Time to buy a new machine for editing. Needing advice please.

Started Jun 16, 2013 | Discussions
gdourado
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Time to buy a new machine for editing. Needing advice please.
Jun 16, 2013

Hello,

How are you? So, I am currently shopping around for a new machine mainly for photo-editing and some video I have been shooting with the V1. Video is not the main purpose of the machine though. Stills are. I will be using Lightroom 5 and photoshop the most, together with Nik software plugins. I will also do some very light productivity like word documents and spreadsheets. I will also be using the machine to store my media library, mainly music.

First I was deciding between the whole laptop vs desktop issue...

I liked a laptop, but it will always be a compromise and price/performance ratio will always be worth than a desktop machine. I already have an iPad 4 and I will probably keep my 13 macbook, so I guess I will forget the retina MBP and focus on a desktop machine.

Since I have been using OSX for 6 years now, I would like to continue using it. It is not a must, but I like the simplicity and the just works approach. Two weeks ago I got a new laptop from work, a Samsung series 5 and on the second day I had a double accents problem...

Moving on, since I don't have an unlimited budget, because I would also like to buy the Sigma 35mm and my current cameras are the D200, D700 and V1, so not many megapixels, I was thinking about a 21.5 inch iMac.

I saw a nice base model 2.7 i5, 8gb, 1tb hdd and GT640, refurb for 900. That is an excellent price, but I am not sure about the performance of the machine.

When I was looking online, I then went to explore the hackintosh route. I spec'd the following:

Case: Fractal Design Define R4 - 80

PSU: LC Power Giant Series 650W - 45

Mainboard: Gygabyte GA-Z77X-UD5H - 165

CPU: Core i5 3570K - 178

Memory: Corsair Vengeance 2x8gb DDR3 1600 - 100

HDD: Seagate Barracuda 7200.14 2TB - 70

GPU: Gygabyte GTX 650 TI 1GB GDDR5 - 102

Display: Dell U2412M - 210

The total comes to 950, just 50 more than the base iMac 21.5.

If I would like, I could upgrade the CPU to a core i7 3770K and add a Sandisk extreme 240gb SSD for system drive and the total would come to 1180.

I have read that hackintosh install with the current multibeast methods and al the tools is now more straight-forward than ever and I could add more hard-drives and ram in the future and a second U2412 and have a pretty sick machine. But would the potential hassles be worth it?

What is your take on my options and your recommendations?

Please help me out here. Thank you.

Cheers!

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Doug R
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Re: Time to buy a new machine for editing. Needing advice please.
In reply to gdourado, Jun 16, 2013

I have to computers with that motherboard both boot into OSX as well as Windows 7 or windows 8. Both are overclocked and run OSX as if your were on a real mac and OS updates are very easy run multi-beast and reinstall the sound drivers and its done takes about 30 seconds. Took some tinkering with the bios to get sleep working just right but now sleeps better than Windows. If you have the desire to Hackintosh you will end up with a machine that outperforms any Mac you can buy today. ( and probably the new Mac Pro for Photoshop and Lightroom anyway ) good luck.

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Howard Moftich
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Re: Time to buy a new machine for editing. Needing advice please.
In reply to Doug R, Jun 16, 2013

+1

I have exactly that setup (w/ a 3770).  Works great

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Jen Yates
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Re: Time to buy a new machine for editing. Needing advice please.
In reply to gdourado, Jun 17, 2013

gdourado wrote:

But would the potential hassles be worth it?

No way. Having run a hackintosh (not the first time) for a while while waiting for the retina macbooks to first come out I will say definitely not.

Too much hassle. Yes it's 'easier than ever' but that's only until something goes wrong and then you find all the standard Mac ways of 'things just working' go out of the window.

Running a hackintosh is only slightly more hassle than running a windows PC, but running a real Mac is a lot LESS hassle than running a windows PC.

Either run windows on PC hardware or run OSX on Mac hardware (or run Windows on Mac hardware).

Please don't try and run OSX on PC hardware. You'll be fine UNTIL something breaks and then you'll regret it.

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gdourado
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Re: Time to buy a new machine for editing. Needing advice please.
In reply to Jen Yates, Jun 17, 2013

Hello,
Thank you all for participating with your helpfull insights.
Following some sugestions, I started looking at Mac Minis.
Since I have a somewhat limited knowledge of the model, I have some questions.

First is if the i7 2.6 is worth it over the i7 2.3. The cost difference is around 120 Euros.
Will the 2.6 give a performance increase that is noticiable?

