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Old 10-28-2009   #41
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Thanks Don. That's a really useful real-world comparison!
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Old 10-28-2009   #42
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Quote:
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AL:

You are suffering from a poor choice of glasses and not a screen size. Get some professional advise on that one. There are lots of products that work great. I'm viewing a 27" screen with lined trifocals without any issues at all. Glasses are a tool, but you need the right tool.
Agreed, but I did have a pair made for work that allowed me to use larger screens, but then I had to hold the newspaper at arm's length to read it. (Books too) I ended up with 2 pairs, one for work and one for home.

I'll stick to the tools I have for now.

Now, a 13.3 MacBook would fit the bill quite nicely, as the 14.1" Toshiba I'm on now fills my lined bifocals perfectly when on my lap here in the coffee shop...
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Old 10-28-2009   #43
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I'd go for the imac, less cables. I updated my g4 pudding basin to a 20" 5 months ago due to the bigger files coming out of the D700. All the Nikon software works great and CS4 with plug ins. A word of warning though, use Leopard and not Snow Leopard. Nikon have just updated so should be fine now but my Macbook pro came with Snow and it wouldn't work properly. In CS4 also, certain plugins ie Alien Skin and Dfine also wouldn't work so I've installed Leopard on it until everyone gets their act together with Snow!
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What is your budget?
Old 10-28-2009   #44
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What is your budget?

IF you can afford $1,400, then the iMAC is a no brainer. I bought one (24") from MacMall.com with a $300 rebate! The Mac Mini is cute, but it is NOT a desktop! It is a scaled down laptop without the screen, mouse and keyboard (the motherboard and internals are the same as the Macbooks). by the time you add a decent monitor, memory, etc,, you are at $1,400, so get the iMAC. I bought mine for the display, and will never go back! My colors are right on with my Epson 3800 printer.
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Old 10-28-2009   #45
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Mac Mini for sure.. the IMAC screen is glossy (cannot get it in a flat matte) and way to contrasty for post in my opinon.. Save money and max out a mac mini.. use the savings to buy an external Drobo drive and a higher end monitor (Lacie, Eizo).
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Old 10-28-2009   #46
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Hackintosh is perfect for folks who like tinkering. I've had 30 years of tinkering with different systems from a Singer System 10 to a zSeries and lots of stuff in between. I've got the last Macbook I think I will need for many years. Give me simple and working for me and my family. We have two in our family and a MacMini (first dual core). I'm thinking that when we get another it will be a Mini because I can do remote processing of stuff (remote control) and use the laptop or pad for browsing and low power stuff. I like the cloud computing model and think it can work well on a smaller scale.

The biggest draw back to the Mini is the lack of built in dual monitor support. I'd go iMac for what you've described for what you do. It's easy to plug in a second monitor to an iMac. If you find the slick too bouncy for you, get an extra, it rocks.

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Old 10-28-2009   #47
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Well I pulled the trigger and ordered a base model mini with 4GB RAM.
My current Samsung 19" monitor will continue to suffice and I can put the money saved towards a higher end matte display. I already have a LaCie 1TB external drive for backup and I can boot from that if the mini's 5400 RPM drive proves too slow. I already have keyboard/mouse although I can see picking up a magic mouse in the future.
I'm sure this machine will be sufficient for my needs because almost everything about it is faster than my G5 PowerMac, which is still pretty fast anyway.
BillBingham - the current minis do support dual monitor!
Thanks for all the input everyone!
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Old 11-14-2009   #48
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I've been following this thread for a bit, noting the comments. I spoke yesterday with the Apple consultant (he works for Apple) at Best Buy. And I looked at the iMac. Yes, the screen is very reflective! He said that after awhile you don't notice this. I don't think I agree. But then I saw that you can adjust the angle of the screen. By pulling the top towards me, I could eliminate the reflections. I wonder if others have this a satisfactory workaround for the shininess of this screen? The man said that an advantage of the shiny screen is that it makes the colors more saturated. Any observations on that?

