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Discussion in 'General Discussion' started by NANCY, Apr 11, 2005.

  1. NANCY


    Mar 14, 2005
    I don't have a laptop computer but am thinking about buying one. I have two questions that I would really appreciate help with:

    1. What is the best laptop to take to workshops, on trips, etc.?
    2. What is the best laptop to use as a home computer?
    3. Is there one laptop that would fulfill both purposes?

    I guess I really had three questions. Help --------------- please.
  2. Chris101


    Feb 2, 2005
    A 15 inch Powerbook is hard to beat for all around versatility. I have a PB that I use for travel, and it's like having a HUGE image storage device with a big screen and Photoshop (and a web browser) built in.

    If you prefer Windows, Dell, Sony and Toshiba make some fine machines.
  3. NANCY


    Mar 14, 2005
    Is Powerbook made by Apple? If I've always used Windows, is it hard to make the switch? I'm not real computer literate.
  4. PGB


    Jan 25, 2005
    I'm not up to speed on Power Books (Mac) but I have owned probably one model of the main manufacturers over the past several years.

    Currently I'm running an Acer Pentium 4 2.8ghz with 80gb hard drive and 1gb of memory. It works well with PSCS and capture, especially when I connect my 19" LCD monitor to it.

    Of all the brands of laptops I have ever owned I liked my IBM thinkpad the best. I had an I series which was a Celeron 600 and once I got into digial photography it just couldn't handle it. IBM makes some of the most rugged, classy, cool, laptops I've ever used. If I could afford one I would get another. They are pretty expensive but worth it if you can justify the cost.

    Birger, (bpetterson) has several and probably would praise them as well.

  5. This is always a difficult one, as no matter how you slice upgrade costs are the real issue for a "dual-purpose" system. For the best opportunity to upgrade, I would look at:

    The Area 51m can use dual hard drives as well as handle up to 4gb of memory. And it comes in pretty awesome colors as well :)  .

    Another option is:

    I, personally, have a 2 year old Toshiba, 2.4ghz P4 with 1gb of RAM and it does OK as well.

    You might want to drop a message to Ron Reznick as well, he does extensive work on high-end systems. Here is a page on the computer systems he builds:

    On a personal note, I tried to use my laptop as both laptop and desktop for almost a year, and mostly it was OK. The biggest problems I had were things such as not having a second hard drive for Photoshop scratch disk, making things slower, and no easy way to do a dual monitro setup. Try to think about your needs for things such as this when you make your decision, and also realize that things like memory upgrades with be a minimum of 2-3 times as expensive as they would be on a desktop.
  6. NANCY


    Mar 14, 2005
    I bought the Delkin DVD recorder and am planning to keep all my pictures on DVD's and not on the hard drive of my computer. I am so new to digital photography that I haven't even tried to upload my pictures onto my computer yet. I just got Nikon Capture from DH Photo. What features should I look for in a computer? Please answer as if you were talking to a six year old. (I'm close - I'm 61!). Thanks.
  7. I prefer macs over any pc laptops. The mac line is thin compact and easy to use. Not to mention they look cool! I do all my work on my laptop. The powerbook line has built-in bluetooth, wireless and other goodies. Plus Photoshop CS for mac doesn't have that stupid product activation!

    I have a PC as well, but I use that machine for playing UT2004 then anything else! :p 
  8. Remember if you are planning to keep images on the DVD that you have to put them somewhere that is writeable to post-process your images. Unless you are planning to use DVD-RW (Re-Writeable). But you also need to realize that DVD's are much, much slower than even the slowest hard disks. Is this Delkin one of the USB 2.0 devices? Remember that you can also use this for added hard disk capacity, although it is not as fast as the fast internal drives. I use them, exteranl drives, and they are OK. In my case I use the DVD for archiving images that I have "completed", and I also keep backups on two separate hard drives.


