A good fast laptop for photo editing

Conanian

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My current netbook (ASUS UL30A) isn't quite up to scratch considering I cannot upgrade the RAM from the measly 4gb and is considerably slow. Need to edit photos in the field of play i.e. when I am doing my work around where I live

Before I get any suggestions, Mac Book are a little bit pricey for my budget of £600-£900, so clearly I am not looking for a macbook. I am looking for a 8gb RAM model which is upgradable

Also, I have a Spyder3Pro and having difficulties calibrating the colours on my ASUS UL30A, though it has somehow managed to correct the levels of brightness for the LCD screen, but looks very yellowish when I am indoors (i.e. low light)
 
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Conanian IMHO there is no laptop computer suitable for image processing.
The problem is not RAM or processing power but the monitor.
Unless you plan to attach a good external monitor to your laptop to image edit then it will always be hard.

Nonetheless, I feel that a bit more information about your photography and workflow would help myself and others guide you.

Tony Jay
 

Conanian

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How do I attach an external monitor to a laptop when I am outside roaming town?

Also, explain why my laptop is slow compared to my desktop?
 
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I do a lot of photography on the road and use a laptop a lot to download images.
I never do any mission critical image editing on the road however.
I wait until I get home - and at home I use a workstation that has an industry-standard monitor for high-end image-editing.

The reason your laptop is slow is that it likely has a less robust processor (or multiple processors) and perhaps less RAM than your workstation.
The motherboard adn bus also influence overall performance.

Tony Jay
 
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If you are close to the centre of London, pop in to John Lewis as they always have a good range of laptops to look at (same with PC World, though their prices aren't the best). Difficult to recommend a specific model, as we don't really know what you have in mind and the laptop market is changing quite dramatically as the laptop makers react to the success of the tablets......so we see quite a lot of "hybrids" and new ultrabooks now in play.

If I was buying a laptop today which I wanted to use for Lightroom work, and given that the MacBooks would be outside my budget, I'd be keen to have a look at something like this:

http://www.johnlewis.com/samsung-np...e-i7-2-4ghz-8gb-ram-1tb-15-6-metal/p231820498

That would tick most of my Lightroom boxes: quad core i7 CPU, 8gb Ram, 1920 x 1080 Anti-glare screen (though would have preferred 1920 x 1200), large hard drive. But your needs may be different, so suggest going to have a look in John Lewis as they will show laptops from Apple, Sony, Lenovo, HP, Samsung.
 

Conanian

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Well that is why I wanted a more beefier laptop than I have at present, its because the RAM isn't upgradable, the CPU is on the best side naff, its fairly old but not too old. The gfx is not worth even doing any processing on.

Yeah, I agree, I had to some minor editing in lightroom, like exposure and clipping points, but when it comes to exporting or sending it to Photoshop, it seriously lacks in performance
 

LanceH

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i remember years ago being derided for using a LCD monitor for photo editing. (long before this forum or lightroom). can you even buy a CRT these days? laptops get the same bad rap. if your upgrading just get plenty of RAM (more than the minimum, which would be 8) and a fast processor. video card is relatively not so important. whatever it comes with will probably suffice. if you can afford it get an SSD as your primary drive and keep lightroom's catalog on it. buy from a source that builds it to your specifications. i do "critical work" all the time and prints (the bottom line) turn out as they should. too many naysayers IMO with regard to laptop processing. do what you want, it's ok :)
 
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i remember years ago being derided for using a LCD monitor for photo editing. (long before this forum or lightroom). can you even buy a CRT these days? laptops get the same bad rap. if your upgrading just get plenty of RAM (more than the minimum, which would be 8) and a fast processor. video card is relatively not so important. whatever it comes with will probably suffice. if you can afford it get an SSD as your primary drive and keep lightroom's catalog on it. buy from a source that builds it to your specifications. i do "critical work" all the time and prints (the bottom line) turn out as they should. too many naysayers IMO with regard to laptop processing. do what you want, it's ok :)
I look at it as a matter of buyer's due diligence. I believe that it is helpful to know that most laptop screens are 6-bit, and dither the remaining two bits, as opposed to being true 8-bit displays. Whether a laptop screen meets a person's expectations/needs is a separate question, but, IMHO, it is good to make a decision based on factual information.

--Ken
 

Conanian

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I thought that Photoshop used the gfx card? Or is that just the 3D repousse tool that uses the gfx card on a desktop?
 

Katherine Mann

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I have an ASUS N56VJ - and I connect it to an ASUS PB278Q. The laptop screen has a 176 degree viewing angle and is matte, gorgeous. The laptop has two graphics cards - an Intel 4000 onboard and an nvidea GT 650 with 2G RAM. I was happy with 8 G RAM, and a 750 7200rpm drive. I keep all my photos on 2 1T LaCie portable drives.

