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Computer Advice

ChrisLF

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Joined
Feb 26, 2017
Messages
32
Location
Warwick, UK.
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Intermediate
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6.x
Lightroom Version
Lightroom Classic version 11
Operating System
  1. Other (please note in thread)
As said on another thread I'm going to have to look at replacing my existing PC tower to run LR Classic satisfactorily.

I've searched out the minimum requirements from Adobe but would appreciate it if recommendations could be given for off the shelf PCs that will provide the required performance and at a reasonable price. Not looking for blistering performance, just something to do the job. I'm in the UK.

Currently running Windows 10, I assume Classic runs OK on Windows 11?

Thanks, Chris
 

PhilBurton

Lightroom enthusiast (but still learning)
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Be sure to get at least 16GB of RAM, and an SSD of 1 TB or more.

How many photos in your catalog? How much total disk space? Do you use an external drive to store your actual photos?

If your budget can stretch a bit, consider getting a separate GPU card. If that's not possible now, you can probably add one in the future unless you get a "compact" ITX system, which will have limited availability.

With a new system, unless you purchase a bespoke system, it will have Windows 11 installed.

Since I am based in the USA, I can't make any suggestions regarding UK shops.
 
Joined
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get as much RAM as you can afford - especially if you have a catalog that is on the larger side.

You also may want to get an externald drive to hold the images. Image files tend to be the culprit that fills internal drives most and once images have been imported into LrC and previews built, Lightroom Classic's access of the actual image files is quite modest so having the images on a slower drive is typically not a problem. Of course if that external drive is an SSD, then you'd barely notice the difference.
 
Joined
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Canadian Rocky Mountains
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As said on another thread I'm going to have to look at replacing my existing PC tower to run LR Classic satisfactorily.

I've searched out the minimum requirements from Adobe but would appreciate it if recommendations could be given for off the shelf PCs that will provide the required performance and at a reasonable price. Not looking for blistering performance, just something to do the job. I'm in the UK.

Currently running Windows 10, I assume Classic runs OK on Windows 11?

Thanks, Chris
Well Chris, that is a valid question. I am running a ThreadRipper 2950X, with 128 GB RAM. I can tell you from my experience, cores don't matter so much with Photography APPs by Adobe - to much yet! I have 128 GB RAM, because I edit videos,, and it seems to have helped. BUT - I have not removed 64 to see.

I suggest basic cores - 8, with highest Frequency you can find. I hear Intel is coming out with a Hummer this fall. 5600Mhz in turbo mode. Wild idea. (point being, less cores, faster Speed) But please study the PCIe v 4.0. (most newer MBs will have this) This is one easy way to let your LR database fly. With at least 1TB or more M.2 PCIe hard drive, using full bandwidth of the PCIe 4. For affordability, pair this stuff down at your comfort price. RAM - well, I would never have less than 32 - what I tell my family and friends. Again, fast as your MB can take. Depends on your CPU choice and brand. Have fun planning,,, read, and then find the hardware sites to see what they think about your choice of "stuff". I usually take 6 - 12 months planning my new BOX.

I dream of the day, Adobe updates their software to use more cores. But this is a technical nightmare for programmers - in respect of editing photos with multicores. Oh yeah, with all the third party software addons, the Video card will make the difference - and with LR. They are mostly using the GPU to do the work, so speeds up the work tremendously. Don't cheap out on your Video card, but you can upgrade this later easily of course.
 
Joined
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Messages
846
Location
Cheshire, UK
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Intermediate
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Hi Chris,
Since you are in the UK I recommend looking at Chillblast. I got my last two desktops from them, and been very pleased - they use good quality components and assemble them well. Warning - they are not cheap!
They make a couple of desktops aimed at photo editing. Their top of the range one is really aimed at professional users, but this is similar to the one I bought:
https://www.chillblast.com/chillblast-create-zen-lite-editing-pc-1.html
It can of course be customised.
Regards, Dave
 

Gnits

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I recommend that you estimate your image storage requirements which will give you sufficient storage for,say, the next 3 years.

This number will influence significantly how you might configure your disk purchases / setup.

If this number is greater than 1 or 2 TB then you will likely be considering spinning disks. In such a scenario, install an ssd (M2 preferred) for your system drive and an internal spinning disk large enough to cover the next,say, 3 years. You will then need to purchase at least one external drive for system and image backups (ie min size is ssd drive plus spinning drive).

