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Old 30th of October 2011 (Sun)   #16
toxic
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Default Re: Mac Pro: to sell or not to sell?

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Originally Posted by Levina de Ruijter View Post
Okay. But how does the BTO 2.7 GHz i7 Mini perform? Or better yet: how does it compare to my 2x2.26GHz Mac Pro? I believe it takes 8GB of RAM. Will that be enough?
As far as memory and CPU are concerned, a stock i7 Mini (2.7 GHz, two cores, four threads, 4GB RAM) gets a Geekbench score of about 7760. The Mini Server (2.0 Ghz, four cores, eight threads, 4GB) gets about 9460. A 2009 2.66 GHz Mac Pro (four cores, eight threads, 3GB RAM) gets about 9240. Yours would be lower than 9000 with only one of your CPUs running because of the significantly slower clock speed.

ECC is meaningless in photo editing. Errors happen all the time, and ECC can't fix most of them anyway. Google and University of Toronto did a study on it.
If you're running a render farm or something and precision and uptime matter, ECC is worth the additional cost. For everyone else, it's just a waste of money.

Last edited by toxic : 30th of October 2011 (Sun) at 18:16.
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Old 30th of October 2011 (Sun)   #17
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Default Re: Mac Pro: to sell or not to sell?

CPU power is one thing, but I/O can limit you with a laptop. One disk isn't enough for photography, except maybe if it's a modern SSD. If the modern mac pro can use fast external disks then that would help a lot.
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Old 30th of October 2011 (Sun)   #18
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Default Re: Mac Pro: to sell or not to sell?

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ECC is meaningless in photo editing. Errors happen all the time, and ECC can't fix most of them anyway. Google and University of Toronto did a study on it.
If you're running a render farm or something and precision and uptime matter, ECC is worth the additional cost. For everyone else, it's just a waste of money.
Sorry you are drawing incorrect conclusions with the first statement and you are misrepresenting what the available studies say.

First, the studies. The studies result was that under pretty common circumstances you get much higher bit error rates than the RAM manufacturers lead you to believe. In particular when you RAM ages or when you have something like slight corrosion build up in the RAM slot, but the data also pretty much throws out the manufacturers original claims. Plus of course we all have 8 or 16 GB RAM now. That's a lot of bits to flip.

Second, the problem with bit errors isn't that you get a discolored pixel.

The problem is that bit errors can happen in the filesystem write cache that your OS keeps, and that can lead to any kind of filesystem corruption. Not only can it wreck the picture you were saving. If the bit flipped is in a memory area not allocated to file contents, but filesystem metadata such as which block goes where then you can corrupt any file in the filesystem, even those you didn't touch for years. Or a directly and lose all files in there straight.

This kind of silent filesystem corruption is extremely dangerous (obviously) since it can wreck unmonitored parts of your photo archive in one instance that you never notice until months or even years later.

And it is even more dangerous with the backup solutions people often use these days, which is external harddrives in a single backup, or at best two in rotation. You will overwrite all such backups with the bad filesystem contents way before you ever notice the corruption.

A render farm on the other hand usually doesn't have such problems as the data held on the rendering machines is transient anyway and not stored long-term. That is the place where you care about a couple flipped bit less.
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Old 31st of October 2011 (Mon)   #19
Levina de Ruijter
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Default Re: Mac Pro: to sell or not to sell?

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As far as memory and CPU are concerned, a stock i7 Mini (2.7 GHz, two cores, four threads, 4GB RAM) gets a Geekbench score of about 7760. The Mini Server (2.0 Ghz, four cores, eight threads, 4GB) gets about 9460. A 2009 2.66 GHz Mac Pro (four cores, eight threads, 3GB RAM) gets about 9240. Yours would be lower than 9000 with only one of your CPUs running because of the significantly slower clock speed.
Those Geekbench scores for the Mac Pro's seem to be lower than the ones everymac mentions. According to them the 2009 SP 2.66 GHz Mac Pro has a Geekbench score of 16093 and the 2009 DP 2.26 Mac Pro has a Geekbench score of 13363 (both running in 64-bit mode).

Still, I think these scores are pretty meaningless and don't say much about how it performs in everyday tasks. Because according to those scores my Mac Pro would be like 5 times faster than my old 2.16 GHz C2D late 2006 iMac, and that is most certainly not the case. Although the Mac Pro is quite a bit faster of course.

But what you are basically saying is that the Mac Mini would not be much slower than my Mac Pro, right? That would be good. Still, not much possible in terms of upgrades. And I'd have to get the external disk drive as well as I do on occasion burn something to disk.

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CPU power is one thing, but I/O can limit you with a laptop. One disk isn't enough for photography, except maybe if it's a modern SSD. If the modern mac pro can use fast external disks then that would help a lot.
Tim, I keep my foto catalogue on an external drive and have two back-up drives. Why exactly would this be a problem for a laptop? I think I'm missing something here...
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Old 31st of October 2011 (Mon)   #20
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Default Re: Mac Pro: to sell or not to sell?

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Tim, I keep my foto catalogue on an external drive and have two back-up drives. Why exactly would this be a problem for a laptop? I think I'm missing something here...
USB 2.0 is slow, and unidirectional. If you process images from a USB 2.0 drive you're handicapping yourself. An internal drive is much faster, and more responsive.

USB 3.0 is much better, but still not quite as good as SATA/eSata. Firewire and USB 3.0 are about even I think, USB 3.0 may be a bit better.
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Old 31st of October 2011 (Mon)   #21
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Default Re: Mac Pro: to sell or not to sell?

Ah right, got you! (It was very early in the morning just then and I hadn't had my coffee yet! ).

Like I said, I have my catalogue on an external drive, but I do keep the last shootings on the internal drive to process for exactly the reason that it is fastest. Only after processing is done are they moved to the external drive. That would work on a laptop too.
As to moving the files, backing them up etc., well that takes a bit longer with a USB2 connection no doubt. But I have at present three external hard drives with USB2 only and the relatively low speed of them doesn't bother me at all. Moving the entire collection to another drive with USB2, yes, that would take a few hours, but adding 20, 40, 100 images at a time, is not a problem.
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Old 31st of October 2011 (Mon)   #22
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Default Re: Mac Pro: to sell or not to sell?

On a side note: New Macs are likely to have Thunderbolt / FW800, so that would make external drives pretty much a non-issue.
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Old 31st of October 2011 (Mon)   #23
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Default Re: Mac Pro: to sell or not to sell?

Mac pros may be going the way of dinosaurs...

http://www.appleinsider.com/articles...f_mac_pro.html
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Old 1st of November 2011 (Tue)   #24
Levina de Ruijter
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Default Re: Mac Pro: to sell or not to sell?

Yeah, I know. Not good. There are also rumours of a totally new Mac to be launched by the end of the year. Macotakara (a Japanese Apple forum/blog) reported about that back in August.
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