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Old Jul 21, 2010, 1:52 PM   #21
BDD
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Thanks for the help JimC. Will have to see what Adobe can or cannot do for me about setting me up with 64-bit Windows versions of LR and CS4. Will it cost me? Nominal fee? Or will it be free... Will depend on them.

For me buying a Mac Pro vs a Dell XPS 9000 (outfitted to my liking) would really only run me around $2000.00 more. And as you said the Mac Pro does offer a lot more expandability (e.g. 4 HD drive bays).

A XPS 9000 outfitted for me would run me around $1600-1800.00 CAN or so. If I could save that 2k and use some of it to buy a new Epson R2880 photo printer and a Colormunki Photo...

Also I'm not buying till early next year any how. But if I were buying now that 20% coupon would have come in handy. My buddy gets a corporate discount of I think 10% on Dell computers still (he changed companies).

Last edited by BDD; Jul 23, 2010 at 1:27 AM.
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Old Jul 21, 2010, 2:18 PM   #22
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I dunno... Unless you're getting a discounted price on one, it looks like the Mac Pro is going to run you over $3K Canadian by the time you update one to 6GB of RAM.

http://store.apple.com/ca/configure/...co=MTM3NDc3ODQ

That appears to be almost 3 times as much as you could get an XPS 9000 from Dell Canada for from what I can see of their prices (and given that the Nehalem based CPUs should benchmark the same for a given clock speed, and the memory speed is the same (both manufacturers usually relatively slow DDR3 as far as memory goes anymore, although you do get ECC memory with the Apple), I doubt you'd see any performance difference in the systems. For that much price difference, I'd go eSATA for additional drives if you want more than two or three in a case. ;-)

http://www.dell.com/us/en/home/desktops/desktop-studio-xps-9000/pd.aspx?refid=desktop-studio-xps-9000&s=dhs&cs=19&~ck=mn

It looks like you could probably buy two of the XPS 9000 machines with 6GB of DDR3, and have money to spare versus one Mac Pro. ;-)

You could even get the XPS 9000 with 12GB of DDR3, a dramatically faster GTX 260 video card, Blu Ray Player and more for right at $1400 Canadian from what I can see of current prices.

http://www1.dell.com/ca/p/studio-xps-9000/fs

If you want more expandability, I'd just use a custom builder.

But, if you're not buying until next year, lots of things can change (new CPU offerings, lower prices on solid state drives, different memory options, etc.). Things change fast as far as PC related technology. :-)
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Old Jul 21, 2010, 3:33 PM   #23
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A 8GB RAM Mac Pro would run me just under 3900k CAN. So going with a Dell XPS 9000 should save me roughly $2000.00 CAD.

I just submitted a software swap form with Adobe for my Mac OS version of CS4. My copy of LR is Mac/Windows (which I would use most of the time any how) so I don't have to worry about that. But since Adobe has the exchange policy I might as well take advantage of it now for CS4. I guess you can't trade up to CS5 while I'm at it. Will ask Adobe...

As for the dell XPS 9000...I think the "Standard" 9GB version is good enough. Should be able to get a fairly loaded version for under $1800 CAD for sure. Then I would only need to add a monitor like the U2711.

Back to the Windows OS again.

Back to monitors...why are the NEC Spectra series almost double the cost of a U2711? I read on one of the reviews it has to do with one technology Dell opted to use CCFL based screens. Does this have something to do with it? Is the NEC worth almost 50% more?

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Old Jul 22, 2010, 10:05 AM   #24
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Another option might be a dual-monitor setup with an iMac,

http://www.apple.com/ca/imac/specs.html

Quote:
Mini DisplayPort output port with support for DVI, VGA, and dual-link DVI (adapters sold separately). 27-inch models also support input from external DisplayPort sources (adapters sold separately).

Support for extended desktop and video mirroring modes

Simultaneously supports full native resolution on the built-in display and up to a 30-inch display (2560 by 1600 pixels) on an external display
The 21 inch iMacs still gives you a 3 GHz Core 2 Duo but costs C$1,600 with the higher end graphics. Add a high quality monitor (DVI or VGA) and you'll have a screen for tool pallets and other stuff and a screen you can dedicate to the photos. Even the new Mini can drive 2 monitors.

