iMac i5 vs i7 heavy Photoshop user

Discussion in 'iMac' started by ripi11, Jan 30, 2013.

  1. ripi11 macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Jan 30, 2013
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    Michigan
    #1
    I use photoshop constantly with several layers and illustrator some. Currently using a 2010 iMac 21" 8gb ram 32 gHz i3 with 1tb. Am looking to upgrade as this one is really too slow. Wondering if I should special order the i7 processor (would it be that much better for editing?) Also, if special ordering I'd increase the ram at that time to 16gb. If I purchase an in-stock i5 I can up the ram later...
    Appreciate any thoughts/experience.
     
  2. gab0.1992 macrumors member

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    Jul 24, 2011
    #2
    I recommend i7 for al design and illustrators. Also a good graphic card to get the most of the photoshop engine.
     
  3. Woyzeck macrumors 6502

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    Nov 2, 2012
    #3
    How would a more expensive GPU help you with photoshop ? There are only very very few features that use the GPU. 99% of Photoshop is using the CPU.
     
  4. Kashsystems macrumors 6502

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    Jul 23, 2012
    #4
    Photoshop is a multithreaded application. More threads means better performance.

    Now let me make this clearer, we are talking a couple seconds in difference between the two current ivy bridge i5 vs i7 processor in current iMacs.

    The difference between your generation of i3 versus the current version of i5 will be much greater. At least a 50 percent performance increase.

    Your processor is not listed in this chart but your generation of i5 is and you can see the difference.

    http://www.lostcircuits.com/mambo//index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=105&Itemid=42&limit=1&limitstart=11
     
  5. uptownnyc macrumors 6502

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    #5
  6. FreemanW macrumors 6502

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    Sep 10, 2012
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    The Real Northern California
    #6
    Go big or go home.

    The long answer is that you're quibbling over pennies a day when you amortize the cost of hardware over the life of the system you are looking at purchasing.

    When you add up all of the moments in your life that will accumulate as you're waiting for a file to open, or apply an action, or save, or etc., . . . . it ends up being a very personal decision, whether those moments translate into spending money.
     
  7. thekev, Jan 30, 2013
    Last edited: Jan 30, 2013

    thekev macrumors 604

    thekev

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    #7
    I disagree. i7 vs i5 isn't really meaningful here. It's hyperthreading or no hyperthreading. Neither of those programs scales well with more than four cores. I would emphasize well.


    With gpus ram and OpenCL version supported are the important things. You aren't likely to perceive a difference between the 640m and the 680mx. The OpenGL implementation is horrible in both. Screen redraws aren't noticeably faster with a nice gpu as opposed to a marginal one. The same goes for illustrator. I've linked that same feature set. Not everyone uses those things. Liquify and warp aren't that bad on the cpu either. Even with a relatively poor gpu they're almost instant, and I can't think of any use case where any item on that list would consume a large percentage of your time. Even my 2011 macbook pro can chomp through 2GB+ psb files. As soon as these programs started to leverage OpenGL, everyone began to act like it was the solution to all of their problems. It really isn't that way at all.

    I tend to prioritize ram and display quality once you're up to any quad cpu of the current generation. After that ssd for faster scratch disks if the ram isn't enough. GPU is a distant concern. Most of those functions existed for many years prior to Creative Suite leveraging OpenGL/OpenCL. On modern hardware they aren't bad. The only ones that are unbearable are those that were added recently and only really optimized for gpu based calculation. Iris blur comes to mind. I never really need it.


    There are diminishing returns. They keep improving various functions in this regard, but you have to push it on something to see much of a difference.

    http://barefeats.com/imac12p2.html

    I don't spend much time with the filter set. Even when I do, those times seem exaggerated. I've dealt with plenty of files larger than that. The OP mentioned heavy. I question how heavy. If it's just an issue of volume, storage speeds also become an issue.
     
  8. TypeMRT macrumors 6502

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    Sep 7, 2007
    #8
    I just upgraded from the same iMac that you have. I went with the 27" i5 because it had the better GPU compared to the 21.5" and it was considerable less expensive than than i7 + 680MX GPU. I don't make money by billing time to clients so I wasn't looking to squeeze out every second of performance advantage. I just wanted something that didn't "feel" slow when working with large media files (24MP RAW photos).
    The extra screen size is really nice once you get used to it. It may push you to want a larger Wacom tablet (if you already have one).
     