Another thing he told me is that the mini is no more powerful than the laptop versions, where the iMac is a lot more powerful. It does seem like a lot of computer for $1500. That's if I can get past the shiny screen. Really, he'd like to sell me the MAcPro. And I might like to buy it.

Another thing, related to comments in previous posts. Someone sai they would not like the iMac because if the screen goes, you lose the whole computer. He showed me that the screen pops off and can be replaced. (There would still be down time though. I gues with a Mini or Macpro you can just hook up another monitor, if you have one.) Also claims the iMac can be upgraded.

So, I'm deliberating. I'll use it mostly for photography (as well as chatting on RFF!)
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Old 11-14-2009   #49
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Rob, if you're near an Apple store, it might be worth a trip there just to get another perspective.

The shiny screen concerned me before I bought my iMac. But, it really has not been an issue. Tilting the screen, and not necessarily very much, works. However, it is rather reflective if there's light coming from behind you.

A comparison of the specs of both the iMac and the Mini at apple.com ought to resolve the "which is more powerful" question. Pay particular attention to drive speed. I'm also not sure what video card is inside a Mini these days.

Good to know you can haul your iMac into an Apple store and get the screen replaced if it ever dies. (If you get one, do save the box. Makes it much easier to haul around.)

One thing you cannot do with either the iMac or the Mini is upgrade the hardware. If that's in your thinking, going for the Mac Pro might turn out to be a smart move.
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Old 11-14-2009   #50
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An aftermarket for matte overlays for glossy screen surfaces (iMac/MacBook) has sprung up, so that's a possibility. (These are not to be confused with the anti-snooping screen overlays that have come and gone.)

The fact that the glass front of the iMac is held by magnets probably hints at why the newest iMac screens are now relatively easy to replace. The one question mark concerns the heard drive: the first iMac G5's hard drive (and power supply, and logic board...in fact, damn near everything) was almost ridiculously easy to get to and replace, then became ridiculously difficult to replace in subsequent models. (Apple, for some reason, goes through cycles like this.) Towers, of course, are sheer goodness in terms of upgradability, which is why I still have, and love, my last-generation (FireWire 800, dual-mirror doors) Power Mac G4. Haven't had need to upgrade yet, and it sees heavy scanning/Photoshop/printing duty.


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Old 11-14-2009   #51
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I tend to think of my iMac as just an overgrown laptop. Likely not literally true, but not by much. Certainly it's very similar in the amount of stuff crammed into a small space. Mini and iMac owners need to resign themselves to taking their machine into an Apple store for just about everything. I remember trying to add memory to my G5, something that ought to be dead simple. From my perspective, the screw holding the little door on the memory compartment had stripped threads. Couldn't remove it. So, I lugged it into the nearest Apple store. The threads weren't stripped. I just lacked the special little magic Apple tool needed to remove it.

If I needed the horsepower of a tower, I'd get one in a heartbeat. But, I don't, so I won't. A rare victory over rationalization.
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Old 11-22-2009   #52
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Quote:
Originally Posted by wgerrard View Post
Rob, if you're near an Apple store, it might be worth a trip there just to get another perspective.

The shiny screen concerned me before I bought my iMac. But, it really has not been an issue. Tilting the screen, and not necessarily very much, works. However, it is rather reflective if there's light coming from behind you.

A comparison of the specs of both the iMac and the Mini at apple.com ought to resolve the "which is more powerful" question. Pay particular attention to drive speed. I'm also not sure what video card is inside a Mini these days.

Good to know you can haul your iMac into an Apple store and get the screen replaced if it ever dies. (If you get one, do save the box. Makes it much easier to haul around.)

One thing you cannot do with either the iMac or the Mini is upgrade the hardware. If that's in your thinking, going for the Mac Pro might turn out to be a smart move.
I took this advice and went to the Apple store. I was open to getting any Mac as long as it was the right one for my needs. Here's what they said: The Mac Pro is too much computer: overkill. He made the observation that it is hard for laptop users to adjust to a desktop, since you lose the portability. The mini, he said, is not powerful enough to use with heavy duty photo processing software, and not very portable. I want to use Aperture. The Macbook Pro has all the power I would need and can be ordered with a matte screen for $50 extra.

