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Thread: LR4 consumer Mac recommendations

  1. #1
    Senior Member sjg284's Avatar
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    LR4 consumer Mac recommendations

    I am debating merits of a base 27" iMac & upgraded Mac mini, for someone with $2000ish to spend on a new Mac.

    For reference, I am on a 3.5yr old 24" iMac 2.66ghz core2duo w/ 8GB RAM.
    It's fine for Leica M8 files. But any 12-16MP camera files kill it.

    Lightroom is my most resource hungry app by far. I also use Silver Efex 2 plugin. Everything else I do is basic productivity/web/entertainment.

    There are a lot of variables:RAM, GPU, CPU speed/cores/hyperthreading, HDD v SSD, etc.
    I'v read mixed reviews on relative importance of each, so wanted to see if anyone here had some practical experience of mini vs iMac.

    My two biggest hang-ups on the mini - 16GB RAM ceiling & lack of GPU.

    In the $2000ish bracket, could do.. a) top CPU mini & upgrade SSD/RAM aftermarket or b) base 27" iMac & upgrade RAM aftermarket
    a) mini - 2.6ghz i7 / 16GB RAM / 1TB HDD + 256-512GB SSD / No GPU
    a1) same as above, but could do 2xSSD (1 for boot / 1 for photos & LR catalog)
    b) iMac - 2.9ghz i5 / 24-32GB RAM / 1TB HDD / Nvidia 660M 512MB GPU
    In above case the mini also comes out about 20% cheaper, depending on details of config

    So questions are, what are the relative merits of-
    * Faster clocked i5 vs slower i7 (i7 has hyperthreading, which LR4 may use.. but also may currently have a bug causing people to disable hyper threading!)
    * 16GB RAM vs more headroom
    * SSD upgrade vs HDD only (does the SSD offer much benefit)
    * GPU vs no GPU (does it matter at all)

    Yes I can put an i7 & SSD in the iMac, however at that point it feels like Mac Pro price w/o Mac Pro expandability... quickly approaching the $3000 mark.
    blog
    steve

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    Contributing Editor ustein's Avatar
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    Re: LR4 consumer Mac recommendations

    Get lots of memory.

    >GPU vs no GPU (does it matter at all)

    Don't think GPU matters that much.
    Uwe Steinmueller
    -------------------

    Editor&Owner of Digital Outback Photo
    http://www.outbackphoto.com

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    Senior Member sjg284's Avatar
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    Re: LR4 consumer Mac recommendations

    For the purposes of Lightroom.. would you then consider the mini @ 16GB max RAM to be a no-go?



    Quote Originally Posted by ustein View Post
    Get lots of memory.

    >GPU vs no GPU (does it matter at all)

    Don't think GPU matters that much.
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    steve

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    Re: LR4 consumer Mac recommendations

    Even an i5 1.8Ghz system with 4G RAM easily outperforms a Core 2 Duo 2.66Ghz system with 8G RAM.

    A new mini with whichever processor you feel comfortable spending for and as much RAM as you want to buy will certainly do a good job with 16-18 Mpixel image files. I may buy one myself ... That, or a fully loaded MacBook Air, is a system I'm planning to purchase myself.

    I work with up to 60 Mpixel 6x6 scans...

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    Senior Member Per Ofverbeck's Avatar
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    Re: LR4 consumer Mac recommendations

    Just did what you contemplate...

    Had an old (2007) MacPro with dual processors, 7GB of RAM, a SSD (recent addition) for system and heavy jobs, and 3 HD´s in the other bays. Big, noisy, annoyingly slow with today´s software and files. A30" Cinema Display that I intended to keep.

    Upgrade time indeed, but wasn´t convinced by the very half-hearted recent ´upgrade´ of the pro line, and not prepared to wait for the half-promised new one ´sometime in 2013´. So I got myself a Mini with 2.6 GHZ i7, 16 GB of memory, and a 256 GB SSD (not at all convinced of the merits of a FusionDrive). Also 2 external USB3 HD´s for less demanding storage. It all rests comfortably on the foot of my CinemaDisplay, dead quiet.

