iMac Buying Advice for photo editing

Discussion in 'Buying Tips and Advice' started by j.e.f.f, Jun 19, 2009.

  1. j.e.f.f macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Jun 19, 2009
    #1
    Hi folks

    I want to buy a 24" iMac to be used mostly for photo editing and graphic design work. The bulk of my time is spent in Lightroom 2.0 and Photoshop CS4, but I also spend time in other CS4 apps like Illustrator, InDesign, Flash and Dreamweaver. I have a few questions:



    1. Does the processor speed make enough of a difference to go for a 2.9 / 3.06 GHz model or will a 2.66 GHz model be just fine?
    2. Do any of the video card upgrades make a difference for graphic design work or are they largely upgrades only gamers will need? I won't play any games at all on this machine, so I'm not interested in gaming performance.
    3. I've read that some iMac screens do not natively display true 24-bit colour. Does this apply to any of the 24" models, including the 2.66 Ghz model?

    I expect this machine to last me 3 - 5 years. I shoot with a Canon 20D which produces 8 MP images, and if that one dies I'd like to upgrade to the 5D mk II which produces 21 MP images. I am leaning towards the 2.66 GHz model with an upgrade to 1TB HDD, and potentially 8GB RAM. Will this suffice for my needs?

    Thanks!
    - Jeff
     
  2. Hellhammer Moderator

    Hellhammer

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    #2
    2.66GHz will be fine unless you're doing 3D design with Motion and adding effect after effect in video editing.
     
  3. j.e.f.f thread starter macrumors newbie

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    Jun 19, 2009
    #3
    Thanks

    I do dabble in the odd video project, but mostly family stuff using iMovie. So I can put up with the occasional slow down for that.

    Would you recommend the upgrade to 8GB of RAM or will I be OK with 4?
     
  4. Hellhammer Moderator

    Hellhammer

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    #4
    iMovie will run very smoothly, I meant something like Final Cut Pro or other professional application.

    Don't buy 8GB yet, it costs like 700$, wait for the price to drop for ~200$ and buy then. I have 4GB and run CS4, iWeb, iTunes, Safari... all the time without slowdowns. Only if you're using Parallels/Fusion for running Windows at the same time, then more RAM is appreciated.
     
  5. j.e.f.f thread starter macrumors newbie

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    Jun 19, 2009
    #5
    Cool!

    Any thoughts on the video card upgrades? My initial thought was that they would only be useful for gamers, but then with the announcement that Snow Leopard will be able to utilize video processing power for regular applications, I thought a video upgrade might be useful, and perhaps a more economical way to get more horsepower than what a 300 MHz difference in CPU clock speed would get me.
     
  6. Hellhammer Moderator

    Hellhammer

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    #6
    OpenCL is overhyped in my opinion. It takes months before any non-Apple app will get OpenCL support and Adobe is known that they rarely adds support for any OpenCl like thing. It likely that CS4 will never get OpenCL support, maybe CS5 or CS6 will support it. Of course better GPU makes it more future proving and has better resale value, so it's now on your hands. Do you want to spend more for things that you may not need/use?
     
  7. mscriv macrumors 601

    mscriv

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    Aug 14, 2008
    Location:
    Dallas, Texas
    #7
    Like already said, don't upgrade the RAM through Apple. You can definitely get it cheaper through a 3rd party and installing RAM in an iMac is easy. If you have any technical skill you might also consider going 3rd party for the HD as well. There a plenty of online guides that will walk you through installing a new HD in an iMac. Then you can put your old drive in an enclosure for even more storage. From the research I've done the 24" screen is a quality IPS panel and there are several others on this forum who use an iMac for photo work.
     
  8. j.e.f.f thread starter macrumors newbie

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    Jun 19, 2009
    #8
    Thanks folks!

    You've all helped me make my decision. I'll go with the base model and do any upgrades myself (RAM, HD)

    @Hellhammer, your point is well taken. I have no interest in paying extra for a feature someone _ELSE_ will use. In any case i'm not looking to make money on resale (likely the machine will become a hand-me-down to my wife or son when it's time to retire it).

    And I also agree with your point on Adobe being slow to support new hardware technologies. It took until CS4 to get GPU acceleration in Photoshop, and I'll be honest, I don't think it's much to write home about.
     
  9. Hellhammer Moderator

    Hellhammer

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    #9
    You're welcome, mate. You'll love it!
     

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