which mac for photo editing

Started Apr 24, 2013 | Discussions
Pic Man
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which mac for photo editing
Apr 24, 2013

Hi, I'm looking to replace my 6 year old macbook with a newer model. My primary use for the computer will be photo editing using LR4 which I have now and CS6 which I will purchase sometime in the near future. My current macbook is fine for basic things like internet etc but slows down to frustratingly low speeds when I use LR4 and even snapseed. I have a strong preference for mac because it's all I've ever really used but I'm not ruling out a PC if it really is the best thing for my needs.

I'm looking to spend around a £1000 but can go higher if I think it's worth it. I've been looking around at different macs and this one seems to have the best specs for the money. Are the specs of this mac good enough, I'm a little worried that it's lacking in the graphics department. I'm not tech savvy so please advise.

Thankyou.

noirdesir
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Re: which mac for photo editing
In reply to Pic Man, Apr 24, 2013

Pic Man wrote:

I'm looking to spend around a £1000 but can go higher if I think it's worth it. I've been looking around at different macs and this one seems to have the best specs for the money. Are the specs of this mac good enough, I'm a little worried that it's lacking in the graphics department.

I have exactly this model (but I added an SSD and upped the RAM to 16 GB). When using it with a 24" monitor, there is occasionally a little bit of hesitation in the graphics displaying (eg, when adjusting an image). But otherwise it absolutely fine.

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Jen Yates
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Re: which mac for photo editing
In reply to Pic Man, Apr 24, 2013

Pic Man wrote:

this one seems to have the best specs for the money.

1. Don't buy from that supplier. It's cheaper than from Apple as it's a grey import of a non UK machine (IE the wrong keyboard). Buy from Apple.

2. It's a dual core machine. A quad core will give you better longevity.

3. The 13" screen size is a bit cramped but then you can use external screens of course.

4. HD 4000 is 'good enough' but if you try and do anything that needs a 'proper' GPU it will not be enough.

My recommendation, go for the 15" MBP.

Disclaimer: I have the retina MBP (16GB, 2.7, 512GB) , a huge upgrade from an older 13" MBP.

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hanny2
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Re: which mac for photo editing
In reply to Pic Man, Apr 25, 2013

Google will help you a lot in this time..

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Jacques Cornell
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Very happy with 13" MBP
In reply to noirdesir, Apr 26, 2013

noirdesir wrote:

Pic Man wrote:

I'm looking to spend around a £1000 but can go higher if I think it's worth it. I've been looking around at different macs and this one seems to have the best specs for the money. Are the specs of this mac good enough, I'm a little worried that it's lacking in the graphics department.

I have exactly this model (but I added an SSD and upped the RAM to 16 GB). When using it with a 24" monitor, there is occasionally a little bit of hesitation in the graphics displaying (eg, when adjusting an image). But otherwise it absolutely fine.

I have the same setup, except it's driving a 27" NEC PA271 with no hesitation at all. I shoot events and process 600-2000 RAW files at a time, and this little machine never breaks a sweat.

I invest in computers the way I invest in cameras: I buy just enough camera/computer and invest whatever's left over in the best lenses/monitor. In this case, the 13" MBP is more than enough.

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Pic Man
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Re: Very happy with 13" MBP
In reply to Jacques Cornell, Apr 28, 2013

Thanks for all your replies, it sounds like the macbook pro 13 may be enough for needs but I'll see what I can stretch in terms of funds and maybe go with a 15inch model.

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Johan Borg
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Re: which mac for photo editing
In reply to Jen Yates, May 3, 2013

Jen Yates wrote:

Pic Man wrote:

this one seems to have the best specs for the money.

No, as long as the software can handle 4 cores, the 15" models have far better specs for the money than the 13" ones.

2. It's a dual core machine. A quad core will give you better longevity.

My recommendation, go for the 15" MBP.

Disclaimer: I have the retina MBP (16GB, 2.7, 512GB) , a huge upgrade from an older 13" MBP.

I have the exact same machine as Jen and chose it for a very simple reason: Quad core. I would have preferred a 13" but when I tested my raw converter (Sigma Photo Pro) on both it turned out that the 4 cores of the 15" models (retina or not) finished the job in almost precisely half the time of the dual core processor in the 13" model - even if the 13" had higher clock speed.

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Jacques Cornell
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2.9GHz dual i7 vs. 2.3GHz & 2.7GHz quad i7 with Aperture
In reply to Johan Borg, May 3, 2013

Johan Borg wrote:

Jen Yates wrote:

Pic Man wrote:

this one seems to have the best specs for the money.

No, as long as the software can handle 4 cores, the 15" models have far better specs for the money than the 13" ones.

