Is it worthwhile to change?

Discussion in 'Buying Tips and Advice' started by RMD Photography, Sep 18, 2007.

  1. RMD Photography macrumors newbie

    RMD Photography

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    #1
    To give a little back info, I am a professional photographer. I deal with images varying in size from 8 megapixes to 50 megapixels. I use Photoshop cs2 currently on a windows laptop with the following specs:
    Pentium 4 CPU 3.20Ghz
    448Mb Ram
    80Gb Hard drive

    I have always been told that Macs use thier processing power and ram far more efficiently than a PC. Since my laptop has started acting up I am looking to possibly change over to Mac. Bad thing is I am on a rather tight budget. What kind of specs should I be looking for to meet or exceed the performance(photoshop wise) of my laptop?

    Would a quicksilver G4 or a Mini be a big downgrade in performance?

    I am truely sorry if this topic has been beat into the ground, please forgive a Mac Newb.

    Any help would be greatly appreciated!
     
  2. iBookG4user macrumors 604

    iBookG4user

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    #2
    You could get a refurbished 1.66GHz intel Mac Mini for $430 when it is available at the refurbished store and that would be about twice as fast as your current computer :)
     
  3. flopticalcube macrumors G4

    flopticalcube

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    #3
    Well, I don't know about using CPU or RAM more efficiently. Sometimes I think the reverse is true. A G4 will probably be the same as your PC, maybe a bit slower. An Intel Core Duo or Core 2 Duo mini will spank your PC.
     
  4. MikeTheC Guest

    MikeTheC

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    #4
    For actual production work, there is no point at all served in buying older -- especially used -- equipment within the Mac platform any more than the Wintel platform.

    It doesn't mean you've got to buy a top-of-the-line Mac Pro (though to be honest some of your higher-end uses might legitimately benefit from having one), but clearly you should be only looking at Intel-based Macs, and quite probably one of the MacBook Pros or one of the iMacs.

    Frankly, if you're a business, Apple offers a payment plan, so it's not like you have to have some outrageous initial outlay anyhow.

    What programs like Photoshop benefit from the most are three things: lots of RAM, a big mo-fo CPU, and a fast hard drive. What your specific needs add to that equation is one additional factor: LOTS of hard drive space.
     
  5. jczubach macrumors 6502

    jczubach

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    #5
    Go re-furb, and bring sexy back. When you realize how much time you've lost to managing your OS instead of photoging, you'll be thankful:eek:
     
  6. RMD Photography thread starter macrumors newbie

    RMD Photography

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    #6
    Thanks for the info so far!

    I have been kinda looking at the Mac Mini's, How do I identify if they are the Intel Core Duo? I have been seeing lots of 1.25 and 1.42 ghz models available at decent prices.

    And hard drive space is not really an issue. I already have a 250gb external hard drive.
     
  7. Veritas&Equitas macrumors 68000

    Veritas&Equitas

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    #7
    I don't mean any offense at all, so please don't take this the wrong way.

    However, if you are looking at getting a 1.25 ghz Mac Mini and think that a 250 gb external is fine for storage, it doesn't seem as if you're a professional photographer, or at least one that does it for a living. Simply shooting a D200 in RAW, each picture is like 21 mb. In addition, for sheer power's sake, if your clients came in and saw a 1.25 ghz Mini, they'd probably laugh.

    Every professional photographer I've met with or seen recently (that has a Mac) has a minimum of 500 gb of storage, and multiple external drives, and definitely at least a Powermac, or a Mac Pro. You really need that much space and power if you are truly doing major editing on lots of projects.

    Now, again, I'm not trying to rip on you, or your equipment, but if you really are a professional photographer and are looking for a professional setup, you're talking a minimum of $2,000-3,000. It's your livelihood; maybe as a professional photographer you can get work done on a Mini, but from what I've seen of professional photographers, it would be like giving Tiger Woods a set of plastic Tyco clubs to play a tournament with.
     
