iMac 3.06 or MacPro 2.8 Quad - for Photoshop?

Discussion in 'iMac' started by DHart, Jun 16, 2008.

  1. DHart macrumors 6502

    DHart

    Joined:
    Jan 17, 2008
    #1
    (Posting in both MacPro folder and iMac folder to get opinions from both camps.)

    I'm torn between getting an iMac 3.06 GHz 24" model vs. a base model MacPro 2.8 GHz Quadcore & NEC 24" H-IPS monitor.

    Either way, I'd put 4 GB of RAM in the machine and would be using it for professional level Photoshop editing. No video games or video editing or 3D rendering would be done. I know that most Photoshop tasks are not especially processor intensive, but more RAM intensive. The iMac is limited to 4 GB of RAM... but with the MacPro, I could bump that up quite a bit. I do see a slow down when running filters in Photoshop... and that's where I think the speed difference would be most noticible between the 2.8 GHz Quad Core vs. the 3.06 GHz Core2Duo.

    If I get the mac pro, I'd have to invest another $1000 or so for an NEC 24" H-IPS monitor and another $200 or so for the same video card that the imac 3.06 comes with (Nvidia GeForce 8800). With the iMac 24", I'd be good to go.

    There would be a considerable price difference ($2200 for the iMac vs. $3400 for the MacPro & NEC monitor). I prefer the versatility of separate brain & monitor, but the $1200 price difference is enough to give me pause.

    Am I likely to notice a significant difference in speed of using Photoshop filters (running filters in PS is the most processor intensive aspect of Photoshop) between the MacPro 2.8 GHz Quad vs. the iMac's 3.06 GHz Core2Duo? And would the ability to go beyond 4 GB or RAM make a significant speed difference? Would you spend the extra $1200?
     
  2. costabunny macrumors 68020

    costabunny

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    #2
    While I cant state from both Mac's Ican say that I recently switched my PC (4gigs DDR3, Core2Duo@3.2Ghz) for a Mac Pro as sig and the Mac Pro kicks the pants off the old system in CS3 (the app I use a LOT as I shoot RAW files and convert to Tiff (100-200Mb)).

    I'd say theXeon Mac Pro is a better choice if money wasnt an issue. The ability to add more Ram and Disks in the future is great.

    (btw the vid card in the Mac Pro is the 8800GT (capable of out running first revision 8800GTX's), whereas in the Mac Pro its a 8800GS.)

    My money went on the Mac Pro for sure. very fast indeed.
     
  3. munckee macrumors 65816

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    Oct 27, 2005
    #3
    I'd imagine you'd be plenty fine with the iMac. I've been doing some heavy lifting on a Macbook with 3GB of ram for well over a year and it stands up just fine...
     
  4. DHart thread starter macrumors 6502

    DHart

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    Jan 17, 2008
    #4
    yes, I'm using a 2.2 GHz Core2Duo/4 GB RAM/MacBook myself at present (driving an HP 24" LP2465 widescreen) for my Photoshop editing and it does get the job done well, but I need another machine and I want something that is going to rip through the Photoshop filters more quickly.

    I know that either the iMac 3.06 or the MacPro 2.8 Quad will be noticibly quicker, I'm just not sure if the extra money for the MP will be worth it. I'm also leery of getting a 24" iMac with a screen gradient issue. This makes me lean toward the Pro, dang it.
     
  5. munckee macrumors 65816

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    Oct 27, 2005
    #5
    It's your cash, but personally I can't see a few seconds here and there being worth $1000+.
     
  6. Elven macrumors 6502a

    Elven

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    #6
    I agree, the iMac would suit you better, the screen issue is something you can take up with your Apple retailer, I know when mine comes if it has the issue I will be dealing with Apple in regard to it.:apple:
     
  7. D4F Guest

    D4F

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    #7
    It's all about the $$.
    If you can not afford the pro then the iMac is your only choice isn't it?? :D

    But honestly for photoshop you will not see much difference. No advanced multi core use and still only 4GB dedicated memory. If the glossy screen doesn't bother you then you will be very happy with the iMac and you should have no regrets. It's a very very good system.

    And to be honest I would like to see some side by side photoshop tests as I have a feeling that the iMac might outrun the Pro in CS3.
     
  8. DHart thread starter macrumors 6502

    DHart

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    Jan 17, 2008
    #8
    D4F... it looks from your sig line that you have both of the machines I'm considering. Do you have a filter you can run in Photoshop on a large image file that might take, say, 20 seconds to run on the iMac 3.06 and see how long it takes to run on the same file on your Pro 2.8 Quad? Knowing that would help me so much. Thank you.
     
