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Forums Lobby MASTER YOUR TOOLS - Hardware & Software Digital postprocessing & workflow (Public) topic #67655
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Subject: "Computer Requirements" Previous topic | Next topic
KurtP Gold Member Nikonian since 01st Jan 2013Tue 08-Oct-13 03:52 AM
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"Computer Requirements"


Quesnel, CA
          

I have been a PC user all my working life. I want to buy a new computer before I retire which will be in February. This computer will be primarily used for PP. I am currently using PSE11 which seems a good learning program but I may want to upgrade. I have a d7000 which is providing a fairly steep learning curve. The point is I am just beginning to explore this digital world and enjoying the challenge. I would appreciate any feedback you all can offer in terms of computer requirements.

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Replies to this topic
Subject Author Message Date ID
Reply message RE: Computer Requirements
jcsocalphoto Silver Member
08th Oct 2013
1
Reply message RE: Computer Requirements
KurtP Gold Member
11th Oct 2013
5
Reply message RE: Computer Requirements
ericbowles Moderator Awarded for his in-depth knowledge and high level skills in various areas, especially Landscape and Wildlife Photoghraphy Writer Ribbon awarded for for his article contributions to the community
09th Oct 2013
2
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buffumjr
10th Oct 2013
3
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KurtP Gold Member
11th Oct 2013
7
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KurtP Gold Member
11th Oct 2013
6
Reply message RE: Computer Requirements
kennoll Gold Member
10th Oct 2013
4
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KurtP Gold Member
11th Oct 2013
8
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Izzie Gold Member
12th Oct 2013
9
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KurtP Gold Member
13th Oct 2013
10
     Reply message RE: Computer Requirements
Izzie Gold Member
13th Oct 2013
11
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cmajor335
16th Oct 2013
12
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buffumjr
17th Oct 2013
13
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samuelgmaurer Silver Member
18th Oct 2013
14
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hertfordnc Silver Member
21st Oct 2013
15

jcsocalphoto Silver Member Nikonian since 19th Apr 2013Tue 08-Oct-13 07:13 PM
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#1. "RE: Computer Requirements"
In response to Reply # 0


San Diego, US
          

You didn't state, but I'm assuming you are wanting to stay with the PC platform? I've been on PC's, went to Macs in school then back to PC's afterward for work... My next computer is going to a Mac. Especially for photography (I need some PC based programs for my work, but will run those in "background" of the Mac).

Anyway, the one thing I've found with PC's and their programs is, make sure that your software will work with the Windows platform you get (7 or 8 especially)... I can't tell you the times (and $$$ I $pent) I've had to upgrade my software because the program(s) didn't work with the newer version of Windows (I honestly think at times this is planned ... but truly know that it's not ... I think...). My biggest "experience" in this was upgrading computer and Windows, to find that my AutoCAD (I'm an architect) didn't work with the new Windows and had to layout the cash for the new version of CAD (and at $4500 a pop, that gets expensive... and that was back when that happened about six years ago - costs have only gone up on this software stuff).

I don't know if that helps or muddies the water for you. But... you have a great camera and you'll get the controls down! Shoot, Shoot, Shoot and they'll only become second nature to you.

Best of luck!

Jack
D700 | D2X | F100 | Nikon 1 V1 (really the wife's)

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KurtP Gold Member Nikonian since 01st Jan 2013Fri 11-Oct-13 06:51 PM
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#5. "RE: Computer Requirements"
In response to Reply # 1


Quesnel, CA
          

Thank you for your thoughts Jack. I am leaning towards a PC but share some of your frustration with the seemingly constant change in OS. I have also looked at Apple but am put off by the price. I believe in the axiom that you get what you pay for except when you don't.
Kurt

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ericbowles Moderator Awarded for his in-depth knowledge and high level skills in various areas, especially Landscape and Wildlife Photoghraphy Writer Ribbon awarded for for his article contributions to the community Nikonian since 25th Nov 2005Wed 09-Oct-13 01:00 PM
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#2. "RE: Computer Requirements"
In response to Reply # 0


Atlanta, US
          

There are several options for a PC system. I've taken the approach that I want a laptop PC with a separate photo quality monitor for editing. I also have backup storage with two backup 4 TB drives onsite and one offsite.

The advantage of the laptop approach is portability - for use and for repair if needed. I typically get a 2-3 year life out of a laptop regardless of the price point. Some aspect of the system tends to either wear out or become functionally ready for an upgrade within 3 years. So I have chosen to buy at a lower price point. My most recent purchase was a Lenovo Ideapad with an Intel i7 chip running Windows 8. I have 16 MB of RAM. I have a 750GB hard drive on my laptop. This setup cost about $850 earlier this year including the RAM upgrade. I've had very bad experience with HP Pavillion laptops - 5 of 6 laptops have lasted less than 2 years, and warranty replacement of a 2 year old laptop does not do much since it is nearing end functional life.

