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Thread started 01 Jul 2010 (Thursday) 18:24
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Moving to Apple?

 
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plusnq
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Jul 01, 2010 18:24 |  #1

Hi
I am considering an Apple MacBook pro 15 i7 as my next laptop. I will use it for my photoediting and tethered shooting only, mainly with Photoshop CS5 and lightroom 3. Is anyone using one with these programs and how are you finding it? Also I want to drive my Dell 30 inch monitor from it. I wondered if anyone was using theirs in a similar fashion? Any problems/issues?

Any advice?

Many thanks

Shane


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thenaturephotographer
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Jul 05, 2010 07:07 |  #2

I have a 15in core 2 duo with LR3 and CS4 and it runs fine. I tried the CS5 photoshop trial, and it seemed to be a little slow - save times, etc - but it was fine other than that. Just get as much RAM as you can afford


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EdWood
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Jul 05, 2010 10:42 |  #3

Be sure to get a 7200 rpm drive and as much memory as you can afford.

You will never go back to windoz.




  
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yourdoinitwrong
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Jul 05, 2010 13:45 as a reply to  @ EdWood's post |  #4

I have a 13-inch MacBook Pro 2.4Ghz Core 2 Duo with CS5 and LR3 and it handles RAW files from my 7D just fine. With the Core i7 you will have one of the faster laptops available. I see no reason not to go with that setup......if you don't like it let me know and I'll take it off your hands! It's a good suggestion to go with the 7200rpm drive and as much RAM as possible. If I understand it right, the standard config is 4GB (2x2GB) which takes up both slots. To get the Apple upgrade to 8GB (2x4GB) is $400 but I have seen 8GB upgrades for the MacBook for $289.99 so you can save about $100 if you do it yourself.


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fensterbme
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Jul 28, 2010 20:20 |  #5

I'm a recent Mac convert... I'm using a 15" MacBook Pro with the Core i5 CPU at 2.4Ghz. (the additional cash for the i7 CPU just isn't worth it IMO). I did switch out the stock 320GB 5400KRPM hard drive with a Seagate MomentusXT 500GB 7200GB drive (the Segate also has a 4GB SSD that really speeds up performance with commonly used files) and upgraded to 8GB of RAM (purchased aftermarket through OWC, cheaper than buying through Apple). The MBP isn't going to be my main editing machine, I'm about to order one of the brand new Mac Pro desktops, the hex core 3.3Ghz model but I still wanted something that could handle a good bit of CPU/memory intensive work on the go.

I use Lightroom 3 and Adobe Creative Studio 5 and both run quite well chewing up my Canon 5DMkII RAW files (I can shoot over 40-50GB of images in a single day, and it eats them up without issue) and can even do so while running VMWare Fusion with Windows 7 Ultimate running in the background. I shoot tethered into my laptop sometimes and I've had no issues.

A few things I'd tell you:

1.) Don't order the 'upgrades' from Apple unless you don't have a choice... If you want to upgrade your memory or hard drive do it aftermarket.

2.) The Apple provided 7200K RPM drive sucks compared to the other available options, and in fact I've seen some folks point to the 5400K RPM drive from Apple performing almost as well. So if you want a 7200K RPM drive definitely buy it aftermarket.

3.) If you want to drive a 30" display I think you need the video card with the 512MB of video memory.

4.) Consider reading through the Mac Performance Guide (external link), the guy brings up a lot of great things to think about. He explains things in a 'max performance no matter what' manner, which is good one just needs to understand that not everyone needs max performance and in some cases you might be spending hundreds or even thousands more to eek out just another 10-20% more performance (which most folks don't really need).

5.) Take peoples advice with a large grain of salt... There is so much mis-information online, specifically in web forums like this where lots of folks aren't professional photographers and in most cases aren't IT professionals. I guess all I'm saying is try to read from a variety of sources and try to understand for yourself as much as you can and know that some information might sound solid but just isn't. Even take my advice with a large grain of salt and weigh it against what else you read/hear from others.

... that said I'm a pretty big geek who has spent almost two decades designing server systems architecture for large and mid-size companies (including one where I had to integrated 50 Mac clients into Windows Active Directory), and has spent the last four years shooting on a professional basis on the side from my day job.


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Todd ­ Lambert
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Jul 28, 2010 20:27 |  #6

Go for it.




