Page 1 of 3 123 LastLast
Results 1 to 20 of 49

Thread: Mac or PC for image processing

  1. #1

    Join Date
    Jul 2008
    Location
    West Vancouver, Canada
    Posts
    11

    Mac or PC for image processing

    I have to replace my computer and would appreciate any feedback on whether a Msc pro laptop will offer any significant advantages over a PC laptop in terms of better colour reproduction or other advantages re post image processing. I have a D40 camera and shoot in raw. I presently use only the software that came with the camera but plan to try Lightroom or, if I buy the Mac, Aperture. I have no desire to master Photoshop as the learning curve is too steep for me. I understand the Mac is more user friendly but that reason alone will not be the determining factor in my choice. I have heard for years that the Mac is the choice for artists and graphics workers but have never known why and indeed, am not sure I have heard that comment in relation to photo processing. No matter which computer I buy I plan to purchase an external monitor ( 19 or 20 inches) - any thoughts on a monitor best suited for colour and photo display would also be appreciated.

    Thanks in advance for your thoughts.

  2. #2
    Administrator
    Join Date
    Apr 2008
    Location
    California, USA
    Posts
    1,473
    Real Name
    Sean

    Re: Mac or PC for image processing

    I the think reputation of Mac's being better than PC's for image processing was certainly true at the beginning. The Mac's were the first with truly scalable fonts, mice, drawing tablets, and native color management in the operating system, which were some of the reasons Mac's earned that reputation. However, these days you can do everything on a PC that you can on a Mac when it comes to image-processing. Nevertheless, the earlier reputation persists.

    Nowadays I really think it comes down to software compatibility, familiarity and ease of use. See what software you would like to use, and whether it is exclusive to either the Mac or PC. I personally prefer the PC primarily because many of the plugin's and shareware utilities I use are only available on the PC, and because I like to be continually upgrading/customizing my computer (in which case PC's are generally a little more customizable, unless you are going with a fully integrated HP, Dell, or other big PC manufacturer). Overall, I think you will find strong opinions either way though.

    In my mind the best LCD monitors for photo editing and accurate color are NEC's line of MultiSync 2690WUxi, 2490WUxi, 2190Uxi, 2090Uxi, 1990SXi, etc. monitors. They are usually more expensive for their size, but are amongst the best for photo editing at this time. I have owned the 2690WUxi and the 1990FXi/SXi models and have few complaints.
    Last edited by McQ; 6th September 2009 at 04:26 AM.

  3. #3

    Join Date
    Jul 2008
    Location
    West Vancouver, Canada
    Posts
    11

    Re: Mac or PC for image processing

    Many thanks for your thoughts on this. As I am more comfortable with a PC I will go with that choice. I appreciate the input on the monitors as well. I will look for a NEC.

  4. #4
    shreds's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2008
    Location
    London
    Posts
    1,328
    Real Name
    Ian

    Re: Mac or PC for image processing

    As McQ says there are going to be strong opinions on both sides.

    Certainly there are a great array of pcs out there to choose from, and your basic setups are going to be cheaper than Macs.

    I will lay my cards on the table, having been in the pc camp for more years than I care to mention. (And built from scratch a number of machines to my own spec)

    The advent of Vista and the many bugs that accompanied it, led me and many others to stick with XP, whilst the advent of Intel Macs caused me to investigate the ease of use of Macs and I ended up with an IMac 23" specifically for photos workflow alongside one of my XP computers. This has been good, as I can still access my pc applications yet have the benefits of the Mac whilst I have migrated.

    The differences thrown into the pc/mac debate I find are relatively minor these days (you can even run Windows on your Mac if you so wish, (though it can slow things down a bit and I have not gone down this road). I was extremely concerned at taking the leap 'over the fence', only to find that if you can use a mouse and keyboard on a pc, then you will be able to do the same with a Mac. That really is it! My only fallback being that I moved my Logitech Cordless Trackman mouse over to the Mac as I couldnt get on with the Mac mouse.

    Software differences are equally minor, I run MS office (Word/Powerpoint/Excel etc) as I am familiar with these programs and actually think the Office Mac 2008 versions are far more user friendly than those in Office 2007 for Vista!

    I now find no reason to return to Windows pcs and I really would suggest you consider very carefully. I went for an integrated screen solution, though you can pair a Mac with any screen of course. Your laptop solution will have its own screen unless you intend to run an external screen. Also here, Mozilla Firefox 3 & Apple Safari provide better levels of support by displaying RGB rather than sRGB colour space as seen on IE.

