What do I need for 1.5 GB files in Photoshop?

Discussion in 'Macintosh Computers' started by Darth Geek, Sep 7, 2003.

  1. macrumors newbie

    Sep 7, 2003
    First post ever to a Mac forum! I need to be able to edit very large artwork files in Photoshop, up to 1.5 GB each. The originals are up to 5-ft x 8-ft and must be printed at 300dpi (1.45 GB). The graphics are to be printed on a large printer, the HP Designjet 5500, to the original size. Color accuracy is important; it doesn't have to be "perfect" but it needs to be close.

    Also, while I *desperately* want to escape Windows XP (The 'Fisher-Price' UI colors are driving me mad. It's so bubbly, warm and happy. Insidious!), a new Mac is barely in the budget. Very tight.

    My questions are:

    - Could a 1.6-Ghz G5 Mac handle a 1.5 GB file size, and with how much memory at a minimum? Or would file sizes this large absolutely require a Dual G5?

    - I have a single-chip 1.8-Ghz Pentium 4 with 512 MB RAM. If I added some more memory do you think it could handle it, at least until I can afford a Dual G5? I've never worked with files this big.

    - I've heard that Windows color management isn't as good as OS X. Just how different is it from the PC? Is good (maybe not perfect) color possible on a Windows PC? I was told in the Apple section at a CompUSA that Macs have so much better color managment that using a Windows system is much more difficult. If this is true, then why are some software like the PosterJet RIP canceling Mac support?

    If anyone has worked with graphics files this size I really need your advice. I will be able to afford to upgrade later to a full G5 with all the nice color calibration equipment. But for right now I need to know the minimum specs to get started.

    Thank you so very much! Your kindness is much appreciated!
  2. macrumors 6502a


    Apr 21, 2003
    Connecticut, United States of America
    You know, I'd suggest 1.8 system. Mostly because it has better motherboard for upgrades, faster memory, can upgrade to 8 gigs of ram and not 4 like 1.6. It is faster... faster enough than 1.6 that you will notice. and it will come with 160gbs hdd and more ram right away... But DUAL ofcourse would be the best choice.. if you have money...
    If I were you i'd put atleast 2 gbs of ram in the computer...
  3. macrumors 6502

    Apr 29, 2003
    I don't think even the dual 2GHz G5 will be snappy at handeling this file. I'd say ram is more important then processing power here. I second the 2GB of ram suggestion. Last year, I made a 1:1 replica of a monopoly board in photoshop, it was about 25 megs, and it took my 2.2GHz P4 forever to deal with it. I had a gig of ram in that system, and it was all being used. Don't be dissapointed if it is slow.

  4. macrumors 6502

    Sep 5, 2003
    For a 1.5 gig file, I'd be looking for at least 6 gig of ram. Then Phtoshop should be able to keep everything in ram which will make any machine MUCH faster.
  5. macrumors member

    Mar 14, 2003
    Pasadena, CA
    I'd agree with the 1.8 ghz but..if you are treating the file with any filters...and or color managment ie. color conversions, I'd go with the dual...the more ram the better....at least 4...I'd personally get 8...seems like over kill to some people...but if you are dealing with that big of a file and doing duplications ...layers...proofing colors...adjustment layers...etc...like you should be...you'll need all the ram you can get...that would allow photoshop to store info in the ram...and use the processing power to execute. From what I've heard color is better managed in macs...probably only because...most?? graphic designers/photographers use macs and the demand for this software is more in demand...but *I think* technically its just a software issue...and a monitor calibrator *using profiles* is what's going to get you as close as posible...there is a great tool to make custom profiles from macbeth...its call eye one...or grey one...something like that ...do some research ...its like 1500 bucks...but i'll get you the best color and custom profiles. As many as you want...its called a specaphotometer....something like that>?? you can also get custom profiles made...from some websites...or service stations..but they are like 100 bucks...and only work with one specific printer..set of ink...and paper choice...if you want more info ..pm me...

  6. macrumors 68000

    Daveman Deluxe

    Jun 17, 2003
    Corvallis, Oregon
    One thing that's nice when working with large Photoshop files is keeping a small hard disk (i.e. 10 GB or less) whose ONLY use is for Photoshop's scratch files. As a general rule, you want a minimum of twice as much RAM as the size of the document you're working on in Photoshop, four is better.
  7. macrumors 65816


    Jun 14, 2002
    well, a 1.6 and 1.8 really wouldnt do much besides the 1.8 having a higher RAM cieling.

    What I would suggest is buying the 1.6 (because you are on a tight budget, buy a 1.8 if you can), maxing out the RAM (4GB on the 1.8) and adding a 3rd party upgrade: a 36GB Western Digital "Raptor" hard drive as your scratch disk. Serial ATA, 10000RPM platter rotation, fastest seek times in the land. Hands down. Use the standard hard drive as mass storage. Use the super speedy disk to edit from.
  8. macrumors 65816


    Oct 9, 2002
    Sydney, Australia
    i think that anyone who is dealing with that sort of a file is going to want to get the 1.8 or DP2G. Get at least 4GB of RAM (6GB is better - remember OSX still needs RAM to run (it needs about 256MB)).

