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Old Nov 10, 2012, 03:21 AM   #1
CarloUK
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High end Mac Mini and Photoshop CS6

Hi
I use Photoshop CS6 and Lightroom 4 mainly as I am a photographer. It involves both programmes live and some huge PSD files kicking around. I would be interested in hearing from any one who does similar on a high end mac mini. I am thinking of getting the high end new i7 with 16g and an SSD.
Any good ?
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Old Nov 10, 2012, 03:34 AM   #2
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This has been discussed to a degree in other threads. I would call it inconclusive. One person mentioned having trouble using a mini with a CG275w (27" display) with large layered files. Large is a relative thing. I've loaded files that had to be specifically saved out in large document format due to sheer size. My old mac pro handled them well enough. My early 2011 macbook pro can handle them, although it gets annoyingly hot. Certain people have mentioned problems related to lag in things like screen redrawing. I don't think this is an issue of raw power, but more one of drivers, bugs, and general tuning.

My suggestion would be test it out. Above the mid mini, I doubt you'd notice any difference. The quad core option is the biggest differentiation in performance. Beyond that differences are minimal. I would suggest 16GB of ram, and possibly an ssd if scratch space is still required. Using third party ram, you can get 16GB for under $100. Just test ram when you get it to ensure against errors. Especially if you're dealing with large comps, it can make a difference. Photoshop has always pushed a lot of data around, and these days it's possible to hold a large portion of it in ram.
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Old Nov 10, 2012, 03:40 AM   #3
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Thank you Kev
I am hoping its a cheaper way to go than an imac and i can utilise my existing monitor. I suppose my main worry is the onboard graphics chip and how that will perform on a 24" monitor. I read some where that CS6 utlises the graphics card more than CS6. I just like the flexibility the mac mini.
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Old Nov 10, 2012, 04:05 AM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CarloUK View Post
I read some where that CS6 utlises the graphics card more than CS6. I just like the flexibility the mac mini.
CS6 utilizes (we like to switch S's for Z's in the US) the graphics card more than CS6? They've leveraged it more and more since CS4, which implemented OpenGL drawing options. Of course the implementation in CS4 was kind of slow on any gpu. CS6 leverages specific things.


Note that some of these are tied to Photoshop Extended. I'm not sure which version you have. I would personally try the cheapest quad core model, purchased directly from Apple. If it lags, return it. If you're keeping it, I would max the ram. It's not entirely necessary for basic testing, but there are times where it will provide a significant advantage. Either it gives you better stability with larger files or you don't have to worry about background applications when working with them. Given the mixed responses related to gpu concerns, I would suggest you try it to make sure it meets your needs. Beyond that model, the gains aren't that amazing. You're better off upgrading more frequently than spending too much on getting a perfectly maxed out model.

http://helpx.adobe.com/photoshop/kb/...l#cs6_features

Quote:
GPU-enhanced features added in Photoshop CS6

Adaptive Wide Angle Filter (compatible video card required)
Liquify (accelerated by compatible video card with 512 MB of VRAM)
Oil Paint (compatible video card required)
Warp and Puppet Warp (accelerated by compatible video card)
Field Blur, Iris Blur, and Tilt/Shift (accelerated by compatible video
card supporting OpenCL)
Lighting Effects Gallery (compatible video card required with 512 MB
of VRAM)
New 3D enhancements (3D features in Photoshop require a compatible video card with 512 MB of VRAM):
Draggable Shadows
Ground plane reflections
Roughness
On-canvas user interface controls
Ground plane
Light widgets on edge of canvas
IBL (image-based light) controller
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Old Nov 10, 2012, 05:14 AM   #5
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I am very interested in some real time feedback about CS6 and the "new" minis. Much of the info I'm finding is about the previous model.

I did find one very interesting post about the HD 4000 graphics and CS6
here...

http://www.pugetsystems.com/labs/art...celeration-161

This is my first time posting - not sure if I'm doing this link right.
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Old Nov 10, 2012, 06:02 AM   #6
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These tests are interesting I will go run them on my PC and MacBook Pro which has an onboard and dedicated GFX card. Report back later
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Old Nov 10, 2012, 11:24 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kswaty View Post
I am very interested in some real time feedback about CS6 and the "new" minis. Much of the info I'm finding is about the previous model.

I did find one very interesting post about the HD 4000 graphics and CS6
here...

http://www.pugetsystems.com/labs/art...celeration-161

This is my first time posting - not sure if I'm doing this link right.
Interesting test. I just ran it on my 2011 mini (2.7 i7, AMD, 16Gb ram).

Results (using the Ducati image):

Field: 17.9
Iris: 15.7
Tilt: 13.6
Oil: 2.9
Lighting: 6.9
Smart: 38.5
Rotate: 1.2
Resize: 0.6
Motion: 1.9

Hopefully someone will post 2012 mini results.