    I do believe Macs are more straightforward to use and suffer less from crashes of varying types as well as less security / virus problems, which I think is a major consideration especially if you are internet connected which I presume you will be. But it took me many years and lots of experiments to become convinced.

    If I were looking for a laptop with photo applications in mind, then MacBook Pros do seem to have the power and facilities for the photographer, and longer term, this might be a future addition for me, especially to provide more mobility.

    Anyway, just my thru'pence, for what it is worth.

  5. #5

    Join Date
    Jul 2008
    Location
    West Vancouver, Canada
    Posts
    11

    Re: Mac or PC for image processing

    Thank you for the thoughtful analysis. I have not make a purchase yet so will, as you say, consider this carefully. I do not want to get involved with Vista but understand XP is still available. As a laptop is a requirement and a Mac Pro is almost twice the price of a PC I may have to give that fact some weight. Again, many thanks for taking the trouble to reply.

  6. #6
    David's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2008
    Location
    Cheshire and Dumfries & Galloway
    Posts
    732
    Real Name
    David

    Re: Mac or PC for image processing

    Hi Derek - I echo the comments made by McQ and Shreds on this topic. There is less difference these days between the power and ease of use of PC's and Mac's. On the issue of screens I would make two or three points. First, try to get the biggest that you can afford and/or if you have another monitor connect it up to your computer as well (proving the graphics card lets you do this). I run a smaller screen monitor for the tools and ancillary software while working with the images on my main TFT (a Viewsonic VP2030b).

    Second, the price of TFT monitors is coming down and you may wish to hold on a short while to see if you can get a 24 inch screen for the current price of a 22 inch one. Check in a good PC magazine such as PC Pro for up-to-date info.

    Third, regarding the quality of TFT screens there could be endless arguments about which is "best". All the big names such as NEC, Viewsonic, Hanns, Liyama make excellent equipment. My advice here would be to check out technical specs, but, more importantly, to look at some screens in use. People's eyes vary and what might be a vivid clear image for me on one screen may look overblown for you.

    I hope these points are useful.


    David

  7. #7
    crisscross's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2008
    Location
    Herefordshire UK
    Posts
    816
    Real Name
    Chris

    Re: Mac or PC for image processing

    Quote Originally Posted by Derek Hopkins View Post
    Thank you for the thoughtful analysis. I have not make a purchase yet so will, as you say, consider this carefully. I do not want to get involved with Vista but understand XP is still available. As a laptop is a requirement and a Mac Pro is almost twice the price of a PC I may have to give that fact some weight. Again, many thanks for taking the trouble to reply.
    I recently bought a MacBook Pro 15", 2nd hand, 3 months old and looked untouched (and universal warranty) for 900 from a small eShop. Or you can get factory recon (probably minor warranty serviced) from appleshop, was about 1100. But then have used nowt but mac for 20 years and previous PowerBook pro still running, but was getting too slow to run Nikon Capture NX2 which really is core2duo dedicated. (see sep thread for NX2, highly recommended for photo-editing as opposed to manipulation)

    If you like a portable as I do, you might consider that on the mac you have 95% of the 1440x900 display on a 15" (overall 356x243x25) - only the principle menu line not usable. Each program uses the same menu line and the dock can be held off screen to R,L or B. Also there is nothing but the best high res and all built in eg airport.

    But yes do use a universal mouse (mine Kensington pocket pro) with 2 buttons & scroll; though can't think of anything that uses the RH button at present.

    Although when using other folks PCs I found XP infinitely better than any previous, you must grapple with Vista if you go PC or you will not get full advantage of core2duo chip.
    Last edited by crisscross; 29th October 2008 at 02:03 PM.

  8. #8

    Join Date
    Jul 2008
    Location
    West Vancouver, Canada
    Posts
    11

    Re: Mac or PC for image processing

    Thanks David. I have a 17inch Viewsonic CRT and a 19 inch Sharp (LL19 1A-B). I believe I have seen a review of the latter which puts it far down on the list of good colour monitors but way up there for games. I use the Viewsonic the most. I will wait a little while as you suggest before buying .

