Mac Pro processor for graphic design/photoshop?

Discussion in 'Mac Pro' started by meg722, May 3, 2010.

  1. meg722 macrumors newbie

    May 3, 2010
    I'm a graphic designer looking to upgrade my single processor G5 (which is close to unusable at this point) to a Quad-Core Mac Pro. I will be buying the new CS5 software to run on it, so it will need to handle complex photo editing/large files in photoshop, etc.

    From what I've read thus far on these forums, it sounds like CS5 can't utilize the 8-core anyway, so I've decided on the Quad-core. But my question is, should I go with the 2.66GHz, 2.93GHz, or 3.33GHz processor? Obviously higher is better, but will I notice much of a difference between these options?

    Or should adding more RAM be the priority? I'm thinking I would upgrade to 8GB regardless, and probably more eventually.

    What do you all think? Cost is somewhat of an issue, but I don't mind spending more now if it means the computer will last me 7+ years. I've been waiting for the 2010 models, but who knows when that will be... and now that CS5 is out I'm getting impatient! (But then again, waiting could be the smart option, I suppose...)

    Thanks in advance for your help! :)
  2. Umbongo macrumors 601


    Sep 14, 2006
    Without breaking down exactly how you will use the software my suggestion would be buy as much processor as you can because you can upgrade memory later. Also as you aren't using a modern system or the software you wont know how much memory you may be overestimating how much memory you need. 8GB is a lot even for Photoshop. Unless you are planning a major change in what you are doing a 2.66GHz quad with 8GB is a huge step up from what you have and is also more than suitable for most tasks. All you are buying after that is time saving and reduced frustration, not new creative options.

    You may want to continue waiting though, it is very likely something will appear on one of the next 5 Tuesdays, unless you are looking at a refurb system.
  3. nanofrog macrumors G4

    May 6, 2008
    We've no idea of your budget, so I'd put RAM capacity before clock speed in this case. This is on the presumption that the system needs to be operational ASAP, and upgrades can't be piece-mealed into the system.

    Also make sure you plan for any other upgrades that would benefit you, such as multiple drives (or even RAID), and of course a decent graphics card. Faster clocks would be nice, but solve the bottlenecks first, as if you can't feed the processor with data fast enough, the processor will waste clock cycles waiting for it.

    BTW, waiting will hopefully produce a better graphics card or two that could be added to a new system, such as an ATI HD 5870, and possibly an nVidia 4xx model later, as the GTX285 was developed by EVGA, not Apple (the new base model might be something along the lines of a GT220).

    As per the 2010 SP models, there's only one Hex core part available, which will be the most expensive system (published quantity pricing is $999, so it should be ~ the same price as the existing highest clock system).
  4. strausd macrumors 68030

    Jul 11, 2008
    Photoshop can be very RAM intensive. It may be a good idea to consider dual socket because they can support twice the amount of RAM as a single socket.
  5. Sean Dempsey macrumors 68000

    Sean Dempsey

    Aug 7, 2006
    I run a Mac Pro 1,1 2.66 quad core with 5 gigs of ram.

    I do full-time photoshop, illustrator, indesign professionally.

    I rarely touch the paging file. You'll be fine with any option.
  6. PsyD4Me macrumors 6502a


    Mar 11, 2009
    under your bed
    i do similar stuff with the specs below, and before the upgrade 8GB of RAM was perfectly fine..
  7. meg722 thread starter macrumors newbie

    May 3, 2010
    Thanks so much to everyone for the advice! It's true that any of the current processor options would be an amazing upgrade to what I have now, and would run CS5 with no problem. (The unknown question would be will it run CS7 or CS8 in the future without problem?) I think at this point I will hold out a few more weeks to see if the new 2010 models will emerge... I just want whatever I buy to last as long as possible, and I probably owe it to myself to be a bit more patient.
  8. Murray M macrumors regular

    Murray M

    Apr 19, 2010
    As a rule, I always get the cheapest processor Apple makes. The price isn't worth it unless you're making AMAZING money doing what you do. 8 GB ram should be fine (and if you can line it up to have some extra slots for the future then it's ideal). Also consider a SSD boot drive.
  9. racer748 macrumors newbie

    Apr 29, 2009
    I faced a similar dilemma upgrading from a Dual2.7 G5 and ended up going with the Quad 2.66, upgraded to 12GB ram, an SSD boot disc and 3x 1TB discs striped for data and scratch.

    My main concern was actually multi-tasking as I tend to batch process alot of image files whilst doing other stuff and the G5 used to hit max CPU in seconds. I haven't had the Quad 2.66 above about 80% CPU other than in very small instances nor hit the swap file yet (though been very close).

    Go the quad and upgrade the ram and hard drives. Much better use of money in my mind - I used OWC by the way.
  10. alphaod macrumors Core


    Feb 9, 2008
    See if you can still find an 8-core 2.8GHz (2008 model); much more economical choice.
  11. nanofrog macrumors G4

    May 6, 2008
    Great systems, but getting hard to find at a good price. :(
  12. CCK macrumors member

    Feb 14, 2010
    Got a 2.93x4 about 6 weeks ago and it blows away my dualcore G5, so it'll last you a good long while.

    Don't forget that you can add just 2 ram modules, You don't have to add a minimum of 3. So for the 8 GBs of ram you could get 2x4Gb which is what I'm currently using, and still give you the opportunity to go to 16.

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