speculating new iMac or MP for photographer/gamer

Discussion in 'Buying Tips and Advice' started by zigzag801, Jun 6, 2012.

  1. zigzag801 macrumors member

    Apr 5, 2008
    I know none of the official details are really released for either of these BUT lets just go off the rumors so far :p (and I'm sorry ahead of time for another of these questions, just haven't found an updated photographer one and sorry for the long read)

    I use my current 2008 MacBook Pro for photoshop, coding, school, gaming (Diablo 3, Skyrim)

    Since December, I've been contemplating on whether to get a 27" iMac with the best processor and hard drive space I can buy, then buying 32gb of memory, since the new iMac's can utilize the 32gb in 64 bit mode, from a different site and run the OS + photoshop off the high amount of memory. OR buy the lowest level MacPro (or mid if I wait) and get the max amount of ram so Photoshop can utilize it.

    I usually do 2-3 photoshoots a week and in my free time play Skyrim (in bootcamp) or Diablo 3, all in the lowest settings. Photoshop takes almost 4 minutes in photoshop tests.

    I compared my numbers to people's i7 sandy bridge iMac's in this thread: CLICK ME
    And the <20 seconds people get just amazes me

    Needless to say, this thing is killing me. I already have a 27" Apple Cinema which I love editing photo's on, so if I were to get an iMac I would have dual monitors which would be nice. Most of the threads I have seen is go with the MacPro for photography, but for the amount of increased price and the times I am seeing on the sandy bridge i7's (I know this is still pre-new MP's) it just puts me off a little. It makes me think that the MacPro may be just overpowered for what I need and I would be ok with the latest and greatest iMac.

    But my overall question is, will I be ok with a new iMac 27" for 4-5 years with what I am currently doing?
    (My apple products seem to usually last 4-5 years until I update again) ? I have a Canon 5D2 so I work with images that are pretty large and I may even upgrade to the 5D3 next year. If I can't run skyrim or Diablo 3 on high that is ok, just as long as I can get away from all the low settings would be nice lol. (new nVidia graphics card may help this?)
    Thank you for taking the time to read this and helping me out! :)
  2. aarond12 macrumors 65816


    May 20, 2002
    Dallas, TX USA
    Apple products seem to have a nice, long lifespan. My wife is still very happy with her 2007 iMac 24". She does a lot of video conferencing, Photoshop, and Internet stuff with it.

    If you're just doing basic retouching of photos in Photoshop, and you're not a production graphic designer, your new iMac should easily last 5 years if not more.

    Gaming is another story. Games seem to increase in complexity so fast that a 2-year-old PC needs upgrades to run the "latest and greatest" games. You might want to have two computers: One for work and one for games. Get a cheap, upgradable PC for games and stick with a high-end iMac for photography (so you get the better screen).
  3. bottleneck macrumors member

    Feb 27, 2012
    Better then what. The glossy iMac screen is nothing for photographers.

    My two cents:

    Get a good display (nonglossy nonapple) and a Mac Pro. A good gaming PC will cost you roughly 1500$ with a good GPU. Take that money to get a Mac Pro with best GPU, Windows via Bootcamp and a decent screen.
  4. aarond12 macrumors 65816


    May 20, 2002
    Dallas, TX USA
    Guess that's why my wife likes her 24" NON-GLOSSY iMac screen. I wish they would bring it back to the current-gen iMacs.

    My point for the screen is that the lower-end iMacs have a lower-quality screen. Only the largest iMacs had the true 24-bit IPS panels. Others had the dithered 16-bit panels. Still better than the ****** panels they put on most PC laptops and AIOs.
  5. Mr. Frog macrumors newbie

    Jun 27, 2008
    Montreal, Qc
    Let's wait for the specs of the new iMacs first, but I think you will be ok with a new 27" iMac. Just put a lot of RAM in it (don,t buy it from Apple, too expensive) and consider having a SSD drive for the OS/apps!

