I'm trying to find here the best Mac to use with my Phase One IQ180. Any suggestion suggestion?

Started Feb 9, 2013 | Questions thread
kb2zuz Veteran Member • Posts: 3,202
Re: I'm trying to find here the best Mac to use with my Phase One IQ180. Any suggestion suggestion?

Keep in mind the answer is going to depend more on what program you use rather than just the file. I'm going to assume you'll be shooting into CaptureOne.

You want a lot of Memory, a very good video card (as many programs like CaptureOne will off load some processing to the graphics card), a reasonably fast processor (having an i7 over an i5 may give you more of an impact in the long run than a 3.2GHz vs a 3.4GHz processor), and a lot of storage.

I'd recommend a couple options:
If you already have a Mac Pro lying around (many studios do) upgrade the graphics card to a mid range 2GB card (check if CaptureOne recommends particular cards), install a lot of RAM (24GB would be a good starting point, more is better), and add a USB3.0 card to it. You can also add an SSD or two to it. But if you shoot with your files going to the SSD, it will likely fill up quickly so you'll have to have someone regularly move all the files off the SSD to a traditional hard disk  on a regular basis (before/after each shoot or maybe once a week or once a month depending on how much is shot). That will be a pretty fast, robust system. You can also add additional hard drives inside to have redundant back-ups. It packs up well if you have to shoot in different studios. This will also let you attach any monitor you like to it... like a nice Eizo CG276W or NEC-PA271.

If you want something new I'd probably lean towards the new 27" iMac. Bump the RAM up to 24-32GB (you can buy it base with 8GB and then buy RAM from a 3rd party such as Crucial.com or macsales.com for much cheaper and add it yourself). Make sure you choose the NVIDIA GeForce GTX 680MX 2GB GDDR5 video card option. The Fusion drive is nice in that it makes the computer start quicker, applications launch quicker, and repeatedly used files like your CaptureOne catalogue file might end up being quicker. However individual photos will still be normal speed (though it's still pretty fast). If you want you can get an external thunderbolt SSD drive or SSD RAID enclosure that will let you store your files to and they will be very fast. Unfortunately the 21.5" iMac does not let you upgrade the RAM after purchase and you can only get it with a max of 16GB. Also the video card is limited. The general downside with the iMac is that you are stuck with that big glossy screen and if you wanted a higher end NEC or Eizo monitor you have to have two big things on your desk.

Final option is good if you shoot on location a bit... a 15" MacBook Pro. Personally I'd get the non-retina model with 2.6GHz i7, upgrade the hard drive to at least the 7200RPM hard drive if not the 512GB SSD. Get the anti-glare display. It will come with 8GB of RAM but you can get an upgrade kit from macsales.com. There is also the retina MBP option, however I've heard people having issues when working with external monitors and in some situations it seems to get slowed down trying to display things on the super-high res screen. With either of these I'd also look at getting Belkin's thunderbolt dock which will let you plug multiple devices (monitor, hard drives, mouse, keyboard, speakers, etc.... and all connect it with just one thunderbolt plug. The RAM is a little low at 16GB, but that slightly slower speed will buy you much more portability.

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