Macintosh: help with upgrades for media specialist (No budget limit).

Discussion in 'What Notebook Should I Buy?' started by Aroc, Jul 30, 2015.

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  1. Aroc

    Aroc Notebook Consultant

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    START COPY
    ==========

    General Questions


    1) What is your budget?
    $7,500 USD (this is replacing a machine that cost about $4,550). Since we need signatures at 10,000 and above, the hard limit is $9,999.

    2) What size notebook would you prefer?
    d. Mainstream; 15" - 16" screen
    e. Desktop Replacement; 17"+ screen


    3) Where will you buying this notebook? You can select the flag of your country as an indicator.
    United States

    4) Are there any brands that you prefer or any you really don't like?
    a. Like: Apple Mac Pro, Apple Macbook Pro
    b. Dislike: iMac, mini

    5) Would you consider laptops that are refurbished/redistributed?
    No. This is a lynchpin system. It should be new with warranty. Not my call.

    6) What are the primary tasks will you be performing with this notebook?
    Media and content creation with Adobe Creative Suite (Photoshop, Illustrator, InDesign, Dreamweaver), QuarkXpress. Creation and process or digital photographs as well as original drawn art. Graphics are used across all media types (CMYK professional printing, electronic distribution (email and web) for customers and marketing campaigns, product catalog design, artwork, and layout both electronically and printed, magazine advertising design, artwork, and layout), tradeshow booth conception, design, artwork, and layout. Be able to archive, catalog old jobs to optical media when campaigns are retired. (He has software that is database searchable for this). Some of the artwork will come from the engineering department as "photo-realistic CAD drawings" as transparent PNGs or native CAD files, typically as artwork for the catalog using Adobe InDesign or QuarkXpress. He may need to do some video editing/transcoding from time to time. However, most video work (Creation/Production) is farmed out to a local outfit in town.

    7) Will you be taking the notebook with you to different places, leaving it on your desk or both?
    Left on the desk.

    8) Will you be playing games on your notebook? If so, please state which games
    or types of games?
    No.

    9) How many hours of battery life do you need?
    N/A.

    10) Would you prefer to see the notebooks you're considering before purchasing it or buying a notebook on-line without seeing it is OK?
    No preference.

    11) What OS do you prefer? Windows (Windows 7 / 8), Mac OS, Linux, etc.
    Mac OS X (latest).

    Screen Specifics

    12) From the choices below, what screen resolution(s) would you prefer?
    1920x1080, or higher.

    13) Do you want a Glossy/reflective screen or a Matte/non-glossy screen?
    No preference. We need to be able to calibrate the display though. He has a device for this and a densitometer for his Fiery printer.

    Build Quality and Design

    14) Are the notebook's looks and stylishness important to you?
    No. It needs to be Apple, though.

    15) When are you buying this laptop?
    Soon. Maybe next week, maybe 8 months from now.

    16) How long do you want this laptop to last?
    3-5 years.

    Notebook Components

    17) How much hard drive space do you need? Do you want a SSD drive?
    There is never enough. We are talking professional content creation here. At least one large HDD. At least one large SSD. Most jobs are saved to a file server, then archived to optical media.

    18) Do you need an optical drive? If yes, a DVD Burner, Blu-ray Reader or Blu-Ray Burner?
    Yes. External DVD-RW writer can or will be used. He has software to catalog his old jobs/campaigns/websites.

    ==========
    END COPY

    • Adobe Creative Suite (Photoshop, Illustrator, Dreamweaver, Indesign)
    • Plugins for Photoshop and Dreamweaver
    • QuarkXpress
    • Microsoft Office 2011
    • FileMaker Pro

    He is our all-around media and creative professional. He has an assistant who uses the same software, but on a PC. But for this individual we won't be able to pry the Mac from his cold/dead hands. He also said "no iMac, no mini." We (I) don't have a problem with this.

    Pricing some of the options for a replacement Mac, his direct supervisor ("Mr. Big"), had a heart attack (he always does), and thinks "we should do better on the price." (Mr. Big believes that a Mac should cost "about" $1500 and last 6 years, since that's his experience with his children.) However, as an organization, my take is, this professional needs an appropriate tool to perform his job. He "torques like a diesel" (hence the assistant to help offload tasks) so I don't want to go cheap on the computer. But I don't want to buy 12-core processors, dual GPU, unless that is actually what he needs or unless he can actually use it.

