Each of these adequately addressed my needs in performance and versatility, while two of them passed my monitor test.
Coincidently, they were the two without monitors. The MacBook Pro felt like an all-around machine that I could take with me wherever I went and expect solid performance. I was already used to the notebook form factor, but I was yearning for a larger screen. The MacBook Pro, of course, has the ability to support an external monitor, but for me this felt like a compromise and not the best use of the computer. If anything, a travel computer for me is a place to store imagery, maybe look at a few photos, and share some with friends if I so desire.
Additionally, a personal qualm I have with the current state of MacBooks is their predilection for glossy screens. While beautiful to look at, and fulfilling the design aesthetics inherent to Apple products, they are difficult to work with when critical viewing is a must. This was the reason, six years ago, I upgraded to the matte screen when customizing my MacBook Pro, and was a bit disappointed this option has been taken off the table for the new echelon of machines. Much for the same reason as the MacBook Pro, the glossy screen was not something I was overly excited about.
Photographer’s Mac Mini Buying Guide 
However, I spent much more time considering this computer as a possibility due to its brilliant combination of form and function. I felt that I could overcome the glossiness just due to the resolution and working room I would be afforded by a screen of this size. Some of the highlights touted by Apple include the With this in mind, I kept the iMac in the back of my mind as I moved to do some more in-depth research on the Mac mini.
As previously mentioned, I came into the whole comparison process already planning on buying the Mac mini. There has always been something appealing about its incredibly small size and ability to adapt to a wide variety of situations. Many museums and galleries use them for video installations, as well as working computers, while other arts applications call for them due to their relative portability. However, the more I began to research, I became worried that the move to a maxed-out mini might not stand as a large enough performance increase over my six-year-old MacBook Pro.
The recent update to the Haswell processors was certainly long awaited for these machines; however, the option of only being able to choose between two Dual-Core processors and up to 16GB of RAM total left me a little worried. Albeit my current working scenario was significantly less than this, I had in mind that I would be planning for the future with my computer. Just as my current computer has lasted me nine years as the main workhorse of my processes, I needed to get a new computer that could last me just as long. With my new computer, I also needed to take into account how my working process has changed over the past nine years, and think about where I could see it going in the future.
Photographer's Mac Mini Buying Guide  - Photo Taco Podcast
Editing and retouching files in excess of MB is a daily routine for me at home, as well as juggling hundreds of these files at a time. If my file size or amount continues to increase steadily over the next several years, will 16GB of RAM suffice? And will the integrated Iris Graphics support working with larger monitors and potential video editing? These thoughts about potentially maximizing the usage potential of the Mac mini from the get-go began to steer me away from my initial choice, especially since the new design of the minis does not allow you to upgrade the RAM or other components.
This left me little room to grow with this computer. With the Mac mini on the way out from my selection, I was now back to considering the iMac. But just as I began to re-examine the specs and customization options, I realized I had completely overlooked the top-dog Mac: I had blocked this computer from my mind simply because, if anything, it was daunting for me to imagine owning a computer of this stature.
I had worked with older-generation Mac Pros throughout school and in nearly every retouching, studio assisting, and printing job I have ever had, but these computers always seemed to complement the hectic workflow and all-day use. Just in the same way commercial photographers regularly work with very high-end medium format digital cameras for their shoots, yet few actually own them, I had always figured few individuals truly owned Mac Pros, and most were relegated to commercial or institutional operations.
The interesting aspect of this thought process was that my conclusions were never based on cost, rather, they revolved around the presence of these computers in the industry. The newest version of the Mac Pro, however, shed its more intimidating "tower" structure and now sports a more modern exterior aesthetic, one you might even call domestic. With my curiosity piqued, I began to see if my workflow could justify owning this computer. Immediately, one of the most prominent concerns I had with other Mac models could be eliminated: With other Macs, I was immediately jumping into the upgraded spec sets, and frequently looking for the maxed-out versions.
This left me with little room to expand in the future and forced me to guess where I needed to begin. With the Mac Pro, this task was easy: I can start at the very bottom. The flash-based storage was ideal for use as a scratch disk and a place to store my few applications and some working files. From here, series of external drives are used for keeping files and the Thunderbolt 2 and USB 3.
All of this immediately clicked as the computer I could easily grow with; it was something that would match my slow upgrade cycle and give me a longer lifespan of use, compared to starting with a maxed-out configuration from the beginning. Similar to the way many people are still working with their previous-generation Mac Pros from 10 or more years ago in a professional capacity, I saw this Mac Pro as a long-term investment that could most easily be adapted to my changing and expanding multimedia workflow.
It could easily handle retouching the largest of scans, processing hundreds of 36MP image files, some video editing if I go down that path, and nearly any other creative task I could see myself taking on in the future. I had really grown to appreciate this idea of having a computer I can grow into, something where I can comfortably begin at the bottom rather than jump straight to the top. And as much as I had convinced myself the built-in display of the iMac was going to work perfectly for me, I was still worried about the glossiness of it.
