Processor, RAM, HD, ... what's more important for photo work ?

Discussion in 'MacBook Pro' started by FrenchPB, Oct 31, 2011.

  1. FrenchPB macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Sep 15, 2005
    #1
    Quick question : what is the most important hardware spec when doing photo work on Aperture ?

    I might get a new iMac very soon, and I was wondering whether I should go for the higher processor, the more RAM, the bigger screen, or the SSD harddrive.

    I just won't have enough money to get an ultimate iMac, so that is why I'd like to know what the computer really uses when doing photo editing / processing on Aperture. Where will I reach the computer limits with a base iMac ?

    Thanks
     
  2. simsaladimbamba

    Joined:
    Nov 28, 2010
    Location:
    located
    #2
    RAM can be upgraded after you get the iMac, for less than a quarter of the money Apple steals from you. 8GB RAM currently cost 50 USD via Newegg, thus 16GB would cost you 100 USD.
    While the HDD is the mayor bottleneck, thus an SSD would be faster, depending on how many photos you have got, 200GB can be filled up really fast, thus either get the SSD and external HDD for storing photos or get the faster CPU and an external HDD for storing photos. Also think about your backup strategy, as it is very expensive to recover photos from a failed HDD, therefore I have three copies of my photos on three HDD.
     
  3. alust2013 macrumors 601

    alust2013

    Joined:
    Feb 6, 2010
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    #3
    Any of the processors will be plenty for image processing, and while a SSD might have a bit of a benefit with saving times, where you definitely need an upgrade is memory. However, you don't need to buy it from apple, as it is an easy upgrade that doesn't void the warranty and can be done yourself for approximately 75% less than the apple charge.
     
  4. thekev macrumors 604

    thekev

    Joined:
    Aug 5, 2010
    #4
    I'd have to ask, how serious are you? Do you do this for work and at what level? The imac display isn't amazing. None of the displays by Apple are really that great if you're doing finely detailed photo work, but many people do use them. If you want to go past 8GB of ram currently I'd buy the 27". 8GB dimms cost way more, and they'll cannibalize your savings if you buy the smaller one, as it only has 2 memory slots.
     
  5. alust2013 macrumors 601

    alust2013

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    #5
    I'd say the iMac's display is pretty darn nice, although the glare would get obnoxious if you're using it somewhere that could present that issue. Also, the 21.5" iMac does indeed have 4 slots for RAM
     
  6. pinktank macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Apr 5, 2005
    #6
    8gb of ram with the bottom of the imac line will be speedy enough for almost all photo editing but for wallpaper sized images. Disclaimer: I am a imaging systems adviser for museums and artists.
     
  7. Spadoinkles macrumors regular

    Joined:
    May 5, 2011
    Location:
    Florida
    #7
    I have no problems resolving 21MP RAW images out of my Late-06 Whitebook. If that's the case, you should be fine with anything that's in the market right now.

    Not sure how serious your work is, or what you work with - I'd definitely look at a Dell IPS display. I work with iMacs frequently and unless I'm in a dim studio I see my reflection more than anything.

    Only thread the path of SSD if you have sufficient stable backups. I suggest a SSD + HDD backup, and definitely a time machine. Although one may argue that SSDs and today's HDDs are reliable, you never know...

    P.S 8GB is sufficient for now - don't blow your money on 16 if your budget allows as that will be tomorrow's (I mean 2 years time) need. Improve your hardware accordingly and focus on what can't easily be upgraded.
    Definitely RAM to a certain extent, then HDD.
     
  8. Mersailios macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Oct 23, 2011
    #8
    It all depends on how serious you are and the type of workflows that you'll be handling.

    In my opinion, you'd be making a worthwhile investment by upgrading to either a Solid State Drive or a fast 7,200 RPM Hard Disk Drive (which will provide quick access to large files, such as RAW taken from a digital camera). I'd also recommend an upgrade to 8 GB of RAM which will provide you more than enough memory to run Aperture alongside other applications without encountering any slowdowns.

    Hope that helps, have a great day. :)
     
  9. Alchemyy macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Oct 23, 2011
    Location:
    Melbourne, Australia
    #9
    Professional photographer here.

    CPU and RAM are the most important, I'd get the i7 if you can. Upgrade the RAM yourself, don't pay Apples prices. 8gb or 16gb if you can.
    I have an SSD but it isn't really necessary.

    Honestly, I'd suggest a Mac Mini Server (or 15" MBP) and a high quality Dell display. The iMacs (and Cinema Displays) are terrible for photography as they don't cover the Adobe RGB gamut. If you're only showing your photos on the web you might get away with an iMac though I'm not sure if the iMacs even cover the sRGB gamut?

    That's my advice anyway, Apples displays are terrible for photographers, they look nice but that's it.

    EDIT: The old 23" Cinema Displays are almost as good as the Dells (I think but not 100% sure).
     
  10. pixor macrumors member

    Joined:
    Dec 26, 2010
    Location:
    Austrlalia
    #10
    As a long time Aperture user and serious photographer, I would recommend 8GB RAM, a 7200RPM disk and an external monitor.

    The Dell U2410 is a good matte monitor with an IPS panel for photography. If you are doing more than displaying your photos on the internet (i.e. printing or pro photography), I'd recommend investing in a calibration device for your monitor.

    Aperture makes use of the GPU for rendering adjustments, so I would avoid the mac mini server, as it is underpowered in this respect.

    I'm paranoid about backup, so I'll add think about that - an external hard drive for Time Machine is a good start.

    You can have Aperture hold the library file on one disk and the master images on another - I keep my library file on SSD (which speeds things up), and the masters on a hard drive (lots of storage).

    Hope that helps.
     
  11. Spadoinkles macrumors regular

    Joined:
    May 5, 2011
    Location:
    Florida
    #11
    Amen to that. Dell all the way! :D
    I'm pretty sure iMacs cover sRGB. They're perfect for anyone not too 'serious'. Useless in bright rooms.

    SSD. Really? I've had equally fast response from un-SSDed machines as I do from modern, decently-specced sandy bridge machines. (Blazing quick when compared to my Late-06 Whitebook but heck, the same job gets done eventually :p)
     

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