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  • Computer: New Mac time

    Well my dear old G5 is starting to feel the pace of modern living and I think it's time to upgrade. Seems there is a new black shiny Mac on the horizon which may fit the bill but I was also considering a well spec'd iMac. Having looked at one a few years back I was put off by the highly reflective screen and envisaged hours of trying to clone out 'non existent' reflections. That said I like their smart and compact appearance. Any of you guy's use iMacs day in, day out on premium commercial work? Are they as robust and reliable as a 'tower' unit? BTW I only use my Mac's to retouch with PS and upload/download images - the rest of the icons in my dock are purely decorative! I kid you not. Any advice would be appreciated.

  • #2
    Re: New Mac time

    In your case, I would go for Mac Mini and good, professional monitor (not shiny Apple mirror). You don't need extra power of two high-end graphic cards within new Mac Pro - these are for video and 3D work.

    regards, Filip

    -------------------------------------------------------
    http://photoapps.info & http://shotworldwide.com

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    • #3
      Re: New Mac time

      Originally posted by creativeretouch View Post
      You don't need extra power of two high-end graphic cards within new Mac Pro - these are for video and 3D work.

      regards, Filip

      You would have to look at something beyond the base cards (D300s) to really qualify as "high end". Those two seem to be chopped down versions of mid range workstations cards. As far as I can tell, you're still limited in most cases to the size of the framebuffer of one card in many applications. I agree about the mini though. It might be annoying with storage depending on what Repairman is using. USB3 might be okay for storage arrays. I don't care for the shiny imacs. The new ones are supposed to be less reflective, but I haven't tried them.

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      • #4
        Re: New Mac time

        I went into the Mac store the other day to enquire about delivery dates for the MacPro. One of the t-shirted dimwits they employ had never heard of it (and didn't know what a G5 was) and the second dimwit 'couldn't possibly say; why not speak to our business advisor'. Resisting the urge to shove his iPad where the sun don't shine I made my excuses and left. I hate those boutiques! Well anyway, looks like the MacPro is available in February (UK). Still undecided - think I'll wait for some user feedback from the the early adopters. Note they don't include keyboards in the price so that we can make our own choice. They are just so kind at Apple!
        Last edited by Repairman; 12-20-2013, 01:19 PM.

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        • #5
          Re: New Mac time

          I use my iMac day in and day out, but not for retouching. My daughter thinks I spend too much time at the computer. I have the 27" with 16 GB RAM, fully loaded, except for selecting the i5 instead of the i7 as recommended by MacWorld. I use it for slide scanning and restoration. So far it's just calibrated by internal software, and maybe has a slight green tint - emphasis on maybe. I know about how neutrals look neutral no matter what - got to get around to a real calibration one of these days.

          All this is preamble to saying you should get the Mac Pro if you don't have a light-controlled workspace. While the iMac now has a less reflective screen than earlier versions, its still too much (I'll admit I have it oriented so that it faces a bank of floor-to-ceiling windows - not the best, I'll admit.) If you have a light-controlled workspace, the iMac should be plenty. Just get lots of memory.

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          • #6
            Re: New Mac time

            Originally posted by Repairman View Post
            I went into the Mac store the other day to enquire about delivery dates for the MacPro. One of the t-shirted dimwits they employ had never heard of it (and didn't know what a G5 was) and the second dimwit 'couldn't possibly say; why not speak to our business advisor'. Resisting the urge to shove his iPad where the sun don't shine I made my excuses and left. I hate those boutiques! Well anyway, looks like the MacPro is available in February (UK). Still undecided - think I'll wait for some user feedback from the the early adopters. Note they don't include keyboards in the price so that we can make our own choice. They are just so kind at Apple!
            If you want to save some money and don't require multiple displays, you could consider a mini. They'll still take 16GB of ram. I've seen some retouchers go with up to 32, but 16 isn't actually bad. I suspect the next revision will have real gpu acceleration from the few features in photoshop that support it. It's just a thought as they are a couple thousand less, and you got this far with a G5. I would personally take a quad core mini + NEC or Eizo monitor over an imac.

