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Are 8GB enough for a laptop (with Smart-Previews) ?

Tokumeino

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This is my first post. Thanks a lot for the valuable information here.

I'm in the process of buying a laptop (100% sRGB, FHD, recent i7, 512GB SSD). I plan to store my RAW files on a NAS and generalize the use of SmartPreviews on the laptop. I don't care about export times and batch smart previews rendering, but I want something snappy when culling and editing. It appears that cheaper laptop models (like Acer Swift 3 for instance) tick all the boxes but have 8GB melted and non-upgradable RAM. I'm currently running a 16GB desktop driving a 4K display and directly managing RAW files, and LR routineley eats 6BG RAM (more when pano stiching and such).

So my question is : how slower would be an 8GB laptop when compared to a 16GB one (I mean mostly for use cases such as editing or culling) ? I know it will be smaller, but I cannot figure out by how much.
 

Victoria Bampton

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Hi Tokumeino, welcome to the forum!

When culling and editing, the extra RAM helps, because it allows photos surrounding the currently selected photo to be cached in fast RAM, rather than having to read them off the disc. Things like pano merge are also particularly RAM hungry, as you've noted. Putting an actual time on it is tricky, but if I was buying for more than occasional use, I'd be looking for 16GB personally.
 

Tokumeino

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Thanks for the answer. Your advice is probably wise and I'll think in a more expensive touch+UHD/16GB/15" one like https://www.notebookcheck.net/Dell-Inspiron-15-7000-2-in-1-Black-Edition-i7-8565U-MX150-Convertible-Review.372576.0.html for instance. Provide current sales in my country, it would be 1500€ including a 1TB SSD replacement. That's 500$ more than 14", FHD, non touch, 8GB only (and melted) laptop like an Acer Swift 3 or an Asus Zenbook.

About the UHD thing : the performance drop has been huge with my current (4 years old and 2 cores) i5 desktopn when I've bought a UHD display. Do you think that this Dell with an up-to-date current i7 with GeForce MX150 coule be snappy and reactive despite the 4K thing ?
 

clee01l

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I have an older 13" rMBP. It came with a maximum of 8GB. Performance is acceptable but not ideal Like Victoria, I'd recommend 16GB minimum .
 

Victoria Bampton

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About the UHD thing : the performance drop has been huge with my current (4 years old and 2 cores) i5 desktopn when I've bought a UHD display. Do you think that this Dell with an up-to-date current i7 with GeForce MX150 coule be snappy and reactive despite the 4K thing ?
It's a lot more pixels for it to render with every change, so there is a performance hit. A good discrete graphics card is the main thing that helps.
 

Tokumeino

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Thanks. And provided I have 16GB RAM, a latest i7 and a MX150 with 2GB, do you think that I would experience lagging with a 4K screen ?
 

Eric Bowles

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This is my first post. Thanks a lot for the valuable information here.

I'm in the process of buying a laptop (100% sRGB, FHD, recent i7, 512GB SSD). I plan to store my RAW files on a NAS and generalize the use of SmartPreviews on the laptop. I don't care about export times and batch smart previews rendering, but I want something snappy when culling and editing. It appears that cheaper laptop models (like Acer Swift 3 for instance) tick all the boxes but have 8GB melted and non-upgradable RAM. I'm currently running a 16GB desktop driving a 4K display and directly managing RAW files, and LR routineley eats 6BG RAM (more when pano stiching and such).

So my question is : how slower would be an 8GB laptop when compared to a 16GB one (I mean mostly for use cases such as editing or culling) ? I know it will be smaller, but I cannot figure out by how much.
There is a difference in the RAM required for a laptop with a fast solid state drive vs. a laptop with a spinning hard drive. I was concerned about just 8 MB of RAM on one of my laptops, but it's actually working fine with a fast solid state hard drive. If you are doing a lot of panos or HDR imaging, I would add RAM and choose faster processing speed, but if it's an occasional thing you should be fine.
 

Alan in Oakland

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I traded in my MacBook Air with 8GB for one with 16GB, for exactly this reason. Pano stitching can be painful, and the hand-off between Lightroom and Photoshop can bring your machine to a halt. For large projects, even 16 GB isn't enough, but that is all you can get for many models of laptops. I have a much faster desktop computer, so I don't rely on my MacBook Air for big projects.
 

Tokumeino

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Thanks. At the end, I've increased my budget and bought a more upgradable laptop, with the possibility to get 32GB max (16GB installed). I've bought a Dell 15 7000 Inspiron 2-in-1 Black (with a 4K 100%sRGB screen) with a third-party 1TB NVMe SSD replacement, for a 1500€ total (VAT incl.). The GPU is only a 3GB MX150 but on my 3GB GTX1060 home desktop with a 4K display as well, GPU usage never goes beyong 20%, even in use cases where I feel lags (bottleneck is likely to be somewhere else). Once I get it, I'll post my thoughts here, for future readers. Buying a laptop is much more difficult that a desktop, where it is easy to replace a component if you mis-eveluated something.
 
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