Geekbench vs Photoshop (iMac and Mac Pro)

Discussion in 'Buying Tips and Advice' started by sammyman, Nov 7, 2010.

  1. sammyman macrumors 6502a

    Mar 21, 2005
    I have been doing some research on buying my new mac and have been looking at geekbench. One thing that I have noticed is that I don't really understand how the geekbench numbers affect photoshop performance? Is there a direct correlation between the numbers and photoshop performance? For instance I am considering a 6-core Mac Pro because I have heard that it is very fast on photoshop, even faster than the 12-core machines! However, the 12-core geekbench score is much higher than the 6-core machine..

    So I am trying to get a feeling of how the iMac i7 compares with the lowest end Mac Pro and the 6-core Mac Pro in photoshop?
  2. dissolve macrumors 6502a

    Aug 23, 2009
    Geekbench is a measure of primarily CPU calculations. Photoshop, while multicore aware, isn't the best at utilizing them all. I've read that it'll use only four cores at a time. Either way, a faster clock is going to be more noticeable. Plus, other factors are important as well (lots of RAM if you're working on big projects).

    This is why the 6-core is faster with Photoshop. The advantage to the dual CPU systems is more RAM slots, providing a cheaper route to tons of RAM. But, the 6-core is still a better buy for this application. The i7 iMac will be pretty similar to the base Mac Pro, minus expandability. You'd probably see an improvement in the 6-core, but at a hefty price increase. What kind of images will you be working on? What are you using now?
  3. sammyman thread starter macrumors 6502a

    Mar 21, 2005
    My wife is a professional photographer. She does about 30 weddings a year. She uses lightroom + photoshop. I am not sure how many pics she works on at a time, or how big they are. She has a Canon Mark II. I feel terrible to report that she uses a 2009 mac mini. It is time for the update she deserves.
  4. dissolve macrumors 6502a

    Aug 23, 2009
    Haha she definitely does! :)

    I really think the 12-core is way overkill for this. You should be thinking about the iMac vs quad Mac Pro vs 6-core Mac Pro. This is going to depend on your budget primarily. Some questions you need to ask are:

    1) Do you value internal expandability (hard drives, mainly, in your case)?
    2) Do you already have a monitor?

    For professional photography, I really don't think the iMac is the way to go solely because the display isn't suited for color and print accuracy. Factor into your budget a lot of RAM and, possibly, a scratch disk for photoshop. Using a SSD as a boot drive will make the entire system much quicker. If you have room left for the 6-core, it'll make a great machine. You could also consider the 4-core 3.2 GHz option.

    Try reading around the Mac Pro subforum for more recommendations about your uses. I'm mostly in Aperture, which uses the GPU pretty heavily, and I have no slowdowns at all with the 2.8 quad, 6GB RAM, and ATI 5870. But I'm not a pro ;)
  5. sammyman thread starter macrumors 6502a

    Mar 21, 2005
    I do like the hard drive expandability of a Mac Pro. I wouldn't mind upgrading the internals of the iMac every couple of years, but I wouldn't have room for a dedicated scratch disk...

    We do have 24" Apple Cinema. It is a good size for her, although she does eye the 27" when we go to the Apple store :)

    The 4-core 3.2 GHz option is something I noticed last night. I am hoping to score that or the 3.33Ghz in the refurbished store soon.

    If we do decide to go with the iMac, I may wait until January or February to buy one if they update it.
  6. dissolve macrumors 6502a

    Aug 23, 2009
    Good plan. If she does a lot of prints, it's very important to get a monitor that will calibrate well. The glossy display on the ACD and iMac makes it tough to keep consistent with room lighting. Dell's U2711 is a great consumer 27" IPS monitor that's not glossy. You could also look at NEC or Eizo for some higher-end options. Monitor choice is worth it's own thread :p

    Keep looking at the refurb site. Since you already have a display, I'd definitely recommend a refurbished Mac Pro. Once you can, buy another display (if you want a larger one matching the size of the iMac). Both the iMac and Mac Pro will be powerful enough to handle photo editing for the near future, but the expandability and monitor options were the reasons I went with the Pro.
  7. Matty-p macrumors regular