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            • #7
              Re: New Mac time

              Thank you all for your input. It helps to crystallise my thoughts and hone in on the right solution for my general workload. I'm intrigued by the Mini but it's low cost (£849) suggests that it will be deficient in some areas. A good spec, off the shelf iMac is about £1k more! The MacPro then is at least another £1k on top of that. I'm not including accessories costs in the equation. Although I don't do 3d or video I'd like to future proof myself (to a degree only) in case that arises. Given that cost is not an issue I guess I'm just looking for max speed when handling large files. iMac wins on looks, Mini + Eizo for compactness and display, MacPro for power, potential and looks.
              I'd be interested to know what your money-no-object choices would be, given your own typical workloads. Cheers all.

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              • #8
                Re: New Mac time

                http://www.everymac.com/ultimate-mac-comparison-chart/

                here you can find specifications and compare all Apple computers.

                I would say, that best iMac, best Mac Mini and cheapest Mac Pro will give very similar results in CPU tests ... there will be huge differences in GPU of course ...

                Regards, Filip



                -----------------------------------------------------------
                http://photoapps.info and http://shotworldwide.com
                Attached Files

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                • #9
                  Re: New Mac time

                  Originally posted by Repairman View Post
                  I'd be interested to know what your money-no-object choices would be, given your own typical workloads. Cheers all.
                  For me it would be a bigger and better screen probably 27" or 30" NEC or possibly Eizo if I could be persuaded that the more expensive Eizo brought enough to the table to justify the extra cost.

                  Now the controversial bit, for some at least I am a PC user! I would be speccing out my own PC components for an ultimate build probably Intel CPU i7 based mobo around 24MB RAM, large SSD for applications and OS with a smaller one for scratch disk, couple of internal 2TB drives, a decent 1 or 2GB graphics card and a host of external storage (not RAID). I am not too keen on small form factor cases so I would be housing it all in a tower.

                  Obviously I know you are a Mac user and as such are likely to stay that way but have you considered the PC alternative? Not as pretty/aesthetically pleasing as a Mac maybe but can be specced out to whatever level of power madness you want at a lower cost?

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                  • #10
                    Re: New Mac time

                    Creativeretouch speaks the truth, relative parity, all good enough. I'm a photographer and freelance retoucher. For myself, I use a a non retina 15" macbook pro with a non glossy screen hooked up to a 30" IPS monitor. I love the MBP because of it's portability. I unhook it from the monitor and take it all over the house, in the back yard, and stick it in a backpack to take it on photoshoots and shoot tethered to it. It's so very versatile. If money is not an object, short of the newest, soon to be released Mac Pro, this plus a quality monitor would be my recommendation.

                    However, as a freelance retoucher, I had to add a second workstation so my wife could help me in the busy season. I bought a quad core mini, 15 GB RAM, w/ a 27" NEC. Also a very capable machine.

                    I also use a new iMac at one of the places where I work on site. It's also quite capable, and if positioned appropriately, the newest screens are not too bad from a refection standpoint (certainly do not have a window or light scource behind you). However, I still find them troublesome at discerning gradations and depth of detail in blacks.

                    On other sites I work on older Mac Pro's of various vintage and quantities of RAM. I find these newer Macs (iMac, Mini, MBP) will well outperform those of a few years back (and I don't mean G5's, I mean much more recent) if they have the advantage of greater RAM and faster hard drives, which they often do.

                    In the end, I don't think Photoshop is the most taxing of programs for a computer to run, save for giant file sizes that must be held in memory, where adequate RAM and file management (not an ungodly number of history states, smart objects, pixel layers, etc) is far more important than number of cores and GHz speed.

                    So long as you've got a quad core and 12+ GB RAM you should be in pretty good shape for the vast, vast majority of what you'd likely do. The rest is form factor.

                    My personal order of preference for my lifestyle is as such.

