Computer help... what should I do?

I’m a 3rd year ID student and I will be looking to purchase a new computer soon. I also plan on using this computer a few years into my professional career. My question is, with all the options that are out there what is the best type of computer to buy, or better yet, what specs really matter when it comes to Industrial Design work? I plan on concentrating more in the realm of visual communication.

Right now I use a PC, but I’m leaning towards a mac.

Heres some reference:

If you are buying a mac keep in mind you are paying a hefty premium for the operating system and hardware compared to a PC workstation. You also need to be aware of what software you will run, as you may need to switch back and forth between Windows and Mac if you end up needing 3D software that only runs on Windows. If you plan on doing a lot of visualization and rendering, you can get a much faster PC for much less then a comparative mac.

Also - the current Mac offerings do not include a workstation class video card like previous Mac Pros. You will be spending a lot of money on hardware that is not vendor certified for 3D.

If you are planning on doing a build your own PC then I would check out this site. He does monthly workstation builds with parts lists and prices. These builds can handle just about anything you are looking for (entry level photoshop work to full blown workstations). This site mainly deals with architectural visualization which is about as demanding as you can get. It’s definitely worth checking out.

Not sure what you mean by visual communication, but if that involves a lot of adobe products I definitely go for the mac. It’s just a better experience and programs like photoshop handle much better on a mac (and I’ve also found that high printing quality is much easier to achieve).

If you’re doing a lot of 3D modeling/rendering I’m assuming you’re just using your school’s resources for that?