Computer spec

P.H

Regular
Apr 4, 2011
43
Derby, UK
Hi folks,
My six year old Pentium 4 computer is struggling to keep up with the photo editing I'm trying. It's slow with Elements 9 and the trial version of Lightroom I've downloaded almost brings it to a standstill. Abode list the minimum spec and it's just about there, but it doesn't give any indication of an ideal one. Is there any such thing? Or is it a matter of the bigger/faster the better with no limit? Is running Windows 7 going to make any difference? If not I'll stick with XP. Budget isn't the first consideration, I like to buy the right thing and keep it as long as possible, on the other hand I'd rather not spend more than I need to. Photo processing is likely to be the most intensive thing I do on it, so what are you using, is it OK, what would you recommend?
Thanks
 

akulya

Regular
Mar 1, 2011
68
If it helps, although I've a built a desktop rig with whistles and bells - I actually do most of my photo stuff on a 2yr old Sony Vaio laptop.

Running win 7 32bit (although it came preinstalled with vista, that soon came off.)
on an Intel core 2 duo @ 2.1GHz
2GB RAM
SSD HDD
ATI Mobility Radeon X2300 (1GB)

It's got a decent 14.1" Sony x-black screen, but (other than the SSD HDD, which was a recent upgrade of mine) it's pretty basic and you could pick one up for under £350. It certainly has no problems with either photoshop or lightroom.

However, if you want something that will really delay its obsolesence (whatever that means regarding consumer electronics), going for a desktop that you can continually upgrade is the best bet.
Often what most computers really need is a good formatting and careful reinstallation of programs that are actually useful, and a bit of good housekeeping, that'll usually give speed boosts far greater than a few more gigs of RAM.
 

Amin Sabet

Administrator Emeritus
Jul 3, 2010
124
Or is it a matter of the bigger/faster the better with no limit?
That's it, and I don't think Windows 7 will make much difference. More RAM may help, but in the long run buying a new computer is probably more cost effective than upgrading the old one.
 

Alf

Top Veteran
Oct 11, 2010
103
Northeastern Tuscany
Agree with Amin. LR loves RAM and CPU power. I rebuilt my rig months ago with a fast CPU (an i5-2400) and 8GB and never looked back. Its integrated graphics are very good for encoding.
 

texascbx

Veteran
Jul 10, 2010
103
Canton Texas
Ricky
Sandy Bridge CPU is the king right now. Memory is cheap too. You can build a pretty nice rig for around 1k now. I have a 15-750 running at 4Ghz and 8Gb of memory and nothing slows it down. For now.:eek:

The best place to research what's hot now is Tom's Hardware since they build new rigs monthly and have budget to insane.
 

Will

All-Pro
Aug 30, 2010
123
England
iMac. The new ones just out are superb, though I'm currently using a macbook air, with an Apple cinema display for when I'm doing graphic design or photo editing.
 
  • Like
Reactions: BBW

BBW

Administrator Emeritus
Jul 7, 2010
123
betwixt and between
BB
Yes, if I had a place for a nice big iMac screen - that's what I'd have...though I've read that the Apple cinema display is amazing. I'd go for an iMac. I use a loaded MacBook Pro and it works beautifully - had to buy it about a two years ago since my old one's graphic card was to slow and the memory was maxed out.
 

pdh

Legend
Jan 2, 2011
123
That's it, and I don't think Windows 7 will make much difference. More RAM may help,
One advantage of W7 (over XP) is that you can get it in 64-bit ... a 32-bit operating system such as XP (let's forget XP-64) can only utilise (usually) 3MB of RAM ... a 64-bit o/s will utilise whatever's onboard.

