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Thread: What kind of computer do you use?

  1. #1
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    What kind of computer do you use?

    I am looking into buying a computer and of course everyone tells me "BUY A MAC!!" but I want to know what really would be the best computer for me to buy and was wondering what kind of computer the photographers on this website are using.

  2. #2
    jiro's Avatar
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    Re: What kind of computer do you use?

    An old Dell desktop Intel Dual Core, 2GB RAM, heavily tweaked on the software side. Hehehe.

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    Re: What kind of computer do you use?

    I use a Toshiba Qosmio X500 Laptop with the i7 chip with two 500 gig drives and just love it. I keep all my picture catalogs for Lightroom on a external 2 terabite hard drive which frees up the laptop and allows it to run at lightning speed.
    Mark.

  4. #4
    rob marshall

    Re: What kind of computer do you use?

    Danielle

    You might do better to ask what type of features you should go for.

    I'd suggest a good quality graphics card. Mine is an NVIDIA GT320 with 1GB of memory. A lot of Photoshop functions using graphical processing, so a good graphics card will give you a smoother, quicker performance.

    I have 500GB of hard-disk drive. A lot of machines now have 1TB (1,000 GB). That sounds a lot, but it's surprising how quickly your drive can fill up with photography - especially if you shoot in RAW. I'd go for 1TB.

    You ought to get a decent back-up drive (at least one) for saving your work.

    A good quality large monitor (I have 24in) which should be calibrated by you.

    Generally, the more you spend the more you get, but to quote myself here "You pay for what you get, but you don't always get what you pay for"

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    Re: What kind of computer do you use?

    Danielle,

    I think that the first question is, have you set your heart on a laptop? For any given price, a desktop(aka "real") computer will perform much, much faster. it's also easier to upgrade. My personal preference is for Windows - again, it's a matter of price; they're cheaper for a given level of performance. A good graphics card is a must(it's what I'm shopping for at the moment) as is a backup drive.

    HTH

    Peter

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    Re: What kind of computer do you use?

    I'm a Mac guy myself. I use the new 13" fully upgraded MacBook Air, handles photoshop CS5 and Lightroom like a champ. Planning on getting the new 27" iMac in the next few months.

    I'm an IT for the government and I work on windows machines all day and have nothing but issues. Never have issues with my Mac's.

    I'm sure a windows laptop/desktop will do you just fine. But... like I said, I'm a Mac guy.
    Last edited by tw0bears; 17th May 2011 at 05:53 PM.

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    Re: What kind of computer do you use?

    I think the first question here, Danielle, is exactly what do you want to do with your computer?

    Everybody will give different answers regarding what suits them best.

    Just one thing to remember, some software will only work on suitable computers so make sure that everything will be compliant before making a final decision.

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    Re: What kind of computer do you use?

    Hi, Well the answer is i'm afraid down to you. Do you want it for every day use as well as for photo editing?
    IMO If the answer to that is yes then buy from the shop shelf if however you want it just for photo editing and storage then I would say get one built for what you want, you choose the best Graph card, the best MB, enough memmory, at least two internal discs and what a lot of people forget is if you need to run a good system you need a good PSU, if you put for example a 400W PSU in a top of the range machine it will work fine (probably) for a while then you have to replace it, so at the start go for 650W PSU or whatever you need to run the machine. You may also find if you shop around you can build or get someone to build you a macine to the same specs as a top of the range Dell for example but at a lot lower cost. And don't rush in, I no it's hard not to get carried away when there is a new toy on the horizon but take your time and don't make mistakes that will cost you later. JMO.
    Russ

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    Re: What kind of computer do you use?

    iMac for me - 21.5" - i5 - 8GB RAM - 512MB Graphics.

    A recent buy and my first Mac. Still love my 17" Dell Inspiron running W7 Ultimate but at four years old it was starting to feel a little slow and as it hasn't moved in the last three years I decided another laptop was a bit pointless. Personally I don't have a dedicated room so the computer is on the dining room table meaning my requirements were a small footprint (an all-in-one not a tower) and a good screen for my photography - the iMac is the best all-in-one and the screen is quite simply to die for.

