Which mac?

Discussion in 'Digital Photography' started by Danl Johnson, Oct 21, 2004.

  1. Danl Johnson

    Danl Johnson Guest

    I'm aiming at overhauling my image processing equipment while adding a
    medium-format film scanner. (I currently have a Linux-based network,
    and long discouraging experience with Windows.) What I've read so far
    convinces me that a Mac is the most reliable and capable
    image-processing platform. But... does anyone monitoring this
    discussion group have a clear idea of what's cost-effective? (The
    goal is not to spend as much money as possible, but to spend what it
    takes to be efficient.)

    Let's presume a Nikon Super Coolscan 9000 ED for scanning, and the
    biggest hard drives available, big memory and a DVD-writer as basic.

    But which Mac is "enough"? Will a G4 be adequate, or is a G5 a
    significantly better choice? If so, single or dual processors? (I
    tend to assume that processor speed is less important that RAM and
    hard drive capacity for scanning film and using Photoshop to refine
    the images.)

    I know that you can't really tell me which to buy, but I'd appreciate
    experienced voices saying what to avoid, or things you did that you
    regret, or are grateful you did.

    Thanks much.

    Dan Johnson
    Danl Johnson, Oct 21, 2004
    #1
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  2. Danl Johnson

    JR Guest

    Well, the ONLY option for you is a Powermac G5. You can get a single
    CPU 1.8 GHZ for $1499. You could go for bigger and faster if your
    budget allows but this will get you started. Then buy LOTS of RAM. The
    reason this is th eonly option for you if you are serious about image
    editing is that you need a CRT monitor. A flatscreen LCD is very
    difficult to calibrate and in some cases impossible. So the iMac G5 is
    out of the question. It is an all in one solution. You can get one,
    but you'll need an external monitor anyway, and you may as well by a
    faster CPU instead of getting a built in LCD screen that you don't need.
    So I would get a Dual 2.0 G5 and a 20" CRT monitor, and a good
    calibroation system. This will allow you to correctly calibrate your
    scanner and monitor and I assume your printer as well. So when you
    scan, edit and print, the colors are as accurate as possible between
    them all. Yes you are right to some extent about memory, but rememebr
    the G5 is a 64 bit CPU, the G4 a 32 bit. The G5 thinks and talks MUCH
    faster than a comparable speed G4. Also look into memory prices for
    each model you are looking into. I just bought a powerbook and the 15"
    memory is WAY cheaper than 12" memory. So it was a better deal to get a
    15" powerbook vs. the cheaper 12" because the 12" memory was so much
    more expensive. I use the G5 dual 2 GHZ for scanning and editing and on
    large files it's great. My G4 was not adequate for medium format scans,
    but 35mm was not an issue. Digital editing is much faster and snappier
    on a G5. Bottom line, buy the fastest G5 you can get, a good 20" CRT
    monitor and at least 2GB RAM. Then have lots of fun with it.

    JR


    In article <>,
    (Danl Johnson) wrote:

    > I'm aiming at overhauling my image processing equipment while adding a
    > medium-format film scanner. (I currently have a Linux-based network,
    > and long discouraging experience with Windows.) What I've read so far
    > convinces me that a Mac is the most reliable and capable
    > image-processing platform. But... does anyone monitoring this
    > discussion group have a clear idea of what's cost-effective? (The
    > goal is not to spend as much money as possible, but to spend what it
    > takes to be efficient.)
    >
    > Let's presume a Nikon Super Coolscan 9000 ED for scanning, and the
    > biggest hard drives available, big memory and a DVD-writer as basic.
    >
    > But which Mac is "enough"? Will a G4 be adequate, or is a G5 a
    > significantly better choice? If so, single or dual processors? (I
    > tend to assume that processor speed is less important that RAM and
    > hard drive capacity for scanning film and using Photoshop to refine
    > the images.)
    >
    > I know that you can't really tell me which to buy, but I'd appreciate
    > experienced voices saying what to avoid, or things you did that you
    > regret, or are grateful you did.
    >
    > Thanks much.
    >
    > Dan Johnson
    JR, Oct 21, 2004
    #2
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  3. (Danl Johnson) writes:

    > But which Mac is "enough"? Will a G4 be adequate, or is a G5 a
    > significantly better choice? If so, single or dual processors? (I
    > tend to assume that processor speed is less important that RAM and
    > hard drive capacity for scanning film and using Photoshop to refine
    > the images.)


