I shoot a lot on location and require a larger monitor. Currently we drag my aging 2008 3.1 Mac Pro 2.8 Quad, (16Gb, 4x2Tb HD) and 30" ACD with us which is a pain.
I'm considering switching everything over to one of the new iMac 27" units with 3.4GHz Quad-core Intel Core i7, 32Gb Ram 3TB Fusion Drive and NVIDIA GeForce GTX 680MX 2GB GDDR5.
I've demo'd the unit at the Apple store with large working files etc, and it's clearly faster. I will have to go from having working files on a separate HD and lose PS scratch disk. That said, Working in PS in the store still seemed very snappy, (and that unit only had 8Gb ram). Monitor seemed fine to work with. I'd back using two USB 3.0 external HD's with SuperDuper and Chronosync as I do now.
My work is lifestyle/portraiture. I shoot primarily with 5Ds Mk3, occasionally P65. Don't shoot a lot of setups per day. No catalog. Do retouch, and sometimes create layered work files up to 4+ Gb.
Clearly it seems a downgrade, but will make my location work, etc, much less stressful and faster.
Thoughts? Suggestions? Anyone think I'll have "buyer's remorse"?
Thanks in advance for your thoughts.
For your use case a 27" iMac certainly seems like a better solution than the Mac Pro. The only real advantage of the Mac Pro over an iMac used to be the modularity of the enclosure, and the striping of SATA drives in a RAID-0 configuration, however the fusion drive effectively caches data in an SSD which has a realworld throughput of 450mb/s. The performance of the fusion drive SSD speed is equivalent to 3x 3.5" 7200RPM Seagate Barracuda drives in a RAID-0 configuration, and with the first Mac Pro sled for the OS, that means they're all full.
With Thunderbolt support on the iMac (Mac Pro doesn't have) you can attach a Thunderbolt RAID setup for block-level striping (I prefer) or mirroring. I use Aperture libraries on an external LaCie Thunderbolt RAID and see extremely fast throughputs on both read/write. Most of the files I work with are TIFF16BIT 100+ MB, so this is important to my workflow. In addition to drives, you can attach multiple Thunderbolt Displays for a total of two, or three displays including iMac display. You can even daisychain displays to hard drives 6x times without degradation of the link.
With USB3 (Mac Pro doesn't have) you can use a drive sled, like the one from OWC, and move towards modular storage for client or project-based data. Buy 2TB 3.5" drives in bulk and you can use a labeler to organize them all properly.
32GB of RAM certainly futureproofs your machine as components are soldered onto this unit, however most 64-bit applications can't address memory beyond 4GB - it's an architectural limitation. Also, keep in mind that OS X will set aside a swap space (which it uses to store all active processes when in sleep) on the hard drive. If you have 8GB of RAM, you lose 8GB of HD space. So 32GB of RAM means you lose 32GB of HD space. Not an issue but something to be aware of! : )
With all of that said, I personally have a Mac Pro with 32GB of RAM. I removed the optical bay and installed 3x OWC Mercury Electra 3G 120GB SSD's in a RAID-0 configuration for an effective throughput of 800MB/sec on the read/write. This has the OS on it and I use it for processing foreground projects. All the 3.5" drive sleds have 2TB drives in a RAID-5 configuration. I backup to a Synology NAS using CCC. In addition I have a 2.0GHz/8GB/512GB MacBook Air + Thunderbolt that I use with the above mentioned LaCie Thunderbolt RAID.