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FORUMS General Gear Talk Computers 
Thread started 07 Jan 2015 (Wednesday) 23:55
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Help choosing a laptop

 
Tony-S
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Jan 09, 2015 21:43 |  #16

dkizzle wrote in post #17374300 (external link)
Photo editing is a memory intensive task. With onboard video only your computer has to use portions of CPU & RAM to process video related tasks. When the computer is not able to handle everything it also creates an additional amount of storage used for processing by creating a swap file. A swap file is a large file on the hard drive that is being used in lieu of physical memory (which is a lot faster). A computer with onboard video has to put more load on CPU, RAM & HDD to accomplish above average tasks, which photo editing is. A computer with dedicated video card has dedicated GPU & vRAM which handles all video processing instead of computers own CPU & RAM.

You either have additional Graphic Processing Unit & video RAM helping your computer's CPU, RAM & HDD or you dont.

Taylor is right. Any benefits of a dedicated graphics card with Lightroom or Photoshop is likely inconsequential because they don't use the gpu for commonly-used photo tasks. My MacBook Air with its 1.7 gHz dual-core i7 can render 5D Mark II (23 MB) or Sigma DP1/3 Merrill (52 MB) files in real-time, but that's because the software I use, Aperture, leverages the gpu and even the measly HD5000 integrated gpu (40 processing cores) and system RAM are more than enough for those tasks. (Lightroom may also be fast enough, depending on one's hardware, but since I don't use it I can't say for sure.) If one is using Lightroom, the best benefits will be gained from quad-core i7 with 8 GB and an SSD, not a dedicated graphics card and 16 GB of RAM.


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tkbslc
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Jan 09, 2015 23:52 |  #17

dkizzle wrote in post #17374300 (external link)
Photo editing is a memory intensive task. With onboard video only your computer has to use portions of CPU & RAM to process video related tasks. When the computer is not able to handle everything it also creates an additional amount of storage used for processing by creating a swap file. A swap file is a large file on the hard drive that is being used in lieu of physical memory (which is a lot faster). A computer with onboard video has to put more load on CPU, RAM & HDD to accomplish above average tasks, which photo editing is. A computer with dedicated video card has dedicated GPU & vRAM which handles all video processing instead of computers own CPU & RAM.

You either have additional Graphic Processing Unit & video RAM helping your computer's CPU, RAM & HDD or you dont.

You are severely overstating this issue. You will use a couple hundred MB of RAM for the video, but the CPU has dedicated GPU cores, like I said earlier. It will not use the portion of the CPU that is used to run programs and the OS. The graphics card also locks physical RAM for this use so that there is no chance of it ever paging out to disk. If you totally exhausted the RAM, a file in memory would swap, not the video RAM.

Also, 8GB is actually lot of RAM. I know people think it isn't because it is common, but almost nobody chews through 8GB of ram regularly. I'm editing an 18MP raw file and added 10 adjustment layers and my Ram usage is at 4.3GB. That's with 10 browser windows open at the same time. The actual photo editor is using maybe 1GB.

So yes, you are right in that having a GPU saves system RAM, but it's about 200MB out of 8000+. It won't save CPU because the regular CPU is not used for it. It won't save disk because your system creates a page file anyway.


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dkizzle
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Jan 10, 2015 07:51 |  #18

tkbslc wrote in post #17374976 (external link)
You are severely overstating this issue. You will use a couple hundred MB of RAM for the video, but the CPU has dedicated GPU cores, like I said earlier. It will not use the portion of the CPU that is used to run programs and the OS. The graphics card also locks physical RAM for this use so that there is no chance of it ever paging out to disk. If you totally exhausted the RAM, a file in memory would swap, not the video RAM.

Also, 8GB is actually lot of RAM. I know people think it isn't because it is common, but almost nobody chews through 8GB of ram regularly. I'm editing an 18MP raw file and added 10 adjustment layers and my Ram usage is at 4.3GB. That's with 10 browser windows open at the same time. The actual photo editor is using maybe 1GB.

So yes, you are right in that having a GPU saves system RAM, but it's about 200MB out of 8000+. It won't save CPU because the regular CPU is not used for it. It won't save disk because your system creates a page file anyway.

I am not giving any specific percentage of the improvement but the fact remains that by adding a hardware component with dedicated resources you will be taking away from the shared usage of CPU and RAM. It will not save CPU processing on tasks that are done by CPU only. It will save CPU / RAM processing of video tasks that are now being handled by video cards GPU & vRAM. Now your computers CPU, RAM & HDD can work more efficiently since they have more available resources.


