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Thread: Laptop or Desktop

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    Laptop or Desktop

    I am in a position now to look at getting a computer to use for image storage and post processing and would love some advice on which way to go with it. I use The GIMP, Picasa and Infranview so nothing that needs any huge amount of power.

    I was using a netbook but found the limited storage space and small screen a bit of a problem, at the moment I have been using my work laptop which I carry with me home every night anyway and have set this up with an external screen, keyboard and mouse which has been working well but I would like something of my own.

    For the past 5 years I have only been using laptops / netbooks and have not owned a desktop in that time so I don't know which way to go with it.

    Paul

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    I have always used a Desktop until the last moth, and I find the small screen extremely frustrating for PP.

    I personally plan to get a laptop hook it up to a large monitor for work at my desk like PP, and then also have an external hard drive for extra storage. that's just me though.
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    The biggest draw back of a laptop is the lack of upgrade-ability.
    . .
    The more I learn the less I know !

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    Paul, I would suggest you keep going with the laptop and screen.
    Personally I have gone from a Desktop to a laptop then back to a desktop. The reason for the last move was because I wanted to work at a dedicated position and found the laptop made me a bit lazy as to where and when I did things. Now I have to go into my office and sit at the desk and do the work. It works for me.
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    Ausphotography Regular JimD's Avatar
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    I'd hate to only own a laptop.
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    Administrator ricktas's Avatar
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    Paul, you work in IT and you have been on AP long enough to know about the quality of laptops for editing. You see threads here nearly every week about screen calibration, storage and processing. I fail to understand the need for this thread, your IT work alone should mean you can answer this for yourself
    Last edited by ricktas; 07-04-2010 at 6:04pm.
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    I think you should get a DELL XPS desktop, the bigger the better so that I can buy it from you when you decide to change brands . Seriously, just look for a good deal of RAM, a decent processor and an upmarket monitor, the rest doesn't really matter.

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    If you need portability: Go with a laptop.
    If you don't need portability: Go with a desktop.

    Laptop:
    Pro's: Portable
    Con's: Limited upgrade capabilities; Repairs costs usually more than a desktop.

    Desktop:
    Pro's: Semi-Unlimited upgrade capabilities; Repairs costs usually less than a laptop.
    Con's: Not Portable

    Personally, I use both. I have to, since I can't fit 8TB+ into a laptop

    Decide on portable/non-portable, then buy/build the best performance you can within your budget.

    BTW nice sales pitch Allan
    Matt.

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    You really need an Eizo monitor, Id match with a Dell XPS laptop also

    Anything else and you are compromising
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    For storage capacity best to get an external HD of at least 1TB capacity, excellent for storing photos, and the flexibility of either using on laptop or desktop is the best way to go. I personally use my laptop most of the time with the second monitor from the desktop. using two monitors is great ! especially when editing photos, or multiple programs open at once etc and I find the calibration on the desktop monitor is usually much better than the laptop monitors. If you can afford to get both then that is the way to go.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Sharntel View Post
    For storage capacity best to get an external HD of at least 1TB capacity, excellent for storing photos, and the flexibility of either using on laptop or desktop is the best way to go. I personally use my laptop most of the time with the second monitor from the desktop. using two monitors is great ! especially when editing photos, or multiple programs open at once etc and I find the calibration on the desktop monitor is usually much better than the laptop monitors. If you can afford to get both then that is the way to go.
    Thanks for the advice, I have a couple of external hard drives which I have my photos backed up on. I am going to look at a desktop once I get my tax refund back

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    I'd suggest a powerful laptop - intel i5 quad core processor with Windows 7 64 bit and at least 4Gb RAM. Team this with a good external monitor for editing; one on which you can adjust the colour temperature. The problem with many laptops is that the screens are terrible for photographic use - the colours are all wrong. They typically have a very cold colour temperature and are not adjustable.

    If you can get a laptop with an eSATA port for external HDDs that will be a lot faster that a USB 2.0 port.

    Regarding Storage:
    - If you can get a laptop with a fast HDD - 7200rpm that would be better. You can always replace the HDD. You can get 2.5" 500Gb 7200RPM HDD for about $140.
    - For external storage, I'd suggest getting two external drives. One compact portable one, the bigger and faster the better; and then a big thumper that sits at home for your backups. How many terabytes you need for each is up to you.

    Hope this helps.
    Cheers,

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    I started with a desktop, then went laptop. I still have the laptop (I'm on it now) but have also gone back to a desktop for home. You just can't go past big memory, quad core processor and a 24" widescreen for all your needs. I can upgrade the desktop relatively easily if needed, but don't have that capability with my laptop.
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    The laptop has a few great features on top of its portability advantage. Plus you can extend the desktop to a 24" screen to increase desktop size and giving you greater flexibility. You can always work off a removable hdd.

    But if you want some serious processing power to do those 12-20MB files on PS etc. Desktops provide you with that and more. I personally have a sony viao, working off a 1tb hdd and find that if i need further space on the desktop for image manipulation then, extend onto a 24" dell lcd screen and does the job beautifully.
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    I'd have always said a desktop for editing, bang for bucks you can't beat one, then I used an i7 laptop this week and the jury is reconsidering.

