iMac photo editing workstation advice

Discussion in 'Digital Photography' started by nicholasg, Sep 14, 2017.

  1. nicholasg macrumors member

    Joined:
    Sep 12, 2011
    #1
    My iMac needs to be retired after around 9 years of problem free service. The issues are its stuck on El Capitan and its underpowered for editing RAW files from my 5D4.

    I'm thinking about: -

    a) 27‑inch iMac with Retina 5K display, 4.2 GHz processor and 512 GB SSD. Plus maxed out 3rd party RAM.

    b) Drobo 5D3 (http://www.drobo.com/storage-products/5d3/) with a couple of 5TB HDs to store my 1TB of photos and 1TB of music and allow for growth.

    c) A Thunderbolt 3 enclosure with a 10TB HDD for Time Machine backup

    d) Online backup with a service like Backblaze

    I'm looking for a set-up that requires minimal "care and feeding", but that will not need to be replaced for a long time.

    Any suggestions for alternatives? Am I missing anything obvious?

    Thanks in advance.
    Nicholas
     
  2. Foogoofish macrumors regular

    Foogoofish

    Joined:
    Jun 12, 2011
    Location:
    London
    #2
    I'm not getting into a debate over if this is technically a good option, but I run off:

    Mac Pro 2008 8x3.0Ghz
    32Gb RAM
    970GTX Upgraded Graphics Card
    2x 128GB Scratch Style Disks (One OS / Apps, One Tether Location)
    2x 1TB for Internal Libs (and other Externals for various on site / off site backup)
    iMac 2010 27" as a primary monitor
    2x 24inch Samsungs for Secondary

    This is absolutely fast enough for my RAW files, I don't know about care free, but I've never had any issues apart from replacing the G/C.

    It will also cost a huge amount less than a 5k maxed out iMac ;). You could even run a 4/5k display as well as the 27" normal iMac and have a grand or so left over.
     
  3. MCAsan macrumors 601

    MCAsan

    Joined:
    Jul 9, 2012
    Location:
    Atlanta
    #3
    My plan is order a 27" iMac Retina 5K, 4.2Gh CPU, Radeon 580 GPU, and 8Gb ram. I will order it from Adorama to avoid sales tax, shipping, and get the best price . Then I will order a 16GB kit to bring the ram level to 24GB. From what I have read, there does not seem to be benefits for having more ram; but, that could vary with the apps running.

    Note the use of the discount coupon at the bottom of this page: http://prices.appleinsider.com/27-imac-retina-5k-display-mid-2017
     
  4. robgendreau macrumors 68040

    Joined:
    Jul 13, 2008
    #4
    Might wanna wait and see about the iMac Pro. Dunno if it will be competitive value-wise, but since you're reaching toward the high end.

    And it's hard to say definitively without knowing what tasks you do and software you use, but TB for backup is kind of overkill, since it really needn't be more than USB3 for most backup work. The Drobo would also work, but again I dunno that it's necessary, but I dunno if you're doing big video or whatever. I might take that money and use it for the iMac Pro, and use regular old externals instead, or a bigger internal SSD if they're available now.
     
  5. nicholasg thread starter macrumors member

    Joined:
    Sep 12, 2011
    #5
    MCAsan,

    What SSD or fusion drive are you going to order? What external drives are you going to use?

    Rob,

    I think an iMac Pro would be wonderful, but probably more than I need. Thanks for the advice on USB3 for the backup. The reason for the Drobo rather than just a HHD in an enclosure was that my data would be mirrored, so if one drive fails I can just replace it and the array will re-build, there would be no need to go to the Time Machine backup to restore the data.

    No video, probably Photos plus extensions such as Luminar or Serif Affinity etc..
     
  6. Attonine macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Feb 15, 2006
    Location:
    Kent. UK
    #6
    I think you can do much better than Drobo. If you are serious about attached storage, look at G technology, these are fantastic, and used by creative industry pros.

    I think you should look at some kind of NAS too. You don't need your music on direct attached storage, it can live very easily on a NAS, as can your time machine/backup routine, other than the first backup, which will take ages, a NAS time machine routine will be seamless. Synology and QNAP are very popular and well respected.
     
  7. MCAsan macrumors 601

    MCAsan

    Joined:
    Jul 9, 2012
    Location:
    Atlanta
    #7

    I will order 512GB as that has all the room I need for apps, caches, swaps, email....etc. I will hook up my current RAID drive sets that are in LaCie enclosures via TB1. TB1 is plenty fast to hook up RAID HDD sets because HDD IO times are so much slower than TB1. I only work with editing still photos, no 4k video in my plans.

    When empty USB-C enclosures become reasonably priced, I would move my RAID sets to the new enclosures.
     
  8. robgendreau macrumors 68040

    Joined:
    Jul 13, 2008
    #8
    That use of the Drobo protects only agains the narrowest of problems: a single drive failure. Essential in some businesses and such where you can't have any downtime, but it wouldn't be my first priority. But perhaps you have a backup strategy in place already, although it would have to have at least the capacity of the Drobo, although it could be USB.
     
