Who has switched to Mac - was it worth it?

Started May 27, 2012 | Discussions
JediLight
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Who has switched to Mac - was it worth it?
May 27, 2012

I am thinking of switching to Mac. Here is my reasoning. I suspect it is slightly flawed, but interested in comments from people who have mulled over the same things.

I am fairly techy. I am doing more and more post processing (recent nikon D800 purchaser). The key thing I need now is a large monitor (27inch +). However, this will need to live in my kitchen / diner and hence has to look the part to be considered an acceptable addition....

This therefore has led me to the 27inch iMac - probably wait till the product is updated, which rumours have it will be in the next few weeks. This appears to be a better option than a tower under the dining room table with a cheaper large monitor on the table (not going to be aesthetically acceptable). Also, the more I look, the more it appears that the imac is a pretty good bit of kit and the higher spec looks as good as a mac book pro.

Here is the issue, I expect I will end up dual booting to windows and running it in windows mode most of the time. I already have lightroom, CS4 Premium Production, Photomatix, Office, etc etc all for windows. All of which I will need to use.

Is there any performance defecit for running windows, dual boot on the mac. Would applications run faster in OS X?

Thanks for your thoughts...

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Andy Hewitt
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Re: Who has switched to Mac - was it worth it?
In reply to JediLight, May 27, 2012

JediLight wrote:

I am thinking of switching to Mac. Here is my reasoning. I suspect it is slightly flawed, but interested in comments from people who have mulled over the same things.

Well, I'm a long time Mac user, but also use Windows at work, and occasionally at home for some things.

I am fairly techy. I am doing more and more post processing (recent nikon D800 purchaser). The key thing I need now is a large monitor (27inch +). However, this will need to live in my kitchen / diner and hence has to look the part to be considered an acceptable addition....

Seems like a good enough reason. FWIW, although I'm a Mac advocate, I'm also a realist and realise that the differences between the systems are not as great in recent times (barring the excessive need for security software on Windows).

If the system otherwise works for you, there is little point in changing for the stake of it.

This therefore has led me to the 27inch iMac - probably wait till the product is updated, which rumours have it will be in the next few weeks. This appears to be a better option than a tower under the dining room table with a cheaper large monitor on the table (not going to be aesthetically acceptable). Also, the more I look, the more it appears that the imac is a pretty good bit of kit and the higher spec looks as good as a mac book pro.

The iMac should outperform a MacBook - the iMac uses standard desktop components, whereas the MacBooks use mobile components - such as onboard graphics (with shared memory), and slower hard drives etc.

Here is the issue, I expect I will end up dual booting to windows and running it in windows mode most of the time. I already have lightroom, CS4 Premium Production, Photomatix, Office, etc etc all for windows. All of which I will need to use.

If I recall correctly, the licence for Adobe products is cross-platform, so you should be able to install Lightroom and CS4 onto the Mac using the same licence you already have. Office is available for the Mac, although depending on how much you use it, you could possibly find that Apple's iWork apps do the job well enough (they can open and save MS Office documents to a reasonable extent).

Is there any performance defecit for running windows, dual boot on the mac. Would applications run faster in OS X?

Running in Bootcamp is the fastest, and may even run faster than on normal PC hardware, but you have to reboot to switch between systems. VMWare Fusion (which I have) allows you to run the two OS's together, but there can be a performance hit on both while it's running. However, you may still find it's comparable to your current system, depending on what that is. It is actually quite reliable, but don't expect top gaming performance.

There are others too, Parallels and the free VirtualBox.

Just remember that you need to own a copy of Windows to install, as well as possibly buying the virtual machine software if you go that route.

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JediLight
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Re: Who has switched to Mac - was it worth it?
In reply to Andy Hewitt, May 27, 2012

Really helpful reply. Many thanks. I have windows licences so can install on both. I used to have a mac book pro (2008), but rarely used OSx, nor was I into post processing at the time so never really explore it. There was a learning conversion curve I never really tried to get over.

I had no idea that Adobe's stuff was double licence for both PC and Mac. That kind of seals the deal for me. I would really like to try to run things through the OS X boot if possible, partly to see what all the fuss is about. Partly to learn new skills. I plan on coding and creating some apps for Apple things in the future hence some familiarity will help. Plus many people love them, so i would like to find why.

