what's your ultimate mac pro photoshop station fantasy?

Discussion in 'Mac Pro' started by bonk, Dec 18, 2007.

  1. bonk macrumors member

    Sep 17, 2003
    sitting here retouching massive images on my 2x2G5 is giving me a lot of time to daydream about my next machine. I want to know, if price were of no (ok, little) object, how would you kit out your ultimate machine.

    first, the assumptions. this machine will only be used for 2D photoshop work - no video, audio, 3D or gaming. there will be lots of RAM - assume it will be maxxed out. and the biggest assumption, of course is that the smart thing would be to wait for the next gen to come out. but I think a lot of these questions can be answered independently of whether we're talking current or next gen machines.

    now, to the questions:

    how many cores. I know I said money was no object, so the assumption would be to go for the top of the line, but for 2D work, are 8 cores REALLY any better than 4?

    graphics cards. again, for 2D work, where's the line where it becomes overkill? which card in the current line up would you choose? given that everything they're currently offering is seriously old, would you get the stock bottom of the line, junk it, and replace with some other retail card? which one?

    drive setup. what kind of drives and how would you configure them? multiple raptors for OS, scratch, etc, or a RAID config? if RAID, what would you do?

    beyond that, what else would/could you do?
  2. FF_productions macrumors 68030


    Apr 16, 2005
    Mt. Prospect, Illinois
    I'd probably take an 8-Core with the highest clock speed (assuming it's going to be around 3.2 ghz)

    An 8-Core will make all the difference. It also helps with multi-tasking too.

    I'd max out the ram

    I'd get the fastest possible boot drive and I'd fill up the Mac Pro with hard drives and also get a super-fast scratch disk as well.

    I'd get the best video card possible (not much of a choice)

    I'd probably get 2x30 inch Apple Displays, those may be updated come this January.

    There you have it, a pretty good photoshop set up.
  3. acearchie macrumors 68040


    Jan 15, 2006
    Well if I were to max out my RAM I would definately steer clear of Apple's stuff,

    You could afford 8 cores with the money you save buying RAM elsewhere!
  4. bonk thread starter macrumors member

    Sep 17, 2003
    thanks for the info

    I think I'm trying to dig a little deeper than this, tho. beyond the "biggest and most" I'm looking for a bit more nuance. what HD setup will really deliver the most performance gains - having separate raptor drives for startup and scratch, or RAIDing 4 massive 7200 drives, or some combination of both for startup, apps, scratch, and storage (storage is not totally an issue as I'm working off of an xserve RAID for my file storage)? how much does a graphics card effect 2D (remember - the machine is ONLY used for 2D imaging) performance, and given that, where's the sweetest sweet spot. and (and I'm paraphrasing based on my limited technical knowledge) if photoshop is essentially a linear-process system, will all the extra cores actually improve anything?
  5. Umbongo macrumors 601


    Sep 14, 2006
    Multiple 15K RPM SAS drives in RAID 0 will give you the greatest speed. If Apple offer SAS (I hope they do) then they are a better choice that Raptors.

    It shouldn't matter.

    Probably not, the speed should though.
  6. Crawn2003 macrumors 6502

    Jul 8, 2005
    Santa Rosa, California
  7. macz1 macrumors 6502


    Oct 28, 2007
    If you max out the RAM you won't need ultra-fast scratch disks because there would be no data to swap.

    But a short boot time wold be very nice, too
  8. bonk thread starter macrumors member

    Sep 17, 2003
    how do you have your drives set up? are they RAIDed and if so how?
  9. bonk thread starter macrumors member

    Sep 17, 2003
    that's actually really interesting. I work on 2-3GB images sometimes - you thing at 16GB ram this would still hold true? and given photoshop's memory allocation situation, is this totally true?
  10. zdobson macrumors 6502

    Nov 9, 2007
    I'm going to be buying the new Mac Pro and using it for Photoshop primarily. So, from what people are saying here, I don't need to bother upgrading the video card? The most I would get monitor-wise would be either 2x23" or 1x30".

    Also, if I had 5-6GB of RAM, do I need a scratch disk? Where is money better spent, to buy another 2GB or so of RAM or buy a 2nd hard drive for scratch?

    So, if you had $4000 to spend, including monitor and buying RAM, extra drives, etc third party, what is the best way to spend that? This is given the exact same use that bonk has described.
  11. Consultant macrumors G5


    Jun 27, 2007
    Depends on the size of image and the number of layers.

    RAID 0 Scratch disk. you don't really need Raptors unless you have money to burn.
    RAID 6 storage disk.
    Blu-Ray for Backup.

    Nice screens, perhaps touch screen. (hopefully new ones in Jan MacWorld)
    Color correct room lights.
    Good screen calibration device.
    Professional printer.
  12. Crawn2003 macrumors 6502

    Jul 8, 2005
    Santa Rosa, California
    I have each on their own channel. I don't have a need to RAID the HDs. My startup drive is a 10,000 RPM drive while the others are one of the following: 1 as a scratch drive, 1 as a time machine backup, 1 as a work drive where I store my archives for 3 months before archiving to DVD or external HD.

  13. GoKyu macrumors 65816


    Feb 15, 2007
    New Orleans
    I'm getting ready to buy my first Mac, and am waiting for January 15th so I can get the updated Mac Pro. From what I've read, these might be likely specs for me:

    8-core 2.83 Mac Pro
    (I heard the new version may come with 2 gigs RAM standard)
    8 gigs RAM from OWC (@$320!)

    I got a good deal on a couple of 320 gig SATA drives, and will likely be
    getting a 22 or 24 inch Viewsonic or Samsung monitor pretty soon as well.

    This would be a killer system that I wouldn't have to worry about updating for
    several years :)

    C'mon Jan 15th, hurry up!


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