    There's essentially no budget / unlimited budget, but to spend more than $1500, we need to do an end-around "Mr. Big." But if we're going to do that and potentially we are going to spend a lot of money, we should spend wisely.

    If it were me, I would buy the fastest 4-6-core PC, with 16-32GB of RAM, a GPU that supports Adobe CS acceleration, and be done with it. Do more cores help with Photoshop? Or does clock-speed help more? Whatever computer we specify, it needs to be able to "run" Photoshop "flat out." That's the main requirement.

    Mac Pro? Or Macbook Pro? Mobility is not needed. I am thinking the laptop might be just as fast as the workstation. Is that the case?

    The main reason for this inquiry is we are having a hard time upgrading him beyond Mac OS X 10.6.8. Everytime he tries this, "the machine becomes really slow." So tries to work like that for a day, then he ends up throwing in the towel, and restoring his time machine backup. He says he does not have time to do a full system rebuild (wipe/reformat). We have been struggling with this since roughly 2011.

    I ask the Hive mind for guidance.

    Thanks!



    Current Mac:
    • MB535LL/A : Mac Pro 8-core 2.26 GHz Xeon E5520, 10 GB RAM, 640GB + 1TB, GT120, Apple Care
    • 24 inch Apple LED Cinema Display (it pivots left/right, he likes this)

    Total: 4,550. (sept 2009)
     
    Last edited: Jul 30, 2015
  2. KCETech1

    KCETech1 Notebook Prophet

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    LOL, Welcome to MY world. ok first up he is correct, push past 6.7 or 6.8 and any older Mac ( pre 2012) tends to have issues and Mac Pro's most of all. the oldest one I have that went to 10.10 was ..... my trashcan from this year!!. Every one I have from 2007 on won't do it properly.tends to be a pain in the Arse for Adobe CS. And......... to add insult to injury CS past 5.5 works better on a top end windows box ... I shifted to PC workstations a few years back for my primary use.

    1: a Mac Pro isn't going to be much help, none of your listed software supports the extra functions of the Xeon and the bastardized FirePro-M GPU's are a bit of help but not as much.

    2: a full spec rMBP will work however its built on LCD gives annoying color shift depending on the temperature of the unit or ambient temps, you NEED a good external for it if you are doing good CMYK work. plus storage options to be honest suck for our kind of work ( I run 3T of SSD in one of my units )

    3:

    I will be nice and polite here ... aint going to bloody happen, at least with what I have seen the last 5 years. the Mac Pro either needs to have top end GPU's that don't throttle and support the CUDA ( Nvidia ) branch for GPU assist, or they need to design a whole new laptop based around a workstation similar to our Precisions and My Elitebook W's and Zbooks.

    Cores help as well as clock but a good GPU that supports OpenCL at extreme speeds and consistent clocks and is not FP64 neutered really are what to look at other than fast I/O ( SSD's) - the FASTEST Photoshop / CS and video editing rig I have ever worked on is a 64 core Opteron based unit with 256GB RAM, multiple Quadro cards and quite the SSD RAID. its about 700% faster than my 2015 Mac Pro 12 core.

    honestly the iMac or the Mac Pro with a SUPPORTED monitor and not the existing 24" with adaptor is about his only options. the mini is to be honest pretty useless in pro apps as is the rMBP without the dedicated GPU.

    and to add insult to injury, why on earth is he not looking at units that can support 10 bit full aRGB screens? I have scooped so many clients from my competitors from having laptops as well as desktops that can give EXACT calibrated output and nonr of this sRGB crud for sending to CMYK presses.
     
    Last edited: Jul 30, 2015
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  3. Aroc

    Aroc Notebook Consultant

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    Mr. KCETech1,

    Thank you for your professional insights into this industry. It is appreciated.

    1. I have noticed lots of anecdotal information from others that suggests upgrading older Mac Pros and old iMacs to be hit or miss. Yet I read stories of older Macbook Pro notebooks upgrading just fine (from 10.6.8 to 10.8.x or 10.9.x or 10.10.x). Even late-2007 ones. Astonishing! To add one more datapoint, I have had less trouble upgrading my self-built Hackintosh from 10.6.8 to 10.8 to 10.9 than did with my iMac (2010 model). Only my Macbook Air has been as troublefree as my Hackintosh (up to 10.10 now).

