Simple Question regarding Photoshop

Discussion in 'Buying Tips and Advice' started by crylic78, May 29, 2016.

  1. crylic78 macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    May 29, 2016
    #1
    Hi, I'm looking at getting this mac here:
    Refurbished 21.5-inch iMac 2.8GHz Quad-core Intel Core i5
    16GB memory
    1TB Fusion Drive
    Intel Iris Pro Graphics 6200

    I use photoshop heavily, for art mostly, drawing, painting. It's my proffesion so I need something that will work and work fast with no hiccups.

    I've found many threads saying that people have a lot of trouble getting PS working on their macs with these similar configs, but they are all old posts, pre 2014. That said it's hard to find any recent dealings with these matters and maybe because there just aren't any but if someone could weigh in for me here, I'd be very grateful. I tried talking to apple today and they were no help at all.

     
  2. thingstoponder macrumors regular

    thingstoponder

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    Oct 23, 2014
    #2
    Why wouldn't photoshop work on that Mac? It works on mine which is much weaker. Photoshop works on basically any computer.
     
  3. phrehdd macrumors 68040

    phrehdd

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    Oct 25, 2008
    #3
    I don't understand what your post is suggesting. Sure, one can get Photoshop working on minimal specs but that is not what the OP was asking.

    To the OP - Photoshop loves good processor speed with multi-core quad or hex being the sweet spot, Lots of RAM and is notably faster with SSD drives. This statement is aimed at those that do professional work with Photoshop.

    You didn't provide whether you are using CC Photoshop or CS6, as well you didn't specify how
    large your files are and also how many do you usually open up at a given time as well as total
    number of history states that you typically use. I mention these things because they all impact
    performance at some level.
     
  4. crylic78 thread starter macrumors newbie

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    May 29, 2016
    #4
    Thank you prhrehdd. Right, apologies for not saying what I currently have, it's a 2011 Imac, 2.7 GHz Intel Core i5 with 16 GB 1333 MHz DDR3 ram and an AMD Radeon HD 6770M 512 MB with 1 TB HD. Running latest update of El Capitan.

    I currently use CS6 but can upgrade if needed, I find CS6 to be very stable for what I do which keeps me with it. File sizes vary from a couple MB (pixel art) to over a gig (full rendered paintings) I have my history states set to 20, cache levels to 4 and let PS use 10293 MB of ram (the default I believe). I don't normally have more than 2 or 3 files open at any given time.

    If I didn't have to upgrade my mac, I wouldn't but the hard drive is failing and the computer is starting to show it's age.
     
  5. bent christian Suspended

    bent christian

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    #5
    Those specs are fine for PS. I would recommmend adding an internal SSD to that order since this is a business machine.

    You can get some extra milage out of you old machine by booting externally through Thunderbolt, though you might not have storage for all your work. You can also buy the internal Fusion and boot externally through USB 3. This is what I do. The advantage is SSD boot and application speeds, also a large and fast drive for internal storage.
     
  6. crylic78 thread starter macrumors newbie

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    May 29, 2016
    #6
    Ah ok, I'm not certain I can add the SSD as the machine i'm buying is a refurb but if I can, I will. Thanks so much for the help.
     
  7. bent christian Suspended

    bent christian

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    Nov 5, 2015
    #7
    If you are set on the refurb, spend another $120 and boot externally through USB (250GB drive, UASP enclosure). You can spend a little more than that and boot using Thunderbolt. There isn't much of a benefit over USB, though. I boot externally. Photoshop opens in just a few seconds.
     
  8. crylic78 thread starter macrumors newbie

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    May 29, 2016
    #8

    Is the only benefit having it open quickly or does it just run faster across the board, all functions. I'm assuming all functions but this side of things is all a bit new to me.
     
  9. bent christian Suspended

    bent christian

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    #9
    An SSD will make everything faster. Spinning drives are fine for storing your Lightroom catalog or Photoshop files, but we want to get away from them for booting and running apps. The internal Fusion drive will be faster than any spinning drive you could buy for storage.

    A refrub with an interal SSD should be your first choice. USB 3 is a great secondary option.
     