I use a variation of this. In simple terms I have an internal M2 drive for my system and apps, a very fast M2 drive for this years images and then I use a spinning disk Thunderbolt enclosure for my legacy images (going back 20 years at least).

If I was reengineering my own setup today, I would replace my external Thunderbolt enclosure with a single large spinning disk and back up my images to the Thunderbolt enclosure. I would then have M2 SSD for my system and apps, fast M2 for Catalog and current years images, internal spinning disk for all previous years images and use my Thunderbolt enclosure for image and system backups.

I am comfortable with such a setup as I know my immediate and near future storage needs and can devise a storage config to suit.
 
Joined
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Some things I keep in mind:
  • What other programs may you be running at the same time? Will you be launching PS from LrC for example. That increases your resource requirements especially memory.
  • Look for discrete components or at least being able to add new ones. I can’t upgrade to the latest version of PS because I only have 1.5gb of video RAM. PS wants 2. A work in progress. Some systems are not upgradeable.
  • There’s also a balance based on your needs. Are you a heavy user of LrC or more casual? I’m currently running on a 10 year old system, 16gb of memory and a 5400rpm disk. Do I have delays sometime? Yes, if I’m doing HDR or PANO work. I really notice it when I use some Topaz plug-ins. This is the hard part. Size for a Lamborghini or Chev.
 

ChrisLF

Member
Joined
Feb 26, 2017
Messages
32
Location
Warwick, UK.
Lightroom Experience
Intermediate
Lightroom Version
6.x
Thank you all for your replies. Photography is purely hobby and I don't process large numbers of photographs so lightning speed isn't a requirement, just want to avoid slow running and potential crashes.

I tend to download new images from the day's shooting (RAW + JPEG) onto the PC' s hard-drive and process a selection in LR. The camera files are then moved to two separate HD's (2TB and 5TB) for backup and to keep free space on the PC HD. Part of the problem with this PC is that as well as being a few years old is that it is just home office spec. unlike some games machines we've had previously.

Dave - I've not heard of Chillblast (but unlike years ago do not keep abreast of all things computing anymore) but the one you've linked to would fit the bill nicely and is around the price I was expecting to pay. Our first proper PC from Evesham, about 30 years ago, was around £1800!

Do you think there is any need to customise, or leave as specified?

Chris
 
Joined
Oct 28, 2013
Messages
846
Location
Cheshire, UK
Lightroom Experience
Intermediate
Lightroom Version
Classic
Thank you all for your replies. Photography is purely hobby and I don't process large numbers of photographs so lightning speed isn't a requirement, just want to avoid slow running and potential crashes.

I tend to download new images from the day's shooting (RAW + JPEG) onto the PC' s hard-drive and process a selection in LR. The camera files are then moved to two separate HD's (2TB and 5TB) for backup and to keep free space on the PC HD. Part of the problem with this PC is that as well as being a few years old is that it is just home office spec. unlike some games machines we've had previously.

Dave - I've not heard of Chillblast (but unlike years ago do not keep abreast of all things computing anymore) but the one you've linked to would fit the bill nicely and is around the price I was expecting to pay. Our first proper PC from Evesham, about 30 years ago, was around £1800!

Do you think there is any need to customise, or leave as specified?

Chris
Hi Chris,
The only thing I notice is that it only comes with 500Gb SSD - no hard drive. So if your existing drives are external you could use those, or add an internal hdd
 

ChrisLF

Member
Joined
Feb 26, 2017
Messages
32
Location
Warwick, UK.
Lightroom Experience
Intermediate
Lightroom Version
6.x
Thanks Dave, I had noticed that there was no HD so will add one, as it will be used for our day to day computer as well, along with things like DVD drive and card readers etc. Good news about their support and the guarantee is good as well, better than most offerings. Looks like the way to go.
 

Gnits

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Mar 21, 2015
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Dublin, Ireland.
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A few things to consider.

1. Double check that you can connect your existing screen to the graphics card on the new PC. You may need a different cable or find some level of incompatibility.
2. I read the spec on the linked machine above. Surprised the card reader was only 3.0 .... might be worth querying if 3.1 or 3.2 available. Not a big deal, just to be aware.
3. "Expansion Card: 4 + 1 USB 3.0 Port PCIe Hub Controller" . 3.0 is now quite a slow interface, announced in Nov 2008. That is very ol;d in computing terms.
4. Decide how important it is for you re USB port formats. (ie do you want/need USB C).

