Question on Computers?

Discussion in 'Digital Discussion & Q&A' started by kayliana, Nov 16, 2009.

  1. kayliana

    kayliana TPF Noob!

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    I was wondering what a good desktop computer would be for photography. I don't have enough money for a mac. Can anyone tell me what a good computer with lots of memory would be for around $500? Thanks so much!
     
  2. Big Mike

    Big Mike I am Big, I am Mike Staff Member Supporting Member

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    For editing photos, you will want lots of RAM.
    For storing photos, you will want lots of memory (hard drive)
    For getting an accurate representation of what your photos look like, you will want a good monitor and a calibration device.
     
  3. kayliana

    kayliana TPF Noob!

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    Thank you so much! Do you have any idea on what a good brand would be? HP or dell? or anything? Sorry so many questions!
     
  4. KmH

    KmH Helping photographers learn to fish Supporting Member

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    Unfortunatly $500 won't buy a decent pre-made computer/monitor/memory for working with photography.

    A good monitor will eat up $300 (or so) alone. Then you need a calibration device to make sure it shows you what your images really look like, exposure and color wise, another $100.

    Probably the leat expensive way to put a system together would be a custom build. Visit the computer forum BleepingComputer.com. There are many very knowledgeable and dedicated computer people there.
     
  5. DennyCrane

    DennyCrane No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    As far as brands go, I've had an excellent history with HP products. 4 towers and 2 notebooks over the years and they've all served me well. In fact, they've never failed. They were simply passed on to friends and family.
    Possibly consider a used system. I'd recommend a minimum of a Core 2 Duo processor @ 2.4Ghz, 2gb of RAM memory (3-4 preferred) and at least 500gb of hard drive storage. Technology has moved along pretty fast in the last couple years and now the processor tech has raced ahead of the needs of most software out there... meaning a 2 year old system can do pretty much everything a new system can do. But a lot of consumers don't get that fact and are dumping their relatively new PCs to get a i7 processor system with Windows 7. So, there are good deals to be found.
     
  6. PatrickHMS

    PatrickHMS TPF Noob!

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    ^
    What he says.
     
  7. kayliana

    kayliana TPF Noob!

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    Thank you so much! I'm so lost in all this stuff. So are macs really worth all the money? What is the advantage of them?
     
  8. Garbz

    Garbz No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    Homogeneity. Macs are fundamentally different from PCs in that Apple controls the hardware and the software. You install OSX expect it to work. Unlike for example my sister's Dell which when SP3 for windows was installed it blue screened constantly because of some dodgy webcam driver.

    Also Macs are expensive because of quality. If you price a comparable (and I mean truly comparable) system from Dell or HP you'll likely pay the same or more for it.

    Oh and macs have sex appeal.
     
  9. DennyCrane

    DennyCrane No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    Right now, the mechanics of an Apple aren't that different than a PC. They use the same Intel processors, the same nVidia graphics solutions (albeit lower end cards), etc. You're paying a lot for image. The build quality is good, but that's not something that justifies the price difference. As mentioned, Apples are a closed environment, meaning you can't option them with all the accessories and upgrades you can on a PC. The upside is, less crashing issues due to hardware conflicts, and the downside is, low tier graphics acceleration, difficult ram/hard drive upgrades and far less 3rd party support.

    Their LCDs are top notch though. Especially on a Mac notebook compared to a PC notebook. That for a photographer might be enough to push you into an Apple.
     
  10. thoughtcryme

    thoughtcryme TPF Noob!

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    New member here.
    Sorry I haven't done a formal intro yet, but I really want to chime in here.

    I come from a video editing background, and I'm a long time Mac user.

    I wanted to comment on one of the most important yet most overlooked aspect of using a Mac for any type of imaging work.
    Which is system wide color profiling.
    Unlike other systems, MacOS X has built in system wide ICC profiling.
    This means that images maintain a constant appearance through all Apple apps and 3rd party applications.
    Windows systems are only color managed when using an application that uses color management such as Photoshop.
    So on windows, the images you see in an explorer window are NOT color managed, meaning they'll have a much different appearance in explorer than in photoshop.
    In contrast, images in a finder window on a Mac will look exactly the same as they do in Photoshop, Aperture, and/or iPhoto.

    Do you not have a computer that you work with images on right now at all?
    What are you posting here with?
    Because honestly, as has already been said, a budget of $500 for a system to work with images on is really not advisable.
    That entire budget would still be on the low end for the display alone.
    I think even a 20 inch Apple Cinema Display is like $800.
    I'd personally hold out until I had more $$$ to work with, sell some stuff you have or take a 2nd job and put it all in the budget for a new machine.
    Have you considered a Mac-Mini?
    They're not as expensive as other Macs(I think they're $599 for just the unit with no monitor mouse or keyboard) but still offer the same benefits.
    They aren't as powerful as a MacPro or MacBookPro, but they're fast enough to get you started in building a client base and workflow that will allow you to generate income you can sink back into the project to get a more powerful system at a later time.
    Then you have a seperate machine to run something like QuickBooks on to get yourself even more established.
    Add a 'Time Capsule' later too, and you have an all in one backup solution for the Mac-Mini running quickbooks, and your new workstation with all your assets on it.
    You really don't want all your eggs in one basket.
    I learned that the hard way with the PowerMac G5, which all but completely died on me before it was a full 4 years old.
    All my assets were on it, and it set me way back in productivity and money.
    I wanted to blame apple, and I still believe they are somewhat at fault, but in the end I was the one who put all my eggs in that basket.
    I'm still recovering from that.
    But in trying to see the positive, that experience forced me to create a good backup policy.
    I created automator actions that copy images to both Aperture library and to network attached storage devices simultaneously everytime I dump a card.
     
    Last edited: Nov 17, 2009
  11. kayliana

    kayliana TPF Noob!

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    I'm using a Sony laptop right now. I will save my money if a mac is the best route to go. I'm just afraid because you can't upgrade, and what if one thing breaks? Aren't the monitor and computer all one? Thanks for everyones opinions and advice :)
     
  12. ironsidephoto

    ironsidephoto TPF Noob!

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    There are many different types of macs. For your budget, I might recomment a mac mini? You supply your own keyboard/mouse/monitor, and they supply the computer. That way you get all of the benefits and stability of os x, and if you want to upgrade later you didn't put too much money into it. otherwise, saving up for an iMac would be your best bet I think. The thing about macs is that they hold their value much better than PCs do--if you take care of it, you can resell it for more later.

    Also, fyi, ram is totally upgradable, and easy on all macs. Don't buy ram from apple--buy it from a 3rd party. I chose to spend $160 to upgrade to 4gb ram for my iMac, while on apple it was $800 at the time.


    And definitely take heed of what the guy two posts up said--backup backup backup, on ANY system. mechanical parts fail.

    also if you're a student or know one, you can get an education discount from apple--it'll help a little. (and free printer anytime, and ipod if you get one in the summer)
     

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