    1. Fast processor, minimum P4, 2.0 GHZ or equivalent
    2. Lot's of memory. I see a huge difference with 2gb on my desktop now
    3. Fast and multiple disk, these files are big
    4. A screen size and resolution that you can be comfortable with. It doesn't do any good to have a 15" Laptop LCD that will do 1600 resolution if your eyes can't read the small type. I'm about to hit the "double-nickel" next week, and I can tell you that my eyes ain't what they used to be. And LCD's look the clearest at their native resolution.
    5. An LCD that can be calibrated, you want this if you are going to use the Laptop for editing. Still important even if you use an external LCD monitor.

    You are already seeing people commenting on "Mac vs. PC". My personal opinion, which is mine alone, is to get what you are familiar with. If you have been using a Windows PC for years and are comfortable with that, go for it. If you do not have a lot of experience with either, then it is a real toss-up. One other thing to consider is weight. If you are planning to travel a lot, you want to look for a lightweight unit, which typically will not be the fastest/biggest.

    And you are doing the best thing you can, asking questions before purchasing from a bunch of folks who will all have the "right answer" to help you spend your money :lol: , and then run like the dickens after it has been spent :wink: .
  9. I agree with Bill,
    I have both and both do approximately the same thing. It is a hassle swithching, it's sort of like moving to a new house. You hate to pack up but it fun to move in and have a new house. I am not going to try to convince you Mac or PC, but since you asked, I now use my Mac almost exclusively and my wife uses the PC. She needs to be PC because her work gives her a PC laptop computer and it just makes sense to have a desk top that is the same. I have no regrets switching and absolutely love my Mac. I will never go back to PC. It's not logical, but there is something about a Mac. It's just cool if that makes sense. Guess you have to own one to get it. Photoshop has a free one time no fee switch policy. You can get a free version of your current PS in a Mac. There is almost an identical version of what ever you use in either platform. Anyway if it is just a tool for you get the one you are most familiar with. If it is something you do for fun and are gadget obsessed like me (and can afford it) try the Mac. It's a beautiful thing.
  10. Decide what you're actually going to use it for first.

    If it's going to be used "in the field" a lot then weight becomes an important factor - followed closely by battery life. If it's mostly as a replacement for a base unit at home with only ocassional forays outside, then you can sacrifice some weight for a more powerful machine.

    As it's undoubtedly going to be used for storing digital images on, look for a larger hard disk drive (60 to 80 GB) and possibly a Cd burner or DVD burner so you can burn your images permanently. Unless you're going to use it for playing the latest games, you probably won't need a machine with lots of graphics power - but at the same time, you probably will want one with a good screen and decent graphics resolution.

    Try and get at least 256Mb of memory, preferably 512Mb if you can. Large digital images require lots of memory for manipulation and not having enough can really make your machine chug.

    Once you've actually sorted out what specs you want in your machine, then it's time to go hunting for deals. Generally, any large manufacturer is normally fairly reliable (otherwise they wouldn't be in business). If they offer a three year warranty, take it, but avoid five years or longer - your laptop will be obsolete by that time.
  11. gho


    Feb 7, 2005
    Yet... PS CS2 on the Mac will.

    But I still like macs better also - definately go with a powerbook!
  12. Chris101


    Feb 2, 2005
    Yep. As others have pointed out, the Powerbook is a Mac (made by Apple.) While the way Macs work is slightly different than Windows, they all do the same thing. What I like best about Macs is that I do not need to think about what I am doing. It's either intuitive, or they include a 'help' menu with little 'show me how' segments that take you through all the steps.

    Maybe the biggest advantage is that 'plug & play' on a Mac really means that. You plug in a device (like a DVD burner, although these come built in nowadays) and it works. There is no 'Add Hardware' dialog that comes up with an obscure message, leaving you to cry for help.

    Except for that, the 'new' Windows (XP) is quite good (althoughthey sometimes confuse being cutesy with being easy to use.) If you already feel comfortable with Windows, be sure to figure that into your choice.

    Good luck with your purchase, whatever you get, there are folks here who can help you get the most use out of it.
  13. Haha, product activation never stopped me! :) 
  14. bpetterson

    bpetterson Guest

    I use IBM ThinkPads exclusively. I fact I have eight of them.
    I also do a lot of testing for Voice Dictation and Microphones.
    That is why the eight. Well i guess that I'm sort of an expert on ThinkPads.

    For photo work I use two A31P.
    15 in flexview Screen 1600x1200 res.

    For field work the X31.

    For the D2X I have ordered ThinkPad T43P 2668-H8U.
    15 in Flex view screen, the latest Intel 770 2.1 mhz processor.
    2 gb 4200 DDR2 ram, 533 mhz front side bus, and 60 GB hard drive.
    It should be on the road next week.

    We have a forum here in Florida.

    ThinkPads also available from Bill Morrow in Palm Bay who
    hosts the website. IBM has ThinkPad, but Bill had Thinkpads.
    And as it has been about ThinkPads- IBM tolerates Bill.
    Same type of web as this one.

    If you need more help- Email or call me.
    Or you can come up to see when I get the new one.

  15. Chris101


    Feb 2, 2005
    You rebel, you. :twisted:
  16. NANCY


    Mar 14, 2005
    Thank you all for trying to help me. I feel like I have landed on Mars and am trying to figure out what I need in order to survive.
  17. So, Nancy, have you made it back to Earth yet? :D 

    I would say figure out what *exactly* you need the laptop for first (as suggested by a couple others). Realize that there are significant compromises involved between power/performance, usability/ergonomics, feature set, upgradability, size/heft/portability, battery life, $$$, backwards compatibility w/ what you already own, etc.

    If $$$ and backwards compatibility are not issues, then that would make the decision much less difficult, but still not exactly easy.

    Regarding deciding between Mac vs Wintel, go try out a Mac (or Powerbook) at your local superstore in person to see. If you fall in love w/ the Mac (or Powerbook) right away, then you probably have your answer. That's assuming $$$ and backwards compatibility are not issues for you (since you already own an old PC?). The Apple solution tends to be higher $$$ out-of-the-box, BUT it does usually come w/ more/better software and integration, which you can determine (to a good degree) for yourself by playing w/ one at a superstore. However, you should note that Nikon software runs much slower on Macs than on Wintel PCs, and while most software available to Macs may be of higher quality, there are also far fewer to choose from, so it's possible that a power user may miss out on something on the Mac side -- and the reverse can be true as well. And also, in the long term, you can probably expect most new significant software to be developed first for Wintel before Mac. OTOH, bleeding edge software/technology has its cons too.

    For me, I would liken Mac vs Wintel to Nikon vs Canon to some extent. :D 

    FYI, I'm primarily a Wintel user -- haven't used a Mac in a very long time -- but mostly because of the $$$ factor in addition to my work (as a programmer). I have no particular love for Wintel and can hate Microsoft stuff (and its spawn) as much as the next guy/gal anyday of the week -- and don't ask me about .NET. :D  I'm also a parttime Unix user too (for work), and would probably love to switch (back) to Mac one of these days since it uses Unix core now, if my work no longer involves Microsoft stuff, which is not likely in the forseeable future. Actually, there are a few web designers here that use both Mac and Wintel for their work -- and they sometimes forget to make the proper translations for the web designs. :D 

    So anyway, decide what you really need first. And go try out a Mac for yourself to see if you want to switch. For some, it will be like picking up a Nikon body for the very first time and feeling that it's somehow perfectly suited to you while the old Canon body just never was this comfortable and easy to use. OTOH, there could be some great features or options practically exclusive to the Wintel side that you might miss if you switch -- in Nikon vs Canon world, Canon has more IS and USM tele lenses and also the option of full-frame sensor format for instance.

  18. Plug and play?????? I always thought it was plug and pray on windows
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