I presume the Apple operating systems are 64? (I know nothing about Apple save that they are distressingly overpriced)
 

P.H

Regular
Apr 4, 2011
43
Derby, UK
Thanks for the replies. I've just spent half an hour on Toms Hardware, now my head hurts and I don't think I'm any the wiser!
I like the idea of a Mac.. but there's a fair bit of my present computer that I could reuse, soundproofed case, hard drives, DVD and I have a decent monitor so the price difference between PC and Mac is pretty big.
I've looked at a fair few motherboard bundles, Intel I5 Sandy Bridge and 8GB RAM seems to be about right, but I have no idea about motherboards, anything to look out for or avoid? Also, is it better to have a seperate graphics card or will the on board graphics be good enough for photo editing?
Please keep it simple! I went to night school and have a qualification in Computer Maintenance and Repair, but everything has changed in the nine years since then!
Thanks
 

texascbx

Veteran
Jul 10, 2010
103
Canton Texas
Ricky
Get a good first or second tier mobo. ASUS is the biggest mobo maker in the world. Next up is Gigabyte. MSI or EVGA are good too. ECS and Biostar are the low manufacturers. Stay away from them. The Sandy bridge proc comes in different speeds. The k series have unlocked multipliers so they can be overclocked. Most gamers will get the k Sandy bridge since it runs at around 4.5Ghz pretty easy. The four core unlocked SB CPU without hyperthreading is around $220. The higher spec and speed K model has hyperthreading and costs around 100 bucks more. Get some good fast name brand memory like Gskill. 2x4Gb runs around 80 bucks now. You need a big roomy case to work in and thats around 75 dollars, hard drive 1TB, about 60 bucks. P67 chipset mobo will need a video card. A 560ti runs about 210. Windows 7 premium 64 bit is around 90 dollars when on sale. A DVD burner is around 25 or blu-ray burner around 100. You need a good power supply of around 750W. A good name brand one will run you at least 100.

My system specs...

MSI P55-GD65 with i5-750 @ 4.0Ghz vcore 1.370
Xigmatek Balder HS/2 fans, Antec EarthWatts EA750 750W
G.SKILL Ripjaws 2x4Gb DDR3 1333
One 1Tb Seagate 12 32Mb, two 1.5Tb LP Seagates
Antec EarthWatts EA750 750W
GIGABYTE GV-N460OC-1GI GTX 460 @ 815MHz core, shader 1698 MHz, 2000 MHz memory
Lite-On 24X iHAS324 DVD burner LG Blu-Ray 12x burner
COOLER MASTER Storm Scout
Win 7 Pro 64
Several big fans moving a lot of air very quietly

My system idles using about 25 percent of my memory so don't scrimp on memory. I'm a gamer and run my system maxed out most of the time.
 

Will

All-Pro
Aug 30, 2010
123
England
One advantage of W7 (over XP) is that you can get it in 64-bit ... a 32-bit operating system such as XP (let's forget XP-64) can only utilise (usually) 3MB of RAM ... a 64-bit o/s will utilise whatever's onboard.

I presume the Apple operating systems are 64? (I know nothing about Apple save that they are distressingly overpriced)
Actually they are expensive but not for what you get. A PC to the same speck and engineering quality (they don't exist) would cost just as much. But I admit for raw performance, for the price, PCs probably win. Raw performance is defiantly not everything though.
 

pdh

Legend
Jan 2, 2011
123
I tend to disagree, but then the trouble with this debate is that it falls towards the same trap as Leica vs Everything Else ... there are those who won't hear a word against whichever and those who are dismissive ... in reality, if you pick up a tool for a job and you like using it more than another brand of tool, well ... use it ...
 

Will

All-Pro
Aug 30, 2010
123
England
I thought my post was quite balanced. Wasn't disagreeing that you get more processing power for you money with a PC, just that raw power isn't everything and that Mac's aren't overpriced for the product that you get. I only wish that Leica's were comparable to Mac's because then they would't cost so much and I would own one!

I wholeheartedly agree with you that the the right tool for the job is the one you enjoy owning and using.
 

pdh

Legend
Jan 2, 2011
123
I wasn't having a pop, Will, your post was perfectly balanced!
(I just disagreed ... :))
 

P.H

Regular
Apr 4, 2011
43
Derby, UK
Oops! I had no idea people were so passionate about Mac Vs PC. I wasn't really considering a Mac, it's just not something I have any experience of. I'll see if I can find someone with one who will let me have a play. I still expect I'll stick with a PC, the cost difference considering what I already have is just too great. Thanks all for the advice, it's certainly given me plenty to think about.
 

pdh

Legend
Jan 2, 2011
123
I think Will and I should take our disagreement out of the thread ... Will, I'll meet you in the car park ... a hammer fight should settle this ...
 
  • Like
Reactions: BBW

Latest threads

Top Bottom