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Author Topic: Power Users: MAC or PC?  (Read 5553 times)

Brad P

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Power Users: MAC or PC?
« on: May 30, 2018, 06:14:12 PM »

Iíve been a Mac guy for a looong time. I have a souped up old early 2009 Power MAC that Iíve loved, but Apple isnít allowing anything past Yosemite on it, and having been hacked recently Iím feeling vulnerable with anything but the most secure operating environment.  So I need a new computer. 

I DONíT want a new screen. Iíve got a 31 inch NEC monitor thatís still got years left.

I do heavy processing (e.g., Zerene Stacker operating on 30 51MB files).  On a new machine I want at least 64MB of RAM, 1 TB solid state hard drive and a workhorse graphics card.

Looking at Macís current offerings Iím not excited.  The new power iMac would be the obvious choice.   But the screen is integrated and less useful than my NEC.  And the price points for my specs seem outlandish.  I do see some refurbished trash can Power Macs on EBay, but I worry that in a few years Apple would leave me in the same place as I am today with an outdated operating system.  Iíve read (I think I remember) that Apple is likely abandoning the Trash Can, so I worry about that generally long term.

For PCs I see many NEW stand alone PCs with these specs that are about the same price point ($3,000) as the EBay Power Macs.  So Iím for the moment leaning in that direction. 

Anyone been recently down this road and have any thoughts?
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Farmer

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Re: Power Users: MAC or PC?
« Reply #1 on: May 30, 2018, 06:31:53 PM »

Well this will open a giant can of worms :-)

Honestly, either system will do what you want in terms of processing power - it really doesn't matter.  Cost wise, you will probably get things a little cheaper on the PC side but if you go for the higher end units and parts the savings won't be huge.

This is what it comes down to.  Which operating system do you like using, and do you already have an environment (software, phones, music, other hardware, etc.) that would be easier to go Mac or PC?  Answer those two questions and that's your real answer.

If you have no preference for any of those things, then you can get a price saving on the PC, but use the two points above to make your decision.  Any other advice one way or the other is truly irrelevant.
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Phil Brown

Brad P

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Re: Power Users: MAC or PC?
« Reply #2 on: May 30, 2018, 06:46:09 PM »

I guess I agree with that for base, advertised platforms with Mac being a little more expensive, and if weíre just that differential Iíd choose a new Mac. But when you add 64MB of ram, a terabyte S drive and maybe an upgraded graphics card, plus the unwanted screen on an Power iMac, the Power iMac becomes about twice the price of a new comparable PC.  And I donít even have a place for it on my smaller desk.  Thus I lean PC. 

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smahn

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Re: Power Users: MAC or PC?
« Reply #3 on: May 30, 2018, 07:07:25 PM »

I'm in the same boat as the OP. Been using only Macs since my first computer in the early 90's. Have zero interest in Windows or gaming, but tired of waiting year after year for Apple to make or update a product for my needs.

I just ordered an Alienware gaming computer from Costco. For $1700 it gets me the i7 8700k 6 core chip that many think is the sweet spot for Photoshop. 16GB Ram, a 256GB nvme SSD, and a nvidia 1070 graphics card that Puget Systems considers to be the sweet spot / price point for Photoshop. I will add ram and upgrade to a larger SSD, but this should be a great start for trying things out.

https://www.costco.com/Alienware-Aurora-Gaming-Desktop---Intel-Core-i7-8700K---8GB-NVIDIA-Graphics.product.100405468.html


The reason I'm going this route is, while I'd be willing to pay the $4300 for an iMac Pro (at Microcenter) if I thought it would pay Photoshop dividends, it wont.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XE58q8OHvdI

The reason I bought this from Costco is they add an extra year of warranty (from 1 yr to 2) and most important of all, they offer a 90 day return policy.

So I will have 3 months to decide if I can deal with transitioning to Windows. Also gives Apple time to advance the iMac or Mini, or whatever, to remain viable and competitive for pros. But frankly, I hope the Windows thing pans out, I like the choices.

