Let's talk about Thunderbolt workflow and getting ready for the new Mac Pro

Discussion in 'Digital Photography' started by Joshua M, Jun 18, 2013.

  1. Joshua M macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Mar 15, 2010
    #1
    TL;DR: For photography and 1080p video editing, is Geekbench a good way to compare machines that were never designed to compete with one another? Is a Mac mini scoring 11,678 truly faster to process data than a Mac Pro scoring 8,631?

    I've got a 1,1 Mac Pro that I use for professional photography (22MP) and light video editing (1080p). I've been holding off replacing my machine until the 6,1 Mac Pro was announced, and the announcement has me more confused than ever.

    The plan: get a new/refurb 3,1-5,1 Mac Pro if the 6,1 Mac Pro was largely unchanged. Get a 6,1 Mac Pro if it was.. Well, it certainly was. So, I'm ready to think outside the box in that nothing actually goes inside the box.

    I need to have a protected (ie, RAID) volume of at least 1TB for client images. I'd like to have a very fast boot drive (ie, SSD). I'd like to keep my Users file (personal documents, downloads, etc) on a large drive that's backed up to crashplan. I put my RAWs in an UnRaid array.

    The current form factor Mac Pro can do that, and I've set a budget of around $2,000USD, which would get me a single 2.8GHz quad core that scores an 8,631 on Geekbench. My current 1,1 scores a 5,942, which means the 2010 quad core 2.8GHz is an 45% improvement (right?). $2,000 after tax on apple.com, plus $150 for 16GB memory. Would use my current drives. It would get me by, but it wouldn't help prepare for the Thunderbolt-only era.

    Or, I could get a Mac Mini. With the 2.6GHz i7, it'd be $900. Add my current SSD with the $50 iFixit kit, I'd have my fast boot and a 1TB for user/docs to back up to crashplan. $200 would max out the memory. I could get The Pegasus R4 and fill it with a RAID 10 (1+0) nested array of striped pairs. Possibly fusion drives? That would give me 2TB of room for client files that could also be backed up to crashplan. The 2.6GHz Mac mini scores an 11,678 on Geekbench, an improvement of nearly double my current machine's score and a 26% improvement over the 2.8GHz Mac Pro. All for around $1,800, plus I would have spares to add to my unRaid array.

    So, for slightly less money, I'd be getting a faster machine, freeing up a huge amount of desk space, AND getting used to having Thunderbolt-only and no internal expansion in time for the 7,1 or 8,1 Mac Pro (assuming yearly updates). Am I right?
     
  2. ChrisA macrumors G4

    Joined:
    Jan 5, 2006
    Location:
    Redondo Beach, California
    #2
    Sounds like you don't need the fast CPU in the new Mac Pro. What you need is storage. I'd got with one good and fast direct attached array, thunderbolt if you ca afford it and put "everything" but the OS on that.

    Then get another NAS storage box and put it some distance from the main array and use it as a Time Machine disk.

    Crashplan is not a bad offsite backup plan but yu will have to use the option where they send you a hard drive
     
  3. Chad3eleven macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Dec 11, 2012
    #3
    There is more to a machine then simply testing the CPU cores at max load with geekbench.

    Most programs can utilize multiple CPU cores/streams.. so having more cores can help.

    Also, the CPU in the mac pro is of a different architecture all together then the mini.. it is a work station level chip. It is designed to handle heavy loads without lag for days on end.

    But...I would wait for the new mac pros to come out.. which may help to drive down the refurb price of the current mac pros..

    Besides.. if you are looking to spend $2k.. look a an imac? I have one at home for video editing, graphics, etc.. and it does a great job.. Yes it doesnt compare to the 24 core mac pro I'm on at the moment at work, but it rips.

    Have you looked into building a hackintosh? There are plenty of forums out there that list the exact componants to purchase, their scores, and the appropriate software. Just a thought.

    I agree with Chris.. you may not need all the processing power.. unless you are hitting the wall.. So maybe a new mac mini is all you need.. But again, check more sites to see if a new mac mini is on the horizon, or wait until the new mac pro comes out.
     
  4. MCAsan macrumors 601

    MCAsan

    Joined:
    Jul 9, 2012
    Location:
    Atlanta
    #4
    I keep my libraries (iTunes, iPhoto, Lightroom, Documents) on external LaCie 2Big 6TB running as 3TB RAID 1 (for max availability). The entire file system is backed up locally on a 3TB Time Capsule. With OS/boot/apps on SSD and libraries on TB drives you get a fast system overall. You can do the same on Mini.
     
  5. fivedots macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Jun 29, 2011
    #5
    Agree 100% that it sounds like a Mac Pro will be overkill for your needs. I would go Mac Mini.
     
  6. ChrisA macrumors G4

    Joined:
    Jan 5, 2006
    Location:
    Redondo Beach, California
    #6

    So you have no offsite backup? A house fire or even a power surge cause by lightening a power line 1/2 mille away will take out your RAID and the Time Capsule. And if that does not do it, the #1 cause of lost data is theft of the equipment. But maybe your data is not critical for your business so you don't have to care so much.

    You might buy couple fire safes and keep them in other locations and rotate a set of disk drives. Well if you have bussines data that is. Ripped DVDs and iTunes can all be replaced so there is no need to worry about that kind of stuff.
     
  7. Joshua M, Jun 19, 2013
    Last edited: Jun 19, 2013

    Joshua M thread starter macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Mar 15, 2010
    #7
    I know, but I don't know of any other database that compares different Macs across the product lines.

    I already have a calibrated monitor that I'm happy with, so I'm looking at headless, even if it's using a laptop folded up.

    Actually yes, and I've built one for a friend. I may consider that as a stopgap between now and a new Mac Pro.

    Well, that is what my original question is trying to get at. Either machine (used 2010 MP or 2012 Mac mini) will outperform mine. I'm trying to figure out how to get myself setup for the future of Apple machines. I'll be buying the new Mac Pro form-factor. The question becomes, spend $2,000 on the outdated form factor, or $2,000 on a headless laptop that happens to have Thunderbolt.

    I'd be willing to do that, but I'm getting more and more glitches from my 1900xt that's out of the recall parameters, and I've only got 200GB of free space on my client drives, and I'd hate to buy new drives just to toss them once I buy a Thunderbolt array (which all come with drives, from what I've seen). So, I feel like I'm on a, not sinking, but leaking, ship.

    ----------

    I wasn't clear in my original post. I do have that already. But the all-Thunderbolt USB3 workflow capabilities of the new Mac Pro make the way I do things useless. There are no internal bays for RAID, which is how I have my client images setup. There is one SSD, which I have right now. There is no large, separate, drive for my User file, which I have now. If I go with anything but a current gen Mac Pro, I'll have to get external everything. I guess I'm asking if I should buy an old, outdated Mac Pro to keep my way of doing things while the new Thunderbolt solutions come out, or if I should just jump ship now?

    ----------

    Thank you for the replies everyone! I apologize, I thought I had subscribed to the thread, but I guess not.

    I posted this is Photography partly because I was hoping to find others who may be in the same boat: lots of data that needs backup, no Thunderbolt ports, but no need for dual GPUs.

    If anyone else has some input, I'd love to hear it!
     
  8. MCAsan macrumors 601

    MCAsan

    Joined:
    Jul 9, 2012
    Location:
    Atlanta
    #8
    Actually I have a web server with unlimited storage I can/do use for offsite backups. As for my business...what business...I retired last spring. My approach is likely OK for the average hobbits. A professional who depends on, and derives income from, availability of photos and other data needs a serious backup and recovery strategy including UPS, redundant drives, offsite backup...etc.
     

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