    I don't have the expertise to answer specifics with current Macs. I'm
    hoping you'll get lots of helpful answers before the thread devolves into
    the holy war. Post your query at
    comp.sys.mac.hardware.misc
    and
    comp.sys.mac.apps
    --
    Philip Stripling | email to the replyto address is presumed
    Legal Assistance on the Web | spam and read later. email to philip@
    http://www.PhilipStripling.com/ | my domain is read daily.
    Phil Stripling, Oct 21, 2004
    #3
  4. Danl Johnson

    Crownfield Guest

    JR wrote:
    >
    > Yes you are right to some extent about memory, but rememebr
    > the G5 is a 64 bit CPU, the G4 a 32 bit. The G5 thinks and talks MUCH
    > faster than a comparable speed G4.


    but remember,
    a 64 bit processor
    and a 32 bit processor,
    and a 16 bit processor

    may take the same time and the same number of instructions
    to do an operation on a 12 bit raw value.

    its only when the data 'chunk' is larger than 16 or 32 bits
    that the 64 bit processor should show any improvement.

    > JR
    >
    Crownfield, Oct 21, 2004
    #4
  5. Danl Johnson

    Matt Ion Guest

    Danl Johnson wrote:

    > I'm aiming at overhauling my image processing equipment while adding a
    > medium-format film scanner. (I currently have a Linux-based network,
    > and long discouraging experience with Windows.) What I've read so far
    > convinces me that a Mac is the most reliable and capable
    > image-processing platform. But... does anyone monitoring this
    > discussion group have a clear idea of what's cost-effective? (The
    > goal is not to spend as much money as possible, but to spend what it
    > takes to be efficient.)
    >
    > Let's presume a Nikon Super Coolscan 9000 ED for scanning, and the
    > biggest hard drives available, big memory and a DVD-writer as basic.
    >
    > But which Mac is "enough"? Will a G4 be adequate, or is a G5 a
    > significantly better choice? If so, single or dual processors? (I
    > tend to assume that processor speed is less important that RAM and
    > hard drive capacity for scanning film and using Photoshop to refine
    > the images.)
    >
    > I know that you can't really tell me which to buy, but I'd appreciate
    > experienced voices saying what to avoid, or things you did that you
    > regret, or are grateful you did.


    A G4 will be more than sufficient for image processing, and you probably
    don't need any more than a half-gig of memory.

    The only catch to this is that older G4s will use SD-RAM (168-pin
    modules) while newer ones and G5s will use DDR-RAM (184-pin modules),
    which tend to run about half the price (my usual supplier has 256MB
    SD-RAM for $65-$120 depending on format and manufacturer, vs. 512MB
    DDR-RAM for $100-$115. If you go for the G4, you may want to make sure
    which type of memory it takes in case you decide to add some in the
    future (unless it comes with enough to do you for a while).

    Dual processors are probably overkill as well, unless you do some REALLY
    extensive Photoshop doctoring that requires extensive re-rendering of
    images.
    Matt Ion, Oct 21, 2004
    #5
  6. Danl Johnson

    Lourens Smak Guest

    In article <>,
    (Danl Johnson) wrote:

    > But which Mac is "enough"? Will a G4 be adequate, or is a G5 a
    > significantly better choice? If so, single or dual processors? (I
    > tend to assume that processor speed is less important that RAM and
    > hard drive capacity for scanning film and using Photoshop to refine
    > the images.)


    For scanning, an "older" G4 is good enough as the computer will be
    faster than the scanner anyway. With OSX, more RAM is better, simple as
    that. (and even more RAM is best...). Hard drives can be added with FW
    or internally. With an older Mac, I would go for external FW-drives,
    more practical when the computer is upgraded after a while. A
    dual-processor is nice, OSX makes full use of that. (unlike the old
    MacOS).

    But, Apple has introduced a new entry-level (single-cpu) G5 just
    yesterday...maybe that is your new computer.
    ;-)
    Lourens
    Lourens Smak, Oct 21, 2004
    #6
  7. Danl Johnson

    Chris Brown Guest

    In article <>,
    Danl Johnson <> wrote:
    >
    >Let's presume a Nikon Super Coolscan 9000 ED for scanning, and the
    >biggest hard drives available, big memory and a DVD-writer as basic.
    >
    >But which Mac is "enough"? Will a G4 be adequate, or is a G5 a
    >significantly better choice?