                    Macbook Pro w/ external non glossy IPS monitor
                    Newest, yet to be released, Mac Pro (assuming it's as good as supposed)
                    Mini w/ external non glossy IPS monitor
                    iMac (Great family machine, very capable, gorgeous form factor. But even though I work with glossy monitors at two locations, and it is doable, and the newer ones are far better than the old wrt reflections, I just don't like looking through glass.)

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                    • #11
                      Re: New Mac time

                      lurch said, "too much time at the computer". How is that possible?! ;-)

                      Tony said, "have you considered the PC alternative?"

                      I'm not addressing Windows specifically but recently I was given a 2007 Mac Pro CPU by a colleague who was tired of fighting with its quirks. I have it running pretty stable as an "emergency" backup computer, but the fact that one has to add a monitor got me researching monitors. Long story short, it appears that one must spend about the equivalent cost of a new iMac to get a comparable quality monitor, so you might as well get the iMac-!

                      The same conclusion holds true when building a computer (PC or Hackintosh) to save money. You still have the monitor cost/quality issue to deal with.

                      As for the glossy iMac monitor, I'm sitting at one now and see reflections from the window I would rather not see, but it sure beats the average PC monitor one comes across on a daily basis. Windows (running as a VM) never looked so good!

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                      • #12
                        Re: New Mac time

                        My suggestion partly tongue in cheek as it is unlikely that you will get users to change OS without good reason.

                        I do not know enough about the various Mac systems to be able to offer a personal and informed opinion so have relied on other users views on the aspect of the Apple screens.

                        At least one well known and respected author, Martin Evening has quoted in at least a couple of his books:
                        I have found it impossible to calibrate the new iMac displays and makes them unusable for Photoshop image editing. The only viable solution has been to run a secondary display off the iMac I take on location, which kind of defeats the reason for having an iMac in the first place!"

                        So my take on this is that you may still need to consider a secondary display with the iMac therefore the cost of this would have to be considered which then makes the Mac quite expensive in comparison. Unless of course things have changed with Apple screens since Mr Evening published his works CS6 and LR5.

                        I agree the average PC monitor for most home users is a secondary consideration (included as a makeweight by the supplier) and usually of poor quality, rarely calibrated and probably not needed to be by most as they are not particularly interested in accurate viewing or print matching as long as the colours look ok.

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                        • #13
                          Re: New Mac time

                          Everyone's talking about the cpu core stuff and getting a ton of memory, but please do not forget the one single piece of hardware that gave the computers an extra boost in recent years was SSD drive. You're missing a lot of fun without it, even on the bulkiest configurations available. My advice is either go with the 'real' SSD or at least with a Fusion Drive (as per iMac).

                          I have found the latest Macbook Pro Retina 15-inchers the perfect tool for me. It's portable, it has a hell lof of power (I have thoroughly tested 2-3 gig 16bit PSDs side-by-side with the latest iMac and you cannot really tell the difference), the latest PCI Express SSD is spectacular. I'll go with the Retina + external ColorEdge.

                          There is of course a question how long will it last under a constant workload. I've always thought of the Mini as the most stable workhorse at a reasonable price, but I would not be able to take it anywhere hence the laptop purchase.

                          Also, I have found the screen in latest gen iMac to be not so great especially considering the shadow detail.
                          Last edited by insmac; 12-26-2013, 05:22 AM.

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                          • #14
                            Re: New Mac time

                            Thanks all: some good stuff here which I will digest at leisure. Still doing Xmas visits [hic] at the moment - it goes on rather long in the UK! [hic]

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                            • #15
                              Re: New Mac time

                              Good comparison of the IMac vs the new Pro.

                              http://online.wsj.com/news/articles/...toWhatsNewsTop

                              Sounds like a hot rodded IMac is the way to go, but the monitor issue gives me pause. Not only is it low Apple quality, hard to calibrate, but, it's built in. What happens when one is past warranty (which isn't too long) and has monitor issues? And a retoucher's issues may be laughed off by most others, who would look at it and say, hey, what's the problem? Sorry, but, I'll take an Eizo hooked up to a, ahem, Pro.

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