    My impressions so far: decidedly faster than the old setup, MUCH faster download from camera SD cards via the built-in SD slot (had a USB2 reader before), and ample power for LR4 without having to terminate other running software. According to Activity Monitor, 16 GB is quite enough: very seldom less than 3-4 GB free, and no pageouts at all. The lack of a dedicated GPU doesn´t seem to be a problem at all, even with 2560x1600 screen resolution (don´t work with video, and not a gaming person....).

    In short, I got what I wanted, for far less money than a decent MacPro would have cost me.

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    Senior Member sjg284's Avatar
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    Re: LR4 consumer Mac recommendations

    Thanks.
    As a software guy with decent *nix skills, I am not entirely buying into the FusionDrive voodoo.
    Great for the average home user I think, but for a power user I could see it more getting in the way than helping. Better to have discreet drives/mounts.

    On LR usage -
    Did you put - OS, photos (actual raw files), LR library files all on SSD, or some combination?
    Given SSD pricing, I'm tempted to buy 2 medium sized ones (rather than 1 larger one) and split OS to one and photos/LR lib to the other.

    And agreed- Finally having a bus (USB3 & Thunderbolt) which is faster than the HDD itself is game changing.. there are even external SSDs with high performance now!

    thanks much
    Steve


    Quote Originally Posted by Per Ofverbeck View Post
    Just did what you contemplate...

    Had an old (2007) MacPro with dual processors, 7GB of RAM, a SSD (recent addition) for system and heavy jobs, and 3 HD´s in the other bays. Big, noisy, annoyingly slow with today´s software and files. A30" Cinema Display that I intended to keep.

    Upgrade time indeed, but wasn´t convinced by the very half-hearted recent ´upgrade´ of the pro line, and not prepared to wait for the half-promised new one ´sometime in 2013´. So I got myself a Mini with 2.6 GHZ i7, 16 GB of memory, and a 256 GB SSD (not at all convinced of the merits of a FusionDrive). Also 2 external USB3 HD´s for less demanding storage. It all rests comfortably on the foot of my CinemaDisplay, dead quiet.

    My impressions so far: decidedly faster than the old setup, MUCH faster download from camera SD cards via the built-in SD slot (had a USB2 reader before), and ample power for LR4 without having to terminate other running software. According to Activity Monitor, 16 GB is quite enough: very seldom less than 3-4 GB free, and no pageouts at all. The lack of a dedicated GPU doesn´t seem to be a problem at all, even with 2560x1600 screen resolution (don´t work with video, and not a gaming person....).

    In short, I got what I wanted, for far less money than a decent MacPro would have cost me.
    blog
    steve

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    Re: LR4 consumer Mac recommendations

    Quote Originally Posted by sjg284 View Post
    ?..
    On LR usage -
    Did you put - OS, photos (actual raw files), LR library files all on SSD, or some combination?
    Given SSD pricing, I'm tempted to buy 2 medium sized ones (rather than 1 larger one) and split OS to one and photos/LR lib to the other. ...
    In my config, OS, home directory, apps, and LR catalog folders go on the startup drive. All image repositories (original files and completed projects, archives and backups) go on external media. I keep at least 100G free space on the startup drive.

    It's the best performance config.

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    Senior Member Per Ofverbeck's Avatar
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    Re: LR4 consumer Mac recommendations

    Quote Originally Posted by sjg284 View Post
    Thanks.
    As a software guy with decent *nix skills, I am not entirely buying into the FusionDrive voodoo.
    Great for the average home user I think, but for a power user I could see it more getting in the way than helping. Better to have discreet drives/mounts.
    Agree completely. And so do better men than I...

    Quote Originally Posted by sjg284 View Post
    On LR usage -
    Did you put - OS, photos (actual raw files), LR library files all on SSD, or some combination?
    Given SSD pricing, I'm tempted to buy 2 medium sized ones (rather than 1 larger one) and split OS to one and photos/LR lib to the other.
    I have OS, programs, and the LR database and previews on the SSD. Just about everything else (including the raw files) on an external drive. Seems to work well, and easy to redistribute when needed. At present, the SSD is used to around 50% capacity. So my distribution is very similar to Godfrey´s.