    Also, don't skimp on the GFX card. You are obviously doing things and the mac will need to unload alot of ****e onto the gfx card. I suggets the best card not for speed but the 128MB DDR RAM buffer it has.

    If you don't mind spending a bit of money for a decent longish life system (with this file size) i suggest:

    DP 2Ghz
    6GB RAM (get 2GB from Apple and rest from 3rd party*)
    250GB SATA Disk (Apple)
    36GB 10K-RPM Raptor (3rd Party)
    ATi 9800Pro

    Total System Cost: US$5,774 (Apple USA Online) + WD Raptor + 4GB DDR400 RAM

    This would do the job nicely, not fast but nicely. Let me tell you this - not even a maxed out Twin XEON system could handle this fast.

    If you get it - enjoy. If not get it on the 1.8. You will need that RAM more than anything.
  9. macrumors 6502a


    Apr 13, 2003
    burlington, Ontario canada
    ive been working with large format graphics on wide printers for the last 3 years..

    you dont need 300 dpi when working on imges this size

    most of the time i could not see the diff between 150 and 300dpi files

    the wide format printers typically cant properly output enough resolution to show the differnce.

    and many times images ive run were typically at 100-125 dpi (when viewed from a few feet , they were printed at at 540 dpi (or 720)


    so once again.. you dont need 300 dpi files at that size unless the person viewing it is 3 inches from it when complete

    typically large graphics are viewed from a distance and dont need the same dpi as photos you hold in your hand.

    sorry about babling and making similar points..

    also once you lower the res you make a reasobale editable file..
    like 300-400 megs..

    still need about a gig of ram goes
    ive heard that you need 2.5x as much ram as your largest file.

    so for a 1.5gb file.. 4.5 gb ram is the minimum recommended
  10. macrumors 603


    Dec 19, 2002
    You said that you didn't have all that much money for a computer, which means that you should definitely not go with the DP 2ghz, since that would cost much more and you wouldnt be able to spend much on RAM. You will need 4 GB or more of RAM, as much as you can afford. This file is going to be REALLY slow to work with on any computer, so you probably wont see much of a difference from 1.8 to DP 2ghz, as long as you aren't rotating it and putting filters on it. It would be a good idea to have a second HD (steal it from your PC?) as a scratch disk. Then put the file on one HD and in photoshop set the other one as the scratch disk. The 10k RPM Raptor will cost you $$$, but will save some time. Whatever you choose you should be prepared to have something else to do or somewhere to go while your computer deals with the files. Have fun!
  11. macrumors 6502a


    Apr 21, 2003
    Connecticut, United States of America
    Yeah, I wouldn't go for dual... I don't think it would be needed as much here. Ram, lik ei said atleast 2gigs, but i'd put 4 (depending on budget). As for Raptor disc which is believe is 36gbs and 10k rpm, but I've heard those are not too reliable and quite expensive. They cost about the price of 160gbs 7200 rpm hdd.
    They are fast, but i'd think twice before investing money into it.
  12. macrumors 6502a


    Apr 21, 2003
    Connecticut, United States of America
    If I was on a tight budget, I'd go for:

    1. Apply student discount or developer discount (if available)
    Prices shown with student discount.

    2. 1.8Ghz G5 = $2,199.00
    3. Video card upgrade to Ati Radeon 9800 Pro = $315.00
    (if $315 is too much, atleast upgrade to Ati 9600 Pro = $45.00)
    4. Take out modem = -$26
    5. Take out Superdrive replace with combo drive = -$180
    (you can get external DVD-R later on)

    TOTAL comes to: $2308.00 with 9800PRO card
    And $2038.00 with 9600PRO card

    Now go to any retailer like Staples, bestbuy and get a boat load of memory. 4 - 8 x 512Mbs or something. They will be about 85-90 bucks for one. (you can get it cheaper on ebay etc.)
    I'd get 6 = 6x90 = $540 and you will get total of 3584mbs of ram.

    If you don't have one, you will also need a monitor. but those come as cheap as $70 (depending on which one you want).

    PS. Ohh, btw, if you don't have photoshop 7.0 for mac, you will need that too i guess. LEGAL version retails for 600 bucks.
    BUt go to ebay and you can get the same thing as low as 250 bucks!

  13. macrumors 6502a


    Dec 15, 2002
    They aren't even that fast. Cause they are so small in capacity they don't have much for density, so the head has to move a lot to read data, i;ve seen comparisions of 160 gig SATA drives that perform very close to the same cause they move less to read the same amount of data. The raptors are faster, but not by much and i agree think twice. A raid is the only really viable use for the 10k raptors in my opinion
  14. macrumors 603


    Dec 19, 2002
    Radeon 9800s are for gaming 3D acceleration, there is no point in getting one for manipulating PS files, as it won't make a difference. (Correct me if I'm wrong, but I'm pretty sure on this one)
  15. macrumors 6502a


    Apr 21, 2003
    Connecticut, United States of America
    He could use extra video memory for effects. But I agree spening 315- 400 on it is kinda nuts.

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