Computer recommendations?

Discussion in 'Digital Discussion & Q&A' started by Sheddingskin, Jan 17, 2010.

  1. Sheddingskin

    Sheddingskin TPF Noob!

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    So I'm getting more and more into photography, and I know that I'll be entering the digital world soon. So I'd like to have a decent computer for editing.

    I'm currently a senior in high school and I'll be going to college for engineering next year. I was set on a laptop for portability, but it seems that a desktop PC is a better choice for editing. With a budget of under $1000 (preferably around $700-800), what would you recommend? Thanks
     
  2. Garbz

    Garbz No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    Not looking at budgeting in any great detail remember the following tips:

    Ram - The more the merrier, and it's cheap at the moment. Get 4GB if not more.
    CPU - You don't need a top of the line CPU, but then lower end quad cores are cheap too.
    VideoCard - Lots of people say you don't need a decent 3D card, but really spend a bit of money in this area. Screens are getting bigger and bigger and more apps are using CUDA and similar languages to offload processing to the video card, photoshop included. Again like a CPU you don't need a high-end one but don't skimp either.
    HDDs are cheap, get whatever you want. Heck get 2 :)
    You don't need a 1000W powersupply. No normal person ever needs a 1000W powersupply. I have a high end video card, 4 harddisks, quad core CPU, and bluray burner running from a 550watt powersupply with no issues.

    Spend whatever you can on a screen.
    If editing is your primary purpose look into these. Search this forum for many discussions on such screens, and you can find some bargains too. The key is display technology. TN panels which make up the very large majority of LCDs can't even display 8bits of colour. You want a screen with an S-PVA panel or even better an IPS panel. Dell have a nice one that fits most people's bills. Again a quick search for this will give you the model number.
     
  3. Hybrid Designz

    Hybrid Designz TPF Noob!

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    Good advice....i could go more in detail but its my bday and im drinking, lol
     
  4. Sheddingskin

    Sheddingskin TPF Noob!

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    Thanks Garbz, and happy birthday Hybrid Designz!

    Ok those specifications seem easy to remember. I'm not totally up to day on what those screen things mean though. So is it pretty much set that I should not get a laptop?
     
  5. Garbz

    Garbz No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    The screen thingies are not widely known, or even often listed on the box. Hunting around the internet seems to be the most reliable way of getting information. Sites like www.flatpanelshd.com - Your guide to flat panel monitors and TVs - Panel Search keep a list of screens and their panel manufacturers / technologies.

    Laptops would be as good a choice as any computer with a screen that has a TN film panel. Despite TN film being an outright horrible choice for editing they have the lowest power consumption, fastest refresh rate, and thinnest profile, which is why laptops nearly exclusively have this kind of screen.

    For other specs, laptops with a bit of a price premium are as good as any other computer. At work I have a laptop in a docking station connected to a Dell 2209WA (one of the cheapest IPS screens on the market and best value for money I have seen), and aside from the $3500 cost of the laptop it would make a perfect editing machine, if I ever used it for that.
     
  6. Sw1tchFX

    Sw1tchFX TPF Noob!

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    I'd look into any intel i5 quad core for a cpu,
    as big of a HD as you can buy,
    at least 4GB of RAM,
    ATI 5770's are pretty cheap and can run pretty much any game maxed out at 1920x1080
     
  7. dmfw

    dmfw TPF Noob!

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    I agree that a desktop give more bang for the $. However, when you shoot away from home, you may need a computer, eg. to view the pics, check, etc. Eg. Do not give up on the idea of a laptop.
     
  8. StudioBin

    StudioBin TPF Noob!

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    OP I suggest a laptop and buy an external monitor. PC would be better spec vs Apple when considering price. You could wait for Apple educational discount promotion which they have a month or two before Fall Term. Do you play games that are graphic intensive? If it's strictly photo editing. You wil be fine with current spec'd laptop with a @ least 128/256mb vid card. I use my Macbook Pro 13" and have a 24" external and it's fine when I use CS4 and LR.
     
  9. Romphotog

    Romphotog TPF Noob!

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    dont go over board on the HDD. 250gb-320gb will do just fine, maybe even less unless you store a lot of music. HDD are cheap, I recommend external HDD for backup. Get the latest CPU, but to save $, you could go with 2gb, and upgrade later.
    Laptop? Well, get a notebook instead and save $, with an external HDD & DVD-R.
    Again, everything is easy to upgrade except the CPU.
     
  10. icassell

    icassell TPF Noob!

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    If you are going to start school in engineering, chances are that you will need a computer for that and that your school will both give you recommendations as well as an academic discount. It might make sense to research that before you invest. In general, you will get more bang for your buck with a desktop machine.

    Also remember that Adobe offers considerable academic discounts on Photoshop and Lightroom and your are eligible for those as a H.S. student as well.

    For editing, you do want an IPS panel. Look at the Dell 2209WA -- it's about the cheapest out there and is a beautiful monitor.
     
  11. DScience

    DScience No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    iMac all the way!
     
  12. kangta13

    kangta13 TPF Noob!

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    2nd that.. Easier to calibrate print from mac.. I was a pc user and ended up getting a mac after trying numerous calibrations new monitor and off colored prints.. For some reason mac is 90% easier to use..
     

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