I'm using an NEC PA241W-BK 24" Widescreen LCD Monitor. The monitor is a relatively high quality at a reasonable price. I have both the Spectraview calibration and the Spyder 3 Elite systems. This approach provides a high quality monitor and lets me save on the laptop monitor. Laptop monitors are not very good for final photo editing.

Windows 8 has a bit of a learning curve, but I've had no issues with compatibility of any programs. I have CS6 and Capture NX2 for editing along with a copy of Elements 10. My image files are mainly from a D800E - large files. Performance is fine with all programs.


Eric Bowles
Nikonians Team
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Fall Workshops - Fall Color in the Smokies

Nikonians membership — my most important photographic investment, after the camera

  

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buffumjr Registered since 05th Jun 2013Thu 10-Oct-13 12:55 AM
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#3. "RE: Computer Requirements"
In response to Reply # 2


US
          

OK, let's "cut to the chase".

Lightroom 4 and 5 demand 64 bit. That's Vista and up. XP won't handle it. Go 64 bit. If some hardware touts 128 bit, buy it. 64 bit is the near future. Eventually, say, 2 years, most high end software will demand 64 bit.

Make sure whatever hardware you buy is ridiculously memory upgradeable. After 25 years in IT, that's the criterion that is magic. You can do with an older processor, or a slower hard drive or hard drive bus. It's memory that enables the PC to run faster, because of fewer "page faults". Today, if you have less than 2 GIG, YOU'RE WRONG! Just two years ago, 512 meg was cool! You do the math. Terabyte memory in the future? You bet. Just not this year.

Whether you choose desktop or laptop depends on your photography lifetstyle. If you process while you travel, go laptop. Just be advised, laptops aren't as upgradeable.

As far as which desktop, don't get the "latest and greatest". Get the generation just before that, and pay 1/4 the price!

  

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KurtP Gold Member Nikonian since 01st Jan 2013Fri 11-Oct-13 07:05 PM
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#7. "RE: Computer Requirements"
In response to Reply # 3


Quesnel, CA
          

>OK, let's "cut to the chase".
>
>Lightroom 4 and 5 demand 64 bit. That's Vista and up. XP
>won't handle it. Go 64 bit. If some hardware touts 128 bit,
>buy it. 64 bit is the near future. Eventually, say, 2 years,
>most high end software will demand 64 bit.
>
>Make sure whatever hardware you buy is ridiculously memory
>upgradeable. After 25 years in IT, that's the criterion that
>is magic. You can do with an older processor, or a slower
>hard drive or hard drive bus. It's memory that enables the PC
>to run faster, because of fewer "page faults".
>Today, if you have less than 2 GIG, YOU'RE WRONG! Just two
>years ago, 512 meg was cool! You do the math. Terabyte
>memory in the future? You bet. Just not this year.
>
>Whether you choose desktop or laptop depends on your
>photography lifetstyle. If you process while you travel, go
>laptop. Just be advised, laptops aren't as upgradeable.
>
>As far as which desktop, don't get the "latest and
>greatest". Get the generation just before that, and pay
>1/4 the price!
>
>
I so agree the laptop has 4 gigs of ram and is slow to load, manipulate and save even a single picture. Thanks for your input
Kurt

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KurtP Gold Member Nikonian since 01st Jan 2013Fri 11-Oct-13 06:57 PM
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#6. "RE: Computer Requirements"
In response to Reply # 2


Quesnel, CA
          

Thank you Eric you answered some of the questions like how much ram. I have heard 16gig mentioned before. Is the main advantage the ability to manage more files faster?
Kurt

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kennoll Gold Member Nikonian since 07th Feb 2011Thu 10-Oct-13 08:32 PM
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#4. "RE: Computer Requirements"
In response to Reply # 0
Thu 10-Oct-13 08:38 PM by kennoll

Seattle, US
          

Hi Kurt,

Welcome to the ranks of the retired...soon anyway. I retired around 3 years ago and, like you, I replaced my PC, got a new camera body, lens, software, and a few other things before retiring.

