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Archive 2012 · System Advice Wanted: MacBookPro/Lightroom/NAS
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p.1 #1 · p.1 #1 · System Advice Wanted: MacBookPro/Lightroom/NAS

Hi All,

I am looking for advice on a system. I know this is a long post but for those of you willing to read it and comment I would be most appreciative.

I currently have a Mac Pro 2.66 Quad Core, 16 Gb RAM (2009) with calibrated IPS monitor in our home office. OS and programs on one drive, data on another. I run lightroom, photoshop, imovie etc. I am not a pro, or super heavy user, but I do enjoy photography, using RAW files and editing them. I have been waiting for the 13" rMBP for awhile so I could do misc email, web, and some photo stuff in the family living area on a small light computer.

The more I read about built in memory, built in hard drives, and the inability of lightroom to be easily used across different computers I started second guessing this plan.

Given the performance of the 15" MBP now, relative to my 2009 Mac Pro, I started wondering if I should ditch the Mac Pro and go exclusively with a MBP. It certainly would be nice to just have everything on one computer and I could then move between family areas, being on the road, or hooked up to my external monitor/keyboard in the office when I wanted to. I then started looking for options to access all my photos and movies without having them on the actual laptop because of space limitations and started to learn about NAS.

I have put some options I am considering below and would love any feedback you can provide, whether it is on one of these three or something else all together.

1) Keep Mac Pro for photography stuff/main computer and use a rMBP/MBP for other

2) Get a 15" MBP and use it exclusively. Access image files and data from a NAS.

3) Get a 15" MBP and use it exclusively. Access image files and data from a large 2.5" USB 3 external drive that I could easily grab for the road or to go to family living space. (when space eventually fills up I would have to move some off this drive)

Thanks. Any help is much appreciated.

Nov 24, 2012 at 07:48 AM
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p.1 #2 · p.1 #2 · System Advice Wanted: MacBookPro/Lightroom/NAS

NAS is probably a bit too slow. Something connected to thunderbolt might be a lot faster but then it is only for one computer. Your MP does not have tb but any new MBP will have it.

MP allows for lots of drives internally which is pretty fast. MBP does not. It offers internal PCIe slots too.

Lr can handle multiple drives in a single catalog - so long as the drives do not change and they are not being edited by anyone else while you are away from them. i.e. the problems are with syncing and/or having multiple users rather than just having more than one drive.

I don't know what to recommend. An extra computer sounds great at first but keeping it in sync with the main computer with the good monitor is troublesome and a little risky. I eventually opted for a 17" MBP with expresscard34 and tb capability, and I link it up to a nice monitor when I get a chance (not as often as I'd like). But they no longer make a 17".

The new retina 15" ought to be good but I prefer the older case with DVD (replaceable with a HDD or SSD) and more ports for expansion. The new one has too few ports, especially if you need two USB for a single drive that wants a lot of power or if you want to use existing FW800 or eSATA drive cases. I'm holding out for the next model to see if Apple wake up to themselves but it's more to save money than in the belief that Apple care about what serious users want. If they had their way we'd all be using iPads and saving terabytes of data in their cloud storage.

Now that Windows drains laptop batteries much less than previous versions did we might see some decent mac-like windows laptops soon, which opens up another option for you to consider.

There might even be a way to use a laptop of some sort as a wi-fi terminal for your MP so that the work is still done by the MP but you drive it from next door. The iPad allows this with a program called SplashTop but when I last tried it I found the screen updates too slow and it annoyed me. A calmer person might be satisfied. A faster remote unit might help too. I found that a mismatch in screen resolutions can be messy too.

- Alan

Nov 24, 2012 at 04:06 PM
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p.1 #3 · p.1 #3 · System Advice Wanted: MacBookPro/Lightroom/NAS

Thanks for your feedback Alan. I appreciate it. I am kind of leaning toward getting a Mac Book Pro and just putting everything on a small portable drive and keeping it relatively simple. I like the idea of NAS, but it is more complicated and I am a little worried about speed.

Nov 25, 2012 at 02:11 AM

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p.1 #4 · p.1 #4 · System Advice Wanted: MacBookPro/Lightroom/NAS

I have the same Mac Pro specs and have been frustrated with the speed of my machine (I am not a pro but do a fair amount of RAW editing). After reading Diglloyd's Mac Performance Guide and reading comments on the new Mac Mini, I decided to go with a Mac Mini 2.6 i7 quad-core with 16GB RAM, an added OWC 256GB SSD as my boot drive and drive for Lightroom catalog, etc, and get an external OWC MINI STACK USB 3.0 drive to store my photos, music, etc. on. Perhaps not an ideal solution for you but the Mac Mini with SSD should be really fast compared to my Mac Pro.

Nov 28, 2012 at 06:37 PM
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p.1 #5 · p.1 #5 · System Advice Wanted: MacBookPro/Lightroom/NAS

I have the same system and Ram as you. However, cannot get on with lightroom at all and I use Aperture. To speed up the Mac Pro which is really a solid machine, I am looking at upgrading to a SSD. Currently I have the standard 640 GB drive but am only using 130 GB currently so a 240GB SSD should do the trick. I looked at the Excelsior PCI-E cards and boy, are they fast but at a price. Not sure I am quite ready for that yet.

I do do some work in the field so I decided to upgrade my 6 yo Macbook Pro. I decided that as I had a main system and wanted a lighter and smaller laptop decided to go with the 13" Retina. The only thing I upgraded was the SSD to 256GB and I am glad I did that. This is a great machine and superfast. At least with Aperture, I can export a session I am working on and contine to work in the field.

Back to the Mac Pro. I have a 4 bay DROBO which I have been using for years now just upgrading the drives. I do have a 5 bay network DROBO but use that as a backup. It connects firewire 800 and it works fine for me. Have had no problems with it at all In the main, I use the laptop for mail and the general go to machine. I am also going to start to think that to get more years out of the Mac Pro, to pick up a Mini and use that specifically for browsing the Web and iTunes. That way keep the Mac Pro solely for images. Everything costs so we will have to see. Bills come first.

Nov 28, 2012 at 08:33 PM
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p.1 #6 · p.1 #6 · System Advice Wanted: MacBookPro/Lightroom/NAS

Keep the mac pro.

Get an SSD, 120gb or larger. Put your LR library/catalog/metadata/caches/previews on the SSD, Put your RAW files on separate drives.

Make sure your GPU isn't holding you back (I Don't think this is an issue with LR).

Dec 04, 2012 at 07:12 AM

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