Minis, Graphics, Photoshop CS5, OpenGL

Discussion in 'Mac mini' started by elliotn, Nov 25, 2011.

  1. elliotn macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Sep 5, 2011
    #1
    With Photoshop CS5 on my 2011 Macbook Air, OpenGL Drawing is enabled by default (Preferences > Performance), but in 'Advanced Settings' it is not possible to set any mode other than 'Basic'.

    I assume the 'Normal' and 'Advanced' modes are unavailable due to the limitations of the integrated Intel HD 3000 graphics.

    Two of the three mini models (base and server) have the same graphic capabilities (I think). Are they similarly limited to 'Basic' OpenGL Drawing mode?

    How about the mini with the AMD Radeon HD 6630M? Does that unlock the 'Normal' and 'Advanced' modes?

    (I was about to buy the server for the horsepower of the quadcore processor, but now I'm thinking I might prefer to sacrifice a little speed for overall smoothness of operation.)
     
  2. xwinger macrumors member

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    Location:
    Alberta
    #2
    i have the 2.7 ghz i7 (dual core) mini from this summer and i just went to the settings and it was on basic but i just changed it to advanced. so yes, it lets you choose advanced.
     
  3. elliotn thread starter macrumors regular

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    Sep 5, 2011
    #3
    Thanks.

    Anyone running Photoshop CS5 on the base mini 2.3ghz or the mini Server, with 8GB ram?

    Care to check the availability of OpenGL modes in Preferences > Performance > Advanced Settings?

    (It might be that my Air is limited by its 4GB ram limit.)
     
  4. Travis Bickle macrumors member

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    Feb 11, 2011
    #4
    got the base MM, upped the ram myself to 8Gb and just opened PS CS5. Takes about 3 seconds to open, went into the preferences, performance and looked at GPU settings. There's a tick by "enable openGL drawing and when i click on advanced it's set to basic though has options for normal and advanced which i've not tried out.

    I have to add i'm a casual user of PS so can't say how well it would perform on more intensive works but i've not had a problem yet with numerous layers open etc.
     
  5. thekev macrumors 604

    thekev

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    Aug 5, 2010
    #5
    OpenGL drawing for 2d images really isn't terribly intense on the gpu. Personally I'd order it with the base amount of ram. Test it and see if it's terribly laggy with stuff you typically work on, and how much it's using in terms of scratch disks/paging. If you're working at super high resolutions or 16 bpc with a bunch of layers, you may want to consider 16GB (most people won't need this option but I mention it just in case). If your performance is okay or near acceptable at 4, you'll be very happy with 8. You want just enough that your performance won't totally tank under heavier than average stuff. You used to see minimal benefit past 4GB simply because it couldn't really address past roughly 3GB directly. With those limitations gone, performance does scale better.

    By the way, performance on the mini isn't THAT much better than the air (especially the baseline mini). It's still essentially laptop hardware. I don't see why the server version would sacrifice smoothness in operation. Photoshop uses the gpu a little, but very little.
     
  6. elliotn thread starter macrumors regular

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    Sep 5, 2011
    #6
    Thanks. Same as what was reported for the mini with AMD graphics. I think that scotches my idea that the integrated graphics might be limiting Photoshop.

    (On my Air, the OpenGL menu bar with 'Basic', 'Normal' and 'Advanced' is greyed out, and frozen on 'Basic')

    ----------

    I've already bought 8GB of Crucial ram. Just vacillating over which mini to buy. I suspect I'd be happy with either the 2.7GHZ i7 7200RPM or the Server and I wouldn't notice any difference between them. Hmm, time to toss a coin.
     
  7. elliotn thread starter macrumors regular

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    Sep 5, 2011
    #7
    On the subject of Photoshop performance, Air vs mini, has anyone run this speedtest on their mini?

    http://clubofone.com/speedtest/

    On my 13" 128GB 2011 Air, I complete the test in 29 seconds - quite fast, I think.

    (It's important to follow all their instructions - no other apps running, run test straight after a restart, history level set to 1 etc. - otherwise results can be much longer.)
     