Should arrive in a couple of weeks. Very excited to take it for an extended spin.
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smahn

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Re: Power Users: MAC or PC?
« Reply #4 on: May 30, 2018, 07:15:14 PM »

That might not have been the right video I posted, but the point is the iMac pro really only comes into it's own for high level video editing. For LR and PS you're better off with a faster chip.
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armand

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Re: Power Users: MAC or PC?
« Reply #5 on: May 30, 2018, 07:36:25 PM »

Iíve been a Mac guy for a looong time. I have a souped up old early 2009 Power MAC that Iíve loved, but Apple isnít allowing anything past Yosemite on it, and having been hacked recently Iím feeling vulnerable with anything but the most secure operating environment.  So I need a new computer. 

I DONíT want a new screen. Iíve got a 31 inch NEC monitor thatís still got years left.

I do heavy processing (e.g., Zerene Stacker operating on 30 51MB files).  On a new machine I want at least 64MB of RAM, 1 TB solid state hard drive and a workhorse graphics card.

Looking at Macís current offerings Iím not excited.  The new power iMac would be the obvious choice.   But the screen is integrated and less useful than my NEC.  And the price points for my specs seem outlandish.  I do see some refurbished trash can Power Macs on EBay, but I worry that in a few years Apple would leave me in the same place as I am today with an outdated operating system.  Iíve read (I think I remember) that Apple is likely abandoning the Trash Can, so I worry about that generally long term.

For PCs I see many NEW stand alone PCs with these specs that are about the same price point ($3,000) as the EBay Power Macs.  So Iím for the moment leaning in that direction. 

Anyone been recently down this road and have any thoughts?

While I don't have your issue with MAC vs Windows (I use windows) I've been planning for an upgrade with similar specs as you.
A Dell XPS Special Edition Tower with the 8700K, 1 TB SSD PCIe, 64 GB RAM and a better video card GTX 1080  8GB will run you about 2.5K. The main reason I didn't bite yet is that it doesn't have Thunderbolt.

Farmer

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Re: Power Users: MAC or PC?
« Reply #6 on: May 30, 2018, 11:26:43 PM »

I guess I agree with that for base, advertised platforms with Mac being a little more expensive, and if weíre just that differential Iíd choose a new Mac. But when you add 64MB of ram, a terabyte S drive and maybe an upgraded graphics card, plus the unwanted screen on an Power iMac, the Power iMac becomes about twice the price of a new comparable PC.  And I donít even have a place for it on my smaller desk.  Thus I lean PC.

Then there's your answer.  That's entirely valid.
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Phil Brown

Joe Towner

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Re: Power Users: MAC or PC?
« Reply #7 on: May 31, 2018, 12:05:31 AM »

It may be worth mapping out what other connectivity you want.  If it doesn't have TB3, are you ok? Do you need 2 or 3 PCIe 3 slots?  I would think at some point you're going to want 3 NVMe drives, one for OS, one for Images, one for blending swap. Toss in a nice graphics cards, plug 64gb RAM, and you're spending a lot.

I've got a soft spot for AMD and I did a Ryzen 7 threadripper setup, and 64gb of RAM in 16gb sticks is ouch!
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kers

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Re: Power Users: MAC or PC?
« Reply #8 on: May 31, 2018, 06:40:59 AM »

I am also on the edge of buying a new computer- have a 10 year old macpro- still working fine but a little slow.
The new mac pro arrives in 2019 they say, but it could be december 2019 and very expensive....

So i am thinking of buying a hackintosh... with m2 memory 6 core i7 etc..
Problem with that is you are not sure if the future will bring some OSX-updates that are causing problems...
If that happens i can always switch to windows...

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mcbroomf

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Re: Power Users: MAC or PC?
« Reply #9 on: May 31, 2018, 07:18:53 AM »

I have not been in the camp where I considered a switch (in my case it would have been going Win to Mac).  I've only used Windows machines but over the last 6 months or so have helped out some members of my camera club who do have Macs (although far from power users) and I can see from the little exposure I've had to the Mac OS that it would not be a difficult switch.  Having said that I don't do Social Media, music etc on my computers and my desktop is used for photography largely.

I recently upgraded though, with a Puget Sounds PC.  I've bought Lenovo and Dell in the past, and made my own desktops but decided I wanted an easy warranty this time round.  I went with a system that has an MB with 2x TB3 ports for an external TB3 drive enclosure and some USB-C peripherals but most importantly slots for 6 SATA drives inside that came pre-wired (important to request it!) + 2 M2 drives.  The M2 drives are used for the OS and the LR/PS caches respectively and 2 SATA slots taken with a pair of 2TB Raid 0 SSDs for the current year raws and print files.  3 more slots are taken up with a pair of 12TB drives and an 8TB for all my Raw and scanned images, all print ready files, and everything else respectively.  I added all of the SATA drives myself to save.  Of course everything is backed up to the TB3 enclosure and again to a NAS.  The system is very fast with 64GB and an i7 7800x and it has an Nvidia P2000 for video.