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Jan 10, 2015 08:13 as a reply to  @ dkizzle's post |  #19

dkizzle Please stop spreading this incorrect information. Intel CPU's with dedicated graphics have a dedicated portion of the chip that ONLY does GPU based tasks. It does not use the same part of the chip that the main CPU uses. So saying it will reduce CPU processing of video tasks is completely false because its to physically different portions of the chip. See the example intel 4 quad core chip layout below. This basic layout is true of all current intel chips the differences between them are the number of cores, how much L3 cache is on the chip and how large the integrated graphics area is as intel has several different tiers of intergrated graphics. It doesn't change the fact that there is a dedicated portion of the chip that handles graphics related process and that it is not the CPU cores themselves that do so.

IMAGE: http://images.anandtech.com/doci/7003/Screen%20Shot%202013-05-31%20at%207.59.16%20PM_575px.png


Yes it may SLIGHTLY reduce RAM usage but we are talking a few hundered MB out of 8,000 MB so perhaps a 2-3% of total ram no where near enough to make a significant or even noticeable performance impact. What a dedicated graphics chip will do is use more power which will reduce battery life and the battery life will be reduced much more than your theoretical RAM performance hit would be.

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Tony-S
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Jan 10, 2015 09:23 |  #20

dkizzle wrote in post #17375241 (external link)
I am not giving any specific percentage of the improvement but the fact remains that by adding a hardware component with dedicated resources you will be taking away from the shared usage of CPU and RAM. It will not save CPU processing on tasks that are done by CPU only. It will save CPU / RAM processing of video tasks that are now being handled by video cards GPU & vRAM. Now your computers CPU, RAM & HDD can work more efficiently since they have more available resources.

No one's disputing this but you are overstating its impact. It is so minimal for photographic (and to a large extent video rendering) that it is inconsequential for the great majority of tasks one will do in photographic manipulations. Especially with Photoshop and Lightroom.


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Jan 12, 2015 05:56 |  #21

EDIT: The following is the full text of a conversation with a live chat representative at the Lenova website. It's long, so feel free to skip to my next post where I give the cliffs

Vandana A : Thank you for choosing Lenovo Chat.


Vandana A: My name is Vandana. My rep id is 2900713392. Happy to help you today.
Hello. How are you doing today?


Doug Moon: I'm fine. And you?


Vandana A: I am good. Thank you for asking.


Vandana A: How may I help you today?

Doug Moon: Looking at computers. I am a photographer, so I do a lot of photo editing, and some video. Other than that, I use the computer for basic stuff like surfing, and watching videos...


Vandana A: Okay. Do you have a specific Lenovo product in mind?

Doug Moon: I am looking at the h50-50 90B7000JUS desktop, and also the new 17.3 inch laptop that has an IPS display.


Vandana A: Are you planning to purchase the machine?


Doug Moon: Will the quad core i7 in the desktop be a lot faster than the i5 dual core?


Doug Moon: yes, sometime soon.


Vandana A: Okay.


Vandana A: Yes. i7 processor is the faster processor than i5


Doug Moon: Will it be a noticeable difference?


Vandana A: There will be a slight difference. However, there will be a lot difference between i3 and i7.


Vandana A: Core i7 will be better for multitasking, multimedia tasks, high-end gaming, and scientific work.


Vandana A: i7 processors are certainly aimed at people who complain that their current system is "too slow."


Doug Moon: I don't game, but I want something that can handle video editing.


Vandana A: Okay. i7 would be the better processor for video editing.


Doug Moon: In comparing models, I see some processors with quad core have 8 threads and some have 4, will that make a lot of differernce>


Doug Moon: ^^


Vandana A: Unless and until you are prograsmming high end graphic applications.


Doug Moon: So a quad core i7 with 4 threads would suit my needs?


Vandana A: Video editing will require a 8 thread quad core processor.


Vandana A: It will highly recommended.


Doug Moon: Oh, OK. Thank you very much for your help.


Vandana A: My pleasure.


Vandana A: If you are placing the order online, please include my rep Id 2900713392 on the final page in the box below the credit card details and it will be highly appreciated. It helps us to track your order for the future reference.


Vandana A: Please do include my REPID while placing the order. So that I can manage your order in future too.


Vandana A: Is there anything else we can help you with?

