Best Mac to Run CS4 Production Premium?

Discussion in 'Digital Video' started by CSLEWIS-FAN, Jan 26, 2010.

  1. CSLEWIS-FAN macrumors newbie

    Jul 5, 2008
    Hello all, I'm a rookie here attempting to up my movie and photo editing abilities and I recently purchased the CS4 Production Premium suite which includes Photoshop Extended, After Effects, Premiere Pro, Illustrator, Flash, Soundbooth, Encore, On Location and Bridge. I am currently working with an older macbook pro with a processor of 2.33 Ghz Intel Core 2 Duo and a memory of 3GB 667 MHz DDR2 SDRAM.

    As I soon found out and many of you already know, this computer is way too slow to run these applications efficiently. So now I am in the market for a new Mac. I'm leaning towards a desktop this time. What I was wondering is if anyone can give me some advice on what would be the amount of Ram and processor speed I should be looking for to efficiently run CS4. Thanks in advance to anyone who would be willing to lend me some advice.
  2. Charlie Croker macrumors member

    Charlie Croker

    Jan 7, 2010
    It depends on what you're prepared to put up with. My office is only just planning to invest in new media equipment after 8 long years, which means I've had to encode After Effects work and Premiere et al on a 2002 Vaio Pentium 4 3.4Ghz (2 CPUs). It's slow, but by no means impossible to produce decent After Effects work. You adjust to different working methods, like devising work in low res and then exporting over night if it is particularly complex or long. It should be quite a jump when I start work on the Arrandale and Gulftown.

    The computer you have is good enough to use CS4, but obviously not as good as the fastest machines out now. Only Encore, After Effects and Premiere will perform significantly better on a new machine. Everything else doesn't require massive resources unless you are planning on editing some enormous image file that's going to fill up a wall.

    If you want to buy, be advised the range is due a refresh so be careful. At least wait until Apple's media event in a few days. The mid range desktop Mac is looking really quite poor value for money as the iMac has more power unless you are going to go all out on the desktop hardware, but don't forget you can't really upgrade an iMac. But ask yourself, have you ever and how often do you upgrade your machines before buying your next one? A desktop should be considered if you need a lot of accessory expandability.

    In terms of RAM and processor speed, work out what you are prepared to spend first and then go the site. It will give you the best idea. As you sound like an enthusiastic hobbyist, I wouldn't go all out. Perhaps think about the top end iMac. Also think about desk space and portability.
  3. CSLEWIS-FAN thread starter macrumors newbie

    Jul 5, 2008

    Thanks for the quick reply. The new iMac's are what I was looking at, but wasn't quite sure what configuration would fit my needs the best. I'd obviously like to get the i7 processor, but was wondering if that was a little over kill and if I could save some money and take a step down to the i5. And also what amount of Ram would be best. 4, 8, 16gb? I wanna land somewhere that I'm not waiting overnight to render a 5 - 10 minute video that was imported using AVCHD format, but at a reasonable price.

    As far as the new media event. I'm looking forward to tomorrow in hopes that new iMac's are released with more power at the same prices or the current iMac's prices are lowered. I guess we will see. Thanks again Charlie and if anyone else has any input please let me know.
  4. CSLEWIS-FAN thread starter macrumors newbie

    Jul 5, 2008
    This could very well be a patience issue that I have. But to give you all a better idea of how slow my computer is running these programs I timed how long it took to open Premiere Pro. From the time I clicked on the Premiere Pro icon until it was fully open was approximately 70 seconds. And if it takes this long to open, you can imagine how long it takes to render something.

    Now again, this could just be my patience, but am I wrong in expecting Pr Pro to open faster. Understand that this is a legit copy I purchased and not something downloaded from a bit torrent or something like that. Would it be safe to say that my computer just can't hack it and a new one will offer faster performance. Or would it still take the roughly the same amount of time and I just need to get used to it. Thanks again in advance.
  5. jayducharme macrumors 68040


    Jun 22, 2006
    The thick of it
    The 27" i7 iMacs have been posting better benchmarks than the 8-core Mac Pros. So your thought of getting an iMac is on target. iMacs can also be wall-mounted to save a lot of real estate.

    As for the CS4 suite, I oversee a set of labs running the suite on over 60 8-core Mac Pros, and CS4 is a mess. The programs repeated lock up or crash (esp. Photoshop and Flash). We also use Final Cut, and as you might expect that runs like clockwork, absolutely blazing. It appears that Adobe is no longer interested in optimizing their software for Macs.

    So I would caution against CS4 on a Mac, if you rely on it for your business. CS4 seems to be much more stable on PCs.
  6. Green2Delta macrumors member

    Sep 27, 2007
    CSLEWIS - let me know what direction you decide to go... I'm kind of in the same boat trying to decide what platform I want to run CS4. If you're worried about render times I can kind of give you an idea, I'm running CS3 on a single core 1.3ghz windows machine with 2gb RAM and it took me about 3.5 hours to render a 5 minute 10 second (relatively effects-heavy) video. I'm sure whatever machine you decide to go with will do better than that.
  7. CSLEWIS-FAN thread starter macrumors newbie

    Jul 5, 2008

    I think I've made up my mind to go with the i7. The more research I do on it the more I've realized that the i7 has Hyperthreading and the i5 does not. While this is not a big deal right now, it is rumored or expected that new software in the future will make use of this technology. So If I ever upgrade to CS5, CS6 or even the next Final Cut Studio, I'm guessing they might support this technology. It really isn't a speed thing for me at this time, as it seems that the i7 is only a small percentage faster than the i5, but I'm going to attempt to do all I can to future proof this purchase as long as possible. Another issue was the money. I was wavering on if I could save a few bucks here or there. I've just decided to wait until I have enough to purchase what I really want which is the i7 instead of buying what I can right now, the i5. Waiting a little longer now, might bring me a little more advantage in the future. That's my humbled take on this situation. Good luck in what you decide.


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