laptop choice.

Joined
Jun 3, 2008
Messages
1,255
Location
London, England
Hi,

I am looking to buy a PC based laptop and was wondering on what spec would be good for RAW conversion and light photo editing.

My main question is how important is the CPU (since i am looking at one with a 1.83 GHz Core 2 vs 2.1 GHz Core 2) and integrated graphics vs dedicated graphics. one are the advatages of the faster cpu and dedicated GPU for light work since my main workhorse is my PC at home.

thanks for the input in advance.

shing
 
Joined
May 4, 2008
Messages
153
Location
Poland
I will say this: I have laptop with 1.86 GHz Core 2 and Radeon X2300 HD with 128 MB integrated memory + up to 512 MB from RAM (from my 2 GB). The CPU speed is almost everything when you postproces your photos in PS. When you add filters, or want to add sharpening mask and so on... Of course when processing RAWs you also want to have faster CPU. So my advice is to go with 2.1 GHz (although my 1.86 is enough for me and my 10MP RAWs). Next thing: graphic card. Of course when you will have AMD/ATI Radeon or nVidia GeForce you will have less problems with RGB pallets and with overall performance (games too). If you want Intel integrated graphic you must know, that almost every one of Intel's graphic cards will take your RAM memory. And I suggest having at least 1GB for Windows XP or 2GB for Vista (better go with XP).
That is my opinion, I may be wrong in some cases but my laptop is working great for me (BTW: it's Asus F5V with +1GB RAM).
 
Joined
Jun 3, 2008
Messages
1,255
Location
London, England
thanks for the info. the laptop i was looking at comes with 3GB of RAM which should be more than enough even with the integrated graphics cards. I can't see myself doing anything more that adjusting levels, curves and maybe some B + W conversion so the integrated GPU should be fine? i think i will defo go for a better cpu to keep things running smoothly.
 
Joined
Feb 11, 2006
Messages
6,446
Location
Riverside, CA
I've got a Dell inspiron 9400 with a T7200 Core 2 Duo, which is 2ghz. I have 2 gigs of RAM and an ATI graphics card with 256 mb of RAM. Running XP Home. It works pretty well with CS3, Capture One and ok with Capture NX. NX can really bog it down when trying to do some noise reduction or some of the other processes. Since CS3 doesn't hurt performance as badly, I suspect this is an NX issue.

That being said, if those are your choices, then go with the higher one, unless you can get a 2ghz. Oh ya, and get dedicated graphics for sure.
 
Joined
Apr 26, 2008
Messages
929
Location
Texas
If the budget allows, go with the faster cpu and the dedicated graphics. Better still, if you can, get the seller to let you test each one and time them both on a typical piece you'd work on and see how much difference there is. Then you can decide which is the better value to you.
 
Joined
Apr 17, 2006
Messages
1,235
Location
Hong Kong, China
You don't need dedicated GPU for PS. They are 3D accelerators and not useful with 2D processing.

While it is sometimes useful to have a GPU with its own RAM on board, they will add weight to your system, output more heat and shorten battery life. GPUs are as hot as CPUs and they need their own heatsink and fan. So a laptop with something like a Nvidia GForce Go 6xxx chipset will weight at least 0.5 lbs more. In addition, battery life will robably be 20-30% less.

CPU speed is another issue. Faster CPUs do not consume a lot more power and it is the most important thing for PS etc. When I overclock the 2.0G Core2 Duo to 2.3G the processing is noticeably faster. So I would suggest you to get the faster processor.

Other things you might want to consider is the size of the harddisk and the monitor. Laptops usually come with 120G or 160G HDD now, and the bigger it is the better - you know, even our cameras are using 8G memory cards now!

For photos you probably want a high resolution mon, but the more important thing is to check whether it has a 6-bit or 8-bit panel. 8-bit panels will give you full 16.7M color.
 
Joined
May 25, 2006
Messages
352
Location
SF Bay Area, CA
Whichever laptop you're interested in it'd be wise to check the vendor's support site to see if there are XP drivers available. I recently bought a Toshiba Satellite (which came pre-installed with Vista Home Premium x64) thinking I would do a clean install of XP Pro only to find that Toshiba offers virtually no drivers for XP.

Luckily for me the only issue I've had so far is no Vista x64 driver for my 5 year old Epson scanner, which I hardly ever used anyway. The CS3 suite and Capture NX installed and work fine so I'm leaving well enough alone for now.
 
Joined
Nov 15, 2006
Messages
6,061
Location
Upstate SC
As was stated above, you do not need a dedicated graphics card for photo imaging work.

I have a Dell Lattitude D630 with a T7500 and 4GB RAM. I dock the laptop a dedicated Dell station that is tied to a 24in monitor (Dell 2407WFP) at full resolution with the Intel graphics chip. I can blaze away with LightRoom, Elements 6 (also ran the CS3 demo with no speed issues), Photomatix, Outlook, and IE open. It's not a brutally expensive system. It's light weight. It has a substantial battery life. And it plays movies with ease and no pauses or hangups.

If you look into the Lattitude, there is a newer, more energy efficient, cooler running processor (I think T 9000 series?) that uses the newest 45Nm Penryn chip instead of the 65Nm chip in my last generation Santa Rosa T7500. Now, if they would just start using that stinkin' LED backlight in the Lattitude, they would be perfect!!

Oh, and this statement will catch the most flack, but I'm running Vista 32 and LOVE it. It'll make the best use of more than 2GB RAM. The drawback is that it NEEDS at least 2GB RAM to run well.
 
Joined
Feb 19, 2006
Messages
8,391
Location
LA (Lower Arkansas)
I bought a 6-month-old Toshiba Satellite from a guy on Nikonains. It has Vista, and I thought of upgrading, but decided to give Vista a fair shake. I haven't been disappointed yet.


It'll make the best use of more than 2GB RAM. The drawback is that it NEEDS at least 2GB RAM to run well.

I did find this to be true, so I upgraded to 4Gs of RAM. Smooth sailing so far...even with CS3.

Here's the specs:

• 250GB 5400-rpm SATA Hard Drive
• 2GB DDR2 PC5300 RAM (now upgraded to 4G)
• Built-In Digital WebCam
• Windows Vista Home Premium
• 5-In-1 Memory Card Reader
• HD (High Definition) HD DVD-ROM/DVDRW+/- SuperMulti Dual Layer DVD RAM
• 17” WXGA+ TruBrite VibrantView LCD
• Intel® Core™ 2 Duo Processor T5450
1.66GHz, 2MB L2, 667MHz FSB
• Mobile Intel® GM965 Express Chipset
• Integrated Wi-Fi® compliant wireless LAN
• Intel® Wireless WiFi Link 4965AGN (802.11a/g/n)
 
Joined
Jul 9, 2008
Messages
16
Location
Boise, Idaho
Whichever laptop you're interested in it'd be wise to check the vendor's support site to see if there are XP drivers available. I recently bought a Toshiba Satellite (which came pre-installed with Vista Home Premium x64) thinking I would do a clean install of XP Pro only to find that Toshiba offers virtually no drivers for XP.

Luckily for me the only issue I've had so far is no Vista x64 driver for my 5 year old Epson scanner, which I hardly ever used anyway. The CS3 suite and Capture NX installed and work fine so I'm leaving well enough alone for now.

I have an HP laptop running Vista and when I got it I was going to change to XP Pro. Someone I know who works for HP says on the newest machines that's not a good idea as they have some hardware for which XP drivers were never written. Actually, sinc SP1 for Vista it had done a good job (other than being a memory hog).
 
Joined
Feb 2, 2005
Messages
7,960
Location
Maple Bay, Duncan, BC, Canada
Real Name
Andreas Berglund
Funny I just replaced my 5 year old Dell Latitude D800 with the Latitude D630 with the T9300 2.5 GHZ processor 4 GB Ram and a 7200 RPM harddrive. It also has the 1400 x screen. And yes I got a port replicator docking station again , makes it so easy to just plug it in when you get home to the bigger monitor and network etc.

I did a fair amount of research before I bought it. I called Adobe and Camerabits (Photomechanic) and asked them if they use the Graphics card and the answer is NO they dont really do for 2d images like Photos, get more ram faster harddrive and faster processor. So I did. The T9500 was another $200 for only going from 2.5 Ghz to 2.6 Ghz, so the T9300 seemed like a sweetspot of a deal.

I'm very pleased with the result. Even Lightroom is a pleasure to use. Nikon Capture NX (any version) plods along slowly but it does that on ANY system.

As for battery life. Most people dont know this but you can get a battery that fits in the slot for the Latitudes CD/DVD, 48 Whr, takes my batterylife to over 5 hours.... And since Dell made sure that the slot size is the same as it was 5 year ago, I could just take my old one out of my D800 and just plunk it in!

Dell gets a fair amount of flack in forums and press, but I want o give them an accolade for a well planned long term system that works very well, and is of good quality with a service plan (Complete Care) that really works (I spilled glass of wine on the old D800 and they came out in Sweden (!) and fixed it!

You don't need dedicated GPU for PS. They are 3D accelerators and not useful with 2D processing.

While it is sometimes useful to have a GPU with its own RAM on board, they will add weight to your system, output more heat and shorten battery life. GPUs are as hot as CPUs and they need their own heatsink and fan. So a laptop with something like a Nvidia GForce Go 6xxx chipset will weight at least 0.5 lbs more. In addition, battery life will robably be 20-30% less.

CPU speed is another issue. Faster CPUs do not consume a lot more power and it is the most important thing for PS etc. When I overclock the 2.0G Core2 Duo to 2.3G the processing is noticeably faster. So I would suggest you to get the faster processor.

Other things you might want to consider is the size of the harddisk and the monitor. Laptops usually come with 120G or 160G HDD now, and the bigger it is the better - you know, even our cameras are using 8G memory cards now!

For photos you probably want a high resolution mon, but the more important thing is to check whether it has a 6-bit or 8-bit panel. 8-bit panels will give you full 16.7M color.
 
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