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Thread started 07 Oct 2012 (Sunday) 10:38
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Desktop, laptop, tablet? One of them? Two? All?!

 
JimAndersson
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Oct 07, 2012 10:38 |  #1

Hi guys!

My self assembled desktop is nearing retirement. Unfortunately my laptop already should have been retired... about 3 years ago.

Now I'm wondering how I'm going to replace them.

I need power. Image sizes expand all the times and algorithms when post processing gets more advanced and I don't want to replace the main system earlier than in about 5 years. As you know a large amount of USB connectors is also a must with screen calibrators, card readers, printers and stuff.

I also want to be able to shoot tethered with my cameras. My main interest in this is not to have the photos automatically stored at the hard drive but to be able to review the photos as I take them in my studio. It would help me perfect my lighting skills. Let's face it, 3 inch displays are a wee bit small.

Gaming. I'm not a gamer but I do enjoy the occassional game and want to be able to do that when the system is close to retirement, in about 5 years.

Taking notes and handling documents. Probably I'm going to be a student again pretty soon. (A masters degree is apparently not enough for me.) :P I will commute and want to be able to write and review on the train as well as taking snap shots of white boards and make notes on lectures and maybe labs.

Lastly I read E-books on my phone and it would be awesome to have a bigger screen for that.

What would you do?

I'm thankful for any help and advice. :)
Cheers!




  
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the_weird_one
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Oct 07, 2012 15:36 |  #2

Mm probably go with a Alienware M14x a Targus Docking station + 24" IPS Monitor and an iPad.

Though not as powerful as a full blown desktop the M14x will give you a great compromise system and give you enough power to use as a desktop replacement. No doubt about it though an iPad is the best option for Photo display / ebook reader


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BroncoAZ
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Oct 07, 2012 18:49 |  #3

I purchased a new iPad (64 Gb with Verizon 4G) this week, I am blown away by the functionality of the device. I always looked at the iPads as a toy, but I'm currently in the market for a house and the ability to instantly check out a listing or look at the property on the Zillow app is great. I had the ability to do that before with a tethered connection on my phone plugged into my laptop, but the iPad is so much easier. Now that I have one I am finding work related uses, it may be able to replace my 8lb Dell lap-brick computer for day to day operations. Most of my onsite work requires using a projector with a PDF viewer or internet browser, the HDMI connector works great with my projector. I don't have a smartphone, so the iPad was not duplicating capability for me.

As for the computer, I have had great luck with the MacBook pro, but they are expensive compared to other offerings and may lack the raw processing power you are looking for. I have been debating on getting the 27" iMac computer for a desk unit, but I want to see their next update to it. USB 3.0 is a minimum requirement, and I don't think they have it yet.

I don't mean to sound like an apple fanboy, I have only had mac products for 18 months, but for me they just work with minimal frustration. My PC experience was not as stress free.


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-dave-m-
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Oct 07, 2012 21:52 as a reply to  @ BroncoAZ's post |  #4

Have no idea what your budget is, but I would invest in a higher end desktop and a mid level laptop.


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JimAndersson
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Oct 07, 2012 22:43 |  #5

-dave-m- wrote in post #15092540 (external link)
Have no idea what your budget is, but I would invest in a higher end desktop and a mid level laptop.

15000 sek which usually equals about $1500 since our taxes are higher.




  
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Luckless
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Oct 07, 2012 23:05 |  #6

Personally I am a fan of a solid workstation as the primary computer, and then a light weight laptop or possibly a tablet for your mobile unit. (I currently use an older i5 based desktop system I assembled myself, and an ASUS transformer TF301 with keyboard dock for my mobile work. Tablet is for content access and review, not editing, but I haven't really done any tethered shooting with it. Might do that tomorrow as a trial maybe.)

If you are technical minded, I strongly encourage assembly of your own system. (And for anyone I discourage Alienware products. You pay an arm and a leg for an ugly box around a computer better designed to fry eggs on than function as a portable computing device in most cases.)