    I'm not a Mac person and even though I've had Windows computers for as long as I can remember I wouldn't say I was a Windows person either. There are things in W7 that I love and miss as there are things in Snow Leopard that I have become so attached to I struggle to use a computer without them.

    I bought the best I could afford for the environment in which it would be used and the job I needed it for.

    You need to ask the same questions of yourself and buy what fits your needs regardless of the operating system.




    PS. I'm sorry, really I am, but I have to add.....Its a damn cool thing to have sitting in my house.

  10. #10

    Re: What kind of computer do you use?

    24" Imac and 17" MacBook Pro. In this case the laptop is faster than the desktop Imac has had a hard drive fail and there are some minor issues with the back lighting on the screen. The MacBook Pro runs like a dream so far (touch wood). Get Applecare if you go for a Mac they ain't cheap to repair.

    ....Its a damn cool thing to have sitting in my house.
    And that!

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    Re: What kind of computer do you use?

    Danielle,

    I have one desktop station custom made, Windows based, and a laptop Sony Vaio also Windows based (Windows 7 on both).

    In the past years, Mac computers were better in the graphics and DTP applications, but this is not anymore an issue. (The same sort of Canon/Nikon war ... ).

    If you intend to run on it ONLY applications dedicated to photography, Mac might be your choice, otherwise I recomend you Windows platforms for flexibility.

    Leo

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    Re: What kind of computer do you use?

    Thank you so much for all your help!

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    Re: What kind of computer do you use?

    Hi Danielle, I'll answer with photography as the priority for the PC. Within your budget and anticipated processing volume;

    look for a large, sharp monitor (I use an 26" LG Flatron W2600H)

    lots of hard drive space so that you can save and backup all of your original RAW images (I use a 120GB solid state drive for the OS, a 250 GB drive for a swappable backup OS and processing intensive applications, and a 600 GB Data drive which I back up on a rotating basis to three external drives),

    a high-end graphics card (I use an EVGA GeForce GTX 260 but I am also a gamer so the video card is geared toward both),

    and a motherboard, processor and memory geared toward the extent of software post processing you intend to do (I use an EVGA X58 3X motherboard, Intel I7-920 CPU, and 6GB of RAM, again geared toward both photography and gaming).

    Hope this helps!

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    Re: What kind of computer do you use?

    Quote Originally Posted by FrankMi View Post
    a high-end graphics card (I use an EVGA GeForce GTX 260 but I am also a gamer so the video card is geared toward both),
    Just a quick note ...

    Photoshop doesn't require anything special in the way of graphics cards. Once upon a time it was more of an issue, but today, cards come in 3 speed ratings: Fast - Faster - and OMG that's fast! Games benefit from the latter, but Photoshop is just fine with the former.

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    Re: What kind of computer do you use?

    I asked this same question and did a bit of internet research as well. I bought an Asus N550 with a i7 quad Haswell processor with 8 gigs of ram, a Naivida graphic card GT770 with 2 gigs and 1 T of hard drive. I wanted SSD but I can't have everything. I will use it for processing photos. I have elements 11 but am thinking of getting Light room 5. I have 2 questions has anyone used a program called GIMP or NIK? Sorry if these questions are in the wrong thread.

  16. #16
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    Re: What kind of computer do you use?

    Hi. I agree with Colin, Photoshop does not need a Super Duper Graphics Card. Almost any old card will do fine. What it does need is lots of RAM. If you take lots of photos and keep several versions of each, as a lot of us do, you will need lots of storage space, and if those pics are important to you, you need back up storage. As I said the Graphics card is not important, but the Monitor is. As big as you can afford, or have space for, and it needs to be an IPS panel - not a TN panel.
    Roy

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    Re: What kind of computer do you use?