  10. crylic78 thread starter macrumors newbie

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    May 29, 2016
    #10
    Okay, so are you saying that the fusion drive that comes with the imac i'll be purchasing will take the place of the an internal SSD or that I should get one with the fusion as well as either an internal or externall SSD. Sorry for getting confused, heh. The one i'm looking at has the Fusion Drive as well as usb 3
     
  11. bent christian, May 30, 2016
    Last edited: May 30, 2016

    bent christian Suspended

    bent christian

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    #11
    A professional machine used for design or photography should not have less than a 256GB SSD, IMO. If time is money, then you want to be able to move as quickly as possible. Pure SSD allows very quick startups and saves, as seek time and latency is essentially down to zero or very close to it. You can probably get away with less RAM if money is an issue. This depends on what it is that you do. Considerations in 2016 should be in this order: Quad core, SSD, amount of RAM. The new iMacs are very capable with 8GB of RAM. I have never felt like I needed more. I do work professionally in the print industry, but this machine is purely for hobbyist photography and video work, so I am never working on anything with huge file sizes.

    If the 1TB Fusion is your only option due to the refurbs available, I would then recommend you boot externally through USB 3. The advantage here is that you have 1TB of very fast internal storage. Your external SSD boot drive will not be as fast as an internal SSD, but it might be fast enough. It will certainly be lightning fast if your current machine uses a hard drive disk.
     
  12. crylic78 thread starter macrumors newbie

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    May 29, 2016
    #12

    You've been amazing, thanks so much for your help. I will see what my options are and get the best set up I can.

    Cheers!!
     
  13. phrehdd macrumors 68040

    phrehdd

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    Oct 25, 2008
    #13
    Hi Crylic

    There are many variations on a theme here as to which item will do what.

    SSD - great for overall performance.
    SSD - great for PS in general, also when RAM is a touch on the smaller side where work must go to a scratch drive (SSD).
    Fusion drive - great for typical performance (and not always for PS beyond start up and some smaller files or lesser functions of edits).

    1 Gig files - works fine with 16 gigs of RAM but with complex edits and history, you end up using a scratch disk more than if you had 24-32 gigs of RAM. The speed difference however is minor. 1 gig files sit ideally (if Photoshop has its way) with approximately 24 gigs of RAM under typical* work.

    Given your "worst case scenario" of 1 gig files, if you opt for a Mac that has 16 gigs of RAM, then SSD is the best choice to accompany rather than Fusion or typical hard drive.

    Video - Apple more often than not has ATI rather than Nvidia. ATI is all about Open CL which for CS6 has no real benefit for the most part as opposed to NVidia Open GL. You may want to consider for an ATI set up to turn off the hardware acceleration with respect to video.

    I can't tell you what to get because there is always a better set up out there than we usually end up with. What I can say is that the Mac Pro (present models) are a waste of money for PS unless you get to the hex core and beyond. In the iMac venue, the higher end 21" models are great except for the limitation of RAM (16 gigs) which you can compensate for by getting an SSD. Again the SSD is great for overall performance and for CS6 PS, it helps with those 1 gig files.
     
  14. crylic78 thread starter macrumors newbie

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    May 29, 2016
    #14
    That is some fantastic info, thanks so much. My takeaway from all of this is that because I'm kind of limited to the refurb in terms of what I can afford, I will go with that and add on an external SSD routed through the USB3 or Thunderbolt if I can. So from what I understand I'll install PS to the external SSD and run it off of that while all the files will be stored on the Fusion drive. Would that be the correct use of everything?

    Those will be my only options so it's that or nothing. Speed isn't a priority and I can make due with a bit of a loss there.
     
  15. phrehdd macrumors 68040

    phrehdd

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    Oct 25, 2008
    #15
    If you go with your last comment on a fusion drive plus an external SSD, perhaps you might consider testing both install on the Fusion drive plus scratch on the external and then the way you mentioned. I get a feeling you will find that installing on the Fusion drive makes sense as (supposedly) most accessed files end up on the flash portion of the fusion drive. If I recall correctly that is 128gigs of flash volume in the fusion drive which is more than enough for your OS and CS6 PS and a few other apps.
     
  16. Designer Dale macrumors 68040

    Designer Dale

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    Folding space
    #16
    Take a look at the refurbished 27's. They aren't too much more money and have some advantages over the 21's. Ram is user upgradable being number one. You could get a refurbished 27 with a quad core i5 and 8 gigs of ram and add 16 for a total of 24. The video cards are better and you have more screen space to boot. You might be stuck with a platter internal HD, but booting off an external SSD like has been discussed will kill that issue.

    Note: The Fusion drives in the 21s are 5400 rpm platters with something like 128 (64?) gig SSDs merged by software. They aren't killers.

    A 21 inch iMac is a mini with a screen.