During my course of investigating the Mac Pro, I also began looking for different monitors to complement it, and quickly realized this could be the ideal point to transition into working with a two monitor setup—or at least having the ability to do this. A dual-monitor configuration would be difficult to pull off with the iMac, since the display is the focal point of the computer.
I would not be able to adequately duplicate this screen with a secondary monitor and would have to resort to working with mismatched screens, if I wanted to go this route. The whole process of weighing the attributes of each Mac model forced me to truly consider what I needed and wanted from a computer, and made me realize how the Mac ecosystem functions to support a wide range of differing tasks and user types.
For me, a photographer, the Mac I chose best suits my workflow of retouching very large image files, continuously moving files between storage drives, importing new files, scanning film, and making large-scale prints. The best part about my Mac, too, is that I have room to grow for any other projects that come my way. I have been using a MacBook Pro for 4 years and do alot of photograpy. For me its perfect for editing; travel and everyday work. At some point I will replace this older unit with most likely another MacBook Pro. As a side note I am not a fan of the scroll bar on the newest versions at all so time will tell if another MacBook is my final purchase.
Great article and very well written. Once connected, this monitor supports resolutions up to x with a The enhanced resolution and fast response time support enhanced picture quality with reduced lag when viewing fast-moving videos. This VESA-compatible monitor can be mounted to the wall as it supports x mm and x mm configurations. I am interested into the "expandability" of the new Mac Pro? I speak as the owner of a Mac Pro 3.
Since there has been no improvements to the Mac Pro, there are no new Graphics cards, to upgrade the flash Drive is silly money. You get 6 Thunderbolt 2 ports but with daisy chaining this is not really an issue. If you compare geekbench socres the quad core MP does not compare well with others in the Mac Range. Admittedly the 12 core does extremely well on 64 bit multi-core performance. In my opinion you would have get better performance with an iMac or Macbook Pro, used it with a Caldigit Thunderbolt Dock and got the same level of expansion.
I bought a MacPro with 3. View previous…. Jon Anscher Posts 30 Reply Likes. The eGPU front is where I lack clarity. My hope with the eGPU is that if it was running my displays, that would save the integrated graphics card for crunching photos in LR and Photoshop. But to be clear, are you saying that likely would not be the case? I do know that it would be better to have a discrete GPU for that purpose, so the question really comes down to this: Or would it be better to wait and get both when the new iMac comes out.
Is that just marketing speak then? Or maybe just feel compelled to do more of it. Difficult to say, as I never ran any formal tests with metrics. I was running LR6 at the time, as I was put off by all of the bugs reported for LR7, and that version was dramatically improved during importing which is the most process intensive aspect of my workflow as I tend to have shoots with a minimum of 1, raw files of 50MB plus. Unfortunately, it all went south when I 'upgraded' and I use that term very loosely to LR7.
It does not support multi-cores worth a damn. Now an import of similar size takes over an hour. A day trip to the Toltec ruins in Mexico and Guatemala yielded over 10k images; that import took over four hours before a single image appeared, and then overnight to finish building the previews.
I have proven this by not selecting any previews building—standard or 1: But never has it approached that of LR6. Whether Adobe fixes this or not, the bottom line is go for the highest clock speed and the most RAM you can afford. This hasn't changed since I was awarded my Ph. Unless, of course, Adobe decides to truly support multi-core CPUs. Sorry, I was typing before your second response appeared. Multi-core support and Adobe—marketing BS. Check out their patent applications. Dual monitors can be problematic, even with multiple GPUs. I run three 3 34" LG curved displays, making sure that each one is connected to the MacPro via a separate Thunderbolt cable to it's own Thunderbolt connector on the MacPro.
Adobe cannot even support multiple GPUs. Cores do matter, just not with Adobe products. There are video editing products out there from others which take full advantage of multi-core CPUs. Perhaps Adobe is just too lazy or incompetent?
Second, there are only two or three which are supported by the Mac BlackMagic and I forget the others at the moment but in all cases they need Thunderbolt 3 for the bandwidth and the MacPro trashcan does not have TB3. However, the upshot was in my research that virtually nothing—no pun intended—as far as software goes currently can take advantage of a eGPU on the Mac. Perhaps this will change, but I'm not holding my breath waiting for Adobe. I came to this conclusion this past weekend when I noticed that the preview cache—which is on the SSD—was gobbling up a lot of filespace.
I am hoping that the extra space and the faster transfer rates would offset the lag I noticed as the cache grew larger and available disk space dropped to under GB.
The Mac mini 2018 finally brings Thunderbolt 3
Dmeephd, thanks for your detailed response. You know, I am hitting myself for not thinking of this early. Of course, one of the other advantages of buying an iMac would be the built in display. I have had my displays daisy-chained in the past, primarily on my MacBook Pro late , and I hoped that single porting each one would improve performance with LR and Photoshop. No dice. Not with Adobe. AutoCAD, on the other hand, runs like a champ and uses both GPUs equally, so it can be done if the developer gives a hoot. There is no single magic answer, I'm afraid.
Multiple cores make a difference for things like preview building, exporting, merges, etc. But many things have other constraints that prevent Lightroom from maxing out the CPU.
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