I haven't had an iMac since my old G5, but I have CS5.5 and CS6 on my Mini, I use my internal HDD for Scratch space even though I have 3Tb of external storage. No performance issues with it set up that way.
The iMac has better graphics than the Mini, but so does the Pro, by far. The one thing that makes the difference for me is RAM. 16Gb allows me to do a lot more than the OEM 4Gb. I also like having dual monitors, which you can also do with the iMac.
The Pro is a little bit of overkill unless you're doing really big file editing (like 2Gb and up) or video editing as well as photo work. It's really made for running Final Cut. The 27" 3.4gHz can take up to 32Gb RAM but the Pro can max out at 64Gb. Hard to imagine a PSD that would put a dent in that.
With T-Bolt, external HDDs as Scratch are really fast from what I hear. My EHDs are USB3 since I didn't have the $$$ to get a T-Bolt setup.
Thanks Mike. I too am using a Mac Mini w. dual internal HDD's w. one being assigned as the stratch drive. With 16Gb of RAM my mid-2011 Mini works just fine until I have several 100Mb+ files open with lots of layers. Then I notice the Efficiency rating drop below 95% and other functions begin to slow down.
As you mentioned, I think the bottleneck is the lame integrated graphics of the Mini. That's my main reason to upgrade to an iMac. The new Mac Pro is overkill, primarily designed for video editing.
I am just wondering about the status of the scratch disk for an iMac -- being on an external drive vs. an internal.
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With T-Bolt, or so people in the Apple Forums say, Scratch disks are lightning fast in Aperture Final Cut and Premiere as well as PS and PSE.
I do editing for the web, so my files are small, small, and small, but I "batch process" thumbnails from 20 to 400 at a time, and that gets to taking upwards of 4Gb of my RAM. Not much in scratch space or processor use, though.
The top of the line setup for the Pro is just plain MASSIVE when it comes to processor, but the T-Bolt is the same for ANY new Mac, and with a 3Tb EHD on a T-Bolt, you could do about two dozen 100Mb files simultaneously with barely a flinch.