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    Re: LR4 consumer Mac recommendations

    I had to laugh when I read this thread. I was just discussing this very topic yesterday. Graham linked the thread for me. I am using a VERY old iMac dual core 2.16 with only 2 Gig of RAM and only 256Gig of HD (i do have 3TB hanging off USBs) No wonder LR hangs whenever I do anything.

    I am thinking of going the iMac route for the following two reasons:
    can upgrade to 32 GB RAM
    3TB of HD

    I'm betting I will be able to tell the difference with a new iMac versus my current one.

    Does anyone use one of the cloud solutions for backups or do you rely on timemachine?

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    Re: LR4 consumer Mac recommendations

    Quote Originally Posted by PaulChance View Post
    ...
    I am thinking of going the iMac route for the following two reasons:
    can upgrade to 32 GB RAM
    3TB of HD

    I'm betting I will be able to tell the difference with a new iMac versus my current one.

    Does anyone use one of the cloud solutions for backups or do you rely on timemachine?
    I just ordered a new Mac mini with the top end quad core i7, 16G RAM and 1T internal drive, along with a new Thunderbolt Display. It's quite enough for what I do.

    You will tell the difference. For sure. ;-)

    Regards backup, this is a description of my current OS X image processing system with respect to how I have the hardware and data flows organized for backup security. It’s geared around a Mac OS X (Leopard or later) system, but the ideas could be applied to any system given different software, etc.

    Hardware: (currently implemented on a MacBook Pro 13”)

    Internal boot drive, 500G
    External data drive, 1T
    External Time Machine backup 1T
    External archive1, 2T
    External archive2, 2T
    External archive-remote, 2T

    Software:

    Time Machine (supplied in Mac OS X) :: incremental backup
    ChronoSync (by Econ Technologies) :: file synchronizer

    Backup data flow:

    - New image files are created in external data drive ~/Photography/Photo-Files directory structure.

    - Lightroom catalogs on Internal boot drive in ~/Photography/Catalogs.

    - Lightroom set to create a catalog backup every day into ~/Photography/Catalog-Backups/.

    - Time Machine continuous backup internal boot drive, ~/Photography/Catalogs and ~/Photography/Catalog-Backups is excluded.

    - End of day*, Chronosync software syncs ~/Documents, ~/Office and ~/Pictures to archive1.

    - End of day*, Chronosync synchs ~/Library/Application Support/Adobe/Lightroom to external data drive /Photography

    - End of day, Chronosync synchs ~/Photography/Catalogs (sans previews) to external data drive /Photography

    - End of day, Chronosync synchs external data drive /Photography to Archive1

    - End of day, Chronosync synchs Archive1 to Archive2.

    - Monthly, archive2 swaps places with archive-remote (offsite storage, most I can lose is a month's work and records to the off-site, Time Machine will capture most day to day, hour to hour changes...).

    * End of day automated, or on demand. I run the backup system after each time I import new photos into the system, actually, and whenever I'm going to take a break and leave the computer for a while.
    --

    I've been using this backup system for several years, through a couple of drive failures, system changes, disk drive changes, etc. It will transfer directly to the Mac mini. The system has worked flawlessly to keep everything safe and minimize losses.

    I've considered doing an off-site cloud-based backup as well, just haven't gotten to it yet. If you do that, the ability to a) deliver the initial data to the service via a hard drive and b) obtain a complete hard drive copy the backed-up archive are two things that are essential ... Moving a couple of terabytes of data around via the internet at home internet speeds isn't sensible or time-effective.

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    Senior Member sjg284's Avatar
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    Re: LR4 consumer Mac recommendations

    I do backups myself with-
    1) Timemachine to a USB HD
    2) SuperDuper nightly images to a second USB HD
    I previously also used rsync to make a 3rd nightly sync to a NAS.
    Lastly I burn Blurays yearly (could switch to monthly) of my RAW images, for archiving.

    Re: Cloud
    Short version

    I had previously used a cloud solution, and ran into a huge software bug.
    Essentially the service was Syncing, not just archiving/backing up. Due to some poorly written logic in their code, they deleted both their cloud copy & my local copy.
    They acknowledged this as a bug and subsequently updated it, they claim.
    The service in question is Sugarsync.

