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Tuesday, August 15, 2006

Apple Completes the Transition

Just out: the big-dog Mac Pro tower. Apple says:

"With the introduction of the new Mac Pro, we’ve completed the transition began on January 10. Now, just 210 days later, we’ve transitioned the entire Macintosh line. With Mac Pro shipping, every desktop Mac—including iMac, Mac mini, and Mac Pro—and every portable—including MacBook and MacBook Pro—runs on Intel processors."

"Of course, all of the Apple software you enjoy has made the transition, as well...." [Emphasis ours.]

That last line tells (or doesn't tell) the real story for photographers. Any photographer needing a big computer like this will definitely be a Photoshop poweruser. Most estimates put us about a year out from Photoshop CS3, the first UB version (UB means universal binary, Apple's term for programs that run native on Intel Macs) of Photoshop. In the meantime, a Quad G5 is still ever-so-slightly faster running the non-UB Photoshop Cs2. Naturally, if you're looking for a fast new Mac, there's no reason not to get a Mac Pro, but there's also no reason to upgrade immediately if you're a photographer and you already have a Quad G5. After that, the next stop on the future train is definitely a 3GHz Mac Pro playing Photoshop CS3; but that's not all here yet.

More fun to come. Wait for it.



Blogger Ken Tanaka said...

I have one of these "big dogs" on the way, due from Apple in early September, to replace my 4+ year old G4 Quicksilver (dual 1GHz). Whether or not CS3 is just a few months or a year down the road is immaterial to me. Even with "Rosetta" translation CS2 will certainly be faster on the "big dog" than on my Quicksilver. And, hey, that enormous new 30" Cinema display (currently waiting patiently in its box for its mate) will certainly give me a better view, too.

Of course none of this gear can make me a better photographer. (That's not something included in the warranty.)

11:21 PM  
Blogger Mike Johnston said...

"Of course none of this gear can make me a better photographer."

But of course it WILL! Better gear energizes you, inspires,'ll be doing better work in no time, and more of it, too.

--Mike The Enabler

11:26 PM  
Blogger Rudi said...

Well, the 3GHz Mac Pro is only 2% slower in Photoshop than the 2.5GHz G5 quad, so if it was MY money, and I was in the market for a computer, I would not hesitate to get one today! In fact, the thought has crossed my mind, but I already have the G5 dual 1.8GHz, and it still runs well, so I cannot really justify it (yet). Maybe I'll get one when Leopard comes out, and save money on buying an upgrade! ;-)

The benchmarks quoted are from this article on BareFeats:

1:23 AM  
Blogger Hiding Pup said...

Apple make everything better don't you know? they taught us that in training. "Amaze your friends, confound your enemies, welcome to the world of Apple Mac..."

4:03 AM  
Blogger Steven said...

"Better gear energizes you, inspires,'ll be doing better work in no time, and more of it, too."

Very cool, Mike. You are one cool old cat.

7:38 AM  
Blogger Will said...

Am I right that old software that wouldn't run under OSX and needed MacOS 9 will not work on these Intel boxen? Or is there a MacOS emulator on them? I'm going to have to replace my Imac with something other than another $50 Imac sometime I guess.



8:23 AM  
Blogger Max said...

I think better computer gear is in a class by itself. Older cameras were simpler, they demanded more knowledge and practice, but in time you could manage to do most of what you wanted with ease. New gear has new tricks and is objectively better all around, but some of the old school tricks are missing.
On computers, better is better. There's no art in typing, I think. Computers have been digital from the beginning, no mastering of complex routines will bring a ten year old computer back to life.
In fact, the faster and more seamlessly a computer works with graphics, the closer it gets to an analog device to my perception. When a machine takes its time for complicated calculations you have to learn about it's ram, about it's processing speed, etc.
When everything happens instantly as you move the little arrow on the screen, it's much closer to pressing a brush on canvas. I think that's what computer development should be pointed at, making all the processes in perception the most intuitive, analogue and far from digital as possible (May be we should make a difference between Apple and PCs here?). At least, that would be what an artist would want.
When I say analogue instead of digital, I mean, for example, sliders or curves instead of numbers. Sounds obvious in that specific case, but it should be the philosophy of the whole thing. If you forget you're using your computer, even better.
So, to me, better computer gear is always better.

8:45 AM  
Blogger jim witkowski said...

I don't know what the UB stands for in your reference to CS3.

9:11 AM  
Blogger Andy Frazer said...

What is "UB" PhotoShop?

9:54 AM  
Blogger Mike Johnston said...

Sorry. UB stands for universal binary, meaning software that is designed to run natively on Intel Macs.


11:31 AM  
Blogger Ken Tanaka said...

Will: Yes, OS9 is not supported on the new Intel platform. Time to update.

12:53 PM  
Blogger Roger said...

Mike wrote:
Sorry. UB stands for universal binary, meaning software that is designed to run natively on Intel Macs.

Universal Binary means the application runs natively on Intel and PowerPC Macs. Legacy software (Photoshop) runs on an Intel Mac via the Rosetta PowerPC emulator. Slower, but it'll do until a UB version comes along.

I just got a 17" MacBook Pro at work. It's one sweet if rather large "laptop" computer. Love all that display real estate after my 12" PowerBook.

My personal machine remains a dual 2Ghz G5 PowerMac. It'll get replaced when there is an Intel version of Photoshop.


5:51 PM  
Blogger elliot said...

The tests I've read show that the new Mac Pro is very slow in Photoshop - about half the speed of the bottom of the line G5 (2ghz dualcore).

I use a 2.3 ghz dualcore, and would be uncomfortable working on anything slower (big Imacon scans, lots of layers).

Tests at:

In particular the 'Retouch Artists' test is a good one, reflecting a typical photographer's workflow

122 seconds on my 2.3 ghz G5
215 seconds on a Mac Pro

6:22 PM  

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