Be warned, though. A lot of people cannot go back after a multi-screen setup!

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Old Jul 22, 2010, 12:25 PM   #25
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Hey Craig,

Possible. But then I would end up spending the cost of a Mac Pro (outfitted the way I want of course). Running me roughly 4k CAD. Going with a total Dell system I could do it for under 3k (desktop/U2711 monitor). Leaving me with another grand for a good photo printer and the Colormunki Photo.

Who knows. Maybe I'll buy 2 27" Dell monitors. (wink) NOT!!

Plus, I'm trying to get Adobe to swap my copy of CS4 (Mac) for the PC version. So far having heard back from them with the details on how to get this process going. But I have made the request filling out their form. At least my copy of Lightroom 2 is compatible with both Mac/Win. Use that the a lot more than CS4 any how. Or did. Using iPhoto now.
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Old Jul 22, 2010, 4:39 PM   #26
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BDD View Post
Possible. But then I would end up spending the cost of a Mac Pro (outfitted the way I want of course). Running me roughly 4k CAD.
Sorry, I don't follow. The 21" iMac is C$1,600. Even if you spend C$1,000 on another monitor, where is the other C$1,400 going?

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Old Jul 22, 2010, 5:34 PM   #27
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Because as you seemed have missed I was looking at the 27" iMac only. Or 27-30" standalone monitors. So, no iMac for me unless it's for "general use" which I won't need even then since I have a MacBook Pro laptop and will be getting a Windows based laptop with a 11" or at most 13" for travel. The desktop will be my "main" computer which I'll also spend almost all my time on viewing and post-processing. And then printing.

Any way if any one could tell me why the 26" NEC Spectra series monitor is almost 50% more than the comparably sized 27" Dell (U2711)? I'm eyeing the 26" and 30" models (2690 & 3090). Wonder if they are worth considering. But mostly I'll go with the Dell.

Thanks.

UPDATE: Just received a PDF from Adobe. Turns out they are not doing cross platform swaps for CS4 any more since they are now selling CS5. Slimy Bas*****! They just want us to buy CS5.

And, since I have the Mac version of CS4, I guess I would have to buy another full version of PS (CS5). NOT going to do that. Why couldn't Adobe sell us "Mac/Win" versions of PS as they do for LR? Sheeeesh!! Guess I'm going to be buying a Mac Pro after all. LOL!! Maybe I can sell my copy of CS4...Hmmm...

Last edited by BDD; Jul 23, 2010 at 1:52 AM.
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Old Jul 23, 2010, 8:25 AM   #28
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Would they not let you upgrade the Mac version to CS5 and then do a cross platform swap if you wanted to?

If you want a Mac Pro, it's a nice box. I just don't think I'd spend almost 3 times as much for one as you could get a different machine for that should benchmark just as fast or faster (running Windows anyway, as CS4 is *much* slower under OS X). Heck, you could buy a different machine and a full copy of CS5, and still have money to spare. ;-)

If you do go Mac, I'd upgrade to CS5 anyway for better performance, as CS4 benchmarks *much* slower on OS X compared to CS4 running on Windows.

For example, note how much faster the Retouch Artist Speed test is with CS5 on OS X on a Mac Pro with dual 2.66Ghz Nehalem CPUs (XEON CPUs with the same basic architecture as the Core i7 920) and 12GB of memory.

http://blogs.adobe.com/jnack/2010/04...enchmarks.html

That brings the performance with CS5 under OS X to about the same speed that this test runs with CS4 under Windows with a fast, single CPU Core i7 based box (although most of the Windows machines used for Anantech in their testing were only using 4GB of memory, they do use an SSD that may be influencing times). If you click on the icon just to the left of the rating, you can see how a given machine was equipped (Motherboard, CPU, RAM, Operating System):

http://www.anandtech.com/bench/CPU/25

You can get that benchmark here and run it yourself:

http://clubofone.com/speedtest/

Here's a long thread at macrumors.com with lots of user supplied benchmarks using the Retouch Artists Speed test (although the conditions are not very controlled as they would be with anandtech's tests). It looks like a Mac with CS5 under OS X with a single, Core i7 CPU with 8GB of DDR3 with an SSD should benchmark pretty close to a similar setup running CS4 under Windows (as in this user supplied benchmark with a 27" iMac):

Quote:
18 to 19 seconds here.

