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PC or laptop, what computer should I get?

User_Removed 13 17 5 United Kingdom
9 Nov 2012 10:56AM
Should I get a PC or laptop computer? Over the last few years I have had various PC computers. I've had a couple tailor made for me specifically for my photogrphic requirements, I've also had off the shelf computers. But I don't seem to get a computer that behaves as it should for one reason or another.

What computer do you think would be best suited to general internet work and for organising and editing photographs?
mikehit 11 8.0k 13 United Kingdom
9 Nov 2012 11:04AM
What do you mean 'behaves as it should'? On the face of it, with so many that did not work for you (including bespoke designs), I wonder if you have unrealistic expectations.
For compactness you could consider a maxed-up laptop and an external screen for critical editing.

I have a Dell Studio laptop for organising and editing, with photos on an external drive so I can take it to my desktop for critical work. I work like this because my desktop has much more RAM so is generally quicker.
jumpsystems 16 19 United Kingdom
9 Nov 2012 11:22AM
You could also get a decent laptop with a supplementary large screen for working on images. However, make sure that the laptop is powerful enough for your needs.
brrttpaul 9 243 United Kingdom
9 Nov 2012 11:24AM
hmmm be interesting this as my computer needs replacing and really dont know what to get for the best, My main uses are internet and photoshop. Budget wouldnt be great roundabout 300-400, I have seen lots of desktops in that range but would a laptop be as good? I also prefer to use a mouse rather than those pads but been told I can get a mouse for it anyway just so many out there at the moment its a minefield and reading reviews dont seem to help with comments like " yeah the AMD is good but the cpu lets it down blah blah" to a layman they may as well talk in another language lol
thewilliam 12 6.1k
9 Nov 2012 11:43AM
With every laptop that I've ever used, I've been able to connect a proper monitor, mouse and graphics tablet so it can be used in the same way as a desktop.

Don't see this as a cop-out but it's best to get both.
Ade_Osman 17 4.5k 36 England
9 Nov 2012 11:51AM
Lucky enough to have both and several other machines too, but do all my editing and 80% of my internet browsing on the desktop. They're also a darn sight easier to upgrade and get into should you ever wish or need too, the only downside is that they're not portable, if that's high on your list of priorities then I'd advise getting the best/fastest laptop you can afford, otherwise I'd stick with a desktop every time IMHO.

JackAllTog Plus
11 6.2k 58 United Kingdom
9 Nov 2012 11:54AM
"general internet work" a laptop or even a tablet.
"for organising and editing photographs" - a PC, as you can more easily add more RAID drives, maybe a better graphics card with Dual DVI connections for 2 new 24 inch DVI monitor's.

But for a cost sensible option, and one i'd probally go with -
Quote:With every laptop that I've ever used, I've been able to connect a proper monitor, mouse and graphics tablet so it can be used in the same way as a desktop.

Don't see this as a cop-out but it's best to get both.

mikehit 11 8.0k 13 United Kingdom
9 Nov 2012 11:58AM

Quote:yeah the AMD is good but the cpu lets it down blah blah"

Too many times, people talk about computer specs in relation to heavy downloading, watching movies and and gaming. This is like telling someone to buy a Rolls Royce even though they only want a car to do the weekly shopping.
This is how I came to choose my computers: I wanted to edit photos and light internet use. I don't do gaming, I don't download movies, I have little interest at the moment in editing home videos but may try it out, and I generally have a low number of tasks ongoing at any one time. My photo editing is relatively low so if a task takes 2 seconds or 4 seconds is not a huge slug out of my day. So for my needs, I decided that the difference in processor performance between AMD vs Intel vs whatever is not really important, but in Intel terms I chose i3 for the laptop and i5 for the desktop (if I wanted to do some video editing). Graphics card, I oculd have chosen an integrated card (processor and graphics on one chip) but went ofr dedicated cards with 512MB in laptop, 1GB in desktop (the price difference was so low I thought 'why not' and as above, I may want to do some video editing). But the key was RAM: 4GB in laptop, 6 GB in desktop (recently upgraded to 8GB).

