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05-16-2019, 03:44 AM   #1
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Looking for a New Laptop

I'm in the situation now where I need to look at getting a new laptop for my photo editing. I have a windows desktop but need a portable computer.

I currently have a mid 2009 Macbook pro which I have upgraded to 8GB Ram and SSD but its just not cutting the mustard and is not compatible with some of the latest software out there.

I'm in two minds whether to go Apple or Windows, I quite like the look of the Huwawei Matebook X Pro or should I stay with Apple, the apple model line up is quite confusing currently.

What would you recommend?

05-16-2019, 03:56 AM   #2
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I am typing this on a brand new Surface Book 2....It has 16gb RAM and 500gb solid state storage. The screen disengages from the keyboard via an electronic switch, turning it into a 13.5" tablet. It handles LIghtroom very well as well as Windows 10+ programming. I have this for my office compatibility as well as a 13" Apple MacBook Pro. This new full laptop (not the Surface Pro GO or 'cloth' tablet version) by Microsoft, is excellent--in many ways superior to the Apples, as they have stagnated in feature set and speed....

Since you are looking at top of the line laptops in price points ($1,500 +/-), you can't go wrong either way: Battery power is similar (8-10 hours per charge), keyboards are similar and backlit, the screens are both excellent (retina-type hi def), new WIndows platform is comparable to IOS. here's where they differ: I still give build quality a slight edge to Apple MacBook Pro, but the convertibility & full touch screen capability goes to Microsoft.
Just depends on what you need/want.
05-16-2019, 05:28 AM   #3
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FWIW the Dell XPS 13 or 15 is considered comparable to the new Apple hardware but a few hundred dollars less. Now for things I did not understand when buying my previous laptop and how I think it is today after having more time to research things while considering an upgrade myself later in the year:

Neither LR nor PS benefits from a really high-end graphics card as those programs don't take full advantage of the faster chips. (exception noted below). For GPU even an older GTX960M with 4GB onboard is fine so again don't overspend thinking there's some big benefit to the latest Nvidia or AMD chips for post-processing your photos. There isn't ( tho as hinted at above unless you do video or 3D processing. I don't. Lightroom doesn't care to begin with)

As for screen res 1920x1080 is good. More just makes icons and text tinier and puts more strain on the system itself for no real benefit IMO. Oh, and avoid a TN panel display. You won't be happy with it. .

More important would be the storage. Minimally get a hybrid system IMO, a 256GB boot SSD with a 7200RPM 1 TB disk which is pretty standard anymore, and USB 3.1 ports will be beneficial too if you decide to use an external SSD for storing your photos. Mine lacks USB 3.1 ports to take full advantage of the speeds my T5 1TB external drive offers. Make sure you have at least one and two or three would be better, and a built in SD reader.

Better would be going all SSD in the first place, 500GB if you can afford it on the laptop and another TB SSD external. I keep my photos on the T5 SSD velcro'd to the outside lid so it doesn't flop around but still plenty portable when I want to bring that drive to a different computer which I sometimes do.

Don't forget to consider weight and size if you plan to carry it around with you, along with battery life if you habitually use it away from power. I currently use a Dell Inspiron 17" and while it's been very good for photo-processing and still very serviceable three years later it is heavier than I'd prefer, now down to maybe three hours on battery, and TBH is a bit on the large size for sitting back in the recliner doing my editing as I tend to do. Sitting at a table 17" is good. In your lap not so much. If I had a do-over I'd go with 15".

One thing of note regarding battery: I've been told that laptops will generally run faster when connected to power than not, less likely to throttle. Maybe someone here could confirm that.

Memory? 16GB is more than ample to run both LR and PS at the same time. Want to spend extra for 32GB then have at it but I doubt you'll find a benefit to it. Personally I'd look for a system with an 8th gen Intel processor since that actually was a big improvement over the 7th generation chips. Skip paying extra for a 9th gen as they're only a slight improvement if any, not worth paying a couple hundred more for. Buy the far faster 8th gen i7 for the same price as a 9th gen i5.

