For Photography, Gaming: Mac Pro, iMac, MacBook Pro or Homemade (Windows)?

Discussion in 'Buying Tips and Advice' started by Droid13, Oct 4, 2009.

  1. Droid13 macrumors regular

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    United Kingdom
    #1
    I am open to using either Windows or a Mac, though I would prefer a Mac for home use. I have no experience with Linux or other OS.

    My needs are straightforward enough: I need a machine that can handle large RAW files from the current crop of DSLRs in image processing software and handle demanding graphics for Windows gaming. Form factor doesn't matter too much, but desktop would be preferable.

    The rest of the stuff I do - surfing, word processing, casual programming, checking MacRumors - can be done by a netbook, it's the photos and the gaming that push the requirements up. That and the occasional need for serious programming and processing - but that is rare.

    Budget is undetermined - I have to save up anyway, unlikely to buy Apple hardware anytime soon so things will have changed by the time I am looking to buy - I just need a target. I would prefer a cost effective solution, but have a nasty suspicion that an expensive Mac Pro is what I need, either that or a homemade gaming rig and some Windows goodness.

    Any ideas?

    Thanks!
     
  2. thegoldenmackid macrumors 604

    thegoldenmackid

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    #2
    I mean an iMac can handle your needs. If you are going to use Lightroom/Photoshop I'd say a PC is the right choice.
     
  3. Droid13 thread starter macrumors regular

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    #3
    Thanks for the quick reply!

    I had some doubts about the iMac, concerned about heat and things if I put an HD 4850 (or the equivalent then) in it - take it that isn't much of an issue?

    Suppose the homemade PC sorts out that problem and will probably cost less - and be upgradeable. Photoshop is my mainstay, I am not too attached to Aperture and wouldn't mind letting it go.
     
  4. Kissaragi macrumors 68020

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    Nov 16, 2006
    #4
    You cant add your own video card into an imac, your stuck with what apple gives you.

    If you want to game then your only real options are a mac pro or windows machine.
     
  5. Droid13 thread starter macrumors regular

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    #5
    So: iMac tops out with an HD 4850 (and my concerns about pushing the card and maybe some heat issues - I don't know if this is really a problem) or a Mac Pro which tops out with an HD 4870.

    I believe that Apple rarely supports the latest graphics cards and that SLI or Crossfire setups are not possible on a Mac Pro - is this correct? I only have experience with the MacBooks...

    Looks like the homemade solution wins. Thanks for your help guys.
     
  6. guyofwar2 macrumors newbie

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    Mar 17, 2009
    #6
    when you said gaming, you pretty much answered your own question
     
  7. Shownarou macrumors regular

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    Newton, IA
    #7
    I guess my question is, what do you mean by gaming? I personally don't see the need for having the super most expensive video card on the market. Games still run on lower scale video cards, do you need to have everything turned up to max with SLI and all of that money wrapped up in it? Either way, the hardware's going to have a whole different line-up in six months time. :confused:

    Just saying that trying to keep up with the video card market is almost pointless.
     
  8. mgridgaway macrumors 6502

    mgridgaway

    Joined:
    Feb 25, 2006
    #8
    This is correct. If you're looking for a machine with raw power, I'd suggest looking into building a PC with Server-grade parts. http://www.boxxtech.com/ also makes good rigs, but they are quite expensive.

    If you are looking for something not as expensive your best bet is to build your own PC. Quad-core, DDR3 Ram, Sli'd, etc.

    While the Mac Pro is quite a powerful machine, and it can probably handle what you want to do, if you're looking for something with both power and gaming expandibility you've pretty much cut your options out as far as buying a mac is concerned.
     
  9. Freyqq macrumors 68040

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    Dec 13, 2004
    #9
    server grade parts are unnecessary for a pc. A core 2 duo, i5, or i7 would all be fine and are much cheaper than a xeon. Expensive does not equal good for every task. You don't need a server, you need something to edit photos. That means a lot of ram (cheap), a decent cpu, and a big hd. For gaming, I'd pick up a 4870 with 1 gb of ram, as they are about $140 with rebates and are amazingly fast.
     
