Recommended Posts

To give some background first before I set off, I've been working in IT for the last 6-7 years. A systems admin for a school so I'm always surrounded by kit. Servers, laptops, pc's tablets, phones, you name it, I'm responsible for it. 

I used to build my own computers, and up until about 3 years ago I haven't really kept my nose to the ground on what's hot and what's not in the world of personal computing. 

 

Business and personal computing are two totally different worlds with regards to PC's specs and desirable equipment. I'm part in charge of a £250k year IT budget so you need to make sure you're getting value for money. 

 

Anyway. I bought an off the shelf laptop the other day to replace my really old Acer laptop. It wasn't a slouch on spec but the 5400rpm HDD that was in it, really sucked the life right out of it. I took it back for a refund. 

 

I'm now looking to either build myself a monster of a computer based on an Intel Core i7/DDR3 system or just walk into Apple and buy a 21" imac off the shelf with 16Gb of RAM in it. I've hardly used MAC OS but would get used to it, and I've heard that your workflow really comes to life on a MAC. The guy I work with says you can get more for less building your own, and I kind of agree, but it's the hassle of it all. 

 

I was going to get an SSD based system, however, Apples Fusion Drive sounds quite promising. I should note however, that this system is going to be running Photoshop CC & Lightroom 5 at the same time.

 

What does everyone else use?

Are you happy? 

What is the spec?

 

Cheers for the advice, 

 

 

Paul

  • Upvote 1
  • Downvote 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

iMac 24in for me. Very happy with it.

 

I'll be upgrading fairly soon... to a new iMac... :)

  • Upvote 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

At the end of the day, it's about the applications, RAM and processor power - the OS is just a facilitator.  I've been in IT for over 25 years and the only IT guy I know that would choose a mac over a PC is my kid brother but he has an excuse as he worked for them in his "formative years".  Personally, I don't believe in paying for "labels".

  • Upvote 3

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

iMac 24in for me. Very happy with it.

 

I'll be upgrading fairly soon... to a new iMac... :)

 

1+ Moved from Pc to Mac in 2008 and never looked back. Onto my 2nd, the first is still used as a 2nd / backup to a 2012 version bought the end of last year. Running mountain Lion on both without any issues and use Capture 1 Pro 7 with PS and used to use LR5. 

 

I over have C1 and PS open at the same time along with Dreamweaver and Fireworks when working on my website etc..... never had any issues.

 

Edit..... I added plenty of memory to each mac after it was bought.... used Crucial who provide a useful app to determine what memory you need and what you can expand up to etc. 

Edited by Duncan_Andison

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

At the end of the day, it's about the applications, RAM and processor power - the OS is just a facilitator.  I've been in IT for over 25 years and the only IT guy I know that would choose a mac over a PC is my kid brother but he has an excuse as he worked for them in his "formative years".  Personally, I don't believe in paying for "labels".

 

I hear you. I can build a pretty mean system with OpenCL graphics for just under a grand. The MAC would cost £1,380 with education discount and it's got on board graphics, a lesser CPU and no chance of upgrade later. Like my colleague said, you're paying for the retina display. However, I do have a sincere lack of space at home, so pulling out an all in one system would suit. 

 

That's an impressive haul of apps Duncan open at the one time. Hmmm 

  • Upvote 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

A big advantage of Mac over self-build is you know for sure it as all going to work. Everything is tested to work together. I did a custom-build PC with my local computer shop back in 2003 - got absolutely fast as possible components. But it kept crashing which after some lengthy and difficult diagnosis pulling everything in and out over a period of weeks turned out to be the processor because the guy hadn't installed adequate cooling and it had damaged the processor. Fortunately he replaced the processor and added proper cooling but I was weeks messing about with it.

 

There are loads of other advantages of Mac but we know all that don't we?  it's not a fashion label. I've used both since I first laid hands on a computer and I would never go back again to PC unless I just couldn't afford a Mac. Price is probably the only disadvantage.

Edited by MDM

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Back in May, I switched from PC to Mac. I had a set budget, of course.  After a lot of thoughts, I bought a 21.5" iMac, but with 16GB RAM instead of a 27" with 8GB RAM.  


 


Sometimes I work with LR4, CS6 & Bridge all opened at the same time, together with internet running.  It runs fast although it shows a bit of strain on the speed.


 


Edit:  Isn't retina display only for MacBook Pro?


