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HELP! best laptop for photo editing!!!

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Thread started 28 Dec 2009 (Monday) 15:54   
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bpreston2
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Hey,

I'm currently looking at buying a new laptop which will be used primarily for editing professional photos. To be honest, I really do not even know where to start, however, I am looking at a higher end PC and plan on spending up around $2500 but price is not that big of an issue. I am pretty much set on a laptop for the mobility and am not interested in Macs either as I am familiar with PCs and would rather not have to learn how to use a different OS. So, I'm probably looking at a computer with:

Nice screen/display
At least 6GB RAM
Decent amount of space (250 gigs at least although I store most of my pictures externally)
Fast Processor
Top of the line Graphics Card
Windows 7

These are the basics that I'm looking at and would also be willing to customize or change any specs

Thanks so much for your help!

Post #1, Dec 28, 2009 15:54:03




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basroil
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No such thing as top of the line graphics in laptops, the BEST laptop cards are only as good as 2-3 year old MAINSTREAM desktop cards. the geforce 280m is actually a 8800gt), and the ati card isn't any better. If you need graphics, get a desktop and small laptop.

If you MUST have only a laptop, get a dell studio xps 16 with i7

Post #2, Dec 28, 2009 15:59:55


I don't hate macs or OSX, I hate people and statements that portray them as better than anything else. Macs are A solution, not THE solution. Get a good desktop i7 with Windows 7 and come tell me that sucks for photo or video editing.
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bpreston2
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Thanks again and for the fast reply :)

Post #3, Dec 28, 2009 16:06:24




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va_rider
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+1 on the Studio... but I'd get the Studio 17 w/ the i7, the 1GB Graphics, and 6GB of DDR3 1333mhz RAM... I use my 17" Laptop for Photo editing, 3d Animation, Revit Architecture, AutoCAD, and various other lovely things... a desktop can do it cheaper, but since you can get a studio 17 with 1GB of Graphics, and a 1080P display.... the desktop isn't doing much of anything better.

Post #4, Dec 28, 2009 16:08:37


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basroil
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va_rider wrote in post #9277777external link
+1 on the Studio... but I'd get the Studio 17 w/ the i7, the 1GB Graphics, and 6GB of DDR3 1333mhz RAM... I use my 17" Laptop for Photo editing, 3d Animation, Revit Architecture, AutoCAD, and various other lovely things... a desktop can do it cheaper, but since you can get a studio 17 with 1GB of Graphics, and a 1080P display.... the desktop isn't doing much of anything better.

My $100 graphics card does any 3d program better, my i7 desktop model has almost twice the power, my desktop hard disks are four times larger and twice as fast, my dual 24" monitors are larger w/ faster refresh and better color, etc.

Even an inexpensive desktop can be as good or better than the best laptops. And if you spend $2000 total, you can get yourself a powerful desktop with good monitors, and a very portable laptop with great battery life.

Post #5, Dec 28, 2009 16:11:20


I don't hate macs or OSX, I hate people and statements that portray them as better than anything else. Macs are A solution, not THE solution. Get a good desktop i7 with Windows 7 and come tell me that sucks for photo or video editing.
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va_rider
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basroil wrote in post #9277801external link
My $100 graphics card does any 3d program better, my i7 desktop model has almost twice the power, my desktop hard disks are four times larger and twice as fast, my dual 24" monitors are larger w/ faster refresh and better color, etc.

"Better" is a relative term.... whoopee... your desktop and dual monitors must look great in the full room of your house you have to dedicate to it... and the extra .000001 of a second that yours does 3d Renderings faster must save you all sorts of time... as for your i7 being faster.... yeah... a few tenths and hundredths faster is available in a desktop in comparison to a laptop.... once again... a few milliseconds... Hard drives are larger? Neato... you can get the Studio 17 with 1.5TB of storage... do you need more than that? if so, you should look into external storage, and saving your work in more than one spot...


