Mac is better than PC for photography?

Discussion in 'Digital Photography' started by Miltz, Oct 13, 2013.

  1. Miltz macrumors 6502a

    Sep 6, 2013
    New York
    I'm a long time PC user with a i7 2700K 16GB 256GB Samsung 840PRO desktop and it still feels slow. I shoot RAW and work with Canon's software which I really like and Photomatrix. Before my current setup I had a i5 2500 8GB 128GB crucial SSD. The speed difference is quite small. I'm a bit disappointed. I don't care about silly benchmarks. I was wondering if Mac OSX and a new iMAC would be faster and deal with large raw files better than windows. Has anyone gone from a High end PC to a MAC and seen a performance difference?
  2. MCAsan macrumors 601


    Jul 9, 2012
    The OS is a layer above the hardware (CPU and firmware), and the applications. If want max speed, fist look to faster possible hardware (CPU, SSDS instead of disk, at least 8GB memory). Next look at the may want LR, Aperture, or other. I think the OS is the last thing to consider.

    Personally I am very happy running LR on Mac OS in a. Retina MacBook Pro. A top iMac would be even faster.
  3. ChrisA, Oct 13, 2013
    Last edited: Oct 13, 2013

    ChrisA macrumors G4

    Jan 5, 2006
    Redondo Beach, California
    The first thing you might do is look at some performance monitoring software. When you system is slow look at the CPU utilization and the I/O rate on the disk and how much free RAM you have. Only one of those will be maxed out the others close to idle. It should be clear the faster CPU will not make you system faster if the CPU is at idle must of the time and you are waiting for the disk.

    The Mac could be faster only because the high end Macs are VERY high spec'd. For example you could put 128GB of RAM inside a 12-core Mac Pro. It would be crazy-expensive.

    If the Mac is faster it is because it is running different software that is designed to take advantage of the hardware. You might want to switch to Apple's "Aperture" in place of what you are using. Aperture has better image management and it is multithreaded so it can take advantage of multiple CPU core and do things like download photos in the background while you edit the first image. It has some other tricks like where you can turn off rendering and work with the preview images.

    The reason to switch to a Mac mostly is so you can run software that only runs on Macs. Apples pro software: Aperture, Logic, Final Cut are good reasons to buy a Mac but running Windows software inside some kind of simulator oe virtual machine is a poor reason to buy a Mac.

    The new iMacs can have what Apple calls a "fusion drive" where Mac OS X manages what goes on ther FLASH and what goes on the moving platter drive. and I think you can have up to 32GB of RAM.

    If you can wait and have some cash the new Mac Pro will be out latter this Fall. No one knows the price yet. But if it is "faster" you want that will do it.
  4. mofunk macrumors 68020


    Aug 26, 2009
    For a long time developers have used Apple as their platform. I'm talking media and audio. In my experience on both PC and Mac, Apple computers have been a work horse in this field. Gaming on PC. Music production on Mac. Photography you're not doing a lot of heavy editing and processing like you would when working with music.
  5. Borntorun macrumors member

    Nov 15, 2011
    Perth, Australia
    Mac OSX is a vastly superior operating system to windows. One of the key advantages OSX has over windows is its ability to use multi threaded applications over multi core processors - it does load balancing much better than windows.

    OSX over time does not slow down as windows does - what slow windows down is the fact that its registry keeps on growing as you add and remove software. Loads of legacy files under windows gets left behind, slowing the system over time. OSX is much neater in managing these.

    Lastly, the speed of programs are dependent on the effectiveness of the compiler used by the developer. (The compiler converts the high level language written and understood by the programming team to a set of instructions the operating system can understand). There are numerous Windows compilers, some better than others, but in general, OSX compilers by virtue of Mac OSX being unix based are much more efficient.

    So, stay away from windows and get yourself a Mac. You will never look back.
  6. Prodo123 macrumors 68020


    Nov 18, 2010
    I feel like there's less to worry about with a Mac for photography. It's reliable as heck, with an integrated backup system that Windows is eons from catching up to. In fact, Unix and Unix-like operating systems in general are more organized than Windows, and for file-intensive applications such as photography this comes in very handy.
    Macs are also much more capable in color management, especially if you don't have a calibrator. Given a digital reference color patch you can match the colors of two monitors much more easily with a Mac than with a PC (at least that's what I felt like when I calibrated my MBP screen to match my external monitor).
    Macs also tend to have much better memory management than Windows. No svchost to take up unsightly amounts of RAM for no apparent reason.

