Do you need a new Mac Pro for photography Applications?

Joined
Feb 28, 2006
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Plenty of opinions on the new Mac Pro, but it makes me wonder. Phil Schiller talked to the audience about using OpenCL , and that if you weren't, you should. Well, I don't and I am not sure that 7 Tera Flops is something I need.

So my question is... do you really need it? I have a 2011 iMac with a combo HD and SSD, 16 GB RAM, Quad Core Hyper Thread Turbo 3.4 GHZ. This thing is pretty darn fast, faster than some current Mac Pros. And for photo manipulation, it seems a bit overkill.

So, if you are doing photography only, not 3D Video 4K Graphics HD rendering, do you need a Mac Pro?

Is there a paradigm shift that we photographers need to make?
 
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Walter Rowe
I think even Aperture can take advantage of the GPU teraflops in demosaicing and rendering raw files into RGB, downsizing them for previews, applying adjustments, etc. I wouldn't be surprised if other photograph apps like Lightroom, Photoshop, CaptureOne, DxO Optics, Photo Mechanic, etc, also can take advantage of it through the Apple APIs.
 
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Are you unhappy with the performance of your current system.


If you want to do things faster get the new Mac pro. I doubt you NEED to because current systems are doing photo editing just fine. There isn't going to be a major paradigm shift.
 
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Are you unhappy with the performance of your current system.


If you want to do things faster get the new Mac pro. I doubt you NEED to because current systems are doing photo editing just fine. There isn't going to be a major paradigm shift.
+1.....at this point, I'm not really sure how the new Mac Pro meshes with day to day photography requirements. In my mind, the new MP's capabilities have placed it far ahead of the photo applications we use. I am looking forward to the new MP being put into daily use by photographers.....perhaps it will drive a new plateau of editing capabilities :cool:
 
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I installed a SSD in my dual quad core Mac Pro for the OS and programs, then boosted RAM to 16GB. For photographs this is all I need. Lightroom responds instantaneously and the sliders work smoothly. There is no hesitation.
The reason I'd prefer the new Mac Pro is for video editing and programs like Apple Motion.
 
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Feb 7, 2005
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In a word, no. I have the latest MacPro 6 core. We're talking about increases in processing speed of fractions of a second from the current model for processing photography. The only significant improvement I saw with this MP over my 2006 one was transcoding a Blu-Ray movie from .mkv to .mp4. It does it twice as fast. I usually only buy perhaps two BR discs a month so I would not consider buying the new MP for processing images.
 
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I installed a SSD in my dual quad core Mac Pro for the OS and programs, then boosted RAM to 16GB. For photographs this is all I need. Lightroom responds instantaneously and the sliders work smoothly. There is no hesitation.
The reason I'd prefer the new Mac Pro is for video editing and programs like Apple Motion.
Greg, what SSD did you install? Now that the new MP has been announced, I believe a SSD coupled with existing 32GB RAM in my 4,1 MP will meet my photo related needs for some time to come.
 
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I have to ask what y'all are doing with photo editing (not video) that takes so much computing power?

I have an older Mac Pro 3.1 (Early 2008, 8 core, 2.8 Ghz, 8 GB Ram), and it screams along with CS5. Everything I do in Photoshop (multiple layers, etc.) is pretty much instantaneous. There is no hesitation whatsoever, and the sliders are smooth as silk. The only "modification" I have done, is to use a separate hard drive (leftover from when I upgraded the main HD to a larger capacity) for scratch.

I'm sure some of the new iMacs are just as, or even more powerful than my "old" Mac Pro, so what is everyone doing that takes so much computing power for editing photographs? Is it batch processing, perhaps?
 
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Seems pretty simple to me - Mac Pro is designed for graphics heavy applications in a professional capacity; ie encoding, cad, animation, game development, etc for 5 work days per week every week. Or, if you can afford one and want it. No one doing professional photography, enthusiast photography, family or occasional project video needs a machine with as much horsepower. A high spec iMac is overkill for the vast majority of our needs.
 
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May 3, 2007
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Colorado Springs, Colorado
I have to ask what y'all are doing with photo editing (not video) that takes so much computing power?

I have an older Mac Pro 3.1 (Early 2008, 8 core, 2.8 Ghz, 8 GB Ram), and it screams along with CS5. Everything I do in Photoshop (multiple layers, etc.) is pretty much instantaneous. There is no hesitation whatsoever, and the sliders are smooth as silk. The only "modification" I have done, is to use a separate hard drive (leftover from when I upgraded the main HD to a larger capacity) for scratch.