Here's a few things to consider in purchasing your computer:
1. I use a desktop for the heavy lifting of PP so my choice was to replace my old desktop. I have a laptop but find that I don't use it as much except for photo classes and such. The desktop has the Intel i5 processor, 16GB RAM, Win 7 Pro.
2. Plenty of RAM. 32GB or better. As you move to newer camera bodies, the image sizes will increase so the extra room will be nice to have. My D300s DX is 12.3MPs while a D800 FX is 36.3MPs. So, set yourself up for those options.
3. Quad processor like an i7. I've max'd my i5 a few times while processing images.
4. A large, on-board hard drive in the multi-terabyte range. Optionally, in addition to the terabyte drive, a SSD for applications and other read-only resources.
5. An external, terabyte drive for backups and mobility if necessary.
6. A better monitor. I have a Dell Ultrasharp U2410 monitor with 1920x1200 resolution. There are other monitors that are equally or more capable.
7. A "Better" or "Best" video card for HD resolution to drive your better monitor. I went with the best video card my PC power supply could handle. (If your PC has extra hardware bays make sure the power supply will handle the additional burden should you choose to add drives or cards.)
8. A monitor calibration tool. Mine is the Datacolor Spyder3Pro. Again, there are other calibration tool options.
9. A DVD burner for archiving or providing images, such as weddings, parties, retirements, etc. for others.
10. If you don't already have one, a backup power supply. I've had momentary, and a few longer, power spikes while working on the PC. The backup power supply gives me spike protection for the PC and time for a manged shutdown without losing work put into an image or images or doing a long backup to my hard drive. I do Save's a lot but still...

That's about all I can think of at the moment. Oh, yeah, a comfy chair...

I'm sure others will chime in, in addition to those that already have, on this so stay tuned.

Happy retirement Kurt!

Ken
Seattle, WA
My Gallery

  

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KurtP Gold Member Nikonian since 01st Jan 2013Fri 11-Oct-13 07:11 PM
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#8. "RE: Computer Requirements"
In response to Reply # 4


Quesnel, CA
          

Thank you Ken.
Your post gave me a few other things to think about like why not a desktop? It sound like you are well set up and its nice to know that there is life after work.
Kurt

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Izzie Gold Member Nikonian since 02nd Dec 2011Sat 12-Oct-13 09:26 AM
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#9. "RE: Computer Requirements"
In response to Reply # 0


Chesterfield, US
          

In addition to what Ken had already said, one day you might consider having two monitors. With my current system, desktop that is, is where I do my serious PP and slide shows, store my animations, etc. When doing PP on my images, I hate it when I have very little real estate on my monitor, so I added an old monitor to serve as my extra real estate. Then one day our son decided he doesn't want his PC, so I got his slim monitor and replaced the old one I have. It was just a small monitor but when using Photoshop, all those tools can go to the small monitor while I utilize the 22" that I bought with my PC.

A year ago, I bought a digital piano with all the perks with it but I hate the monitor that came with it so I bought a new monitor but found out that I cannot use it for the piano so now I got a spanking brand new 24" monitor I use for my now PC. What a relief! The bigger the better. I bought a tv for my piano that I connect with my laptop, so double/triple the real estate there. I still will not use my laptop for processing, just my music...and travelling for storing images from my camera and presentation. Other than that, I might as well use it as a boat anchor. (Mind you, my laptop is a game laptop and should be still good as it is just nearly two years old, but I don't think it feels as fast as when I bought it. I need to put in some time and re-install my operating system I suppose...time I do not have at the moment...)

Hope my saga helps.

Fly safe, drive safe and keep safe.
G'day and G'lock....
Izzie

GATEWAY SWIFT WING ST. LOUIS
My Nikonians Gallery

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KurtP Gold Member Nikonian since 01st Jan 2013Sun 13-Oct-13 05:28 AM
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#10. "RE: Computer Requirements"
In response to Reply # 9


Quesnel, CA
          

Thanks for your input Izzie a friend has his PP set up with two monitors and I wondered why. Do you use one monitor for the PP the work and another for the viewing I'm not sure I understand how that works although I only have been using elements since this last summer and have much to learn.

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Izzie Gold Member Nikonian since 02nd Dec 2011Sun 13-Oct-13 09:43 AM
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#11. "RE: Computer Requirements"
In response to Reply # 10
Sun 13-Oct-13 09:48 AM by Izzie

Chesterfield, US
          

I used two monitors...one for PP work and the other for putting the program's tools, in your case, Elements .. like Brushes windows, characters, layers, etc. on the right side monitor. The left monitor is also for viewing and PP work. It is also handy for putting some saved documents on the right side monitor so my main viewing monitor is the one on the left (or you might say, the centre viewing area of my desk.

Another handy thing to use two monitors is that during the day, I go upstairs here in my den and look for recipes. I can open the webpage on my left monitor and if I like to try one recipe, I usually open my word processor and copy and paste the recipe on it, print it, put it in my kitchen bench to follow instructions. Although I can use my iPad in my kitchen, this old me prefers the written word on a piece of printed paper so I can put it in my collection of recipes I like. In short, preservation...also write in pen or pencil what I did with my version of the recipe as I find it hard to follow instructions when it comes to cooking.

Another good use of an extra monitor is when you want to follow a tutorial on PP, for example... I open the webpage on the right monitor and my Photoshop on the left monitor: it saves a lot of time switching from what is underneath my Photoshop program...

I have a presentation program I use for constructing and putting together my events slide shows. A particular review window always gets in the way, so I move the review window on the right monitor so I have an unobstructed view of my program's application to use and change, etc., whatever I want/need to do with my images.

