AMD vs. Intel for everyday photo editing

Discussion in 'Hardware' started by Marine Paethor, Feb 14, 2014.

  1. Marine Paethor

    Marine Paethor Mu-43 Regular

    Feb 17, 2013
    I've read, both here and other places, that Intel chips are better than AMD for PS and LR. I've seen test results showing this for certain scenarios. I'm interested if anyone here is happy with an AMD system they use for everyday editing and processing. I plan on upgrading my system over the next week or so. I've only ever had Intel systems in the past, but part of me wants to go with an AMD system this time because of the price difference. The money I'd save on AMD would give me more to spend on an IPS monitor and a calibration system.

    Even though Intel is ultimately a faster processor for LR and PS, is it that much of a practical difference that I should go with a smaller monitor, and possibly hold off on the calibration for now, just to go with a new Intel system?

    Thanks for any input you can provide.
  2. MAubrey

    MAubrey Photographer

    Jul 9, 2012
    Bellingham, WA
    Mike Aubrey
    If you have an SSD, there's no practical difference, I'd say. Color accuracy is going to be more valuable to you than the few seconds you might gain in processing speed with Intel. I've used both AMD & Intel over the past year.
  3. biomed

    biomed Mu-43 Hall of Famer Subscribing Member

    Aug 22, 2013
    Seattle area
    No real difference in my experience. Get the best system you can afford. A good monitor and color calibrator are a big plus and don't skimp on the RAM.

    This is my photo editing i7 based system.

    • Like Like x 1
  4. barry13

    barry13 Super Moderator; Photon Wrangler Subscribing Member

    Mar 7, 2014
    Southern California
    Unless the filters, etc. you are using are painfully slow, putting more $ into the monitor will be more rewarding.

    Also, a fast midrange CPU is probably a better deal than a more expensive high-end model.
    e.g. my i5-4670 is as fast at most tasks as a top-end i7.
    In fact, a fast i3 can be as fast for non-threaded apps.

    However, if the software you use is heavily threaded, ymmv.

    • Like Like x 1
  5. wanderenvy

    wanderenvy Mu-43 Regular

    May 11, 2012

    As long as you are looking at comparable 64b CPUs, it will make no real world difference. Of course, if you compare a desktop CPU from one and a laptop CPU from the other, the desktop CPU will very likely smoke the other. Literally. You are better off spending the money on more RAM, a decent graphics card (not an integrated one and doesn't have to be top of the line), a SSD and a better monitor.

  6. barry13

    barry13 Super Moderator; Photon Wrangler Subscribing Member

    Mar 7, 2014
    Southern California
    IMO, nothing wrong with integrated graphics nowadays, especially on the AMD APUs with integrated Radeons.

    I'm using my i5-4670's integrated graphics; no issues.

  7. PeeBee

    PeeBee Mu-43 All-Pro Subscribing Member

    Sep 17, 2012
    Whilst Intel may currently have a performance edge, I've always found AMD to have the best bang per buck. I'm not loyal to either brand, but my main PCs have always been AMD based, and I'd have no problem building another. I'd probably prefer the better monitor and calibration than save a couple of milliseconds here and there.
  8. val

    val Mu-43 Top Veteran

    Dec 19, 2013
    I prefer AMD but I currently have a haswell laptop because it was easily the best value for money laptop at the time. for desktop I'd go AMD no doubt about that.
  9. biomed

    biomed Mu-43 Hall of Famer Subscribing Member

    Aug 22, 2013
    Seattle area
    This good advice. The quality of your monitor is very important.
  10. dhazeghi

    dhazeghi Mu-43 Hall of Famer Subscribing Member

    Aug 6, 2010
    San Jose, CA
    Pretty much. Lightroom only scales well up to around 4 cores, and Photoshop to 2-4 depending on the filters. A 6 or 8 core CPU isn't going to gain you much for those applications.

    Also worth noting that IPC (instructions per clock) vary across different processor families. The current 'Haswell' Intels are about 30% faster than the AMD 'Vishera' ones, running at the same clock. So more MHZ doesn't always get you the best performance.
  11. wanderenvy

    wanderenvy Mu-43 Regular

    May 11, 2012
    True, integrated graphics have improved considerably in the last two years, to the point they are actually usable. But you do notice the difference the moment you try a system with a mid range dedicated card. Also depends on what software/filters you are running.
  12. Replytoken

    Replytoken Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    May 7, 2012
    Puget Sound
    LR does not really utilize dedicated graphics cards to any significant advantage, so if this is the primary PP software, then there is not much value in the additional expense of a dedicated card.

