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Why your next Photoshop computer should be a Mac

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  • Computer: Why your next Photoshop computer should be a Mac

    I'll say right now I don't own a Mac, and I've never owned a Mac. But my next computer will be a Mac. I was planning on switching the last time I upgraded my computer, but my old computer died on a Friday and I had a deadline the following Monday, so I had to run out and spend my upgrade budget on a computer that I could get my system back up on in time to finish my project.

    And I'll also say that this is only valid for Photoshop. If Photoshop isn't your primary reason for owning a computer, don't bother reading any further, and most certainly don't bother replying. You can reply if you have something pertinent to say concerning Photoshop, but any comments in the "I don't need antivirus software" or "Steve Jobs/Bill Gates is a fascist" vein will be deleted.

    My list of reasons is very simple: several crucial things for serious Photoshop usage are either missing, optimized for other uses, or simply broken. How did I come across this information? The hard way. For over a decade I've been breaking Photoshop (or so I thought) and discussing what went wrong with various experts (particularly the Adobe Photoshop engineering team), and repeatedly been confronted with the fact that I wasn't breaking anything, I was simply running up against an OS limitation.

    So, here is the list. It's my list, so very short and specific. Feel free to add your own.
    • Color Management - Even with Vista, CM in Windows is a kludge.
    • Memory - 32bit Windows can only handle a little over 3GB of memory. Even in the 64bit versions, it is too stingy with it for optimal Photoshop usage
    • Font handling - just open the Mac font management dialog and cry bitter tears
    • Printing - pulling your hair out trying to get good prints? It's not you, it's Windows optimized for printing Powerpoint slides on color laser
    • Wacom tablets - it's a dirty little secret that tablets have to literally fight with Windows to provide the control they need for Photoshop. The tablet API in Windows is optimized for drawing circles and arrows in Word. Wacom has to literally disable some functions just to work at all in Windows, and their usage is severely blunted over their Mac counterpart (which has friendly OS support). And forget any tablet company that doesn't have Wacom's expertise (they simply use the MS API as-is).


    As I said, it's a short, biased, very personal list, with Photoshop as the only consideration.
    Learn by teaching
    Take responsibility for learning

  • #2
    Re: Why your next Photoshop computer should be a M

    ok, on threat of having this deleted, a lot of the complaints about windows limitations were the reasons why a LOT of folks wanted to see the justice department break microsoft into two companies, the o/s company that would be impartial to apps and then the apps company that would compete with all the rest of the app companies on an even keel.

    that being said, i totally agree with you about the memory limitation. working with LARGE files is a pain in xp. and whereas i have 64 bit hardware, i could see no point whatsoever getting the windows 64 bit version.

    one other point i'll mention is that Apple is creative. M$ tends to buy others out to get what they produce. Apple is the company that has always been tailored to 'sight and sound'. M$ took years to develop some of the things we used to have in the Amiga. they were 'business' and could have cared less about 'the arts'. and that was Apple's niche. when i first heard about 75 gigs of ram in a machine, it was from a mac salesman, not a pc salesman. the point of all this is, do you want to trust your creative endeavors to a 'business' machine or a 'sight and sound' machine.

    i dont own a mac either...currently. but, i have been into the local mac store drooling at some of the setups they have.

    i dont like the closed architecture of the mac. i tend to like to open the case and fiddle myself. so, that part of it and the higher cost of macs puts me off, but the pure 'creative' aspect keeps me going back and drooling

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    • #3
      Re: Why your next Photoshop computer should be a M

      what do you normally fiddle with?..the higher cost is primarily on the day of purchase, it's actually cheaper in the long run...

      Comment


      • #4
        Re: Why your next Photoshop computer should be a M

        Hi Doug

        Don't get me wrong - I love my Mac (Mac Pro). I agree that Mac rocks for Photoshop work but I've been a PC user for over 15 years and I don't really agree with your list.

        First of all, Color Management.. I'm probably not the most hardcore CM freak but my experience with XP is just as good as Mac. Plugged in an GretagMacbeth EyeOne device, calibrated my monitor, smiled when it worked like a charm - then "installed" a printer profile for softproofing in PS. No problems on either XP or Mac.

