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any decent PC laptops for photo editing?

Discussion in 'Hardware' started by so 650, Jan 16, 2011.

  1. so 650

    so 650 Mu-43 Rookie

    Dec 19, 2010
    I know the standard answers are "get a Mac" or "get a good monitor" but given the constraints of needing a laptop and Windows, are there any good options for photography?
    • Like Like x 1
  2. Danny_Two

    Danny_Two Mu-43 Regular

    Oct 30, 2010
    I had a Toshiba Satellite pro with a tru-brite screen that was pretty good, the screens on top line Sony Vaio's are supposed to be good to.

    Not as good as Macs though.
    • Like Like x 1
  3. Alanroseman

    Alanroseman Super Moderator Emeritus

    Dec 21, 2010
    New England

    Buy a PowerBook, get Parallels 6.0 for free with the purchase, install Windoze 7 on it.

    The Mac PowerBook will run Windoze 7 faster and more efficiently than almost any low cost windoze laptop, and you'll have the beauty, simplicity and power of Mac OS X to run lightroom, or Aperture 3 from Apple.

    Buy the way, Aperture 3 when purchased via the new OSX App store costs only $79.

    Many of my clients need Windows 7 for perhaps one reason, maybe running Active X in a browser for example. In those cases, it's Parallels and Windoze on the Mac.

    No powering down to boot in either OS. They run simultaneously, and issue free. With version 6 you can easily share even your home folder, as well as seeing the desktop icons for both platforms.

    Cheers, Alan
    • Like Like x 3
  4. ~tc~

    ~tc~ Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Oct 22, 2010
    Houston, TX
    Any reason you must have a laptop?

    Desktop is much better bang for the buck. I just bought a top of the line intel core i7 "Sandy Bridge" with 1TB HDD and 12 GB RAM, built in card reader -all the goodies - with a 27" monitor for $1600. If there are any laptops that approach this level of performance, they will probably cost twice that, and obviously have a smaller screen
  5. Alanroseman

    Alanroseman Super Moderator Emeritus

    Dec 21, 2010
    New England
    I'd agree. A desktop offers much more bang for the buck.

    But a laptop offers a portable studio... and if you're highly mobile, it's almost a must.
  6. Alanroseman

    Alanroseman Super Moderator Emeritus

    Dec 21, 2010
    New England
    One more thing if I may.

    As I'm in this business let me add.

    Buying a computer is not unlike the purchase of an automobile.

    If you haven't made a determination of what your "spend" limit is when buying a car, you wouldn't know wether to start at the Mercedes dealership, or the Chevy dealership.

    Same with a computer.

    1.Choose an amount that would make you "comfortable" to part with.
    2. List the primary use of the machine. Word Processing, graphics, web & comm etc.
    4. Examine wether mobility is worth more to you than speed (processing power)
    3. Shop at THAT price point only. There are lots of choices out there, lots.

    Pick a number, then try to get the biggest bang for your buck.
  7. pdh

    pdh Mu-43 Top Veteran

    May 6, 2010
    I do find it odd that when the question is "Recommend me a laptop that isn't a Mac", the initial responses are "buy a Mac or a desktop" ...

    I can't say exactly which brand or model to buy, and it's not clear how much battery time you need, but as I'm considering replacing my (adequate but slow) laptop, it's become fairly clear what the basic specs are for me - lots of RAM (4GB or more), a nice big HDD (320GB, preferably 500GB), and modern quick processor (Intel i5 or i7, although I don't know which AMD chips are equivalently good);; screen technology is a bit of a minefield, you'll need to Google for more info ...

    fwiw, a friend of mine (a very fine professional artist and photographer, who uses PS constantly) recently got a refurb Packard Bell from PCWorld, and she's very very happy with it ... so quality isn't necessarily the preserve of top end brands

    hope this is of some help


    and also, what Alan Roseman said!
  8. shoturtle


    Oct 15, 2010
    macbook or macbook pro. Or any good editing software with allot of memory. editing is a memory hog, upgrade to 4gb or 8gb of ram
  9. ~tc~

    ~tc~ Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Oct 22, 2010
    Houston, TX
    True. I can't speak for the others, but I have bought laptops in the past because they were "sexy" and I thought I valued portability more than I actually used it.

    I have never had a laptop last more than a couple years before breaking outright or becoming outdated. Mostly because the cost level forced me to buy less processor, HDD, etc than you would get for the same priced desktop. By comparison, my last desktop that I just replaced lasted 10 years with only a HDD upgrade (a much more reasonable option than on a laptop BTW) IMHO because I bought the second fastest thing out there 2.8 GHz HT when top of the line was 3.2. I did the same thing this time, and I hope it turns out similarly.

    Moore's Law can be a b!+@h ...

    So, to the OP, I would ask, really, how often are you going to do hardcore image processing on the road? Would something like an iPad to do "light" image processing and uploading to facebook, etc be a better solution?
  10. so 650

    so 650 Mu-43 Rookie

    Dec 19, 2010
    Thank you all. I will try to clarify my needs, and welcome your continuing suggestions.

    I use my home computer for numerous tasks, the only one of which that it reasonably hardware demanding (particularly with respect to screen quality, which is what I meant to get at in the initial post) is photo processing/editing.

    It's not actually the portability that I desire, but space savings and the ability to get the thing off my valuable desk real estate to use the desk otherwise. Perhaps I could achieve the same effect with a compact monitor appropriately arranged (and an easily flung away wireless keyboard). Depending on the ease of shoving aside the monitor, that sounds pretty good to me.

    Fire away!

    (and thanks again)
  11. lenshoarder

    lenshoarder Mu-43 All-Pro

    Nov 7, 2010
    They haven't made PowerBooks in years. You're thinking about MacBook Pros.