If you're interested in more details shoot me a PM and I think I can send you a link to the build so that you can compare or change components.
« Last Edit: May 31, 2018, 07:41:22 AM by mcbroomf »
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kers

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Re: Power Users: MAC or PC?
« Reply #10 on: May 31, 2018, 08:22:48 AM »

At the moment Apple is moving to system 10.14.
It is supposed stability will be its mayor goal.
...and that is about time. Basic things simply work less good than some years ago ; the finder for one.
The new APFS file system has brought new problems and fixes for Meltdown and Spectre has made the computer slower.
Diglloyd came today wit a list of flaws.. ( https://macperformanceguide.com/  )
If 10.14 will be stable it is the system to go ; otherwise i might stick on 10.9 - the last good OS i find, but lacking support for new software...
Does anyone know what new intel cpu hs a new architecture that makes it not vulnerable for Spectra and Meltdown?



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Joe Towner

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Re: Power Users: MAC or PC?
« Reply #11 on: May 31, 2018, 10:32:45 AM »

Spectra and Meltdown are in the pre-fetch and pre-execution areas, and while they may be 'fixed' it's like the current firmware smackdown rather than improved/replaced logic. It's funny how many steps in front of your current task the CPU can be - having to anticipate what is next.

MacOS hasn't given me issues, but figure I've been lucky?  I don't recommend anything older than 10.11.6 at this point, and even that is long in the tooth.  The issue comes around more on the App support side, and you'll want to make sure you use Chrome/Firefox as Safari doesn't get the updates.
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NancyP

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Re: Power Users: MAC or PC?
« Reply #12 on: May 31, 2018, 10:41:53 AM »

That's a good tip, about Safari being slow to update. Firefox on PC seems to be pretty diligent about updates.
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Brad P

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Re: Power Users: MAC or PC?
« Reply #13 on: May 31, 2018, 01:24:41 PM »

I recently upgraded though, with a Puget Sounds PC.  I've bought Lenovo and Dell in the past, and made my own desktops but decided I wanted an easy warranty this time round.  I went with a system that has an MB with 2x TB3 ports for an external TB3 drive enclosure and some USB-C peripherals but most importantly slots for 6 SATA drives inside that came pre-wired (important to request it!) + 2 M2 drives.  The M2 drives are used for the OS and the LR/PS caches respectively and 2 SATA slots taken with a pair of 2TB Raid 0 SSDs for the current year raws and print files.  3 more slots are taken up with a pair of 12TB drives and an 8TB for all my Raw and scanned images, all print ready files, and everything else respectively.  I added all of the SATA drives myself to save.  Of course everything is backed up to the TB3 enclosure and again to a NAS.  The system is very fast with 64GB and an i7 7800x and it has an Nvidia P2000 for video.

Nice!   I just priced out a dream system for just over $6K on their website.  Looks like an improvement over the trash can, but more than I want to spend if I can avoid it. 

Hereís the best on what I can find out about rumors for the upcoming Power Mac specs.  Too long to wait for me . . . maybe.

Iím now wondering if the sweet spot may be a refurbished trash can.  See example here. I can get a top end 12 core, 64 MB, 1 Terra system for around $3600 and Iím guessing since Apple is selling them now, I should likely be able to use it for (purely a guess) 4 years before they stop supporting the latest operating system.  And I wonít have to deal with all the migration headaches and expenses.   I back up now with external hard drives and itís actually not so bad.  They are not upgradeable though, and never used one.  Anyone have any experience with those to share?
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smahn

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Re: Power Users: MAC or PC?
« Reply #14 on: May 31, 2018, 01:49:13 PM »

Unless you know for certain that focus stacking makes use of multiple cores, I'd avoid the trash can.

