Mac Pro configuration for Photoshop

Discussion in 'Mac Pro' started by ddwit, Dec 4, 2010.

  1. ddwit, Dec 4, 2010
    Last edited: Dec 4, 2010

    ddwit macrumors member

    ddwit

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    #1
    Hello,

    My wife is a professional photographer. Her business is growing and so is the time she spents behind her computer (Imac) Photoshopping . She is complaining about the speed. So we are planning an upgrade to a Mac Pro combined with a Eizo screen.

    I have some questions about the configuration. We are looking for something which generates speed. It has to be reasonable in price in three years we will buy another one, so upgradable is not that important.

    The image size off the RAW photo's is 25MB. But in the coming three years will grow for example to 50MB when a new camera is bought. For a project dozens of these images have to be processed.

    We are thinking about this workstation:
    Mac Pro 3,2 Xeon Nehalem
    16 GB RAM
    SSD Boot drive
    SSD Scratch disk
    2 TB Hardisk Storage
    Backups are made hourly by Time Capsule and once a week to a server (200KM abroad)

    Can anybody give me some advice which disks to use for boot-sctratch and storage and if a Raid O system would add something to this system.

    Thanks for sharing!

    Daan
     
  2. Transporteur macrumors 68030

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    #2
    There are people with specific knowledge about Photoshop who can help you deciding how much RAM and what scratch disc you may need, but just a quick general advice from me;

    DON'T buy the Apple SSD, especially not a 512GB one!

    512GB for boot and apps is way too much and a waste of money.
    If you really want speed and save money, get yourself a OWC or OCZ Vertex2 (E) drive. 120GB for boot and apps are plenty. The drives go for about 170€ in Europe and are the fastest you can get these days for your Mac Pro.
     
  3. ddwit thread starter macrumors member

    ddwit

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    #3
    when I buy a Mac Pro I have to buy a harddisk..
     
  4. you39 macrumors regular

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    Mar 21, 2010
    #4
    Yes, but you can get a 2TB caviar black for 150€*AND keep the built-in 1TB.
     
  5. Umbongo macrumors 601

    Umbongo

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    England
    #5
    I'd highly recommend you look at NEC displays rather than Eizo. The difference in quality is minimal and won't tend to favour one over the other, but the price of NEC in some terrories is considerably lower than Eizo.
     
  6. Transporteur macrumors 68030

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    #6
    That is correct, but the stock hard drive (1TB) doesn't cost you anything. So just keep it and don't let Apple upgrade the drive.

    The $1400 upgrade for the 512GB SSD really is a waste of money. You can spend it much better.


    I see that you've updated your post, so I guess I already talked you down from that. Good choice! ;)
     
  7. Inconsequential macrumors 68000

    Joined:
    Sep 12, 2007
    #7
    Ditch the Apple SSDs and just buy the 1Tb.

    With the money saved from not buying the Apple SSDs get the 3.33Ghz 6-core.

    Then buy two 120Gb OWC/OCZ Vertex 2 SSDs with a 2TB Black from somewhere else.

    Although without a budget I don't know if thats too rich or not :p

    Edit: Also I shoot with a 7D which produces 25-35Mb an image, I have more backup space then her and I'm just a casual photographer, what gives with the limited amount of storage!?
     
  8. Santabean2000 macrumors 68000

    Santabean2000

    Joined:
    Nov 20, 2007
    #8
    Agreed. Widely accepted 6 core is best bang for bucks.

    Assuming you're working with CS5 though (64bit) it may be worthwhile getting the “Westmere” (8 cores) to get the extra RAM slots. Just a thought...
     
  9. ddwit thread starter macrumors member

    ddwit

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    #9
    Thank you all for sharing.

    I convinced you all are right about the waste of money for the SSD. So it will be the 1tb. And I will put some extra SSD's and HD's

    I'm not sure about spending the extra "free" money on the 3,33 GHz 6 core. That's because I'm not convinced what it will bring so much more over the 3,2 Ghz 4 core. And it will cost us 1200,- Euro extra, that's about 1500 dollar! But maybe somebody can expain why we should? (Just remember we don't have some sort of fixed budget which has te be spent, we have to pay it ourselfs)

    I think for the scratch disk we need more than 120tb. I would go for at least 250 GB SSD. I've seen lot's of big scratch files..
    My wife now has a 5D markt II, in the near future she's is gonna upgrade to the top model 1DS or replacement. So the image size will rise.

    Has anybody an opinion if Raid 0 would add something?
     
  10. Umbongo macrumors 601

    Umbongo

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    #10
    Nah don't bother.
     
  11. you39 macrumors regular

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    #11
    The 3.33 6-core, though, is 'just' 800€ extra - if you compare it to the 3,2GHz quad core.
     
  12. ThemacNub macrumors regular

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    Australia
    #12
    I don't think that a ssd scratch disk is completely neccessary, its a waste of money imo and would be better spent on the hex core precessor instead.
     