Step 1 in building your own computer: Pick a quality case. I use an older Antec P-180 (Sadly their newer models of it were far lower in quality last I had seen), and I've had it nearly 10 years. It has held three or four 'computers', each with a handful of upgrades. A case can always be reused, and for better or worse ATX is likely here to stay. (Which sucks, because that motherboard layout is less than ideal for heat reasons. Sadly, it is what cases are made in, so mother boards are made in it, and since most mother boards are made to that formfactor, cases get made in it... An annoyingly hard cycle to break.)

Consider what you want, storage wise. I have five or six hard drives in that system, a few of which are there simply for legacy files. You might want to go with a smaller case that holds fewer drives, but I can still add lots more if I really want to. After you have decided how much physical room you need, start considering your processing usage.

For the vast majority of people these days, a mid-upper range Quad Core intel i5, in a lower end motherboard, and 8 gigs of mid speed ram does just fine as your base system. Include a decent quality powersupply based on the parts you use and those that you're considering, (Don't just throw a 1000watt rig in and assume you're doing any good. Many systems will actually be fine with a 300-400 watt system.) and the other odds and ends that you need.

Don't forget your software licenses either. I've known more than a few people who price out a system, order parts, put them together, and then remember they will need an operating system. (And a mouse and keyboard. So many of my friends have ordered new systems and forgotten they need a way to interact with it.)

So, write out how you see yourself using your new computer. What do you really want to do with it? What are your space requirements, (Memory, and physical space?) what might you be interested in using it for? How long are you willing to wait while batches of files get processed?


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JimAndersson
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Oct 08, 2012 03:13 |  #7

Luckless wrote in post #15092758 (external link)
Personally I am a fan of a solid workstation as the primary computer, and then a light weight laptop or possibly a tablet for your mobile unit. (I currently use an older i5 based desktop system I assembled myself, and an ASUS transformer TF301 with keyboard dock for my mobile work. Tablet is for content access and review, not editing, but I haven't really done any tethered shooting with it. Might do that tomorrow as a trial maybe.)

If you are technical minded, I strongly encourage assembly of your own system. (And for anyone I discourage Alienware products. You pay an arm and a leg for an ugly box around a computer better designed to fry eggs on than function as a portable computing device in most cases.)

Step 1 in building your own computer: Pick a quality case. I use an older Antec P-180 (Sadly their newer models of it were far lower in quality last I had seen), and I've had it nearly 10 years. It has held three or four 'computers', each with a handful of upgrades. A case can always be reused, and for better or worse ATX is likely here to stay. (Which sucks, because that motherboard layout is less than ideal for heat reasons. Sadly, it is what cases are made in, so mother boards are made in it, and since most mother boards are made to that formfactor, cases get made in it... An annoyingly hard cycle to break.)

Consider what you want, storage wise. I have five or six hard drives in that system, a few of which are there simply for legacy files. You might want to go with a smaller case that holds fewer drives, but I can still add lots more if I really want to. After you have decided how much physical room you need, start considering your processing usage.

For the vast majority of people these days, a mid-upper range Quad Core intel i5, in a lower end motherboard, and 8 gigs of mid speed ram does just fine as your base system. Include a decent quality powersupply based on the parts you use and those that you're considering, (Don't just throw a 1000watt rig in and assume you're doing any good. Many systems will actually be fine with a 300-400 watt system.) and the other odds and ends that you need.

Don't forget your software licenses either. I've known more than a few people who price out a system, order parts, put them together, and then remember they will need an operating system. (And a mouse and keyboard. So many of my friends have ordered new systems and forgotten they need a way to interact with it.)

So, write out how you see yourself using your new computer. What do you really want to do with it? What are your space requirements, (Memory, and physical space?) what might you be interested in using it for? How long are you willing to wait while batches of files get processed?

Thank you for your thorough answer. :)
I know myself around atleast the basics of computers and have built my current system myself.
I'm in no need of buying nu input devices right now so I will be fine with just the computer.

When I built my current system I had the philosophy that building a high end gaming system with as much RAM as possible would save me money in the end and now, 5 years later, I think I was right. So IF I opt for a stationary "power" system this is the way I'll do it. The question is how I shall solve the problem with mobility.