Doug Moon: I am looking at this product on the B&H Photo website, for $658 plus $11 shipping...Lenovo H50-50 90B7000JUS Desktop Computer Do you know if I can get it cheaper ordering directly from your site?


Vandana A: Let me check that for you.


Vandana A: Are you a student or employee?


Doug Moon: No. I have a daughter that is a student.


Vandana A: Okay. We do offer student discounts.


Vandana A: Doug, I am afraid. The model is already sold out at the moment.


Vandana A: I am sorry about that.


Vandana A: You can go with the different model that has i7 processor.


Doug Moon: What model?


Vandana A: Let me check it for you.


Vandana A: Lenovo K450e - 57328800 - Black comes with 4th Generation Intel Core i7, 16.0GB RAM and 2TB 7200 RPM + 8GB SSHD hard drive.


Vandana A: The price is $899.99 before tax.


Vandana A: http://shop.lenovo.com …0e/?sb=:000001C​9:0001230A (external link):


Doug Moon: Give me a second to look at it


Vandana A: Sure.


Vandana A: Are we still connected?


Doug Moon: Yes, sorry. I was looking up "SSHD" vs SSD. I knew what SSD was.


Doug Moon: Is there any more discount for a student?


Vandana A: Yes. Would you like the discount for this model?


Doug Moon: Yes.


Vandana A: Okay.


Vandana A: The actual price is $549.99 and the student price is $529.99


Doug Moon: How much would shipping be to 30082?


Vandana A: Shipping is absolutely free any where with in USA.


Doug Moon: So, total, for the desktop you linked to it would be $529 plus tax?


Vandana A: $529 is before tax.


Doug Moon: I'll buy it!


Doug Moon: Let me know what I need to do.


Vandana A: Great. Shall we place the order now?


Doug Moon: Yes, Give me a second to get a credit card


Vandana A: Sure.


Vandana A: Just to confirm, would you like to place order for Lenovo K450e - 57328801 - Black: Weekly Deal with price $529?


Doug Moon: ^^ this number has a 1 at the end, the other ended in 0, are they the same?


Vandana A: Could you please be more specific?


Doug Moon: The numbers are a little different: Vandana A: Lenovo K450e - 57328800 - Black comes with 4th Generation Intel Core i7, 16.0GB RAM and 2TB 7200 RPM + 8GB SSHD hard drive.


Doug Moon: Those are the same?


Vandana A: The specs that you mentioned above are different from the one I gave you.


Vandana A: The other one comes with i5 processor.


Vandana A: Lenovo K450e - 57328800 - Black: Weekly Deal
Web price:$1,199.00
After Instant Savings:
$879.99


Doug Moon: Student discount?


Vandana A: The price above is with the student discount.


Doug Moon: Oh. Ok. Well, I'm sorry we couldn't make a deal today. I really appreciate your time and help.


Vandana A: Not a problem.


Vandana A: My pleasure.


Doug Moon: Have a good day.


Vandana A: If you are placing the order online, please include my rep Id 2900713392 on the final page in the box below the credit card details and it will be highly appreciated. It helps us to track your order for the future reference.


Vandana A: To ensure that we are always improving our service, you may receive a survey invitation at the end of the chat session to tell us what you think about our products and services. Your feedback will be highly appreciated.

Vandana A: Thank you for contacting lenovo sales chat. Have a great day.


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Post edited over 4 years ago by sandwedge. (2 edits in all)
     
Jan 12, 2015 08:06 |  #22

^^ Cliffs on the above post:

I went to the Lenova website and decided to "Live Chat" with a representative. I'm trying to decide between the i5 laptop with IPS screen ($635) and an i7 quad core desktop ($650 + monitor).

After she convinces me that I need an i7, she links me to a machine with awesome specs with a price of $899 + tax. We had talked about a student discount earlier (my daughter is a student). I ask her about it, and she quotes me $529!

I agree to buy it and go to get my credit card.

When she starts to finalize the deal, I notice the model numbers don't match. I ask her about it. She acts confused and then says I'm not giving her the right number (even though I had copy a pasted her exact specs and model number).

She then says that is a different model and says the $529 computer is an i5.

I politely end the conversation and log off.


Edit: After looking at her link she provided for the i7, the i5 model is also on that page. So possibly, this wasn't a bait and switch, and maybe more of just a mistake on her part in quoting me the $529. At any rate, it's a good thing I caught it. For a minute there, I thought I had hit the lottery!