  8. gkroeger macrumors member

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    #8
    I work with 100-500MB image files. I have a Mac and PC side by side with virtually identical hardware, 2.1 GHz C2D, 2GB, 7200rpm SATA drives, Mac OSX 10.4 vs Vista. Nearly a dead heat in Photoshop CS3 with a slight edge to the PC probably due to more agressive caching by the OS. Both monitors calibrate up identically with a Getrag-Macbeth Eye1.

    So how to choose? Colorsync on the Mac means all apps are color mangaged vs. only color management aware apps on Windows. Mac's user interface is much more homogeneous and attractive. Vista is pit ugly with every window frame, dialog box and menu having a different shade of puke baby blue... but Vista has more useful context menus with the right mouse button... Apple has them now, but hasn't really learned what needs to be in them. Apple uses transparency in the interface intelligently, Vista uses it to confuse where window titles and borders are... but, it's nice to be able to resize a window from any side and not have to find the lower right corner. Hardware on the PC side is cheaper.

    It really comes down to personal and aesthetic preferences. I prefer Mac OS for long term stability... don't have to reinstall to clean up bloated confused registry, but in all fairness, in the last 3 weeks, the Vista machine has never crashed but Mac OS locked up once.
     
  9. RMD Photography thread starter macrumors newbie

    RMD Photography

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    #9

    While I don't take personal offense I think you are overplaying what is really required to be a professional photographer, so I will rebutt a few of your points.

    The 250gb hard drive is plenty of storage for any "smart" photographer. It is common and smart practice follow a simple basic workflow. Shoot> upload to the hard drive> edit the photo's as required> save to hard drive in two sizes(full and generally a 600pixel long side image)> burn full res to DVD for archive> FTP full res images to Client> Delete only full res images from hard drive allowing small viewable images to remain carefully cataloged on hard drive. After a couple hard drive crashes pro photogs typically find this the most fool proof way to archive.

    I know very little about Macs, that is why I am here asking questions about what in a mac is comparable to what in a PC. My main editing system is a pretty fast pc, this is just to replace my secondary system(currently a laptop that might as well be a desktop).

    I don't see why you would need a top of the line g5 Mac Pro for this type of processing. I stated the specs of my current laptop and it does just fine, the only time it really bogs down is if I am trying to do one of my Large Format scans(about 50 mega pixel) and working with multiple layers. Any of my digital photography shoots are easily handled without so much as a hiccup.

    One other thing you have to consider is the type of "professional photographer" you are seeing this from. My guess would be a wedding photographer or a portrait photographer. These types of photographers require
    shooting several hundreds of shots as well as having to do many more shoots to keep in business. I am mainly an automotive photographer that works for many different clients, some private, some commercial. I only shoot the max of about a hundred shoots per shoot. Once the Client gets the images thru DVD, print or FTP then I will rarely if ever have to access the image again. So as I stated, the DVD backup method works extremely efficiently.

    As far as what my clients would think of me using a Mini, well, I generally would not meet with a client and have them view the photos on one of my computers. My commercial clients (such as magazines) have me FTP all the images and then they sort through and use the images as their editor sees fit. Personal clients receive a dvd with watermarked and scaled proof images to select prints from. Beyond that, I am proven confident that my work speaks for itself and it would not matter what they were viewing it on or thinking I am editing on.
     
  10. RMD Photography thread starter macrumors newbie

    RMD Photography

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    #10
    Thank you, that is helpful.
     
  11. flopticalcube macrumors G4

    flopticalcube

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    #11
    The 1.25 and 1.42 machines are G4s. The Intels, particularly the good ones, are 1.66 up to 2.0GHz. Core 2 Duos are 10-20% faster at the same clock speed than Core Duos.
     
  12. RMD Photography thread starter macrumors newbie

    RMD Photography

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    #12
    Thanks.
     
  13. overanalyzer macrumors 6502a

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    #13
    You'll want to upgrade to CS3 most likely, if you get a Mac. Performance reports I've seen show about a 40% speed increase on Intel Macs from CS2 to CS3, thanks to switching to a universal binary instead of the previous PowerPC apps that don't run natively on the Intel Macs (though CS2 runs nicely on my Mac Pro at work, but it's a souped up config and I do web graphics, so I rarely work with large photos or apply processor intensive photo filters etc.)

