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Old 11-19-2012, 01:21 PM   #1
tinkerbell615
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A Little Different Question

Okay guys... you all helped me last year purchase a DSLR camera for my DD and now I am going to ask you a question that might not be asked on this board too often. I have asked a couple of other places, but thought I would try with the experts.

DD is in need of a new laptop and I was wondering if you guys would have some suggestions as to what I could look for when purchasing one for her that would work with the photography she has been doing. We are looking for something that is not extremely expensive that would be useful for her. I have been searching all of the ads and I think my head is going to explode!! Do you all have any suggestions? I just appreciate any help. If you prefer I not ask this here I also understand.

Thanks in advance.
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Old 11-19-2012, 01:56 PM   #2
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I don't have specific recommendations. But I will say simply, that if you can get something with a high definition screen, it really helps with photo editing.
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Old 11-19-2012, 02:38 PM   #3
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I don't think the brand matters so much as the hard drive.

I'm an architecture major and photography enthusiast, so I'm always running high-graphic programs such as AutoCAD, Illustrator, Photoshop, rendering programs, etc. I recently had to upgrade my computer from 4.00 RAM to 8.00 RAM because my programs were shutting down on me, resulting in lost work (which is really annoying when you have a review the next day). I'd recommend a 64-bit operating system.

Choose a brand that's within your price range and invest in the system and hard drive. Also, make sure that you get an external hard drive so she can back up her work. And for Photoshop, a mouse is a must.
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Old 11-19-2012, 02:43 PM   #4
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First of all as a general rule, I do not process my images on a laptop computer because of the screen. Many folks who do, will use a monitor instead of the laptop screen due to the color variability. The first question is whether she is a PC or Mac user. It really is personal preference. I am a PC user. If I was purchasing a new PC laptop, I would be looking for a third generation I5 processor, with 6-8 mb RAM and 750mb-1 TB of hard drive space. Screen size again is personal choice. I like 14"-15.6" for portability, but the DW loves her 17, but it can bit much to haul around when carrying all my camera gear. It really is all about personal preference. As far as brand, I have three Dell's, but I'm not locked into a specific one. It has just worked out that way. Just a note, the Pentium and AMD processors tend to be installed on the lessor machines. As far as Windows 7 or 8, I only have information that I have read. I have read reviews where they like 8, but if you don't have a touch screen it may not be worth it because you won't have full functionality. You may be able to find a Windows 7 machine that offers a $15 upgrade to 8 if you need it for a reasonable price. One other thing you may want to look at is calibrating your monitor. I use the Spyder system and it is simple to use and works well.
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Old 11-19-2012, 02:48 PM   #5
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Also, make sure that you get an external hard drive so she can back up her work.
I would totally agree with this statement. I actually own two because I don't use my computer for photo storage. Also have two small portable hard drives for when I am traveling.
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Old 11-19-2012, 02:48 PM   #6
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Thanks everyone. This is all very helpful information. I really appreciate it!

She is definitely a pc girl. We haven't had very much luck with HP, but with all of the specs you guys are given, they seem to have the best deals right now, so we may end up back there.

Thanks again!!
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Old 11-19-2012, 02:58 PM   #7
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Id also go with a core i5 processor, a lot of RAM and a big drive.
They may be ubiquitous now, but I would also want a built in memory card reader and an HDMI port (to connect to an HDTV)

If you plan on doing a lot of work with a specific high end program, dedicated graphics might matter.
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Old 11-19-2012, 04:48 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tinkerbell615 View Post
Okay guys... you all helped me last year purchase a DSLR camera for my DD and now I am going to ask you a question that might not be asked on this board too often. I have asked a couple of other places, but thought I would try with the experts.

DD is in need of a new laptop and I was wondering if you guys would have some suggestions as to what I could look for when purchasing one for her that would work with the photography she has been doing. We are looking for something that is not extremely expensive that would be useful for her. I have been searching all of the ads and I think my head is going to explode!! Do you all have any suggestions? I just appreciate any help. If you prefer I not ask this here I also understand.