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Jan 12, 2015 08:46 |  #23

Dang ! You had me searching for MY credit card almost as I read. ;)
I'm sticking with i7 quad core, but just can't find anything that rings my bell for under 1K.
Good look and keep us posted.




  
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dkizzle
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Jan 12, 2015 10:42 |  #24

mrfixitx wrote in post #17375280 (external link)
dkizzle Please stop spreading this incorrect information. Intel CPU's with dedicated graphics have a dedicated portion of the chip that ONLY does GPU based tasks. It does not use the same part of the chip that the main CPU uses. So saying it will reduce CPU processing of video tasks is completely false because its to physically different portions of the chip. See the example intel 4 quad core chip layout below. This basic layout is true of all current intel chips the differences between them are the number of cores, how much L3 cache is on the chip and how large the integrated graphics area is as intel has several different tiers of intergrated graphics. It doesn't change the fact that there is a dedicated portion of the chip that handles graphics related process and that it is not the CPU cores themselves that do so.

QUOTED IMAGE


Yes it may SLIGHTLY reduce RAM usage but we are talking a few hundered MB out of 8,000 MB so perhaps a 2-3% of total ram no where near enough to make a significant or even noticeable performance impact. What a dedicated graphics chip will do is use more power which will reduce battery life and the battery life will be reduced much more than your theoretical RAM performance hit would be.

I know that there is a GPU, hence me calling in it onboard GPU. The onboard GPU is a lot less powerful when compared even to a GPU from even a budget video card and night and day compared to GPU required to run new FPS games. Some games use 2 $750 video cards running in sync to get the performance that they want.

How caching works:

CPU caches are small pools of memory that store information the CPU is most likely to need next. Which information is loaded into cache depends on sophisticated algorithms and certain assumptions about programming code. The goal of the cache system is to ensure that the CPU has the next bit of data it will need already loaded into cache by the time it goes looking for it (also called a cache hit).

A cache miss, on the other hand, means the CPU has to go scampering off to find the data elsewhere. This is where the L2 cache comes into play — while it’s slower, it’s also much larger. Some processors use an inclusive cache design (meaning data stored in the L1 cache is also duplicated in the L2 cache) while others are exclusive (meaning the two caches never share data). If data can’t be found in the L2 cache, the CPU continues down the chain to L3 (typically still on-die), then L4 (if it exists) and main memory (DRAM).

L1/L2 caches are dedicated to each of the cores and not shared like L3. When each core of CPU is doing its processing it fetches data it needs to complete the task from the fastest cache it has access to (L1/L2) and when they are full it is moved to the next closest place where it can store data and that happens to be L3. L3 is a shared cache and its little amount of space (few megs, not gigs) is shared between all the cores and and onboard GPU. The next place that data is stored and accessed is from DRAM, followed by HDD. When CPU has to access this information to process the tasks at hand it has to wait longer to process the request.

So onboard GPU takes away L3 resources which creates L3 cache misses (requests for data) and CPU cores have to reissue the requests and access this data from slower memory storage (DRAM, HDD). A definition of a computer related bottleneck is a mismatch inside the computer where slower-speed peripheral buses and devices prevent the CPU from being used to its fullest capacity. This makes onboard CPU the component responsible for slowing CPU cores from being able to process information at full speed.

I am not an Intel engineer and I cannot comment on how much L3 resources onboard GPU takes. I do know that in older CPU this was dynamic and each one of the users can take a bigger chunk than the others. In some of the newer Intel CPU's onboard GPU has a dedicated chunk of L3 cache. I can only take a guess to why this was done and it would be because without dedicated part of the cache onboard GPU can take larger piece of the cache and slow down cores of the CPU.

This is just on L3 cache misses and I am sure there are measurable implications on higher usage of DRAM & HDD (ie. swap file, scratch file). I disagree with your estimate that having a video card with a more powerful GPU & vRAM will only improve RAM performance of a computer by 2-3%.


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Jan 12, 2015 11:02 as a reply to  @ dkizzle's post |  #25

Yes expensive graphics card are better than an integrated graphics cards and sli/crossfire for using multiple graphics cards for better performance is not uncommon for people who want to play games and play the newest and best games. None of that applies to the OP.

The OP is not interested in gaming only in photo editing for simply driving a display with no need for 3d the rendering, advanced lighting effects etc... The ram usage is minimal in comparison.

It's like comparing a school bus vs a prius. You need a lot more gpu ram for games than running a simple desktop application.

Lightroom is not rending character models with 5 thousand polygons doing 4x anti aliasing as 3 different lighting effects like graphics cards do while gaming.