Oh. Both me and my girlfriend use the system as multimedia center watching movies and listening to music.




  
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Oct 08, 2012 03:50 |  #8

Agreed on building a powerful workstation and going with an inexpensive portable option. My workstation is nearing five years old and I'm looking to build a new one. I primarily need more memory but there's no practical way to upgrade when I'm using ddr2. There are some other items I want to replace that lend themselves to a new build as well. Fortunately my laptop is still doing fine though.

As far a whether you should get a tablet or a laptop, I think that really depends on what you want to do. I think the affordable tablet range (nexus 7 and kindle fires) has finally reached a semi sensible point but the higher end is still wanting. Honestly I think the Surface Pro could (if successful) be the spawn of a device design that I could see replacing my laptop with in a year or two.

Also, if you really want to read ebooks get an e-ink screen.


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JimAndersson
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Oct 08, 2012 04:52 |  #9

Colorblinded wrote in post #15093302 (external link)
Agreed on building a powerful workstation and going with an inexpensive portable option. My workstation is nearing five years old and I'm looking to build a new one. I primarily need more memory but there's no practical way to upgrade when I'm using ddr2. There are some other items I want to replace that lend themselves to a new build as well. Fortunately my laptop is still doing fine though.

As far a whether you should get a tablet or a laptop, I think that really depends on what you want to do. I think the affordable tablet range (nexus 7 and kindle fires) has finally reached a semi sensible point but the higher end is still wanting. Honestly I think the Surface Pro could (if successful) be the spawn of a device design that I could see replacing my laptop with in a year or two.

Also, if you really want to read ebooks get an e-ink screen.

What is an e-ink screen?




  
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Luckless
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Oct 08, 2012 08:37 |  #10

e-ink refers to the black and white displays used on dedicated e-book readers. They are front lit, not back, so they act more like reading off paper, and have no continuous refresh rate as normal displays do. Power off the device, and the words on the screen can remain as the energy is only used in changing what is displayed.

Two key advantages: They are far far easier on the eyes, you're not staring into a bright light source for hours on end to make yourself go bug-eyed. Because of the above, they're also not using much power, and you can go weeks or months without having to charge the device.

Another nice point is they tend to be cheaper, many models selling in the range of $80-150 CAD, vs $250+ for majority of multimedia tablets.

However, they are more limited in what they can do. Black and white screens currently, often only suited for text and not graphics, slow to change screen content so even if they were colour you couldn't watch movies. Few offer much in the way of doing things like checking your email. Many offer music playback as a bonus, simply because they would also support audio books. They focus on displaying EBook novels and text, and most models do it damn well. (Just stay away from the Sony line. Their software sucks, and their devices are less than stable.)


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JimAndersson
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Oct 08, 2012 12:49 |  #11

Ok. Unfortunately I don't think my budget allows for a dedicated reader.




  
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Oct 08, 2012 13:32 |  #12

JimAndersson wrote in post #15094743 (external link)
Ok. Unfortunately I don't think my budget allows for a dedicated reader.

Understandable, something to keep in mind at least, they're getting cheap enough perhaps you could treat yourself to one down the road. I bought myself one in January for my birthday for $100. I got the Nook Simple Touch which isn't available outside the US other than maybe in the UK and I love it.

Not sure what brands are available in your area, the Nook and Kindle are the big ones here. Sony and Kobo seem more common outside the US from what I've gathered.

Still, that's kind of not relevant to your immediate needs, just a suggestion.


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JimAndersson
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Oct 08, 2012 17:04 as a reply to  @ Colorblinded's post |  #13

Can you use an e ink display in the dark even though it's not back lit?




  
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RichSoansPhotos
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Oct 08, 2012 19:32 |  #14
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A tablet pc really is a glorified displaying device which can do bit more than just display and nothing else. Wouldn't spend on such a device for editing photos.




  
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Oct 08, 2012 20:33 |  #15

JimAndersson wrote in post #15095791 (external link)
Can you use an e ink display in the dark even though it's not back lit?

Anywhere you can read a book. There are more e-ink devices with built in lights now though.


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