Edited by SFL

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

My current laptop is a Core2Duo 2.4Ghz DDR2, 4Gb RAM and my work computer is a Corei5 DDR3 4Gb RAM system. Both kind of go nuts the second you use the brush tool in LR. They also go slow if you have more than 3 layers on a TIFF file. It's pretty depressing. It sounds like the MAC could be a good thing with my planned upgrade to 16Gb of RAM. 

  • Upvote 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

You can get a pretty powerful PC for a lot less money there is no doubt about that. I have a 27" iMac that was delivered last week and they are coming back tomorrow to take it away. Why? Because I found an anomaly or dead pixel(s) on the screen that was no more that the size of a large pinhead. But against a white background when you are trying to edit photos, you get fed up quite quickly with trying to wipe the same spot with a cloth over and over. The Applecare people dealt with it very quickly. That said, one of them said that this sort of thing was within the parameters of acceptability. Definitely not! So they are replacing it with another one.

 

What you also need to remember about iMacs is they are basically glorified laptops. But they are very powerful glorified laptops. The one I will be using won't just be for photography and will be maxed out at 32 gigs of ram. Get the ram from Crucial. Do NOT buy ram from Apple if you go down the Apple route.

 

One of the reasons people buy into Apple has nothing to do with price. The main reason I have used Macs for years is the OS. Very elegant OS. Stable and a lot less inclined to be hacked. Also an iMac is all in one. Screen and everything all in one with no extraneous boxes anywhere. Although it's getting more modular with them For instance, you need to buy a separate external CD/DVD drive if you want to load in disks. £65!

 

For external HDs I would recommend ones that utilise one of the two Thunderbolt ports that comes with iMacs. I would also recommend an internal 1TB Fusion drive to keep your programs on. Why? Speed. Very fast in comparison to 7200 rpm drives.

Edited by Gervais Montacute

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I have two different laptops with hi def screens, upgraded video cards, i7 quad core processors and 16gb of ram.  On paper the specs look similar, however the HP entertainment PC handles the graphics needs of CS6 and Lightroom without issue while the Sony Vaio does not. It appears all integrated video cards are not created equal. My point is be very careful about the video card and monitor you select when building your system. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Very good points you make. Shame about the dead pixel. Good you are getting it swapped. 

 

So can you open an imac easily to change the RAM then? I thought it was a back t Apple job. Hmmm another good point. 

  • Upvote 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I have two different laptops with hi def screens, upgraded video cards, i7 quad core processors and 16gb of ram.  On paper the specs look similar, however the HP entertainment PC handles the graphics needs of CS6 and Lightroom without issue while the Sony Vaio does not. It appears all integrated video cards are not created equal. My point is be very careful about the video card and monitor you select when building your system. 

 

I do Lynn. Photoshop and LR use the graphics system OpenCL, and games use OpenGL two totally different software drivers, from what I've learned. Monstrous editing on photo editing suites and CAD drawing suites and the like require certain graphics cards to chomp through the work. You can get by with a gaming graphics card but it can sometimes be a problem. 

  • Upvote 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I’ve worked on Apple Macs continuously since late 1980s in the design industry. My well used G5 is slowly complaining so recently purchased a 27" iMac with 16gb ram. A very fast machine with relatively small footprint (G5 and Pro are large and heavy tower units), CS6 noticeably faster on this new machine.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I've used both Mac and Pcs. I too built my own PCs. It's a matter of personal preference and I prefer Macs. They just work and you can get on with the job. I  currently use a 27" 2009 iMac. The hard disk failed a few months ago  but I restored from back up and lost nothing of importance. Just after I replaced the hd I had an email from Apple saying I had one of a bad batch of hard discs and they would replace foc. Just a few weeks too late for me. I understand the current iMacs are a lot faster than mine but it copes with D800 raw files just fine [ although I don't use Photoshop...] I don't think you would regret moving to Apple. The underpinnings of a flavour of Unix makes fro a robust system, altho I just get the feeling from time to time OS X isn't as robust as it was. You will enjoy the brisk and unaccustomed swift start up times ! There are nee iMacs just around the corner I hear. Good luck

John

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Sounds from the comments that we all need the same thing. Just straight forward access to get to editing images. I really don't like WIndows 8. I have no need to use Microsofts products other than an OS. I don't want to use their Live email system and fancy tiles. It's awful, so unless I get a technicians copy of Win7 I'm up a gumtree. I'm going for a wee visit to the Apple store tonight to see my options. 