The other question is about the fusion drive. Is it worth to get the Apple fusion drive? Or am I better getting the regular 1tb version and then add a 240gb ssd myself and run two drives, the SSD for system and apps and the hdd for photo and media libraries?

Thank you for your help.
Cheers!
--
My blog:
http://g-d-photography.blogspot.pt

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golf4food
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Re: Time to buy a new machine for editing. Needing advice please.
In reply to gdourado, Jun 17, 2013

The i7 upgrade is something that you will not see too much improvement.  The standard i7 is fine.  Get the Fusion drive!!!  You will see a BIG improvement in speed.  Do not open up the Mac Mini unless you have too.  It is tight!  An i7 Mac Mini with a Fusion Drive is a great machine!  You can add RAM yourself.  I have 16gig in mine.  You can use a USB3 drive for external storage, and you will be VERY pleased.

Kevin

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Doug R
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Re: Time to buy a new machine for editing. Needing advice please.
In reply to Jen Yates, Jun 17, 2013

Jen Yates wrote:

gdourado wrote:

But would the potential hassles be worth it?

No way. Having run a hackintosh (not the first time) for a while while waiting for the retina macbooks to first come out I will say definitely not.

Too much hassle. Yes it's 'easier than ever' but that's only until something goes wrong and then you find all the standard Mac ways of 'things just working' go out of the window.

Running a hackintosh is only slightly more hassle than running a windows PC, but running a real Mac is a lot LESS hassle than running a windows PC.

Either run windows on PC hardware or run OSX on Mac hardware (or run Windows on Mac hardware).

Please don't try and run OSX on PC hardware. You'll be fine UNTIL something breaks and then you'll regret it.

What went wrong while you were recently running your Hackintosh? On mine the only components that don't run natively under OSX are the sound and ethernet both could if I desired be replaced with parts that are native for a total of $20 at witch point even updates to the OS wouldn't be a concern.

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MikeFromMesa
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Re: Time to buy a new machine for editing. Needing advice please.
In reply to golf4food, Jun 17, 2013

golf4food wrote:

You can use a USB3 drive for external storage, and you will be VERY pleased.

Forgive this question since I am not currently a Mac user (only looking for a Mac configuration to convert to) but why would someone use a USB 3 external drive rather than a Thunderbolt drive? Does the Mini not have Thunderbolt connections? Or are Thunderbolt drives not working properly yet? Or is it a cost consideration.

Honest question. Not trolling.

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Tom_N
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Re: Time to buy a new machine for editing. Needing advice please.
In reply to MikeFromMesa, Jun 17, 2013

MikeFromMesa wrote:

golf4food wrote:

You can use a USB3 drive for external storage, and you will be VERY pleased.

Forgive this question since I am not currently a Mac user (only looking for a Mac configuration to convert to) but why would someone use a USB 3 external drive rather than a Thunderbolt drive? Does the Mini not have Thunderbolt connections? Or are Thunderbolt drives not working properly yet? Or is it a cost consideration.

The Mini has Thunderbolt, and there are Thunderbolt-based drive enclosures that work properly.  The issue is that USB 3 drives are much cheaper than Thunderbolt drives, and that a single mechanical hard drive generally will not be fast enough for the choice of Thunderbolt vs. USB 3.0 to makes a difference.  (Either way, the drive will be the bottleneck.)

If you were talking about a RAID or about an external SSD, it might be worthwhile to spend extra for a Thunderbolt enclosure.

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unknown member
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Re: Time to buy a new machine for editing. Needing advice please.
In reply to golf4food, Jun 18, 2013

golf4food wrote:

The i7 upgrade is something that you will not see too much improvement. The standard i7 is fine. Get the Fusion drive!!! You will see a BIG improvement in speed. Do not open up the Mac Mini unless you have too. It is tight! An i7 Mac Mini with a Fusion Drive is a great machine! You can add RAM yourself. I have 16gig in mine. You can use a USB3 drive for external storage, and you will be VERY pleased.

Kevin

As long as you are good with working on small parts the Mac mini is actually Apple's easiest computer to take apart to service and upgrade. It is very tight but extremely well engineered and designed and everything comes apart and goes back together very easily. I can take the mini apart in less than five minutes.

That said, the Fusion drive is highly recommended and then in the future you could open the mini and replace both drives. Great little computer. I use a 2010 model for a HTPC.

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Re: Time to buy a new machine for editing. Needing advice please.
In reply to Tom_N, Jun 18, 2013

Tom_N wrote:

MikeFromMesa wrote:

golf4food wrote:

You can use a USB3 drive for external storage, and you will be VERY pleased.