    I usually build up my own but the costs of doing that have rocketed so looking around - ebay - I noticed a number of ex demo HP machines. Instead of 3 years on site mine came with less, not a lot less actually. They are good solid machines but may need ram and disk upgrades. I went for a workstation but all sorts crop up. The workstations come with relatively low levels of ram as HP love to sell extras. These use parity ram too but that didn't prove as expensive as I thought as the machines are widely used. If I have to call them in my extra ram and disks will have to be removed.

    For monitors that come pre calibrated Dell ultrasharp are hard to beat and come with a 3 year no dead pixels etc warrantee. Ideally these should be calibrated properly but they are not bad as they come.

    Another make - I used Dell PC's from new at work several times and am not aware of a single failure apart from one disk. 8 of them being heavily used daily for 3 to 4 years. We used Dell for around 12 years. The decision then went some where else and makes changed and they were upgraded more often.

    John
    -

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    Re: What kind of computer do you use?

    Quote Originally Posted by royphot View Post
    Hi. I agree with Colin, Photoshop does not need a Super Duper Graphics Card. Almost any old card will do fine. What it does need is lots of RAM. If you take lots of photos and keep several versions of each, as a lot of us do, you will need lots of storage space, and if those pics are important to you, you need back up storage. As I said the Graphics card is not important, but the Monitor is. As big as you can afford, or have space for, and it needs to be an IPS panel - not a TN panel.
    Roy
    I'm not entirely in agreement about the graphics card. Certainly almost any graphics card is better than on board graphics because on board graphics shares the available RAM . However, I recently upgraded to CS6 and found that some of the tools had a distinct lag. Looking around the internet, this is not an uncommon problem. Someone on this forum suggested that the problem might be in the fact that Photoshop is a heavy user of graphics memory. My old card had 1GB. Replacing it with a 2GB card immediately solved he problem. Processor speed isn't so much an issue but available memory is, particularly if you are working multilayer Photoshop or TIFF files. These files can be very large. If you run out of memory, your machine starts "swapping" with your HD and HD's, in relative terms, are slow. For large files, 4GBs is doable for a lot of the time but 8GB is preferable if you want to avoid those "Ps is Running Out of Memory " messages.

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    Re: What kind of computer do you use?

    Quote Originally Posted by John 2 View Post
    I'm not entirely in agreement about the graphics card. Certainly almost any graphics card is better than on board graphics because on board graphics shares the available RAM . However, I recently upgraded to CS6 and found that some of the tools had a distinct lag. Looking around the internet, this is not an uncommon problem. Someone on this forum suggested that the problem might be in the fact that Photoshop is a heavy user of graphics memory. My old card had 1GB. Replacing it with a 2GB card immediately solved he problem. Processor speed isn't so much an issue but available memory is, particularly if you are working multilayer Photoshop or TIFF files. These files can be very large. If you run out of memory, your machine starts "swapping" with your HD and HD's, in relative terms, are slow. For large files, 4GBs is doable for a lot of the time but 8GB is preferable if you want to avoid those "Ps is Running Out of Memory " messages.
    Many years ago I was charged $850 for 8MB (not GB) of RAM; thankfully, those days are long gone and RAM is cheap -- so "load em up". 8GB absolute minimum these days (assuming 64 bit OS which everyone should be on by now).

    Graphics card wise, Photoshop can use onboard GPU's, but I'm yet to be convinced of any significant real-world performance advantage when processing 2D images; what makes a bigger difference is tuning Photoshop's settings for History states and Cache levels.

    In summary, you'll get the best bang for your buck in the following order

    1. RAM

    2. Solid State Drive

    3. CPU

    4. Video Card

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    Re: What kind of computer do you use?

    Hi Kurt,

    No-one seems to have picked up on your second question. Lots of folks here use Gimp and the Nik plug-ins, both separately and together.

    If you have specific questions, you'll get the best response by putting them in the Image and Post - processing forum.

    Dave

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