So I think it will be the 17" Macbook Pro. The iMac looks like the best runnerup if I don't need portability (well, it's sort of portable). I see a lot of members here seem fond of the iMac so I haven't completely ruled it out.
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Old 11-22-2009   #53
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Remember the iMac has a better GPU, which for Photoshop work, Lightroom work or Aperture work will really improve things. The iMac also has the faster HDD.
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Old 11-23-2009   #54
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Hmm, I have no idea what GPU or HDD mean. I do have a Shutterbug article here from September '08, in which the author says he tested Aperture by running it on the 17" Macbook Pro. He said that Aperture runs best and fastest on that one; and that certain features of Aperture are available only on the Macbook Pro. But of course this article is now 14 months old. Has anything changed since then?

What do GPU and HDD mean?
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Old 11-23-2009   #55
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GPU=Graphical Processing Unit
HDD=Hard Disk Drive

Both the GPU and the HDD will have a significant impact on real-world performance. Hence, iMac>Mac Mini for photographers.

But MacPro is even better, but $$$ more than iMac.

For me, iMac was the best combination of performance and value for the money (now especially true because of the new 27" LED LCD)

Quote:
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Hmm, I have no idea what GPU or HDD mean. I do have a Shutterbug article here from September '08, in which the author says he tested Aperture by running it on the 17" Macbook Pro. He said that Aperture runs best and fastest on that one; and that certain features of Aperture are available only on the Macbook Pro. But of course this article is now 14 months old. Has anything changed since then?

What do GPU and HDD mean?
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Old 11-23-2009   #56
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Quote:
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GPU=Graphical Processing Unit
HDD=Hard Disk Drive

Both the GPU and the HDD will have a significant impact on real-world performance. Hence, iMac>Mac Mini for photographers.

But MacPro is even better, but $$$ more than iMac.

For me, iMac was the best combination of performance and value for the money (now especially true because of the new 27" LED LCD)
Thanks for the info! The MAcPro is out of the question for me because of its size and bulk. But would the comments about the MacPro being even better, also apply to the Macbook Pro?

Thanks,

Rob
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Old 11-23-2009   #57
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Rob, the MacPro and the Macbook Pro aren't comparable. That doesn't mean the Macbook Pro is a weakling. It isn't. The MacPro line is the top-of-the-line for Apple in terms of capability, performance and expandability.

If portability is a requirement, then the Macbook Pro is the best alternative.

If you do not need to haul your computer around with you, then I'd look at an iMac. While they are not expandable, they can be tricked out with upgrade options at the time of purchase. I use Photoshop and Lightroom on last year's model with no problems. (The MacPro is really the only Apple machine that is truly expandable after purchase. The density of hardware inside an iMac or laptop precludes easy homebrew upgrades. Opening the case also voids the warranty.)

There's another option if the screen thing is a sticking point. Get the Macbook Pro and use it with an external monitor of your choice. In other words, when the Macbook is home on your desk, it uses another monitor for the display.

Whatever your choice, I strongly recommend maxing out the memory and video card at the time of purchase. Those two things will reap the most apparent performance rewards. Hard drives are relatively cheap so there's really no reason not to go for the largest. Images consume lots of disk space, especially if you start saving RAW files. So much so that you might want to remind yourself to buy an external drive down the road.
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Old 11-23-2009   #58
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Thanks, Bill. I didn't mention that I can order the 17" Macbook Pro with a Matte screen for an extra $50.00. Not available on the iMac. But then, I do like the 20.5" screen on the iMac. I just don't like the glossy screen. I did notice that I can tilt the screen forwrd a bit, to reduce reflections. But then I would not get to look at the screen head-on.