  9. D4F Guest

    D4F

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    #9
    I can do that when I'm at home but take a look at this.
    It should give youa idea how fast the iMac is in photoshop compared to a EIGHT core :D

    *For the lazy ones - 50MB file test - 14 scripted tasks
    iMac 3.06 - 47 seconds
    Mac Pro 8 Core Xeon 2.8 - 49 seconds

    It's a proof of what I always say. make sure you know what you use the system for as you may end up dumping ********s of $$ for nothing.

    Photoshop takes no advantage of multicore processing to the point in which a Mac Pro is a asset.

    And that's why I love my iMac :D

    http://www.macworld.com/article/133332/2008/05/alumimac2008.html
     
  10. DHart thread starter macrumors 6502

    DHart

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    Jan 17, 2008
    #10
    D4F... wow! Good to know. I sure don't have extra money to waste, so I guess I'll be leaning toward the iMac. Praying I get a good screen.
     
  11. D4F Guest

    D4F

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    #11
    I would go for the iMac if I were you. And if you get a bad screen... then just replace it for a better :)
    Apple are easy to deal with if you are polite and give them good reasons.

    People bitch about the iMac screens a lot but to be honest I do not see any big deal here. I own the 23" ACD and honestly they both look great to me. Screen bleeds are so hard to spot unless you look at them all the time (you start seening them in places where there arent any after a while :D ) that I wouldn't even bother. Only thing is the glossy screen... But considering I do all my work on the iMac and use my Pro as a render farm then I guess I can honestly say that I love it a lot :)
     
  12. DHart thread starter macrumors 6502

    DHart

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    Jan 17, 2008
    #12
    Yeah... I'm not concerned about a little light leakage on the edges... no big deal there. But as a professional portrait photographer, I do need consistent color (no yellow tinge in the middle) and consistent brightness across the screen (no brightness gradient). I can happily live with a minor amount of light leakage on the edges.
     
  13. D4F Guest

    D4F

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    #13
    Well if you're a PRO then I would go Lacie or NEC way or even ACD. That's what I can tell you right now. the iMac screen is great but not sure how it will handle 100% color accuracy and knowing apple I would NOT consider it for granted :)
     
  14. DHart thread starter macrumors 6502

    DHart

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    Jan 17, 2008
    #14
    D4F... yeah... I know. That's my dilemma. The 24" iMac is so dang close to being a great machine for me and I think if I get a good screen it will work just fine. But I don't want to get enmeshed in a repeated go around in returning and exchanging iMacs until I get a good screen.

    If I go with the Pro, I would use the new NEC 24" H-IPS monitor, which, interestingly enough, uses the same H-IPS panel as the 24" iMac uses. But NEC seems to know how to package the panel for near perfection and Apple doesn't seem too concerned with making sure that great panel is perfectly implemented/installed in the aluminum iMac.

    The thing that keeps me considering the iMac is the fact that I may luck out and get a good display... saving me a LOT of money vs. a Pro and NEC 24" widescreen!
     
  15. D4F Guest

    D4F

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    #15
    I would go for the iMac and hunt for the perfect screen till you get one.
    In worst scenario you can add another screen to it :) I so love working with full editing screen and having all my tools on second monitor :D
     
  16. DHart thread starter macrumors 6502

    DHart

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    Jan 17, 2008
    #16
    D4F.... I'm thinking the iMac is the way to go, even if it means some exchanges due to screen issues. That is such an ideal set-up for Photoshop editing, great speed, perfect 24" size, good price!
     
  17. DrMoO macrumors newbie

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    Jul 9, 2008
    #17
    Hi there, I'm new here. I read this thread and thought it was really interesting to read what you said about Photoshop not using the Quad core, D4F.

    My problem is: as a professional photographer I use photoshop CS3 a lot, I use it on a iMac (dual core, about a year old). But I waste days because it takes so much time to even open or save high resolution files, let alone working on it. It can easily take 15 minutes to open a large PSD file, do a minor change then save it and export it as jpg. I have 2GB RAM. I was actually considering investing on a Mac Pro as I thought that would be a proper tool doing the job at a normal speed. But reading this it seems that won't change anything. Can I have other opinions?

    I'll make a separate post about photoshop getting slower and slower. It really kills me and I wonder if there is a trick (apart from getting more RAM) to make it go faster.

    Cheers!
     
