iMac for Photoshop

KyleKlink

macrumors regular
Original poster
Feb 22, 2009
127
0
Santa Maria, Ca
I'm planning on buying my wife a 27" iMac (her first Mac) but I am not sure if the i5 or the i7 is the way to go. She is a photographer who uses a Canon 5D Mark II and does all of her editing in Photoshop and Lightroom. I intend to purchase Photoshp CS5 for her Mac.

I've seen some threads that suggest the i7 will provide a significant boost in performance over the i5, yet other threads mention that the i5 is the better value and will perform just as well as the i7 when it comes to Photoshop. Is the i7 going to be worth the extra cash for PS CS5 and Lightroom?

I'm also considering the addition of the SSD in the iMac. Would separating the OS and the storage onto two drives really make a difference in performance? And what about OS X and the lack of TRIM support?

Thanks ahead of time for your thoughts!
 

iShater

macrumors 604
Aug 13, 2002
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409
Chicagoland
1) What kind of system does she use today?
2) Is a fixed display a concern?


Separating the OS from data does make difference, not only when SSDs are involved, but even with good old regular HDs.
 

KyleKlink

macrumors regular
Original poster
Feb 22, 2009
127
0
Santa Maria, Ca
1) What kind of system does she use today?
2) Is a fixed display a concern?


Separating the OS from data does make difference, not only when SSDs are involved, but even with good old regular HDs.
Right now she uses a PC I built for her back in 2008. Its an AMD x2 3.0GHz, 2GB DDR2800, and some cheap video card. The machine is certainly not suitable for PS, as even simple tasks such as cropping take 5-10 seconds to process.

The fixed display isn't an issue. In fact, the AIO design is a plus, given the minimal amount of space she has at her desk.

My concern is really with the processor. I'd like to get her the best that I can, but I also don't want to drop $200 on an upgrade that will provide little if any benefit. Id rather spend the extra cash in upping the memory.
 

KyleKlink

macrumors regular
Original poster
Feb 22, 2009
127
0
Santa Maria, Ca
I should also mention that her current monitor is a 22" HP. It's not a bad display, but the IPS panel in the iMac is far superior, so that would be quite an upgrade on its own.
 

iShater

macrumors 604
Aug 13, 2002
6,991
409
Chicagoland
You can always add more RAM later, you can never change the CPU. So if it was really a choice between the two, the i7 would be the way to go.

That being said, if her current setup is SLOW, I am not sure if the improvement will be that much more in speed. If she was doing video rendering, I would probably recommend the i7 hands down.

Is your upgrade cycle every 2 years? or do you not have time limit for upgrading?

Have you considered a refurbished i5?
 

KyleKlink

macrumors regular
Original poster
Feb 22, 2009
127
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Santa Maria, Ca
Is your upgrade cycle every 2 years? or do you not have time limit for upgrading?

Have you considered a refurbished i5?
Id like this computer to last her at least 3 years, however it really depends on how her work flow evolves. For now she doesn't do any video, but this could change as develops and grows her business.

As for refurbished, call me stupid but I just cannot bring myself to buy a refurbished item. I'd much rather buy something brand new. I know, there is probably money to be saved going the refurb route, but for me it's just not an option.
 

GyroFX

macrumors 6502
Jan 14, 2002
389
2
Los Angeles and NorCal
do you think it's cheaper to up the ram in your PC and possibly get a better GPU? maybe that might help? cropping any pic shouldn't take 5-10 sec on a Dual 3Ghz Machine. That's kind of odd
 

KyleKlink

macrumors regular
Original poster
Feb 22, 2009
127
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Santa Maria, Ca
do you think it's cheaper to up the ram in your PC and possibly get a better GPU? maybe that might help? cropping any pic shouldn't take 5-10 sec on a Dual 3Ghz Machine. That's kind of odd
Eh, if it wasn't a two-year old computer already I might consider doing that. Also, I have plans to turn the computer into a massive file server for the home. Getting a Mac is a certainty, Im just undecided about the processor.
 

