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03-19-2016, 11:29 PM   #1
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Computer specs for K-1 Post Processing

I am fortunate to have some nice Pentax glass and am considering the K-1. My only reservation is whether my current computer configuration would be able to digest the files created by a 36 megapixel camera. I currently have a 2012 Mac Mini with the following specs:

Intel i7 @ 2.3 GHz (turbo boost to 3.3 GHz)

16 GB DDR3 memory

240 GB SSD

1 TB SATA Disk (5400 RPM)

I know amongst our members there are many who are very knowledgable in this area. Any feedback/suggestions would be greatly appreciated.

---------- Post added 03-19-16 at 11:34 PM ----------

I forgot to include the graphics info.

Intel HD Graphics 4000:

Chipset Model: Intel HD Graphics 4000
Type: GPU
Bus: Built-In
VRAM (Dynamic, Max): 1024 MB


Last edited by loveisageless; 03-19-2016 at 11:38 PM.
03-20-2016, 12:03 AM   #2
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More hard drive space. I just recently bought a NAS to back up all my photos.
03-20-2016, 12:28 AM - 2 Likes   #3
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The most important questions: Which type of software will you use? Do you use a RAW workflow? Do you make extensive use of local adjustments before converting the RAW?

For my own I use exactly the same hardware (Mac OS X 10.9.x) with PhotoShop CS6 and Lightroom 6.x for developing K-3 DNGs and it feels okay. The Mac mini i7 "late 2012" is a very felicitous made computer, works well up to the 27" display class (2.540 x 1.440 pixels).

I tested DxO 8.x and Capture1 9.x for a few hours, but I'm not "compatible" to the DxO working scheme and it seems to work not really fast. Capture1 felt good to me and delivered good to superb picture results, but wasn't faster than Lightroom at all. The performance of the Pentax software is a shame.

Surely there will be some deceleration with the taller RAW-files of the K-1, but nothing I would worry about. Working on Nikon D800 NEFs showed me that the hardware is quite okay. The more local adjustments are done in Adobe Camera RAW or Lightroom the more you will feel the lack of processing power; PhotoShop works quite fine even with large files. In Lightroom you can adjust the amount of cache to increase speed too.

Lightroom stores the catalogue only at local mass storage and uses a disk cache heavily. This is done to ensure the integrity of the database and best responsiveness. Be sure to use the SSD for both. So you may install a larger SSD like the Samsung 850 Evo (or Pro, but for workstations not really necessary) with 1 or 2 TB space which I recommend. Most SSDs exceeding 256 GB are faster at writing because more chips are used. The 850 PRO is faster at writing very large amounts of data and last longer too -- both facts are more or the less not critical at most personal computer settings. Most SSDs last longer with more unused space on them. Use a tool like "Trim Enabler" to reduce wear on non Apple SSDs.

RAW data can be stored everywhere, internal or external disk or over the LAN. Usage of a NAS system will slightly slow down working speed, depending to NAS disk and CPU performance, RAID level and LAN limitations.

At my bureau (photography, graphic and prepress services) we use two Mac mini i5 each with a software RAID 1 of built-in SSDs with Samsung 840 EVO 1 TB as servers for 10 workstations like Mac mini i7. This setting works completely problem-free for over one year, with total abscence of any noticeable latency.

But the wear of the 840 EVO desktop SSDs is critical, after one year of usage the wear level is 85% at one server, 60% at the other, so I replace them to the far more resilient Samsung 850 PRO with 2 TB at the moment. I recommend using the "old" AFP network protocol for trouble free networking, avoiding SMB with this OS generation.

Last edited by Austro-Diesel; 03-20-2016 at 03:34 AM.
03-20-2016, 05:39 AM   #4
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QuoteOriginally posted by loveisageless Quote
Intel i7 @ 2.3 GHz (turbo boost to 3.3 GHz) 16 GB DDR3 memory
I think this should be okay. But i think its more important to check the Software manufacturer's recommended specifications (for Lightroom or Aperture or whatever you are using). There can be big differences. Something like RawTherapee is fairly lightweight, but if you want to use Photoshop and do extensive editing, that is another issue.

QuoteOriginally posted by loveisageless Quote
240 GB SSD 1 TB SATA Disk (5400 RPM)
This might be a problem, though. Files from the 16MP cameras were relatively manageable, but the 36MP files will be much bigger. They will require more space. But this is a problem for laptops in general, as you can't add another disk in there. So maybe you want to think about external drives (At least 2TB) with some sort of fast connection (USB3, or whatever the Mac equivalent is). Its not very handy for workflow, a you have to move the catalog and have the software on the local disk while the actual image data is on another disk, but I don't know of a good alternative.

03-20-2016, 06:24 AM   #5
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I shoot RAW. The only post processing software I use right now is Aperture. I have been thinking about installing Photoshop Elements, but will need to check the required hardware/software specs. I have a 2 TB Seagate external hard drive currently, but could upgrade it to a higher capacity one if needed. I am mostly concerned about whether my CPU is powerful enough and whether the amount of RAM I have will be sufficient. I am currently using a 27" Thunderbolt Display. My other concern is whether the graphics hardware is up to the task.