    On the other hand, PCs tend to have better drivers, especially on the graphics side (although you don't use that much in photography). It's also less resource intensive for the CPU, which might speed up whatever digital darkroom you are using.

    I won't say one's better than the other; it really comes down to personal preference.
  7. phrehdd macrumors 68040


    Oct 25, 2008
    I'll give you a very honest opinion and it wont be pretty or agreed upon by others.

    First, I am a Mac user and prefer Mac over Windows for multiple reasons. However, when it comes to application tests on similarly built PC vs Mac, PC almost always has an edge. The question remains then how much of an edge and does it really make a difference in the way you work. Most tests are not "real world" and those that are also identify PC as having an edge due to either OS or the way the application is programmed/compiled.

    The reference to OSX having its roots in Unix is correct but then again, Unix too is a rather old operating system and as some Linux users can attest, depending on what you are doing will often determine how 'stable' your system runs.

    With all the above stated, I would still get a Mac as I prefer the interface, don't mind some of the weaker facets as I can work around them and best of all not one coin put in the coffers of Micro$haft.

    Last - my favourite desktop OS of all time was OS/2 followed by OSX Tiger and up and then DOS. Only Windows OS that was almost good - XP and Win2000. (Just an opinion)
  8. Miltz thread starter macrumors 6502a

    Sep 6, 2013
    New York
    I'd love to try running MAC OSX on my PC. I'm not sure what's involved in doing that, but if it's not too complicated I want to try it. Anyone know the best way to do this?
  9. Laird Knox macrumors 68000

    Jun 18, 2010
    I run photoshop and Lightroom on a desktop Win 7 PC and 2011 MacBook Pro. Both do a good job.

    How much space is available on your HD? 256GB isn't all that much these days.
    How many programs do you keep open at the same time?
    Are you running 32 or 64 bit Windows?

    Running OS/X on the PC would likely make life more difficult but look up Hacintosh if you want more info.
  10. Designer Dale macrumors 68040

    Designer Dale

    Mar 25, 2009
    Folding space
    Current Mac and Windows based computers are the same in terms of hardware and it's possible to install the Mac OS on a PC, but it comes with a whole sub set of issues relating to how the two operating systems communicate with hardware. do a search on the key word "hackintosh".

    With Bootcamp you can install Windows on a Mac as a second boot OS out of the box, but I don't know of anything like it for the PC side of things.

    My wife has an HP that out specs my '08 MacBook Pro, but my system is way faster. Windows seems to be a very busy little OS. Every time I boot the thing it runs updates for 20 minutes before I can do anything.

  11. Consultant macrumors G5


    Jun 27, 2007
    Just considering the hardware is not looking at the whole picture. The efficiency are different for different OS. Think of it this way

    A PC running windows = 450 hp engine towing 2 tons
    A Mac running OS X = 400 hp engine towing 1 ton

    Mac is more responsive and faster at most tasks.

  12. MCAsan macrumors 601


    Jul 9, 2012
    The point is...perrformance is a result of the entire stack from hardware, firmware, OS, and apps.

    When I retired last spring I returned to Mac (had my first one in '84) and looking at the dang glad I did. :D
  13. definitive macrumors 68000


    Aug 4, 2008
    google tonymacx86, and start from there. basically you'd need "compatible" hardware.
  14. alphaod macrumors Core


    Feb 9, 2008
    My Windows computer runs Photoshop and Lightroom as well as my Macs. I don't think it's a platform issue. I also only use solid state storage, and ensure my OS isn't cluttered with programs like an antivirus. For security, I use a hardware firewall.
  15. ChrisA macrumors G4

    Jan 5, 2006
    Redondo Beach, California
    No. Absolutely hands down the best OS was IRIX

    Silicone Graphic likely make the nicest workstations. We had a few of them where I worked in the late 80s IRIX compares well to a modern Mac OS X at a time when PCs were still running DOS.

    We were doing 3D graphics with OpenGL We had Ethernet and kept or files on a network server and where connected to the Internet. We could remote log in to the box and had drag and drop on a windowed desktop.

    SGI's only problem was cost.
  16. Laird Knox macrumors 68000

    Jun 18, 2010
    You connected to the internet in the late 80s? Impressive.
  17. dumastudetto macrumors 68030

    Aug 28, 2013
    Mac is better than PC at everything. It just is.
  18. chrono1081 macrumors 604


    Jan 26, 2008
    Isla Nublar
    Not sure if this was mentioned but Quicklook (hitting spacebar to see the contents of a file) on Mac is a HUGE timesaver IMO.
  19. mediababy macrumors member

    Aug 14, 2002
    Las Vegas
    I assume the OP was storing and accessing his file from the SSD, but some people have SSD for the operating system and store their files on slow external hard drives. It probably isn't the case here, but if it is...... store the files on the SSD and have another SSD for booting the OS.

