Time to buy a new machine for editing. Needing advice please.

gdourado

macrumors 6502
Original poster
Apr 22, 2010
417
53
Hello,

How are you? So, I am currently shopping around for a new machine mainly for photo-editing and some video I have been shooting with the V1. Video is not the main purpose of the machine though. Stills are. I will be using Lightroom 5 and photoshop the most, together with Nik software plugins. I will also do some very light productivity like word documents and spreadsheets. I will also be using the machine to store my media library, mainly music.



First I was deciding between the whole laptop vs desktop issue...

I liked a laptop, but it will always be a compromise and price/performance ratio will always be worth than a desktop machine. I already have an iPad 4 and I will probably keep my 13 macbook, so I guess I will forget the retina MBP and focus on a desktop machine.



Since I have been using OSX for 6 years now, I would like to continue using it. It is not a must, but I like the simplicity and the just works approach. Two weeks ago I got a new laptop from work, a Samsung series 5 and on the second day I had a double accents problem...

Moving on, since I don't have an unlimited budget, because I would also like to buy the Sigma 35mm and my current cameras are the D200, D700 and V1, so not many megapixels, I was thinking about a 21.5 inch iMac.

I saw a nice base model 2.7 i5, 8gb, 1tb hdd and GT640, refurb for 900. That is an excellent price, but I am not sure about the performance of the machine.

When I was looking online, I then went to explore the hackintosh route. I spec'd the following:

Case: Fractal Design Define R4 - 80

PSU: LC Power Giant Series 650W - 45

Mainboard: Gygabyte GA-Z77X-UD5H - 165

CPU: Core i5 3570K - 178

Memory: Corsair Vengeance 2x8gb DDR3 1600 - 100

HDD: Seagate Barracuda 7200.14 2TB - 70

GPU: Gygabyte GTX 650 TI 1GB GDDR5 - 102

Display: Dell U2412M - 210

The total comes to 950, just 50 more than the base iMac 21.5.

If I would like, I could upgrade the CPU to a core i7 3770K and add a Sandisk extreme 240gb SSD for system drive and the total would come to 1180.

I have read that hackintosh install with the current multibeast methods and al the tools is now more straight-forward than ever and I could add more hard-drives and ram in the future and a second U2412 and have a pretty sick machine. But would the potential hassles be worth it?

What is your take on my options and your recommendations?

Please help me out here. Thank you.

Cheers!
 

rossmadden

macrumors member
Feb 3, 2011
95
0
Swansea, UK
Hello,

How are you? So, I am currently shopping around for a new machine mainly for photo-editing and some video I have been shooting with the V1. Video is not the main purpose of the machine though. Stills are. I will be using Lightroom 5 and photoshop the most, together with Nik software plugins. I will also do some very light productivity like word documents and spreadsheets. I will also be using the machine to store my media library, mainly music.



First I was deciding between the whole laptop vs desktop issue...

I liked a laptop, but it will always be a compromise and price/performance ratio will always be worth than a desktop machine. I already have an iPad 4 and I will probably keep my 13 macbook, so I guess I will forget the retina MBP and focus on a desktop machine.



Since I have been using OSX for 6 years now, I would like to continue using it. It is not a must, but I like the simplicity and the just works approach. Two weeks ago I got a new laptop from work, a Samsung series 5 and on the second day I had a double accents problem...

Moving on, since I don't have an unlimited budget, because I would also like to buy the Sigma 35mm and my current cameras are the D200, D700 and V1, so not many megapixels, I was thinking about a 21.5 inch iMac.

I saw a nice base model 2.7 i5, 8gb, 1tb hdd and GT640, refurb for 900. That is an excellent price, but I am not sure about the performance of the machine.

When I was looking online, I then went to explore the hackintosh route. I spec'd the following:

Case: Fractal Design Define R4 - 80

PSU: LC Power Giant Series 650W - 45

Mainboard: Gygabyte GA-Z77X-UD5H - 165

CPU: Core i5 3570K - 178

Memory: Corsair Vengeance 2x8gb DDR3 1600 - 100

HDD: Seagate Barracuda 7200.14 2TB - 70

GPU: Gygabyte GTX 650 TI 1GB GDDR5 - 102

Display: Dell U2412M - 210

The total comes to 950, just 50 more than the base iMac 21.5.

