Proper configuration of an iMac for Photoshop use

Discussion in 'iMac' started by EK23, Oct 26, 2012.

  1. EK23 macrumors member

    Oct 26, 2012
    My wife is a professional photographer and spends up to 10 hours a day editing pictures in photoshop. She has been working on a MacBook Pro for the last year but has made several comments about needing a desktop instead.

    I want to surprise her with a new 27” iMac but I don't know anything about the internal workings of a computer. I hope some of you are willing to offer advice as to optimal setups with respect to memory, hard drives, etc required to effortlessly run photoshop. I want to set it up so it works flawlessly. I would hate to spend all that money on a undersized/underperforming machine.

    Any and all advice would be greatly appreciated.
  2. Angelo95210 macrumors 6502a


    Jan 7, 2009
    Paris, France
    I would say any 27" iMac will be great for Photoshop. However some criticize the glossy screen. The more memory the better it is for Photoshop. 4GB is fine for most case, you can upgrade later.
  3. The Peasant macrumors newbie

    Oct 2, 2012
    for heavy photoshop use and bulk raw imports then literally get the best mac you can afford.

    First get top spec mac, then in order of importance for what you can afford.

    1. i7 processor for bulk editing RAWs in photoshop/lightroom
    2. SSD/fusion drive for quick transfers
    3. GPU upgrade if she spends alot doing high end edits in photoshop.

    And put at least 16gb ram in there (not via apple, do it with aftermarket ram).

    the 27" standard will be sufficient for most things, but if shes spending 50 hours a day on there you might aswell future proof it a bit with i7 and faster harddrive, shaving a few seconds off each task will save hours in the long run!
  4. phoenixsan macrumors 65816


    Oct 19, 2012
    I will go with....

    the iMac 27 2.9 GhZ if not doing heavy editing. If heavy editing, with the 3.2 GHz. Upgrade to 3 TB Fusion drive,because RAW data can produce huge files. Also, and no less important upgrade the RAM the best you can afford (aftermarket). That Photoshop things eats RAM as cookies......:):apple:
  5. flynz4 macrumors 68040

    Aug 9, 2009
    Portland, OR
    Regarding bolded section above:

    I am going full SSD internal to the highest end iMac... and I'll be using my 8TB (configured at a 4TB RAID 10) external Pegasus Thunderbolt RAID. I'll be able to keep my full library on the SSD short term... but can also move old projects off the Pegasus as needed.

    I'll probably keep this iMac for 2 or more years before waterfalling it to my wife... at which point I suspect that SSD sizes will be in the 2+ TB range.

  6. chevalier433 macrumors 6502a


    Mar 30, 2011
    #6 check this site
  7. scruby, Oct 27, 2012
    Last edited: Oct 27, 2012

    scruby macrumors member

    Oct 18, 2012
    The basic 27' model will perform very well. However updating the ram will never be a bad decision. I am a proffesional desktop publischer and i also edit / retouch alot of picture via photoshop. At work we have the 21' i5 8GB ram model wich is super fast and never let me down.

    However if the choice was mine i would upgrade to a i7 processor because you will never ever be able to change this after you bought your iMac. The standard videocard will be more then good for her.

    So basically i would advice you;

    27' i7
    rest of the settings standard.
    Then get some ram online or in a store (its so much much more cheaper) and upgrade to as much as you like. I would say to at least 8Gb ( hardly costs anything)

    To SSD or Fusion drive is a nice addition but its not needed for the demands your wife has. RAW editing will absolutly run flawlessly on the above setup!

    Sorry for my poor englisch as i am Dutch.
  8. CASLondon macrumors 6502a

    Apr 18, 2011
    Please check out the website of a mac tech/photographer called DigiLloyd, its chock full of very good advice.
  9. EK23 thread starter macrumors member

    Oct 26, 2012
    Thank you all so much for the advice. I really appreciate it.
  10. Windows Expat macrumors member

    Windows Expat

    Jun 11, 2011
    Los Angeles, CA
    I shoot full time. My Mac setup is a 15" MBP and a 27" iMac, both from last year. The iMac is the base i5 with 12gb of memory. I spend my life in Lightroom and PS CS5. They run well on both.

    LR4 is a buggy program whether Adobe wants to admit it or not. But the machines are great performers. I typically also have Spotify, Mail, and Safari open while I edit, and I rarely have any issues.

    Don't believe all this "you need top of the line everything" stuff. Save your money for fast storage space, cos photos eat that that up. How you set up your scratch and where your photos live (I keep mine off the main HD) will affect performance more than anything. Particularly when you're working with 1000s of photos.

    Feel free to contact me directly once you're getting setup. I'd be happy to help:
  11. scottgoh macrumors member


    Oct 23, 2012
    I done some reading and research on performance. I'm getting the top line 27" new now. Was planning to get the refurbished...
    I will upgrade memory ram to 16-32GB after market. I will get the boot system and all programs into a SSD drive, most likely thru thunderbolt. Two 7200rmp external HD to strip raid hoping to gain in performance.
  12. scruby macrumors member

    Oct 18, 2012
    What does that have to do with this topic?
  13. Lampmeister macrumors member

    Mar 30, 2009
    Fort Worth
    The more memory the better. I've got 16 GB in my 27" iMac, and have a 1 TB drive that's used almost solely as a Scratch Disk. Works great, even if I have dozens of large images loaded.

Share This Page