    2. I was expecting him to need an external monitor for his graphics work. So that is not surprising. Thanks for confirming.

    3. I will try to dangle the PC solution in front of him again.

    4. What type of screens are 10-bit full aRGB ones? My fellow is not the most tech savy, so that is why he needs my guidance plus the Hive mind. I figured we were missing at least one thing, hence my post here. See I knew I should post here. Damn. 10-bit full aRGB. How could we miss that? Thank you.
     
  4. Kent T

    Kent T Notebook Virtuoso

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    Agree with KCETech1,

    Macs have been left behind for quite some time in the creative professional world it is not even laughable. Other problem is some of the software he needs to run may well not be backwards compatible with Yosemite too well. Those key software items are QuarkXpress and Adobe Indesign. However, KCETech1 can confirm or deny that. PC Workstations have literally taken over the creative field save for hanging on in pro audio. And even PC Workstations are gaining inroads there. This perspective comes from my years in broadcast audio and video and ancillary workflows.
     
  5. KCETech1

    KCETech1 Notebook Prophet

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    Did I change gender recently? ;) Just jerking your chain... I'm one of the few women on here, and an old one at that.

    50% more work done in 2/3 the time is all I can say about my workflow.

    upgrades ... you are correct and it seems the lighter and less complex the drivers are the longer you might be able to keep updating, although my old Air still will not play nice past 10.8.5. and my MP from 2011 with dual Quadro 680's will not go past 10.8.2. ( Quadro drivers being the issue )

    Since about 2007 we basically say you can run the most current OS-X if your unit is under 4 years old. over that its hit and miss unless its one of their biggest selling models.

    ok as for your bit about 10 bit full aRGB sscreens. since 2010 there has been a few of them and the original is the HP Elitebook 8740W with the Dreamcolor 2 IPS screen and I still have mine ( hackintoshed for running FCPS-7 )

    the Current list I believe is only the HP Zbook G2 17" with the Dreamcolor screen upgrade ( extra $700 for the screen )
    previous versions were the HP Zbook 17 G1, Zbook 15" G1 Hp Elitebook 8570W, 8560W, 8770w, 8760w, 8740w. Dell Precision M6700 and Covet editions with Premiercolor Screen upgrades and the M4700 with Premiercolor. It is a possibility we may see the 17" 10 bit screen back in the Precisions but I can not confirm this.

    however I will say having a panel that makes my ACD's look fuzzy and off color on a laptop is quite a shock when I have to use someone elses machine. ( yes the screens look just like a good Eizo or HP Z series only a bit smaller )

    the Original 8740W of which our lead moderator Charles Jeffries and myself STILL run as primary units are what got me to flip over seriously and give up the thin and light and wimpy fad.

    just for a laugh, here is the original bad boys review from 2010 http://forum.notebookreview.com/threads/hp-8740w-review-full-metal-jacket.503121/

    now if you want good 10 bit externals, look at Eizo, HP Z series and the Dell Ultrasharps such as the UP2414Q, if you like blowing cash on a brand Name Mitsubishi makes a beautiful one as well. but DO keep in mind any laptop or desktop that has intel IGP outputting to the display ( even through graphics switching such as Optimus, Enduro or the rMBP switching can NOT do 10 bit color - ( the rMBP will try a bad dithering on 8 bit with select monitors ).

    old but applicable http://forum.luminous-landscape.com/index.php?topic=68587.0


    NOW.. wayoff topic but which printers do you have hooked to the Fiery raster image processor ( rip )?, at one place im an and out of a lot there are a pair of wide carriage epsons and a 60" wide HP print to canvas rig. I if you do a lot of the work on those printers ... make the windows units bypass the rasterizer ( fiery ) and print direct to IP address if you have the color tables or do manual calibrations. your prints in windows will come out just as accurate and 20X faster depending on your setup .... only Macs need that very expensive middleman in most cases I found out as well. on the flip side ... great if you are using them to direct burn imaging plates or sending straight to film for CMYK plates ( digital or conventional offset presses AGFA is on my speed dial )
     
    Last edited: Jul 31, 2015
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