The main question is whch machine is actually better for running the photo applications: MAcbook Pro, or iMac? What if cost isn't a factor? Also, how do people find it to type on that tiny iMac keyboard? OK, or not? Also, I kind of like the touchpads better than a mouse. But the main question is which machine will run Aperture and Photoshop or Photoshop Elements the best? I may or may not eventually get Lightroom.
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Old 11-23-2009   #59
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For the record, after two weeks with the mac mini I find it was exactly what I was looking for. Photoshop CS operates just as fast as it did on my PowerMac G5 tower, and I can try out Lightroom and Aperture now.
Anyone who says you can't do photo editing on one of these simply hasn't tried it.
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Old 11-23-2009   #60
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I'm running an iMac G5 2.1 Ghz. Great machine. Lightroom also runs great.

At the time I bought it, I had to make the same choice. The weak point at that time of the iMac was that the screen was only able to be calibrated by software. A software and hardware profiling would be better.

In spite of that I went with the iMac and I'm not sorry. It's been good.

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Old 11-23-2009   #61
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if you need portability i suggest you go for a 15" macbook pro.
If you don't then iMac is better value.

Honestly, i never understood the reasoning behind 17" laptop monsters. My 13" is plenty for everything when i'm on my way.
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Old 11-23-2009   #62
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I think most everyone here has made some great points. All I'll add here is:

- If you go for the iMac, do go for the matte screen option, and, if possible, go for the quad-core processor. I've set up two of the standard-processor models (21.5") over the last month, and while they are sweet, I might feel the desire for a bit more speed when crunching large image files. If you need to stick to the standard processor, no biggle.

- I wouldn't worry too much about the internal HD (the cheapest models now come with 500GB right off the bat). Where the action will be is with external HDs, and perhaps an external drive housing that holds several at once, depending on just how much work you're planning on doing.

- I'm doing well with my "old" top-end setup (late-model dual-processor G4 tower, late PowerBook G4). If I were doing it all over again, and could pick just one machine, it would be a 15" MacBook Pro, with maxed-out RAM, and a good external monitor for a dual-screen setup similar to what I now have with the G4 tower. Storage? Probably a swatting-big RAID box of some kind. (Already have the better part of 2TB storage, not counting the network drive for backup.)

This never really stops, does it?


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Old 11-23-2009   #63
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I think generally speaking, the latest iMac would be better than Macbook Pro for running PS and LR. The top version of the iMac runs the iCore7 processor. Plus the screen is gorgeous, if you can deal with the glare. My iMac is not facing any window or bright lights, so I don't have any glare issues with the glossy screen.

I would get the fastest RPM hard disk (7200rpm) at the time of purchase because that is a difficult upgrade to do later.

However, I would get the minimum memory because Apple really overcharges for memory. I would buy the memory upgrade from OWC (http://www.macsales.com) as an immediate upgrade. The sweet spot appears to be a 4G or 8G upgrade for the 2009 iMac.


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Thanks, Bill. I didn't mention that I can order the 17" Macbook Pro with a Matte screen for an extra $50.00. Not available on the iMac. But then, I do like the 20.5" screen on the iMac. I just don't like the glossy screen. I did notice that I can tilt the screen forwrd a bit, to reduce reflections. But then I would not get to look at the screen head-on.

The main question is whch machine is actually better for running the photo applications: MAcbook Pro, or iMac? What if cost isn't a factor? Also, how do people find it to type on that tiny iMac keyboard? OK, or not? Also, I kind of like the touchpads better than a mouse. But the main question is which machine will run Aperture and Photoshop or Photoshop Elements the best? I may or may not eventually get Lightroom.
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Old 11-23-2009   #64
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- I wouldn't worry too much about the internal HD (the cheapest models now come with 500GB right off the bat). Where the action will be is with external HDs, and perhaps an external drive housing that holds several at once, depending on just how much work you're planning on doing.
This external storage requirement bears emphasizing for anyone who shoots more than an occasional photo. High-resolution image files are B-I-G. Example: I shot 14 rolls on a recent trip. Scanned almost all of them to 4000px RAW files. That consumed almost 100 gigs of drive space. Fourteen rolls of film ain't that many, you know.
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Old 11-23-2009   #65
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I think generally speaking, the latest iMac would be better than Macbook Pro for running PS and LR. The top version of the iMac runs the iCore7 processor. Plus the screen is gorgeous, if you can deal with the glare.