Key question if anyone can answer - does photoshop run faster on OS x or on Windows on a dual boot mac (imac specifically)?

I believe that it used to be the case that it was quicker on OS X prior to Macs going intel, but have not heard anyone claim this recently. I figured this forum should be a good source for this kind of experience.

Thanks...

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Tom_N
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Re: Who has switched to Mac - was it worth it?
In reply to JediLight, May 27, 2012

JediLight wrote:

I had no idea that Adobe's stuff was double licence for both PC and Mac.

Lightroom includes Windows and Mac OS X binaries in one package. Adobe claims that you can install it on two computers provided that you only use it on one at a time, and they say it is sold as multiplatform software.

With Photoshop, the packages are platform-specific. If you are at the latest version, you can "crossgrade", but Adobe expects you to destroy the old copy.

As of CS5, Adobe switched from 32-bit Carbon APIs to 64-bit Cocoa APIs. So if you are processing very large files in Photoshop, you would want to use CS5 or later.

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JacquesC
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Re: Who has switched to Mac - was it worth it?
In reply to JediLight, May 27, 2012

I switched to the 27" iMac from being a long-time PC user, also for the main purpose of photo editing. I use LR and PS and in my subjective opinion it performs extremely well, noticeably faster than a similarly configured PC (my wife's) with the equivalent software.

I run in native OS mode and cannot comment on using Bootcamp or using it with Fusion.

I simply love the machine and will not consider Windows again - the iMac is very good.
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johnny_r
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Re: Who has switched to Mac - was it worth it?
In reply to JediLight, May 27, 2012

IMO, seems like a rather pricey windows machine without the
benefits of the OSX OS. Defeats the purpose of a Mac.

There are"all in one" windows machines on the market that you might
want to explore.

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John

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Have Said
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Re: Who has switched to Mac - was it worth it?
In reply to JediLight, May 27, 2012

Is there any performance defecit for running windows, dual boot on the mac. Would applications run faster in OS X?

Dual boot should work just fine and you'll get a very good looking Windows machine :).

Are Mac better? Are Mac faster? It's not about that...it's about usability. The Mac platform is a much more "complete" solution and you won't benefit from that until you give the MacOS some time to proof itself.

It's not the hardware performance, there may be differences but who cares about a theoretical milliseconds performance benefit on this or that side (probably the Mac wins here). It's not like you'll be waiting seconds longer on a comparable Windows machine running identical software.

I was a hardcore professional Windows user in the past. I bought my first Mac about 5 years ago and very soon switched to running Windows on that...simply because I couldn't get the comfort that I had on the Mac Platform. That all changed over the years as I started booting in Mac very now and then, and when Apple came with the AppStore, and I was now able to find cheap software, and when Windows upgraded again from XP to Vista to Win7 for a significant upgrade investment. And Apple came with new versions, from Tiger to Leopard/SnowLeopard/Lion...for 29 bucks.

You could say that Windows allows more flexibility, run the hardware you want etc etc, but what does it come down to in the end; how does it all run together...and that is where Mac beats Windows big time.

Good luck on your decision making

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7enderbender
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Re: Who has switched to Mac - was it worth it?
In reply to JediLight, May 27, 2012

I'm also a long-standing Windows/PC user (with a few attempts at making Linux work for me). I'm due for a major upgrade to pretty much all my computers at home (one PC now, a second later, laptop replacement at some, better screens, etc).

Now seems like a good time to switch - since I have to make a major switch anyway: I'm still on XP pro (which I personally never had any issues with). Linux, after several failed attempts to make it do what I needed it to do is out. So it's either Win 7 or Mac OS. Frankly, I see lots of benefits but also issues with both. I can certainly see the appeal of Apple as a clean solution that is geared towards just working without tinkering a lot and designated hardware. But that is also its weakness: you are locked in and at the mercy of Apple Inc. as to what your current and future hardware can and can not do, which ports you are supposed to use - and even which format to use for your backup drives etc.

With PCs all of this is a non-issue. You can mix and match and set priorities to taste. And it's even way cheaper at that. On the other hand, you are as locked in to the OS. Win 7 looks really good and appears to be even better than XP (which I like, others hated it). With Win 8 around the corner I have a feeling I may like the current OS X better - though it's probably a matter of time before Apple goes full fledged touchy-feely screens with everything as well. Can't stand anything touchscreen, which is another reason I don't have an iPhone and still am on BlackBerry.