    Just FYI, G5's were the last of the PowerPC (IBM, non-Intel) processors, whereas the Mac Pro is the professional Intel tower, so there is no such thing as a G5 Mac Pro. The Mac Pro replaced the old G5 towers, and if you've seen them side-by-side they look very similar (though the Mac Pro is slightly larger and has two optical drive bays).
     
  14. Veritas&Equitas macrumors 68000

    Veritas&Equitas

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    #14
    Plus, since you're using to CS2, it's not universal, and won't run as fast as CS3 would on a universal cpu like the Core Duo/Core 2 Duos.

    P.S. I understand where you are coming from now, sorry if you took any offense.
     
  15. RMD Photography thread starter macrumors newbie

    RMD Photography

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    #15
    I had the trial of CS3 and liked it, the only downside is my favorite plugins weren't supported. But switching to Mac I would need to get the Mac version anyways so thats very good to know when it comes time to purchase.


    Thanks, thats why I am here....I am very Mac ignorant obviously, though I am a fast learner.

    No problem, just wanted to give you a little background.
     
  16. flopticalcube macrumors G4

    flopticalcube

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    #16
    If you do get an Intel mini, you could always load Windows on a separate partition and boot into Windows instead of Mac OS X. That would give you a faster machine than your PC for fairly little money with no software risk. If you don't like the Mac side of the software world, you could either keep the mini as a Windows PC or sell it. The resale value of minis is still pretty good. You can't really lose. I would recommend you look at the $479 1.83GHz Core Duo mini with DVD burner on the Apple Refurbished store.
     
  17. RMD Photography thread starter macrumors newbie

    RMD Photography

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    #17
    Thats sounds like a pretty good deal but I must be missing it, when I go there I am not seeing any refurbished mini's for sale. Could you provide a link please?
     
  18. overanalyzer macrumors 6502a

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    #18
  19. overanalyzer macrumors 6502a

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    #19
    CS3 is obviously here to stay, so I'd wonder if the makers of your plugins have created new versions by now....

    No problem. I bought my G5 a little over three years ago, and it was an exciting and confusing time for me. I'd used Macs off and on for years but had never owned one. It was definitely a transition and adjustment period for a couple weeks, but I can't imagine going back. And now with Intel Macs, you really can have the best of every world...OS X, Windows, Unix. Makes my life a lot easier as a web developer, developing on multiple platforms and servers, and testing across platforms. The information can be a little overwhelming at first, but I'm sure you'll sort it all out and be very happy with a Mac, once you determine what meets your needs.
     
  20. flopticalcube macrumors G4

    flopticalcube

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    #20
    Patience is definitely a virtue here. Check in the mornings because they go out of stock quickly.
     
  21. overanalyzer macrumors 6502a

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    #21
    There are currently 1.5GHz Intel Core Solo, 1.66GHz Intel Core Duo and 1.83GHz Intel Core Duo refurbed Minis up.
     
  22. Squonk macrumors 65816

    Squonk

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    #22
    I would hope that a mini would provide you with a big enough performance boost to justify the jump to Mac OS X. I would be worried about the drive performance working with photos. I know you said that you work on an external drive, does that enclosure have FireWire on it by chance? If so, you'll see some great performance with that.

    My comment of drive performance refers to the internal drive on the mini. For OS swap file and application temporary files, you want something fast as well. The mini is the lowest on the food chain for technology at :apple:.

    As an earlier poster mentioned, you want lots of RAM, a fast CPU and fast drives. The mini might fall short on the drive throughput. Any mini owners out there who can set me straight on that?

    I'd recommend going with an Intel machine unless you are planing to replace this machine in 1.5 to 2 years or if you do not plan to stay current with software updates as they are released.

    Sadly, Apple does not have a great performing headless machine with upgradability options to offer at this time. Grrrr.
     
  23. flopticalcube macrumors G4

    flopticalcube

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    #23
    The drive isn't one of the minis strong points to be sure.
     

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