I often use both PSCC and LR 5, and I have a 30K catalogue.

No problems. Love the setup, love the laptop. Cost me 999 Cdn. for the laptop and way too much for the rest of the stuff ... but the laptop alone would have been sufficient. btw, I run the monitor on the nvidea.
 

Conanian

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I am thinking of that ASUS laptop, it seems to have a good spec
 
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...That would tick most of my Lightroom boxes: quad core i7 CPU, 8gb Ram, 1920 x 1080 Anti-glare screen (though would have preferred 1920 x 1200), large hard drive. But your needs may be different, so suggest going to have a look in John Lewis as they will show laptops from Apple, Sony, Lenovo, HP, Samsung.
I agree with Jim. These would be the minimum specs. I have a similarly spec'd MBP that is dual core i7 and not quad core. It is fine for a travel workstation for LR, but I would not want to subject myself to post processing heavy duty on this machine. My quad coreiMac w/16GB RAM is fince for the heavy duty work.
 
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For a laptop I would strongly recommend a fast SSD drive as well. They are getting cost effective now, they reduce power consumption and are much faster for when it is doing disk IO. If you have tons of images to use, you can take an external drive to archive to (or two, one for backup -- though frankly I've been using high capacity SD cards for that more - my laptop has a slot for them, they are relatively cheap and tiny, so you can carry them around).

Also try hard to be plugged in when editing, and check your power settings. A lot of laptops slow down the processor to save battery, but will run faster if connected to AC power.

Raw processor single-core speed is what I think makes the most difference if you are shooting raw and doing either lots of preview settings or develop changes, don't look for many cores, look for fast cores (use published benchmarks like math as you can't compare gigahertz directly between lines, like i5 and i7).

I've done editing both on an older laptop, and a new Surface Pro. I tend to NOT use it for doing any white balance adjustment (unless it is to a known color temp), but with a bit of comparison against my desktop I found I could train myself to judge exposure reasonably well. I would use it for initial culling and rough editing, and to turn around a few shots if there's a deadline (i.e. sports), then would re-edit them on my desktop later. But I find, so long as I had decent as-shot (or predictable) white balance, I could hit a decent edit on the Surface Pro screen, which is very tiny and shiny (i.e. a poor choice generally). One thing that helps is a good reference image (say a face with good tones) that you can look at periodically to sort of recalibrate your eyes to what "right" is on the poor monitor.

One thing I wish could work better (but I hear the speed is awful) is a card that would via WiFi continually transfer what you shoot to the laptop, then it could be importing and doing previews while you shoot, gives a real head start. But I hear the Eyefi cards are WAY too slow for that, if you are shooting any volume (e.g. sports, which is where a quick turn helps a lot).
 

Conanian

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I was thinking of slapping in my 128Gb Kingston, as it now seems my current hybrid disk is getting worse by the week, but since the hybrid is 250Gb, I dunno, I know I've said that storage isn't a problem, but I would love some more leverage
 
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I was thinking of slapping in my 128Gb Kingston, as it now seems my current hybrid disk is getting worse by the week, but since the hybrid is 250Gb, I dunno, I know I've said that storage isn't a problem, but I would love some more leverage
500GB SSD or better would be my recommendation 128GB SSD will hold about four Camera Cards worth of my RAW images or about 1200 36mp NEFs The OS and programs including LR and Preview Cache also need to go on that 128GB SSD.
 

Conanian

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I'm on a strict budget, though I already have a NAS drive so can easily delete the photos from the drive once I've finished with them
 

sizzlingbadger

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If you did want to look into the Macbook arena then check out Apple's refurbished deals. They are basically like new and have a full warranty.

I recently bought a 2011 17" Macbook Pro with a non reflective screen for photo editing at a very good price. I then fitted an SSD and added extra RAM (from OWC) at very little cost. I have two internall drives now, SSD for the OS, apps and LR catalog and one large HD for the photos.

In fact my old 13" Macbook is still going strong after 5 years and LR runs fine on that too.
 
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Conanian

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I know what you mean about the refurbs deal, but I had a bad experience with refurb goods, ok, it was only one item, but that was enough to put me off for life. Thanks for the tips. I know they are fast compared to PC based laptops, but I really don't want to put anything on and find it crashing all the time.
 

Conanian

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An update on this, I have slapped in a SSD, the loading of photo is fast, but the processing of photos, mainly exporting or sending them to photoshop remains the same. I guess if I want to make that aspect faster, a new laptop is needed because my RAM isn't upgradable to at least 8gb, and the cpu can't be upgraded
 
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