  8. elliotn thread starter macrumors regular

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    Sep 5, 2011
    #8
    I now have the mini Server (256 SSD + 750 HD + 8GB RAM). It does the Photoshop speed test in 22 seconds.

    I'm disappointed to discover that like my Macbook Air the Photoshop OpenGL Settings are frozen in 'Basic' mode ('Basic' is greyed out, and 'Normal' and 'Advanced' can not be selected). (OpenGL settings are found in Photoshop>Preferences>Performance>GPU Settingss>Advanced Settings).

    Any idea why this would be? Users of the other two minis (base, AMD) have already reported here that they can select the full range of OpenGL settings. Is the Server mini limited in this regard? Or have I overlooked something? (Clean OSX install and clean Photoshop install.)
     
  9. elliotn thread starter macrumors regular

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    Sep 5, 2011
    #9
    this is what i mean:
     

    Attached Files:

  10. nREMfan macrumors member

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    Feb 10, 2010
    #10
    I have the i7 server, 8GBs of RAM, and CS 5.5. I just checked those options, and mine too, are greyed out. I would assume it's simply because this model doesn't have a true graphics card.
     
  11. elliotn thread starter macrumors regular

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    Sep 5, 2011
    #11
    Many thanks checking. I'm very disappointed. Travis Bickle, further up this thread, reported that his base mini had all 3 options, so I assumed that the mini Server would have the same capabilities (it has the same graphics, I think). I should probably have bought the mini with AMD graphics rather than the Server.
     
  12. thekev macrumors 604

    thekev

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    Aug 5, 2010
    #12
    I've stated in the past that it's more ram than cpu intensive. This issue still makes no sense to me given what I'm posting below. Are there any specific features that you want yet cannot access?

    http://kb2.adobe.com/cps/831/cpsid_83117.html

    There's another one, Intel integrated HD graphics are under supported/tested.

    Intel
    Intel HD Graphics
    Intel GMA 4-Series Chipset
    Intel HD Graphics Family
    Intel HD Graphics P3000


    I might suggest checking the vram allocation in your preferences. It's not always just an integrated graphics issue anyway. If you look at the bugs page, the macbook pros with gpu switching have performance issues. I'll check back on this thread later.


    Intel HD Graphics 3000 allocates a base amount of 384 MB on a Mac with 4 GB of RAM or 288 MB on a Mac with 2 GB of RAM for video and processes at startup. For example, a MacBook Pro (13-inch, Early 2011) with 4 GB of RAM installed has 3.7 GB of memory available to Mac OS X and applications (4096-384=3712). For Macs that have been upgraded to 8 GB of RAM, the Intel HD Graphics 3000 will allocate 512 MB of system memory instead of 384 MB. For example, a MacBook Pro (15-inch, Early 2011) with 8 GB of RAM has 7.6 GB of available memory (8192-512=7680)


    Source: http://support.apple.com/kb/HT3246

    Edit: the only semi useful function in advanced is anti aliased paths anyway. They're prettier to look at, but still limited to the accuracy level of a raster based program.
     
  13. elliotn, Dec 12, 2011
    Last edited: Dec 12, 2011

    elliotn thread starter macrumors regular

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    Sep 5, 2011
    #13
    I've only just set up this mini Server, so I've yet to put it through it's paces. (I'm also new to CS5 - I've been using CS2 up till now on an old G5.)

    I've noticed that certain OS level animations appear jittery (I'm using a 27" Eizo CG275w). For example, when I call up Launchpad, it flickers into view, rather than appearing in a silky smooth animation. (This is disappointing, but I don't plan to use Launchpad.)

    I've checked in 'About This Mac' and it tells me I have 'Intel HD Graphics 3000 512MB' - so nothing wrong there. And I've run the Apple Hardware Test, and all is fine.

    I'd already read those Adobe pages and I'd got the impression that Intel HD Graphics would support Photoshop. Did I miss a note that says 'only in Basic mode'?

    I suspect the absence of the 'Normal' and 'Advanced' OpenGL modes won't cause me any difficulties with CS5. But I'm more concerned about the next version of Photoshop, which I believe is imminent. I bought this mini with the hope that it would last me a couple of years.