  18. munckee macrumors 65816

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    Oct 27, 2005
    #18

    How "hi-res" are those images?? Even working in RAW off my digi rebel, I've never had my macbook or even my 1.5 Core Solo mini crawl like that. I also edited full res images off a 1Ds MKIII recently on my work macbook and had no issues at all. Not even close. Are you sure that both ram chips are seated correctly? Do you have a ton of other tasks running in the background? Something sounds fishy there...
     
  19. kjs862 macrumors 65816

    kjs862

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    Jan 21, 2004
    #19
    What type of tasks take addvantage of multi core?

    Currently on my powermac I... photoshop large files, some video conversion (avi -> DVD via visual hub), and the reason why I'm considering upgrading is playing 1080p movies in VLC; currently choppy as all hell. Also when I figure it out converting these 1080p movies to a watchable format on my TV screen; probally going to have to wait till I get a blue-ray burner,


    Trying to figure if I should go all out on my next purchase with multiple cores.
     
  20. DHart thread starter macrumors 6502

    DHart

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    Jan 17, 2008
    #20
    It appears that Photoshop CS3 runs about as fast on an iMac 24" 3.06 as on a MacPro quad-core, given ample RAM to each machine. So for me (I don't do any video work or gaming), an iMac 3.06 makes a lot of sense if I can get a good screen.

    I'm actually relatively tolerant of the speed I get from Photoshop with my MacBook 2.2 GHz and 4 GB of RAM.... it's fairly zippy, actually. But when things slow down a bit is when I run a filter like Portraiture on a fairly large (36 MB) file... and I do this dozens of times a day at my portrait studio. Were it not for running processor intensive PS filters, I'd say the modest 2.2 or 2.4 GHz MacBook connected to a great 24" external monitor is an awesome Photoshop solution.

    That said, when Snow Leopard comes out, the speed of the new OS will really be able to take advantage of quad & octo-cores and the overall system will fly like a spurned banshee - won't that be nice! In SNow Leopard, Apple will focus primarily on the speed and stability of the OS, rather than on adding more goodie features. And in another year or two, more applications will be able to make good use of the multi cores. So with that in mind, perhaps the extra investment in a quad-core Pro might not be such a bad idea.
     
  21. DrMoO macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Jul 9, 2008
    #21
    Fishy like hell, I spent all morning working on various images, having to go get them is several external hard drives, and it is always the same: opening them takes ages. I'm talking 50 to 200Mb on average per PSD file, they are meant to be printed up to A3 size. But that should be the everyday work for photoshop! Everything takes ages now, even typing this post, the Mac freezes from time to time. I don't have much running in the background generally apart from Firefox and Cyberduck. Going form application to another freezes as well. And I thought a dual core meant you could multitask. But when PS is on a task the Mac is barely useable, just like my old PC...

    When I check the RAM with the utility thing it says everything is fine, I suppose if the ram was not well fixed it would show (or would display 1Gb?). Any monitoring/checking application recommended?

    What I did as a first try was to order an extra Gb ram (my iMac, 2.16 dual core 2 cant take more than 3 unfortunately) I will see if I gain anything. But it really drives me mad as there SHOULD be a tool adapted to professional photographers but I can't see which!! I read the Mac Pro had a type of memory that wasnt as good as the iMacs and that the hard drives were slowing things down too. Or do we need to buy the next released of iMac every 6 month? When I charge my time for editing I can't afford to spend 4 times that time in the end because of a snail computer...

    The retouch artist speed test is interesting but I would be interested in a speed test mainly relying on opening - duplicating a layer - saving as PSD. I would also be interested in a speed test based on Bridge when you open a folder full of new images. I wonder if bridge is not causing lots of my problems actually. Anyone had troubles with Bridge?


    Thanks!
     
  22. DrMoO macrumors newbie

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    Jul 9, 2008
    #22

    Sounds good but in that case I suppose it's better to wait until that new OS comes before investing in the quad-core.
     
  23. MAC-PRO-DEMON macrumors 6502a

    MAC-PRO-DEMON

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    #23
    All I can say is that I have both (although the 3.2 OCTA) it obviously runs better on the mac pro although i dont notice much of a difference. The iMac is your best bet but you will want 4gb of ram!!!
     
  24. edesignuk Moderator emeritus

    edesignuk

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    #24
    While that may be true right now, it won't remain that way. Snow Leopard and CS4 are sure to bring far greater utilisation of multiple cores, and seeing as any computer is likely to be a several year investment, you will see the benefit.
     
  25. jashic macrumors member

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    Oct 9, 2006
    #25
    By that logic, he would spend $1000 more today, then another $400 when CS4 comes out, then another $150 when snow leopard comes out, just to get a few seconds more performance...in 2 years?!?!?
     

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