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Thread: Anyone use an all-in-one computer for editing?

  1. #1

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    Anyone use an all-in-one computer for editing?

    I'm looking at Sony's VAIO L Series 24" all-in-one. Seems to tick all the boxes with a dedicated Nvidia graphics card with 2 GB discrete memory. I would upgrade it to 16 GB RAM, but all else looks pretty good. It's got an i7 quad core processor, and I really cannot find any bad buggers with it to be wary of. Does anybody out there use an all-in-one? Thanks in advance for any thoughts you might have.

  2. #2
    Administrator Manfred M's Avatar
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    Re: Anyone use an all-in-one computer for editing?

    Hi Anita - I personally wouldn't get one for a few reasons:

    1. Inferior screen (I suspect). I can't find the screen technology used on the Sony website, but being a touchscreen design, I suspect they are using the low end TN (twisted Nematic) technology rather than IPS technology which is preferred for PP work. I'm not sure how the colour rendering is going to be affected by the touch screen technology they use either.

    2. All-in-ones mean that you can't easily upgrade after purchase. For instance, you can't add additional hard drive storage.

    3. A significant part of the cost unit is your screen. If you decide to upgrade, you throw that out. With a regular computer, your screen (which is probably good for 7 - 10 years) goes out to the trash.

    4. Screen size - I have a 27" screen and find a 24" too small for my work.

  3. #3
    Adrian's Avatar
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    Re: Anyone use an all-in-one computer for editing?

    Yes - I use iMacs and laptops. 27" is a lot better than 24".

    This is always a compromise and you can get better screens with higher resolution if you chuck enough money at it. Check the screen type, resolution , colour gamut, ability to calibrate etc.

    Unless you are a pro and need to have perfect screen coloration for printing, I would not worry about using an all in one.

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    Re: Anyone use an all-in-one computer for editing?

    Anita my suggestion is also: Absolutely NOT! for the exact same reasons Manfred mentioned.

    All you mainly need is:
    a) lot of RAM
    b) lot of disc space
    c) a fair IPS panel monitor

    It would help to also include a SSD disc for the operating system and programs installation and a color calibration device.

    Some problems with these all-in-one solutions is lack of upgrade capability, not being able to choose the part you want and heating problem (mainly for the main processor) due to small air flow. If space is really a problem for you consider buying a good laptop (you can also have it with you when traveling) connected with an external monitor (IPS or better of course).
    Last edited by MilT0s; 2nd March 2013 at 08:37 PM.

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    Re: Anyone use an all-in-one computer for editing?

    Quote Originally Posted by Buckeye View Post
    I'm looking at Sony's VAIO L Series 24" all-in-one. Seems to tick all the boxes with a dedicated Nvidia graphics card with 2 GB discrete memory. I would upgrade it to 16 GB RAM, but all else looks pretty good. It's got an i7 quad core processor, and I really cannot find any bad buggers with it to be wary of. Does anybody out there use an all-in-one? Thanks in advance for any thoughts you might have.
    Screen size and quality are two things which matter the most, RAM being secondary. Depending on your budget, choose a 27" screen offering IPS.

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    Black Pearl's Avatar
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    Re: Anyone use an all-in-one computer for editing?

    My suggestion is Apple and Absolutely....I do and I wouldn't go back to a tower and unless we're talking MBP and you really need the portability I wouldn't go laptop.

    For me the iMac range have amazing IPS screens, are faster than you will ever need for photo editing, can be specced with plenty of RAM, take up very little space, have one wire, the OS is fantastic, they are simple to use yet powerful, the keyboard is a little beauty and I love the magic mouse - that and from a totally personal point of view it's a wonderful thing to behold and own.

    I don't think I will ever tire of walking up to it, touching any key or the mouse and see it immediately spring into life, do what I need and touch the power button and hear it snap off. No fuss, no delay, no chattering drives, no waiting for it to do something 'computery' it just works. That is how technology should be and that is how I want a computer to behave.

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    Re: Anyone use an all-in-one computer for editing?

    I have a Dell XS27One all in one computer and love it. It has 8 gig of RAM and a 2TB hard drive and the screen resolution is great. I also have two 2TB external hard drives - one for all my photos and the other is a backup hard drive - this way in a emergancy (i.e fire) I just have to disconnect the two external hard drives and away I go no issues.

    I am more than happy with my set up.

    Karl

  8. #8

    Re: Anyone use an all-in-one computer for editing?

    The new iMac has almost no reflection in the screen and the specs are pretty damn good...
    I have an old 2008 one and it has not failed me in Photoshop I even got to the project size of 1 GB with no problems...
    It is very stable,fast, awesome build quality and is simply gorgeous...
    But you can only upgrade the RAM in the 27" model. Other things must be ordered from Apple.

    Good luck!

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    Administrator Manfred M's Avatar
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    Re: Anyone use an all-in-one computer for editing?

    Unfortunately, other than having an IPS screen, the iMacs have all the disadvantages that the Sony unit that Anita is looking at.

