Reccomendation for Photo editing MAC Pro

Discussion in 'Mac Pro' started by Josh-H, Aug 10, 2008.

  1. Josh-H macrumors member

    Aug 10, 2008
    Hey all,

    I am about to switch over my VISTA photo editing machine to a MAC pro and could use some reccomendations on the spec.

    Will be running CS3 and Lightroom 2.0.

    I work on VERY large files from high rez digital cameras - so speed is very important. Not uncommon for me to be working on 1 Gig images+ usually stitched 21 mpx captures.

    Was thinking a 3.0ghz machine with 6 of ram, but very open to suggestions. And as to wether to buy now.. or wait for the new version to be released who knows when.

    I dont 'need' the new machine right now... but it would of course be nice to drop kick the vista machine sooner rather than later.

    All help and suggestions appreciated.

    Oh.. dont want an imac as I want to use my high end LCD 2690Wuxi monitors with spectraview for critical color work.
  2. surflordca macrumors 6502a


    Nov 16, 2007
    Ontario, Canada
    I don't know about your photo stuff so I will leave that to the experts. As far as RAM goes, do NOT buy it from Apple unless you have more money then you know what to do with. I bought from OWC. I upgraded to 8 gigs for a total of 10 gigs of ram and all was well. I had a RAM stick go bad on me and by the time contacted OWC they gave me a RDM number. I sent back the bad ram and received the new ram in a total of 5 working days and I live in Canada. They also told me to send back one stick of good ram so they make sure that I get a matching pair. You can't ask for better service. :)
  3. Dmac77 macrumors 68020


    Jan 2, 2008
    I think that you may get some more help if you post in the photography forum.



    It's Mac not MAC:)
  4. Umbongo macrumors 601


    Sep 14, 2006
    I'd probably wait in your situation, but working in windows doesn't bother me.

    Of course we don't actually know if it will be January (though likely) when they come, and then there may be issues with it and such. It seems likely that a 2.8GHz Nehalem will outperform the 3.2GHz current Mac Pro so it may be a better long term investment.

    I am also of the belief however that if you went with a 2.8GHz rather than the 3.0GHz upgrade, and managed to get some savings (tax, rebates, refurb or used) that you could then sell it shortly after the new ones come out and end up spending a similar amount to what a 3.0GHz system would cost you from Apple. Though understandably this method isn't for everyone.

    If you aren't currently an OSX user and don't have much familiarity with it then buying a refurb or used older 2.66GHz Mac Pro and flipping that when new systems come out might be a wise financial solution. Assuming a 2.66GHz would offer you better performance than your current setup.

    Just some things for you to think about for maximizing your investment.
  5. iGary Guest


    May 26, 2004
    Randy's House
    I don't see any reason to get a 3.0 model.

    Bare Feats did a test of all three and the performance difference was totally negligible. I based my decision on this.

    I have a small photography business (aerial photography), run CS3, Aperture and the other usual suspects. I also run some pretty hefty QTVR software.

    The 2.8 machine with 10GB (more than enough, excessive even) and the 800 card is awesome. Only plus to the 3.0 is value at resale IMHO.
  6. Firefly2002 macrumors 65816

    Jan 9, 2008
    You could also base your decision on simple mathematics... 2.8 is only 12.5% lower than 3.2, which you'd never notice in daily activity.
  7. krye macrumors 68000


    Aug 21, 2007
    I use Aperture and Pixelmator on my Mac Pro. It's a pretty good combo.
  8. xgman macrumors 601


    Aug 6, 2007
    PS CS4 beta is nice on the mac. 4GB ram minimum.
  9. Mangaroo macrumors regular

    Mar 22, 2008
    ive been meaning to find out if CS4 uses all 8 cores? Thanks (prospective mac pro buyer)
  10. Firefly2002 macrumors 65816

    Jan 9, 2008
    If you're going to be working with things over 1 GB, you're right, 6 GB RAM is a good idea. 8 GB might even be better if you're pushing 2 GB files.
  11. Virtuoso macrumors regular

    Feb 21, 2008
    Bear in mind the next Mac version of Photoshop will still be 32 bit. :( If you want to work with huge files with multiple layers, you may be better off sticking with a PC and getting the benefit of proper 64 bit memory support.
  12. adjuster macrumors member

    Nov 29, 2007

    Nice web site.

    I bought a 4-core MacPro, but today I would buy a refurbished 8-core because the new operating system and software will eventually support it.

    The stock hard drive is slow. i would replace it with several fast 750-gb drives. One for Time Machine and the other for daily cloning with Superduper.

    The stock graphics card work well with photo applications. Check out Barefeats for comparisons.

    Get memory from a third party. I have 10-gig and it flies.

    If you have some Windows software you can't part with, I have tried Fusion and Parallels. Fusion uses less resources.

    I have the NEC 2490. How do you like with wide gamut NEC 2690?

    Enjoy. I have lots of PC's in my office. I also have several Macs. You will not want to go back to PC's.
  13. Mangaroo macrumors regular

    Mar 22, 2008
    i think for photograhers right now, quad core is more then enough - apple just makes you feel bad by setting to default config to 8 core! But its £300 for...what? No noticeable gains. Maybe in 3-4 years time it would be worth it to get 8 cores, but right now? heck no!