  9. nicholasg thread starter macrumors member

    Joined:
    Sep 12, 2011
    #9
    Rob,

    I mentioned in the original thread: -

    c) A Thunderbolt 3 enclosure with a 10TB HDD for Time Machine backup {probably use USB 3 enclosure based on your feedback}

    d) Online backup with a service like Backblaze

    So my data will be in 4 places - twice on the Drobo, time machine backup and the "cloud".
    --- Post Merged, Sep 16, 2017 ---
    I really need DAS for the music rather than NAS. I have a Slimdevices based system and the software that sends the music to these clients runs on the iMac, I think it would be better to go DAS rather than NAS, to keep the number of network hops to a minimum. Plus the photos need to be on a DAS anyway.

    I also believe I read somewhere than TM are best on drive attached to a Mac, rather than a NAS as TMs on a NAS can be more difficult to repair if they become corrupted.

    I curious why you would recommend G Technology over Drobo.

    Thanks,
    Nicholas
     
  10. ChrisA macrumors G4

    Joined:
    Jan 5, 2006
    Location:
    Redondo Beach, California
    #10
    Some comments:

    The failure mode of the drobo is that the enclosure dies taking down all the disks inside. It has good protection from single drive failure, but when the internal processes fails you've lost all the drives. (OK maybe they can be recovered but you loose access to them for a week or so)

    So rather then a generic 10TB disk drive in a thunderbolt enclose, buy a second and IDENTICAL Drobo. Then it one of then fails, do a chassis swap and mail the dead Drobo back for repair.

    Thisis the biggest problem with Drobo. The disks use a special format that only a works inside a drobo chassis. Only RAIDs use standard Linux files and you recover the data using any PC/Mac that can physically connect to the drive. It all depends on it you can stand a week or two of down time. If you r business depends on this, then likely not, buy two identical RAIDS. If a hobby then you can just do some next day FedEx and wait for factory repairs.

    If using Drobo it is far more economical to buy three disks then to buy two. For example with two 5TB drives you get 5TB of usable space for about $300 but if you but three 4TB drives you get 8TB of space for the same price. Always one of the drives is not available for storing files, You get better economy the more drives you use inch enclosure. You generally get better performance with more physical drives in the RAID box. Better economy too with more drives.

    Best redundancy it you have two drobo units and six 4TB drives

    I use backblaze and recommend it. It works if you have a very fast Internet connection

    One other option if you own other computers is to buy the networking kit and turn the second Drobo into a NAS. This means (1) you can backup other computers, perhaps a MacBook or two and (2) you can place the NAS in some other location far from you main system. One of the most common ways to loose data is from test of the equipment. If the NAS is in an upstairs closet perhaps it might survive disasters like theft/fire/flood/Earthquake that the main system does not survive or vice versa. The greater the physical distance separating the primary and backup the better
     
  11. Attonine macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Feb 15, 2006
    Location:
    Kent. UK
    #11
    I have owned a drobo and currently own several GTech drives. Drobo was ok, as long as you don't touch it. Extremely slow. Really just OK as a dumb backup drive in my opinion, and that goes for all drobos, but boy, if you need to do something wIrth it..........can be painful. And as mentioned above, if the Drobo itself dies, potentially you've lost everything anyway.

    I first came across GTech around 2007/8 while attending some summer school workshops at Stanford University. The teachers were all Hollywood editors-movies, documentaries, TV shows etc. In public, so In class, they wouldn't recommend any particular brand. Privately, GTech, period. So I bought one, and haven't even thought about another brand since.

    In my experience GTech really are that good and that reliable. They certainly leave brands like LaCie in the dust, and Drobo shouldn't be mentioned in the same sentence. GTech focus on creative types, they have since their inception, and it shows. If you are serious about a DAS, GTech all the way.

    As for TM, yes, first backup is easier if the drive is attached, after this, in my experience, no worries using a network drive (remember network drives can be hard wired too). I think if the backup is corrupted, it's corrupted and won't matter whether the drive is attached directly or not. Drobo are a PITA if you want to repair anything.
     
  12. nicholasg thread starter macrumors member

    Joined:
    Sep 12, 2011
    #12
    Great information. Thanks.

    Something like this http://www.g-technology.com/products/g-raid-tb3 seems to fit the bill.

    It looks like the drives are formatted as HFS+, does that mean if I use RAID 1 and the enclosure dies, I can take the drives out, put them in another enclosure and get to my data?
     
  13. Attonine macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Feb 15, 2006
    Location:
    Kent. UK
    #13
    You need to speak to a RAID specialist. All I can say for sure is, if you are using any kind of RAID, if the enclosure dies, you need another enclosure, exactly the same with the same software and firmware to be certain that the drives will work without issue.

    The fact GTech drives arrive HFS+ formatted just shows that they service the Mac community a lot.
     
  14. RCAFBrat macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Jul 10, 2013
    Location:
    Montreal, QC
    #14
    You may want to look into having Mac OS take care of software RAID (not 100% sure latest versions support this though) in which case the enclosure is irrelevant and you can even replace with a different enclosure in the event of a failure, probably even a USB instead of TB, for example. In this case the enclosure will be set up JBOD (just a bunch of disks) so that each disk is seen separately by the OS and then a virtual RAID array is created by OS.

    No personal experience but I remember reading about it ages ago.

    Cheers
     

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13 September 14, 2017