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    GrahamS's Avatar
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    Re: Anyone use an all-in-one computer for editing?

    I use an iMac 27 inch. The latest ones are awesome. it's a no-brainer.

  11. #11
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    Re: Anyone use an all-in-one computer for editing?

    Quote Originally Posted by black pearl View Post
    My suggestion is Apple and Absolutely....I do and I wouldn't go back to a tower and unless we're talking MBP and you really need the portability I wouldn't go laptop.

    For me the iMac range have amazing IPS screens, are faster than you will ever need for photo editing, can be specced with plenty of RAM, take up very little space, have one wire, the OS is fantastic, they are simple to use yet powerful, the keyboard is a little beauty and I love the magic mouse - that and from a totally personal point of view it's a wonderful thing to behold and own.

    I don't think I will ever tire of walking up to it, touching any key or the mouse and see it immediately spring into life, do what I need and touch the power button and hear it snap off. No fuss, no delay, no chattering drives, no waiting for it to do something 'computery' it just works. That is how technology should be and that is how I want a computer to behave.
    I wholeheartedly agree with Robin.

    I went over to an iMac when Vista appeared and really cannot fault them in respect of their speed and flexibility. (Had a Sony prior to that and would not go back). Easy to plug in any additional hard drive capacity through USB (In fact I keep everything 'offboard' on separate hard drives, deliberately for security purposes).

    I had same concerns over upgrading, but these proved largely unfounded and apart from adding memory I didn't need to upgrade anything and found that I did not need to change computers as frequently as when I used Windows machines.

    Only difficulty was transportability for the odd occasion the Mac needed to go to events. (Resolved that now with a MBP as the iMac was getting a bit long in the tooth. It is now the reserve machine, and is still fully functional and copes with everything, just slightly slower than the MBP with a SSD.). Screen is fantastic on both machines.
    Last edited by shreds; 3rd March 2013 at 01:26 PM.

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    Re: Anyone use an all-in-one computer for editing?

    Another iMac vote. Currently running an "early 2008" 24" iMac (the largest available then - and IPS), tweaked to 6gb, attached to a 20" Apple Cinema Display. Lightroom 4, PS6, deals with 24Mp files from the D600 with no creaking. I know how to delete Lightroom on an unresponsive machine, I've done it. Doesn't look like there's any danger I'll be doing it anytime soon.

  13. #13
    Administrator Manfred M's Avatar
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    Re: Anyone use an all-in-one computer for editing?

    I find all of the comments promoting the iMac rather amusing. I use PCs, iMacs and Mac Pros fairly regularly for graphic arts, post processing, video editing and compositing, sound work, etc. I flip back and forth between the systems quite seamlessly. I've never used a Macbook of any kind for this kind of work, but that is because I find the screen size far too small to use for this kind of work.

    When I press people that make the type of statements listed in this thread as to the why they prefer the iMac to the PC, they usually give the following reasons:

    1. I like the way it looks. - That is personal taste and can't disagree about the esthetics, but I really don't like where they put the ports and on / off switch.

    2. Great customer support - This is true. If you do have custom hardware / software; try getting support for third party add ons. I know a developer for Red Giant software that makes industry standard add-ons for PP and video editing who has confirmed this, even for developers.

    3. It boot up a lot faster than a Windows machine - That was quite true, but is really no longer the case when PC builders switch from BIOS to UEFI. The reason this was true is that Apple went to UEFI some time ago.

    4. Some software only runs on a Mac - Quite true. Some software only runs on a PC too.


    There are also a few lingering myths:

    1. A Mac is easier to use - My wife had to use a Mac for a few months and never stopped complaining about how awkward and unituitive it was to use. My wife is not a technical person, but as she prefers Windows because she finds it more intuitive and easier to use.

    I think this was the case perhaps 10 or 15 years ago, but this myth should have been put to bed some time ago. I'm not saying that some people prefer the Mac user interface; this is quite true. It is equally true that others prefer the PC or Linux ones.

    2. A Mac is more stable - That myth should have died with Windows XP. Mac and Windows platforms have similarly stable running most software. Macs (in my experience) are less stable when running third party applications and (in the case of the Mac Pro, because an iMac can't do this), third party hardware.

    3. Build quality is better than a PC - This one is a tricky one because there are so many PC suppliers out there and some have terrible build quality, while others look to be equal to and in a few cases better.

    So in reality, there are advantages and disadvantages to all of these platforms, and one has to understand this when one makes a purchasing decision. I personally prefer the Mac Pro to the iMac for a number of ergonomic and technical reasons. If you are looking at the value proposition, an equivalently configured Windows machine will cost you a lot less money than a Mac product; Macs have always been positioned as a premium product and is priced accordingly.

  14. #14

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    Re: Anyone use an all-in-one computer for editing?