  9. #9

    Join Date
    Jul 2008
    Location
    West Vancouver, Canada
    Posts
    11

    Re: Mac or PC for image processing

    Thanks Crisscross. I ended up with a 14 inch laptop Toshiba Tecra simply because it was affordable. It comes with XP and an upgrade to Vista if and when I want to. Can you tell me please, since I am basically ignorant about computers, what features I can't use re the core2duo chip?

  10. #10
    crisscross's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2008
    Location
    Herefordshire UK
    Posts
    816
    Real Name
    Chris

    Re: Mac or PC for image processing

    Quote Originally Posted by Derek Hopkins View Post
    Thanks Crisscross. I ended up with a 14 inch laptop Toshiba Tecra simply because it was affordable. It comes with XP and an upgrade to Vista if and when I want to. Can you tell me please, since I am basically ignorant about computers, what features I can't use re the core2duo chip?
    As you have gone PC, I have to leave the PC gang to answer on Vista specifically, but my basic assumption is that MS had to introduce Vista to make full use of the core2duo chip in the same way as Apple had to introduce OS10.5.

    This is the biggest internal revolution since RISC chips in the early 90s if not bigger. On Mac, the previous system OS10.4 was one of the worst ever because it stacked up a decade of emulations and work-arounds (despite apple's tradition of not doing that, but it has to stay in business in an over-competitive world).

    XP works so well because it is descended from Windows NT, the MS commercial operating system, which had to work, but MS wern't going to give it away if they could help it, hence all those hideous Windows 95-2000 range. However it is unlikely to be able to interface directly with an all new chip.

    But some good news, eg Nikon Capture NX2, which is my solution for 95% of photo work is written to work direct to chip avoiding the operating system and as near identical on both platforms as makes no difference. On mac that includes some bad habits, on PC, I dare say it is better. Other modern programmes come in a 'universal binary' form that should work better than old ones designed for Pentium that would have to work through emulation levels.

  11. #11

    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Location
    New Zealand
    Posts
    17,662
    Real Name
    Have a guess :)

    Re: Mac or PC for image processing

    Chris,

    A few misnomers creeping in there.

    To give you a wee bit of background ...

    In the "good old days" Microsoft ran two distinct families of operating system. The NT family (NT 3.x, NT 4.0, Windows 2000) were business oriented - or put another way - "didn't have great games graphics performance"; the reason for this was that - being a business operating system - stability and protection for running applications was top priority, and as such, applications were prevented from accessing hardware directly - they had to go through the operating system. From a stability & protection perspective this worked well, but in terms of graphics performance for games, it sucked - at that stage hardware simply wasn't fast enough to deliver the required performance whilst still directing every thing through the OS ...

    ... So "on the other hand" we had the "Wintendo" family (Windows 95, 98, ME) - which were primarily designed for games/entertainment. These platforms allows applications to have direct access to hardware - so performance (especially graphics) was good, but often at the expence of stability; one misbehaving application could easily overwrite memory belonging to another application (or the operating system itself) - and it was possible to bring the whole shooting match crashing down.

    Although Windows 2000, Windows XP and now Windows Vista are all NT based, they use a technology called DirectX to vastly improve game/graphics performance - DirectX still insists that applications direct their output requests through the operating system, but it's a very "thin" interface in that although it provides the level of protection required, it doesn't hinder performance - and combined with todays fast hardware (including graphics processing units) - provides graphics performance that's "more than adequate" (to put it mildly). In other words, we can now have the "best of both worlds".

    Windows Vista has proved to be a bit of an enigma - it's received a lot of bad press due to sluggish performance (and a good portion of that generated by me!) - but over time we've come to know it a little better. What we've discovered is if you give it a grunty CPU (eg quad core with 12MB Cache) - max out the RAM (4GB for Vista32) - and apply service pack 1 then performance - for most things - is just fine. The thing that caught us all by surprice was the amount of memory it requred; WinXP ran OK with 256 -> 512MB and we (incorrectly) assumed that Vista would run well on 512 -> 1GB, as each successing operating system required roughly twich the resources of it's predecessor to run at the same level, but we were wrong - it needed more - MUCH MORE ...