27" iMac i7, 8GB RAM, CS5, 160GB Intel X25 G2 SSD!
http://forums.macrumors.com/showthread.php?p=9845641

Anandtech is clocking this benchmark at 15 to 17 seconds on Windows based PCs with most of the Core i7 CPUs tested, running CS4 (although most of their test PCs were only equipped with 4GB of memory). So, with CS5 on a Mac, which appears to be much faster than CS4 on OS X, it should bring the performance of a Mac running OS X, up to where it's closer to what you'd expect to get with a similar PC with the same CPU architecture running Windows, as long as you have sufficient memory in the Mac. With CS4 on a Mac, I'd expect much slower times compared to running this test under Windows. So, I'd definitely upgrade to CS5 if you go with a Mac solution so that you'd get performance that's closer to what you could expect running Windows.

http://www.anandtech.com/bench/CPU/25
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Old Jul 23, 2010, 10:48 AM   #29
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Good point JimC! But I better clear this with Adobe first. Don't know how anal they are about platform swapping. But they should be okay with it Though, if I did upgrade to the CS5 Upgrade version (Mac). Then they might require me to swap for the exact same version of CS5 which would be the "Upgrade" pack (which I'm assuming is not the full version of CS5..just the "enhancements"). So maybe I'm still back to square 1...going with a Mac Pro or selling my copy of CS4...then buy the full Windows version of CS5.

But, honestly, I never really used CS4. Spent most of my time in LR or iPhoto. So if I could get rid of my copy of CS4 that would be best bet. Then go with a Windows based workstation and save a few grand.

Interesting how much faster CS5 is though. Thanks for posting the links!

Last edited by BDD; Jul 23, 2010 at 10:51 AM.
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Old Jul 23, 2010, 10:52 AM   #30
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Well... keep in mind that CS4 is 32 bit only under OS X, even if you're using the 64 bit kernel with Snow Leopard (whereas with CS4 under 64 bit Windows, you get both 32 bit and 64 bit versions of CS4). That's probably part of the problem.

But, even 32 bit versions of Photoshop appear to be *much* faster under 32 bit Windows as compared to OS X. For example, if you look at the Anantech test results for the Retouch Artists Speed tests, some of the PCs for the tests were running 32 bit Windows. Hold your mouse over the icon just to the left of the 17 second result for the Core i7 920 CPU for one example (the test PC was running 32 bit Vista Ultimate with only 4GB of memory).

http://www.anandtech.com/bench/CPU/25

That 17 second test result running CS4 under 32 bit Vista is more than twice as fast as an Adobe employee was able to get with CS4 using a Mac Pro with two (versus one) similar CPUs (two 2.66GHz XEON Nehalem CPUs in the Mac Pro versus one 2.66Ghz Intel Core i7 920 Nehelam CPU in the test PC used by Anantech) with 4 times as much memory in the Mac (12GB of DDR3 in the Mac Pro versus 4GB of DDR3 in the Anantech test PC used with 32 bit Vista) when running the same Retouch Artists Speed test with CS4 under both operating systems.

http://blogs.adobe.com/jnack/2010/04...enchmarks.html

Given that Mac users represent a much smaller market share, it appears that Adobe is spending more time optimizing their applications for Windows anymore (even though the opposite may have been the case some years back).

But, with CS5 (versus CS4) under Snow Leopard, the performance appears to be getting closer to what you would expect to see with Windows, as long as you have sufficient memory in the Mac (even though Photoshop under Windows is still a little faster for similar hardware, you don't see the huge difference in favor of Windows that you did with CS4).
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