    Thanks to each of you for all this good information. It is spinning around my head though, and in Alaska there are very few places to go to really demo any of the kinds of monitors and systems identified. It was a 60 mile round trip this weekend to actually try out the 24' Sony (with my own high quality stills and videos), and I was not really that impressed. Though the stills looked nice, I had to back pretty far away from the screen to get visual clarity for the videos - it was like trying to watch a football game with your eyes too close to the screen. Manfred and others - how do you manage this with some of the 24-27 inch screens you use?

    Nobody up here has an IPS monitor hooked up to a PC to demo. I did see an IPS monitor that was running, but it was not hooked up to any computer and yes - the colors and visual clarity were really noticable. Pretty awesome indeed.

    The world of 17 inch laptops with IPS screens though is pretty paltry. I wanted to have a look-see at these as a possible alternative to the all-in-one Sony and HP's. There are none in the stores here to actually load photos onto and gauge performance. Much of our access to what we need in Alaska is online, and this makes it hard for a computer neanderthal like myself to set up a system for doing photo work. For me, the top of the price point needs to be around $1500-$1600. And the less complicated in terms of a boatload of wires, the better. A lot of folks here just go to the Apple store because it has a physical presence and the product is a pretty sure thing - but I am more of a Windows person. So, a forum like this is great for me because I can draw from the actual experience of others before having to wander into online stores without a clue.

    Having model numbers for the systems many of you use and like would help me take a look at them more closely online. If you don't mind - could you share them with me? And if you have any ideas for a 17" laptop - that would be great as well.

    Thanks in advance,
    Anita

    P.S. I'll need to replace my 10 year old Dell IDimension 4500S desktop pc soon because the demand from my Sony A77 has just about stopped the processor cold. Give it a command, hit the enter key, and go do a load of laundry. It had just about reached the edge of the cliff anyway, and the A77 gave it a final push!

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    Re: Anyone use an all-in-one computer for editing?

    I know you want a Windows machine, but I'll just offer another iMac vote -- I don't think the iMac actually suffers from any of the all-in-one issues identified for the Sony. It's highly expandable -- you can add about seven high-performance external drives plus another display if you like without having to open the hood or affecting performance. Plus, the iMac runs Windows natively, faster than any desktop Windows PC I've used. I'm running Windows 7 on my iMac and it's blazingly responsive; it boots up in Windows even faster than it boots up in Mac OS.

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    Re: Anyone use an all-in-one computer for editing?

    You might consider getting a decent Windows laptop and a dell ultra sharp monitor allfor way less than $1500 you can probably upgrade twice in 8years for less than any Apple product now.Plus you can go anywhere with the laptop.

  17. #17

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    Re: Anyone use an all-in-one computer for editing?

    Thanks. I want to look at that idea. Any suggestions as to the brand or model of laptop you might be thinking of?

  18. #18
    Administrator Manfred M's Avatar
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    Re: Anyone use an all-in-one computer for editing?

    If you are looking at a laptop, be aware of one major shortcoming when it comes to external monitors. Most only have a VGA graphics port, which means your colour output is not as good as on a desktop. A high gamut IPS screen will not provide the total colour range it is capable of displaying.

    As you are located in Alaska, why not look at Dell? While their laptops may not be the greatest, they built their name on desktops and their all-in-one products seem to be competitive with the Sony you were looking at (which are far less expensive than the Apple products).

  19. #19
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    Re: Anyone use an all-in-one computer for editing?

    Hi Anita!

    One other (very cool) thing is that you can boot/run an Apple machine from an external.

    Way cool to backup and use as a scratch/back for your work. I use a MBP with matte screen as I am “on the road” a lot. I hook it to a 27 IPS when home. Carry a portable HDD, which I have as a partitioned booter, and archive. Last I looked, windows does not support this type of coolness! I feel pretty good about the whole deal. If I were not on the road I would back my desktop the same way.

    What this means is that I can easily boot my machine from an external HDD and run maintenance on the internal. For me this is a strict regimen of Disk Warrior. Or if I have an emergency. Reboot from the main machine and then backup the newly maintained version. I always have a nice backup that will boot my machine in a jam. I can boot my Apple from a small portable HDD in the middle of nowhere, with no internet connection, work Photoshop (or anything else I want) if I want. Again, as far as I know, windows pcs will not do this.

    Everything is always backed, including and especially the OS.

    A lot of “well, its not a great screen…, it never looks right…, it’s too small…, yada, blah”. And that is probably true if you, for example, never shoot tethered on location and don’t want to haul a desktop and all the assorted cable, Monitors, etc. And if you are looking to do all of your editing on that screen. As an aside, I have never seen anyone shoot tethered on location on a windows pc.

    But I will say this. I have edited photos on a lap screen that I have submitted on this Forum and in competions that no one could tell the difference! Or at least no one ever said!

  20. #20

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    Re: Anyone use an all-in-one computer for editing?

    Almost every laptop these days has a hdmi port so the vga problem won't be a problem.I use an asus k55a series laptop .It works for me.

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