    - I assume that Mr Bickle's previous post was some sort of error. (With a moniker like that, perhaps I was foolish to take him at his word!)
     
  14. shortcut3d macrumors 65816

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    Aug 24, 2011
    #14
    You will have enough raw horse power to get through the next generation of Photoshop. You may encounter memory limitations, but 16GB is dropping like a rock and will be very affordable. CS5 is more memory intensive.

    Your stuttering may be due to spotlight indexing running in the background since you just setup the Mac Mini.
     
  15. elliotn, Dec 12, 2011
    Last edited: Dec 12, 2011

    elliotn thread starter macrumors regular

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    Sep 5, 2011
    #15
    I've checked out Travis's posting history and he seems genuine. There's no doubt that he's using the entry level mini, with integrated Intel graphics and 8Gb RAM.

    So how come he's getting Photoshop OpenGL options that I'm not?

    Could it be dependent on the monitor being used? (I'm using a 27" Eizo CG275w, 2560x1440, connected with a miniDP to DP cable.) - EDIT: No, same deal hooked up to a 24" HP ZR24w
     
  16. thekev, Dec 12, 2011
    Last edited: Dec 12, 2011

    thekev macrumors 604

    thekev

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    Aug 5, 2010
    #16
    @elliotn I am searching on this. I'm not entirely sure why you're experiencing issues. I might suggest checking the adobe forums, but I haven't seen anything on there personally so you may have to ask. OpenGL under OSX isn't that great no matter what hardware is used though. These are the kinds of areas Apple has neglected in recent years :mad:. 8GB of ram is the minimum I'd use with that machine, but you do have that much. I'll look for something more later, but as of right now I'm not sure.


    I didn't note this last time for some reason. I really don't know what is causing that behavior. Stutter in animations may not even be gpu related at all. It sounds like a weird bug. I guess if you're within the return period and you really think it'll help, you could exchange it for the discreet gpu model, but these sound more like bugs than incapable hardware design.
     
  17. shortcut3d macrumors 65816

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    Aug 24, 2011
    #17
    Have you tried unchecking the bottom two options to see if it enable the drop down box?
     
  18. elliotn thread starter macrumors regular

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    Sep 5, 2011
    #18
    yes, i tried that - no change, unfortunately.

    i just read this post in another thread:

    http://forums.macrumors.com/showthread.php?p=14000030#post14000030

    the relevant part:

    'If you're comparing the low-end integrated graphics dual-core with the quad-core, it might also be of concern that the graphics system in the dual-core model has a higher max turbo than in the quad-core as well. But if you're concerned primarily about graphics performance, you want the dual-core discrete graphics model over the quad-core model.'

    So is that it? The mini Server has worse graphic specs than the entry level mini? If so, it's a well-kept secret.
     
  19. elliotn thread starter macrumors regular

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    Sep 5, 2011
    #19
    Many thanks for your input. The stutter with the Launchpad animation is not extreme (and I tend to be over-sensitive to flickering). I've just connected my Macbook Air to the 27" Eizo, and it also exhibits this stuttering effect (zero stutter however when using the Air's own screen).

    Hmm, I'm thinking of returning the mini Server. I hadn't realised that it's graphic capabilities are weaker than the base mini. It's a shame, as I want a quadcore. But for now I think it makes more sense for me to get the mini with AMD (possibly upgraded to i7 and 7200rpm, but maybe not with the SSD). And then consider selling and upgrading it in a year or so, when minis will likely have SSDs and quad cores as standard (?)

    What's the deal with Apple's 14 day return policy? The machine was delivered 7 days ago. I'm based in the UK. Obviously it's been used. Can i get a refund, no questions asked, as long I return it within 14 days of delivery?

    Elliot
     
  20. thekev macrumors 604

    thekev

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    Aug 5, 2010
    #20
    I'm not entirely sure of details there. The gpu issue seems weird to me, and I can't locate any official indication of differences in the gpu. It wouldn't surprise me if the ui bugs turn out to be more of a driver issue than one of hardware capability.