    Long version

    1) Wanted to run a disk diagnostic on my boot drive, rebooted in safe/recovery mode (I forget exact term)
    2) When the OS started, the cloud services software noticed my hard drive was missing, but took this to mean I had intentionally deleted the data. Therefore, the cloud copy was deleted to match.
    3) When done running diagnostics, I restarted my Mac again.
    4) When the OS started, the cloud service software noticed the local copy was out of sync.. and proceeded to delete my local disk copies
    5) Because I did not notice immediately, SuperDuper image made that night deleted my old, good image which would have had my data
    6) Due to extremely poor timing (and reason I was running diagnostics), my Time Machine HD had suffered a mechanical failure.. and was thus not available to recover off of.

    At this point, though I had 3 forms of backup - timemachine, superduper, cloud.. my data was gone.

    Several phone calls, hours of manual work, and several weeks to redownload the cloud services un-deleted data.. and I was 99% back to normal.

    Recommendation
    With that in mind, I would make sure you do research on any cloud provider to ensure that they do not touch your local disk data in any circumstance, and have a good track record.
    blog
    steve

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    Re: LR4 consumer Mac recommendations

    ok, so i made a decision on my new system: Mac mini, stuff with the faster i7 quad core, 16G RAM, 1T drive, and a Thunderbolt Display 27". That should do me for a while.

    i went that way because a) my work gives me a new laptop every other year no matter what and I have last year's MacBook Air 13" at present already, b) my home computer hardly ever leaves my desk anymore, the iPad does the mobility thing for me pretty well, and c) more bang for the buck. Takes up less space on my desk too.

    G

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    Senior Member sjg284's Avatar
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    Re: LR4 consumer Mac recommendations

    Godfrey - Hope I wasn't a bad influence on your shopping ;-)

    I'll be pulling the trigger in the next week or two.
    Sorting out what SSD(s)/Display I want to add.
    blog
    steve

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    Senior Member sjg284's Avatar
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    Re: LR4 consumer Mac recommendations

    On cloud, before picking any provider, I'd recommend doing some google searches for:
    XYZ deleted all my files
    XYZ deleted my data
    etc
    (where XYZ is the service you want to use)

    I have found similar bug reports for other services.
    I do not think they are anywhere near a mature market yet, and if you are reasonably technical, you can do better on your own.
    Some samples-
    Konklone | Dropbox Bug Can Permanently Lose Your Files
    Why Dropbox Sucks! … and Lessons for SharePoint | Views from Veronique
    Crashplan Online Backup LOST MY ENTIRE BACKUP ARCHIVE | Jeffrey Donenfeld
    CSharpner: Carbonite.com DISASTER! Why you shouldn’t trust them!


    At the end of the day, it's software, written by humans.. and we should expect it to have bugs.
    That being the case, I would make sure you have at least 2 forms of backup (2 different sync methods, to 2 different drives).. and be careful about any services that "sync" and can in any way change your original copy.
    blog
    steve

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    Re: LR4 consumer Mac recommendations

    Quote Originally Posted by sjg284 View Post
    Godfrey - Hope I wasn't a bad influence on your shopping ;-)

    I'll be pulling the trigger in the next week or two.
    Sorting out what SSD(s)/Display I want to add.
    Not at all. I had a personal discount purchase left for 2012 and didn't want to lose it, had to place an order by Monday anyway. Had a little tussle with myself as to whether I wanted a new laptop or mini, the mini won.

    If I decide I need a new laptop, I'll have another personal discount purchase for 2013. But overall I'm moving to the iPad as my mobile solution and my laptop has really been a desktop system for most of the past year. With a mini, I won't have to worry about battery maintenance/management, and you get a bit more performance out of a mini for the same or less money.

    G

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    Subscriber & Workshop Member GrahamWelland's Avatar
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    Re: LR4 consumer Mac recommendations

    The online backup services provide a valuable off site backup/recovery option although I find their capacity limits and throughput restrictions unacceptable for my own requirements. I run 6TB of photos plus 2TB of other general content with typical photo sessions with photoshop images approaching 10GB per session. (for example a 2x 60mp pano stitch is a 2.5GB file before I even start).