Desktops are cheaper... in today's world of Ultra Fast PC's, the difference in performance is negligible.... who cares that you can get .35ghz faster in a desktop? You can't notice the difference anyhow.

I'm sitting in my Lazy Boy with my 17" machine in my lap. When I travel, it goes with me. Do you pack up your huge, heavy desktop and dual ridiculous monitors and pack it all in a carry-on?

Additionally, the OP asked for a Laptop.

Post #6, Dec 28, 2009 16:18:59


Canon 5dmkIII, Sigma 15mm f/2.8FE; 35mm f/1.4; Canon EF70-200 f/2.8L IS II; --- YN560 x 7
I'm not a professional photographer, and I don't want to be.
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basroil
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va_rider wrote in post #9277845external link
"Better" is a relative term.... whoopee... your desktop and dual monitors must look great in the full room of your house you have to dedicate to it... and the extra .000001 of a second that yours does 3d Renderings faster must save you all sorts of time... as for your i7 being faster.... yeah... a few tenths and hundredths faster is available in a desktop in comparison to a laptop.... once again... a few milliseconds... Hard drives are larger? Neato... you can get the Studio 17 with 1.5TB of storage... do you need more than that? if so, you should look into external storage, and saving your work in more than one spot...


Desktops are cheaper... in today's world of Ultra Fast PC's, the difference in performance is negligible.... who cares that you can get .35ghz faster in a desktop? You can't notice the difference anyhow.

I'm sitting in my Lazy Boy with my 17" machine in my lap. When I travel, it goes with me. Do you pack up your huge, heavy desktop and dual ridiculous monitors and pack it all in a carry-on?

Additionally, the OP asked for a Laptop.

I don't think you read my post (or ANY benchmarks). We aren't talking about 5-10% differences here, we are talking about 100-500% differences.

I personally have two machines, a fast desktop for actual work, portable laptop with good battery life for traveling around and such. Works great, since you never really edit on the road, and photo work generally means having a calibrated (desktop) monitor.

Post #7, Dec 28, 2009 17:34:28


I don't hate macs or OSX, I hate people and statements that portray them as better than anything else. Macs are A solution, not THE solution. Get a good desktop i7 with Windows 7 and come tell me that sucks for photo or video editing.
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bpreston2
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wow, thanks for all the info! super helpful! :)

Post #8, Dec 28, 2009 18:11:53




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tancanon58
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Google for laptop 1080p you will find two sizes of monitors 16" and 18" which are quite heavy. I do researching to find one but it seems the "good one" is over my budget.

Good luck.

Post #9, Dec 29, 2009 20:04:16


Bodies: 5D MkIII/ Oly ED-M5/ G10
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basroil
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tancanon58 wrote in post #9286151external link
Google for laptop 1080p you will find two sizes of monitors 16" and 18" which are quite heavy. I do researching to find one but it seems the "good one" is over my budget.

Good luck.

http://www.dell.com ...studio-xps-16&s=dhs&cs=19external link

under 3kg for that, and that's just about how much my 12in laptop weighs... hell, even the lightest regular laptops (under 13") are usually over 2kg

Post #10, Dec 29, 2009 21:12:27


I don't hate macs or OSX, I hate people and statements that portray them as better than anything else. Macs are A solution, not THE solution. Get a good desktop i7 with Windows 7 and come tell me that sucks for photo or video editing.
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Nightstalker
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The issue I have always had with Laptops for editing is not in the power of them but rather in the quality of the screen and how well they calibrate.

You can visibly see the colours change on a laptop screen if you move your head left to right and if you change the tilt angle of the screen - say by sitting up a bit then OMG!!!

This is why I would always do my editing on a desktop with a decent monitor.

Laptops are great and I use one when shooting proms and the like but I don't use it to edit - simply to drive the printer once I have selected an exposire setting that prints out well (even though it may look crap on the laptop screen).