    Dale
     
  17. bent christian, May 31, 2016
    Last edited: May 31, 2016

    bent christian Suspended

    bent christian

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    #17
    If this is a 2015/2016 1TB Fusion, the drive will only have 24GB of flash storage. I do not see this as sufficient for moderate to heavy creative use. 24GB of flash makes for a very fast storage drive, but I found it slow for my moderate home use as a boot/application drive. That is why I mentioned the external boot drive. The older Fusion drive with 128GB of flash very well might be might be enough to satisfy the OP. I boot externally and only use about 50GB of storage. I do have a pretty slimmed down system. Applications and system files reside here. Everything else (Documents, Music, Downloads, Premiere exports, Lightroom catalog, etc.) goes to the internal Fusion drive. From what I can tell using
    Code:
    iostat -w1
    everything I save to the internal Fusion is off-loaded to the spinning drive fairly quickly. I can see that it writes to the flash portion first (which is what matters). I think the Fusion software can distinguish between system and application blocks, and things like MP4 videos, JPEGs, and camera RAW files.
     
  18. crylic78, May 31, 2016
    Last edited: May 31, 2016

    crylic78 thread starter macrumors newbie

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    May 29, 2016
    #18
    Yeah, the fusion drive would be from a 2015 model, if that's the case and you are correct, 24gb is less than ideal. You've all given me a lot to think about, I'm not sure which way to go, really. I guess if I had to boil it down, my priorities is to have it come in under 2100 dollars, have a base of at least 16 gbs of ram, and run at least as fast as my current setup (which shouldn't be a problem) It's not the fastest but I don't have many issues aside from the hard drive is dying and generally it's just slow as balls but I still manage mainly cause i'm just used to it at this point. I can get an external SSD to compensate and hopefully that should all do the trick. If I were to bump up to the 27 inch, I'd be able to comfortably get this one:

    http://www.apple.com/ca/shop/produc...ed-27-inch-imac-34ghz-quad-core-Intel-Core-i5

    but i'd need to get more ram, which wouldn't allow me to get an external SSD right away

    Something that I forgot to mention is that I have a cintiq as well, not sure if that factors into this so much.

    Thoughts?
     
  19. bent christian Suspended

    bent christian

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    #19
  20. crylic78 thread starter macrumors newbie

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    May 29, 2016
    #20
    Ahh, ok. So if I got an external for project storage, I'd also need another for time machine backup, I'm assuming all of this would work together just fine, yeah? Thanks for all your help, bent christian and everyone else. I'd not be able to make a sound decision with all you guys helping me out. Super thanks!!
     
  21. bent christian Suspended

    bent christian

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    #21
    So, you don't have a TM drive now?

    Ideally, I think you would want two externals in that situation. One for projects and one for back-ups. Maybe split the new drive and plan to buy a second drive at some point this year? Large 5400rpm drives are cheap now.
     
  22. crylic78 thread starter macrumors newbie

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    May 29, 2016
    #22

    Sorry, I do have time machine now, I've just never had 2 externals before this, doesn't sound like it should be an issue. It's all just a bit new to me, I'm used to having one machine handle everything so I'm just getting some clarity.
     
  23. bent christian Suspended

    bent christian

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    #23
    If this is a machine for professional work an external drive to save to is preferable anyway. If the new iMac beaks down you don't lose your work and you can hopefully continue working while the machine is in the shop. This will be a very fast machine that will last you very long time.
     
  24. AJClayton macrumors 6502

    AJClayton

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    Dorset, England
    #24
    This might be a rubbish suggestion, however I'll throw it into the mix anyway. Photoshop doesn't work very well on OS X for lots of reasons. I have a Late 2013 Mac Pro and it's probably the slowest application I run (I've got CS 5 so newer versions might be better). This, combined with the fact that I wasn't at all happy renting my software from Adobe made me decide to switch to Affinity Photo which is excellent! Having been a Photoshop user for over 20 years it was a bit of shock to the system, however it's similar enough in many respects to make it not too painful to transition.

    Of course, you might have plenty of reasons for wanting to run PS, which is fair enough. I'm just pointing out that there are (arguably) better alternatives out there for OS X these days.
     
  25. crylic78 thread starter macrumors newbie

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    May 29, 2016
    #25
    I think this settles it, thanks again bent christian, you've helped me make a hard choice. I won't bother you guys any further with this but thank you very much for the few days of steady replies. AJClayton, unfortunately PS is my tool of choice, I've tried many others but for what I do (concept art/painting/drawing) and there are definitely great alternatives out there, no question, PS is the tool I know best and will continue to use. Thanks for weighing in tho.
     

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