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Daniel Stone
13-Feb-2012, 12:07
hey all,

Well, I've come to a wall. I haven't been into PC-tech since 4 years ago when I bought my MBP, and its been able to handle some occasional Imacon 200mb-300mb files when I have them. Now that I have a drum scanner, this thing spits out 500mb files(and much larger) like nobody's business! Soooooo.... I'm looking to build a new machine.

Starting files will range from 500mb-2.5GB 16bit file size(starting, no layers). So I need a beefy machine with a good amount of "oomph" to move these files with speed and ease. Opening files, rendering/rotating, etc.. I need some speed. Budget is $1500 MAX. These are drum scans, so not your average Epson scan, big files. I'm thinking a nice fast 64gb SSD as a scratch disk, 24-32gb of ram, a 4-8core processor(Intel preferred), and lastly, my CRT diamondtron will be doing the display work.

FYI, I don't know sh!+ about PC components these days, so I'm looking for some recommendations. My buddy just put 32gb of RAM into his PC, and that thing FLYS with big files(he uses a P65+ digital back, he's a tech, but shoots his own stuff too).

Thanks

Dan

norly
13-Feb-2012, 12:44
I would stick with mac. In my opinion as a former PC user they are generally faster to work on, but thats subject to a lot of discussion.

Its a new mac pro on the way according to internet rumors so buy that. Throw in a 256 gb sata 6 SSD h-disk. And 10 gb ram and you will be fine. ( I bought my upgrades separately from another supplier to keep the costs down )

Ive got 2 raid barracuda 7200 rpm disks in my mac pro 2.8 but my small mbp ssd beets the crap out of them when loading and saving files (I think thats the most time consuming part when working 500mb+ files). So I recommend a ssd no matter what..

good luck

vinny
13-Feb-2012, 12:47
He said he's got $1500 max to spend. You can't touch those specs on a mac for that. Hat said, I won't get within 10 feet of a pc. About to get a new mac myself.

buggz
13-Feb-2012, 12:51
If you use win7-64, be warned that the file explorer has a bug in it.
Just pointing to a large .tiff file, >1.somethingGB, I haven't found the limit, will cause the file explorer to consume 100% memory.
This is found also from many users if you search with Google.
I have gotten around this by using Q-Dir, or Bridge, and/or saving large PS-CS5 as .psb

Daniel Stone
13-Feb-2012, 12:56
If you use win7-64, be warned that the file explorer has a bug in it.
...

my scanner comp needs a 32bit OS, so that's whats installed. I'd imagine that for my editing machine 64bit would be best for future-proofing software-wise when it allows for 64bit expansion. If it isn't already available currently(IDK if it is)

-Dan

Joanna Carter
13-Feb-2012, 14:38
my scanner comp needs a 32bit OS, so that's whats installed. I'd imagine that for my editing machine 64bit would be best for future-proofing software-wise when it allows for 64bit expansion. If it isn't already available currently(IDK if it is)
Unlike Windows, OS X supports both 32bit and 64bit drivers and programs at the same time.

I switched to MAcs about 4 years ago and would never switch back to Windows.

Brian K
13-Feb-2012, 17:15
hey all,

Well, I've come to a wall. I haven't been into PC-tech since 4 years ago when I bought my MBP, and its been able to handle some occasional Imacon 200mb-300mb files when I have them. Now that I have a drum scanner, this thing spits out 500mb files(and much larger) like nobody's business! Soooooo.... I'm looking to build a new machine.

Starting files will range from 500mb-2.5GB 16bit file size(starting, no layers). So I need a beefy machine with a good amount of "oomph" to move these files with speed and ease. Opening files, rendering/rotating, etc.. I need some speed. Budget is $1500 MAX. These are drum scans, so not your average Epson scan, big files. I'm thinking a nice fast 64gb SSD as a scratch disk, 24-32gb of ram, a 4-8core processor(Intel preferred), and lastly, my CRT diamondtron will be doing the display work.

FYI, I don't know sh!+ about PC components these days, so I'm looking for some recommendations. My buddy just put 32gb of RAM into his PC, and that thing FLYS with big files(he uses a P65+ digital back, he's a tech, but shoots his own stuff too).

Thanks

Dan

Dan, given your budget limitations I'd buy a used or refurbished MacPro, a 2010 model (a MacPro 5.1 model) or later. I'd start off with one HD, although that I would buy NEW, (I'd never trust a used HD) and get as much OWC ram as your budget allows. Eventually I'd add a second HD and more RAM. The need for the MacPro to be a model 5.1 is that it runs 64 bit, and means that Photoshop can address more than 2 gigs of RAM. The earlier MacPros are NOT 64 bit and limit PS to 2 gigs of RAM.