    Apr 3, 2010
    Actually what are the specs of the mini as a big up grade a ssd internal and fw 800 raid box for photos and 8gb ram may do fine. Also haveou considered a macbook pro 15" these nachines have the best disply for photogs and provide computing editing andmostimportantly showing off or premoting her work on the road or at events or weddings.and a well sped model i7 500gb hd 8gb ram will be plenty fast enough and youll get dual displays when user as desktop with acd and you van still ayach a raid box or external hd via fw ifspace is an issue
  8. irishgrizzly macrumors 65816


    May 15, 2006
    Geekbench isn't a good indicator for heavy photshop work. I think the idea of getting a macbook pro is great, it will be plenty fast with the RAM topped up and would be great for bringing along to showcase work for potential clients.
  9. redkamel macrumors 6502

    Aug 29, 2006
    I would say if you plan on keeping it LONG term (4+ years) get a macpro, preferably a six core used. If you plan on replacing it/budgeting, get an imac. Its comparable to the low end macpro.

    barefeats has a lot of good numbers.

    The macpro is very expensive. The entry level is close to the imac. The macpro is really for people who need terabytes and terabytes of internal storage, big multicore processorts, and lots of RAM. their bargain-ality has gone down in recent years from what I read. They are also confusing to take time to become familiar with them.

    Check out the macpro forums.

    IMO Just get the imac and if you need to, an extra monitor just for photo editing like a nice NEC. 2 TB will last a while, its a relative bargain, and you can always expand. You wont feel bad buying a new one in a few years (2500/36 months=$70 month=~cell phone bill) whereas a mac pro, to even notice a difference (which would be a matter of a few seconds on...exports?) would cost thousands more...and dont forget the monitor!

    In the end, I'd rather get the completely adequate imac, and spend the money on lenses, monitors, prints, travel etc.

    PS I do photography myself as a hobby. Ive looked into this. The MPs are tempting (and awesome), but the 27 quad core imac is the sweet spot.
  10. sammyman thread starter macrumors 6502a

    Mar 21, 2005
    I am leaning this direction more and more. I am realizing the total cost of the base MP system will be at least $1k more.

    Also, there are storage solutions like a firewire drobo or a fast RAID box that I could always use as storage becomes more of a problem.
  11. khollister macrumors 6502a


    Feb 1, 2003
    Orlando, FL
    I am also a photographer (non-professional at this point - been there, done that) and went from a 2.66 i5 iMac to a 3.2 quad Mac Pro wtih dedicated drives for PS scratch, home/data and OS+apps (SSD). Significant seat of the pants speed improvement.

    The 3.2 quad is the sweet spot in the Mac Pro line for Photoshop users at this point IMHO. Clock speed does matter. The fact that I have a scratch drive on SATA rather than firewire as well as the data on a separate drive is also significant. The single biggest issue with the iMac is no eSATA ports for IO expansion. You can also go beyond 16GB RAM in the Mac Pro, which is of significance with CS5 & LR3.
  12. Satan's Puppy macrumors newbie

    Apr 14, 2011
    If your wife is a working professional photographer definitely get the Mac Pro. I just received my 6-Core 3.33 and love it! I love the way I can open 5-10 images in Photoshop from Aperture, edit them, make sure they match each other, then save them and start on the next set without skipping a beat!

    I kinda went all out on mine, it's got the 5870 GPU, 32GB of RAM (4x8GB), two 256GB Solid State drives striped in a RAID level 0 for my OS and Apps along with two 2TB Western Digital Black drives in another RAID level 0 for media. I put the original 1TB drive in the optical bay to function as an Aperture Vault. I also got an eSATA card to which I attached an OWC AL Pro Dual Drive RAID that functions as my Time Machine backup.

    Every year and a half to two years I sell my Mac Pro then add some money and get a better one. I got $2250 out of my old 2.66 Quad-Core. I already had the two SSD's and the Hard Drives. The iMac's are great but if you're doing hours of editing it's so worth it to get the Mac Pro. I was lucky enough to pick up a 30" Apple Cinema Display when they were available new. The antiglare finish is great.

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