Laptop recommendations?

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16 years 2 months ago #2482 by Midge
I'm looking at buying a laptop and am looking for some guidance from our resident pc guru's:D

It's primary use will be for photography work and I'll download CS2 onto it. No doubt it will be used for the Internet as well when I'm away from home.

So a good quality and sized screen and lots of grunt will be required. Should I be looking for GB's or Ghz[?] How do I tell a good screen from a poor one?

Any tips gratefully received:)
Cheers:)

[SIGPIC][/SIGPIC]Cheers[:)]
www.jerseycows.co.nz

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16 years 2 months ago #73259 by ame
Replied by ame on topic Laptop recommendations?
Hi,

You want GHz primarily, and as many Gb as you can get. You should find that most laptops are fast enough these days for anything, and RAM is upgradeable, so you can add some if you don't have quite enough.

Regarding the screen, laptops are not really designed for any specific purpose, so I doubt you will find one targeted specifically towards photographers. I assume you will want a large wide-screen laptop? To my mind this defeats the purpose having a laptop as it is physically large, but it's up to you. I'd suggest you Google around for reviews or join a photographers forum and ask. "Serious" photographers (like audiophiles) will laugh, but it's up to you to decide how much you can spend on the gear you need. In the end, the best screen is the one you like best. Take a look at the model you want in the shop and judge for yourself (and buy one with a guarantee that covers bad pixels on the display). Don't forget that 'in the studio' you can hook up a calibrated monitor to the output of the laptop and use that.

I'd also recommend you take a look at Macs. For the longest time these have been favoured by graphic designers and artists, so maybe they will have the kind of features you are looking for. If you do this then take a look at prices in Oz. I had a friend who flew to Oz, stayed a couple of days, bought a Mac laptop and the whole thing cost less than just the Mac in NZ...

Finally, think about your storage requirements. The laptop will probably have a slower hard disk than a desktop (in general 2.5" hard drives are slower). Think about external storage on firewire or USB2. Remember, RAW photo files can be large, and there is a penalty to pay not just in terms of the amount of RAM you need to work on them, but also the time it takes to read that amount of data from wherever it is to wherever you want it to be. Oh, and it goes without saying that you should have a comprehensive backup plan for your data, regardless of what you do.

And I'd try to avoid Vista if I were you, but that might be tricky (unless you get a Mac).

HTH,

A

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16 years 2 months ago #73298 by Inger
Replied by Inger on topic Laptop recommendations?
I would second Ame's recommendation that you take a look at a Mac. One of my sons has just completed a Design degree at Unitec. They had a whole classroom full of 19" iMacs there and they are truly an impressive piece of kit.

An iMac is very little bigger than an equivalent-sized LCD Monitor and yet it has the guts of a complete PC inside the back of the screen. Very very cool [8D]

If your budget doesn't quite stretch that far, I would go for a 22" or 24" LCD teamed up with whatever PC takes your fancy. You can plug an external monitor into a laptop, so no reason not to go that way if you prefer it. For working in Adobe CS, you really need at least a 19" monitor, which is more than you'll get on the average laptop by itself. Hence my suggestion of a laptop teamed up with a generous-sized LCD Monitor which are quite cheap these days. If you are happy to sacrifice the portability idea, just go for a desktop PC with at least Core2 Duo 2.4GHz CPU, at least 2GB of RAM and a 22" or 24" monitor.

Cheers,
Grant

(borrowed Inger's laptop)

45 hectares between Whangarei and Paparoa. Registered Dexter cattle, Wiltshire sheep - black, white & pied.
New Hampshire Red poultry & Dorking poultry. Pilgrim Geese, Appleyard Ducks.
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16 years 2 months ago #73328 by max2
Replied by max2 on topic Laptop recommendations?
I am finding the 17 inch for portability a tad of a challenge, but we really enjoyed watching The Simpsons Movie on the laptop last night, just had to prop it up on a chair closer to the lounge...

Love HP stuff, hate vista although received another lot of downloads at the airport before leaving on thursday. perhaps microsoft is pulling their fingers out?