    256 SSD is pretty small especially if you are accessing the OS along with hundred of RAW files. In any case... I would have 2 SSDs as mentioned.
  20. MCAsan macrumors 601


    Jul 9, 2012
    On our rMBP SSDs we end up using around 250GB for boot/OS/apps and data like email. That is why we got 756GB SSDs to allow room for photo collecting during multiple week trips. When we get home, the photos are culled, edited, and moved off the SSDs onto external drives.

    I would recommend anyone getting a new rMBP to get 16GB of memory and 1TB SSD...and plan for library storage in external drives that are backed up with Time Machine to other drives (Time Capsule or other).
  21. Padaung macrumors 6502


    Jan 22, 2007
    I can't agree with this statement, purely based on experience. Just this last weekend I wiped the hard drive of my old laptop and did a fresh re-install of the OS and applications. The OS now boots much, much faster (similar boot time to when it was new 6yrs ago), as do the applications. The OS and applications are the same versions as I had installed previously.

    Whilst I believe that Mac OS doesn't slow down with age/use as much as perhaps Windows does, I feel it does still bloat and slow over time.
  22. snberk103 macrumors 603

    Oct 22, 2007
    An Island in the Salish Sea
    In general terms, I'm with phrehdd... To measure your 'time' by just paying attention to just one task does not give a complete picture. I have no idea, nor do I care a whit, if my Lightroom and Photoshop work faster on my Mac than a similarly priced PC. That's because that although I do spend a great deal of time sitting in front of Lr and Ps, I spend at least as much time - if not more - using those images in emails, documents, publications etc as well as creating documents and other 'stuff' about those images. And I have found the OS X interface allows for a very efficient workflow for creating my documents. For every minute extra I may (or may not) spend waiting for Lr and Ps I save several minutes with my workflow.
    I thought I was the only one 'round here who thought OS/2 was the best thing going. :) I moved away very very reluctantly.
  23. JoeRito macrumors 6502a


    Apr 12, 2012
    New England, USA
    Also Mac App Store has mid grade photo processing software that is very inexpensive. Pixelmator is great and Acorn pretty nice too. Depending on what you are enhancing, you might find these Mac tools to be quite cost effective.
  24. OreoCookie macrumors 68030

    Apr 14, 2001
    Sendai, Japan
    I'm not sure why you'd come to such a conclusion: on the cpu side, you've access to the same amount of CPU horse power and highly optimized cross-platform apps (say, Adobe Photoshop) can use the exact same optimizations on either OS, because of the way it is programmed. In the GPU department, you're correct because Windows drivers of regular graphics cards are optimized for games (i. e. speed over accuracy and consistency). But if you're seriously interested in games, you'd want to boot into Windows anyway.

    But other than that, if all things are equal (e. g. if you boot a Mac into Windows and OS X), it'll give you very similar performance.

    There are some things which do not exist as such on the other platform, e. g. there is no direct Windows equivalent of Fusion Drive (you can use a small amount of flash to boost boot up times, but that doesn't give you nearly the same performance or the same advantages as Fusion Drive). Moreover, the newest line-up of Macs already use PCIe SSDs which have 50+ % more throughput than the fastest SATA SSDs on the market (which are limited by the max throughput of the SATA interface).

    Moreover, battery life under OS X will be significantly longer than under Windows.
    I'm not quite sure you understand what Unix actually is, »Unix«*doesn't gather dust and starts creaking. Apart from the legal definition of Unix (by which Linux is not Unix), they follow the same design philosophy. In that regard, Windows is not really better or worse (the NT kernel was started 20 years ago in 1993). But these OSes have little to do with what they were 20 years ago. And both need to straddle an amazing range of devices, from 12+ core Xeon machines to puny a single Cortex A8 core you find in an iPhone 4 or similar (the NT kernel is also at the heart of Windows Phone 8).
  25. Renzatic Suspended


    Aug 3, 2011
    Gramps, what the hell am I paying you for?
    Actually, Windows PCs have had access to PCIe SSDs for awhile now. The one biggest advantage Apple has is that they, like you said, come standard on Macs now, while they're still special order parts for PCs.

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