Post #11, Dec 30, 2009 15:51:45


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firstclass
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va_rider wrote in post #9277845external link
Desktops are cheaper... in today's world of Ultra Fast PC's, the difference in performance is negligible.... who cares that you can get .35ghz faster in a desktop? You can't notice the difference anyhow.

This is absolutely not true. A desktop is significantly faster than any laptop currently available.

Post #12, Dec 30, 2009 15:57:41




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nikhilnh
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firstclass wrote in post #9291551external link
This is absolutely not true. A desktop is significantly faster than any laptop currently available.


I second that. Even if a laptop and a desktop processor has the same clock speed the power ( Max TDP) used by a desktop processor is much greater than the laptop counterpart. When a laptop processor is running at lower power, there is no way that it's performance would be comparable to that of the desktop processor.

Post #13, Dec 30, 2009 16:36:58


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nikhilnh
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basroil wrote in post #9277801external link
My $100 graphics card does any 3d program better, my i7 desktop model has almost twice the power, my desktop hard disks are four times larger and twice as fast, my dual 24" monitors are larger w/ faster refresh and better color, etc.

Even an inexpensive desktop can be as good or better than the best laptops. And if you spend $2000 total, you can get yourself a powerful desktop with good monitors, and a very portable laptop with great battery life.

I have to agree with basroil. I was in a similar situation sometime back and I ended up doing the same exact thing. Bought a desktop with core i7 processor and a laptop with great battery life.

At one point I even got a 16 in high end laptop with a quad core processor thinking that I would be getting a desktop replacement. But after seeing the amount of heat it generated and its battery life, there was no way I would use it like a laptop, I had to use it like a desktop.

Post #14, Dec 30, 2009 16:54:49


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MikeC710
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Hi folks, I am also in the unhappy position of looking for a new laptop for photo editing. The impact on wallet and calendar to buy and commission a new computer is significant, and the decision demands some research. With credit to the OP for yelling HELP, a feeling I share, I have done a little reading here and also some digging.

Can I rely on a high-end laptop that will take me on the road AND do the heavy lifting without leaving performance on the table? Or is my money better spent buying a higher performance desktop and a budget laptop for travel? Am I really going to get 4-6 hrs battery life in any case? Should I opt for the lesser know supplier to save money, or will I get stuck due to poor service or the company going under? Also I run several PC's and would prefer to avoid a MAC vs. PC debate. I am not going to go the fruit route without at least a VERY compelling cost/benefit analysis.

These articles suggest real laptop battery life is 1/2 or less of rated:

http://www.newsweek.co​m/id/202572external link
http://www.pcworld.com ...rks_are_out_of_juic​e.htmlexternal link
http://www.batteryuniv​ersity.com/parttwo-34.htmexternal link

The prospect of only 1-2 hrs battery life is a big concern in laptops and I can see why it might limit portable photo-editing systems.

To get some specifics I looked at I7 laptops from Dell and XoticPC. The Dell Studio XPS 16 I spec'd at $1669 after discount. The build summary is attached. The ASUS G51JX-A1 comparison from xoticpc is $1568 (saved $100) after discount. Both have 9-cell battery options:

ASUS G51JX-A1 - PRE ORDERexternal link
- !! FREE !! UPS GROUND SHIPPING (Use Coupon Code FREESHIP in Checkout - US Only)
- 15.6" WUXGA FHD "Glare Type" Super Clear Ultra Bright LED Glossy Screen (1920x1080)
- ASUS Zero Bright Dot (ZBD) 30 Day Pixel Guarantee
- - Intel® Core™ i7-720QM, 1.60-2.80GHz, (45nm, 6MB L3 cache) - Standard
- Stock OEM Thermal Compound
- nVidia GeForce GTS 360M 1,024MB PCI-Express GDDR5 DX10
- No External Graphics Card
- No Video Adapter
- 6,144MB (6GB) DDR3 1066MHz Dual Channel Memory (2GBx3)
- Standard Finish
- - Combo Dual Layer SuperMulti 8X DVDRW Drive w/ Software
- - 500GB 7200RPM 8MB Cache Buffer (Serial-ATA II 3GB/s) - Default
- No Back Up Hard Drive
- No Floppy Drive
- Internal 8-in-1 Card Reader: MMC/SD/Mini-SD/XD/Memory Stick/MS Pro/MS Duo/MS Pro Duo
- Internal Bluetooth + EDR
- Built-in 802.11 Wireless A/B/G/N
- No Network Accessory
- Built in 2.0 Megapixel Camera
- No TV Tuner
- Sound Blaster Compatible 3D Audio - Included
- Asus G Series Matching Backpack made by Targus
- ADD Asus M5 9 Cell Battery
- No Car Adapter
- None Standard*
- No Dock/Hub/Adapter
- No Fingerprint Reader
- Asus G Series Razor Gaming Mouse
- No Notebook Cooler
- Windows 7 Home Premium 64-Bit - Standard
- No Office Software
- No Software Bundle
- 2 Year ASUS GLOBAL Warranty, 24/7 Support, 1 Year Accidental Coverage & 2-Way Pre-Paid Air Shipping for Repairs (N.A. Accidental Requires Registration w/ ASUS)
- No Xotic PC Gear

I notice xoticpc estimated battery life at 1-2 hours for more powerful laptops, and lists the ASUS UL30A-A2 ($775, 13" screen) at 12 hrs (will I get 6?):

  • Model: Asus UL30A-A2
  • Display: 13.3" HD LED Glossy (1366x768)
  • CPU: Core 2 Duo CULV SU7300 1.3GHz
  • RAM: 4096 MB DDR3 1066MHz
  • HDD: 500GB 5400RPM
  • CD: Optional
  • Wireless: Built In WIFI
The Dell desktop Studio XPS 9000 has the "920" I7 CPU (how much better than the "720"?)and is $1268, about $400 less than the Studio XPS 16 laptop. For my $400 I can get a stripped Dell Inspiron 15 with Celeron 900, a 4 cell battery and WinVista. (I have to comment here that this is not much of a step up from the Inspiron 2200 WinXP unit I am on now which will soon be the family email-PC). A 9-cell option is another $175.

Dell Inspiron 15 $399

Software & ServicesIntel® Celeron® 900 (1MB cache/2.20GHz/800Mhz FSB)

Genuine Windows Vista® Home Basic Edition SP1

1 Year Basic Mail-In Service Plan

2GB Shared Dual Channel DDR2 at 800MHz

160GB SATA Hard Drive (5400RPM)

4-cell battery

No Webcam Option

Dell Wireless 1397 802.11g Half Mini-Card

Intel Graphics Media Accelerator X4500HD

8X CD/DVD Burner (Dual Layer DVD+/-R Drive)

High Definition Audio 2.0

Jet Black


My AccessoriesMicrosoft® Works 9

McAfee SecurityCenter, 30-Day Trial

Dell Online Backup 2GB for 1 year

Also Includes
Bright, glossy widescreen 15.6 WLED display (1366x768)
Adobe® Acrobat® Reader 9.0
Integrated 10/100 Network Card
Intel® CELERON® Processor
No ISP requested

XoticPC did not have any desktop units for comparison, but there are some "build a desktop I7" articles

http://www.pcmag.com ...le2/0,2817,2353404,​00.aspexternal link

which suggest a price for components of under $1700. Comments suggest the estimate is too low - maybe someone has a desktop I7 recommendation from an alternative supplier?

Another factor is that you can dock a laptop or run an external video card which will allow you better graphics in the studio and you can unplug and hit the road with the same unit at reduced screen performance. I need to understand more about this option before I can spec it confidently.

I would like to see some feedback with specific system comparisons and pricing to help decision making. I expect this is a big decision for a lot of us and there are some $'s at stake. The cost of selling a bad decision at a big loss is enough reason to do some digging.

Post #15, Jan 07, 2010 11:01:49 as a reply to nikhilnh's post 7 days earlier.


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