    I'm using a PowerMac G4, 1.25 GHz uniprocessor with 2 gigs of RAM and
    Photoshop CS to work with scanned 6*6 and 6*9 medium format. I'd say it's
    adequate, but a G5 would be a bit nicer, especially during the import stage.
    The main concern for dealing with scanned stuff is memory. Not too much of
    an issue for 35mm, but if you want to work with medium format, you'll want
    as much memory as you can get hold of.

    BTW, as a Linux user, you'll probably really like OS X. It'll give you
    everything you're used to with Linux, but without the near constant
    tinkering that most Linux distributions and GUIs seem to require. A very
    civilised way to experience UNIX.
    Chris Brown, Oct 21, 2004
    #7
  8. Danl Johnson

    JR Guest

    In article <>, Crownfield <>
    wrote:

    > JR wrote:
    > >
    > > Yes you are right to some extent about memory, but rememebr
    > > the G5 is a 64 bit CPU, the G4 a 32 bit. The G5 thinks and talks MUCH
    > > faster than a comparable speed G4.

    >
    > but remember,
    > a 64 bit processor
    > and a 32 bit processor,
    > and a 16 bit processor
    >
    > may take the same time and the same number of instructions
    > to do an operation on a 12 bit raw value.
    >
    > its only when the data 'chunk' is larger than 16 or 32 bits
    > that the 64 bit processor should show any improvement.
    >
    > > JR
    > >


    But because of the increased CPU bit depth there is also the increase in
    bus speed....1000 Mhz vs. 167 Mhz...This is significant. Also as the OS
    becomes more and more 64 bit over time, your G4 will stay the same
    speed, but your G5 will get faster because the OS will evolve to better
    take advantage of the G5 capabilities.


    JR
    JR, Oct 21, 2004
    #8
  9. Danl Johnson

    JR Guest


    > For scanning, an "older" G4 is good enough as the computer will be
    > faster than the scanner anyway.


    Yes but for post processing? This is not adequate. Ever try editing a
    few layers of a 600MB 6x7 scan? It's painfully slow on a G4, zippy on a
    G5. If you are just doing 35mm, then the max size is about 200mb and a
    G4 can deal with that.

    JR
    JR, Oct 21, 2004
    #9
  10. Danl Johnson

    JR Guest


    >
    > A G4 will be more than sufficient for image processing, and you probably
    > don't need any more than a half-gig of memory.
    >


    Well this presumes small image files. I have a G5 with 1GB of Ram and a
    G4 with 1 GB of RAM...I hate loading my large files on my G4 into
    photoshop. VERY slow to do any type of post processing. The Dual 2 ghz
    G5 is a dream to work on 600+MB image files. With 16 bit, 6x7 MF scans,
    you can easily get 600+MB files. And now with an Epson 4000 printer you
    can get excellent 16x20 300dpi 16 bit color depth prints from home, so
    all this resolution and color depth is usable.

    JR
    JR, Oct 21, 2004
    #10
  11. Danl Johnson

    Crownfield Guest

    JR wrote:
    >
    > In article <>, Crownfield <>
    > wrote:
    >
    > > JR wrote:
    > > >
    > > > Yes you are right to some extent about memory, but rememebr
    > > > the G5 is a 64 bit CPU, the G4 a 32 bit. The G5 thinks and talks MUCH
    > > > faster than a comparable speed G4.

    > >
    > > but remember,
    > > a 64 bit processor
    > > and a 32 bit processor,
    > > and a 16 bit processor
    > >
    > > may take the same time and the same number of instructions
    > > to do an operation on a 12 bit raw value.
    > >
    > > its only when the data 'chunk' is larger than 16 or 32 bits
    > > that the 64 bit processor should show any improvement.
    > >
    > > > JR
    > > >

    >
    > But because of the increased CPU bit depth there is also the increase in
    > bus speed....1000 Mhz vs. 167 Mhz...This is significant.


    but 12 bits data / 64 bit word means that less than 19% of your increase
    is valid data, 52 bits is left over debris, not significant data.