Forgive this question since I am not currently a Mac user (only looking for a Mac configuration to convert to) but why would someone use a USB 3 external drive rather than a Thunderbolt drive? Does the Mini not have Thunderbolt connections? Or are Thunderbolt drives not working properly yet? Or is it a cost consideration.

The Mini has Thunderbolt, and there are Thunderbolt-based drive enclosures that work properly. The issue is that USB 3 drives are much cheaper than Thunderbolt drives, and that a single mechanical hard drive generally will not be fast enough for the choice of Thunderbolt vs. USB 3.0 to makes a difference. (Either way, the drive will be the bottleneck.)

If you were talking about a RAID or about an external SSD, it might be worthwhile to spend extra for a Thunderbolt enclosure.

Not "might be," it would be the only way to take advantage of such types of storage system's high speed.

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Re: Time to buy a new machine for editing. Needing advice please.
In reply to Doug R, Jun 18, 2013

Doug R wrote:

Jen Yates wrote:

gdourado wrote:

But would the potential hassles be worth it?

No way. Having run a hackintosh (not the first time) for a while while waiting for the retina macbooks to first come out I will say definitely not.

Too much hassle. Yes it's 'easier than ever' but that's only until something goes wrong and then you find all the standard Mac ways of 'things just working' go out of the window.

Running a hackintosh is only slightly more hassle than running a windows PC, but running a real Mac is a lot LESS hassle than running a windows PC.

Either run windows on PC hardware or run OSX on Mac hardware (or run Windows on Mac hardware).

Please don't try and run OSX on PC hardware. You'll be fine UNTIL something breaks and then you'll regret it.

What went wrong while you were recently running your Hackintosh? On mine the only components that don't run natively under OSX are the sound and ethernet both could if I desired be replaced with parts that are native for a total of $20 at witch point even updates to the OS wouldn't be a concern.

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Doug

His advice is correct, especially for the average computer user. Besides, what you are doing is illegal.

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gdourado
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Re: Time to buy a new machine for editing. Needing advice please.
In reply to Basalite, Jun 19, 2013

Anyone use the retina MBP in the scaled modes of 1680x1050 or 1920x1200 for photo editing in lightroom and photoshop?
How does the image look? And the performance?

Cheers!

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gdourado
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Re: Time to buy a new machine for editing. Needing advice please.
In reply to gdourado, Jun 19, 2013

I have found this comment on the Apple forums. Is it accurate?

They ONLY are optimized for 1440x900 on the 15" mbp's !!!

If you try to use the display at 1920x1200 or 1680x1050 ALL the pixels will be BLURRY for pictures, video, anything that the computer does not draw itself.

I'll explain.

Basically the native resolution of the retina display is 2880x1800.

so if you're using 1440x900 then everything is perfect (which is why apple recommends it). Every pixel can be mapped to 2 pixels of the retina display, and everything is sharp.

Many of us know that 1440x900 isn't enough for many types of work (programming, graphics, video editing, web development).

so you want to use the larger resolutions provided (1920x1200 or 1680x1050).

Unfortunately, this means there's no direct relation between the pixels you want to use, and the native screen, so apple interpretes EVERYTHING.

Every single (clear) pixel, gets blurred with it's neighbors, or displaced and doubled, changing the size and shape of the displayed images.

Imagine two grids. One is 2x2 (4 pixels total). The other is 3x3.
Now if you scale up the 2x2 to the 3x3, you'd think you'd be ok, because the 3x3 is bigger, but what do you do with the middle pixel? Which corner's color does it get?

if you choose any color, you distort the image, so the only choice is a blurred mix of all 4 colors. It's a mess.

So a movie can easily look great on a desktop with a native resolution of 1920x1200, but if the macbook has the same resolution (1920x1200) it has to blur all the pixels to match the resolution.

As a photographer all I can say is...

no thanks.

I'm waiting for a 17" macbook pro with a decent native resolution, or it's time for another brand of computer.

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MikeFromMesa
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Re: Time to buy a new machine for editing. Needing advice please.
In reply to gdourado, Jun 19, 2013

gdourado wrote:

I have found this comment on the Apple forums. Is it accurate?

They ONLY are optimized for 1440x900 on the 15" mbp's !!!

If you try to use the display at 1920x1200 or 1680x1050 ALL the pixels will be BLURRY for pictures, video, anything that the computer does not draw itself.

I'll explain.

Basically the native resolution of the retina display is 2880x1800.

so if you're using 1440x900 then everything is perfect (which is why apple recommends it). Every pixel can be mapped to 2 pixels of the retina display, and everything is sharp.