  10. HBOC macrumors 68020

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    #10
    what games do you play on the computer?

    I run CS4 fine on my MBP. My CR2 files are sometimes 20MB, then converting them to TiFF creates a 40MB + files sometimes..
     
  11. silentnite macrumors 6502a

    silentnite

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    #11
    In your case building your own windows PC is not a bad way to go. If you have a little knowledge & a medium budget, you could get exactly what your looking for and then some. Places like newegg.com have good mother board combos and crucial.com has the discount memory. I put together a really good gaming system back in early 2005. A lot has changed since then but I don't game on my computer anymore like I should. Ever since I got an xbox it just makes it easier to game on and let my computers do the other things.
     
  12. thegoldenmackid macrumors 604

    thegoldenmackid

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    #12
    I second the "What games do you play?" It doesn't seem that a Mac Pro is needed, as it's not for most.
     
  13. bcburrows macrumors 6502

    bcburrows

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  14. HBOC macrumors 68020

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    #14
    fixed it for ya :)
     
  15. Techhie macrumors 65816

    Techhie

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    #15
    The Mac Pro is NOT a gaming machine, and was never intended to be such. If you buy one for that purpose, you will be wasting your money. As people have said before, you are much better off buying a consumer Mac and a gaming console.
     
  16. Freyqq macrumors 68040

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    #16
    gaming console OR a gaming PC built yourself from parts off sites like newegg.com :)
     
  17. opera57 macrumors 6502

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    Feb 15, 2009
    #17
    I have an iMac with the nVidia 8800GS and find it great for gaming, and of course it will be perfect for photography. The ATI card that is being offered now is even faster than the 8800gs as far as I am aware. It may depend on what games you want to play though, and if you must have them set to the highest settings? I play the source games (Counter Strike, Team Fortress 2 etc) regularly and can max them out on my system (3.06ghz iMac, 4gb ram and 8800gs graphics). Hope that helps!
    [​IMG]
     
  18. Droid13 thread starter macrumors regular

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    #18
    Posting on the move - apologies for typos etc

    My interest in the Mac Pro stems from a desire to have a Mac as my home desktop for working with my photos, and to also be my gaming rig - I now know for sure that it simply won't work.

    it's nice to have it - every once in a while I put together a system that is the latest and greatest I can afford and push it for a few years. Some upcoming releases (eg Flashpoint 2) have dual core processors and 7 series nVidia as the minimum, with quad core recommended. For the cost of a Mac Pro I can get a nice big PSU and a very open fan-cooled chassis, then fill it with goodies.

    That seems sensible - as the ATI 5000 series cards are now out, I may wait a bit though as they nearly double the performance for the same power consumption. By then the CPU market might be easier too.

    I was never one for games consoles. Of course, with so many of the reviews for the recent ATI cards lamenting the state of PC gaming, they might be the sensible option!

    Thanks again for the discussion guys - when I've put together my system I'll post the spec on here - won't be for a while though.
     
  19. motox25 macrumors member

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    Aug 28, 2008
    #19
    I have a Mac Pro and an xbox 360 for gaming. Only computer game I play is WOW which runs excellent on the mac pro, if I did any more gaming than that on my computer I'd build a custom PC for it but I prefer an xbox for the majority of my gaming.
     
  20. thegoldenmackid macrumors 604

    thegoldenmackid

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    #20
    Another solution would be an iMac with a gaming PC? What games are we trying to play?
     
  21. Zombie Acorn macrumors 65816

    Zombie Acorn

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    Feb 2, 2009
    Location:
    Toronto, Ontario
    #21
    I am going to second the MBP + 360. 360s are pretty cheap these days and its pretty much all the gaming you will need. Popular games like WoW should still run.

    That being said I have:

    Custom built PC
    PS3
    360
    Macbook alum

    If you want to save money do not do what I did :eek:
     

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