So the integrated gpu is doing to be doing very minimal work thus the low ram impact. If you were trying to play the new call of Duty on it while also running a lightroom or photoshop on another monitor then yes the impact would be dramatic however that is not the original use case presented.


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Jan 12, 2015 12:50 |  #26

mrfixitx wrote in post #17378828 (external link)
Yes expensive graphics card are better than an integrated graphics cards and sli/crossfire for using multiple graphics cards for better performance is not uncommon for people who want to play games and play the newest and best games. None of that applies to the OP.

The OP is not interested in gaming only in photo editing for simply driving a display with no need for 3d the rendering, advanced lighting effects etc... The ram usage is minimal in comparison.

It's like comparing a school bus vs a prius. You need a lot more gpu ram for games than running a simple desktop application.

Lightroom is not rending character models with 5 thousand polygons doing 4x anti aliasing as 3 different lighting effects like graphics cards do while gaming.

So the integrated gpu is doing to be doing very minimal work thus the low ram impact. If you were trying to play the new call of Duty on it while also running a lightroom or photoshop on another monitor then yes the impact would be dramatic however that is not the original use case presented.

You keep changing the subject to gaming. I never said anything about gaming or using high end graphic cards for OP. I knew he was only using it for Lightroom and I do not define it as a simple desktop application. It requires a lot more CPU, RAM & HDD resources to operate than Microsoft Office. Photo editing & graphic design in Adobe applications is not something a casual user with a most basic GPU would be doing.

To play newest version of Call of Duty some players run 2 high end video cards along with a pimped out computer to have a smooth playing experience. You saying that someone would run Adobe application at the same time on another screen is ludicrous. Running a combination of them would be foolish for anyone to begin with. Gamers try to optimize their computer performance and spend $1000+ per each video card. I know that OP doesnt need that much power but I know that someone who wants to run a high display resolution and work with RAW files that are much larger would want to invest $100 into a dedicated graphics card which would provide a more powerful GPU chipset, its own dedicated memory (you can get 1GB+ of vRAM) and either dedicated or dynamic chunk of L3 freed up for CPU cores to utilize for faster processing.

PS. You can also claim that onboard / integrated flash on Canon cameras is within 2-3% as dedicated Canon flashes for most generic user and that only very high end photographers would need them, who typically run high end equipment and multiple flashes.


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Jan 12, 2015 14:22 as a reply to  @ dkizzle's post |  #27

Yes I keep mentioning gaming because that's what gpu are built for. That's the point that if your not gaming a gpu barely does any work because it's designed to do work that is far far more complicated and taking than display the windows desktop or the lightroom interface.

Even the current generation of intel integrated gpu can play that are much more challenging than rendering and desktop or lightroom.

It's like asking a weight lifter to carry a 5lb weight. It's not going to be challenging enough that he has to expend a lot of energy to do so. The same with a gpu displaying a Windows desktop or other applications outside of games.


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Jan 12, 2015 19:50 as a reply to  @ mrfixitx's post |  #28

Here you go GPU v-ram usage on a 1080p desktop while running firefox and 5 tabs and lightroom. 312MB of vram usage on GTX 770 and that was the highest I saw it go in the few minutes I watched. I saw it fluctuate between 280-312MB which based on 8GB of ram comes out to be only 3.8% of ram usage.

The intel integrated GPU would use no more than that because it would be rendering the same amount of pixels etc....


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Jan 12, 2015 20:06 |  #29

I know I'm a little late to the party but I would suggest checking out notebookcheck.net for reviews of various notebooks. Pay special attention to the section on the screen quality since you'll be using this for photo editing. Especially important since your budget is in the range of laptops with less then optimal screens. The last thing you want is to hate looking at it every time you use it.


To get the most bang for your buck you may want to check out the various outlet sites. For example, for a little bit more then your high end budget you can get a really nice Lenovo W540 from their outlet site. I7, 16GBRam, 256SSD, etch: http://outlet.lenovo.c​om …s/R90BF8ER-20BGCTR1WW/445 (external link)

Stock goes in and out a lot so take your time and check often. On the dell side they always have deals for extra $$ off so look for those as well.


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Photography-on-the.net Digital Photography Forums is the website for photographers and all who love great photos, camera and post processing techniques, gear talk, discussion and sharing. Professionals, hobbyists, newbies and those who don't even own a camera -- all are welcome regardless of skill, favourite brand, gear, gender or age. Registering and usage is free.