Thanks in advance.
What software does she need it to run? If she's using Photoshop you'll want a decent amount of memory (6-8 GB), a solid video card (current series AMD or Nvidia), and good processor (intel i5, i7 or AMD Quad Core or better). Screen resolution and quality is also important if she's going to be editing images, and that tends to mean more expense with a laptop.

I use an HP DV7 (a build from last year). It's big and heavy, and the fans sometimes sound like a 747 taking off but it runs Photoshop CS6 better than the brand new pimped out 27 inch iMac I'm typing on right now.

The basic stats on mine..
Intel i5 processor
8GB RAM
AMD 5700 series GPU
700 GB HDD

I went with HP because what I wanted cost a little less for me with their academic discount. I find it's much easier to order directly from them and you often get a better price.

One word of caution about working on a laptop for photography. It's not the easiest way to edit photos for print. The nature of laptop screens makes it very difficult to match color consistently because contrast and brightness change with the viewing angle of the screen. That's why I also have a desktop. But how accurate you need that also depends on what you do with the images.

I also agree with the external hard drive as an additional backup (it should not be the only backup though). And a Wacom tablet is a really nice addition for anyone who edits a lot of images. Once you use one you'll wonder how you ever worked with a mouse.
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Old 11-19-2012, 04:57 PM   #9
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One word of caution about working on a laptop for photography. It's not the easiest way to edit photos for print. The nature of laptop screens makes it very difficult to match color consistently because contrast and brightness change with the viewing angle of the screen. That's why I also have a desktop.
I agree with this statement. I find my picture editing much improved since I switched to a desktop with a bright HD screen.
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Old 11-19-2012, 04:58 PM   #10
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Check into a Dell Inspiron. I bought both my DD's one last spring(15R), both in the $500 range(at that time, anyway). They have i5 processors, HD screens, an HDMI port, 500GB hard drives, 6GB ram, an SD card slot. Oh and of course what every teenage girls want, switchable covers
I would imagine you could upgrade to a larger hard drive and more ram if needed.
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Old 11-19-2012, 05:35 PM   #11
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Intel i5 processor
8GB RAM
AMD 5700 series GPU
700 GB HDD
I like these suggestions. A good balance of price and performance. I currently have an AMD 6670 (close to the 5700 serie) and 1TB HDD, so my set up is very similar (although in a tower not laptop). I'd be suprised if you could find anything prebuilt that has more than 8GB RAM. If you do, realize that more than 8GB is overkill for most things including photo editing.
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Old 11-19-2012, 09:13 PM   #12
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I would like to throw something different out there as far choosing what hard drive to get with the computer. I would suggest getting an SSD (Solid State Drive) as opposed to traditional hard drive.
I have an SSD on my Mac Air with an i5 processor and just 4gb of ram and its pretty "fast". Its only a 128GB SSD so i use 1TB for storage.
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Old 11-19-2012, 09:29 PM   #13
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I would like to throw something different out there as far choosing what hard drive to get with the computer. I would suggest getting an SSD (Solid State Drive) as opposed to traditional hard drive.
I have an SSD on my Mac Air with an i5 processor and just 4gb of ram and its pretty "fast". Its only a 128GB SSD so i use 1TB for storage.
Second that, except the part about a Mac. A SSD for the boot drive and another SSD for the Photoshop scratch drive can give a great boost in performance. Neither needs to be large, 64 GB is plenty if we keep other software and files on the hard drives and not on the SSD.

If it fits the budget a good monitor (IPS type or similar) and a calibrator can really help make our prints match what is on our monitors.
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Old 11-19-2012, 09:37 PM   #14
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Second that, except the part about a Mac. A SSD for the boot drive and another SSD for the Photoshop scratch drive can give a great boost in performance. Neither needs to be large, 64 GB is plenty if we keep other software and files on the hard drives and not on the SSD.

If it fits the budget a good monitor (IPS type or similar) and a calibrator can really help make our prints match what is on our monitors.
I plan on replacing my hard drive in my 2008 Imac with an SSD to pump up the performance and make it last a few more years.

One more suggestion, make sure the USB ports are all USB 3. That will help in the transfer of files between computer and hard drive.
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Old 11-20-2012, 12:34 PM   #15
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Second that, except the part about a Mac.
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