2. It's a dual core machine. A quad core will give you better longevity.

My recommendation, go for the 15" MBP.

Disclaimer: I have the retina MBP (16GB, 2.7, 512GB) , a huge upgrade from an older 13" MBP.

I have the exact same machine as Jen and chose it for a very simple reason: Quad core. I would have preferred a 13" but when I tested my raw converter (Sigma Photo Pro) on both it turned out that the 4 cores of the 15" models (retina or not) finished the job in almost precisely half the time of the dual core processor in the 13" model - even if the 13" had higher clock speed.

In my testing with Aperture and 21MP 1Ds3 RAW files, the 2.3GHz quad i7 and 2.7GHz quad i7 were 30% and 50% faster than the 2.9GHz dual i7 at exporting adjusted JPEGs. I shoot about 1000 shots per event job and deliver about 300. For me, this speed difference amounts to only about a 20 minute time savings out of 4-8 hours of postproduction, so I went with the 13" 2.9GHz dual i7 for portability. Any differences in responsiveness are barely perceptible, and the 13" has no trouble keeping up with fast-paced tethered shooting. I used some of the cost savings to bump RAM to 16GB and replace the optical drive with a 512GB SSD. The result is a pocket rocket that's 50-100% faster than my old 8-core Mac Pro.

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Pic Man
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Re: 2.9GHz dual i7 vs. 2.3GHz & 2.7GHz quad i7 with Aperture
In reply to Jacques Cornell, May 5, 2013

Thanks for your replies although I'm still a little unsure of what I should get. I live in taiwan and have been to a few of the mac stores and had a play with a few of the computers and noted the prices of each.

The retinas had very impressive displays and easily noticed the difference to the non retinas. They were also very noticeably faster when opening programmes which I guess is down to the ssd. However, I've been reading about some performance issues with the 13" model because of the lack of a dedicated graphics card on a computer with such a high res display. The 15" retina looks great but 256gb is a little on the small side (especially for the price). I could use an external but I'd prefer not to.

At the moment I'm pretty sure I'm going to go for a non retina. This way I can upgrade with cheaper parts. I can get a deal where I get a crucial M4 512gb ssd and a kingston 16gb RAM (I realise 16gb is probably overkill for my needs but the difference between the 8gb is only about £15) for 13,000 twd (£283). I'm set on the ssd because I've seen what a big difference it makes to the speed of the computer. I can also put the original HDD in the optical drive later down the line If I'm running out of storage.

Here are the prices of the options I've narrowed it down to. All including the ssd and ram upgrade.

1. 13" i5 2.5 ghz - 50,900NT (£1108)

2. 13" i7 2.9 ghz - 60,900NT (£1326)

3. 15" i7 2.3 ghz - 70,900NT (£1544)

Number 1 is obviously most affordable and it comes at a price that is almost exactly what my tax rebate is. From what I've read the i5 is still a pretty quick processor even though it's only a dual core. I'm kind of leaning towards this one mainly because of price.

Number 2 has a faster dual core processor but because I'm not going to be using the extra storage space and RAM that this package offers an extra £218 seems a bit excessive for a little extra clock speed.

Number 3 has a quad core processor which I've read is a big improvement plus a 512gb dedicated graphics card and a 15" screen. On the downside it's 40 - 50% more expensive than number 1.

I can afford to buy all of these models but I'm not rich so I don't want to spend more unless it really will make a big difference to how the computer will perform. As I said before my primary use of this computer will be LR4 with a little use in CS6. I will also use it for music, internet some word processing etc. Another thing is I don't import thousands of photos every week, maybe 50-100 a week. Which would you get? Thanks.

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Jacques Cornell
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Re: 2.9GHz dual i7 vs. 2.3GHz & 2.7GHz quad i7 with Aperture
In reply to Pic Man, May 6, 2013

Pic Man wrote:

Here are the prices of the options I've narrowed it down to. All including the ssd and ram upgrade.

1. 13" i5 2.5 ghz - 50,900NT (£1108)

2. 13" i7 2.9 ghz - 60,900NT (£1326)

3. 15" i7 2.3 ghz - 70,900NT (£1544)

Number 1 is obviously most affordable and it comes at a price that is almost exactly what my tax rebate is. From what I've read the i5 is still a pretty quick processor even though it's only a dual core. I'm kind of leaning towards this one mainly because of price.

Number 2 has a faster dual core processor but because I'm not going to be using the extra storage space and RAM that this package offers an extra £218 seems a bit excessive for a little extra clock speed.

Number 3 has a quad core processor which I've read is a big improvement plus a 512gb dedicated graphics card and a 15" screen. On the downside it's 40 - 50% more expensive than number 1.

