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FORUMS General Gear Talk Computers 
Thread started 25 Apr 2010 (Sunday) 18:53
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Some advice on PC peformance and Mac's

 
Scooter650
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Apr 25, 2010 18:53 |  #1

I am coming here because I have learned so much from all of you. I currently use a Toshiba Satellite laptop with a core duo T5550 processor and 3GB RAM, Vista OS. It is fairly slow in Lightroom changing photos and rendering adjustments, and I worry that I am burning it up. It runs warm and hard, always running the fan when I am editing. I take it this is to be expected, but I wonder...bad or ok?

Next area is that I feel I might be at a crossroads. I would like something faster, but not much. The only thing that I really notice is that it does not render fast enough in LR, but most everything else seems fine (except that running fan and heat).

So my question to you is...does all this sound normal, and would I benefit at all from adding more RAM to the 4GB limit to the laptop. Leave the screen out of it, that is not my debate right now. Or...should I upgrade to an i5 laptop or PC (budget is about $700) with Windows 7?

And to throw a monkey wrench in everything...what type of Mac laptop does it take to compete and beat what I have. I see refurbs with the core duo processor and 4GB of RAM, but how does this compare. Can I do something like that and expect to be happy for a few years, or do I need to jump in at the $1,500 mark to be happy with a Mac? Last monkey wrench is will my PC programs work on a Mac or will I have to re-purchase?

Thanks for any and all advice. I just want to hear your opinions and advice.


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Moppie
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Apr 26, 2010 00:45 |  #2

The T5550 is only 1.8ghz, which is rather on the slow side for photo work, hence your problems.

If you want a cheap upgrade look for something with a 2.4ghz or faster CPU.
Most of the refurb macs will be faster, especially the Mac Pro Models.
But, you'll find lots of PC options as well.

Ideally though if your going to upgrade, then do it properly.
Look for an i5 or i7 based computer as these will be much faster than your current one. Note the new Macbook Pros now come with i5 and i7s, but maybe out side your budget.

With regards to moving to Mac, you will need to replace your software. Some of it you may have to buy new, some you maybe able to get different media at a small cost from the publisher.

But a Mac won't do anything that a similar Spec Windows 7 based computer will.

Now sit back and wait for the rhetoric:


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tim
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Apr 26, 2010 05:26 |  #3

An i5 desktop will be your fastest option by far, and the best value too. A mac will be the slowest for a given price. RAM won't help your current machine. I'd save a bit more and go from the i5 to an 8 core i7.


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Scooter650
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Apr 26, 2010 08:17 |  #4

Thank you both! Will 4GB of RAM keep me happy, with the ability to upgrade down the road? I would likely look at a laptop still (love the portability) and do an extra screen for the editing. Or maybe a desktop with a small laptop running LR3 so that I can shoot tethered...?


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kinghong1970
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Apr 26, 2010 08:45 |  #5

i'd save the money for a new laptop or a i5 desktop...
going from 3 to 4 GB in RAM is not going to do much...

check if your CPU on your laptop can be upgraded... most cases, it's not...
find out if indeed the CPU is your bottleneck... what about your GPU?

www.notebookreview.com (external link) is a good place to get info on laptops...


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Moppie
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Apr 26, 2010 13:45 |  #6

Scooter650 wrote in post #10067005 (external link)
Thank you both! Will 4GB of RAM keep me happy, with the ability to upgrade down the road? I would likely look at a laptop still (love the portability) and do an extra screen for the editing. Or maybe a desktop with a small laptop running LR3 so that I can shoot tethered...?


In a new computer 4GB would be an excellent starting point. Just make sure that if you go Windows again, you get a 64bit version of Windows 7, to make full use of it :cool:


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Gnhntn
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May 01, 2010 18:03 |  #7

tim wrote in post #10066500 (external link)
I'd save a bit more and go from the i5 to an 8 core i7.

There is no 8 core processor out. The most cores right now is 6, and am almost sure you won't want to spend that kind of money, over $1,000 just for the processor. The i7s are quad core with hyperthreading. Hyperthreading is not additional cores, but will help make with faster speeds. The i5 processor is no slouch, and I think it will do everything that you describe here. If planning on 4gb of ram just make sure you get the 64-bit OS, as previousily stated.


