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 Post subject: Lap Top Advice - Please
PostPosted: Sat Jun 25, 2011 9:00 am 
Hi,

I have a problem, not sure what to do!

I have time every week and have had for the last few years, whilst the children are doing dance lessons (4 hours) I've just finished a Uni course which filled the void well. (reading)

I now want to use this time with my Photography. However this time is split between different venues ect. So I have come to the conclusion that a good way forward would be to have a lap top, load on Photoshop, and work with pics. I'm also looking at doing some writing so I will need Office as well.

What lap top do I get, or 'WHAT SPEC' do I need to run windows , Photoshop and have a reasonable amount of storage. I also want a bigish screen to view the pics and battery life is of concern.


I'm interested in reliability and performance over a longer period of time rather than a quick fix

Thanks in advance

Robinhood -


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PostPosted: Sat Jun 25, 2011 9:44 am 
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Laptops are an area with "too much choice" but you can narrow down the search.

It sounds like you're after a fairly powerful machine so I guess size and weight are not major issues?

Regardless, a good screen is important so do check for that particularly in reviews. It would be preferable to get one with a wide colour gamut and decent viewing angles.

CPU - I'd suggest a current (2nd) generation Intel Core i5 or i7.

Hard disk - decide how big a data set you're likely to have on you at any time. A SSD would give better general performance, but they're still very expensive per capacity so I'd think a large conventional disk would be a better compromise. You may also budget for some data backup system in case the laptop gets lost or stolen.

RAM - I'd suggest 4GB minimum which is commonly available anyway.

GPU - editing and processing software are increasingly able to take advantage of the GPU to assist processing so could offer further performance boosts over just the CPU. So something with a bit of meat on it can help. This means something in mid to higher range of ATI/AMD or nvidia chipsets. Do note some software might only support one system or the other, and performance can vary. I wouldn't over think this though, see it as a bonus than an necessity at this stage.

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sat Jun 25, 2011 1:25 pm 
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Location: SE Texas
Robinhood, thanks for starting this thread, as I am in need of a similar large, capable laptop. popo, thanks for your reply! I will be following this topic.

I have been looking at the MacBook Pro, myself, based on recommendations from local hobbyist photographers, plus people with graphic arts backgrounds, but Windows-based laptops are not yet excluded from consideration. A photography instructor in my area, Kathy Adams Clark, who teaches a photoshop course, will not recommend one system over the other.

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sat Jun 25, 2011 3:44 pm 
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There are lots of laptops out there which are perfectly capable of running PhotoShop and similar software speedily and with good colour fidelity. BUT, I can't imagine trying to actually use PhotoShop with a touch pad. Maybe I'm just too wedded to my trackball but I would think vary carefully about the ergonomics of heavy duty photo-editing on a laptop unless you are also prepared to carry around your pointing weapon or Wacom tablet of choice.

Having mentioned tablets that begs the question of whether there are any tablet computers out there which employ a pressure sensitive stylus? I don't know if there are but if so then maybe, just maybe, such a machine would be worth considering if the underlying hardware (CPU/GPU, memory, storage etc) were up to snuff. Thoughts or suggestions?

Update: A quick Google turned up the Lenovo X220t. It's reviewed here at Trusted Reviews who note that "the thin pen is quite comfortable, and is coated in the same soft finish as the lid and inner screen bezel. It will recognise 512 pressure levels, which might not seem like much compared to the 2,048 levels of a Wacom Intuos 4 graphics tablet but is adequate for sketching and light drawing". Personally I'd consider upgrading it to Core i7, 8GB of memory and, possibly, a larger HDD, all fairly reasonably priced upgrade options if you buy direct from Lenovo and customise.
    Image
    Image courtesy of Trusted Reviews
Bob.

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sat Jun 25, 2011 10:33 pm 
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The MacBook Pro 15in is arguably one of the best 15in laptops around, but I'd urge you to pick a few different models up in person, as size, weight and screen size can seem a LOT different in person. You may prefer a 13in, an 11in, or even a 17in model. Hard to know until you pick some up and imagine carrying them around.


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 Post subject: I'm on the market too.
PostPosted: Sun Jul 03, 2011 9:04 am 
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Joined: Sat Apr 30, 2011 10:31 am
Posts: 28
Location: South Korea
May I snatch a little attention from this thread too since I'm about to ask the same question?

I'm dead set on no more/just a little bit less than 15.6 screens with 1920x1080 resolution. Narrowing the selection more, I required GTX 540 and above, Sandy Bridge i5 or i7, and 4G and above RAM. It did narrow down my options. The problem is the weight. With an already heavy-after-carrying-for-more-than-4-hours camera, and an even heavier set of lenses (I can forgive the tripod), comes another heavy laptop? Most of them weigh 2.5 kg to 3kg.

If there's a way to have a customized laptop built, I'd really like to get rid of a lot of the additional hardware. 120Gig HDD is enough. No need for the webcam and speakers. No need for the ODD as long as I already have all software installed. No need for Bluetooth either. And no need for the numpad. I think getting rid of these would give me a much lighter unit.

I'm currently debating between specs versus weight. 3 i5 models have good specs, two of them are identical (GTX 540/550, 4Gig RAM, 6 cell) and weighs 2.5kg, one with better GPU (GTX 560) RAM (8Gig), and battery(8 cell) but weighs 3kg. If I'm going for that, with its price, it'll lead me to consider i7 (although I don't need such power but the price has reached it).

This will be my final purchase of hardware before buying a bag. I need to see how everything fits in that future bad, and ofcourse, I'll be taking Gordon's suggested backpacks (either Think Tank or Crumpler).

So is the weight worth a compromise here? Or am I on the wrong path of choosing the right laptop for this?


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