    NB: i would like to keep my mbp for 4-5 years at least. So maybe in 2013/14 ill get 8 cores with the next amazing processor and what not, but its not like current (or nehalem) will be obsolete by then! For what i will be doing it will be way more then enough, waiting an extra 10 seconds every now and again for a filter to apply doesn't really warrant a whole system refresh. So I would probably be able to keep this for longer..and just switch out the gpu of course
  14. Josh-H thread starter macrumors member

    Aug 10, 2008

    I already use a macbook pro for most of my travelling work - I just want to completely rid myself of vista and replace my main photo editing machine with the mac.

    Love the wide gamut 2690 monitor - seriously one of the best bits of kit I have purchased. I get great color match between the monitor and my IPF5100 printer.

    I dont think I will need to run parallels for anything.

    Im most concerned with either waiting for the new mac or just ordering now. Really cant decide.

    To the other replies - thank you very much for your insights - very much appreciated.
  15. adamzx3 macrumors regular


    Sep 8, 2007
    NE Ohio

    I have a MacPro 2.66 with 5gb Ram, a 7200rpm scratch disk. It works very well in Photoshop with stitched 16mp canon raw files. Also several sample Hassey 31 mp files worked very well for their size. I believe they where DNG's exported from Hasselblad's software.

    I often use 16mp photo's with 4-5 layer of the original image for retouching purposes, and up to 20 layers or so. Also usually in 16bit yields a 150+ files

    I would recommend going with the best you can afford. You mentioned money is tight, so if you can find a good used 2.66 for 1500-1800, I would personally go with that. A new 2.8 with 8gb of (aftermarket) ram would be more than enough juice.

    I overclock my macpro to 2.8ghz and some can stably overclock a 2.66 to 3ghz without hurting the computer, so that's something else to consider. I havn't had time to test out the new overclocking stuff too much yet though.

    Also I use my macpro 5 days a week and work in photoshop,indesign,acrobat,illustrator,aperture.
  16. Josh-H thread starter macrumors member

    Aug 10, 2008
    Thank you very much for the reply.

    Not sure where you got the limited budget from - my budget is set at $6000 Australian dollars or roughly $5500 US for the mac pro. No monitor required.

    I definately dont want an older machine - given the size of the files I generally work on I know how important the RAM and speed is. And I know how quickly this PC industry moves.

    You mentioned the scratch disk which is something I had overlooked - I definately need to allow for this.

    Current thinking is:

    Mac Pro 3.0 Ghz with 8 gig RAM with 2 x 1TB drives in RAID1 and a third 1TB for Time machine or super duper + some sort of scratch disk.

    Not sure what to do on the video card....But would very much appreciate your thoughts.

  17. agrayphoto macrumors newbie

    Jun 17, 2008
    Cleveland, USA
    I am a professional photographer. I do not work with large files regularly, but I do work with large numbers of files daily. I am at this moment batch processing 300 12meg RAW files into jpg's and they will be done very shortly.

    I have the 2.8 Ghz machine and am very happy with it. I have 12 gigs of RAM, but 8 gigs like you are talking about getting is plenty. Be sure to get all 1 gig chips so you populate all the slots for faster through put of data.

    Having one drive for you apps and system and others for your images is really the way to go. I use the stock drive for scratch disk, but after working for 2 months I have yet to have a page out. I would think that working with giant files you would have the occasional page out and use the separate scratch disk.
    This is my setup:

    disk 1... system and apps
    disk 2... scratch disk
    disks 3 and 4... raid 1

    You will definitely use 8 cores. I use them all the time as I have presented on this forum before. The stock graphics card is sufficient for what you are doing now.

    My batch has been done for a while now and I have to get back to work.

  18. adamzx3 macrumors regular


    Sep 8, 2007
    NE Ohio
    Yea I was thinking of another mac pro thread....$5000US should build a fine machine :D

    Im using the Seagate 7200.11 Parallel drives, they are incredibly quick and quiet.
    Also the 10k rpm Raptors are supposed to be fast (and loud!)

    Also since your looking at large photoshop files, I would look into a plugin that adobe has for photoshop, it has something to do with a workaround for using more memory in photoshop, as it only allows you to use 3gb (for me anyway), using the extra memory as a scratch. I hope CS4 64bit fixes this issue!

    Oh and I just caught a typo of mine, When I said "Also usually in 16bit yields a 150+ files" I meant 150 MB + files lol.
  19. Josh-H thread starter macrumors member

    Aug 10, 2008

    Thanks for the reccomendations :)
  20. Leafminer macrumors newbie

    Feb 4, 2008
    Sounds like you already have a great config picked out, now just pull the trigger! The upgrade on the video card I think is worthwhile - future versions of PS will likely tap into this. Definitely go 8-core - resource hungry apps like Lightroom and PS are expanding to take advantage of this stuff nearly with every release. Why short cut yourself with this type of investment for such small increments?

    I am routinely working on 500 GB layered PSD files on my 2.8 / 8-core / 6GB RAM for my images - haven't had many approach the 1GB barrier yet though! :)

    Personally I am not all that convinced that 64bit is going to offer that tremendous of an improvement for CS4 (or lack thereof for Mac), and certainly not worth staying with Vista just because of that. Although a different app, Lightroom 64-bit is actually SLOWER on some operations!

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