Large Photoshop Files with a Macbook?

Discussion in 'MacBook' started by S_Chandler, May 20, 2008.

  1. S_Chandler macrumors newbie

    May 4, 2005

    I will be attending grad school this fall and I would like to get a notebook mostly for word processing, email, keynote presentations. I know pretty much any laptop made in the last decade will do that, and since I don't have much money I've been planning on getting the base model Macbook.

    I'm an artist and photographer, and since I mostly work with film and print in a dark room, I don't really expect to use the computer much for my work. However, I'll consider the possibility that my work may change in the next few years and I end up working digitally for a project or two. I recently did some digital prints from scanned 4x5 negatives. To make 24x30" prints I was working with files around 1.5GB files in photoshop. I found the G5 Powermacs I was using to be quite slow, it would take up to 15 minutes to process an action or save a file. It's likely that any digital work I do in the future will involve larger prints and therefor larger files, probably up to 4 or 5 Gigs.

    What I'm wondering is, does the graphic card difference in the Macbook Pros effect how Photoshop will handle those big files? Or is it purely processor power (in which the Macbooks and Macbook Pros are very similar)? If it makes a big difference, I may go with a Pro model just to make sure I'm not limited.

    I'm sorry if this has been asked before, I did a search but couldn't find any threads to similar.

    I should say that I've seen people mention big difference in how the two Macbook types handle video and audio production, but high resolution still images I'm unclear about.
  2. chscag macrumors 68030


    Feb 17, 2008
    Fort Worth, Texas
    I would definitely go with a MBP. With your line of work, the dedicated graphics alone will be more than worth the extra expense.

    Unless you specifically need the portability of a laptop computer, I would also consider a well equipped iMac. (Better graphics, screen, larger HDD)

  3. krye macrumors 68000


    Aug 21, 2007
    5G files? What are you doing? What are these like 5000 megapixel images?

    Kidding aside, if you have a 5G file and 2 Gigs of physical memory, expect stuff to be paged out. That maybe explains why your older machine was coughing up blood. Did it have more than 1.5G of memory?
  4. S_Chandler thread starter macrumors newbie

    May 4, 2005
    It actually wasn't my machine, so I'm not sure of the specs.

    The files I was working with were 16 bit scanned 4x5 negatives, with quite a few adjustment layers and a layer for dust spotting. The base layer had about 80 million pixels, so 80 megapixels. 4 or 5 GB files in the future was just a guess, thinking about it now it would probably be closer to 2 or 3 GB to make say a 40x50" print.

    Anyways, does that mean all I would need to be on par with a Macbook Pro would be upgrading the RAM to 4GB? Or is that integrated graphics card going to make a difference for this kind of work?
  5. S_Chandler thread starter macrumors newbie

    May 4, 2005
  6. daneoni macrumors G4


    Mar 24, 2006
    Photoshop as far as i know has no reliance on the GPU at all but rather the CPU. I would say the MacBook with 4GB of RAM would handle whatever you throw at it. As long as you only use photoshop that is. If you start using Aperture/Final Cut/Motion then you might want to get a MBP since those are very GPU reliant

    So rather than getting a MBP i'd save money and get a mid-range macbook and use the remaining of my savings to get 4GB of RAM and if possible a 7200RPM HDD for an extra kick. This combo should make your MacBook more than capable.

    Then again you might as well just get the pro for overall peace of mind since it'll handle anything you throw at it whilst the macbook will only handle most things not all

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