Many of us know that 1440x900 isn't enough for many types of work (programming, graphics, video editing, web development).

so you want to use the larger resolutions provided (1920x1200 or 1680x1050).

Unfortunately, this means there's no direct relation between the pixels you want to use, and the native screen, so apple interpretes EVERYTHING.

Every single (clear) pixel, gets blurred with it's neighbors, or displaced and doubled, changing the size and shape of the displayed images.

Imagine two grids. One is 2x2 (4 pixels total). The other is 3x3.
Now if you scale up the 2x2 to the 3x3, you'd think you'd be ok, because the 3x3 is bigger, but what do you do with the middle pixel? Which corner's color does it get?

if you choose any color, you distort the image, so the only choice is a blurred mix of all 4 colors. It's a mess.

So a movie can easily look great on a desktop with a native resolution of 1920x1200, but if the macbook has the same resolution (1920x1200) it has to blur all the pixels to match the resolution.

As a photographer all I can say is...

no thanks.

I'm waiting for a 17" macbook pro with a decent native resolution, or it's time for another brand of computer.

Since I am off to the store to check out the MBP anyway I will see what the 1920 x 1200 resolution looks like when viewing photos and videos. I have some digital photos and videos that I took with my Canon DSLR and will see how they look although the store machine will only have the stock apps on the machine. No Aperture, no LightRoom, no Photoshop. Perhaps it will tell me something anyway.

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gdourado
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Re: Time to buy a new machine for editing. Needing advice please.
In reply to MikeFromMesa, Jun 19, 2013

That would be really helpfull. Thank you!

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Doug R
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Re: Time to buy a new machine for editing. Needing advice please.
In reply to gdourado, Jun 19, 2013

Apple has discontinued the 17" MBP its reasonable to assume that hell will freeze over before they change their minds.

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Erik Bailey
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Re: Time to buy a new machine for editing. Needing advice please.
In reply to gdourado, Jun 19, 2013

Anyone use the retina MBP in the scaled modes of 1680x1050 or 1920x1200 for photo editing in lightroom and photoshop?

How does the image look? And the performance?

I have a 3.0GHz 13" rMBP that I use for Lightroom and Final Cut Pro. This is my first Mac in 20 years, and I can say without hesitation that it is the best laptop I have ever used.

I use the screen in the top resolution (1680x1050). I notice NO pixelization or fuzziness. I can honestly say that I cannot tell that it is a non-native resolution.

For fun, I have also tried the "screen native" mode of 2560x1600 via QuickRes. Works great, but too small to be actually usable. 1680x1050 is perfect.

Performance is great, look is great. What more could you ask for?

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gdourado
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Re: Time to buy a new machine for editing. Needing advice please.
In reply to Erik Bailey, Jun 19, 2013

Erik Bailey wrote:

Anyone use the retina MBP in the scaled modes of 1680x1050 or 1920x1200 for photo editing in lightroom and photoshop?

How does the image look? And the performance?

I have a 3.0GHz 13" rMBP that I use for Lightroom and Final Cut Pro. This is my first Mac in 20 years, and I can say without hesitation that it is the best laptop I have ever used.

I use the screen in the top resolution (1680x1050). I notice NO pixelization or fuzziness. I can honestly say that I cannot tell that it is a non-native resolution.

For fun, I have also tried the "screen native" mode of 2560x1600 via QuickRes. Works great, but too small to be actually usable. 1680x1050 is perfect.

Performance is great, look is great. What more could you ask for?

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Hello, how are you?

When you use 1680x1050 do you do pixel level retouching, like working on an image with 300% magnification? Is there no blurry or fuziness? Also, how is the performance at the scaled resolution with the Intel 4000?

Cheers!

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Erik Bailey
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Re: Time to buy a new machine for editing. Needing advice please.
In reply to gdourado, Jun 19, 2013

gdourado wrote:

When you use 1680x1050 do you do pixel level retouching, like working on an image with 300% magnification? Is there no blurry or fuziness? Also, how is the performance at the scaled resolution with the Intel 4000?

Yes - I've gone as high as 11:1 (1100%). I do most of my work at 1:1, but go to 3:1 or 4:1 if I need to get in close. Never noticed any issues with performance related to graphics. However, I use LR almost exclusively so I'm not doing true "pixel level" work. I wouldn't say things are instantaneous (what in life is?), but they are sufficient for my needs. All this in an easily-portable package? For <$2K? I'll take it!

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Canon EOS 7D Canon EF-S 17-55mm f/2.8 IS USM Sigma 120-300mm F2.8 EX DG OS HSM Canon EF 70-200mm f/4L IS USM Sigma 85mm F1.4 EX DG HSM +1 more
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