If you do movies and/or are one of those people who will set you computer doing a big stitch programme and while it is running scan some images, surf the web and watch BBC iPlayer then the above will not be enough.
User_Removed 17 3.3k 4 United Kingdom
9 Nov 2012 12:22PM
Your topic title "PC or Laptop" suggests you maybe haven't quite got your head round the subject. A laptop is a PC, they both run the same software.

The differences between a desktop and a laptop boil down to convenience and bang-for-buck. Sometimes it's more convenient to work on a laptop, when on a train for example. Sometimes the desktop, with bigger screen, separate keyboard etc is more convenient,

As for power, speed and storage you get more for the same money if you buy a desktop. That doesn't mean you shouldn't buy a laptop. If the size and portability suits you better just be prepared to spend a little more to get the same performance as a similarly priced desktop.

If you find your computers "don't behave as they should" get some tuition on maintaining your computer and keeping it free from malware.
lemmy 13 2.9k United Kingdom
9 Nov 2012 12:43PM

Quote:I have seen lots of desktops in that range but would a laptop be as good?

No, there is an inevitable price to pay for portability. A desktop offers more bangs for the buck, as they say. For picture editing you do not need a graphics card, the integrated GP is fine (this is official Adobe advice).

I have two desktop machines, one in London, one in France, both running Win7 64bit and I can compare easily. One machine has 8GB memory, one 4GB. I can detect no difference in my editing on LR and Photoshop of RAW files from my Panansonics.

One has an i3, one an i5 processor, again it appears to make no practical difference, though I do know that if you run many programs side by side it should make a difference. I'm not saying it doesn't, as with 8 GB or 4GB memory, I'm just saying you'd need to do more radical work than I do, which is making Youtube videos and preparing RAW files for Alamy upload. Apart from general accounting and office stuff, of course. And a bit of app programming, too.

The biggest difference between my two machines is the use of an SSD for system and program files. This makes a noticeable difference in smoothness of operation and speed of loading programs. I like it but it's not a necessity in any way.

At the moment, I'm using a 5 year old machine with Core Duo 3ghz processor, SSD and 4GB as my son is using my i3. I really hardly notice the difference. Mainly, when exporting a large edited AVCHD to mp4, it takes half as long again as the other machines. But since those often take 2 hours or so to do anyway, I set them to work when I pack up for the day and then have the machine shut down, so there's no time saving.

All in all, I'd buy an i3 or i5 desktop with SSD for system and programs, HD for data storage. Make sure it has USB3 on board and SATA3 for future proofing if possible, though SATA3 boards can be expensive.

Money saved on graphics and processor can be used to buy a better monitor - far more important to a photographer than a powerful computer.
NEWDIGIT 9 401 United Kingdom
9 Nov 2012 12:56PM
If portablity is not an issue you will allways get better value with a PC plus you can choose how big a monitor you want.
I recently upgraded with a DELL configuration like you all I want to do is photo work, and even then not huge amounts of processing and a little internet.
The first thing I was asked is what camera I use and do Ishoot RAW.
Cameras Nikon D7000 and D800e, and yes RAW 95% of the time
The D800e was a retirement gift, which prompted the upgrade as my old laptop wasnt up to the massive data from the d800e.
They recommended 8gb RAM,2GB graphics,i5 processor with a 23 inch monitor, and Im very pleased to say it works a treat.
Goggie 12 33 United Kingdom
9 Nov 2012 1:27PM
I've been reading your comments with interest and think I now know what I need for my photo work. You talked about a good monitor being the most important piece of kit. Any advice on that? Currently looking at a Dell U2412m.
mikehit 11 8.0k 13 United Kingdom
9 Nov 2012 1:49PM
I have one of those after advice from a professional retoucher. Although I have not used an ultra-expensive monitor for comparison, I think it is great value for money.
Goggie 12 33 United Kingdom
9 Nov 2012 1:52PM
Thanks mikehit. So much out there it is very difficult to make up my mind!
puertouk 9 1.1k 17 United Kingdom
9 Nov 2012 2:03PM
You need a desktop PC, with a Samsung 840 256GB SSD for your operating "C" drive, 2TB hard drive for storage, 16GB Ram, Asus P8Z77-V PRO Intel Z77 (Socket 1155) DDR3 Motherboard [90-MIBHS0-G0EAY0DZ] Try this site It may give some ideas.

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