I'm sure some of the new iMacs are just as, or even more powerful than my "old" Mac Pro, so what is everyone doing that takes so much computing power for editing photographs? Is it batch processing, perhaps?
The only things I've ever done that caused noticeable lag or delay are some filters applied to large, 16bit images and extreme cases of many layers. There is no cure for the crunching needed for the filters except, as Tim Allen would say, more power (or just some patience... it's not THAT bad). The issue with layers can be dealt with by judicious merging/flattening along the way.

FWIW, I retired my old Mac Pro (it was orphaned by an OS upgrade.... did not support 64 bit kernel extensions). I am now using a current gen Mac Mini with 16GB of RAM, an SSD boot drive and a 1 TB hard drive for photos and data. I am perfectly happy with Photoshop performance on this machine. It is in all ways faster that the old Mac Pro. The on-board video even supports Photoshop GPU acceleration.

If a new Mac Pro had come out in the old tower form factor I might have purchased one just for future proofing (I may get more into video) and get all my storage inside the box. With the direction Apple has chosen with the new Mac Pro, I'll just stick with the Mini for now. It shares two virtues with my car: it meets my needs and it's paid for.
 
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Greg, what SSD did you install? Now that the new MP has been announced, I believe a SSD coupled with existing 32GB RAM in my 4,1 MP will meet my photo related needs for some time to come.
Intel 480TB 520 series

I had to buy a drive sled to fit into the slot.
This is for the 2009 or newer, you may need a different adapter for an older model.

Here's the steps I took.
If you don't have Mountain Lion, I'd suggest you upgrade.
If you do have Mountain Lion, make sure it's up to date.

Shut down
Install the new SSD in any slot other than the boot drive
Boot holding down the Option key.
Select Recovery
Select existing Boot drive as Source
Select SSD as Destination.
Let it run.

After that
Rename SSD to whatever you like
System Preferences > Start up Disk
Selesct SSD
Reboot.

Your SSD is now your Boot Drive with all of your programs and files.
The previous Boot Drive can be kept as a back up or formatted and used for storage.
 
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Jan 3, 2007
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Tacoma, WA
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Ken St John
From everything I have read, I'd say the new MacPro offers little for still photo processing. BIG gains for video, CAD, and so forth.

I have a mid-2009 MacPro that was purchased with some funds from my father's estate. Sort of a "gift" to myself at the time for a couple of years of caregiving. I suspect that 99.99% of the time, it's just idling!! About the only thing I notice that it does significantly faster than I saw before are conversions of DVD's using Handbrake. Coding a whole movie took a couple of hours on my previous high-end Dell, but now only 30-45 minutes on the Mac. The new MacPro would no doubt cut that time down as well.

When my Pro bites the dust in some way, I will get an iMac as I have no doubt that it would meet my needs in a splendid fashion!!

Cheers!!

Ken
 
Joined
Feb 5, 2009
Messages
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NC
I have to ask what y'all are doing with photo editing (not video) that takes so much computing power?

I have an older Mac Pro 3.1 (Early 2008, 8 core, 2.8 Ghz, 8 GB Ram), and it screams along with CS5. Everything I do in Photoshop (multiple layers, etc.) is pretty much instantaneous. There is no hesitation whatsoever, and the sliders are smooth as silk. The only "modification" I have done, is to use a separate hard drive (leftover from when I upgraded the main HD to a larger capacity) for scratch.

I'm sure some of the new iMacs are just as, or even more powerful than my "old" Mac Pro, so what is everyone doing that takes so much computing power for editing photographs? Is it batch processing, perhaps?
my MP is quad core, and when using CS6/Topaz within LR, it will sometimes become slightly sluggish
 
Joined
Jun 14, 2006
Messages
2,507
Thanks guys. I'm not a big filter user, so maybe that's why I've never had any issues with my computer slowing down. I suspect this "old" one will serve my needs for a long time to come. :smile:
 
Joined
Nov 10, 2008
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Chicago
Just got a new one two weeks ago. 36 MP files work fine . 4 hard drive bays so If one goes bad, 10 min to replace. They are all already cloned and on the shelf. Multiple drives and expansion and easy repairability are why I bought it.
 
Joined
Aug 10, 2006
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Bathurst, NSW, Australia
Seems pretty simple to me - Mac Pro is designed for graphics heavy applications in a professional capacity; ie encoding, cad, animation, game development, etc for 5 work days per week every week. Or, if you can afford one and want it. No one doing professional photography, enthusiast photography, family or occasional project video needs a machine with as much horsepower. A high spec iMac is overkill for the vast majority of our needs.
+1
 

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