Last edited by loveisageless; 03-20-2016 at 06:30 AM. Reason: Adding further information.
03-20-2016, 06:27 AM   #6
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Don't worry, be happy.
03-20-2016, 06:39 AM   #7
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I don't know whether the SSD in the late 2012 Mac Mini is upgrade able and if so, whether I could install it myself or would have to have it professionally installed. I upgraded the hard drive on an early 2011 MacBook Pro in the past, so would be willing to give it a shot if it is capable and user friendly to do so.
03-20-2016, 07:12 AM   #8
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QuoteOriginally posted by loveisageless Quote
I shoot RAW. The only post processing software I use right now is Aperture. I have been thinking about installing Photoshop Elements, but will need to check the required hardware/software specs. I have a 2 TB Seagate external hard drive currently, but could upgrade it to a higher capacity one if needed. I am mostly concerned about whether my CPU is powerful enough and whether the amount of RAM I have will be sufficient. I am currently using a 27" Thunderbolt Display. My other concern is whether the graphics hardware is up to the task.
Man you should leave aperture, as it is not updated anymore it looses its speed every OS X update. I jumped the ship to capture one, color rendition for my eyes is almost identical to aperture.

03-20-2016, 07:23 AM   #9
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In terms of your system memory and processor speed you will be fine. Intel i7 Quad Core CPUs are beasts, plus with the Hyper Threading technology give you an effective speed and performance of an 8 core CPU.

You're graphics card is built into the CPU, or integrated, which means it's not the ideal setup for gaming or graphic intense work. However, your integrated graphics make use of your system memory, which you have 16GB of. I'd say that's plenty and everything should run smoothly.

Lastly the disk space, this will of course depend on how many photos you take. I would suggest making use of the SSD for better performance, because they generally offer faster read/write speeds than traditional hard drives like your external one. I'd copy over a folder of photos, work on it, then put it back on the external. Or purchase an external hd with a large buffer (i.e. 64mb or higher) and at least 7200RPM.
03-20-2016, 07:37 AM   #10
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We had the 2011 mac mini server with a quad core 2.0ghz processor, 16 gb ram, and a pair of 240gb ssd's in raid 0 to both double their speed and storage. We used external drives for both file storage and time machine backups. That being said it got way too slow for us even using 24mp files. We put the ssd's in ourselves. IF you can afford it get a mid level imac 27" 5k with a 2tb fusion drive or larger fusion drive. We sprung for the most blown out one and it is night and day faster over the mini using lr6 or aperture. The mid level imac would give over 85% of what our system does at around half the price. But you can do the drive swap yourself on the mini if you go that route. Pm us if you want more info.
03-20-2016, 08:46 AM   #11
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A Mac mini mid 2011 is not really comparable to the late 2012 model, which has a faster memory bus and is quite a bit quicker. Clearly, newest hardware is the best -- and the most expensive.

The built in SSD of a late 2012 Mac mini is a standard 2,5" drive and can be substituted by any other SSD. Changing the drive is a bit fiddly and you need some special tools, not expensive, e.g. from ifixit.com. The ifixit-Youtube-tutorials are very helpful for the first time disassembling the Mac mini.

About 30 minutes for the first time.

Buy an empty external USB-3.0-box for a few bucks for temporarily adapting the old drive externally to the Mac and use Carbon Copy Cloner or similar to transfer the installation with all other data to the new drive. Test each program, some may ask for the license key (e.g. Microsoft Office).

About 20 minutes for transferring the installation.

Don't use most 7.200 rpm Harddrives in the Mac mini, as they get hotter than the slower spinning ones, this can be an issue in the small box.

Ready, have fun.

Last edited by Austro-Diesel; 03-20-2016 at 09:07 AM.
03-20-2016, 09:50 AM   #12
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QuoteOriginally posted by Austro-Diesel Quote
Use a tool like "Trim Enabler" to reduce wear on non Apple SSDs.
Trim support for non-Apple SSDs was added in 10.10.4. Just open Terminal and type
Code:
sudo trimforce enable
It gives a CYA warning and asks if you want to proceed, then asks if it's ok to reboot.
03-20-2016, 10:13 AM   #13
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The 2012 mini quad core is only faster by 15% in ghz processor speed and 1333 vs 1600 in the memory bus, the harddrive or ssd bus is the same, not a lot of difference imo. The big difference is the usb 3 ports on the 2012, but we used thunderbolt for the external drive. With lightroom 6 having no graphics hardware acceleration in the develope module was the real issue. And the 2012 mac will not allow that acceleration either. And our mini with raided ssd's is twice as fast as a single ssd in a mini. That you do notice and can easily be added to your 2012, ifixit rocks for that.
03-20-2016, 11:01 AM   #14
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Thunderbolt is the most expensive way to connect peripherals! One should think twice before investing in this technology.

A single SSD transfers data so fast, that you will hardly feel the difference to a RAID 0 of two of them. The greatest benefit is the negigible latency of the SSDs. The usage of two storage devices as a RAID 0 raise the risk of data loss, one should think about this.

The graphics acceleration, maybe there is a larger difference. But the 5K iMac has a lot more pixels to calculate too, so the load to the GPU and CPU is much higher. Many programs don't use the potential of graphics acceleration efficiently, as for Lightroom 6.x I don't know this in detail.

Surely a Intel i7 with 4 GHz is noticeable faster than an older type Mac mini with 2,3 GHz ... theoretically 75%, in real less. You only have to pay some bucks, only 3.380 Euro in Austria (16 GB RAM, 512 GB SSD).

The thread opener sounds as he is using a rather simple workflow. Not every program works great with the newest OS version, which is the only choice with modern hardware. So I would recommend to try the existing hardware first.

Last edited by Austro-Diesel; 03-20-2016 at 11:48 AM.
03-20-2016, 11:39 AM   #15
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I think that too just offering alternatives. We use a raid 5 for the picture storage, 16 tb in volumes so TB works well for us. The mini has been raid0 for 5 years so it works just fine.
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