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16 years 2 months ago #73421 by Midge
Replied by Midge on topic Laptop recommendations?
Many thanks for your help guys:) I've been chewing over your suggestions and figure as suggested, that I'm probably better to put my dosh into a really good LCD screen and desktop job.
Thanks again!
Cheers:)

[SIGPIC][/SIGPIC]Cheers[:)]
www.jerseycows.co.nz

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16 years 2 months ago #73428 by ame
Replied by ame on topic Laptop recommendations?
If you need to use a PC 'out-and-about' in conjunction with your photography work then you could take a look at the Asus EEE.

www.dse.co.nz/cgi-bin/dse.storefront/en/product/XC5809

(also available in Black).

It is not a workhorse, but it is *very* portable. I have heard photographers discussing having one as it can be used to view images on a slightly bigger screen than the camera, and also move files from the camera onto other storage devices (it has 3 USB ports).

I'm going to get one as soon as they are available here (I'm in Japan right now).

A

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16 years 1 month ago #73510 by ame
Replied by ame on topic Laptop recommendations?
Hmm, why was my last message not included in the count?

Curious.

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16 years 2 months ago #73652 by Midge
Replied by Midge on topic Laptop recommendations?
Thanks Ame. That is a very nifty looking machine. Will take it into consideration as well.

Cheers:)

[SIGPIC][/SIGPIC]Cheers[:)]
www.jerseycows.co.nz

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16 years 2 months ago #73676 by Kiwi303
Replied by Kiwi303 on topic Laptop recommendations?
For image and photography editing I'll second the comments about the Macs too. even tho I loathe macs themselves, they're excellent for image editing and photography modification if you do any work to the pics after you've saved them from the camera to the drive.

As I understand it and have had it explained to me:

It's something to do with the chip architecture which means that macs do the processes necessary to image modification better than PC chips. and also the way the Mac OS works. PC OS (Operating Systems) run the programs separate from the OS, Mac interweaves the programs with the OS.
In a PC, if the OS is running process X and the program you are running also runs process X the computer runs them as two distinct processes. which means they need to be logged through the chip and run separately. Mac OS's on the other hand will combine them and run a single larger Process X job and then split the output result and send the respective bits to the OS and the Program.
Macs also allow the programs to co-opt part of the OS instruction sets whereas PC progams must list those instructions themselves in order for the program to run them.

This means the MAC programs are like someone studying in a library, the programs can say "go to this shelf and use the instructions in these textbooks" whereas the PC program requires the student to have the book in their own bag. Which is why on average PC programs are larger than equivalent Mac programs.

You Live and Learn, or you don't Live Long -anon

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16 years 2 months ago #73698 by GrantK
Replied by GrantK on topic Laptop recommendations?

quote:Originally posted by Kiwi303

As I understand it and have had it explained to me:

It's something to do with the chip architecture which means that macs do the processes necessary to image modification better than PC chips.

This is no longer the case Kiwi. For the past couple of years, Macs have used exactly the same chip as PCs i.e. Intel processors. In fact it's now possible to run Windows on a Mac through a built-in facility called "Boot Camp" which is deliberately included by Apple.

quote:Originally posted by Kiwi303

...and also the way the Mac OS works. PC OS (Operating Systems) run the programs separate from the OS, Mac interweaves the programs with the OS.
In a PC, if the OS is running process X and the program you are running also runs process X the computer runs them as two distinct processes. which means they need to be logged through the chip and run separately. Mac OS's on the other hand will combine them and run a single larger Process X job and then split the output result and send the respective bits to the OS and the Program.
Macs also allow the programs to co-opt part of the OS instruction sets whereas PC progams must list those instructions themselves in order for the program to run them.

This means the MAC programs are like someone studying in a library, the programs can say "go to this shelf and use the instructions in these textbooks" whereas the PC program requires the student to have the book in their own bag. Which is why on average PC programs are larger than equivalent Mac programs.

Possibly true to some extent, although again, the difference is reducing with subsequent generations of Mac OS (now based on Unix) and the OS used on PCs, which can of course run Linux (also based on Unix). There is no doubt that PC programs are usually larger than the equivalent Mac programs, but this is often more to do with the much larger variety of PC hardware that must be supported vs. the more standardised Mac hardware.