I would get the fastest RPM hard disk (7200rpm) at the time of purchase because that is a difficult upgrade to do later.

However, I would get the minimum memory because Apple really overcharges for memory. I would buy the memory upgrade from OWC (http://www.macsales.com) as an immediate upgrade. The sweet spot appears to be a 4G or 8G upgrade for the 2009 iMac.
I have just learned from an Apple store that images on the Matte screen are not as sharp as on the glossy, because of diffusion of the image. This, plus the iMac's nice big 21,5" display screen, is causing me to re-think this. The 17" Macbook is a bit large for travel anyhow. So I'm thinking of the iMac now. I could get a small laptop for travel, with the money saved on the iMac vs. the Macbook Pro. What is it like to type on that tiny iMac keyboard, though?

Which is the better of the two graphics cards they offer on various models? Is it the Radeon?

Might the faster running hard drive wear out faster?
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Old 11-23-2009   #66
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As a long-term Mac bore, I believe you're over-thinking this.

All those options will work really well; even the Mac Mini. I do photoshop and webstie stuff on an ancient G4, and keep my Macbook Aor merely for emailing. The hard drives on any of these should last forever.

THe iMac is a great package; the Mini is a better deal if you have a monitor lying around, or better still if you want to keep the same monitor long-term - hence you'll never suffer depreciation on it. Macbook Pro is a great machine but speaking as one who has used Apple laptops righ back from the 100, you pay a price in long-term reliability, for the laptops.
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Old 11-23-2009   #67
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Quote:
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I have just learned from an Apple store that images on the Matte screen are not as sharp as on the glossy, because of diffusion of the image. This, plus the iMac's nice big 21,5" display screen, is causing me to re-think this. The 17" Macbook is a bit large for travel anyhow. So I'm thinking of the iMac now. I could get a small laptop for travel, with the money saved on the iMac vs. the Macbook Pro. What is it like to type on that tiny iMac keyboard, though?

Which is the better of the two graphics cards they offer on various models? Is it the Radeon?

Might the faster running hard drive wear out faster?
Rob, I can't offer advice on the graphics card choice, except to say that high-end cards are usually optimized for video games because that's the biggest market for high-end cards. If you aren't a gamer, you'll need to compare specs and see which is the best buy for photo work.

My iMac keyboard is just fine for my use, which does not include banging out pages and pages of text. If I did, I'd look at other Apple and third-party keyboards.

The difference in drive speed shouldn't impact their longevity.If it concerns you, you can always chase down the Mean Time Between Failure rates of the actual hardware.

The reflectivity of an iMac screen is a very subjective matter, and heavily dependent on the intensity and location of lighting. It hasn't been an issue for me.

Again, my recommendation is that if you do not need a laptop's portability, it doesn't really make sense to buy a laptop. Unless you're going to do an awful lot of demanding photo work or jump into video, a MacPro seems to be overkill. If I was setting up a graphics shop, I'd buy one, max it out, and use it to serve the iMacs on my employees' desks.

So, buy the one you think you'll most enjoy using. The issues you seem to be looking at now are really pretty marginal. After all, it will be a Mac. They're all good.
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Old 11-24-2009   #68
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Yes, the 21" iMac makes the most sense. I've lost my aversion to the glossy screen. I will use it in the basement, and can arrange the lighting to avoid reflections.

For the same or less money as the Macbook Pro, I can, and probably will, get the iMac and their cheapest 13 inch notebook. I can save another $300 by getting the polycarbonate case instead of the aluminum one. Polycarbonate no doubt bounces higher anyhow. The 13" is a must better choice for travel than the 17."