    Anyway, that said, there is one very important thing to remember about these 3rd party services - they are backup/recovery services that exists only while the company is in business, your account is active, and you are constantly keeping your backup refreshed. They are NOT archive services and if you expect to be able to stash content there for access at some in the future then you're going to get burnt.

    As Steve said, you need to factor these services in to an overall backup / recovery / archive plan that includes local duplication, off site storage and cloud based augmentation.
    Remember: adventure before dementia!

    As Oscar Wilde said, "my tastes are simple, I only like the best"

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    Re: LR4 consumer Mac recommendations

    When the new year hits, I think I will be pulling trigger on-

    Mac Mini (2.3 or 2.6Ghz i7) w/ 256GB SSD BTO option
    +16GB RAM aftermarket
    +OWC Elite Pro Mini USB3 enclosure w/ 256GB SSD
    +27" Apple Thunderbolt Display

    Thunderbolt display as in the 27" market, its a great deal when you consider the iSight, USB3 hub, and FW800 port.
    Use internal SSD for boot, external SSD for lightroom images.
    Have excess FW800/USB2 HDDs around the house to migrate to new machine for my backup needs.

    Watching the video on replacing HDD/SSD inside Mac Mini enough times, I know I can do it... but would carry some risk of me doing it wrong. I replaced an HDD in an old Apple iBook G4 about 7 years ago. Got it 95% right. Except I screwed up the futzy magnetic latch.

    I'd rather spend extra $100 on Apple's SSD (versus aftermarket) to avoid any potential warranty service hassles.
    For this reason, my secondary SSD will be in an external enclosure. I know USB3 will clip some of my SSD performance, but it will still be far faster than HDD. And if I get bold after warranty period, I can stuff it inside the Mac Mini case anyway..
    blog
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    Re: LR4 consumer Mac recommendations

    Quote Originally Posted by sjg284 View Post
    ...Watching the video on replacing HDD/SSD inside Mac Mini ...
    Link to the video, please? :-)

    Thx!

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    Re: LR4 consumer Mac recommendations

    You essentially have to remove everything from the aluminum shell, then put it back in layer by layer - How to Upgrade/Replace the Hard Drive in a 2012 Mac mini - YouTube

    plus a step by step photo guide as well - Installing Mac Mini Late 2012 Hard Drive Replacement - iFixit

    Not a ton of screws, just a lot of fiddly bits.

    On the other hand, OWC will do it for you as a $99 service, including FedEx next-day shipping both ways.. turn around time is 72 hours.

    My primary concern is if anything fails, you need to reverse the process back to the stock HDD before bringing it in for Apple to fix. (Or at least thats my understanding)
    blog
    steve

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    Senior Member Braeside's Avatar
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    Re: LR4 consumer Mac recommendations

    Steve, I don't think the Apple 27" Thunderbolt display has USB3. Just USB2 :-(
    (Unless a newer model has sneaked out since I got mine).
    David Anderson

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    Re: LR4 consumer Mac recommendations

    Ah, thank you for pointing that out.. USB2 indeed.
    For my uses, this will be fine anyway.

    The planned external SSD will by my first USB3 device.
    Have 2xFW800 + 2xUSB2 HDDs currently.
    blog
    steve

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    Senior Member Braeside's Avatar
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    Re: LR4 consumer Mac recommendations

    Godfrey et all. I hear you about the high end mini, I almost went that way myself, but I do need a laptop for a lot of my work, work. So I decided I could change from a 2010 MBP with SSD and a 27" iMac 2011, to a MBP 15" retina with SSD and 27" TB display.

    I do have a fall back to a 2011 Mac mini that my partner has, should the MBP fail or be stolen. That's important for me.

    I use similar backups with TimeMachine and SuperDuper with rotating off site SD! clones of my data and OS disks.

    Just waiting on some Thunderbolt drives to arrive, to replace some USB 2 drives I was using, which can be recycled for other archive uses.

    Season's Greetings!
    David Anderson

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    Senior Member Braeside's Avatar
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    Re: LR4 consumer Mac recommendations

    Quote Originally Posted by sjg284 View Post
    Ah, thank you for pointing that out.. USB2 indeed.
    For my uses, this will be fine anyway.