  9. ripi11 thread starter macrumors newbie

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    Jan 30, 2013
    Location:
    Michigan
    #9
    Thanks for all of the info. Tho I like the idea of an i7, I guess a couple seconds better performance may not sway me. Maybe - cost vs performance- it would be better for me to go for 21" i5 with 16gb ram and the fusion drive (forgoing the i7 processor and adding the fusion drive) for overall speed and good performance in PS 5.5 ????
     
  10. Richard Peters macrumors regular

    Richard Peters

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    Surrey, UK
    #10
    I have a fully loaded 27" and it's an absolute beast with Photoshop. Viewing, opening and editing Nikon D800 files (working on several at a time or one with mulitple layers) is an absolute breeze and it does everything I ask of it in an instant.

    The only time I've noticed a little lag is when working on a panoramic image I took which was comprised of ten D800 files (image is roughly 25,000 px x 10,000px). When that file was 3 layers deep, I'd get a pause of about 2 or 3 seconds if I swiped across the image with the burn tool before the tools effect appeared on the image. However this was with the brush set to it's largest (2500px) and swiping across half the image.

    When you think of how large that file is 25k pixels by 10k pixels, with 3 layers, then take in to account the massive brush size, I don't think it's that unreasonable to see a little delay.

    If editing the image with a normal sized brush and just small sections at a time, there is no delay.
     
  11. thekev macrumors 604

    thekev

    Joined:
    Aug 5, 2010
    #11
    If you're thinking about going with a highly upgraded 21" and by some chance it's not really urgent, waiting for a 27" refurbished model to appear might not be a bad idea. Refurb 27 + installing your own ram and possibly ssd shouldn't be much different in price. Apple charges quite a bit for upgrades just like every other oem. Also Adobe no longer allows upgrades more than a version back. If you're on CS 5 or creative suite 5.5, I'd upgrade at the last second prior to CS 7 as they typically float you at the end of a cycle. The reason I mention this is they've killed the ability to upgrade from more than a version back.
     
  12. ripi11 thread starter macrumors newbie

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    Jan 30, 2013
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    Michigan
    #12
    No sure what you mean by "fully loaded", what components specifically do you have?
    I'd love to go for a 27", but I am used to the 21" and have to cut costs somewhere...

    ----------

    Thanks. Kind of a bummer, but good to know.
     
  13. thekev macrumors 604

    thekev

    Joined:
    Aug 5, 2010
    #13
    Off topic but your work is really beautiful. Your comment is also a good indication of how fast computers are at this point.

    Note my earlier suggestion. If you find a refurbished unit or a third party retailer with a better deal, the lower end of the 27" units can be similar in pricing. Historically the larger ones have used superior displays too. I haven't tested the most recent ones. It's common to use a lower brightness level for editing this kind of stuff. It needs to be stable and the contrast/gamma needs to hold up so you can properly identify details at that brightness level. In my previous experiences, the larger displays held up better. They also allow you more real estate, although 24" is my favorite size. I can set a tablet to a portion of the display for nice smooth mapping. With 27" it would be too small a portion given my obsession with 1:1 (I have a large tablet). The 21" imac is annoying in some ways. You're forced to buy more expensive things from Apple, so it doesn't always work out in an ideal manner. Some people even use a mini. The quad mini is reasonably fast. If intel would live up to their gpu promises for once, it would be great. Note my sig.

    I picked photoshop as it seemed to be the main topic, but as it mentions, this applies to the suite editions too. They announced a policy change, then gave everyone with CS3 or 4 through the end of 2012 to upgrade.

    http://www.adobe.com/products/photoshop/faq.html#upgrade-eligibility


     
  14. Richard Peters macrumors regular

    Richard Peters

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    #14
    Ah apologies. By fully loaded I mean it has the i7, 680MX, 32gb ram & 768 SSD.

    Many thanks :) and yes, the processing power is really quite something. I remember the days of waiting 10+ seconds for a 6mp image to even open, let alone edit :D
     
  15. Tri-stan macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Oct 27, 2012
    #15
    The 680mx would be a unless upgrade in photoshop, its a monster card for crunching every last frame, more of a gaming card really. If you application does not make use of cuda the extra core clocks are not going to be of any benifit. With gfx it is all about the driver's in apps. If you have the best card in the world combined with poor drivers you would be better off using integrated graphics. With the Quadro drivers it allows for sharper text in photoshop compared to a generic gfx with poor drivers or intels integrated graphics.