    I have an early 2008 iMac, Core2 Duo, 4 GB RAM and right now, I'm having big issues working on photos, since Lion + Lightroom 4!
    My iMac is officialy limited to 4 GB of ram and it's way not enough, I'm always swapping, I cannot work fast with Lightroom 4 + Photoshop CS5 + plugins (Silver Efex/Color Efex), it's very very very slow, waiting for IO of the HD because I am swapping too much.

    I'm waiting for the new iMacs since January!
    I'll put 16GB of RAM in it and buy it with the SSD+HD option, I am sure I will be good for at least 4 years with it!

    You should be Ok for games that are out now, in 4 years, not sure about the games, but for photos, if you have enough ram, you should be alright! :)
  6. bottleneck macrumors member

    Feb 27, 2012
    Aren't the Thunderbolt displays and the iMac based on the same panel from LG?

  7. zigzag801, Jun 7, 2012
    Last edited: Jun 7, 2012

    zigzag801 thread starter macrumors member

    Apr 5, 2008
    Thanks everyone for the input so far! I already have a glossy cinema display but with the spyder monitor calibrator I have been able to calibrate it quite well for when I need to print out my photo's. At first I didn't like the monitor but it has grown on me :)

    I do just retouching on Photoshop, nothing TOO intensive, although 4gb of memory definitely is not enough for what I do. That is why I am assuming that the 32gb will be more then enough for retouching purposes.

    As for gaming, I mostly stick with with my 360 for gaming but I do play every now and then on my iMac. Which is why I was hoping that at least it could play my current games well. I just got done talking to a buddy of mine who has the 27" iMac 3.1ghz and he said that he has been able to play his games at all medium/high. Which for the two-three games I play that is fine. I use to have a gaming PC back in the day, but I got so tired of updating every few months that it made me switch to Mac :p Now I am just looking for the right updated Mac to just play what I am now.

    As of now I am leaning more towards the iMac just because of the cost, and the fact that I can still have a lot of memory (obviously bought somewhere besides Apple) which is the most important part for my retouching in Photoshop.
  8. snberk103 macrumors 603

    Oct 22, 2007
    An Island in the Salish Sea
    At least for photography, I think the iMac will be fine for you. I know several pro photographers who are happy with their 27" iMacs. The one thing they all have in common is that need way more storage than an iMac can provide. Since most of them have added capacity one HDD at a time, and in a haphazard way their desks can look a bit like a nest of snakes with cables and hubs and cords. Plan ahead for your storage needs if the the look of your desk matters to you.

    And just because I can... I am not impressed with you having to wait a few minutes for a Photoshop (cue the "walking to school up-hill, both ways music ;) )...

    My 1st desktop Mac was a Mac Mini with the 1st of the Intel chips - C2D iirc - and a whopping 1Gb of RAM (and a 5400rpm HDD). For my photo art I routinely work with files that are 1Gb in size. That Mini handled those files no problem, though I worried about crashes and 'saved' constantly. I would 'save' the file, and then I'd go wash the dishes. Or mow the lawn. Or sweep the patio. That Mini never crashed in Photoshop - what trooper. It has been retired, obviously, and is still working as a home computer for a friend of ours.

    I went from the Mini to a 2008 octocore MacPro with 8Gb (now 12Gb) of RAM and 7200rpm HDDs. It was like night and day. I wish had 16Gb or 20Gb of RAM (memory for this model is brutally expensive) but other than that this MacPro still has a few years to go.

    A 2012 iMac with even 16Gb would run circles around my MacPro (except for the internal HDD storage! :) ) ... so get what you can afford, and when it lags for few seconds just think of me and my original Mini.

    I'm sure there's a Monty Python sketch appropriate to this ....
  9. daverso macrumors regular

    Sep 5, 2007
    I have owned a fully loaded Mac Pro, currently own a 27" iMac, and have two i7 MBPs. We seem to have similar interests, so here's my advice:

    Wait till these new MBPs launch, and get a fully loaded 15 inch. Buy a nice external dell monitor. You'll have all the perks of a mac pro, plus the mobility of a MPB. Nothing makes you wish you had a macbook pro like trying to move a mac pro or an iMac.

    Go with the MPB, unless these new Mac Pros are disgustingly fast and disgustingly affordable.

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