Jim Andrada
13-Feb-2012, 20:32
I run both PC's and Macs so I'm technically agnostic. That said, for the money you'll get more on a PC.

But whichever one you get, the bottleneck is more likely to be the I/O - I edit audio and video and multi-GB files are sort of standard. I use striped RAID for working files and was actually thinking of striping a couple of SSD's. I'm still in investigate mode - not yet sure that SSD's will be much faster that hard drives.

Brian K
14-Feb-2012, 04:21
I run both PC's and Macs so I'm technically agnostic. That said, for the money you'll get more on a PC.

But whichever one you get, the bottleneck is more likely to be the I/O - I edit audio and video and multi-GB files are sort of standard. I use striped RAID for working files and was actually thinking of striping a couple of SSD's. I'm still in investigate mode - not yet sure that SSD's will be much faster that hard drives.

Jim, PS is very different than audio and video. In video you are working with files that are sort of endless. They just keep loading new frames and new sounds, so a RAID or other high speed drive is critical for you. But in the case of PS, once it loads from the HD into RAM, if you have enough RAM you don't go back to the HD.

I have 32 gig of RAM, PS is assigned 21 gig. I work on a 2 gig file and add 6 layers and I end up, according to the scratch size indicator using 10 of the 21 gigs of PS RAM. So even on a 2 gig file layered up to 10 gigs I am no where close to having to use the HD as a scratch disk. ALL you need is PS running in 64 bit and enough RAM. The only I/o bottle neck is opening and saving the file, but you don't do that too often.

rdenney
14-Feb-2012, 04:35
In my experience on the cheap end of the market, the first best thing you can do for handling big files in Photoshop is to buy more RAM. I forget the rule of thumb, but it's something like RAM should be ten time your largest file. To get value out of that, the machine and operating system must be 64-bit, of course.

Thus, I'd get a computer with a motherboard that can handle lots of memory, and lots of fast memory. My cheapie (much less cost than your budget) takes 16GB of RAM, and that will handle 500MB-1G files without breathing hard. For your purposes, consider a machine that can take 32GB at least, at full speed (my computer slows down the memory IO when all four slots are used, but it's still worth it with Photoshop).

The next thing is a hard disk. Photoshop uses a scratch file on hard disk, but the more RAM you have the less it has to swap out to that scratch file. But a bigger hard disk is not a faster hard disk (until you run out). A faster disk is better, but a separate disk is better still.

USB3 is nice. I bought a USB3 card and an external USB3 memory card reader. I can upload a 16G memory-card load from my Canon in about one-tenth the time it used to take.

Solid-state "disks" are expensive, and I would only consider it if you have budget after maxing out RAM.

If you do stuff over a network, then I think it might be better to spend a bit less on the computer and make sure your network is optimal. Optimal means at least gigabit Ethernet, with a decent switch. If you store your files on network-attached storage, the consumer-level devices work but they are slow. This is a big bottleneck for me right now, and I wish I'd budgeted some for a better NAS. I back up daily to my NAS, with incremental backups every day and a full backup every month. The incremental backups are fast enough, but the full backup can take literally all day. This is not because of the network or the hard disks--it's constrained by the processing speed and OS on the NAS itself. The NAS uses RAID 1 to mirror the same data on two drives for redundancy. You can get that in your computer, but my experience is that slows things down a bit. (I use network storage because that system backs up several computers.)

I agree that with a PC you get more for your money, in return for having to know more and sometimes work harder getting things set up. The difference in price is not insignificant--a used Mac able to do the things I suggest will still cost more than a new PC that can do those things. I would only consider a Mac if the user interface of the MacOS is something important to you.

Rick "for whom a faster NAS is next on the list" Denney

sully75
14-Feb-2012, 04:54
Have you considered the "guide flow workflow":
http://www.westcoastimaging.com/wci/page/info/photoshoptip/podcast_guidefile.html

Might make a lot of sense and save you a lot of money/time.

jp498
14-Feb-2012, 05:12
You need a 64 bit OS for editing files that size conveniently. Yes, Ram is cheap right now, so max that out.

You have a preference for Intel processors, but AMD's 6 core processors pack a lot of punch for a $150 part, perhaps providing money for a bigger solid state drive (I use ocz Vertex 2 and 3 drives at work). The AMD 8-cores are affordable, but not many motherboards are available that support them last I checked.

On my home photo editing machine, I have a solid state boot/windows drive, and a traditional WD black hard drive for programs and images. You should not need a swap/pagefile on a computer with lots of memory.

Rider
14-Feb-2012, 06:40
my scanner comp needs a 32bit OS, so that's whats installed. I'd imagine that for my editing machine 64bit would be best for future-proofing software-wise when it allows for 64bit expansion. If it isn't already available currently(IDK if it is)

-Dan

I agree with whoever said that you need lots of RAM, and 32bit Windows has a RAM limit, if I remember correctly.