Also, I agree... I think you are better starting with an internal HD. Less cables, less problems with power, less to go wrong.
 

ChrisLF

Member
Joined
Feb 26, 2017
Messages
32
Location
Warwick, UK.
Lightroom Experience
Intermediate
Lightroom Version
6.x
One thing I like about Chillblast is that they have guides which take you through all aspects of what makes up a good machine for photography, gaming etc. and explain what works best for different requirements and don't push you towards the most expensive components if not required, very refreshing.

I'd briefly looked at other well known makes (assemblers!) and you'd really need to know exactly what you want beforehand so that you get what you need but don't go over the top and spend too much. Obviously I'm going to have to do some work in finalising the spec. but this will be relatively easy and painless now with their guides and suggested machines as per your link etc. Thanks again Dave, good suggestion.

Thanks Gnits for your comments and suggestions, I will take those into consideration when drawing up the final spec.

Chris
 

PhilBurton

Lightroom enthusiast (but still learning)
Premium Classic Member
Joined
Nov 16, 2015
Messages
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California, USA
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Also generally agree with what's been written above. If budget permits, I would suggest increasing the memory to 32GB, and the SSD capacity to 1TB (or more), and adding a large internal hard drive.
Completely agree. Unless you have a specific need for an external hard drive, you are better served with an internal drive. Check with your dealer about these points if you have either an external hard drive or an internal hard drive in your old system that holds all your images.
 

ChrisLF

Member
Joined
Feb 26, 2017
Messages
32
Location
Warwick, UK.
Lightroom Experience
Intermediate
Lightroom Version
6.x
Thanks for the additional suggestions. I do use two external drives to backup my photos and other stuff and to free up space on the internal drive which I will continue to do so won't need a massive internal drive. It will just be used for the initial import and processing of images and those actually imported into LR. I don't have a huge number. I'll look to see how many I currently have in LR and make a judgement on future needs.

Will start drawing up the spec. today. I just know the budget is going to creep up!

Chris
 

David689

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Feb 20, 2022
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I bought my latest PC from https://www.pcspecialist.co.uk . They have a user forum where you can ask for recommendatins based on your intended use, your budget and your monitor. Volunteers on the forum (who do not work for the company - they are just very knowledgeable amateur enthusiasts who know what they are talking about) will then put together a recomended custom build that you can then edit and then order when you are happy with it. Have a look at the sales advice subforum to see what I mean. They will help you get the best for your budget and will help make sure you choose components that go together well, eg making sure you specify appropriate cooling.
They are UK based. I do not have any vested interest in them.
 

David689

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Classic
Having said all that, at the moment the advice is that there is lot of new hardware about to be released so, often, the advice at the moment is to wait a little.
 

ChrisLF

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Feb 26, 2017
Messages
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Location
Warwick, UK.
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6.x
Thanks David, I will take a look as well.

Yeah, number of times I've bought something and then it's been updated/new version is brought out!

Having said that you can put things off for too long sometimes!

Chris
 
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San Antonio, TX
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As said on another thread I'm going to have to look at replacing my existing PC tower to run LR Classic satisfactorily.

I've searched out the minimum requirements from Adobe but would appreciate it if recommendations could be given for off the shelf PCs that will provide the required performance and at a reasonable price. Not looking for blistering performance, just something to do the job. I'm in the UK.

Currently running Windows 10, I assume Classic runs OK on Windows 11?

Thanks, Chris
Chris,
I'm in the US and am a PC builder (as a hobby) and I stay abreast of all the latest PC components. I can't recommend a shop in the UK, but I can tell you that any new mid-range PC is going to rock LR. Just get at least 16 and preferably 32 on the ram. Make sure you are buying a PC with the latest gen processor (at whatever level). For intel that is 12th gen Alder Lake, but very soon (within a few weeks) will be the 13th gen Raptor Lake CPUs.
I need to know what you want to spend to better frame it. But you could wait a couple of months for Raptor Lake and get a pre-built PC with a Raptor Lake chip.