Don't forget, your graphic video hardware should be capable of handling two or three monitors...It is called CUDA (Compute Unified Device Architecture) for it to work. You might as well get a better card than what I have a year ago. Check photoshop element's requirements on cuda compliant at Adobe before embarking on buying your hardware or you will end up having to change it anyway later on. Just like anything else, 6 months down the road, you'd want something better but try not to let it be your graphic video hardware.

Cheers,

Fly safe, drive safe and keep safe.
G'day and G'lock....
Izzie

GATEWAY SWIFT WING ST. LOUIS
My Nikonians Gallery

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cmajor335 Registered since 29th Sep 2013Wed 16-Oct-13 12:22 PM
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#12. "RE: Computer Requirements"
In response to Reply # 11


UK
          

Hi Kurt, welcome to the world of retirement, I joined end of last year and wondered how I managed a full time job AND the hobby of Digital Photography.
I have been a PC user for many years; XP and Vista currently using CS5, CaptureNX2 and PSE11. The latter 2 I bought after buying an iMac (IOS 10.8), Now the mac took quite a bit of getting use to but with perseverence I am getting there especially as they the later ones have a left and right click on the mouse. The files open so much quicker on the Mac but I think that is down to more RAM on that machine. I also invested in a Synology NAS with 2x1tb hard-drives which are 'raided' (duplicates files to both HD) so that if I get a hard-drive malfunction I don't lose anything; have had a few HD in Window's machines give up in the past.
Which ever way you go enjoy your retirement, and when others say "Retired then? Nothing to do all week" just say as I do "I'm only retired Monday to Friday, Saturdays and Sundays are still the same".

  

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buffumjr Registered since 05th Jun 2013Thu 17-Oct-13 01:18 PM
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#13. "RE: Computer Requirements"
In response to Reply # 12


US
          

Back in my hotrod days, I frequented a speed shop. A sign above the counter said, "Speed costs costs money. How fast do you want to go?"

Some of the stuff mentioned, here, could easily be termed pro quality. If you have the $$ for pro quality, and run a stock photo website, and publish in magazines and for ad firms, it is well justified. 24" monitors? Two of them? A monitor calibrator? A desktop that could easily be a server in a small business? Definitely pro stuff.

On the other side, if you DO decide to buy gear instead of beer, think of what you can DO! Metalized prints! Murals! Driving tours through Arizona, New Mexico, and Colorado! Infinite photo opportunties. With a desktop you feel comfortable travelling, a good power backup/filtration system, you can do post in motel rooms.

Still, keep with the rule of buying to meet a practical need. Does your current gear do what you want? If yes, save your $$. If not, upgrade. Beware G.A.S.

  

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samuelgmaurer Silver Member Nikonian since 07th Aug 2011Fri 18-Oct-13 02:47 AM
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#14. "RE: Computer Requirements"
In response to Reply # 13


Wichita, US
          

With the sophistication of PP software, Focal; Piccure, Photomatics Pro, Perfect Photo Suite, et.al. There is a tendency to have the GPU, graphics central processing unit handle the number crunching. Some have specific hardware, video card make, model, OS64bit min RAM req'd and even SSD, solid state drives. Verify you new baby won't choke on your next upgrade. Good luck & enjoy..

Sam Maurer

“All truths are easy to understand once They are discovered; the point is to discover them”
- Galileo

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hertfordnc Silver Member Nikonian since 16th Nov 2005Mon 21-Oct-13 03:41 PM
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#15. "RE: Computer Requirements"
In response to Reply # 13


Hertford, US
          

I love this topic. Surprised it didn't go on longer.

The only thing i would add is this- SPEND A LOT OF MONEY. Buy the most computer you can afford.

I shoot for the govt. with a well funded office. I don't make any money with my personal photgraphy so i am a real cheapskate about everything i buy for myself.

A friend just gave me a six year old castoff- he paid $1800 in 2007 and used it hard up until a few weeks ago. He only dumped it becasue the BIOS battery died and he felt that was a good signal to upgrade. But the machine is a 3.2gz workhorse with a big video card and lots of power left. I added RAM, switched to Win7 and I will get a few more years out of it. The point being, a high end machine is less likely to fail (better power supplies and cooling fans) and the cost per year ends up being pretty low. I think the philosophy works even better with a Mac because old macs have great resale.

As for the long term implications of Mac v. PC, Looking back, every single windows OS upgrade has been a nightmare for users. Apple really only screwed their users one time with the RISC to Intel architecture change. But if you were heavily invested in a powerful G5 MacPro in 2006 you still had a couple good years before you were forced to upgrade to an intel machine.

But either way, if you dropped $2000 for a massive Dell workstation or $4K for a MacPro you would probably not regret it a few years down the road.

  

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