    The planned external SSD will by my first USB3 device.
    Have 2xFW800 + 2xUSB2 HDDs currently.
    Yes, I didn't realise it till I got mine, I misread "3 USB 2 ports" as USB 3!

    Cheers
    David Anderson

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    Re: LR4 consumer Mac recommendations

    Quote Originally Posted by sjg284 View Post
    You essentially have to remove everything from the aluminum shell, then put it back in layer by layer - How to Upgrade/Replace the Hard Drive in a 2012 Mac mini - YouTube

    plus a step by step photo guide as well - Installing Mac Mini Late 2012 Hard Drive Replacement - iFixit

    Not a ton of screws, just a lot of fiddly bits.

    On the other hand, OWC will do it for you as a $99 service, including FedEx next-day shipping both ways.. turn around time is 72 hours.

    My primary concern is if anything fails, you need to reverse the process back to the stock HDD before bringing it in for Apple to fix. (Or at least thats my understanding)
    Thanks!

    Actually, this looks much much easier to do than I though. I remember the original Mac mini ... getting the drive out and in of that machine was a major undertaking and needed a special jig to do it without damaging the case.

    I ordered mine with the 1T hard drive in it. If I decide to change that out to an SSD, this new mini will make it simple to do the installation. :-)

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    Re: LR4 consumer Mac recommendations

    Quote Originally Posted by Braeside View Post
    Godfrey et all. I hear you about the high end mini, I almost went that way myself, but I do need a laptop for a lot of my work, work. So I decided I could change from a 2010 MBP with SSD and a 27" iMac 2011, to a MBP 15" retina with SSD and 27" TB display.

    I do have a fall back to a 2011 Mac mini that my partner has, should the MBP fail or be stolen. That's important for me.

    I use similar backups with TimeMachine and SuperDuper with rotating off site SD! clones of my data and OS disks.

    Just waiting on some Thunderbolt drives to arrive, to replace some USB 2 drives I was using, which can be recycled for other archive uses.

    Season's Greetings!
    Yes, the right system is clearly contingent upon what your specific needs are, and what other equipment you have at hand.

    I would have gone with a MacBook Air 13" fully stuffed, but the mini is a better deal and fits my needs better. If I need another laptop for some reason, I'll get one next year ... I still have my late-2010 MacBook Pro.

    Happy New Year!

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    Senior Member Braeside's Avatar
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    Re: LR4 consumer Mac recommendations

    Happy New Year All!
    David Anderson

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    Re: LR4 consumer Mac recommendations

    Happy New Year!
    blog
    steve

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    Re: LR4 consumer Mac recommendations

    Quote Originally Posted by Godfrey View Post
    ...
    I've considered doing an off-site cloud-based backup as well, just haven't gotten to it yet. If you do that, the ability to a) deliver the initial data to the service via a hard drive and b) obtain a complete hard drive copy the backed-up archive are two things that are essential ... Moving a couple of terabytes of data around via the internet at home internet speeds isn't sensible or time-effective.
    Just occurred to me that I do use a cloud storage service for my work machine. It's CrashPlan ... they have a lot of packages and options, check them out at Online Data Backup - Offsite, Onsite, & Cloud - CrashPlan Backup Software

    My system is backed up with their tools and I've tested a restore of a single file, but I've never actually needed to do any restoring beyond that.

    Godfrey

  29. #29
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    Re: LR4 consumer Mac recommendations

    Woo hoo! The mini arrived on Friday, five days early. hookedmit up to my 27"LED Display until the Thunderbolt gets here. Migration Assistnt is now moving my accounts and basic data.

    Little sucker is much faster than my MBP 13" (late 2010 version). Should work out very nicely. :-)

    G

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    Re: LR4 consumer Mac recommendations

    I have a 2012 2.5Ghz Mac Mini with 16GB RAM and a 240GB Sandisk Extreme in a USB 3 enclosure as my startup drive. My working photo drive is a 4TB striped RAID connected via Thunderbolt. I can open and save >600MB PhotoShop files in 4-6 seconds.