    Photoshop isn't cpu intensive on every function. Some things take a fair amount of power, but it's not that bad these days. If you're working at really high resolutions, 16 bits per channel, or both, it takes up a lot of ram and scratch space, which is where an SSD can be useful. CS5 on OSX is a 64 bit rewrite (Windows started at CS4), meaning it can address quite a lot of ram if it's available. An SSD isn't as big a deal in imacs and mac pros. It's just with the mini if it's writing a lot of scratch data, it will be doing it using laptop hard drives.
     
  21. Travis Bickle macrumors member

    Joined:
    Feb 11, 2011
    #21
    not sure why my moniker would push you to assume i don't know what i'm talking about or that i would indeed be lying? It's merely a nom de plume i use in reference to my daytime job, truly puzzled by that one.

    No matter. I've checked again and have enabled the basic, normal AND advanced settings in preferences, performance......not used it in any setting other than basic but i can assure you i'm able to adjust the settings.

    I'm on my way to work now so haven't the time to take a screenshot; upload it somewhere and post it but i'll get onto it as soon as i get home this evening.

    I also see you've checked through my other postings, nothing too interesting other than a newbie to macs trying to find out info - i know the internet is full of trolls, i'm not one of them! :D
     
  22. theSeb, Dec 12, 2011
    Last edited: Dec 13, 2011

    theSeb macrumors 604

    theSeb

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    #22
    That information is completely incorrect.

    Edit: humble pie on my face - I was incorrect - please see reply below
     
  23. elliotn thread starter macrumors regular

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    Sep 5, 2011
    #23
    Which leaves me with the conundrum - why does the mini Server have limited graphic capabilities in Photoshop compared to the base and mid minis?

    ----------

    So you're a taxi driver? Or an assassin?!

    Please forgive me for questioning your credentials. I was just joking, but it was out of order. I'm sorry. I don't doubt that you're able to access the three Photoshop OpenGL settings on your base mini. I'm just puzzled why I can't on my mini Server.

    I notice that like me (Eizo CG275w) you're running a large monitor (HP ZR30). Have you noticed any stutter when you fire up Launchpad.



    ----------

    Thanks. I'll try to get some info from Adobe or Apple, and report back.
     
  24. theSeb, Dec 13, 2011
    Last edited: Dec 13, 2011

    theSeb macrumors 604

    theSeb

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    Location:
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    #24
    Interesting. Now it seems as though you are right in the initial statement so I apologise.

    The max frequency of the HD 3000 in the base mini is indeed slightly faster


    Base mini : Core i5 (I5-2415M) HD Graphics
    Graphics Base Frequency 650 MHz
    Graphics Max Dynamic Frequency 1.3 GHz

    Quad mini : Core i7 (I7-2635QM)

    Processor Graphics Intel® HD Graphics 3000
    Graphics Base Frequency 650 MHz
    Graphics Max Dynamic Frequency 1.2 GHz

    However, that kind of difference is basically not noticeable and wouldn't help photoshop run any faster. The mid mini with the AMD graphics would probably be best for you and I don't believe that the max frequency would have any difference on whether you can choose Basic or Advanced in photoshop nor does it mean that the server's graphics are limited. 100 hz difference is very little back in the real world and not something Photoshop would pick up and stop you selecting different settings.

    I assume that the lower graphics frequency is to do with the total TDP and since the Quad chip runs hotter Intel chose to reduce the max frequency slightly to keep the heat down.

    Update for benchmarks:

    Base mini 2.3 GHz -
    Cinebench R11.5 Graphics (OpenGl) : 12
    Cinebench R11.5 CPU: 2.4

    Mini 2.5 with AMD discrete GPU
    Cinebench R11.5 Graphics (OpenGl) : 24.6
    Cinebench R11.5 CPU: 2.9

    Mini server
    Cinebench R11.5 Graphics (OpenGl) : ? - I'll have to run this when I am home this weekend unless someone else can do it or find the benchmark numbers since I am not seeing any
    Cinebench R11.5 CPU: 4.2

    You can see a clear difference between the HD3000 and AMD graphics.
     
  25. theSeb macrumors 604

    theSeb

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    #25

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