  
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Blackwood
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Jul 28, 2010 20:36 |  #7

I too am looking at one. Their desktops are still (in my mind) overpriced. I can build a much better system than Apple offers for the same price point, and now that they're on Intel chipsets, that basically means I'm paying over $1,000 more for MacOS.

I love the build quality of the MBP, however, and it justifies (in my mind) the added expense over an equivalent laptop. About to pull the trigger on the 17" i5. Playing with it at the apple store, it seems to handle large quantities of big photos (1dsII) pretty smoothly.


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fensterbme
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Jul 28, 2010 21:16 |  #8

Blackwood wrote in post #10621597 (external link)
Their desktops are still (in my mind) overpriced. I can build a much better system than Apple offers for the same price point, and now that they're on Intel chipsets, that basically means I'm paying over $1,000 more for MacOS.

I love the build quality of the MBP, however, and it justifies (in my mind) the added expense over an equivalent laptop. About to pull the trigger on the 17" i5. Playing with it at the apple store, it seems to handle large quantities of big photos (1dsII) pretty smoothly.

I think if you add up matching components you will find that there is only a small/moderate price increase (especially when you consider the Apple comes with most of the software you need). Especially if your buying right when a product is released (if you buy late in the release cycle the Apple product will in fact be quite over priced).

In the case of the Mac Pro (I think the iMac has only limited appeal to serious photographers where they need to store lots of data, want a better display, and want more juice than the iMac serves up) you most certainly can't build a system like it for the same amount of money, in fact it costs more... a lot more (two Xeon CPU's and a dual socket mobo will run more than the price of a Mac Pro).

As for the price of the core i5 MacBook Pro it's a great deal... One of Dell's business class laptops, or an Lenovo, etc. laptop with similar specs will cost the same and in some cases more.


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Tony-S
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Jul 28, 2010 21:27 |  #9

fensterbme wrote in post #10621526 (external link)
3.) If you want to drive a 30" display I think you need the video card with the 512MB of video memory.

Any of them will drive a 30" display at native resolution provided you have the dual-link adapter.

Blackwood wrote in post #10621597 (external link)
I too am looking at one. Their desktops are still (in my mind) overpriced. I can build a much better system than Apple offers for the same price point, and now that they're on Intel chipsets, that basically means I'm paying over $1,000 more for MacOS.

Actually, Macs and PCs cost just about the same if they have the same features. I have priced such a system compared to the i7 iMac from last week. Apple's standard features are often things photographers don't or won't need, but nonetheless they add to the cost of any computer.

fensterbme wrote in post #10621778 (external link)
I think the iMac has only limited appeal to serious photographers where they need to store lots of data, want a better display, and want more juice than the iMac serves up)

The iMacs all have LED H-IPS panels, among the best you can buy. With Firewire 800, you can add drives all day (well, up to 63 of them, anyway).


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fensterbme
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Jul 28, 2010 23:15 |  #10

Tony-S wrote in post #10621832 (external link)
The iMacs all have LED H-IPS panels, among the best you can buy. With Firewire 800, you can add drives all day (well, up to 63 of them, anyway).

The iMacs do have nice displays... and I shouldn't have sounded like I was discounting them as crappy. But there are folks who want EIZO, NEC and LaCie which are a bit better (if only by a small margin that most folks couldn't even visually see). I myself looking at getting the NEC 30" WQXi most likely (although I could get a pair of 27" ACD's for that which is really tempting). There are also folks who might prefer a display that wasn't so super glossy...

As for Firewire, its' fine for some stuff... but the speed is a whole lot less than some folks would prefer and frankly that's where most folks systems are bottlenecked, not with CPU but with all the wait times in the storage subsystem. I don't see myself being able to run striped SSDs and also be able to stripe across four 2TB hard disks in an iMac, and there is no way to get even close to that type of IOPS with external drives talking Firewire.

Storage options and expandablity is the main reason I'd direct someone to even a bottom of the line Mac Pro over an iMac to someone who was doing a lot of heavy photo editing. If the iMac shipped with the ablity to have a bit more expandable storage (and there is no reason in a 27" iMac they can't squeeze in at least two 3.5" bays or simply put an eSATA connector) I'd think it would make a much more viable workstation.


