Machine specs & speeds... Mac Pro, MacBook, iMac

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kevinm

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You can speed up steps 2 and 3 by having the files on nice fast drives, but that will never be instant. That said, freeing up the sliders to be able to get on and work is the important bit, and takes less than a second on my machine if I've previously rendered previews.

Makes sense! Hopefully my new iMac (or MBP) will provide the desired improvement...
 
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Definitely. I'm currently running on a MacBook Pro and the files are on a firewire 8'' external. I definitely saw an improvement moving from USB2 external to firewire 8'', but I'm hoping a Mac Pro with internal drives will be faster still.
 
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I'm trying really hard to be patient and not buy it until the end of February or early March...... do you think I'll hold out?!?
 
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Check out the Mac Pros next month. Should include the new processors then.

Oooooooh!! :p Yep, that'd tempt me pretty well!!!!!! :? I'm sure I can probably justify it once they bring the new processors out! :mrgreen:
 

kevinm

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Well, while we're on this topic...
I've been trying to decide between a new 24-inch iMac and a 15-inch Macbook Pro. I know they're completely different in some ways, but any thoughts on which is the speedier machine for dealing with images etc. Some seem to think that the Macbook may be better...
 
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My immediate inclination would be to say with similar processor specs, the iMac would actually be quicker, because the disc speed will be higher. Disc speed seems to be very important to LR, particularly in Develop module. Laptop drives are still quite limited, and there's no Firewire8'' on the MacBook, so your top speed external is likely to be USB or Firewire4'', unless you start getting involved with eSata.

There has been discussion on the suitability of the iMac screen for photography work though, as they are very very bright and can't easily be calibrated well. The MacBook can plug into an external monitor, right? So it has the advantage on that one.
 

Mark Sirota

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Minor correction to Victoria's note -- the MacBook Pros do indeed have FW8'' (it used to be only in the 17", now it's in all of them) and in most configurations there is an optional 72'' rpm internal disk (smaller, but faster).
 
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My apologies, I thought we were talking about MacBook rather than the MacBook Pro.

So which would you go for Mark, if you had the choice?

I'm currently running a 17" MBP with files on a Firewire8'' external, and the internal drive is a 72''rpm, but the file transfer could do with being faster. A Mac Pro's on my plans for early next year, but I'm interested to know which parts you feel make more of a difference to speed.
 

kevinm

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Yes, as Mark noted there's a 72''rpm drive for the MBP - which is the one I'd get.

Victoria, so are all the files that you work with on your external drive? Using FW8'', is that quicker than using the MBP's internal drive?
 

Mark Sirota

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Between a 24" iMac and a 15" MacBook Pro, let's compare:

iMac 24" 192'x12'', 2.8GHz Core 2 Extreme, 1TB 72'' rpm internal disk, ATI Radeon HD 26'' PRO

MBP 15" 144'x9'', 2.4GHz Core 2 Duo, 16'GB 72'' rpm internal disk, NVIDIA GeForce 86''M GT, portable

There are other relevant differences, of course, but based on specs alone I'd choose the iMac in a heartbeat, unless I needed portability (which is why I have a MacBook Pro). Note: I didn't include prices in this comparison.
 
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Victoria, so are all the files that you work with on your external drive? Using FW8'', is that quicker than using the MBP's internal drive?

Yes, all of the files are on the external. I'd prefer to keep them on the internal - it's definitely faster - but I have about 15'gb of active raw files at any one time, and the internal drive just isn't big enough! I do keep the catalogs and their previews on the internal drive now, and that's make a difference to the speed.
 

kevinm

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There are other relevant differences, of course, but based on specs alone I'd choose the iMac in a heartbeat, unless I needed portability (which is why I have a MacBook Pro).

Which is why I am thinking about the MBP with an external display. Any experience with this type of setup? Is it cumbersome or smooth (with the MBP closed and out of the way)?
 

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Kevin, that's how I work in the office -- -MBP and a 2'" Cinema display. My MBP is the first-generation 17" model (Core Duo, not Core 2 Duo), and the display is about 4-5 years old. At home I use the laptop display. All my image files are on external FW8'' drives at home, except the ones I'm currently working on, which are on the internal disk so I can work on them either at home or in the office.

I normally have laptop open as a second display, so I have two 168'x1'5' displays open side by side (one 17" and one 2'"). I leave my e-mail and other ongoing activities on the laptop, and whatever I'm really working on right now on the larger display.

There's no question that my old Cinema Display is a much better display than the laptop display, especially off-axis -- but you're talking about newer technology, so that may or may not apply for you.
 
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Same setup here too. It works great most of the time, and would be perfect for most situations. I love having everything on a portable machine with a 'home base'. I'll be adding a Mac Pro in a few months, but only because I'm dealing with such high volume.
 

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Which is why I am thinking about the MBP with an external display. Any experience with this type of setup? Is it cumbersome or smooth (with the MBP closed and out of the way)?


I use a 15" MBP on a Griffin Elevator with a 23" Cinema Display. I usually leave the laptop display open but turn the monitor off. The 23" display has enough display area to comfortably use by itself, and I've gotten pretty handy with the tab key in Photoshop. I keep a USB hub plugged into the monitor so that most of my peripherals can be easily removed(or added back) when I need to move the computer. With my Wacom tablet, I have the pen mapped to just the external monitor. The cool thing about the Wacom drivers is that you can configure different settings for different applications. You could set some applications to use the pen on just one monitor and others to use both. I leave the mouse set to use both monitors. That works out OK because of the differences in the mouse and pen tracking.

Another thing that I've done is set Quicksilver to trigger an Automator action that ejects any mounted volumes. I'll often end up with a couple of hard drives and a network volume mounted on my machine. If I want to move to the couch or something, I just hit a key command and everything is ejected, and I can unplug and go.
 

kevinm

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Thanks very much all - this is very helpful. The one thing that's bothering me is the issue of keeping the MBP closed all the time, which would be my preference for real estate and neatness issues! I'm concerned about over-heating etc which I believe used to be an issue; maybe it isn't anymore?
 

Mark Sirota

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MacBook Pros can run on the warm side, but they have cooling fans. It will help to space it off the desktop (they have feet, but more space may help) using something like the aforementioned Griffin Elevator, and you may want to increase the fan speed using something like smcFanControl.
 

rcannonp

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I had an original 2GHz 15" MBP, and the fans would never kick in until it got blazing hot. On the 2.4 model that I have now the temperature seems to be regulated a little better. The fans kick in sooner and more often, and they idle at a higher RPM. They can get a little loud when they are going all out, but that doesn't happen often or for very long. Most of the time I don't notice them, especially if I'm listening to music or something.

If you go that route, I would look at getting something that keeps the laptop off of the desk and lets air circulate around it like the Elevator or Podium Pad. USB cooling fans are also an option if you are worried about heat.
 

rcannonp

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MacBook Pros can run on the warm side, but they have cooling fans. It will help to space it off the desktop (they have feet, but more space may help) using something like the aforementioned Griffin Elevator, and you may want to increase the fan speed using something like smcFanControl.

I'm not sure that SMC FanControl works on the newer models. I used it on my original MBP, but on my newer one it doesn't seem to have any effect.
 
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There has been discussion on the suitability of the iMac screen for photography work though, as they are very very bright and can't easily be calibrated well. The MacBook can plug into an external monitor, right? So it has the advantage on that one.[/quote]


Hi Victoria

Could you lead me to where this discussion is currently in debate?

thanks

Brad
 
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