Now if you also plan to use this for gaming too forget all the advice I gave you on GPU and memory. Good gaming machines eat memory like we eat popcorn and absolutely benefit from top line GPU's for the fast refresh rates games need. Those systems are fine for Adobe too if more than a bit overkill, but many are lap burners so better used at the table, and battery life tends to suffer as well.

https://helpx.adobe.com/lightroom-classic/kb/optimize-performance-lightroom.html
https://helpx.adobe.com/photoshop/kb/optimize-photoshop-cc-performance.html

Last edited by gatorguy; 05-16-2019 at 06:29 AM.
05-16-2019, 07:34 AM   #4
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I have an Asus model with the I7 Intel. It is very quick but the older model screen isn't the best. Their Vivobook line looks quite compelling. The screens are much better for color, and they come with a variety of options for storage and memory. The one I looked at had a fast I7, SSD drive and 8gb of memory upgradable to 16. I've been very happy with the reliabiity of the Asus hardware.

05-16-2019, 09:30 AM   #5
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Adobe announced PS for iPad Pro recently! I use one for much of my post processing and am delighted so far! That said, I have an iMac and ASUS i7 laptop for current Photoshop and heavy processing...like astrophotography and other special needs. The more I use the iPad Pro, the less I need the others; and I don’t do commercial projects anymore-retired. Just my 2cents. :-)
05-16-2019, 12:38 PM   #6
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As someone who's used Windows for most of my life, I have to respectfully disagree that Windows 10 is much like Mac's unix-based OS. I use Linux whenever possible - photo-editing and rare gaming aside. Windows 10 receives a lot of praise from many hardcore users, but I just can't see the appeal. Perhaps I need to try it on a system like a Mic-book (Microsoft Surface book - I think Micbook works. ) that was made for it, but I've seen several computers that were very capable on Windows 7 and 8 have Windows 10 mysteriously install itself, despite never wanting it in the first place, and then the computer stops working. One of those was a two-year old desktop with 16gb RAM and an i7 which we used for our photo-editing. It still 'works', but crashes with driver issues constantly. I'll admit that I am very biased due to these issues, and I have no love of Apple, but Microsoft has lost almost all of its credibility with me.

I do firmly believe that the OS is inferior in some fundamental ways, such as an equally spec Mac will not lag as much as its PC counterpart. Windows 7 was still somewhat friendly in regards to user control, and I feel that Windows 10 has really hurt that. You still might be able to do the same things, but they require a lot more steps in many cases (in my opinion).

All of that being said, the Dell XPS line seems really nice, and I've heard great things about it. Huawei Matebook also looks really nice. I'd feel most comfortable with a decent warranty though, since most of these ultrabooks are not able to have much fixed or troubleshot at home, and they would potentially need very costly repairs for relatively minor issues, were something to go wrong. If you're not too concerned with the total thinness of a laptop, the Lenovo T480 is quite a tank. As others have said though, get a good screen. Even if it's 1080, get the IPS one!
05-16-2019, 02:49 PM   #7
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I use a gaming laptop, Asus G752VT, 24 GB ram, an 250 GB SSD drive for the C drive and a 1 TB 750 rpm stata for the D drive. All programs install on the C, all my data on the D drive. My system is a few years old, but handles anything I want to do.
You didn't ask, but for backups I back up both drives on 2 USB drives (a copy of C & D on each USB drive). Ideally I should keep one of the USB drives off site, but both are in my fire proof safe.
05-16-2019, 03:12 PM   #8
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I'm looking very hard at upgrading from a very low-spec laptop to an HP Spectre X360. I'm considering a refurb unit to get about 1/3rd off normal pricing; it's hard to justify spending over a grand on a laptop at this point. I like these as they have nice screens, are 2-in-1 type so they can act like a tablet when desired, and they have good specs. The size and weight is good and battery life pretty decent as well.