For 50-100 photos a week, any of these will be plenty fast enough. I run about 500-1000 photos per job through my 13" i7 2.9GHz, and it's all I could ask for. I don't know about LR performance, but I can say that the lack of a dedicated graphics card is a complete non-issue in terms of Aperture performance. Like I said, we can talk about theoretical advantages of dedicated graphics and quad cores, etc., ad nauseum. But, in my professional experience running a high-volume business with Aperture, #2 is entirely satisfactory and a great deal.

I should note that the difference between #1 and #2 is more than "a little extra clock speed." The i7 processor has "hyperthreading", which creates four virtual cores. It is substantially faster than an i5 processor. That said, I did not test an i5 MBP, so I don't know how big the difference is.

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Pic Man
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Re: 2.9GHz dual i7 vs. 2.3GHz & 2.7GHz quad i7 with Aperture
In reply to Jacques Cornell, May 6, 2013

Majikthize wrote:

Pic Man wrote:

Here are the prices of the options I've narrowed it down to. All including the ssd and ram upgrade.

1. 13" i5 2.5 ghz - 50,900NT (£1108)

2. 13" i7 2.9 ghz - 60,900NT (£1326)

3. 15" i7 2.3 ghz - 70,900NT (£1544)

Number 1 is obviously most affordable and it comes at a price that is almost exactly what my tax rebate is. From what I've read the i5 is still a pretty quick processor even though it's only a dual core. I'm kind of leaning towards this one mainly because of price.

Number 2 has a faster dual core processor but because I'm not going to be using the extra storage space and RAM that this package offers an extra £218 seems a bit excessive for a little extra clock speed.

Number 3 has a quad core processor which I've read is a big improvement plus a 512gb dedicated graphics card and a 15" screen. On the downside it's 40 - 50% more expensive than number 1.

For 50-100 photos a week, any of these will be plenty fast enough. I run about 500-1000 photos per job through my 13" i7 2.9GHz, and it's all I could ask for. I don't know about LR performance, but I can say that the lack of a dedicated graphics card is a complete non-issue in terms of Aperture performance. Like I said, we can talk about theoretical advantages of dedicated graphics and quad cores, etc., ad nauseum. But, in my professional experience running a high-volume business with Aperture, #2 is entirely satisfactory and a great deal.

I should note that the difference between #1 and #2 is more than "a little extra clock speed." The i7 processor has "hyperthreading", which creates four virtual cores. It is substantially faster than an i5 processor. That said, I did not test an i5 MBP, so I don't know how big the difference is.

Apparently the i5 does support hyperthreading. Look here. The i5 is 3210m and I think the i7 is 3520m. The i7 according to benchmark is 14% faster but I'm wondering how much difference i'll see in real use.

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Johan Borg
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Re: 2.9GHz dual i7 vs. 2.3GHz & 2.7GHz quad i7 with Aperture
In reply to Pic Man, May 6, 2013

Pic Man wrote:

Majikthize wrote:

I should note that the difference between #1 and #2 is more than "a little extra clock speed." The i7 processor has "hyperthreading", which creates four virtual cores. It is substantially faster than an i5 processor. That said, I did not test an i5 MBP, so I don't know how big the difference is.

Apparently the i5 does support hyperthreading. Look here. The i5 is 3210m and I think the i7 is 3520m. The i7 according to benchmark is 14% faster but I'm wondering how much difference i'll see in real use.

Yes, it's the quad-core *desktop* models of i7 that offer hyperthreading where the quad-core i5 don't. For laptops, a dual core i5 has the same number of threads as a dual core i7. You need a quad core (15") to gain much more than clock speed.

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Jacques Cornell
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Well, whaddya know?
In reply to Johan Borg, May 6, 2013

Johan Borg wrote:

Pic Man wrote:

Majikthize wrote:

I should note that the difference between #1 and #2 is more than "a little extra clock speed." The i7 processor has "hyperthreading", which creates four virtual cores. It is substantially faster than an i5 processor. That said, I did not test an i5 MBP, so I don't know how big the difference is.

Apparently the i5 does support hyperthreading. Look here. The i5 is 3210m and I think the i7 is 3520m. The i7 according to benchmark is 14% faster but I'm wondering how much difference i'll see in real use.

Yes, it's the quad-core *desktop* models of i7 that offer hyperthreading where the quad-core i5 don't. For laptops, a dual core i5 has the same number of threads as a dual core i7. You need a quad core (15") to gain much more than clock speed.

Huh. I wonder if that changed somewhere along the way. Well, thanks, guys. I learn something new every day.

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