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PC or Mac

Discussion in 'Photography Chat Forum' started by John Maltby, May 31, 2019.

  1. John Maltby

    John Maltby Member

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    I'm about to upgrade my old Dell PC for photo editing via photoshop nd Lightroom.
    My question is with a budget of approx £1200 which PC or Mac do you recommend.
     
  2. MikeB

    MikeB Always on Premium Member

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    I recommend a computer with an Intel i7 8th generation CPU, 32GB ram, an Nvidia GPU with at least 2GB onboard ram, 1 TB SSD, and an addtional SSD or harddrive for system storage of images. Use the SSD for all caching.

    For Photoshop and Lightroom, it is recommended going with fewer cores and higher frequency when choosing the CPU.

    Can you get by with less? Yes, but you will more likely experience bottlenecks in performance.

    PC or Mac - depends on your experience. You will find more capable PC systems and at a lower price than those designed for Macs.

    I build my own desktop systems allowing me more opportunities to upgrade different elements as the need arises. I do like Dells and just had delivered a 7730 workstation (laptop) for when I'm out and about.
     
    Robbie S likes this.
  3. John Maltby

    John Maltby Member

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    Thanks for the very helpful advice, you suggested spec sounds beyond my budget but its at least a starting point.
     
  4. SeanNeedham

    SeanNeedham Ol' Sparky Honorary Life Member

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    A Windows based box, if you go down the build it yourself route would work out a lot better value for money; and for the sort of spec that Mike outlines above it is do-able on the sort of budget you are looking at. On the other side of it, to buy a Mac with that spec then it's going to cost a lot more because of the top down integration that Apple work with. I built a rig this year to better than what Mike has said (I also used a Radeon RX580 over an Nvidia as it suits my endpoint use better) and that came in to below your budget, even with an over-engineered cooling system (all air, but I didn't want the machine to sound like a Chinook).
    Now-a-days, the only real difference is between operating systems and what your preference is therein; and some of the differences to what made a Mac "better" than a Windows box have narrowed to the point of being marginal at best or disappeared completely.

    I've been using Macs as my personal systems of choice for over 25 years now, but as things have become I'd have a hard time being able to find a reason to recommend a Mac over a modern version of Windows now-a-days.
     
  5. John Maltby

    John Maltby Member

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    Thanks for your valued comments, it seems the best way forward is self build which I shall actively persue.
    Thanks for you advice.
     
  6. Ogofmole

    Ogofmole Always on Moderator

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    I know absolutely nothing about building computers (only how to turn them on and off). But in my town we have a good local computer shop and the owner is a very keen photographer, so I always get him to build a computer for me with using Photoshop as it's main purpose in life, so no need to have anything for gaming etc on my computer that I will never use.
     
  7. John Maltby

    John Maltby Member

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    What a great benefit, whereabouts in Wales is he, I live in south Cheshire.
    Cheers
     
  8. Ogofmole

    Ogofmole Always on Moderator

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    Llandovery near Brecon. Simply website, but he is well known in this area and always busy.
    http://www.cuprum.co.uk/
     
  9. Phill104

    Phill104 Always on Premium Member

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    I would recommend an AMD Ryzen. With a Ryzen 2600, 16 gb of 3000mhz ddr4, an x470 motherboard such as the Gigabyte Auorus Ultra, an M.2 1TB SSD and a 6TB spinning disk, a cheaper case such as a Corsair 100r and a 650w modular PSU you will still have enough to add either a GTX1660 or even an RTX2060 if you buy it all from somewhere like Novatech. You will then have a system that will run Photoshop with ease. I say this as I have just built something like this myself.

    I have years of IT hardware and software experience in my job, but that is on enterprise class kit. So I had to do my research quite a bit to know what the current consumer lines. Bang for buck the Ryzen really is a good processor. As AMD have just announced their next generation of Ryzen CPUs, the current line has dropped nicely in price. Avoid the models ending in X as they are just pre-overclocked versions of the non X ones at a premium price.
     
    Last edited: Jun 1, 2019
    SFTphotography likes this.
  10. Phill104

    Phill104 Always on Premium Member

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    I’ve just specced out what I listed above using Novatech. You would have to assemble yourself or with the help of a friend but it is easy. Without Windows 10, hopefully you have your own copy, it comes in at £923. That is with a GTX1660 GPU. For and extra £70 you can upgrade to an RTX2060.
     
  11. SFTphotography

    SFTphotography Old Hand

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    Also consider the screen - invest in that. A wide gamut screen is very important.

    I use a Mac Pro tower - but I bought it to use Aperture 3 which I liked very much when making a decision to what suite to use to edit - times moved on and now I'd use Lightroom or Capture One Pro. The editing software will perform just the same on a Mac as opposed to a PC so I'd get a PC for the thousands (yes thousands) I would save.


    www.scan.co.uk do a range of custom PC's and a lad that lives nearby swears by them for parts etc. I might just pay him to do it as it's not an area I know a huge amount on.

    Unless you use Apple specific software or have a desire to run OS X I don't think you need a Mac. They're nice "things" but a computer you buy to do a job - not as a bit of decor.
     
  12. John Maltby

    John Maltby Member

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    Yes a very honest answer much appreciate your advice. All the replies so far have given me much to think about.
    Thanks to all
     
  13. Grumpy John

    Grumpy John Here a lot

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    G'day Mike, just wondering why such high specs when Adobe have the following recommendation for Photoshop CS6.
    I don't disagree with the 1TB SSD and extra HDD storage, but isn't the i7 processor and 32GB RAM going a bit overboard. I'm still running Intel Core2 Quad CPU Q6600 @2.4GHz, 8GB RAM, NVVIDIA GeForce GTX 750 Ti with 4095MB memory on Win 7. I'm not saying that I wouldn't up these specs a tad if I were to get a new 'puter, but I'm quite happy with what I have at the moment.