    I have redundant backups at home and use Backblaze for cloud storage. I'm happy with them after six months, but would not consider cloud storage as my only backup: it is my last resort in case of disaster.

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    Re: LR4 consumer Mac recommendations

    I'm following this thread with interest as I'm about to replace my coal fired steam driven Mac with a Mac-Mini, and [likely] a 24" NEC Spectraview Reference.

    I'm still debating the exact line-up, I'd like to have crammed 32 Gb. RAM into a 2.6 machine, but my understanding is that it isn't possible, [other than quoting Apple]; anyone know for sure? Also; my understanding is that once Applications are open [Photoshop6, Lightroom, in my case] SSDs offer little advantage in terms of actual processing speeds, is that correct?

    I'm finding it hard to get experienced advice on whether the double hardrive version [sold as the Server] has advantages for me with regard to 'mirroring' my desktop compared to running [e.g.] Lacie external drives. I'm not technically savvy enough figure out the best option, and whilst I'm currently leaning towards a Mac-Mini with single hardrive + 2 externals; I'd welcome any experience of running the 'Server' version as a double hardrive desktop.

    On the monitor choice, I hate the 'normal' ratio of 16:9 and would love a much fatter ratio. I have opted for the NEC Spectraview Reference 24" because at 16:10 ratio it gives me more or less the same screen height as the 27" version at a better price [these ratios also are true for Eizo CG 246 and CG 276 too].

    ................ Chris

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    Re: LR4 consumer Mac recommendations

    with the current line of mac mini, using a special kit... you can buy a 1T hard drive version, and ad a SSD inside as well...
    You don't need to remove the original hard drive any more... a smart solution !

    Installing Mac Mini Late 2012 Dual Hard Drive Kit - iFixit

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    Re: LR4 consumer Mac recommendations

    I'm lovin' the Mac mini I bought:

    2.6 Ghz Intel Quad-Core i7 processor
    16GB RAM (that's the max)
    1T internal hard drive
    Thunderbolt Display 27" (2560x1440 pixels)

    All the image data other than the LR catalogs is on external FireWire 800 hard drives. It's fast and works a treat with Lightroom 4.3 and Photoshop CS5.

    Didn't see much point to the extra cost of the double drive server model since all my data, backups and archives are stored externally. If I really want an SSD, I can get a near 500G unit from Other World Computing and install that instead of the current internal hard drive.

    G

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    Re: LR4 consumer Mac recommendations

    OK, finally bit the bullet

    2.3 Ghz Quad i7
    16GB RAM after market (Crucial)
    Dual SSD after market - 256GB boot (Crucial m4) & 480GB data (Sandisk)
    Thunderbolt 27" display

    Have to admit the SSD install was a bit more harrowing than I would have hoped.
    The OWC kit was very helpful. I also employed a plastic toothpick and bamboo chopstick in my mission.

    If you do the install yourself, I would emphasize to watch out for the IR cable mount. It is the most easy to damage. I definitely clipped mine right off. Fortunately I had no plans to use an IR remote with my Mac... :-)

    Feels super snappy.
    Haven't had the chance to do any serious photo processing yet.. will report back once I've taken it for a real spin.
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    Re: LR4 consumer Mac recommendations

    Alright, took it for a spin in LR4.
    Very nice.
    Moving from frame to frame in develop mode is quick
    Importing from SD card / outputting final JPEG is quick
    Exporting out to edit in SilverEfex 2 was also quick
    Was able to do serious photo editing while leaving tons of other apps open, without the computer breaking a sweat.

    My previous workflow on my 4 year old iMac involved closing all apps other than LR4 to prevent memory/cpu starvation..

    Now switching over my external HDDs to 2.5" external USB3 for size/cable reduction (bus powered)/speed (USB3 vs USB2/FW800)..

    Great little case I'm using for the 1TB HDD that I took out of the mini - OWC MEPMU3ES Mercury Elite Pro mini 2.5"... in stock at OWC
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    Re: LR4 consumer Mac recommendations

    Glad you're happy with it. I'm very pleased with mine too.
    Have yet to replace the 1T internal drive with SSD, but probably before Summer. No need to rush.

    Yes, I have a bunch of the OWC external drive enclosures. They're very good quality!

    G

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