GyroFX

macrumors 6502
Jan 14, 2002
389
2
Los Angeles and NorCal
Eh, if it wasn't a two-year old computer already I might consider doing that. Also, I have plans to turn the computer into a massive file server for the home. Getting a Mac is a certainty, Im just undecided about the processor.
I'm not sure then. Hopefully some people can provide you with benchmarks for PS under i5/i7. Why don't you go check out the Photoshop test thread. You can find info from there

https://forums.macrumors.com/showthread.php?t=200558

here you go
 

meat popsicle

macrumors newbie
Nov 24, 2009
12
0
You will be fine with either processor. The Canon 5d mark ii has some pretty large raw files that will be best served adding some more ram. For the same amount of money I see two choices. 1. get the i7 now, buy more ram later when prices come down and the imac expense is behind you, or 2. get the i5 and add some more ram now.

I think that all of the new imacs with more than 4gb of ram would run cs5 and lightroom just fine.

As for the SSD, I don't think it worth the money right now. Let the prices come down.
 

symbology

macrumors regular
Aug 4, 2010
190
0
You will be fine with either processor. The Canon 5d mark ii has some pretty large raw files that will be best served adding some more ram. For the same amount of money I see two choices. 1. get the i7 now, buy more ram later when prices come down and the imac expense is behind you, or 2. get the i5 and add some more ram now.

I think that all of the new imacs with more than 4gb of ram would run cs5 and lightroom just fine.

As for the SSD, I don't think it worth the money right now. Let the prices come down.
I agree with everything here. My vote is for an i7, and upgrade the Ram on your own. You could add another 4GB for less than $100 I think. Apple charges $200.
 

Kallel00

macrumors member
Jun 21, 2009
67
0
For CS5 and Lightroom I don't think she would notice any differences between the i5 and i7 unless she starts using a timer to clock imports, exports, and photoshop actions ;)


I use a Nikon D700 and never ever crossed 4GB of memory use (I have 8 GB in my IMac). Often have CS5 and Lightroom 3.0 running at the same time.



Anyways, I still think best bang-for-buck is best refurbished i7 model available + 4 GB extra installed by user. However, you'll have to wait a month or two before the refurbs show up on the store.
 

KyleKlink

macrumors regular
Original poster
Feb 22, 2009
127
0
Santa Maria, Ca
For CS5 and Lightroom I don't think she would notice any differences between the i5 and i7 unless she starts using a timer to clock imports, exports, and photoshop actions ;)


I use a Nikon D700 and never ever crossed 4GB of memory use (I have 8 GB in my IMac). Often have CS5 and Lightroom 3.0 running at the same time.



Anyways, I still think best bang-for-buck is best refurbished i7 model available + 4 GB extra installed by user. However, you'll have to wait a month or two before the refurbs show up on the store.

The current 27" iMac I see in the refurb store has the ATI HD 4850. The new iMacs have the HD 5750. Am I right in thinking that PS and LR really don't care too much about the graphics card, and that it's the processor and memory that matter?
 

lexvo

macrumors 65816
Nov 11, 2009
1,241
398
The Netherlands
I use Lightroom 3 and occasionally PS on my 2009 27" iMac i5. I also edit Canon 5D mark II RAW files. I have 8 Gb RAM installed on recommendation of a professional photographer.

I think performance is very good, and the 2010 i5 will even be a bit faster.
 

Macfr3d

macrumors newbie
Jul 30, 2010
27
0
I edit 5D Mark II RAW files on a 3.06Ghz Core2Duo iMac (early 2010 model)
which has 4GB of RAM. Editing and such works very well with both
Lightroom and Photoshop CS5.

Give my expreience I would recommend the lower spec 27" model with has
an i5 dual core processor as opposed to quadcore i5 (or i7) processor in the
higher priced 27" iMac.

The benefit from the dual core cpu is that it allows for a higher turbo boost
up to 3.6Ghz which makes single or dual threaded applications faster than
when run on a quadcore cpu which can only turbo boost up to 3.2 Ghz.

With the money saved I'd buy two additional 4GB Ram Modules (~$250-300 total)
which should give you 12GB total ... plenty of headroom to process even
large collections of files.

I am buying an i7 iMac with 8GB of Ram extra right now. But i need the i7 maily
for pralell programming, video editing and 3d rendering ... but not so much for editing photos :D
 

lexvo

macrumors 65816
Nov 11, 2009
1,241
398
The Netherlands
The benefit from the dual core cpu is that it allows for a higher turbo boost
up to 3.6Ghz which makes single or dual threaded applications faster than
when run on a quadcore cpu which can only turbo boost up to 3.2 Ghz.
Yes, but remember that Lightroom 3 uses all four cores on a quad core iMac.
 

