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Author Topic: Which Mac do I need to run large files?  (Read 1693 times)
hasselbladfan
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« on: June 19, 2011, 05:57:58 AM »
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I just upgraded to a H3DII 50 and I will be using Phocus, Lightroom 3 and Nik Silver Efex Pro 2.

What do I need to watch when buying a new MacBook Pro or Mac Pro?

How much Ram / Cache do I need to run smoothly? Anything else important?
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Chairman Bill
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« Reply #1 on: June 19, 2011, 06:01:47 AM »
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I think the standard response must be, buy the best spec you can afford, then add as much RAM as you can, but don't buy the latter from Apple 'cos they take the piss with their prices.
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hasselbladfan
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« Reply #2 on: June 19, 2011, 06:49:55 AM »
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Ok, that is good advice on the RAM.

But which system to choose? The following 3 are in my budget.

Mac Book Pro 2.2 Ghz
Mac Pro 1 times 2.8 Ghz
Mac Pro 2 times 2.4 Ghz

I guess the Mac Pro will be faster than the laptop, but will the 2 times 2.4 Ghz be better / worth the extra money vs the 1 times 2.8 Ghz or not.
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k bennett
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« Reply #3 on: June 19, 2011, 08:03:43 AM »
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The Mac Pro will be both faster and more expandable than the laptop -- don't discount the need for additional fast hard drives for scratch and data. On the Mac Pro they are internal, or eSATA with a PC card for the eSATA port. On the Macbook Pro 17 inch you can get an eSATA card for the card slot, but the 15 inch has no card slot. The Firewire port is much slower, and no one has a Thunderbolt external drive that I've seen.

In general, I would say get the laptop only if you need the portability. Otherwise the Mac Pro is the better machine in every way. For me, I need the portable computer, so I have the 17 inch MBP. At the studio it has a NEC 27 inch monitor and a 5-drive eSATA external box for data. It's a decent machine, but it does bog down with very large files.

You might find the mac performance guide helpful.
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hasselbladfan
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« Reply #4 on: June 19, 2011, 08:18:40 AM »
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Thanks, k benneth.

I don't need the portability.

So, which one is the better Mac Pro. Does it help to have 2 times 2.4 Ghz or is 1 time 2.8 Ghz enough for 50 megapixel files?
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k bennett
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« Reply #5 on: June 19, 2011, 12:51:34 PM »
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So, which one is the better Mac Pro. Does it help to have 2 times 2.4 Ghz or is 1 time 2.8 Ghz enough for 50 megapixel files?

I don't know. Check the Mac Performance Guide, I'm sure that Lloyd Chambers talks about that. (In fact, checking now I see that the article on "configuring a Mac Pro is two years old, and doesn't account for Snow Leopard. I hope it will be updated soon.)
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red2
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« Reply #6 on: July 23, 2011, 09:45:05 AM »
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I definitely agree with the recommendation to look at the Mac Performance Guide.
Another option that you didn't mention is to get a Mac Pro with a 6-core 3.3 GHz Intel Xeon "Westmere" processor. It will be faster than the options you mention. Not many applications relevant to photography are capable of using 8 cores -- most can't use more than 4. A few can -- DxO seems to use all my cores when processing a batch of RAW files (I have the 6-core 3.3 GHz processor model).
The most important recommendation for your size files would probably be to have lots of RAM. As much as you can afford (or as much as will fit into the machine). And, as mentioned, don't buy it from Apple. OWC is a commonly used source for Mac RAM (and other items). Others sources are available. A potential advantage to the dual processor machines is that you can install 8 RAM modules, rather than the 4 you are limited to with the single processor models. I believe 8 GB RAM modules are the largest available now, so with the single processor machines you could have a maximum of 32 GB of RAM. You would have to remove the Apple-installed modules and install your own 8 GB modules to get to that point.  I have 12 GB of RAM in my machine, which seems enough for my usage (and my file sizes).
The 3.3 GHz option can be found (if you haven't noticed it before) by selecting the Quad core option at the Apple store and looking at the processor options.
There are rumors of a new Mac Pro model to be announced soon. You might check the forums at www.macrumors.com or elsewhere to read more about that. These are just rumors at the moment. If you need something now, probably buy it now.
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Regards,
Bob D.
hasselbladfan
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« Reply #7 on: July 25, 2011, 05:06:52 AM »
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Great help. Thanks.
Georges

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