My biggest beef with Mac though are the screens. They're just not good even though hard-core Mac fans will be up in arms about that statement. Especially for photography I see many issues with all Mac screens, except maybe for the 17" MBP hi res screen. The iMacs are due for an update and I hope Apple will offer a non-glossy version with more resolution and real estate as they currently have.

So it's a waiting game at the moment to see which direction things are going by the end of the year or so. At them moment I'm considering a Mac Mini with a good screen, something like the Asus PA246Q, a 24" hi res screen geared towards photographers and other arts folks. If that works maybe even two of those screens. That's still less than the Mac Thunderbolt display. And if that works I might then upgrade to a Mac Pro one day - if Apple continues to make them.

The main reason though why I even looked into Macs in the first place (and might be willing to put up with a number of nuisances as I see it...) are the Mac Book pros. They seem to beat most PC laptops at the moment given my priorities and applications (physical stability, reliability, screen resolution) - but only the 15" and 17" hi res versions with anti-glare. And the latter may go away with the advent of "retina" displays which may increase "resolution" but then doubling everything in size effectively reducing the real estate on the screen. That's a no-go for LR and PS (and Cubase etc).

Difficult times really. Lots of new exciting technology but nothing is really put together by anyone that fully serves the needs beyond the sitting-at-Star-Bucks-surfing-the-web-looking-pretty clientele. And still costly at that. Switching everything over to Mac in my current setting is at least a $5000 endeavor - before buying all new software. Is that really worth the fancy look and ease we are supposedly getting? I put together a web presentation with LR3 last night for a client on my beloved and trusty old IBM T60 with its wonderful little screen. That was 173 edits and uploads with no problems. So I guess I can wait it out a bit longer and maybe try new things with a relatively cheap Mac Mini first - which can then be re-purposed or sold independent of outcome for me.

Sorry to go on a tangent here but sometimes you just need to spell it out. It's a pretty expensive decision and now seems to be a good time to switch direction. It's funny how many PC users appear to be thinking along those lines at the moment even though PCs are really better then ever.

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Andystack
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Re: Who has switched to Mac - was it worth it?
In reply to 7enderbender, May 27, 2012

for me the advantage of using a mac is the Apple Store. Living within walking distance of one is beyond convenient. They take care of any question or problem I have with my machine.

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Edvinas
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Re: Who has switched to Mac - was it worth it?
In reply to JediLight, May 27, 2012

Ok, I am will intrroduce myself I'm using Windows since Win 3.1 and Mac OS X since Leopard. I'm Windows software developer and power user on Mac. Using Windows at work and OSX at home.

Directly to your question:

Is there any performance defecit for running windows, dual boot on the mac. Would applications run faster in OS X?

Short answer is NO. Both Windows and OSX will run extremely well on iMac.

However there's one thing you should investigate: CUDA. I did not reaearch this topic much, so feel free anyone to correct me if I am wrong. Photoshop supports CUDA on nVidia. All current iMacs are with AMD/ATI graphics. This means that on iMac Photoshop will rely on CPU only (both Windows and OSX), while on some PC with nVidia it will be able to offload a lot of calculations to graphics card, which should make that PC faster and more responsive. And I repeat again - correct me if I'm wrong here.

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Edvinas
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Re: Who has switched to Mac - was it worth it?
In reply to Andystack, May 27, 2012

Andystack wrote:

for me the advantage of using a mac is the Apple Store. Living within walking distance of one is beyond convenient. They take care of any question or problem I have with my machine.

Problems?! Aren't Macs problem free ( shock! ) as Apple marketing and fanboys claim?

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gaussian blur
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Re: Who has switched to Mac - was it worth it?
In reply to Edvinas, May 27, 2012

Edvinas wrote:

However there's one thing you should investigate: CUDA. I did not reaearch this topic much, so feel free anyone to correct me if I am wrong. Photoshop supports CUDA on nVidia. All current iMacs are with AMD/ATI graphics. This means that on iMac Photoshop will rely on CPU only (both Windows and OSX), while on some PC with nVidia it will be able to offload a lot of calculations to graphics card, which should make that PC faster and more responsive. And I repeat again - correct me if I'm wrong here.

Completely wrong. Photoshop has supported offloading to the GPU since CS3 on both Mac and Windows.

