Workstation choices - high end PC or Mac Pro

Started Feb 5, 2014 | Discussions thread
Jim Cockfield Forum Pro • Posts: 16,333
P.S. - see the article Mac Pro fans are referencing...

BTW, see the article that Mac Pro fans are often linking to:

"Also note that OS X still has no 30-bit (10 bits per channel) color output, which is supported by the FirePro cards in Windows and Linux. Hopefully Apple can address this sooner rather than later."

That's the last sentence on this page:

Personally, I wouldn't worry about it (as I doubt my old eyes are going to see much difference between 16.7 Million Color combinations versus 1.07 Billion color combinations on a display anyway. But, fans of 30 bit (10 bit per channel color) will tell you they see less banding with 30 bit color, using apps like Photoshop that support it, providing you're using a Pro Level card and drivers with it (you'll need a Quadro or Firepro card with CS6, and you'll probably need an Nvidia Quadro card with Photoshop CC to get that feature working).

Again, very few apps support 10 bits per channel color in Windows (Photoshop will provided you have the latest "Pro" level cards and drivers, but apps like Capture One are still going to be limited to 10 bits per channel color); and both the Windows and Apple Operating Systems are limited to 8 bits per channel output to a display now (requiring highly customized code and drivers to allow 10 bit per channel color within Windows, since the other portions of the screen are still at 8 bits per channel).

So, unless Apple and Microsoft support the higher bit depth by default, I suspect we'll see a lot of "hacks" used by apps like Photoshop going forward, which will be limited to very specific applications and video card chipsets; versus something you can expect from applications by default (and right this minute, no apps under OS X support 10 bit per channel color; and only very few apps support it under Windows, and only with specific video card chipsets and drivers).

Now, with Linux, 10 bit per channel is much easier, as the OS supports it, as well as apps providing the drivers support it (and Nvidia drivers for both GeForce and Quadro cards support 10 bit per channel color under Linux).  With AMD Radeon cards, you'd still need a Firepro card to get 10 bit per channel color in Linux.  But, that's just because AMD is trying to get users to pay for the more expensive Firepro series cards, even though they could provide drivers for the Radeon cards to let you have that feature.

But, back to the point.. for your use for still photo editing with the apps you're using (Photoshop, Capture One), a Mac Pro would be a "huge" waste of money, as your apps are not going to take advantage of it's dual Firepro cards. So, I'd stick to a new PC running around $1K instead, as you're just not gong to see any benefit from a new Mac Pro compared to a much less expensive system.

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