I also think you should not rely on integrated graphics and get a PC with a mid-range GPU, unless you game, then spend a bit more. Those GPUs are getting really cheap now as prices plummet from the recent two years of astronomically high GPU prices. Plus, both Nvidia and AMD are about to come out with a new generation of cards that are going to be a big jump in tech and will drop the prices of this current generation even more.

Storage? You want to be booting off of a 1TB NVMe PCIe Gen 4 M.2 SSD. Anything older than that (like Gen 3) and you are getting an older machine, so be warry of that. You will boot off of that SSD and your Adobe programs and Cat will reside on that SSD.

Your images? You want to be storing them on a separate internal SSD. The question is how big is that? Can you do it on a 2TB SSD? If so, that is a no-brainer. If you need 4, then my recommendation will change. How big is your folder or folder where all of your images are stored? Tell me how big that is now, and if you shoot a lot to account for growth. I will tell you what SSD to get.

External storage for backup? That is cheap and plentiful. Back up to external spinning small portable drives. Those are about 110 bucks for 5 TB, and less for 2 or 4 TB. But it all depends on the size of your current image data. If it is small, say around a TB or so, I'm gonna have you backing up to 1 or 2 TB SSD drives. The point is that now is the time to divorce yourself from spinning hard drives if you are a hobbyist and your file storage requirements are relatively small. 1 TB is a lot of data. But 1 TB is a very small storage requirement these days and you can do it all on SSDs.

Now for the monitor. Get a 4K IPS 32-inch pro monitor if you can. That will dramatically increase your level of enjoyment for your digital photography. That is still expensive but getting much cheaper.
 

Gnits

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I have a 4k, 32 inch , close to 100% AdobeRGB. There are lots of times when I need to drag windows from the side of the screen to the centre to make viewing more comfortable. A 32 inch Adobe RGB 4k screen is multiple times more expensive than say a 2k 24 or 27 inch screen. It is a pity to spend a lot of extra money and be uncomfortable with the resultant ergonomics.
Decide if you need AdobeRGB, or P3 or sRGB standard colourspace. This might have a big impact on price.

If buying a new machine, I would aim towards a mid tier graphics card. Partially for performance now, but mainly to future proof your current spend.

There is no perfect answer…. as individual styles, font sizes, eyesight and workflows vary so much. Not sure if it is possible to view screens in a store before making a decision on screen sizes.

Screens do decay over time. I changed mine because my prev 27 inch had just died.

I spent a fortune on a 1st gen GPU, simply because of the crazy shortage. Now is a good time to get a mid tier GPU.
 
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I have a 4k, 32 inch , close to 100% AdobeRGB. There are lots of times when I need to drag windows from the side of the screen to the centre to make viewing more comfortable. A 32 inch Adobe RGB 4k screen is multiple times more expensive than say a 2k 24 or 27 inch screen. It is a pity to spend a lot of extra money and be uncomfortable with the resultant ergonomics.
Decide if you need AdobeRGB, or P3 or sRGB standard colourspace. This might have a big impact on price.

If buying a new machine, I would aim towards a mid tier graphics card. Partially for performance now, but mainly to future proof your current spend.

There is no perfect answer…. as individual styles, font sizes, eyesight and workflows vary so much. Not sure if it is possible to view screens in a store before making a decision on screen sizes.

Screens do decay over time. I changed mine because my prev 27 inch had just died.

I spent a fortune on a 1st gen GPU, simply because of the crazy shortage. Now is a good time to get a mid tier GPU.
 
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Gnits, I agree. Yes, monitors are personal, and they are getting cheaper and better (finally). But I'll say this. If you have not seen your high-res images on a 32-inch 4k IPS pro monitor, you haven't seen your images. And if you could see them on a big 4K or above mini-LED monitor you would be amazed (but those are super expensive).
Anyway, yes.... Now is the time to reach in your rig, rip out whatever GPU you have and replace it with a GPU that is so much cheaper and better now.

Take my case. Three months ago GPU prices started dropping to close to MSRP for the first time in 30 months. I bought an Invidia 3080 Ti that had been goinng for close to 2 grand for 900 bucks. Was all excited. Now they are dropping to 700 - below their MSRP. Why? There is a glut after the shortages and plus Nvidea is about to release their 4080 cards. So you can buy a mid-level card that is great for most photographers for a couple of hundred bucks.
SSDs are dropping in price right now two for the first time in 4 years.
 
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