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Tony-S
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Jul 28, 2010 23:45 |  #11

FW800 is only a bit slower than eSATA, especially at large read/writes and the difference may only be 5-10% faster for eSATA. The limiting factor is the hard drive itself because its maximum speed doesn't approach the potential speed of the eSATA bus. You'd probably get more performance from Velociraptors, but those have limited capacities. With SSDs that would be dramatically different, but I don't think many people are interested in eSATA with SSDs at this point because of their cost. Nonetheless, it would be nice to have eSATA option on the iMac (and other Macs, as well).


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fensterbme
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Jul 29, 2010 08:18 |  #12

Tony-S wrote in post #10622640 (external link)
FW800 is only a bit slower than eSATA, especially at large read/writes and the difference may only be 5-10% faster for eSATA.

Hmm....

FW800 can do 800Mb/s and SATA 1.5Gb/s (or 3Gb/s).. yeah I'd term that only 'slightly' faster/slower depending on which way your going. ;)

With a single Raptor being able to transfer as much as 150MB/sec using FW800 would seriously bottleneck things. You will also have a lot of folks likely wanting to get a multi-drive external unit and in many of these configs your going to be able to go far past what FW800 is able to deliver. Check out these test results (external link) over at the Mac Performance Guide site. There are a lot of situations where FW800 just isn't up to the task and the difference would not at all be described as 'slight' or 'a bit'.

I realize that in some cases the real world margins may be closer together, but in no real way could I really reccomend someone use an external FW800 interface for their main library of images if they are doing big time photo editing. If it's just a side hobby and someone doesn't shoot a ton, totally the iMac is a fantastic option. But for those who do big time editing or have a large image library the storage options in the iMac are pretty limiting and I don't think it's a good choice at all. I mean these folks are willing to spend hundreds on a CPU that is only slightly faster, but they likely don't know that it's their storage subsystem that in many cases will be the speed limiter... so my guess is they would prefer the faster speed even if it was just the 10% bump (and in many cases it would be a lot larger).


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Blackwood
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Aug 02, 2010 10:33 |  #13

fensterbme wrote in post #10621778 (external link)
Especially if your buying right when a product is released (if you buy late in the release cycle the Apple product will in fact be quite over priced).

Yah, likely true of any system, but more apparent in the case of Apple since they don't refresh them nearly as often.

fensterbme wrote in post #10621778 (external link)
In the case of the Mac Pro (I think the iMac has only limited appeal to serious photographers where they need to store lots of data, want a better display, and want more juice than the iMac serves up) you most certainly can't build a system like it for the same amount of money, in fact it costs more... a lot more (two Xeon CPU's and a dual socket mobo will run more than the price of a Mac Pro).

On newegg, I can buy two X5550 processors, a supermicro dual xeon board, and 12 gigs of ECC DDR3 for under $2,800.

The rest of it is in the noise (apple doesn't charge too much extra for video cards and hard drives.


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Blackwood
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Aug 02, 2010 10:37 |  #14

Tony-S wrote in post #10621832 (external link)
The iMacs all have LED H-IPS panels, among the best you can buy. With Firewire 800, you can add drives all day (well, up to 63 of them, anyway).

I looked initially at the new iMac, but personally only having one internal drive on a desktop PC is a non-starter.

A bunch of external drives in functional for many, but ugly (defeating the purpose of a slick all-in-one system). More important to me, one of my backup strategies (carbonite online) only works with internal drives, and I can't forsee myself having any fewer than three drives (regardless of how large they get).


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dlpasco
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Aug 02, 2010 10:48 |  #15

Blackwood wrote in post #10647214 (external link)
I looked initially at the new iMac, but personally only having one internal drive on a desktop PC is a non-starter.

A bunch of external drives in functional for many, but ugly (defeating the purpose of a slick all-in-one system). More important to me, one of my backup strategies (carbonite online) only works with internal drives, and I can't forsee myself having any fewer than three drives (regardless of how large they get).

I have an iMac 27". I recently added a dual-bay external drive enclosure from OWC, FW 800. I added 2 1TB WD drives. The enclosure is aluminum, not unattractive and the drives work very well. I use one for TimeMachine and the other as an archive. I will probably purchase a hot-swap external from OWC in the next few weeks. My son has a 15" MBP (sophomore at UW) and he'll probably end up with my OWC drives.

This gives me all the performance that I currently need. The iMAC is certainly not a laptop but when I want 27" display onsite it isn't that difficult to take it with me.


Dan

  
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