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Please help configure best Mac Pro for Photoshop & Modo

Jan 5, 2013 3:08 PM



I need help on the best configuration of a new Mac Pro.


My main work is large, hi-res Photoshop files with many layers. I also do 3D work in Modo but this is only on still images rendered out at large file sizes - no animation work. Apart from this the machine would also be used for iTunes, email, safari-the usual stuff.


So I am looking at the best configuration for those requirements. I am currently looking at these two options:


Apple Mac Pro 6 Core 3.33GHz costing about £1,999.00




Apple Mac Pro 12 Core 2.66GHz costing about £3,349.00.


In both options I would install 32GB RAM.


So, does the extra cores in the 12 core model really justify the huge price increase for my type of work?

My concern is that the cost increase simply wont be justified against the actual performance improvements?

Any advice on this would be greatly appreciated.


A further detail which might make a difference: I currently have an 8 core Mac Pro (late 2008 model). In theory I could utilise the cores in this machine to perform network renders in modo thus benefitting from 14 cores worth of render processing. I'm not sure how efficient modo network rendering is but at least theoretically this seems like a good option to me. But again, advice from anyone with this more figured out would be appreciated.


Many thanks.

  • Currently Being Moderated
    Jan 5, 2013 3:09 PM   in reply to Fierce-hairdo

    For high quality 3D rendering?  Heck yes extra cores pay off.

    For interactive 3D rendering, you rely more on the video card/GPU.  But raytracing runs mostly on the CPUs.

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  • Currently Being Moderated
    Jan 5, 2013 11:28 PM   in reply to Fierce-hairdo

    If time is not critical on this purchase I would wait; Apple (Tim Cook) has said there will be a new Mac Pro released this year, exactly when we don't know, of course!


    We should see new processors/graphics cards, possibly a complete new system architecture, plus the new machines will certainly have both Thunderbolt and USB3, just like the new iMacs and MacBook Pro's.


    I would hang-in there 'til the first of the Developers Conferences to see if there's an announcement made.


    Plus, if the new systems are announced and you decide you can live without the additions and upgrades, you'll probably see price-drops on the current systems as outlined in your mail above.


    Good luck!


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  • Noel Carboni
    23,526 posts
    Dec 23, 2006
    Currently Being Moderated
    Jan 17, 2013 6:44 AM   in reply to Fierce-hairdo

    Sandy Bridge (or possibly Ivy Bridge) Intel chips could push performance to new heights but...


    The way modern computer designs go (not speaking just of Apple Mac Pros here, but of Intel-based designs in general), usually the highest of the high end model of the prior generation can equal or even exceed the performance of the lower models of the next generation.  Just as an example, a dual 3.46GHz Xeon X5690 12 core system exceeds the processor power of a new dual 2GHz Xeon E5-2620 12 core system.  That's not to say everything will work better on the older system.


    Note how the Xeon X models are interspersed with the E5- models on this chart:


    Thing is, the way pricing often goes, especially when the desirable new model is still very new, is that the highest of the high end models from the prior generation are often less expensive than even the lower models in the hot new generation.  You can sometimes get refurbished top-of-the-line prior generation models for very good prices right when the new new models come out. 


    If you choose to buy less than the top-end model of the new generation, you have to think about what you're likely to do in the future (upgrade a system vs. replace it, that sort of thing).


    Just some food for thought.


    Buying decisions are never trivial.  Best of luck.



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  • Currently Being Moderated
    Jan 17, 2013 9:01 AM   in reply to Fierce-hairdo

    This article may be helpful:


    How to tune Photoshop CS6 for peak performance: r-peak-performance.html

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