    Anyways, being a MacBook Pro and a Sony Z owner. Give the Mac to the kids and get a real machine.

    OP, you want a Sony Z. It comes with an i5 or an i7 CPU. Upto quad RAID SSDs for 600MB/sec disk access, yes it supports 4 drives builtin. It even has a 1920x1080p screen. This all comes in a 13" 3lb package. You can even get a builtin blu-ray burner. It's the perfect, portable photo processing monster machine that you can take anywhere. Oh yeah, I forgot to say it comes with a nVidia GT330 dedicated GPU you can use to accelerate Photoshop.
    • Like Like x 1
  12. Alanroseman

    Alanroseman Super Moderator Emeritus

    Dec 21, 2010
    New England
    You are correct. MacBook pro .
  13. stratokaster

    stratokaster Mu-43 All-Pro

    Jan 4, 2011
    Dublin, IE
    That's true. VAIO Z also has one of the best screens around - it is capable of reproducing 100% of NTSC color gamut.
  14. usayit

    usayit Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    I'm a Mac guy but I have a respect for Lenovo laptops (work uses them). I didn't see a budget specified but I would probably get this one if a Windows Laptop was a requirement.

    Lenovo W701DS (or W701)


    for the following primary reasons.

    0) spec'd like one of their high end laptops plus
    1) Dual Screen on the W701DS
    2) Internal RAID controller with two drive bays
    3) Pantone Screen Calibration
    4) Builtin Wacom tablet digitizer

    Its Lenovo's laptop spec'd specifically for graphic artists
  15. flash

    flash Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Apr 29, 2010
    1 hour from Sydney Australia.
    While the current Macbook Pros are an improvement, their screens (currently around 72% of aRGB) are far from the best available. There's the Lenovo mentioned above. At a lesser cost is the top of the line Sony FW series that does 100% aRGB or the HP's with the "dream color" LCD panels, which are also close to 100% aRGB. Both are LED backlit which gives a wider gamut and improvement in viewing angles. Currently none of these screens, including the Sony, HP or Macbook Pros use IPS panels, so while the gamut is great, top to bottom viewing angles are not as good as they would be in an IPS panel. Currently as far as I know the only laptops that do have IPS panels are some of the more expensive tabletPCs from Fijitsu, Lenovo and HP. FWIW the iPad also has an IPS screen.

    Currently I use a Sony (older model) with this 3LED technology and it's simply superb. I don't move up and down much and horizontal viewing angles are very good. While my Eizo desktop monitors are better I hardly ever bother to hook them up, good enough is the Sony display.

  16. squeegee

    squeegee Mu-43 Veteran

    Jan 26, 2010
    If photo editing is what you have in mind...

    I believe macbooks can only display about 75% of the NTSC colour gamut. This is about average for laptops.

    If you want to splurg... look at the Lenovo thinkpad w700 series, they can display 100% of the ntsc colour gamut. To the best of my knowledge that laptops display will kick butt on most average home monitors too.


    As for the comment "Buying a computer is not unlike the purchase of an automobile. If you haven't made a determination of what your "spend" limit is when buying a car, you wouldn't know wether to start at the Mercedes dealership, or the Chevy dealership. "

    I find sales people who make those type of comments totally absurd. The first and foremost thing you should always determine is "what you need". Then the second thing you determine is "what is the cheapest thing that suffices your needs". You don't walk into a car dealer saying I can spend $100,000 with out first determining that all you do is drive to the local grocery store to buy milk. You'll end up spending more than you need to and buying the wrong thing - but making the sales person really happy which is why they always ask that stupid question "how much money can I extract from you... errrr I mean, how much money do you want to spend".

    You should *never* shop based on how much money you have or want to spend, you should always shop based on what you need.
  17. Iconindustries

    Iconindustries Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    My dad always says, find out what you need in size and performance, then go a bit more.
  18. Alanroseman

    Alanroseman Super Moderator Emeritus

    Dec 21, 2010
    New England
    Let me make the crystal clear for you.

    When you set your "spend" limit you do not share it with sales people, wether considering the purchase of an automobile, a refrigerator or a sailboat, a computer, or a home. Your spend limit is pre determined based on your personal finances, after discussion with your significant other perhaps, or your bookkeeper..

    Making any large purchase without knowing beforehand what you can afford to commit to that purchase leaves one in a very weak position. As one is then susceptible to a "reach" financially.

    You should always know going in exactly what your financial limit / commitment is to that particular purchase.

    I don't believe I mentioned walking in to a computer store and declaring "I have $2200. to spend!
  19. Pelao

    Pelao Mu-43 Top Veteran

    Feb 3, 2010
    Ontario, Canada

    I prefer to work with a Mac computer and highly recommend it as a choice for most tasks. This is based on years of running both OSs in a commercial environment.

    But there are plenty of PC laptops that have the horsepower (processor, RAM capacity and good graphics chip) to edit photographs. Any one that exceeds the minimum requirements of your chosen software, and that comes from a reliable vendor, can handle the task. There is lots of choice.

    The real question is the screen. For what it's worth, my view is to not try and find a laptop screen (Mac or WIN) for serious editing, especially for print output. Get a good, solid laptop (if it's a laptop you prefer) and get a great screen as your main editing space - and keep it calibrated. The screen will likely still be running when your laptop needs to be replaced.

    My personal preference is a small and light (yet powerful) laptop for general stuff, and a maxed out desktop for my photography.

    Hope this helps.
  20. naturecloseups

    naturecloseups Mu-43 Regular

    Jun 10, 2010
    I would recommend the HP EliteBook 8740w laptop with Dreamcolor 2 screen, capable of displaying 1+ billion colors. I use one myself with core i7 + 8GB RAM and I don't think it could get any better with present technology.
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