    > Also as the OS
    > becomes more and more 64 bit over time, your G4 will stay the same
    > speed, but your G5 will get faster because the OS will evolve to better
    > take advantage of the G5 capabilities.
    >
    > JR
    Crownfield, Oct 22, 2004
    #11
  12. In article <>, Crownfield <>
    wrote:

    > JR wrote:
    > >
    > > In article <>, Crownfield <>
    > > wrote:
    > >
    > > > JR wrote:
    > > > >
    > > > > Yes you are right to some extent about memory, but rememebr
    > > > > the G5 is a 64 bit CPU, the G4 a 32 bit. The G5 thinks and talks MUCH
    > > > > faster than a comparable speed G4.
    > > >
    > > > but remember,
    > > > a 64 bit processor
    > > > and a 32 bit processor,
    > > > and a 16 bit processor
    > > >
    > > > may take the same time and the same number of instructions
    > > > to do an operation on a 12 bit raw value.
    > > >
    > > > its only when the data 'chunk' is larger than 16 or 32 bits
    > > > that the 64 bit processor should show any improvement.
    > > >
    > > > > JR
    > > > >

    > >
    > > But because of the increased CPU bit depth there is also the increase in
    > > bus speed....1000 Mhz vs. 167 Mhz...This is significant.

    >
    > but 12 bits data / 64 bit word means that less than 19% of your increase
    > is valid data, 52 bits is left over debris, not significant data.


    There are several performance factors:
    Data bus width * speed
    Data caching efficiency
    CPU clock speed / clocks per instruction
    Register size and ALU

    Only the register size and ALU needs tuned software. The G5 still makes
    gains over the G4 computers other areas. The "G4" processor is actually
    a family of chips of varying performance. They can't be compared by
    clock speed alone.


    > > Also as the OS
    > > becomes more and more 64 bit over time, your G4 will stay the same
    > > speed, but your G5 will get faster because the OS will evolve to better
    > > take advantage of the G5 capabilities.
    > >
    > > JR
    Kevin McMurtrie, Oct 23, 2004
    #12
  13. writes:

    >but remember,
    >a 64 bit processor
    >and a 32 bit processor,
    >and a 16 bit processor


    >may take the same time and the same number of instructions
    >to do an operation on a 12 bit raw value.


    >its only when the data 'chunk' is larger than 16 or 32 bits
    >that the 64 bit processor should show any improvement.


    That's only true when you're using plain scalar instructions that
    operate on only one data value at a time.

    But many processors these days have special instructions that split a 32-bit
    register into 2 16-bit registers or 4 8-bit registers and perform
    the same operation on the 2 or 4 operands at once, in the same time as
    one 32-bit operation. With a 64-bit processor, if this is implemented
    fully, you get one 64-bit result, 2 32-bit results, 4 16-bit results, or
    8 8-bit results at once. And in fact these instructions are commonly
    used for signal and image processing tasks - audio filtering, MPEG
    decoding, etc.

    I would be very surprised if Photoshop does not use these multi-result
    instructions in its internal filters.

    Dave
    Dave Martindale, Oct 23, 2004
    #13
  14. Danl Johnson

    Alan Browne Guest

    Crownfield wrote:

    > JR wrote:
    >
    >>Yes you are right to some extent about memory, but rememebr
    >>the G5 is a 64 bit CPU, the G4 a 32 bit. The G5 thinks and talks MUCH
    >>faster than a comparable speed G4.

    >
    >
    > but remember,
    > a 64 bit processor
    > and a 32 bit processor,
    > and a 16 bit processor
    >
    > may take the same time and the same number of instructions
    > to do an operation on a 12 bit raw value.


    Larger databus processors targetting an 8 bit or 16 bit word will load the
    entire 32 or 64 bit wide word of their databus. Then on the subsequent fetch,
    it need not go to memory, merely to its data buffer (or cache) to find the data
    already fetched. This saves 2 to 4 to 8 (more?) external bus cycles (depending
    on architecture and actual buswidth). So a 64 bit machine loading sequential 16
    bit words will get four words of info each time it fetches one, and saves a
    bundle of memory accesses. The good software writer takes into account the
    memory structure, fetch mechanism and the data structure when coding for large
    matrices. (And, as I recall, some Fortran compilers would optimize even
    sloppily written routines to correct for programmer laziness (and/or porting to
    machines with different access and memory structures)).

    Cheers,
    Alan


    --
    -- rec.photo.equipment.35mm user resource:
    -- http://www.aliasimages.com/rpe35mmur.htm
    -- e-meil: there's no such thing as a FreeLunch.--
    Alan Browne, Oct 24, 2004
    #14
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