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tim
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May 01, 2010 18:29 |  #8

Yeah I know, but sometimes I simplify things a bit.


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BeritOlam
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May 01, 2010 19:34 |  #9

If your budget is a $700 laptop, then an i5 PC would probably be the place I would start looking.


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jetboy
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May 02, 2010 02:18 |  #10

Does Lightroom also utilize the video card with OpenGL Drawing like PS CS4? If so, then upgrading your processor will help, but, you will still have a slow video card that might be holding you back.


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ena
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May 02, 2010 11:55 |  #11

Lots of good comments in here so I'll just address the switch to mac question. Happiness is relative, I have been happy with a very old G4 laptop, and it hasn't slowed noticeably since I got it :), actually since switching to OS X it has "gotten faster" but task demands (# of megapixels etc.) has gotten a lot higher and technology marches onward and upward so I'll probably retire it sometime in the next year.

In the price range you are considering, a refurb macbook would be about the only choice. That would be a 2.26 GHz core 2 duo with 2Gig memory and integrated graphics (GPU uses system memory). It is a nice system but not on the bleeding or even leading edge of laptop HW specs. You could use bootcamp or virtualization SW to run Windows (and your current SW) but at that point you would probably be better off with different HW. A workflow that required switching between Windows and OS x would not be very efficient.

For what little it is worth, I work daily with multiple computers and OS combinations. Experts on a particular system can always get more out it than those unwilling or unable to invest the time and brain sweat required to figure out all the tweaks. Computers and SW design is always a series of compromises. This can generate very different approaches to the same basic problem. If/when you find something that works for you, stick with it. If what you have isn't working for you, there are always alternatives and that is a good thing.

I'll try not to start a Windows PC vs. Mac debate here but I'll leave you with the following. If you are happy with your current setup/workflow and just want more speed switching to a mac doesn't make a lot of sense, especially with your budget. If you have frustrations with your current tools it never hurts (except in the wallet) to look at other tools.


- Eric




  
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Scooter650
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May 02, 2010 15:47 |  #12

ena wrote in post #10106912 (external link)
Lots of good comments in here so I'll just address the switch to mac question. Happiness is relative, I have been happy with a very old G4 laptop, and it hasn't slowed noticeably since I got it :), actually since switching to OS X it has "gotten faster" but task demands (# of megapixels etc.) has gotten a lot higher and technology marches onward and upward so I'll probably retire it sometime in the next year.

In the price range you are considering, a refurb macbook would be about the only choice. That would be a 2.26 GHz core 2 duo with 2Gig memory and integrated graphics (GPU uses system memory). It is a nice system but not on the bleeding or even leading edge of laptop HW specs. You could use bootcamp or virtualization SW to run Windows (and your current SW) but at that point you would probably be better off with different HW. A workflow that required switching between Windows and OS x would not be very efficient.

For what little it is worth, I work daily with multiple computers and OS combinations. Experts on a particular system can always get more out it than those unwilling or unable to invest the time and brain sweat required to figure out all the tweaks. Computers and SW design is always a series of compromises. This can generate very different approaches to the same basic problem. If/when you find something that works for you, stick with it. If what you have isn't working for you, there are always alternatives and that is a good thing.

I'll try not to start a Windows PC vs. Mac debate here but I'll leave you with the following. If you are happy with your current setup/workflow and just want more speed switching to a mac doesn't make a lot of sense, especially with your budget. If you have frustrations with your current tools it never hurts (except in the wallet) to look at other tools.

- Eric

I am quite happy on PC, so I will stay with that. I can't justify switching to Mac just for the pleasure of paying more...:)

How about the video card, does that matter in LR?


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BeritOlam
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May 03, 2010 00:56 |  #13

Scooter650 wrote in post #10107960 (external link)
]How about the video card, does that matter in LR?

Using LR on a new system, virtually any card out there will do. Even the GPU's that share memory are fine, though you lose a little main memory in the process.


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Some advice on PC peformance and Mac's
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