        RAM - even on a Mac Pro with 6 gig of RAM, CS3 can only use 3GB anyway.

        I a photography nerd so I don't use fonts - no comments there.

        Wacom tablets might be better supported on the Mac but again I've had no problems using my tablets on XP for retouching.

        Again.. Don't get me wrong - I would choose Mac over XP/Vista any day of the week and twice on Mondays. But I'm not doing anything on my Mac that I douldn't do on my PC. It looks a lot better, interface-wise, it runs smoother generally - but then again my Mac cost me about three times as much as my PC.


        Originally posted by Doug Nelson View Post
        • Color Management - Even with Vista, CM in Windows is a kludge.
        • Memory - 32bit Windows can only handle a little over 3GB of memory. Even in the 64bit versions, it is too stingy with it for optimal Photoshop usage
        • Font handling - just open the Mac font management dialog and cry bitter tears
        • Printing - pulling your hair out trying to get good prints? It's not you, it's Windows optimized for printing Powerpoint slides on color laser
        • Wacom tablets - it's a dirty little secret that tablets have to literally fight with Windows to provide the control they need for Photoshop. The tablet API in Windows is optimized for drawing circles and arrows in Word. Wacom has to literally disable some functions just to work at all in Windows, and their usage is severely blunted over their Mac counterpart (which has friendly OS support). And forget any tablet company that doesn't have Wacom's expertise (they simply use the MS API as-is).

        Comment


        • #5
          Re: Why your next Photoshop computer should be a M

          I own and operate both systems for different applications those being Adobe Creative Suite, Final Cut and Pro tools, I also use Microsoft Office for all business related stuff. I have being using Mac's since 1995 when I start learning Photoshop back then version 3.0 and I also owned a Windows based laptop for my school projects and work.
          Both systems have pros and cons but if your business is image related or sound or ART related you will definitely need a Mac. PC would work I am not saying it won't but if you want a steady and reliable system trust me on this one Mac would give you that and more. Now days I only use Mac for everything since I have windows applications like Office for mac so I hardly use the PC anymore. This is a subjective matter and it will come down to personal preferences but I will say this from personal experience Mac is a way more solid system than PC hands down.

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          • #7
            Re: Why your next Photoshop computer should be a M

            One single example of why CM is broken in Windows. This is not the only problem, by any means, but this is the particular problem that got me disgusted.
            Learn by teaching
            Take responsibility for learning

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            • #8
              Re: Why your next Photoshop computer should be a M

              Well, I have had 24 inch IMac for about 4 months now and I would never go back to a PC for Photo work. Everything about the MAC seems custom designed for photography. I have 3GB of RAM and PS uses 2GB whilst running (recommended in the preferences) It works a speed and I can have PS, LR and PainterX all running at once with no problems.

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              • #9
                Re: Why your next Photoshop computer should be a M

                Hey, all. I have a mac and in my experience, i do a lot of batch process work making photo packages, CS3 runs 3x slower on mac than it does on XP installed on my mac using bootcamp. So whenever I do batch process I'm always on the XP install.

                Secondly, about the ram I've always wanted to try it but I still haven't been able to yet, only seen benchmarks and reveiws. The next Adobe Photoshop release will support x64 bit support ONLY for Windows as is stated by Adobe. That will provide great improvements, along with multi-core support. And if you have a 64bit Operating system, and you have a capable motherboard, pop in 8 Gigs of ram, and turn off the file swapping. File swapping is the writing of information from the memory to the harddrive and that really slows down the overall performance. With 8gigs of ram, I have seen benchmarks and reviews of people performing heavy duty tasks without it crashing. More of the newer northbridge chipset motherboards using ICH10 and up can support up to 16 gigs of ram, so feel free to go for that.


                ..Just a thought

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                • #10
                  Re: Why your next Photoshop computer should be a M

                  FAQ: Plans for 64-bit processing support in Photoshop
                  Learn by teaching
                  Take responsibility for learning

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                  • #11
                    Re: Why your next Photoshop computer should be a M

                    I've been using a Mac for 2 years now and would NEVER go back! With Windows, I always had problems with Photoshop and had to reformat my computer twice!!! Never again... Not even interested in having a dual OS. I would highly recommend Mac for all artists. I've only had a problems with my dvd drives (iMac and MacBook Pro).

