laptop advice

Discussion in 'Digital Darkroom' started by allan_l., Nov 16, 2005.

  1. i'm looking to get a laptop. i'm not very technologically literate,
    so i could use some help with what i need to look for. the most
    important thing is that it will be good for photo-editing, and that
    it should be small and light for travelling. i prefer PCs, but have
    heard that macs are better for graphic work.

    any help would be greatly appreciated.
    allan
     
  2. Hi Allan, Here's my .02 cent's worth... There was a day when Apple had an edge over Windows with regards to photo editing but the de facto application - Photoshop - runs equally well on either platform now. You can find nice Apple laptops and nice Windows laptops and both will work fine.

    I would suggest getting as much RAM and disk space as you can afford. The fastest processor doesn't hurt either.

    I've had good luck with Dell. One thing I'd avoid is a wide screen because text gets very tiny. I'd get a DVD/CD burner and make sure it has both USB and Firewire ports.

    That's about it. Again, buy the fastest machine you can afford - Photoshop is a hog! Good luck!
     
  3. I am a card carrying Mac fanatic but if you are used to PCs and intend to use Photoshop then stick with them. The only real advantage Apple has over Windows is OS level colour management (which does not matter inside colour aware applications) and this will vanish when the next version of Windows is released.

    The monitors on laptops are uniformly lousy for colour sensitive work. My laptops backlighting is not even and you will find it difficult to get sufficient brightness range. I use my laptop hooked up to a less than portable 19" CRT for my photo editing. Even a deskop LCD will be a big improvement.

    If you are not impatient then you don't need a wickedly fast processor. You do need a decent amount of memory. 512MB is sufficient if you work with 8MP images and don't use 16bit layers. 1GB would be better. Memory is relatively cheap. Now Photoshop crawls when I work on images from my scanner from a combination of not enough memory and partially the fact my laptop is a steam powered antique ;)

    Get a big harddrive and then an external drive to back up (you should back up - trust me I know). Someone who is more PC savvy can help you more.
     
  4. I just bought me an MSI S270. It comes with an efficient AMD Turion 64bit processor, half a gig of ram (minus graphics memory), 80gig drive and DVDburner. Wireless and firewire is standard.

    The monitor is a 12" widescreen capable of 1280x800.

    I had an acer 5021 (or 5022?) earlier, but sold it because I found it to be too big. It had a 15.4" widescreen with the same resolution. Because both machines have the same resolution, but the S270 is 12" it appears to be ever so much sharper.

    The S270 is _tiny_ compared to the big and bulky 5022. So anyways here's my advice:

    1. Size first. Always. If you're going to be carrying it around look at 12" monitors. Sure, 15" is fun to have but you're going to have a hard time finding backpacks big enough for it.

    2. The graphics card is pretty much a non-sequitor. Anything is fine. Ditto processor, although you might want an efficient Pentium Mobile / Turion instead of a Pentium 4 power hog.

    3. DVD burner, so you cans burns yer stuff. CD burners are SO 1995.

    So, yeah. That's about it. As I said, I love my new S270, even though it's white and people mistake it for an ibook and therefore rip on me for it... There is a black version, though. :)
     
  5. For notebook PC, the prefere OS is Windows XP. Here are something you should take into consideration from my point of view:
    - RAM: 1GB, more and better and XP would use all you have and run better
    - CPU: Pentium Mobile even with not fatest CPU, it save you battery
    - Hardisk: at least 60GB fast disk
    - goof graphic card with at least 32 MB video RAM
    - CD/DVD writer: DVD support DVD+R(W) and DV-R(W), double layer even better
    - USB ports: at least 2, more and better and at least one is USB2
    - firewire: better have it for the videocam connection
    - modem and ethernet connectors: almost all have them on board..
    - at least 14' monitor, otherwise too hard to work with graphic editing
    - cards reader (MMC/SD, CF, ...)
    - PCMCIA slots for adding different additional equipment like card reader....
    - Bluetooth (communicate with mobile phone, another pc, ...)
    - wifi (for wireless internet connection like when you are in airport, ...)

    So, for good pure graphic editing, enough RAM, goofgraphic card, fast disk can help a lot...

    Don't forget, you need to calibrate the monitor...

    Hope my 2 cents can help
    Good luck
     
  6. thank you all for the great help.
    that was exactly what i needed.
    thanks again
     
  7. Just to add a couple of items to the many good suggestions you've already received...

    1. The latest trend in notebooks (laptops) is a wide aspect-ratio screen, which I find does NOT work as well for digital images as the standard aspect-ratio screen. The standard laptop screen has a width-to-height ratio of 4:3, whereas a wide laptop screen has a ratio of 16:10.

    2. If battery life between charges is important to you (very important if you travel with your laptop, but far less important if its use is mostly around your home), definitely get one with either Intel's Pentium-M or AMD's Turino processor. Either one is an excellent choice. Unlike the 32-bit Pentium-M's, the Turino's are more 'future-proof' as they are 64-bit compatible (although I don't believe that's a big deal for your intended use).
     
  8. Aaron's advice is right on. I have a Sony Vaio notebook with a Pentium M760 (2GHz/2MB Cache/533MHz FSB) + 1GB SDRAM + 64MB dedicated video card. Btw, for PS use avoid any integrated video that 'leaches' (shares) main system memory!

    While my main Photoshop machine is a desktop, I do run PS on the Vaio notebook at times and it performs very well indeed. Sony emphasizes multi-media performance in their notebooks and they are very well constructed (nothing on it could be considered flimsy). I like it so much, I've recommended it to several friends who are shopping for a notebook.
     

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