11 Replies Latest reply: Mar 22, 2009 8:28 PM by tjnickle
Scott Rullmann Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)
Long story short...

I have decided to use Aperture for my new workflow. My current desktop (PowerMac G4) can't run it. So I need to buy a new Mac. I have Photoshop CS2 but probably won't use it much once I commit to Aperture. If I was using Photoshop more I would buy a new Mac Pro, however, I have been toying with the idea of buying either a 24" iMac or a 17" Macbook Pro instead of a MacPro. I understand the differences in expandability, portability, etc... I shoot RAW with a Nikon D300 and hence my need to upgrade computers.

So, my question is will I be happy with performance of Aperture on an iMac or MBP? Or should I just belly up to the expense of a MacPro?

Thanks,
Scott

PowerMac G4 & Powerbook G4, Mac OS X (10.5.6)
  • Kyler Level 1 Level 1 (35 points)
    If you have a powermac, and a good monitor already, you've got a good start on the game. I just bought a refurbished 24" iMac and intend to max the RAM out to 4GB. I'm using aperture, and I love the screen size. If I'd had 4 or 5 g's kicking around, perhaps I'd have dished out for the Mac Pro.
  • Allan Eckert Level 8 Level 8 (48,035 points)
    Hi Scott;

    Having just finished a couple of trips and a cruise where I was using my D300 ( neat camera I love it), I noticed a slowdown with Aperture on my MBP in comparison to my PM G5 Quad that I use at home. Having said that I am planning on upgrading to the new Mac Pro because I feel that as have learned to use Aperture better the Quad is slowing down.

    Allan
    tiger
  • Scott Rullmann Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)
    Allan,

    Thanks for the feedback. Your message reads as if you think the PM G5 is better then the MBP? True?

    Scott
  • Allan Eckert Level 8 Level 8 (48,035 points)
    Hi Scott;

    Exactly what is your definition of better. If portability is included in there anywhere of course my Quad just lost that battle.

    As to handling heavy weight applications, I would say that they are pretty close but the MBP does come up second from what I have seen so far. I am looking forward to the Mac Pro since I think it will blow the socks off my Quad.

    Allan
    tiger
  • DaveEP Level 1 Level 1 (25 points)
    The biggest problem with these options is the amount of RAM.

    I have a MBP and a MacPro. I just added 16GB of ram to the MacPro and it's made a huge difference to how Aperture runs with a large library.

    For a smaller library I really have no problems with how Aperture runs on my (15") MBP.

    BTW I am using D300 and D700 so we have comparable file sizes.

    The MBP runs a little slow if I try to load my entire library ( > 40,000), but if I use it on the road, take a few shots (4,000 or so) then merge in to my main library later, it's no problem.

    If you are planning on using this as a main computer with a LARGE library, you will probably benefit from more RAM than the MBP can take. Even 4GB was on the slow side some of the time for large libraries.

    However, Aperture itself runs fine on a MBP provided you keep the library 'reasonable'.
  • SierraDragon Level 4 Level 4 (2,695 points)
    To start off, the iMac has all the limitations of a laptop without mobility; no benefit except cheaper cost. Plus a glossy display, and many but not all pros find having the display add contrast and saturation to images is not acceptable. Note also that Aperture is IMO more, not less, demanding than Photoshop.

    Mac Pros - even the 2006 ones - absolutely rock when properly set up. However portability is huge, an important enough issue that if could only have one box it would be a 17" MBP.

    Once we get past the usual caveat that laptops are limiting to the performance of heavy graphics apps like Aperture I strongly recommend the 17" MBP. I have not used one yet, but the new 17" MBP should provide a truly excellent mobile graphics platform. What I like about it rather than the 15" MBP:

    • More screen real estate, a very big deal when in the field and no external display is connected.

    • Much higher pixel count, a very big deal when in the field and no external display is connected.

    • Available matte display, a very big deal (to many graphics pros) when in the field and no external display is connected. Note however that I not have actually seen the new 17" MBP because it just recently started shipping.

    • Faster; the added size and easier heat dissipation of the 17" apparently allow Apple to make less engineering compromises.

    • Twice the available RAM, a very big deal moving forward as app vendors evolve apps to better utilize available cheap RAM, OS 10.6 and boxes with more RAM access. Under OS X Photoshop (and probably Aperture as well) can already take advantage of up to 32 GB installed RAM, maybe more.

    • Longer battery life is alleged by Apple and by the first users who have received the new 17" MBPs.

    • After years of using 15" and smaller, starting with the Duo, I currently use a 2.33 GHz 17" and far prefer the larger size.

    • All the above benefits and it only weighs 1.1 pound more than the 15" MBP.

    Good mass storage management is one key to decent heavy graphics app performance. For best speed one must keep the internal drive underfilled.

    A carefully set up external hard drive configuration (eSATA or FW800) and Referenced-Masters workflow will be necessary sooner or later, so start off with a Referenced-Masters Library rather than the default Managed Masters. Note that with a Referenced-Masters Library image Masters are backed up separately, not via Aperture's Vault.

    The cost of maximizing RAM in the new MBP unfortunately is still exorbitant, but 4 GB will work OK in the short term and new 17" MBP RAM prices are already falling. Just watch OWC prices <http://otherworldcomputing.com/> and wait a bit to max out the RAM to 8 GB.

    We buy laptops for their portability. The mobility componentry used to achieve thin boxes limits performance. Expanding on what I said in the first sentence, do not expect a laptop or an iMac to fully perform like a Mac Pro desktop with 16 GB RAM would handling heavy graphics.

    Good luck! I am sure you will enjoy either a MP or a MBP. Forget iMac.

    -Allen Wicks
  • Scott Rullmann Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)
    All,

    Thanks for the responses. It has been very helpful. First I wasn't aware that an eSATA drive could be attached to the MBP with an express card 34 adapter. Very cool. I understand the limits on the iMac and I really didn't want to go that route, but I couldn't ignore the cheaper price tag. I think my plan will be the MBP, now I just need to decide glossy or matte.

    Thanks again,
    Scott
  • Scott Rullmann Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)
    Allen,

    You said, "For best speed one must keep the internal drive underfilled." Can you give me a clue about percentage (e.g. Only 50% full or is 80% full OK?)

    Thanks,
    Scott
  • SierraDragon Level 4 Level 4 (2,695 points)
    IMO (+/- 10%) 50% is excellent, 70% OK, 80% reaching the point of significant impact on performance. However a 95% full drive may "work."

    -Allen
  • Scott Rullmann Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)
    Allen,

    Thanks.

    Scott
  • tjnickle Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)
    I seldom travel so there is no reason for me to buy a laptop. I save hundreds of dollars by
    staying with the beautiful iMac. The latest prices are $ 1,500 for a 24 inch screen, 2.66 GHz core 2 duo, 4 GB memory, 640 GB Hard Drive and *8x double layer super drive* , Nvdia GeForce 9400 graphics. for $2,500 I could get a laptop with a 15 inch screen 2.66 GHz, 4 GB Memory, 320 GB Hard Drive, etc.
    I love iMacs and love saving a thousand dollars for a more powerful machine. By the way, for small trips I bring my touch screen iPod to check email and light browsing.

    I hear that next Apple will eliminate key boards to make laptops even lighter. Just a rumor but could be.