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16 years 1 month ago #73714 by wyseyes
Replied by wyseyes on topic Laptop recommendations?

quote:Originally posted by ame

If you need to use a PC 'out-and-about' in conjunction with your photography work then you could take a look at the Asus EEE.

www.dse.co.nz/cgi-bin/dse.storefront/en/product/XC5809

(also available in Black).

It is not a workhorse, but it is *very* portable. I have heard photographers discussing having one as it can be used to view images on a slightly bigger screen than the camera, and also move files from the camera onto other storage devices (it has 3 USB ports).

I'm going to get one as soon as they are available here (I'm in Japan right now).

A

True it looks like a nice little laptop, but in truth it is little more than an oversized PDA. Be wary, it may not be capable of things other laptops consider standard, is it not for the average user. I think it has a special market, not the home user.

It has a 7inch screen. Even the old Mac Plus had a 9inch screen.
It has no storage, no hard drive. Internally it has a 4Gb stick for the OS (not included), but little else. Only by plugging in a USB drive can you save files from cameras etc. Or else dive through the wireless Network to another computer.
It probably won't be able to drive another monitor well either, so forget running the 20" widescreen with it.

I see you shiver in anticip......................................................................................ation

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16 years 1 month ago #73745 by ame
Replied by ame on topic Laptop recommendations?

quote:Originally posted by wyseyes

quote:Originally posted by ame

If you need to use a PC 'out-and-about' in conjunction with your photography work then you could take a look at the Asus EEE.

www.dse.co.nz/cgi-bin/dse.storefront/en/product/XC5809

(also available in Black).

It is not a workhorse, but it is *very* portable. I have heard photographers discussing having one as it can be used to view images on a slightly bigger screen than the camera, and also move files from the camera onto other storage devices (it has 3 USB ports).

I'm going to get one as soon as they are available here (I'm in Japan right now).

A

True it looks like a nice little laptop, but in truth it is little more than an oversized PDA. Be wary, it may not be capable of things other laptops consider standard, is it not for the average user. I think it has a special market, not the home user.

It has a 7inch screen. Even the old Mac Plus had a 9inch screen.
It has no storage, no hard drive. Internally it has a 4Gb stick for the OS (not included), but little else. Only by plugging in a USB drive can you save files from cameras etc. Or else dive through the wireless Network to another computer.
It probably won't be able to drive another monitor well either, so forget running the 20" widescreen with it.

Do you actually have a point? You clearly know little about this product, but let's enlighten everyone shall we?

Firstly, I didn't suggest the EEE for serious photographic editing etc. Simply to look at what files were where and to move them between drives. Actually, if you are not taking RAW images then your photo files will be a couple of Mb each and you could quite easily do some photo retouching with the EEE.

So, the EEE is not an oversized PDA, it is a small sized laptop. Please list the things it might not be able to do in comparison with a "real" laptop. I'd agree, it's not for the average user- it's for *everybody*. And why would you say it's not for the home user? What doesn't it do that a home user would want?

* Email
* Web
* Wordprocessing

That's all your average home user wants.

Let's now look at the screen. The Mac Plus indeed had a 9" screen, but it was black & white (not grayscale) with a resolution of 512x342. The EEE's screen is smaller (7") but it's colour with a resolution of 800x480. You can drive an external display at 1440x900 (if it's a widescreen) or a more conventional 1280x1024 if it's a normal PC monitor.

"It has no storage, no hard drive. Internally it has a 4Gb stick for the OS (not included), but little else."

Hmm, internally it does indeed have a 4Gb 'stick'. This is in lieu of a 'hard drive' but amounts to the same thing. The 4Gb 'stick' is a solid state hard drive, chosen because it's smaller, lighter, and more robust than a conventional mechanical spinning hard drive. You have about 1.5Gb of storage space internally. Oh, and the OS *is* included (how would it work otherwise?).

"Only by plugging in a USB drive can you save files from cameras etc." Not true- see above.

"Or else dive through the wireless Network to another computer." Well, that's handy- built-in wireless networking!

The EEE is no good for Midge's original application- photography work. However, Midge was starting to look at desktop machines for this, so I suggested an EEE as a 'tool' to carry around which will let you do a few simple things out in the field, and it's much smaller, lighter and more manageable than a 17" widescreen laptop. Not to mention cheaper.

A

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