple and Macintosh and would prefer to stay with the PC if I can. In addition I don’t necessarily have very deep pockets in terms of money (I’m still in high school remember). Lastly, I have already learned many of these programs in school using Windows. So I find myself at a crossroads with the question: do I switch to a Mac because it’s better for design? Or stay with PC because it’s familiar? And does the System REALLY matter? please help!

  6. Posted July 3, 2008 at 12:25 am | Permalink

    I have used both, and im going into my second year of college in a graphic deign major, I have a mac, but my school uses windows. Basically when i don’t bring my macbook into class, and i am forced to use the pc’s provided, im tearing my heair out due to the crashes/viruses. Bottom line i like mac’s quite a bit better for graphic design/artistic uses.

  7. Bryan
    Posted July 3, 2008 at 3:05 am | Permalink

    In my experience, the main differences between the two for designing is the buttons and hot keys!! I am a current student for Graphic Design at the Art Institute, and I use BOTH PC and Mac… I havnt had any problems (so far) using a file I made in Photoshop CS3 (Mac) then slap it in my flashdrive and use it at home (on my Photoshop CS3 for PC).

    I feel that its better to be versatile for this situation. I am more of a PC guy, only because I used to be a gamer, BUT adjusting over to Mac using the Adobe suite is as easy as ctrl+z/apple+z haha.

    My plan is this:
    I already have a good workin PC (laptop) and am planning on buying a desktop Mac. I feel it would look better on a resume that I can use both Mac and PC.

  8. Steve
    Posted July 13, 2008 at 1:12 pm | Permalink

    My daughter is entering school in the fall to major in fashion merchandising. We’re trying to keep expenses down on a laptop, but want her to have the right one. It sounds like the Mac is great for graphic design, but I don’t know how closely fashion merchandising mirrors graphic design in terms of system needs. Does anyone know how the Mac and PC laptops compare for a fashion merchandising curriculum?

  9. Posted September 8, 2008 at 1:44 am | Permalink

    Mac, what else is there?

  10. Jay
    Posted October 1, 2008 at 7:56 am | Permalink

    “Mac, what else is there?”

    Well, here’s the difference between a custom PC I recently configured with an English company, versus a Mac in the same price bracket. These prices are relevant to the UK market.

    Firstly the processor:
    With my custom built PC I get Intel Core 2 Quad 2.83mhz
    With the Mac I only get an Intel Core 2 Duo 2.83mhz

    With the PC I get 8gig of 1600mhz RAM
    With the Mac I get 4gig of 800mhz RAM

    Hard Drive(s)
    With the PC I get 3×650gig hard-drives with 16mb cache and RAID 1 setup
    With the Mac I get 1×1000gig hard drive with 8mb cache and no RAID 1 setup

    Graphics Cards
    With the PC I get a 1024mb Geforce 9800GT
    With the Mac I get a 512mb Geforce 8800GS

    Same on both; 24 inch; same spec.

    Sound Card
    I get an Audigy X-hi-fi xtreme Music 7.1 soundcard with the PC
    With the Mac I get onboard sound.

    I get 7.1 Creative surround sound speaker-system with the PC
    With the Mac I don’t get anything close to 7.1

    PC : e1600
    Mac : e1800

    Amazing really, so many graphic designers can read NoLogo and still fail to see what suckers they are for Apple’s branding and marketing. “Macs are better for design”, the common catch-cry of most graphic designers, reminds me of a part of Naomi Klein’s tome which talks about how brands today “poison our relationship with truth”; such designers need to employ truth and fact a little more in regard to evaluating the Apple brand, instead of substituting both for such a tired and critically neutered catch phrase.

    Machines with faster processors, more RAM and better graphics cards are better for graphics; that there is a fact. That is why I have always bought custom built PCs since I first started in graphics, and that is why my machine has always out-performed my colleagues’ Macs.

  11. dustin
    Posted December 13, 2008 at 9:38 pm | Permalink

    /\ You forgot the operating system, the thing that uses all that hardware power.
    windows requires more processing/ whatever power to run.
    So I guess it kinda just evens it out.

  12. karaz
    Posted February 27, 2009 at 6:09 am | Permalink

    First there is no “Mac”. What people call “Mac” is in fact an Apple branded pc (that i would call ABPC).
    That means you won’t have anything more on an ABPC than you would have on a regular pc in terms of hardware.
    Actually it has more limitations in upgrading, maintaining, overclocking, testing various configurations and what not. For example if i need another component to run a new app or simply to bust it’s performance i simply go to the nearest hardware shop and in the shortest time i have a better computer. Can i mess things up? Of course but that’s an option i have (i periodically upgrade my computer an i never had any unsolvable problems).
    So in addition to the superior performances you get for the same money, over time, the conventional pc will severely outperforme an ABPC bought in the same period without having to replace the entire system.
    In terms of applications again ABPCs are a bad choice since officialy supported third party operating systems are limited to Windows, and i doubt that’s a desirable option for professional use since Windows has no native support for ABPCs and Apple’s support is limited (drivers/devices).
    It’s true that Apple puts a lot of effort in graphics and design field but that alone doesn’t make Apple compatible software better. In fact having Apple regulating all the software that get into ABPCs, only limits them to imposed bounds (monopoly).
    On a conventional pc there are far more options and the permanent competition between producers raise the standards for better operating systems and applications. The few Apple-only applications lack this key quality.
    Pc is less and less about Microsoft and Windows so that one can easily get away without using any of their apps (i use Linux and mainly open source apps for several years now).

    My conclusion is that the [Mac] ABPC is more about a more polished look/feel and more trust in the computer for casual users who would want to use it for every day computer activities and entertainment without any headakes.
    But if you’re a professional i’d definetilly would recommend the pc. You have more control over it, it costs you less for better performance and you’ll have far better choices and even decision power in the software you’ll use.

  13. Max
    Posted January 16, 2010 at 6:36 pm | Permalink

    Re karaz

    I agree with most or your comment, and just have to mention one thing about the “more control over it (PC versus Mac)”. Now, mac os X is believed to be based on FreeBSD, which means you have a lot of control of it as long as you know some command lines and where all the configuration files are.


  14. Murph
    Posted October 1, 2010 at 11:47 am | Permalink

    Max & Karaz,

    Honestly, If you guys are going to go as far as to start learning the CLI for Macs it’s kind of a lost cause because:
    First of all although the Mac OS X is more efficient than PC it isn’t twice as efficient…
    Second of all, the second you start digging your heels into learning CLI and proclaiming the strength of your OS why not try linux as the learning curve is going to take the same amount of time.
    Third of all, guess what? There are multiple Linux OS’s out there which are as efficient (and usually better) than your sacred Mac OS.
    Fourth of all, you need a PC to run linux… so either way you are on top for performance when considering a PC for less cost, just don’t visit freeware, porn or pop-up crazy sites.

    Good for you Mac, I’d love to own one of your pcs but I dont think I ever could in the next 10 years, you just aren’t compatible enough yet buddy. Way to fight flash by the way, I’m sure no designer in this thread intends to keep using that software eh?

    I will say that the iPhone 4 is stellar though, bar-none.

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