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bravozulu
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Re: Who has switched to Mac - was it worth it?
In reply to gaussian blur, May 27, 2012

Last week I took a 4-hour lighting class from an old friend who shoots still photos for the studios. He is in a Hollywood guild, one of the lucky few.

I've been a Mac user since 1987. And was a publisher/editor for 35 years and directed scores of pro photographers.

Aside from the lighting lesson, my friend showed me his photo editing room. He shoots the equivalent of 1 wedding every day. He uses a Mac Pro Tower (overkill for most folks) and on sets uses a MacBook Pro. His workflow must be streamlined or he would go nuts.

For downloading photos and sorting/naming/cataloging he uses a program called Photo Mechanic. To demonstrate his power he did a gangload of 24 Gb of photos and then took the raw files and named them with sequential numbers in less than 30 seconds. PhotoMechanic does that kind of stuff. If he had to do lots of retouching he would opt for LightRoom. That's not his job, though. When he wants to adjust an image he does it in PhotoShop.

To adjust his eyes to the work environment, the walls are painted 18% grey. The lighting is just cheapo aquarium clip on lights with bulbs. All on a dimmer. Two big screens and an ergonomic chair.

About Macs. While in management I had to train dozens of juniors in the Mac. If I were to describe the differences from a PC I would phrase it as this. File handling in Macs is sort of a spatial task Just like knowing where you put your ski boots in the garage. PCs approach the matter through computer syntax. Root directories with lots of trees branching off. I wouldn't underestimate the learning investment you have in your present computer. Factor in the workload on you to use a new, foreign system. Are the features of a Mac worth it? They might not be.

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NikonDan1
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Re: Who has switched to Mac - was it worth it?
In reply to JediLight, May 28, 2012

I lived windows my whole life, even if that was only 19 years, before switching to a base mac mini in November. I beta tested vista and windows 7 for microsoft, and lived and died windows. I got the base mini, threw 8 gigs at it, and have not looked back. I have far fewer issues with OSX, and while it is different, it isn't anything you cannot adjust too. I love the iCloud with my iPhone and iPad, and love the form factor of the computer. And with what windows 8 is looking like, I think I switched at the right time, as I tested 8 a little bit, and it doesn't look like it will be good for the traditional computer user like myself, difficult to use with a mouse. I would switch, worse comes to worse you can use boot camp, but I have never found the need too.

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Tom_N
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Re: Who has switched to Mac - was it worth it?
In reply to gaussian blur, May 28, 2012

gaussian blur wrote:

Edvinas wrote:

However there's one thing you should investigate: CUDA. I did not reaearch this topic much, so feel free anyone to correct me if I am wrong. Photoshop supports CUDA on nVidia. All current iMacs are with AMD/ATI graphics. This means that on iMac Photoshop will rely on CPU only (both Windows and OSX), while on some PC with nVidia it will be able to offload a lot of calculations to graphics card, which should make that PC faster and more responsive. And I repeat again - correct me if I'm wrong here.

Completely wrong. Photoshop has supported offloading to the GPU since CS3 on both Mac and Windows.

Yes, but using which APIs? CUDA was an early, nVidia-proprietary API, and some of the acceleration in early versions of Photoshop may have been specific to it. OpenCL is an attempt to address the same type of problems as CUDA, but in a more vendor-neutral way. I don't know about third-party plug-in vendors, but it looks like Adobe has switched to the OpenCL API in CS6:

Adobe wrote:

The Mercury Graphics Engine (MGE) represents features that use video card, or GPU, acceleration … MGE is new to Photoshop CS6, and uses both the OpenGL and OpenCL frameworks. It does not use the proprietary CUDA framework from nVidia.
http://forums.adobe.com/thread/979969

So what you would want is a graphics chipset that has OpenCL driver support, and good performance on typical photo processing tasks. That could be a Nvidia chipset, but there is nothing saying that it has to be.

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Andystack
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Re: Who has switched to Mac - was it worth it?
In reply to Edvinas, May 28, 2012

well, a typical mac problem for me was taking in my 5 year old out of warranty laptop because the battery would not hold a charge anymore and they replaced it for free, things like that.

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Re: Who has switched to Mac - was it worth it?
In reply to 7enderbender, May 28, 2012

7enderbender wrote:

you are locked in and at the mercy of Apple Inc. as to what your current and future hardware can and can not do, which ports you are supposed to use - and even which format to use for your backup drives etc.