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    Quote Originally Posted by oldfart View Post
    .... then I used an i7 laptop this week and the jury is reconsidering.
    How much?

    I just built myself a new pc based around an AMD x3 core4 CPU. 4Gig ram, uber fast mainboard, and some other insignificant specs. However, I did purchase(for the first time in nearly 10 years) a new screen as well, and even tho I had 4x 250Gig drives from many years ago too.. I still got a new 1Tb drive. Total cost for the PC box was $1150 plus $300 for the 24" 16:9 screen.(I could have forgone the screen, as many folks can also do, if they spec a machine from a reputable store(I used MSY again).

    For less than $1500 I doubt that any lappie can maintain the pace at which this system runs or have anywhere near the space any desktop system can natively command.

    Note: I did spend(waste actually! ) more money than I should have on the PC case itself.. stupidly. A god box, but the most infuriating box to install hdd's into. Now that they're in, there is no issue at all, and the box and the peripherals I bought seem to be have been worth the effort.

    External USB drives are cool and great, but at 10MB/s transfer rates.. saving 1TB of files is not an easy task(I backed up one of my 1TB drives to another for safe keeping, as I was having serious PC issues with the old one).

    I saved myself a few bucks on a new DVD/BR drive, as I don't quite need Blue Ray just yet, and I had two DVD drives on my old PC.

    If your machine is going to spend a lot of time @ home doing vast amounts of number crunching, I say get a PC built(cheaply.. not an off the rack DELL type). and budget for a cheapo laptop. The desktop does the difficult heavy duty number crunching and storage stuff, and a cheaper (say $700-800) laptop does the portability work, at a much reduced pace fo course.. but still portable for when you want it to be.

    Total cost approx $2K
    From what I've seen that's about just under par for a fairly high end Laptop that just can't seem to keep up with the performance of a semi decent desktop.

    ps. with this new PC I now have detailed and intricate editing is lightning quick..makes it a pleasure now, as opposed to the chore it once was.
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    Mate - I have worked with laptops for the last 10 yrs, mostly because I was IT consulting and onsite support. I have only been into photography for about 14 months I suppose and continually feel the frustrations of the ,limitations of the laptop for editing.

    I went into Hardly Normals (:-) and hand a play with the imac 27" screen. If I could set a laptop up to be like that I would, but once I purchase my new camera I will be saving for the imac.

    Actually, we had had the option in the office to have laptop or desktop, I have chosen desktop for the office also.

    Another very important thing to consider, claibration of the screen, peripherals and storage. laptops may present some limitations here. Finally, as far as I am concerned - desktops provide more bang for bucks if you are on a budget.

    I strongly suggest you go into a store and try the iMac, a desktop and a laptop with some imaging - this made my decision easy but everyone to there own.

    Cheers,

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  18. #18
    Serial Truant.... phild's Avatar
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    Paul, as someone has suggested I'd recommend a desktop i5 or i7. Since you have some expertise, build your own rather than pay a premium for a brand name box. Your local supplier Tas Principal computers has good stocks at very competitive prices.

    I bought the following and I'm very happy with the performance.

    Intel i7 860 (2.8Ghz), Gigabyte GA-P55-UD3R Motherboard, 8Gb Ram and used my existing ATI 4870 Video card. I put the hardware in a Coolmaster case with Coolmaster 550 Watt PSU.

    To make the most of it you need Win7 Pro 64 bit. Coupled with 64 Bit Photoshop it really flies, particularly with memory hungry image files.

    That particular Motheboard has SATA 3.0 which is the latest spec, but don't place much importance on it as Sata 3 hard drives, as yet, are not performing any better than SATA2 and the SATA 3 controller on that board is not that highly regarded.

    That particular Motherboard aslo has USB3.0 which promises higher transfer speeds than USB2. USB3 devices are thin on the ground at the moment.

    IMO if you couple that hardware with a dual monitor setup you'll never wish for a laptop.
    Phil

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    A royal pain in the bum! arthurking83's Avatar
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    Just a note:

    using MSY as my pricing comparison, a top of the range AMD system will cost you between 300-400 less than an equivalently performing Intel system.

    Sometimes there's not enough of a performance difference to justify the exclusion of a peripheral that adds more value to the system in an overall sense.
    My main concern to to keep within a specified budget constraint(<$1500).

    I also looked at the pricing levels of Macs too(my sister's step daughter ended up getting a 27 mac, and I still feel justified in getting my PC for less than half that amount!
    Had I had $3K to spend, I'd still have put together my PC's parts in the same box, and purchased 2x Dell 24" U2410's and still come in under $3K, 2x 27" U2711's and just gone over, or a 30" 3008WPF(but @ $2K for this screen it doesn't seem good value for money.. compared to the 2x 24" screens!).

    Whilst the Mac do provide for a visual first impression, (IMHO!!) they tend not to be as good value for money in a long terms sense.

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    i'd say if your use to working with laptops on the go, and you already have an external monitor that you hook up for viewing at home, go with what you know. You are more likely use to the portability now.

    Mac fanboi here, do i'd recommend a macbook pro from the apple refurb store.
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