Most functions in PS are single core or lightly threaded. A regular old iMac or Macbook Pro wipes it in most uses:

https://browser.geekbench.com/mac-benchmarks/
https://www.pugetsystems.com/labs/articles/Adobe-Photoshop-CC-Multi-Core-Performance-625/

Best i can surmise right now, the Intel i7 8700K 6 core chip is the state of the art CPU for Photoshop at this time. Unfortunately Apple moves so slowly it's not available anywhere in their lineup at this time. That's why I'm trying the PC for 90 days.

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Brad P

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Re: Power Users: MAC or PC?
« Reply #15 on: May 31, 2018, 03:35:51 PM »

Unless you know for certain that focus stacking makes use of multiple cores, I'd avoid the trash can.

Most functions in PS are single core or lightly threaded. A regular old iMac or Macbook Pro wipes it in most uses:

https://browser.geekbench.com/mac-benchmarks/
https://www.pugetsystems.com/labs/articles/Adobe-Photoshop-CC-Multi-Core-Performance-625/

Best i can surmise right now, the Intel i7 8700K 6 core chip is the state of the art CPU for Photoshop at this time. Unfortunately Apple moves so slowly it's not available anywhere in their lineup at this time. That's why I'm trying the PC for 90 days.

Fantastic article!!  Thanks!   I just sent an email to Zerene asking them about these issues and will report back.  Thatís my main bottleneck right now.  But PS can be too (and Phocus, which I need to check into as well).   Makes me also wonder about a few plugins, but thatís not so much a biggie as the others. 

Obviously all these could change (or not) over time, but itís good to know the baseline. 
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smahn

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Re: Power Users: MAC or PC?
« Reply #16 on: May 31, 2018, 04:08:19 PM »

Zerene may indeed use their own secret sauce, but here's another example where native PS (HDR & Photomerge) benefits most from higher chip speed than number of cores. Here again, the i7 8700K wins:

https://www.pugetsystems.com/labs/articles/Photoshop-CC-2017-1-1-CPU-Performance-Core-i7-8700K-i5-8600K-i3-8350K-1057/

If Apple announces next week that they'll be putting that chip into 5K iMacs within the coming weeks, I may go that route, even though I loath sealed computers and glossy screens. They'll also have to do something about heat/fan noise with the i7 chip. Otherwise it just doesn't pay to stay loyal to the brand.
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mcbroomf

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Re: Power Users: MAC or PC?
« Reply #17 on: May 31, 2018, 04:11:14 PM »

OWC (Macsales) also offer MacPro systems, in fact a bewildering assortment if you decide to go that route.  I'd guess that many cores is a big cost adder as my system was "only" $4k ... or maybe you dream bigger  ;D
https://eshop.macsales.com/shop/Apple-Systems/Used/Mac-Pro?_ga=2.63198895.1898621980.1527793200-1520724954.1527793200
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JimGoshorn

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Re: Power Users: MAC or PC?
« Reply #18 on: May 31, 2018, 05:55:10 PM »

December 2016 I got tired of waiting for Apple and a new MacPro so I bit the bullet and went to a custom built PC. I got it from Puget Systems with lifetime tech support (as long as I have the PC) and I got it when they were running a 3 year warranty included special. Had to call them about 3 or 4 times for issues (mostly my acclimation to Windows) and they always solved my issue. While the Mac has a prettier GUI and fonts definitely look better on screen, after getting used to the PC, I pretty much don't miss the Mac. I have iCloud and iTunes for the PC so my mail and images can be accessed on the PC and my iPad.
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Kirk_C

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Re: Power Users: MAC or PC?
« Reply #19 on: June 01, 2018, 12:50:17 AM »

A year ago I needed to replace a Macbook Pro and decided to try an HP for half the price. W10 is fine, but the forced updates just broke printing to my basic laser printer, not enough printer memory to print a file that prints fine from W7 or OS10. Card reader has broken, keyboard sticks, HDMI jack is unreliable and drops connections. Saved a lot of money over the comparable Mac but will toss it soon and buy a new Mac.

I bought the top of the line iMac in January with the 512GB SD and added OWC 64GB of RAM. Using a Spectraview 21" NEC with it. Everything works great. Fast and trouble free. CC and C1 are stable and fast.

I support 36 PCs at the studio. Running W7 and W10. W10 presents problems with updates and printing. W7 OK but slow. Have had to replace 4 PCs that were less than 5 years old in the last year.

Several iMacs, going back to Mid-2011 generation. All stable and rarely an issue. Updated old HDs to SSDs myself. Easy to do.

FWIW

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