  13. cluthz macrumors 68040

    cluthz

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    #13
    I've had amazing support from Eizo, they delivered a new screen and picked the old one up, after two phone calls. My screen was 3 years old.
    (I had some pixel errors in left upper corner).

    I've never dealt with NEC, but I have nothing bad to say about Eizo.
     
  14. chaosbunny macrumors 68000

    chaosbunny

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    #14
    Save your money for the processor upgrades. Don't fall for the mhz myth. I have a 2010 2,8 ghz quad Mac Pro at home and a 2010 2,4 ghz octo Mac Pro at work. I notice ZERO real world difference between the two when workling in Photoshop CS5 on 500mb-1gb psd files. It's stuff like Cinema 4D renders where all threads are used where the octo really shines (= almost 2 times faster). But these 4x400 mhz within the same processor architecture won't get you anywhere in terms of noticeable performance during work.

    Just get the 2,8 ghz Mac Pro and use the savings for an even better (bigger) 27-30" screen.
     
  15. you39 macrumors regular

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    Mar 21, 2010
    #15
    Also I'm not so certain if Eizo's bad price reputation is still so justified (compared to NEC). Both NEC and Eizo have a special hardware calibration enabled Prepress/Photographer line-up of displays that are quite a bit more expensive than their 'regular' displays (NEC=SpectraView/Eizo=Color Graphic).

    Those seem to be pretty much on par with the prices. (SpectraView Reference 3090 / CG303W about 3100€ or SpectraView Reference PA241W / CG243W-BK about 1700€)
     
  16. ddwit, Dec 4, 2010
    Last edited: Dec 4, 2010

    ddwit thread starter macrumors member

    ddwit

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    #16
    I'm sorry for the confusion. For me it's only about the setup for the Mac Pro . I have no questions about the screen configuration. We are going to buy the Eizo Coloredge CG245W.
    We have got good experience with Eizo, good service and it has self calibration.

    The storage amount is not the question either. This topic is about only the workstation. Storage / backup is apart from that.

    This is not in question either, as mentioned, in my experience it's beter to buy a complete new one in about three years. (It's also nice to have something new..;)) Photoshop CS5 even runs faster on 4 cores I believe, in regards to the more upgradable RAM your right, but that makes the setup to expensive. I think we will manage with 16GB RAM and SSD scratch disk for a time. And if not I bu a complete modern Mac Pro then.

    My question in this topic is about the configuration / setup of the Mac Pro!
    The budget is 3000-5000 Euro, but it has to be worth it!
    Only Lightroom / Photoshop use (so no video or whatever). Images 25-75MB. 10-500 per week max.


    The processor
    I think I will not benefit enough from a really expensive fast multiple core processor. So I'm planning to buy the 3,2 GHZ Nehalem. It's al little faster then the 2,8 GHz and reasonable more expensive.

    RAM
    As much as fits in the machine

    Video Card
    Standard Mac Pro video card

    The questions which are still open:


    1) Which 250-400 GB SSD drives for boot and scratch?
    Concorde Rules mentioned: 120Gb OWC/OCZ Vertex 2 SSDs. In my opinion this is to small. I would prefer 250Gb at least. (OCZ250 GB is about 600,- Euro). I've seen scratch files way bigger then 120GB..

    2) Which hard disk for storage
    Concorde Rules mentioned: 2TB Caviar Black (150,- Euro).
    Combined with the 1TB form Apple the Mac Pro then we have 3TB. For us that's enough. I even would consider throwing the standard disk out or buying the Caviar Black later when the standard disk is full. How good is the standard hard disk form the Mac Pro..

    3) Raid system
    When multiple hard disks are used for storage I like the fact of having 1 volume name instead of 2, 3 or 4, that's an advantage for Raid 0. I'm aware of the bigger change of failure due to having multiple disks "connected", but we run a Time Capsule which make hourly backups so that problem is solved. I'm really interested if somebody can tell me if a Raid 0 system add NOTICEABLE speed advantage to this configuration knowing that it's only used for Photoshop working with images 25-75 MB 98% of the time?
    If so: hardware or software raid?
     
  17. VirtualRain macrumors 603

    VirtualRain

    Joined:
    Aug 1, 2008
    Location:
    Vancouver, BC
    #17
    I agree with your choices so far.

    For SSDs I would buy a pair of the largest drives you can afford. 2x240GB in RAID0 if you can. You can never have enough SSD storage as you will want to shift more and more to SSD as soon as you realize how damn fast they are.

    The included 1TB will be a WD Caviar Black. I would just use that for storage until it's full unless your requirements already exceed 1TB.

    RAID0 can offer a performance benefit but it can be hard to quantify outside of benchmarks (eg. Everyday use). It does have the benefit of increasing volume size as you say. I run 3x80GB SSDs in RAID0 primrily for this reason although I'm sure the added STR doesn't hurt either. Use disk utility in OSX to run software RAID0 as hardware offers little to no advantage for RAID0. Use a RAID card only if you need parity RAID like RAID5 or 6.

