Mac Pro for a Photographer

Discussion in 'Buying Tips and Advice' started by InPartnership, Dec 11, 2007.

  1. InPartnership macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Dec 11, 2007
    #1
    I am about to move from PC to Mac as I am fed up with all the windows problems. I am a photographer and the three main programmes I will be using will be Lightroom, Photoshop and Dreamweaver.

    I don't like to buy computers very often so tend to buy the 'best' and use it for a long time. I am intending buying a Mac Pro with two quad core processors, 1Gb ram and one 500Gb hard drive. I will then increase the ram myself to 4 x 2Gb as Mac memory prices are indecent.

    I also want to upgrade the hard drives so that I use Drive 1 (the one I buy with the machine) for programmes. I then want Drives 2 and 3 as two 500Gb 10,000rpm drives in Raid 1 for security and lastly Drive 4 as a 10,000rpm scratch drive for Photoshop.

    I want to use two monitors, one a decent calibrated monitor for images and a second for palettes.

    Speed and security are important to me as time is obviously money when I am working.

    My questions are as follows:

    1) Is this a sensible configuration for speed and cost or should I be looking at another configuration?

    2) Which Raid controller can I use to achieve this setup?

    3) Do I need a different graphics card to drive the two monitors or will the GEForce 7300 GT be ok?

    4) Will upgrading the machine myself invalidate the warranty?

    I would appreciate your thoughts on this as I know so little about Macs.

    Thanks
    Matthew
     
  2. netdog macrumors 603

    netdog

    Joined:
    Feb 6, 2006
    Location:
    London
    #2
    Just want to make sure that you know that there will be faster octo-cores available as of MacWorld San Francisco in January at the price of current quad-cores. You may want to go ahead and buy a current machine, but if you aren't pressed, you will be getting an even nicer machine in January (faster FSB, more base RAM, better video card, bigger hard drive). None of that is guaranteed, but I think the community here will agree with me that all of the above predictions have a 99.9% likelihood of coming to market at that time.
     
  3. InPartnership thread starter macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Dec 11, 2007
    #3
    Thank you that is enormously helpful. I had read something but it seemed to be more rumour than fact. If it comes out in the US in February, when do you think it may arrive in the UK?

    Matthew
     
  4. Hmac macrumors 68020

    Joined:
    May 30, 2007
    Location:
    Midwest USA
    #4
    I use a 4-core Mac Pro with a 500 gig main system drive, two 500 gig WD drives in RAID 0 for Photoshop and FCE scratch drives and video/photo storage, and the fourth drive partitioned in two for backing up the other two. I also have a 500 gig external for additional backup. Works great for me. Fastest computer I've ever used for this stuff over the last 10 years or so. I probably use Nikon Capture NX a lot more than Photoshop CS3 these days, but both of those editors just fly on my current machine without the sense of struggling I used get with the various PC's I've built for the purpose over the years, especially video editing.

    From a practical standpoint, Penryn-based Mac Pros aren't going to be an astonishing speed bump, although they will be faster and probably cooler, and likely a faster video card. If you're the kind of person that's prone to buyer's remorse and would feel bad about not having the lastest and fastest, and if you're not in a pressing hurry, waiting until MacWorld San Francisco in January might be wise. If they announce then, the machine would probably be available to you sometime in February, I'm guessing. I am curious to see what Apple does with their video card - and for gaming via Boot Camp, I'd likely upgrade to that card if and when it becomes available for my machine. For your stated purposes, I would suggest you opt for the X1900XT instead of the 7300GT video card if you decide to buy now.
     
  5. Umbongo macrumors 601

    Umbongo

    Joined:
    Sep 14, 2006
    Location:
    England
    #5
    Expect January for both countries.
     
  6. volvoben macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Feb 7, 2007
    Location:
    nowhere fast
    #6
    Obviously you now know updates should arrive shortly, but I'll still take a quick stab at the questions(sorry for the US figures), namely those not addressed yet...

    1) Is this a sensible configuration for speed and cost or should I be looking at another configuration?
    IF apple goes for the rumored all 8-core configs, meaning a 2.83 octo is the ~$2500 option, i'd say get that config. No need to go crazy unless you have the scratch, the ROI decreases quickly after the base model. RAM in the new models will likely be raised to 800mhz from 667, so it'll be expensive to start just like last time, however the chipset they'll likely use also supports 667 ram at a performance hit. for a solid photography machine with 8 cores i'd say you're on the right track with ~8GB, but it's hard to tell what the prices will be or which size sticks will be sensible. Assuming the revision will include 2gb in 2x1 form, I'd say add 4x2gb for a total of 10 and you won't be running out often, even when working with large files in lightroom, photoshop and dreamweaver together. Also, i'm not sure why you'd really want 2 10,000rpm raid1 storage drives...seems like 2 cheaper 1TB 7200/variable WD drives would make more sense for storage, longevity, energy efficiency etc.

    2) Which Raid controller can I use to achieve this setup?
    ummm, apple only offers 1 raid controller for something like $900, i'm assuming you'd just use software raid for the raid1 drives.

    3) Do I need a different graphics card to drive the two monitors or will the GEForce 7300 GT be ok?
    for photographers video is not terribly important; the only program that utilizes them much is aperture. the 7300 is fine, but whatever the stock will be in the next gen (i've heard rumors of nvidia 7900, 8400, 8600 or similar) should be just fine.

    4) Will upgrading the machine myself invalidate the warranty?

    nope, at least as i understand it in the US, 'user upgradeable' parts for the mac pro include ram and HDDs.
     
  7. rosha macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Dec 13, 2007
    #7
    Well first of all congrats for deciding to buy a mac - a decission I have not regretted once.

    Now I got a question myself. I am using an old G4 Powerbook (1.86GHz) that now simply is not cutting it anymore for me running CS3 and Aperture. So I am planning to buy a new G5 Power Mac, but am struggeling to understand what I actually need.

    Will the 2.66GHz dual core be enought or do I have to go at least for the dual 3GHz? How much memory should I put in and what graphic card should I opt for? I do not need to have the best and most expensive as I rather spend extra cash on some new Canon lenses.

    Any help will be greatly appreciated.
     
  8. djejrejk macrumors 6502a

    djejrejk

    Joined:
    Jan 3, 2007
    Location:
    Uhh...
    #8
    Apple does not use g5 processors anymore.. I dont mean to be a dick but that can confuse people. The 2.66 Xeon Mac Pro is way fast, I would purchase the 2.66 mac pro nearly stock,.. maybe add bluetooth and airport cards just incase. You can pick up apple certified ram at macsales.com and save yourself a ton of money for those lenses.

    Also, photoshop is more processor intensive than gpu intensive, however programs like arpeture and lightroom are heavily GPU dependent. If you dont use those programs, or game much, the stock video card will be enough.
     

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