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Recommendations needed
Old 10-30-2005, 03:21 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Hey all. I need some recommendations for someone I know who wants to buy a laptop. He says he needs it to use it for the mobility, and to use Photoshop on. He's currently using Photoshop 5. Any ideas or recomendation are welcome. I told him that a desktop would be better for the image processing ability, but he's bent on getting a laptop. He, like me shoots film. If that is a factor. Thanks for any idea.

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Re: Recommendations needed
Old 10-30-2005, 03:53 PM   #2 (permalink)
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Dependent on how much mobility he needs and how much money he has to spend, the Dell 9300 with the 17in screen is awfully nice. It is heavy but it has the best screen I have ever seen in a laptop.

regards

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Recommendations avoided, suggestions provided
Old 10-30-2005, 04:05 PM   #3 (permalink)
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I'm not sure why image processing would be an issue. However, heres are my suggestions:

1) A lot of people use Mac's. They are great systems, awesome displays, and they have the "fashion geek" look. Conversely, they are mucho bucks.
2) Any Windows system. I'd go with a 17" display, an ATI video card (if he even wants to think about playing video games), 60GB or better hard drive, pretty much any of the full CPUs (not Celeron or Duron, etc, but Semprons are good chips), and the MINIMUM memory they sell. Then, go to NewEgg (my personal favorite computer-stuff retailer), get two or three 1GB sticks of RAM, and replace or add to the existing memory.

Going with a 64-bit chipset is not a bad investment for "future-proofing," but it is a bit hard to predict when a) Windows will support 64-bit in a real release (and will your vendor release 64-bit drivers for your hardware?), and b) Photoshop will go 64-bit.

I'm running a Compaq X6000, and I've been very pleased. My only complaint is that the hard drive access is a little slow.

And that's my 2 cents worth (which cost 4 cents but is only really worth about half a cent)

Cheers!
Glenn K.
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Just ordered one, stuff to consider
Old 10-30-2005, 04:09 PM   #4 (permalink)
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I don't really plan on doing any retouching or such on mine, just using it for downloading from CF cards and burning BU DVDs in the field, as well as of internet service when I'm out of town, which isn't very often. You can find all kinds of deals, but if your friend is going to be doing what I do, plus actually retouching, he doesn't really want to go with the lower level options, and its the little upgrades that get you. For example, (in the PC world - I don't do MAC), he'll want a fast processor, not a Celeron chip, and if he needs to be doing stuff on battery, probably a Centrino chip at that. He'll need at least 1gb RAM for retouching, 2gb would be better. He may want a DVD burner, firewire, etc. Also, look at the hard drive. Most drives out there are 4200rpm, but you can get them as an option at 5400rpm (you have to drill into the tech specs to find this), which greatly improves the access speed on those big files (most desktop machine hard drives run at 7200rpm by comparison). And then there is screen size and resolution. I didn't order a 17" screen because I think they're bulky and most of my images go veritcal anyway, and I don't really need room to one side for the palettes, although your friend might. If he's going to be disconnected when he works, a larger battery would be helpful too, as well as an external mouse (instead of trying to retouch with a touchpad).

All these things considered (and not getting into the wisdom of retouching on a laptop), you can see how that $799 special at Best Buy doesn't really cut it, and you can end up well into the mid-teens. I ordered mine online from HP through Costco for $1550 (Costco gives you an unconditional 6-month return) and then got this promo yesterday. Its good machine, but the specs and some features aren't quite what I ordered, and its a Dell, which doesn't have a great reputation for laptops (although my brother has one and swears by it, but he's the only one). I almost considered canceling my order and getting this one, but amoung other things, it only has 1024x768 screen resolution (mine will be 1280x800). http://tinyurl.com/c2py9 BTW, I heard a lot of good things about Fujitsu, especially their build quality, but they're also considerably more expensive for what you get. Since I don't plan on taking mine everywhere I go all day, that was not a major consideration.

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Andy Pearlman
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Re: Recommendations needed
Old 10-30-2005, 04:14 PM   #5 (permalink)
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No matter which operating platform he is on the processor speed is important, faster the better, but not as important as RAM. Photoshop eats RAM for breakfast, lunch, dinner, snacks, inbetween meals, bedtime, and while you are sleeping. If he will be using Photoshop a lot, and/or large files, I would recommend at least 1 gibabyte of RAM, two if he can afford it.

Fastest graphics card is also important.

And, your friend should upgrade from version 5.

Tom
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Re: Recommendations avoided, suggestions provided
Old 10-30-2005, 04:24 PM   #6 (permalink)
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Yeah, I love Mac's. But while Mac's are easier to use, and he isn't much of a computer friendly guy, he's hellbent on a pc laptop. Anyways thanks for the idea's.

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Re: Just ordered one, stuff to consider
Old 10-30-2005, 04:31 PM   #7 (permalink)
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Yeah, the hard drive stuff is important along with all of the other stuff you mentioned. He really isn't planning on going digital any time soon. At least me, I know it's something I'm going to have to do. Just curious, how important is durability in the grand scheme of things? Oh, this person is not me, but a family memeber. He isn't the most computer savvy person out there. To be honest, I don't know how much he is planning to do in Photoshop, especially as far as retouching. I do know that he wants to do stuff with his images for the internet (not the most processor demanding thing in the world.) Right now he's looking at this machine made by Pannisonic, which he says is really durable, as in can spill stuff on, and that type of stuff. He'll be in the field a lot, but not to link his camera to his comp, unless the Nikon F5 can do that. Anyhow, thanks for your input, and I appreciate any further assistance.

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Re: Recommendations needed
Old 10-30-2005, 04:34 PM   #8 (permalink)
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No kidding on ram huh. Even in the early days of Photoshop, it was a ram beast. How important is durability of a laptop in the field? Is it worth spending more money on a computer that is a lot more durable, or should the focus be on stuff like ram, hard drive, processor, etc.? I think more towards the ram etc. Thanks for the advice.

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Re: Recommendations needed
Old 10-30-2005, 04:35 PM   #9 (permalink)
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Thanks. I'll check that out.

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The basics...
Old 10-30-2005, 05:20 PM   #10 (permalink)
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When all is said and done, what you want in a laptop is reliability. All the fancy toys mean nothing if the machine is dead.

From what I've heard Toshiba has a reputation for reliability. You might direct your friend to the Consumers Reports electronics issue which I believe is still on the newstands. I think they cover laptops in that issue.

But as I said before, what you really want when it comes down to the nitty gritty is a machine that works reliably and a battery that doesn't die after 20 minutes.



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