The best iMac for multilayer/mask photo shop work?

Discussion in 'iMac' started by moosegoose, Nov 2, 2010.

  1. moosegoose macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Jul 25, 2002
    #1
    Any advice greatly appreciated.

    I've currently got a 2009 2.66 Intel core 2 Duo. It's been fine for most work (I'm an illustrator), but there are two huge problems with it.

    1. It can't multitask like my old dual 2 GHz G5 Power Mac could. There is a definite, and very annoying, waiting period when switching between programs.
    2. It's running into severe slowdown with multilayer photo shop files. Specifically ones that have layer masks.

    I typically have the following programs open all the time: Photo Shop, Nuance Dictate, Chrome, Mail, Bridge. I also use Corel Painter and Manga Studio Pro, (but generally have to close some of the other things down first).

    As my photo shop files approach the 650 MB size, and have 10 to 15 layers that have layer masks on them, everything starts to slow down dramatically. The screen redraw becomes fuzzy, and we get a lot of beachball activity.

    Is there any iMac I can buy where I won't run into these problems? I can't afford a Mac pro.

    Many thanks in advance.
     
  2. TMRaven macrumors 68020

    TMRaven

    Joined:
    Nov 5, 2009
    #2
    Might be a ram problem. Check your page ins and outs.
     
  3. thejoshhoward macrumors member

    Joined:
    Aug 2, 2010
    Location:
    Chicago, IL
    #3
    I understand. I used to work at a design firm on that same machine. It was awful. Just recently purchased the new 27" i7 iMac and it handles all with ease. I added third party RAM from OWC to boost up to 12GB. That really helps with photoshop, but you have to tell photoshop how much RAM it can use via preferences to make the most difference. The other thing that noticeably helps is to get a fast(ish) external drive, probably FW800, and define it as your primary scratch disk.

    With my new iMac and those tweaks, I've yet to run into a situation where I felt bogged down by the computer, even when working on files in the 2GB size range.

    Hope that helps! And happy shopping.
     
  4. dlewis23 macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Oct 23, 2007
    #4
    How much ram do you have? Because it sounds like you need some more.
     
  5. moosegoose thread starter macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Jul 25, 2002
    #5
    dlewis23: I've got four gig of ram. Came with the machine.

    The Josh: interesting. Have you any experience with the i3 or i5? I've heard that the i7 is very quick, but you think if you maxed out the RAM with one of the others it would cope?

    Tm Raven: how do I check ins and outs?
     
  6. TMRaven macrumors 68020

    TMRaven

    Joined:
    Nov 5, 2009
    #6
    Apps > Utilities > activity monitor > system memory.

    It would be best to give a reading of page ins to page outs after a full days' work of experiencing those slowdowns.

    You can also download iStat pro or iStat menus to have a constant monitor over your cpu's/ram's current workload in real time. It will give you a good sense of what's causing your computer to slow down.
     
  7. thejoshhoward macrumors member

    Joined:
    Aug 2, 2010
    Location:
    Chicago, IL
    #7
    I haven't used the i3 or i5, but I understand they're top notch, too. From what I read, they're great for Creative Suite use. I went with the i7 because I also do a lot of video work and wanted the extra speed for the heavy lifting of rendering/compression. Maxed out RAM really helps out with Photoshop CS5. I can't find the benchmarks I looked at or I'd link to them, but I can vouch for the real-world speed increase I've experienced in going from 4gb to 12.
     
  8. lexvo macrumors 65816

    Joined:
    Nov 11, 2009
    Location:
    The Netherlands
    #8
    A pro photographer advised me to increase the amount of RAM by 4 GB (totaling 8GB) when working with Canon 5DII files. These RAW files start at 25 to 38 MB and easily expand to over 100MB when converting them to TIFF or PSD. When I look at my memory usage, it is over 4GB, so I'm glad I took his advice.

    And when 8GB is a good amount for my photo files, I think you will need even more when you are editing files of 600MB.

    By the way I have a 2009 i5 and it handles the files quite fast.
     
  9. moosegoose thread starter macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Jul 25, 2002

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