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                    • #12
                      Re: Why your next Photoshop computer should be a M

                      I had to work up a banner for our business, 2 ft x 6 ft. I never was able to generate a PDF; if I nudged an element system would lock up temporarily. Took 2 days on my Windows XP. Wife argues with me - she took a local Photoshop course and the teacher told class the "there really isn't much difference anymore".

                      Comment


                      • #13
                        Re: Why your next Photoshop computer should be a M

                        Originally posted by downtrodden View Post
                        I had to work up a banner for our business, 2 ft x 6 ft. I never was able to generate a PDF; if I nudged an element system would lock up temporarily. Took 2 days on my Windows XP. Wife argues with me - she took a local Photoshop course and the teacher told class the "there really isn't much difference anymore".
                        those that can't do, teach...

                        Comment


                        • #14
                          Re: Why your next Photoshop computer should be a M

                          When you buy a Mac, you also get a PC.

                          I use OS-X mainly but boot up Windows on the side if I need to run a Windows-only plug-in or app. Then I put Windows away ;-).

                          Simple, efficient and works great!

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                          • #15
                            Re: Why your next Photoshop computer should be a M

                            Color management in Windows has always been a bit cumbersome. However, it was achieved almost equally between Mac and Windows' OS's until Mac OS Panther (10.3.x). It's just that Mac ensured everything was set correctly from the factory, whereas Windows was pretty much a crap shoot.

                            Color management is a generic term for ColorSync in the Mac and for ICM in Windows. Both are OS level color management schemes. However, color management is generally controlled at three levels: the OS, the drivers and the applications. Photoshop users are used to controlling color through their application, i.e. PS, Bridge or Lightroom. Most users either don't want to or don't like to delve into the OS or driver level color management. This is a big advantage of the Mac, ensuring everything is correct for artists out of the box.

                            Since most Mac users are probably at OS X Panther (10.3.x), it isn't worth writing about how OS 9 worked. But, it was not quite up to what you might have thought. Windows XP even maintained some advantage. But, with the release of OS X Panther, Apple changed color management substantially. Windows attempts to catch up under Vista, but does such a poor job that it needs to fix it very soon or stand to lose users to Mac.

                            ColorSync under Panther is now at version 4.0. It is intended to be an Always On color management scheme - essentially you cannot turn it off. This should eventually make color management easier, but actually makes it a bit more difficult for applications right now because you never know who is in control. However, if all output files have embedded profiles, ColorSync behaves fine. It is only when output is not tagged that ColorSync can make the wrong assumptions. This can be especially troublesome for printing. ( Untagged RGB's are converted to Generic RGB; untagged CMYK's remain untagged; untagged gray scales are converted to Generic Gray. ) So, you would think the printer driver ultimately controls the output. Wrong. Colorsync does; it converts all output, no matter what the application level color management asks for. It is just that color managed applications like Photoshop don't tag their printer output files. So, ColorSync sees them as Generic RGB, tags them as Generic RGB, uses Generic RGB as the destination profile and thus performs a null conversion. So, the output is essentially not changed for color managed applications.

                            Just for your information, the two color profiles provided by Mac are Generic RGB and Generic CMYK. (They also changed under Panther 10.3.x & above.) Now, Generic RGB no longer represents the old Apple RGB monitor standard. It is based on P33 phosphors, 6500K white point and 1.8 gamma, which results in a very nice presentation on screen or print. Generic CMYK is based on the Apple Color Laser. This does not represent anything close to a press CMYK profile. It is more of a SWOP. So, you will not get equivalent prints on your printer using it as a destination profile. They will look washed out. Use the US Web Coated SWOP v2 output profile instead.

                            Mac users should get familiar with and use the ColorSync Utility to ensure their Mac is color managed correctly. Just don't go changing anything until you know what is used for. Otherwise, you may jeopardize your color management. ( Windows users will have to download the Color Profile control panel applet to get similar functionality > Color Profile Applet )

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