  13. D7k1

    D7k1 Mu-43 All-Pro Subscribing Member

    Nov 18, 2013
    If you plan to do video, many folks are finding (depending on the software you are using) that more cores are better than GPU. I'm using a several years old 6 core AMD with 16 gig's and it more than I need for either still or HD video, 4K will be a different story. Anyway, have been very please with my AMD price/performance.
  14. eteless

    eteless Mu-43 All-Pro

    Jun 20, 2014
    I'm using a very out of date system and I don't find that there's much slowdown at all in photoshop/lightroom etc, using some of the filters it's nicer to be on a more modern computer because the GPU can render quickly however it's not a huge issue.

    Doing video it's a completely different story, with after effects as much ram as you can put in ontop of SSDs is basically a must (more ram for longer RAM preview is very helpful, also means more can be buffered without having to cache on SSD). Rendering speed wise a single computer is going to be ok to painfully slow depending on how many effects you have and the level of preview resolution, I believe using a modest render farm is far more efficient than putting more expensive parts into a beastly computer, likewise for encoding (using a hardware encoder will be much faster, albeit expensive).

    If you just do still photography, it's not really a huge issue. Go for a comfortable to use mouse, mousepad, and keyboard with a good monitor over a faster computer as said above. I can recommend the higher end Logitech mice if you change computer often as you can save keybinds and mouse sensitivity settings to hardware meaning so can have your own custom settings at different locations (I have buttons bound to zoom, sensitivity for fine control, and brush size/opacity) without having to install any software.
  15. InlawBiker

    InlawBiker Mu-43 Veteran

    Feb 1, 2012
    Seattle, WA
    For what it's worth I just built a system. I do computer work for a living and researched it pretty well. I think for amateur photo editing, Intel Core i5 or AMD FX are about the same. The AMD 8 core chip is a bit cheaper and performs in the same ballpark. It uses more power and gets hotter if that sort of thing bothers you. Fans running all the time do bother me so I went with the Intel chip for around $200.

    The base Intel i7 chip is around $300 and it's well worth it if you edit a lot of video, or edit photos all day every day (like as your job.)

    I upgraded from a 4 year old AMD chip which actually was top of the line at the time and was still usable. However the new Intel chip makes Photoshop quite a bit smoother, especially in the filters and noise processing.

    I don't know if a dedicated GPU makes a difference anymore, I suspect it doesn't but I have one anyway.
  16. Promit

    Promit Mu-43 All-Pro

    Jun 6, 2011
    Baltimore, MD
    Promit Roy
    Several years ago, Intel began simply crushing AMD in single threaded performance. Since most applications use just one or two cores at a time, this translates to vastly better performance by Intel for any single given task. AMD's counter was to start building inexpensive chips that were highly multicore, offering (hopefully) better multitasking performance overall.

    However, apart from benchmarks and a few specific use cases (gaming being the most well known, and video encoding is also a common one), even substantial CPU speed differences simply don't show up as real life benefits. I can change my clock speeds by 30-40% on some computers and it makes no difference to normal use, despite representing quite drastic changes in overall performance. The big bang-for-buck upgrade items on PCs are SSDs and tons of RAM. SSD prices crashed this year, and there are a number of aggressively priced cyber monday type deals running right now. Memory prices are running a bit high I believe, but still very affordable. If price is a big factor - and it usually is - I'd pick the AMD machine and put the saved money towards those upgrades.

    Of course others make a very good point about monitors. There are a number of inexpensive high quality screens out there now, and a calibrator might not be a bad idea either.
    • Like Like x 1
  17. eteless

    eteless Mu-43 All-Pro

    Jun 20, 2014
    Depends on settings, in photoshop if you have it set to basic or normal under the graphics card settings lots of things are disabled (zooming holding ctrl + mouse 1 steps inwards, like it goes in steps and doesn't render instantly as you move the mouse left and right, cropping doesn't show full detail in the new modes(showing rotation of image, rather than rotating crop box) only legacy, etc) if you've got it on advanced things like the heal tool render far faster or even instantly rather than only using the CPU.

    I don't know what the defaults are however unless the accelerate computation thing is ticked and you have a supported card the GPU doesn't do much of anything. The main one I miss using older machines is the zoom as you can bind it to a single key on the mouse (thus zoom in and out as needed by holding one button on the mouse, it's much faster in practice than anything else I've used).

    Sadly Camera Raw doesn't utilize any of the newer features as far as I'm aware thus lightroom probably also doesn't. I haven't used lightroom for around a year though as I wasn't happy with it's performance, the newer updates of bridge seemed to be 2-3 times faster for 100% view of RAW files when I stopped using it.