    ... and that leads to a problem; Vista 32 - being a 32 bit operating system - can only address a max of 4GB RAM, but unfortunately, portions of the address space are also needed by other components - so a system with 4GB RAM ends up with about 3.2 being available to the operating system - Vista gobbles up about 1GB of that (before any programs start running) and before you know it, applications like photoshop start to struggle. The ultimate solution will be to use a 64 bit operating system like Vista 64 where max RAM is virtually unlimited (if you excuse the pun!) - Vista64 with 8GB RAM runs as well as WinXP ever did, but 64 Bit operating systems are only just starting to be accepted and catered for by manufacturers of peripherals, and drivers can be a big problem. So the problem isn't so much "Vista" - it's the time at which it came along. Once we get past 32 bit operating systems and in to 64 bit operating systems being mainstream then we should be "away" laughing" again. So yes - at present - photoshop 32 bit edition runs best on XP platforms (32 or 64 bit) purely because of the user RAM available.

    Core II processors were developed by Intel's Isralie team - basically as a ramped up & supercharged version of their mobile architecture. It works well - very well indeed - and although Vista no-doubt integrates with it more completely (especially in areas like power management), you're unlikely to find any features that won't run on a Core II / Windows XP box. Vista and Core II came along at the same time, but it's more correct to think of it simply as a parallel development - one isn't designed specifically to compliment the other.

    Hope this helps
    Last edited by Colin Southern; 13th February 2009 at 02:33 AM. Reason: Fix double signature

  12. #12
    Davey's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2008
    Location
    UK
    Posts
    530

    Re: Mac or PC for image processing

    I know you can run a lot of stuff under linux with little problem too. Even photoshop runs although there is minor problems with CS3 / CS4 menus running under wine it seems functional still and future improvements look promising.

    If you run a 64bit version then driver support is good and you get to use your full memory if you have a lot. Using a less resource heavy distro that is configured right you can increase performance somewhat. I personally still run pshop under vista (32) since I'm happy with performance even if it can be slow it's no big deal to me. I run a dual boot machine with zenwalk linux 5.2 (slackware user since around 1998 so nice choice for me as most the mundane stuff is automated but I get the slack stability and can use slack repos). I still use a 32bit kernel, only got 4Gb ram so not loosing much and performance is very fast (slimmed down somewhat).

    Not tried photoshop under linux for a bit so maybe things better now but might be worth trying for those with lower specs or different demands and expectations. There are plenty of nice open source editors etc available that may suit most people.

  13. #13

    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Location
    New Zealand
    Posts
    17,662
    Real Name
    Have a guess :)

    Re: Mac or PC for image processing

    Perhaps one last thing to keep in mind is the thought that - with all the talk about maxing out RAM and 64bit operating systems and apps - is that if you're only working on a single image at a time - and that image hasn't been up-sized, then you won't need anything out of the ordinary to get acceptable performance.

    I've created collages containing 12 or more images that were printed 2 feet wide and 3 feet high all from a laptop running 1GB or ram. Sure - it's a bit slow for some operations, but nothing overly painful.

    Considering how cheap RAM is at the moment - if pushed for a (PC) suggestion - I'd say just grab any good-quality, mainstream box - max out the RAM - and go enjoy It's only when you start batch processing hundreds of images or working on extremely large images that cutting-edge computing makes a significant difference (and even then the performance gain is disproportional to the extra $$$ spent).
    Last edited by Colin Southern; 13th February 2009 at 02:33 AM. Reason: Fix double signature

  14. #14

    Re: Mac or PC for image processing

    Can i ask for someone to comment on the availability of true colour screen displays in terms of PC platform's laptops ?

    My requirement is i would require something on the go , so a desktop would not cut it for me.

    so it's Mac notebooks vs Windows laptops . In terms of display panels which are windows laptops has S-IPS, S-PVA, or MVA ? Most of the windows laptops in the market are TN film based and they rely on algorithm to represent the closest match of a colour.

    I believe the panels in all Mac notebooks are non TN films anyway but the price factor is so much the factor of decision.

    If anyone here can advise which windows laptops has non TN films , i'd be really happy.

    thanks !!

  15. #15
    shreds's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2008
    Location
    London
    Posts
    1,328
    Real Name
    Ian

    Re: Mac or PC for image processing

    I think you will find if you are looking for this kind of monitor on a laptop, the price differential with a Mac will be negligible or even make the Mac look great value. There are one or two out there but I cannot recall the makes.

    I personally would not go back to MS. Talking of which, the Vista OS replacement is now available in Beta form (Windows 7). So keen was the world to rid itself of Vista, the Microsoft servers crashed under the weight of the downloads on the first day. I have yet to meet an IT professional who recommends Vista and have great fun in shops when the assistant admits fairly readily that Vista is too bulky and inappropriate for most users needs.