    I think your system will rock.

    BTW, besides Photoshop is your Wife using a photo management app like Aperture or Lightroom?
     
  18. johnnymg macrumors 65816

    johnnymg

    Joined:
    Nov 16, 2008
    #18
    JMO, but I think the 3.2 GHz is a very good compromise when looking at price/performance (see sig). :)

    Don't go RAID ........... just complicates things too much.

    I'd start simple with the base (or upgraded) Quad and the 5770 video card.
    Add:
    120 GB SSD for boot and a couple large external backups. Keep the 1 GB for internal data use.

    cheers
    JohnG
     
  19. ddwit thread starter macrumors member

    ddwit

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    #19
    Yes sometimes she uses Lightroom.
     
  20. ddwit, Dec 4, 2010
    Last edited: Dec 4, 2010

    ddwit thread starter macrumors member

    ddwit

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    #20
    To be honest, that are my thoughts / feelings to!

    Do you run 3x80 as scratch disk?
    I think for startup I will buy a 250GB SSD for scratch not 3x80 GB, or is there an the advantage of doing it that way?

    For boot I have to see how much space is needed. Maybe 120 GB is enough for OSX, Photoshop, LightRoom, email, internet and some other smaller programms. has anybody an idea? If 120 GB for instance is enough I can save 400,- Euro and then consider the upgrade to the 3,33 GHz 6 core, the processor I cannot upgrade later on..
     
  21. ddwit, Dec 4, 2010
    Last edited: Dec 4, 2010

    ddwit thread starter macrumors member

    ddwit

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    #21
    Setup and costs

    Setup and costs

    Mac Pro 3,33 6 core Westmere
    ATI Radeon HD 5770 1 GB
    1TB Harddisk
    3024,- Euro (ex tax)

    16GB Ram
    280,- (ex tax)

    120GB Vertex2 SSD boot disk
    160,- (ex tax)

    250GB Vertex2 SSD scratch disk
    320,- (ex tax)

    Total costs: 3784,- Euro (ex tax)

    We can afford that. We might save 670,- (ex tax) considering not the 6 core 3.33 but the 4 core 3.2 processor. Has anybody real life experience comparing those 2 processors working with 25-100MB images in Photoshop? And what are the advantages for the 6 core in 1-3 years from now? They have to be worth 670,- but a quick responding machine is worth a lot when you spent hours and hours behind this machine..
     
  22. Transporteur macrumors 68030

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    Location:
    UK
    #22
    You can't run 4 SSD's in the Mac Pro without an extra (third party) RAID card.
    Well, in fact you can, but it is not advisable since 3 SSD's already saturate the speed provided by the Pro's controller (660MB/s). The fourth drive would be a waste.

    120GB is plenty for OS, apps, swap and cache files.
    I've got a 160GB boot drive in my Mac Pro and have a lot of applications (mostly large development suites, VM software etc.) and the drive is filled 50%. I also store all my documents on there. Applications folder is 18GB, OS is 5GB, Library is 10GB.
    Believe me, 120GB is plenty for boot and apps. BTW: Photoshop (CS5) takes a massive 750MB!

    Don't overestimate the application sizes. It saves you a lot of money to think realistically.
     
  23. toxic, Dec 4, 2010
    Last edited: Dec 4, 2010

    toxic macrumors 68000

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    Nov 9, 2008
    #23
    I don't think SSDs are worth the expense as data drives at this point. at best they're twice as fast...for something like 4 times the cost. if you really want fast data, just do a RAID0 with HDDs.

    stick with the 3.2 quad, and go with 12-16GB of RAM. more is pointless unless you plan on using a RAM disk.

    for drives, I would go with:
    1. SSD
    2. scratch RAID0 slice, data RAID1 slice
    3. scratch RAID0 slice, data RAID1 slice (or just clone the first data disk)
    4. clone of boot drive (SSD), Time Machine

    the TM drive can just be a "green" drive, for scratch/data I would use WD Blacks or Samsung F3's (F3's are faster at sequential IO but have shorter warranty and MTBF). the first partition of each data drive would be the scratch.

    if you want to RAID0 the data, then throw the SSD into the second optical bay. that way you can have a two-drive RAID0 plus a clone/mirror (in the 3rd bay).

    edit: you could also pull out the TM drive and use an external for that instead. leaves you another bay for whatever you want.
     
  24. ddwit thread starter macrumors member

    ddwit

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    #24
    Your absolutely right! Thanks for the numbers. I will check and double check. I came form 512 to 250 to 160. From 1200,- to 500,- to 160 Euro,- :D
     
  25. ddwit, Dec 4, 2010
    Last edited: Dec 4, 2010

    ddwit thread starter macrumors member

    ddwit

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    #25
    I'm not sure about this. Raid is fast for big files. Transporting continuing amounts of data. We don't use big files, like video, but small files. You have to deal with the acces time of the hard drives. I think for the use we have an SSD drive will give more speed.

    You're right it will cost more.
     

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