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Mac Mini For Photography

 
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Kiwimac
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PostPosted: Thu Aug 08, 2013 8:04 pm    Post subject: Mac Mini For Photography Reply with quote

Hi All

I am a professional photographer and currently I am using a Mac Pro 1,1 (2006) workstation with two dual core Xeon 3Ghz chips, 10gb of RAM and 3.5Tb of internal disc space on 3 discs.

Also used as backup is a Drobo 4 disc unit holding 5 Tb of space, connected using FW800.

I am running Mac OS 10.7 because Apple have decreed my (perfectly good) Mac Pro won't be allowed to run Mountain Lion.

My main photography application is Aperture and my library takes up 765Gb of space.

I am conscious of the pending release of Mavericks and the fact that I will then be 2 iterations of the OS behind. Once Aperture 4 is released (if it ever is!) I suspect that Mavericks or Mountain Lion are likely to be requirements to run it.

Which brings me to my dilemma!

The pending 'Garbage Can' Mac Pro will of course run everything I need in spades but is likely to cost a whole pile of cash. I'd say at least $6000 in New Zealand, where I am.

I suspect that the current 27" iMac would work just fine, especially kitted out with 16Gb RAM, the 3.9 chip and a 3Tb Fusion Drive. That costs around NZ$4800.

I do not especially need a new 27" monitor - my Dell 27 is just fine and only a year old or so.

I am wondering if the Mac Mini, with the fastest i7 chip, 16Gb RAM and the 1Tb Fusion Drive, hooked up to a Thunderbolt 4Tb RAID setup, would be better or worse than the iMac option. It costs around NZ$700 less.

I have an older Mac Mini my wife uses for typical browsing, email, word processing etc and that is fine, but not really fast enough for my work needs. It has a 2.3 i5 and 4Gb RAM. Otherwise it works fine.

The other issue is that only the Mini retains native FW800.
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Bandit Bill
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PostPosted: Fri Aug 09, 2013 7:30 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Based on your scenario I would go with a Mac mini.
I've set up professional photographers with similar Mac minis and they have been pleased.

I'd order directly from Apple. If your not happy with the mini send it back.


That being said, the iMac is a nicer set-up, it supports 32GB RAM and you can get the 3TB internal storage. The new displays are also very nice to work with and each panel is individually color calibrated at the factory.

I think you need to let your budget decide. If it were me, I'd go with the product which would give the best return on your investment. I'd say that's the mini.

Now again with that being said. If you have time I'd wait and see the true price of the Mac Pro and by then there will likely be a mini with better graphics processing capabilities.
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Kiwimac
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PostPosted: Sat Aug 10, 2013 5:47 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Bandit Bill wrote:
Based on your scenario I would go with a Mac mini.
I've set up professional photographers with similar Mac minis and they have been pleased.

I'd order directly from Apple. If your not happy with the mini send it back.


That being said, the iMac is a nicer set-up, it supports 32GB RAM and you can get the 3TB internal storage. The new displays are also very nice to work with and each panel is individually color calibrated at the factory.

I think you need to let your budget decide. If it were me, I'd go with the product which would give the best return on your investment. I'd say that's the mini.

Now again with that being said. If you have time I'd wait and see the true price of the Mac Pro and by then there will likely be a mini with better graphics processing capabilities.


Thanks.

I have never seen Thunderbolt at work in real life. Apple NZ partner their machines here with the Pegasus RAID units in 4Tb and 6Tb form.

Do you think that one of those connected to a Mini would transfer RAW image files fast enough to be usable in real life as a place to keep the main working image library for Aperture?
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Bandit Bill
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PostPosted: Sat Aug 10, 2013 4:06 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Kiwimac wrote:
Do you think that one of those connected to a Mini would transfer RAW image files fast enough to be usable in real life as a place to keep the main working image library for Aperture?


Yes, quite easily. SATA 3's bus speed is 6Gb/s (internal drives), Thunderbolt 1 has a bus speed of 10 Gb/s. Thunderbolt is not a bottleneck. Thunderbolt 2 on the new MacPros will be even better at 20GB/s. With an external RAID set-up you could well exceed the internal capabilities of a Mac mini or iMac (even without a RAID set-up).

USB3 is quite respectable as well with bus speeds of 5Gb/s.
http://www.lacie.com/au/products/product.htm?id=10601
You could also look at 2bigs if your budget doesn't permit the 4big.

I have a number of LaCie articles showing the performance of this drive with a RAID 5 setup, that I'll try to provide if I remember upon returning to work. They compare the performance to Pegasus Thunderbolt products.

Remember we a still dealing with mechanical drives. The limit here is mechanical drives not the bus (either internal or external).