  16. #16
    Daniel Salazar's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2009
    Location
    Switzerland
    Posts
    226
    Real Name
    Daniel

    Re: Mac or PC for image processing

    Hi, as Apple user since they launch their first computer to the market and also PC user, I can tell you that Mac will be always easier to use than PC, everything is more intuitive. My personal choice, if money wouldn't be a problem, I would get a MacBook Pro with an antiglare display.

    The downside of this, is that you would have to give at least $2,849 usd for the MacBook.

    The problem with a PC is that you can't trust Vista, it's really bad, they are already having a Windows 7 Beta version, as shreds wrote. It's supposed that this version will replace Vista, however nobody knows if it would get back to the basics or will be the same as Vista.

    If you're able to get a Laptop with XP, you could be able to do a lot, however the problem here is that you're paying a lot of money now, for old "technology", which in some months will be even older and won't have support in the near future (assuming that the new windows version is a success).

    I'm trying to be neutral, what you get is your decision, however I think that getting a Mac will give you more advantages than disadvantages.

    Cheers,
    Daniel

  17. #17
    shreds's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2008
    Location
    London
    Posts
    1,328
    Real Name
    Ian

    Re: Mac or PC for image processing

    Windows 7 retains a lot of the GUI of Vista, but is a lot lighter under the hood as it were. Hence it is less demanding of the architecture and runs on lower spec machines. Maybe the rise of netbook/sub-note books has a lot to do with this. I see that the likes of the Epee and other net books either have XP or Linux preloaded. Vista just will not fit.

    I had a very reliable Sony 10.6 inch XP machine for five years which was great for travelling as it was so light. Slow for image processing, but I used it primarily as a 40GB back up for photographic work, that had the added advantage of being a wireless pc, rather than paying for an (overpriced) backup / screen device, that had limited other uses.

    I still waited to get back to base to see process the images on the 23" Mac though.

  18. #18
    crisscross's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2008
    Location
    Herefordshire UK
    Posts
    816
    Real Name
    Chris

    Re: Mac or PC for image processing

    Please see http://www.cambridgeincolour.com/for...2.htm#post4920 for my thoughts on macBook pro price; then on a mac you get 98% of the screen area usable with only the basic menu bar 'wasted'.

    The more important issue with Vista editions is do they actually allow decent progs to fully utilise the chip? NX2 which is a very heavy user and not really mac houstrained is written for and performs really well on core2duo chip because it is designed to do so and combines use of OS10.5 architecture where it chooses to, but dives down past it when it doesn't. Real time operating speed is thus far faster than on OS/chip combos with far higher nominal chip speed.

    I have yet to get a clear answer as to whether Vista achieves this potential on core2duo chips.(or which version if any of CS has had a complete re-write for modern chips).

  19. #19
    iPhillip's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2009
    Location
    Feilding, NZ.
    Posts
    103

    Re: Mac or PC for image processing

    Quote Originally Posted by dasle View Post
    The problem with a PC is that you can't trust Vista, it's really bad, they are already having a Windows 7 Beta version, as shreds wrote. It's supposed that this version will replace Vista, however nobody knows if it would get back to the basics or will be the same as Vista.
    I know someones thats running windows 7 since the beta was unofficially leaked (64-bit), its ten times the OS vista ever was and already it is counted as a success. As Shreds mentioned it retains some of the graphics interface but a lot of it is new, and most importantly because its "lighter" on the system it runs a helluvalot faster.
    Last edited by McQ; 12th July 2009 at 10:56 PM.

  20. #20
    Daniel Salazar's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2009
    Location
    Switzerland
    Posts
    226
    Real Name
    Daniel

    Re: Mac or PC for image processing

    Hi iPhillip, it might be as you mention, it could even be betther than Mac Os, however now the point is different.

    It's not that I would like to start a war about which system is better. It's like the wine, everybody has their own opinion and there is not good or bad

    The main issue here is that Derek is asking what might be better, he is also unsecure between which program he could use for PP, Aperture or Lightroom. If Aperture is choosen, then he has to buy a Mac if not there are two options.

    Cheers,
    Daniel
    Last edited by Daniel Salazar; 27th January 2009 at 11:07 AM.

Page 1 of 3 123 LastLast

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •