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Help with decision...laptop or desktop?
Old 08-23-2009, 10:01 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Damn frigging icons...I accidentally closed the initial thread. Sorry.
Of course this begs the question...If I (or others) can close a thread why can't we reverse that decision, especially the OPs?

Anyways....


Hello fellow photogs,

Well, I'm in a dilema at the moment. My old computer (still quite usable) is in need for a replacement. The only (real) reason for this is that I've got PS CS4 and LR 2.4 waiting to be loaded up (currently running CS3 and LR 2.2). The reason they are waiting is because my AMD cpu is too old (I think/know) to be able to handle the program instructions. When LR 2.0 rolled out I was one of those numerous end users who could not do Virtual Copies (and some other things) and this was due to the fact that the cpu was AMD and of a particular age. Luckily the Adobe people listened (yes, they do do this when enough people bit..er, complain) and came up with a fix on this. Now, I'm not absolutely sure that CS4 and LR 2.4 absolutely *need* me to switch up but just considering the speed and age of my current 'box'...and decent pricing out now for the new/faster/better computers I'm really considering it...and squirreling away the money needed.

So here's the short of it...

I'm not so asking for particular makes/models (although this would be helpful) but more so the generic question/answer to...
"Should I go with a new laptop or desktop?".

There are many pros/cons for each choice but, generally speaking, given today's technology...which way would you suggest?
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Re: Help with decision...laptop or desktop?
Old 08-24-2009, 08:37 AM   #2 (permalink)
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It's a tough decision these days. In the past laptops were way underpowered compared to desktops, but that is not really true anymore. Now the main consideration is screen size and quality. Due to work considerations at my main job (not Photography related) I'm forced to do most of my photo editing while away from home. I of course opted for a good laptop computer. The best flat panel displays for photo editing are IPS displays. Unfortunately as of last year, there were no laptop makers using IPS displays anymore. Last year I was able to find a new old stock IBM T-60P which was the last laptop to have IPS displays as an upgrade option. It is only 15" display which is a major drawback while editing, but it works for me and after calibration the colors are spot on. It's been a year now and there are several new IPS monitors out now, but still no new laptops using them that I am aware of. I guess if I was in your shoes now and did not have a real need to edit on the road, I would probably go with a desktop.
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Re: Help with decision...laptop or desktop?
Old 08-24-2009, 10:24 AM   #3 (permalink)
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I use a 17 inch laptop that can be plugged into my 24 inch LCD monitor. When at my desk at home I use the 24 inch monitor with a wireless key board and mouse. But I like having the laptop because of its portability at home, work, or travel. In my opinion, if you take your photography on the road whether for business or fun, a laptop is the only way to go.
I think it really boils down to how much money are you willing to spend, because you pay for the portability and you pay for the separate large monitor. Let us know what you decide.
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Re: Help with decision...laptop or desktop?
Old 08-24-2009, 05:50 PM   #4 (permalink)
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Desk top is cheaper to upgrade or build upon. Some Macs you do not even have the option of adding additional RAM after you buy it.

The price per CPU is much cheaper on a desk top. Think of it like going from the Hensel Integra monolights as being the desk top and the Hensel Lithium Porty as being the Laptop. Both will light your work, but one is quite a bit more expensive.

Do you really need the portability? That is the question.
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Re: Help with decision...laptop or desktop?
Old 08-24-2009, 08:38 PM   #5 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mfharper View Post
...The best flat panel displays for photo editing are IPS displays
I had never heard of IPS displays and so I Googled them. The topmost entry was this...

http://www.engadget.com/2009/08/06/d...tor-for-japan/

Interesting article (especially the "...96% coverage of the Adobe RGB color space, and 100% coverage of the sRGB color space..." bit) but I'm still no closer to what "IPS" means...and I'm too bagged from a late night to even try to look further.
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Re: Help with decision...laptop or desktop?
Old 08-24-2009, 08:54 PM   #6 (permalink)
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http://www.futureshop.ca/catalog/pro...id=EN&dm=DEBUG

HP Quad-Core PC (Refurb) With 8GB RAM, 1TB HDD, Blu-ray ROM & LG 23in 1080p LCD Monitor ... $900 CAD (~$830 US)

See?...this is what is taunting/tempting me. But, then I'm back chained to the desk.

Actually the current responses seem to point towards a desktop as opposed to a laptop. I must admit that the portability of a laptop is enticing but bang for the buck still seems to favor desktops.

What I am sort of thinking in the way of a compromise is to buy a desktop and also a netbook (one with a hard drive). The netbook (or laptop) is to use it as a card dump and prelim viewer (Irfanview/FastStone) leaving all the heavy lifting/manipulation to the desktop. Plus I would still get the capability to write the next best seller or at least send an email or two.

So it's pretty much a decision to go with the desktop as the main.

Of course that brings all other kinds of questions...Intel vs. AMD, what CPU, what speed, how much ram, how big a hard drive, room for additional drives, video card (must handle dual monitors), etc., etc....but at least I have a focus now.

Thanks to all who responded. I had already been leaning in the one direction and your comments have solidified that.
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Re: Help with decision...laptop or desktop?
Old 08-24-2009, 11:13 PM   #7 (permalink)
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get the fastest desktop.

it's a no brainer.

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Re: Help with decision...laptop or desktop?
Old 08-24-2009, 11:22 PM   #8 (permalink)
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Hi Richard,
It depends upon what you want to do and where. If you travel a lot, then the laptops are fine, but they just don't move as fast as the desktops.

If you do most of your PP at home, then the desktop is still the only way to go. As was stated before, easier to upgrade components, add hard drive backups ect.... and if you go with the 775 CPU Socket, it will be able to upgrade the CPU's as they come out over the next couple of years.

I have one of each. I do limited PP on the road, mostly just weeding out the bad picts or if there is a pic that someone really wants badly, and Now, then I give it to them from the laptop. But the monitors at home are much better and I find that workflow is smoother on a normal size keyboard, mouse and pallet.

Intel, AMD is a dogfight that will go on for a long time. Most software works out of the box with Intel. I have had some issues with AMD being compatible with some CAD systems, so since then I have stuck with Intel. What I have found is that if I go first with the best processor I can afford and then get alot of RAM, things go quickly (I run 4 in the laptop and 8 on the desktop).

One thing most people don't know is that there is a function in Vista and the new Windows 7 that allows for thumb drives to act similar and augment the RAM on the mother board. That helps as well.

Also, XP only recognizes a max of 4 Gigs of RAM, Vista I am not sure about, but Windows 7 will recogonize more than you can put on your computer right now.

Also, you want a processor that is 64-bit compatible. The new Windows 7 is much better than Vista and XP Pro. I am running the RC version of Windows 7 64-Bit and it rocks. Recently the came out with a virtual plugin that works pretty good on 32-bit applications. I have been waiting for that before fully migrateing over to the 64 bit systems. (I run one HD as XP Pro and the other HD as Windows 7 RC 64-Bit).

If you are loyal to Macs, there is a number of websites that tell you how to build a PC that can run Mac OS. It really isn't that hard, mostly deals with what Video and sound cards you need to get.

Just My 2 cents

Ian
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Re: Help with decision...laptop or desktop?
Old 08-26-2009, 01:46 PM   #9 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ian McGregor View Post
Also, XP only recognizes a max of 4 Gigs of RAM, Vista I am not sure about, but Windows 7 will recogonize more than you can put on your computer right now.
Any 32-bit OS is limited to 4Gb RAM (effectively about 3.2Gb when you take out that used for video etc).

Any 64-bit OS can use way more than 4Gb. There are 64-bit versions of XP, Vista and Windows 7.

I've been using Vista x64 for a couple of years and would highly recommend using a 64-bit OS if you need lots of memory and plenty of future proofing.
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Re: Help with decision...laptop or desktop?
Old 08-27-2009, 08:11 PM   #10 (permalink)
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If I can only have one... the desktop wins hands down... Reasons... Monitor, Monitor, System and Price.

1 & 2 Yes I mentioned monitor twice because there are two major drawbacks to laptop monitors when compared to a desktop system. While some laptops may have good quality screens... I have yet to work with one that would be sufficient if you are really serious about color correction. I'm sure there are some... but they would be MAJOR expensive. The other drawback is size. When photo editing you need size. Even a 17 laptop screen is no match for a 23-27" monitor at native resolutions. You can open up many more images in relatively larger sizes on a 23+. This really helps when making photo selections and such...

System - If you are investing in a new system for photo editing, you really need to go 64 bit. You may not think you need it now... but you absolutely will need more ram as time goes by. The 3.2 (or 3.4 depending on who you talk to) gb ram on a 32 bit system is just too limiting. The other system advantage to a desktop is the ability to pick and choose components to put together a great system for photo editing and add to it later. A good starter would be 64 bit, 4gb ram, 512mb video and at least a 750GB drive. But later on you can upgrade to 8gb ram... 1gb video... and multiple drives. Usually on laptops, with the exception of ram upgrades, you pretty much are stuck with what you initially get. (even though external SATA drives are a good option)

Price - There is just NO comparison in price... You just can NOT get a laptop similarly equipped to the systems outlined above at anywhere near the same price. It WILL cost you at least double (probably more like 2.5x) to go 64bit, 8gb ram, 1gb video, and larger hard drive.

But my real question is why make the choice... you can do BOTH a laptop and desktop for less than the price of fully equipped laptop. I have seen many desktop systems online similar to the one you described in one of your latter posts for $1000 or less. So... figure $1000 for a desktop...

But for less than $500... you can also get a reasonable laptop that can do 95% of what you also need. Check FRYS or NEWEGG and you often see things like Toshiba's 32 bit, 250 HD, 4gb ram for under $500. You won't do the majority of your editing on the lesser laptop... but it's portable... you can review photos on remote shoots, or do remote presentations, do some quick edits (at the very least sorts)... along with your web, email whatever.

So... in conclusion... I am thinking that you can spend about $1000 for a reasonably decent desktop system like you described

or

you would probably have to spend about $2500 or more for a top of the line laptop system thats not even equal to the desktop system...

or

you can spend $1500 and have the best of both worlds.

just my opinion...

d
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