I wonder if Apple allows installing Aperture on 2 computers, or if they limit you to one at a time, like some others do.
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Old 11-24-2009   #69
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...I can save another $300 by getting the polycarbonate case instead of the aluminum one. Polycarbonate no doubt bounces higher anyhow. ....
The polycarbonate is indeed better - it's tough, whereas the aluminum gets dents .
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Old 11-24-2009   #70
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two people at my local apple store told me that Aperture CAN be installed on more than one mac at a time. I haven't tried it yet.
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Yes, the 21" iMac makes the most sense. I've lost my aversion to the glossy screen. I will use it in the basement, and can arrange the lighting to avoid reflections.

For the same or less money as the Macbook Pro, I can, and probably will, get the iMac and their cheapest 13 inch notebook. I can save another $300 by getting the polycarbonate case instead of the aluminum one. Polycarbonate no doubt bounces higher anyhow. The 13" is a must better choice for travel than the 17."

I wonder if Apple allows installing Aperture on 2 computers, or if they limit you to one at a time, like some others do.
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Old 11-24-2009   #71
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The Aperture license posted on Apple's site (http://images.apple.com/legal/sla/docs/aperture.pdf) says you can install single-user Aperture on one Apple desktop and one Apple laptop that you own.
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Old 11-25-2009   #72
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We ordered online last night. I went for the 21" iMac with 1TB drive, also the polycarbonte 13" macbook. And I went for the gloss. These choices were greatly aided by the comments in this thread, so thanks to all! And yes, the Apple store told me I can install Aperture on both machines.

You know, the one-on-one instruction only applies to one computer. If you want one-on-on one for each, apparently you have to buy it twice. We didn't. Both machines are much more similar than different, so we just bought the one-on-one for the iMac.

We did get the extended care plan for each one.

So: thanks again! I (we) will soon be members of the elite Apple community. (Actually, I have been a member since 1980, when I bought my IIe. It still works, and I still use it!
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Old 11-25-2009   #73
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Enjoy, Rob, as I'm sure you will.
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Old 11-28-2009   #74
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OK, the Macbook arrived--still waiting for the iMac to be shipped. Guess what, I,m typing this on the Macbook. So thi is my first official Mac communication. Now to try putting some photos on it!

Thanks for all the help (I,m sure I'll be back!)
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Old 11-28-2009   #75
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I would choose the iMac. More powerful and would give you a tidier work space.
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Old 11-28-2009   #76
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Eric, that is right. I'll have the iMac for power and screen size, and the little 13" for portability, travel, etc.
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Old 12-04-2009   #77
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I was debating between the Mac Pro and Mac Mini. In a way, I would love to future proof my purchase by getting a Pro, but I could not justify the cost since I do not make profit from my work. Instead, I went and bought the stock cheapest Mac Mini ($549 on Amazon during black friday) and also a 30gb SSD drive from newegg ($127, $97 after rebate). Taking apart the mini was easy and does not void warranty unless something is broken during process. Installation was easy... From a cold boot, where my computer has been off for several hours, I can get to load Safari in about 20 seconds after I press the power button. That is FAST. If the computer has been off for only a little, or if I am restarting system, it takes less that 15 seconds to boot. Programs load extremely quick. I tested the higher mac mini model at a apple store and it took 11 seconds average to load microsoft word 2008. It takes about 5 seconds on my ssd mini. And I still haven't upgraded the ram to 4gigs. You can also but an ssd into a imac, but it is a much harder process. I use external drive for storage of files and the ssd only for OS and programs. I am hoping to install my photo software today after work and see how fast things work. I did try loading 100+mb .tiff files and they loaded quickly in preview, about 2-3 seconds.
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Old 12-04-2009   #78
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pevelg,
what is a ssd drive??
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Old 12-04-2009   #79
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ssd=solid state drive. They are flash/ram based hard drives. Here is WIKI link. They are much faster than regular hard drives. Since they are a pretty new technology, they are pretty expensive for cost per gigabyte. They have no moving parts and thus are more reliable.
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Old 12-04-2009   #80
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I see, thank pevelg. Now I know what I am getting when my HD die. I just installed a 7200rpm HD last year, the speed is noticeable faster, well with the SSD, I think it will extend a few years off the life of the mini.
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