Look at the rating for The LaCie Thunderbolt with a RAID set-up

Thunderbolt Power. 2big Versatility and Capacity.
Shocking speeds up to 327MB/s

multiply this number by 8 (8 bits per byte)
that 2.616 Gb/s

As you can see base on this number (2.616 Gb/s) USB 3 at 5Gb/s (omni (one) direction at a time) and Thunderbolt at 10 Gb/s (bi-directional)
neither USB 3 nor Thunderbolt are bottlenecks.

Please mail me $20 for the info.. lol just kidding
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Kiwimac
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PostPosted: Sat Aug 10, 2013 4:40 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Bandit Bill wrote:
Kiwimac wrote:
Do you think that one of those connected to a Mini would transfer RAW image files fast enough to be usable in real life as a place to keep the main working image library for Aperture?


Yes, quite easily. SATA 3's bus speed is 6Gb/s (internal drives), Thunderbolt 1 has a bus speed of 10 Gb/s. Thunderbolt is not a bottleneck. Thunderbolt 2 on the new MacPros will be even better at 20GB/s. With an external RAID set-up you could well exceed the internal capabilities of a Mac mini or iMac (even without a RAID set-up).

USB3 is quite respectable as well with bus speeds of 5Gb/s.
http://www.lacie.com/au/products/product.htm?id=10601
You could also look at 2bigs if your budget doesn't permit the 4big.

I have a number of LaCie articles showing the performance of this drive with a RAID 5 setup, that I'll try to provide if I remember upon returning to work. They compare the performance to Pegasus Thunderbolt products.

Remember we a still dealing with mechanical drives. The limit here is mechanical drives not the bus (either internal or external).

Look at the rating for The LaCie Thunderbolt with a RAID set-up

Thunderbolt Power. 2big Versatility and Capacity.
Shocking speeds up to 327MB/s

multiply this number by 8 (8 bits per byte)
that 2.616 Gb/s

As you can see base on this number (2.616 Gb/s) USB 3 at 5Gb/s (omni (one) direction at a time) and Thunderbolt at 10 Gb/s (bi-directional)
neither USB 3 nor Thunderbolt are bottlenecks.

Please mail me $20 for the info.. lol just kidding


Ha. Wink

Certainly sounds fast enough. I tried using a FW 800 Drobo as a main library once and that simply was not fast enough not to be frustrating.

Are the Minis not TB 2 then? That seems an odd omission. I suppose the next generation would be.

Drobo make a TB connected unit that can use SSD's easily but the cost of filling it up would be offensive I suspect!

Do you find LaCie reliable? I had two of their external FW800 storage drives which died on me after 18 months or so and have avoided their products ever since.
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Bandit Bill
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PostPosted: Sat Aug 10, 2013 5:00 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

FW800 = .8 Gb/s

Not very fast compared to USB3 (5), Thunderbolt (10) or SATA 3 (6).

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_device_bit_rates

BTW I have an iMac that I have booting from an external USB3 with and SSD installed in the enclosure and it flies. It's about 4X faster than booting from the internal drive.
Bottom line... don't worry about the external interfaces. This is why the new MacPro only supports additional storage externally.

The other moral of the story is if you can afford Thunderbolt, go for it. If not, you will still be very content with USB 3.

LaCie is very good. They had some bad power supplies a few years ago, but they were only $25 to replace, no big deal.

G-technolgy has been very good and it relatively affordable. We sell their products as well and they have been extremely well accepted by all.
http://www.g-technology.com
They look good too.
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Kiwimac
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PostPosted: Sat Aug 10, 2013 10:04 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Bandit Bill wrote:
FW800 = .8 Gb/s

Not very fast compared to USB3 (5), Thunderbolt (10) or SATA 3 (6).

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_device_bit_rates

BTW I have an iMac that I have booting from an external USB3 with and SSD installed in the enclosure and it flies. It's about 4X faster than booting from the internal drive.
Bottom line... don't worry about the external interfaces. This is why the new MacPro only supports additional storage externally.

The other moral of the story is if you can afford Thunderbolt, go for it. If not, you will still be very content with USB 3.

LaCie is very good. They had some bad power supplies a few years ago, but they were only $25 to replace, no big deal.

G-technolgy has been very good and it relatively affordable. We sell their products as well and they have been extremely well accepted by all.
http://www.g-technology.com
They look good too.


Yes the G Technology ones look good. I presume you cannot swap out the drives if they die though? As a high performance storage option it seems to work but I think to be safe you would need at least 2 units.
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Bandit Bill
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PostPosted: Sat Aug 10, 2013 10:40 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

You can swap the drives out of the G-Drive enclosures. G-Technologies is owned by Hitachi and uses quality Hitachi drives.
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