    For the best photoshop performance given the latest generation of quad core is used spec is at least 16gb ram, pure ssd, optional additional ssd scratch disk = rocket ship photoshop performance. Just make sure your gfx card's drivers are good and enough vram if you have a multi monitor setup. Simple.
     
  16. dandrewk macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Apr 20, 2010
    Location:
    San Rafael, California
    #16
    Heavy PS and LR user here. Unless you use a lot of 3rd party plugins on massive files, or do lot's of HDR photography, you won't see that much of a difference in CPU speeds. Once the image is rendered, it's work is basically done.

    However, you will see -huge- differences in graphics cards. The GPU speed will show itself in ACR and every step along the way. The extra GPU RAM will massively improve the speed in displaying the adjustments. There is nothing more aggravating and self-defeating than having to wait several seconds when doing before/after comparisons.

    So you are pretty much limited to the 3.2 ghz CPUs to get the 680 graphics card w/ 2 GB GPU RAM. Like someone above said, it's a small price to pay considering the years of work you will get out of it.

    ----------

    1 GB GPU RAM is pretty much the minimum. But that barely cuts it with the huge files we see coming out of today's mega pixel DSLRs. And to get more than 1 GB on the iMac, you have to go for the 680.
     
  17. captmatt macrumors regular

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    Oct 23, 2008
    #17
    How about adding up all those moments in life accumulated reading about should someone get an I7 or I5?
     
  18. FreemanW macrumors 6502

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    The Real Northern California
    #18
    I would venture that it accumulates to at least two, possibly three extra sips of coffee after 365 days. :D
     
  19. Tri-stan macrumors 6502

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    Oct 27, 2012
    #19
    For larger images in ps we are talking about ram usage here not vram that is different. More vram helps with multi monitor setups in ps, 2560x1440 is the resolution of the screen so no matter how big your image, it is always going to be displayed by your gpu in 2560x1440 pixels.

    The relitive size of your image is going to be stored on your ram which you can be up to 32GB if necessary.
     
  20. ripi11 thread starter macrumors newbie

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    #20
    Thank u for all of tge input. You've all been very helpful.
     
  21. romasvs, Feb 6, 2013
    Last edited: Feb 6, 2013

    romasvs macrumors newbie

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    Feb 6, 2013
    #21
    I have the same problem too. I don't know what to choose, i5 or i7

    Mostly I use ArchiCAD and Cinema4D. Sometimes i make renders on Artlantis and Cinema.
    Rarely I work on Aperture, PS and InDesign...
    Actually the i7 is better than i5 in my situation, but the price... :)

    There are some options:
    3.4GHz i7 /16GB / 1TB Fusion Drive / GeForce GTX 680MX 2GB
    3.2GHz i5 / 16GB /1TB Fusion Drive / GeForce GTX 675MX 1GB
    3.2GHz i5 / 16GB /1TB Fusion Drive / GeForce GTX 680MX 2GB
    3.4GHz i7 / 16GB /1TB Fusion Drive / GeForce GTX 675MX 1GB

    What do you recommend?

    Thanks
     
  22. CarloUK macrumors member

    CarloUK

    Joined:
    Oct 13, 2009
    Location:
    Bath UK
    #22
    I have the new 2012 I7 with Fusion drive 32GB ram and the GTX680. I run large raws with LT and PS open and interacting. No problem

    If I had to choose it would be

    RAM first importance
    Fusion drive second
    with the 27" i would go with the 680 if u can
    I5 is plenty

    Carlo
     
  23. Lancer macrumors 68020

    Lancer

    Joined:
    Jul 22, 2002
    Location:
    Australia
    #23
    Got my new 27" iMac a few days ago and love it, huge step up from my G5 tower. I decided to go all out getting i7 and 680Mx along wait Fusion. Haven't had a chance to test to new system fully but did some things with Photoshop like opening a multi layer A4 document/flyer then 'save as for web' to convert it down. Now this used to take up to a minute just to render the page before I could reduce its % size. Now it's done in a couple of seconds. I guess thats 8 years of progress for you.

    IMO if it's for PS work then cough up the extra and get i7, you may not need it all the time but it's good to have when you do.

    Also max out the RAM but go 3rd party, I got 32Gb for less than $200 AU.
     
  24. JLopez macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Jan 20, 2013
    #24
    if the imac had reached the (cpu i7-3930K or similar) might seduce me buying it!! is worth it!! a machine appears to be balanced! (# Of Colors 6 / # of Threads 12) at this stage of work is required (this should be possible)
    :-( A failure of Apple, in my opinion!!
     

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