    Creative Suite 6 system requirements

    Photoshop CS6 / Photoshop Extended CS6 system requirements
    Windows
    • Intel® Pentium® 4 or AMD Athlon® 64 processor
    • Microsoft® Windows® XP with Service Pack 3 or Microsoft Windows 7 with Service Pack 1. Adobe® Creative Suite® 5.5 and CS6 applications also support Windows 8. See the CS6 FAQ for more information about Windows 8 support.
    • 1 GB of RAM
    • 1 GB of available hard-disk space for installation; additional free space required during installation (cannot install on removable flash storage devices)
    • 1024 x 768 display (1280 x 800 recommended) with 16-bit color and 512 MB (1 GB recommended) of VRAM
    • OpenGL 2.0–capable system
    • DVD-ROM drive
    • This software doesn't operate without activation. Broadband Internet connection and registration are required for software activation, validation of subscriptions, and access to online services.† Phone activation is not available.
    Mac OS
    • Multicore Intel processor with 64-bit support
    • Mac OS X v10.6.8 or v10.7. Adobe Creative Suite 3, 4, 5, CS5.5, and CS6 applications support Mac OS X Mountain Lion (v10.8) when installed on Intel-based systems.*
    • 1 GB of RAM
    • 2 GB of available hard-disk space for installation; additional free space required during installation (cannot install on a volume that uses a case-sensitive file system or on removable flash storage devices)
      1024 x 768 display (1280 x 800 recommended) with 16-bit color and 512 MB (1 GB recommended) of VRAM
    • OpenGL 2.0–capable system
    • DVD-ROM drive
    • This software doesn't operate without activation. Broadband Internet connection and registration are required for software activation, validation of subscriptions, and access to online services.† Phone activation is not available.
     
  14. Mike Singh

    Mike Singh Always on Premium Member

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  15. SeanNeedham

    SeanNeedham Ol' Sparky Honorary Life Member

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    These are the minimums for a > 10 year old bit of software aimed at cameras that were about 10 years back and running on operating systems of the generation. What with your OS being at the door to be taken outside and shot (there's a thread in the Computer Clinic) just upping that to Windows 10, that needs to be on a processor of the Intel Core I-series era and with at least 4GB (or better) for just the operating system; and that's before programmes being added on top. I don't know about CS6 on Windows but it's not run correctly (assuming you can get the installer to run) on MacOS since Version 10.11 (three years or more back now) because it's not compatible with the operating system and also a lot of the modern advances in programme execution that have occurred in the last 10 years (GPU leverage for one, which has made me curious as to will CS6 run with the Vulkan runtime as there are a lot of pre Windows 8 software that doesn't run or if it does looks appalling). Sticking old software on top of a modern OS/hardware load may seem like the performance of that package could be supercharged, but in quite a few cases with the software not having been written for that codebase so it'll either be choking as things are being translated to work with the modern code or it may not run at all. An analogy I've used a lot is it'll be like dragging a trailer with a supercar.

    The problem with taking minimum specs as useable, is that there are two things that are not taken in to account, what the programme is going to be used for and what the programme is going to be used with; most of the time the minimums have been calculated on a "clean" (as in nothing else running or stripped of all ancillary software) machine in a lab and not been hit to it's full maximum use. Just merging and blending a panorama in PSCS6 of 10 frames (say landscape images, as they're generally the most complicated) off a 12mp unit would have a machine of those specs screaming for mercy (and that's if there isn't 10 years worth of grot clogging the cooling pathways).

    Whatever you decide, the only thing I would advise on is look at the current recommended specification (not the minimum) of the main software packages you use today and then at least double it; as you aren't building a system for use today, you are building one to be useable at least 6 years from now with software that is going to be getting fatter with each revision.
     
    SFTphotography and Phill104 like this.
  16. Phill104

    Phill104 Always on Premium Member

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    That is one reason I was writing the specs above as I did. I priced something up at £923 leaving £280 of his £1200 budget available for a screen.
     
  17. MikeB

    MikeB Always on Premium Member

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    That's all that matters. CS-6 is old but functional. If it meets all of your needs than you may not need a faster processor and more ram. If, however, you are planning to move to the latest operating system and the latest Adobe products you will find that they will choke only 8GB ram and the more processor-intensive operations may stress the cpu. I believe that the GPU cited is no longer supported by the latest Adobe products.

    When upgrading or buying a new system, I recommend getting a system that will meet your needs for the next several years. It is clear that more applications are placing greater demands on system resources, especially on RAM and GPUs.
     
    Grumpy John likes this.
  18. Grumpy John

    Grumpy John Here a lot

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    I really have no wish to upgrade anything as PS6 meets my needs and everything is humming along just nicely. The one factor that is pushing me to an upgrade is that my C: drive is a 120GB SSD that is rapidly running out of room, combined with the fact that Win7 is coming to the end of it's lifespan is going to force me to do more than a simple drive upgrade. It will be time for a new system, something that I'm not looking forward to.
     
  19. MikeB

    MikeB Always on Premium Member

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    Buy a new 256GB SSD, ghost copy the current C: drive and replace the 120GB with the 256GB.
    Determine whether your system can handle WIN 10 - https://www.microsoft.com/en-us/windows/windows-10-specifications
    If it can, upgrade from Win 7 to Win 10 while keeping all of your applications and files. The problems with this is that this also keeps all of the detritus that has built up in the Win 7 Registry and transfers that to Win 10 as well. It is BEST to do a clean install with Win 10 as in wipe the disk and start over. Making sure that you have all of the original application disks and upgrades will be an issue and may force you to do the upgrade in place (first option).
     

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