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Thread: Squeezing performance out of my G5

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Oct 2007
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    45

    Default Squeezing performance out of my G5

    I'm an advanced amateur/hobbyist photographer using PS CS3 & Lightroom (often open at the same time) with a G5 dual-core 2.0Ghz (last revision) and 4.5 GB RAM. I have OS X system & apps on a 74 GB Raptor boot drive and user directory and images on a 750 GB SE2 internal drive. I backup to an external FW 400 GB drive. PS scratch is currently set to the 750 GB SE 2 drive, which is about 30% full.

    I'm debating about whether to upgrade to a Mac Pro when the new Penryn models are rumored to come out in January, or whether to spend less and simply upgrade my existing system.

    My question is, what could I do (if anything) to significantly improve the performance of PS CS3 & Lightroom on my system? I've considered using the 750 GB SE 2 internal drive as a scratch disk, and then buying an external enclosure that would contain a RAID 0 volume (750 GB SE2 x 2) for image files and 2 750 GB SE 2 single drives for backup. I would also boost the RAM to 8-10 GB.

    Of course all of this would cost me something like $1500. If I sold my G5, and ended up buying a Mac Pro & configuring it accordingly, I'd end up spending about $2500-2750 ($3500 minus $1000 for the G5).

    Do you think I'd see much improvement at all in my current system with the changes I'm considering above? If not, what would be the most performance and cost-effective way to upgrade my current system? Or should I just spend the extra $1000 and get a Mac Pro?

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Aug 2002
    Posts
    1,010

    Default

    I'd lean towards getting a new or used MP...better overall performance and you can upgrade the hardware at leisure, and do a 4-drive internal setup.

    currently, you could point PS scratch at startup and that might be a bit faster since your images are on the users drive...

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Oct 2007
    Posts
    45

    Default

    Thanks Boots!

    Yeah, I've been leaning towards the new MP too.

    Next question is one that's hard for me to answer since my technical knowledge is limited, but do you think there will be a significant performance difference between the Penryn 8-core MPs and the 4-core current model (I can't afford an 8-core 3.0)?

    I've seen you say on the forum that Photoshop can't necessarily take advantage of the 8-cores. If I buy a refurbed current model I've got more $$ to play around with for RAM, drives, etc. than if I buy a new Penryn in January.

    Thanks again.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Aug 2002
    Posts
    1,010

    Default

    FRom what I've seen, 4-core machine is optimum for PS, 8-core overkill with no real advantage at present.

    Maybe as the OS gets better over time, 8-core will yield more but really PS core-usage at present from what I've observed appears to range from single-core on some stuff, dual core on a bunch of stuff, and 4-core on some stuff but not a lot. But the 4-core helps the os operations (file open and saves, vm etc) a lot and definitely is an advantage over 2-core. The 8-core really shows its advantage with the 3D and video apps...In general at this point, it's the software that lags behind the hardware in terms of optimization and full use of hardware resources.

    In a PS machine, lots of RAM is key as well as fast hard drives; 8GB+ for a pro setup, and 10K or the fastest SATA II drives, and at least 2 drives. That stuff really makes a difference.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Oct 2007
    Posts
    45

    Default

    Hmmm, sounds like I might be better off getting a really good deal on a refurbed or used current Mac Pro, and loading it up with RAM & fast hard drives.

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