If I would like, I could upgrade the CPU to a core i7 3770K and add a Sandisk extreme 240gb SSD for system drive and the total would come to 1180.

I have read that hackintosh install with the current multibeast methods and al the tools is now more straight-forward than ever and I could add more hard-drives and ram in the future and a second U2412 and have a pretty sick machine. But would the potential hassles be worth it?

What is your take on my options and your recommendations?

Please help me out here. Thank you.

Cheers!
What about the top model Mac Mini; Quad-core i7. 1TB HDD, then buy the monitor you mentioned and then up the ram to 8/16GB? That way you save a bit and stay with OSX.
 

MCAsan

macrumors 601
Jul 9, 2012
4,542
413
Atlanta
With a Hack, I used to run one, you are always exposed to Apple changing something that will kill it....at least until someone at TonyMac finds a workaround.

We went rMBPs as they have plenty of power, memory, and storage space for 2 week photo trips. When we come home the edited photos in LR lare moved via LR to our RAID 1 arrays. That way we always have over 500GB of SSD space for photo collection in the field in each rMBP.

Options to consider:

Mac mini with quad i7. You put in 16GB and enough disk space for boot/OS/apps/email.. Connect external HDs (consider RAID 0 for speed or RAID 1 for availability) for the large LR and iTunes libraries connected via TB, ethernet, or USB 3. If the budget does not allow for an ATD, get the best/largest monitor you can find. Search for articles/reviews for "best photography monitor" on the web.

If the budget allows for a 27"iMac...go for it

Don't forget backup to a Time Capsule or other external drive(s)....which are not the external storage drive(s).
 

Laird Knox

macrumors 68000
Jun 18, 2010
1,766
938
IMO there isn't any benefit to the i7 over the i5 for use with Photoshop. When I built my machine I did a lot of research and it seems PS doesn't see an appreciable gain for the hyperthreaded cores. So stick with the i5 unless it is part of a bundle.

Good choice going with 2x8 memory instead of 4x4. I ran into memory issues with PS at 16GB and had to scrap the old memory when I upgraded to 32.

PS will make use of you graphics card so extra power here helps. I am also using a GTX 650 but with 2GB RAM. It was a nice point for price vs performance. I'm driving a Dell 3011 and PS is smooth.

I'm running Windows so I can't comment on Hackintosh but you have listed a solid machine.
 

MCAsan

macrumors 601
Jul 9, 2012
4,542
413
Atlanta
You purchase a computer for today...and tomorrow. We can assume the resource requirement from OS and apps will continue to climb. Hence, go i7.
 

OreoCookie

macrumors 68030
Apr 14, 2001
2,681
69
Sendai, Japan
If you're serious about photography, then you have allocated way too little for your display. The Dell display is one of the cheapest of its kind, but you should definitely get a monitor with a good IPS panel. These will cost easily twice as much. Also the 27" iMac already has a quality IPS panel.
 

dimme

macrumors 68000
Feb 14, 2007
1,580
3,704
SF, CA
+1 for a mac Mini

I'm interested in the display you picked out. I know LED backlit displays have a limited color gamit. But I thought the imac's cover 100% sRGB, where the Dell looks like it is only 82%. I would go with the imac and spend a bit more on the display, perhaps a Dell U2410.
 

gdourado

macrumors 6502
Original poster
Apr 22, 2010
417
53
Hello,
Thank you all for participating with your helpfull insights.
Following some sugestions, I started looking at Mac Minis.
Since I have a somewhat limited knowledge of the model, I have some questions.

First is if the i7 2.6 is worth it over the i7 2.3. The cost difference is around 120 Euros.
Will the 2.6 give a performance increase that is noticiable?

The other question is about the fusion drive. Is it worth to get the Apple fusion drive? Or am I better getting the regular 1tb version and then add a 240gb ssd myself and run two drives, the SSD for system and apps and the hdd for photo and media libraries?

Thank you for your help.
Cheers!