My copy of Win 7 came with both 64 bit and 32 bit CDs, so you can install 32-bit now and "upgrade" to 64 bit for free when the time comes. OEM copies do NOT come that way, however.

You could also probably do a dual boot.

BUT, there is an easier solution to 32-bit scanner drivers, depending on your scanner. Vuescan from Hamrick comes with 64bit drivers for thousands of scanners. And the beauty of it is that once it's installed you don't have to use it; you can use just about any scanning software, and it will work like magic. Vuescan is also a very small, clean install.

For example, I have a Nikon Coolscan 5000, and as everyone is painfully aware Nikon does not make 64 bit drivers for their scanners. So with Vuescan installed, and I can use either Vuescan or Nikon Scan; they both work beautifully.

Btw, buying a PC over a Mac Pro has the nice advantage of leaving some money in your pocket for more interesting things, like film, cameras, photography trips and food.

Rider
14-Feb-2012, 06:50
On re-reading your question, another easy solution is to have a cheap computer for scanning and a fancy Win 7 64bit machine for editing. Unless Vuescan makes drivers for drum scanners.

buggz
14-Feb-2012, 08:15
Here is another good source of information on PS performance:
http://blogs.adobe.com/crawlspace/2011/05/how-to-tune-photoshop-cs5-for-peak-performance.html
This site allows you to save this as a handy .pdf file also.

John Rodriguez
16-Feb-2012, 09:03
Have you considered the "guide flow workflow":
http://www.westcoastimaging.com/wci/page/info/photoshoptip/podcast_guidefile.html

Might make a lot of sense and save you a lot of money/time.

I second the guide file approach. One big advantage of the smaller file sizes is it allows you to make much more use of Smart Objects, something that will choke any computer no matter how much horsepower if working with full size scans.

Preston
16-Feb-2012, 09:28
One thing to keep in mind regarding the Guide File Workflow is that you can't use 'pixel altering' layers such as cloning or burn/dodge. These types of layers won't resize properly when you create the targeted file. This point is made in the tutorial.

If you use only adjustment layers or smart objects, you'll be fine.

Regarding Vuescan (slightly OT): I use it with Win 7-64 bit and my Microtek 1800f. It works wonderfully, and once you get into the swing of things with it, you'll be amazed at how easy it is to get great scans. Vuescan also has the capability to easily create a profile from an IT-8 target. This will make a huge difference in the quality of the scan.

--P

John Rodriguez
16-Feb-2012, 09:57
Just to be clear - with the Guide File Approach you don't want to change the underlying pixels, you use adjustment layers. You can still dodge and burn, just use adjustment layers to do so (better anyways). The only caveat is do your spot cleaning before you reduce the file (you should be spot cleaning first no matter what your workflow). One great thing is color space changes are fine using Smart Objects.

Daniel Moore
16-Feb-2012, 10:53
Data transfer rates are the bottleneck, as usual with large images. I'd focus on that. Despite the inherent risk I'm still an advocate of RAID 0 to handle this issue. RAID 0+1 is safer still. I prefer onboard RAID over a dedicated card to handle it for smaller arrays.

There are a couple ways you could go about it. SSD's or HDD's. Given disk drive prices are still extortionate I would lean towards a pair of >450Mbps 64GB SSD's in RAID 0 for working on your files and a larger HDD for storing them. That's a temporary configuration until drive prices come down again, being twice what they were pre-flooding of several mfgrs factories. This is riskier if you buy the cheaper SSD's and gets less so if you buy Intel (which are typically slower than other brands). If stability trumps higher speed go Intel, the reviews will bear this out. Personally I don't mind living on the edge and go with speed (and ironically lower price) and do sometimes have to deal with hardware stability issues. Backups take the sting out of it for me. A pair of super fast SSD's is really asking for trouble but it's speed the likes of which you have to see to believe. Not much space at all, but after scanning and working on the file park it on a larger capacity HDD. I use Microsoft's SyncToy to backup with a couple clicks.

Anandtech has a good guide (http://www.anandtech.com/show/5196/holiday-2011-mainstream-high-end-buyers-guide/4) to start with. Their build pushes 2 grand and a lot of it can be knocked down to your budget. Starting with the processor, you don't need to spend 600.00! The 32nm, 325.00 i7-2600K Sandy Bridge 3.4GHz is an obvious excellent choice instead. The recommended Gigabyte GA-X79-UD3 has quad channel memory and 32GB capacity, a great choice. You can easily get by with a Coolermaster Hyper 212 cooler instead of water.

Have fun!