05-16-2019, 03:48 PM   #9
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Recommend getting a machine with IPS screen. Wider viewing angle and more accurate colour rendition compared to TN. As to brand and other specs, I am not so particular. I am currently using an ASUS Gaming machine. FX505G. Not my first choice but best insurance company would come up with after previous machine was stolen. It does a great job with SSD + IT HDD but I don't particularly like its gaming appearance or flashing keyboard.
05-16-2019, 04:11 PM   #10
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I wonder about Macs. Very many bad stories on the webs about hem. They are a lot of bucks for the amount of bang on on offer. There were some tales of woe around bad keyboards a few years ago. The problem has been addressed. Apparently.

Then there are the very sharp business practices when it comes to repairs. Official stores charges in body parts. That is if they don't just quote crazy prices for small faults in order to motivate Mac Fanboi to buy a new one. Take yout Mac to an independent repair shop? They are having a hard time getting spares and info from Apple.

And this is where I put on my anti-flame suit.

Last edited by Wasp; 05-16-2019 at 04:18 PM.
05-16-2019, 06:36 PM - 1 Like   #11
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QuoteOriginally posted by Wasp Quote
I wonder about Macs. Very many bad stories on the webs about hem. They are a lot of bucks for the amount of bang on on offer. There were some tales of woe around bad keyboards a few years ago. The problem has been addressed. Apparently.
The butterfly keyboard doesn't get much love from users, even the latest ones. IMO Apple's laptops are not great bang for the buck but a lot of folks seem to love 'em.
05-16-2019, 07:20 PM   #12
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I tried to use a laptop but I ended up with so many peripherals that I bought a docking station for easier connecting when I wanted to sit at a desk and do hard work. When it was time to upgrade 2 years ago I decided to go beck to a full build Dell Desktop running Win10, which was lightning fast for a year. Now it is slow as molasses and I’ve been out of the game too long to understand what’s happening.

Time to pay for some maintenance, I suppose.
05-17-2019, 02:05 AM   #13
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QuoteOriginally posted by monochrome Quote
I tried to use a laptop but I ended up with so many peripherals that I bought a docking station for easier connecting when I wanted to sit at a desk and do hard work. When it was time to upgrade 2 years ago I decided to go beck to a full build Dell Desktop running Win10, which was lightning fast for a year. Now it is slow as molasses and Iíve been out of the game too long to understand whatís happening.

Time to pay for some maintenance, I suppose.
Clean out the cache, then de-frag the drive (assuming it's not SSD). You can also clear the history and think about what type of anti-virus you're using. You possibly could be suffering from inadequate RAM (8gb is nominal and 16gb is the norm on Win 10). Obviously without diagnosing the issue at the admin portal of your computer it's impossible to tell.
05-17-2019, 04:17 AM   #14
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QuoteOriginally posted by Merv-O Quote
Clean out the cache, then de-frag the drive (assuming it's not SSD). You can also clear the history and think about what type of anti-virus you're using. You possibly could be suffering from inadequate RAM (8gb is nominal and 16gb is the norm on Win 10). Obviously without diagnosing the issue at the admin portal of your computer it's impossible to tell.
32Gb. These days I can’t even find the utilities to manually clean the cache - I have my browsers set to clear the browser cache on exit - and defrag the HD.
05-17-2019, 05:51 AM   #15
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QuoteOriginally posted by monochrome Quote
32Gb. These days I can’t even find the utilities to manually clean the cache - I have my browsers set to clear the browser cache on exit - and defrag the HD.
If you're pumping 32gb RAM that should be enough for all but the most dense of programs. Sometimes it's not the computer per se, it's also the bandwidth of your wifi provider. I know at the office we have very fast machines, but as we are in a large high rise in Center City Philly, the bandwidth does slow down occasionally, whilst the computer is fine. I have to assume that you aren't talking about WiFi applications, but if you are, it may be your 3rd party provider as the culprit.
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