That's nonsense. You are no more "locked in" than using a computer with Microsoft's OS. In fact, you are even more open since you can obviously install Windows on any Mac.

My biggest beef with Mac though are the screens. They're just not good even though hard-core Mac fans will be up in arms about that statement. Especially for photography I see many issues with all Mac screens, except maybe for the 17" MBP hi res screen. The iMacs are due for an update and I hope Apple will offer a non-glossy version with more resolution and real estate as they currently have.

That's even bigger nonsense. Apple is well known in the industry for having some of the best screens available and certainly the best when it comes to the iMac. Outside of a new and more expensive all-in-one from HP there are no 27" all-in-ones not only running at high resolution but also with an IPS LCD.

Your preference for a blurred matte screen doesn't change that.

So it's a waiting game at the moment to see which direction things are going by the end of the year or so. At them moment I'm considering a Mac Mini with a good screen, something like the Asus PA246Q, a 24" hi res screen geared towards photographers and other arts folks. If that works maybe even two of those screens. That's still less than the Mac Thunderbolt display. And if that works I might then upgrade to a Mac Pro one day - if Apple continues to make them.

At current prices that would make two of those displays the same cost, not less. You would also be dealing with an inferior pixel density.

And the latter may go away with the advent of "retina" displays which may increase "resolution" but then doubling everything in size effectively reducing the real estate on the screen. That's a no-go for LR and PS (and Cubase etc).

How do you reduce "real estate" with retina displays? You would gain at the expense of smaller elements.

Sorry to go on a tangent here but sometimes you just need to spell it out. It's a pretty expensive decision and now seems to be a good time to switch direction. It's funny how many PC users appear to be thinking along those lines at the moment even > though PCs are really better then ever.

I use Windows 7 in addition to my Macs and while it is better than Vista it isn't that much better.

There are many benefits to owning a Mac. Here are some.

  • No third party bloatware

  • Typically better performance with identical software

  • Superior customer service and tech support

  • Superior build quality

  • Often superior components, such as high resolution IPS LCDs on the iMac

  • A higher likelihood of reliability compared to others making many different models

  • Tasteful and minimalist design to fit in anywhere

  • A generally simpler and easier to use interface

  • Still not targeted by endless amounts of malware and viruses

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Lose the childish "fanboy" insults already!
In reply to Edvinas, May 28, 2012

Edvinas wrote:

Andystack wrote:

for me the advantage of using a mac is the Apple Store. Living within walking distance of one is beyond convenient. They take care of any question or problem I have with my machine.

Problems?! Aren't Macs problem free ( shock! ) as Apple marketing and fanboys claim?

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Edvinas

Anything as complicated as a computer can run into issues.

Lets be adult about this and lose the insults like "fanboys," OK? It's childish and the kind of silliness and disrespect you see on trashy tech forums like Engadget.

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Peter Rongsted
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Re: Who has switched to Mac - was it worth it?
In reply to Edvinas, May 28, 2012

Edvinas wrote:

However there's one thing you should investigate: CUDA. I did not reaearch this topic much, so feel free anyone to correct me if I am wrong. Photoshop supports CUDA on nVidia. All current iMacs are with AMD/ATI graphics. This means that on iMac Photoshop will rely on CPU only (both Windows and OSX), while on some PC with nVidia it will be able to offload a lot of calculations to graphics card, which should make that PC faster and more responsive. And I repeat again - correct me if I'm wrong here.

It looks like Adobe is turning away from CUDA and more towards OpenGL and OpenCL.

Check this faq about GPUs and Photoshop CS6 on Adobe's site:
http://helpx.adobe.com/photoshop/kb/photoshop-cs6-gpu-faq.html

Peter

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Tom_N
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Re: Who has switched to Mac - was it worth it?
In reply to Peter Rongsted, May 28, 2012

Peter Rongsted wrote:

It looks like Adobe is turning away from CUDA and more towards OpenGL and OpenCL.

This page lists chipsets for which Mac OS X Lion has OpenCL support:

http://www.apple.com/macosx/specs.html

This third-party Web page that has similar information for Snow Leopard:

http://www.everymac.com/mac-answers/snow-leopard-mac-os-x-faq/mac-os-x-snow-leopard-opencl-macs-that-support-opencl.html

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