Jamaway

macrumors member
Jul 20, 2010
46
0
Looking at the bench tests for the latest batch of 2010 iMacs, I think even the base 21.5" will be absolutely fine for your needs. I'm using cs5 and lightroom3 and thats what I've ordered. If you haven't seen the test stats, have a quick search for the link, someone posted them up recently. :)

The only trouble I've had is, both machines they have sent had the yellow tint and have had to go back, a third is on it's way. :mad:
 

bolen

macrumors 6502
Jul 22, 2008
351
0
Sweden
The benefit from the dual core cpu is that it allows for a higher turbo boost
up to 3.6Ghz which makes single or dual threaded applications faster than
when run on a quadcore cpu which can only turbo boost up to 3.2 Ghz.
That's not true for the i7, it's the previous i5 2.66GHz that boosts to 3.2GHz.

The new i7 boosts up to 3.60Ghz when only one core is used.

http://www.anandtech.com/show/2832/5
 

Macfr3d

macrumors newbie
Jul 30, 2010
27
0
Hum, seems like I was not up to date. Seems like the i7 is the way to go even for photo editing then.
 

KyleKlink

macrumors regular
Original poster
Feb 22, 2009
127
0
Santa Maria, Ca
I've been giving more thought to the idea of upgrading her current computer, rather than getting her a new computer. She is not very excited about the idea of using a Mac because she doesn't want to have to "learn how to use a computer all over again." Despite my arguments that there's nothing really to learn, she still would like to stick with a PC.

Im thinking of installing Windows 7 64-bit and maxing out the memory at 8 GB DDR2 800. I could add a few additional hard drives in a RAID 0 configuration for a scratch disk. Hopefully the AMD Athlon X2 6000+ Black Edition can handle the task.
 

Tronic

macrumors 6502
Jun 10, 2009
351
59
Whether you upgrade the PC or get a new Imac, an SSD is a must for both. I would not recommend a normal HDD to anyone these days. You get such a huge performance boost with such a cheap upgrade that its a no brainer. Depending on how many apps she uses, a 50/60 gb or 100/120gb is all she will need. Then just reuse the old HDD for data.
 

xraydoc

macrumors demi-god
Oct 9, 2005
7,675
1,847
192.168.1.1
Whether you upgrade the PC or get a new Imac, an SSD is a must for both. I would not recommend a normal HDD to anyone these days. You get such a huge performance boost with such a cheap upgrade that its a no brainer. Depending on how many apps she uses, a 50/60 gb or 100/120gb is all she will need. Then just reuse the old HDD for data.
...except for the price. It's more than many want to spend.
 

Macfr3d

macrumors newbie
Jul 30, 2010
27
0
...except for the price. It's more than many want to spend.
I agree. I bought myself a 4GB FW800 Drive with Raid instead, much more
useful for editing photos and videos. SSD's are faster when you have to
access alot of small files like when booting an OS or starting an Application.
But SSD's are still under heavy development. If you buy it now you have to
pay the early adopters price and hope your small $500 drive not completely
outdated next year ;)
 

clager

macrumors member
May 30, 2010
39
0
yes its great!

Im a photographer as well, using the latest Nikon D3X cameras. I work with Eizo monitors and the iMac-27 and they are both very good. the iMac providing its calibrated is a joy to work with, it might not give the 110% of the Eizo screen but hey the Eizos are like twice the price.
iMac and Photoshop is no problem, my i7 is quicker, faster then my stationery Macpro!

best.
 

314631

macrumors 6502a
May 12, 2009
909
0
iDeaded myself
There is no noticeable difference using i5 or i7 for Photoshop, Lightroom or Illustrator editing. If you are doing video then there are some small speed bumps. But I was perfectly happy to take an i5 iMac home, and use an i7 at work. I cannot tell the difference. :)

It's unfortunate Apple doesn't offer a smaller capacity, more affordable SSD option on i3/i5/i7. Because that is the thing that absolutely kills the CPU argument for the vast majority of customers. SSD as boot/applications drive will make your system fly whether you have i3, i5 or i7. :)
 

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