  • Upvote 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I'm still happy with XP but that's probably too far back for you. OH's insurer-replaced laptop had Vista which is a right SOB. I simply can't help her with stuff because everything is different for no good reason.

She still has XP at work of course-did any large user not want to keep it?

Edited by spacecadet

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Sounds from the comments that we all need the same thing. Just straight forward access to get to editing images. I really don't like WIndows 8. I have no need to use Microsofts products other than an OS. I don't want to use their Live email system and fancy tiles. It's awful, so unless I get a technicians copy of Win7 I'm up a gumtree. I'm going for a wee visit to the Apple store tonight to see my options. 

Don't take your credit cards with you.....

  • Upvote 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I'm still happy with XP but that's probably too far back for you. OH's insurer-replaced laptop had Vista which is a right SOB. I simply can't help her with stuff because everything is different for no good reason.

She still has XP at work of course-did any large user not want to keep it?

 

I really liked XP. Low memory stamp and everything an OS should be. WIn7 is my new fave, however, Mac OS looks polished. Vista and Win8 can be thrown in the trash for all I care lol 

 

It's ok John I won't be sucked into buying it on my CC :) 

 

The only thing is the new photoshop and LR licensing, and whether I think they are worth it. I'm currently using my works version of CS3 (all clean) but they won't let me use the key to purchase the new photographers pack. :/ 

  • Upvote 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Paul you can change the ram on the iMac without having to go inside the computer. It's easy nowadays and there are videos on YouTube that show you how. Literally takes minutes and the ram just slots into the back above the power supply socket.

 

I upgraded the video card on mine when ordering. I forget what the model video card is but it's a 4 Gig one. Basically the upgrade.

 

These chaps are expensive btw. Before you go looking on the Apple store site, it's worth remembering that they are not in anyway cheap. Mine was well in excess of 2K with ram etc.

 

I also own another very old iMac and a MacPro 2008 model with 20 gigs of ram.

 

You can get the same performance on a much cheaper PC. Half the price probably.

Edited by Gervais Montacute

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Of course Gervais, I do appreciate that they cost an absolute arm and leg, and it's the one thing that's putting me off. 

  • Upvote 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I currently use a bottom of the line Acer and the only time I have issues is when I try to load too many pics in Photoshop at the same time. And of course the one time I tried to run Photoshop and Premiere at the same time.  That slowed it right down to crawl speed.

 

I plan to get myself a new Toshiba (I have had two in the past, one 10 years old the other 7, both still run) in November.  An i5 processor and 8 gigs of ram which I will probably upgrade myself to 16.  That should more than enough for me. 

 

My son has an Apple and he hates it.  But for film school, that is what he had to buy. He couldn't believe it only had 2 USB ports. The only thing he does like is the long battery life.

 

I used to hate Windows 8, but have finally got used to it. I conformed it a bit to match Windows 7, but have to admit, that when my motherboard went on my Acer and I had to send it in, I found myself missing Windows 8 while using 7 on my desktop.

  • Upvote 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Spoiler alert! Never listen to anything Ed Rooney has to say about computers.

 

Okay, got that out of the way . . . so now let me tell you how things work.

 

I began with a PC. When I was lucky enough to get a wonderful, high-paying, part-time job in Time Warner's magazine division, I switched to Apple because they were working with Macs at the office. For me, going back to Windows would involve buying new software and that might equal the savings I would realize from lower PC prices.

 

I am working on a pre-cloud iMac with 8GB of RAM . . . and I've never had speed issues. This is about the 4th Mac I've owned. I also have an old Macbook. I plan to buy a new iPad mini soon. I'm not getting it for photo purposes, but does anyone know if I can transfer jpegs to the iPad and upload them to Alamy? 

 

Ed

  • Upvote 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I have been using big desktop tower MACS to run Photoshop since 1992. Macs are plug and play, and allow you to get on with the photographic work without becoming an IT expert. When your computer, or the operating system, or your programs, are upgraded, or you plug a new external device into the network, everything works. No downtime, therefore Macs are cheap.

 

The problem with Macs is you can get dependent on software that ends up abandoned. I have had this problem with Nikonscan, Bryce (3D), Quicken (accounting), and recently Portfolio (image database). I have 15,854 finished digital images in a Portfolio database and use it constantly.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now