Last edited by elliotn; Nov 10, 2012 at 11:35 AM.
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Old Nov 10, 2012, 12:10 PM   #8
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OK Here are my tests

2009 MacBook Pro 2.8 15" with 8GB DDR Ram viewing on Laptop using onboard GFX Card. Second result is using its 9600GTX Graphics card and the third result is again with the onboard GFX but displaying on a 1920x1080 monitor ;

Field: 31.7 / 29.9 / 30.3
Iris: 27.7 / 28.4 / 28.1
Tilt: 24.6 / 25.5 / 25.3
Oil: 7.8 / 5.7 / 8.1
Lighting: 9.4 / 9.5 / 8.5
Smart: 48.3 / 49.3 / 48.3
Rotate: 1.6 / 1.6 / 1.6
Resize: 0.5 / 0.5 / 0.5
Motion: 2.5 / 2.5 / 2.5

These below are for my PC which is a 2.6 Core Duo with 8GB fast Ram and a high end Radeon HD5800 with 1GB DDR onboard...

Field: 43
Iris: 39.1
Tilt: 33.9
Oil: 4.5
Lighting: 12.1
Smart: 55.9
Rotate: 1.5
Resize: 0.6
Motion: 2.4

This all seems that the GFX cards dont make much difference as my PC graphics card is a monster against the once in the MacBook and Mac Mini.

This test has a very small image so I think ram performance and disk doesn't come into it it seems more of a processor test. I mainly use huge images bloated with many layers. When working with this it lags. I am pretty certain this is where the fast drive and large RAM helps a lot.


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Old Nov 10, 2012, 12:26 PM   #9
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Yes, I also get the impression this was testing the CPU more than the GPU.

I tested with different Advanced Settings (Basic, Normal, Advanced) for the Graphic Processor in Photoshop's Performance Preferences, but the results were all very similar.

Unchecking 'Use Graphics Processor' also had no effect on timings, save for the fact that two stages ('Oil' and 'Lighting') could not be completed.

----------

Incidentally, I'm user who is not entirely happy with Photoshop performance on his mini, as referred to by thekev above. Main thing to note is I have 2011 mini, not 2012. I'll buy a 2012 mini, if Photoshop performance is better.

My issues are not related to the esoteric filters used in these speedtest actions. It's more fundamental things: zooming in Photoshop, adjusting sliders in ACR, painting on adjustment layers with large brushes. All these things are laggy on my 2011 mini. I think this is largely down to the mini struggling to drive my 27" monitor (Eizo CG275w).
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Old Nov 10, 2012, 12:46 PM   #10
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Interesting. Also what ellio is saying is what I am worried the 2012 MacMini will be like.

I did post the question on Adobe forums and got an interesting reply from the MVP about the setup I am thinking about. Basically saying Adobe has tested the H4000 onboard graphics and its all OK.

http://forums.adobe.com/message/4836843#4836843

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Old Nov 10, 2012, 12:57 PM   #11
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As thekev suggested above, the best option is to buy a 2012 mini and try it out with your workflow.

Apple has a flexible, no-questions-asked, 14 day return policy.

Also towards the end of November (I think), the return period is extended to early January, to encourage Christmas shoppers.

I made use of this last year (Apple UK), testing a 2011 mini Server for several weeks, before returning it in the new year for a refund (I purchased the 2011 mini with AMD graphics instead).
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Old Nov 10, 2012, 01:28 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by elliotn View Post
As thekev suggested above, the best option is to buy a 2012 mini and try it out with your workflow.

Apple has a flexible, no-questions-asked, 14 day return policy.
I was taking your experiences under consideration. I think it will satisfy most people, but certain configurations might just hit its weak point. Given that it's somewhat on the edge, I think it's a good idea to test it. I only disliked the 2011 discrete mini as it didn't offer enough vram to meet the recommended spec of CS6. It had OpenCL, yet it couldn't make full use of it due to that detail. Of course if it pertains to people who rarely use those accelerated functions, it's not such a big deal. As I said, it's difficult to give someone a definitive yes or no. If it works it's a very good option, as it's inexpensive and sells reasonably well. Normally I hate factoring residual value, but the mini does pretty well due to its low starting price relative to the rest of the Mac line.
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Old Nov 11, 2012, 11:22 AM   #13
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Originally Posted by elliotn View Post
As thekev suggested above, the best option is to buy a 2012 mini and try it out with your workflow.

Apple has a flexible, no-questions-asked, 14 day return policy.

Also towards the end of November (I think), the return period is extended to early January, to encourage Christmas shoppers.
Correction - I just checked Apple's UK site, and the extended holiday return period is already in place. Buy now and you can test until 9 Jan 2013.

Paragraph 7.6 here:

http://store.apple.com/uk/open/salespolicies

'Holiday Return Policy
Items purchased at the Apple Online Store between October 29, 2011, and December 25, 2011, may be returned with an original receipt or Gift Receipt through January 9, 2012. This holiday return policy does not apply to iPhone or wireless service contracts. All other Apple Online Store purchase terms and policies apply and your statutory rights are not affected.'
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