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DPChallenge Forums >> Hardware and Software >> Need New Computer
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09/03/2009 02:45:28 PM · #1
I need to shop for a new computer and was wondering about how much memory to look for as well as the type of processor I guess. I am really new to photography and I don't need anything really proffesional or too expensive yet. Just something to be able to use photoshop with and convert raw files and all that. Any suggestions would be great. I am not opposed to buying something used if anyone is getting rid of one. Thanks
09/03/2009 03:22:56 PM · #2
Lots of power is pretty cheap these days, as is memory. For a new computer I'd suggest at minimum a Pentium (Intel) or Athlon X2 (AMD) dual core processor, and 4 GB of memory. If you buy a used computer running Windows XP, you can get buy with 1 or 2 Gb of memory. I have 1 Gb on my work computer and it runs acceptably with PaintShop Pro, though it does swap out to hard disk more than I would prefer. My home PC is faster with more RAM and it shows.

For hard drive, go with at least 750Gb, preferably a terabyte. That SLR of yours will fill it up in a hurry. If you get a tower with empty drive bays, you will have room to add more drives later on when you need the storage.

Also, the new version of Windows is due out on October 22nd. If you buy a computer now that has Vista, ask if it has a coupon for a free or discount upgrade to Windows 7 when it releases. That is important.
09/03/2009 03:55:14 PM · #3
how much is too much money? My wife just got an HP laptop with 4gb ram, 500gb HD for $750.

Also, you can never have enough ram and when/if you upgrade your camera you might want to upgrade your ram to not suffer too much in terms of processing speed so if you look at a pc make a note of how much ram it can actually hold and use. I used 2gb in my laptop that ran XP and cs2 and for 10 and 12 mp files (40d and 5d) it was great but since I'll be getting a 5d2 soon, I ordered a new laptop with 6gb ram, 2.3 processor and a 500gb HD (I have 2 400gb externals).

So think for the future instead of just the now.
09/03/2009 09:49:45 PM · #4
Originally posted by Tez:

how much is too much money? My wife just got an HP laptop with 4gb ram, 500gb HD for $750.

Also, you can never have enough ram and when/if you upgrade your camera you might want to upgrade your ram to not suffer too much in terms of processing speed so if you look at a pc make a note of how much ram it can actually hold and use. I used 2gb in my laptop that ran XP and cs2 and for 10 and 12 mp files (40d and 5d) it was great but since I'll be getting a 5d2 soon, I ordered a new laptop with 6gb ram, 2.3 processor and a 500gb HD (I have 2 400gb externals).

So think for the future instead of just the now.


Actually you can have too much RAM. 32 bit operating systems and architecture can only allocate up to 4GB. 64 bit can take more, but in a 32 bit system anything more is a waste of money because the computer doesn't even realize it's able to be used.
But yes, more RAM is nice. Frequently, however, it's cheaper to buy your own RAM after you buy a pre-configured computer and installation is pretty simple. This is a moot point if you're building your own machine, however...
Also consider that scratch disk allocation for PS can really impact performance as well.
09/03/2009 10:44:35 PM · #5
With a 32 bit operating system, when you view the computer properties of a system with 4GB of RAM installed, it will tell you that there is only 3.25GB installed (Windows XP PRO 32 bit). However, if you plan on getting a 64 bit OS now then getting 4gb or more is a good idea.
09/03/2009 11:05:29 PM · #6
I regret getting a vista 64 bit system, the secondary code just isnt here yet. I can't view RAW files in windows, burn DVD-CDs in Lightroom, and a host of other issues.

Save yourself the headaches and the money and stay with a 32 bit system for now.
09/03/2009 11:40:34 PM · #7
Originally posted by BrennanOB:

Save yourself the headaches and the money and stay with a 32 bit system for now.

I was plannning on going to 64 bits with Windows 7. I believe with Win 7 we will see the transition to 64 bits as the standard version. I will be dual booting with Vista 32bit, however.
09/04/2009 02:40:26 AM · #8
Originally posted by Yo_Spiff:

I believe with Win 7 we will see the transition to 64 bits as the standard version. I will be dual booting with Vista 32bit, however.


Just keep that dual boot hot and stay clear of the 64 bit applications. I can't tell you how frustrating not being able to use much of the I/O stuff is in Adobe Lightroom 64. their response for the last year has been, soon, we will patch it soon.
09/04/2009 09:58:14 AM · #9
Ok so I am not very educated with the computer language but it sounds like 4gbs of ram will be enough to get started with. Not sure of the difference between 32 and 64 bit OS what does that do? I have a dell laptop I looked up what I have right now .99mb and 32 bit OS with a intel Dual core and I have Vista too. It's like waiting for Christmas trying to make conversions and even worse in the ps editor. Currently I only have about 90 Raw files on it so you can imagine my frustration. I have an external drive for all the rest that I am not working on. I am thinking I will go with a desktop so I can get a bigger monitor too
09/04/2009 10:37:34 AM · #10
Originally posted by cbondar:

Not sure of the difference between 32 and 64 bit OS what does that do?

The most visible thing it does is to allow the computer to use more memory. The 32 bit model is limited to about 3.2 Gb of memory it can access, so even a 4Gb system has some non-utilized ram. (Anyone in this thread remember the 640K barrier?) 64 bits can also increase processing throughput, because the "highway" carrying the data back and forth is twice as wide. Most computers sold now are 64 bit processors, but the move to supporting it with a 64 bit operating system has been slow because of the need to maintain compatibility with existing applications and devices.

Message edited by author 2009-09-04 10:38:34.
09/04/2009 02:31:10 PM · #11
the the op:

Get more ram. 2gb is cheap cheap cheap! The chips I got for my dell inspiron 1300 (rar) were £30 for 2x1gb chips and it makes a HUGE difference. For the price you can't go wrong.

I'm still using XP but my new pc has vista and a free upgrade to windows 7.

As for the desktop: you don't need a desktop for a monitor- you can plug a monitor into a laptop provided it has the port on the side/back. I have a 24" dell into my HP, but i do have a 1gb video card which might explain it.

Basically, get some ram and you'll see a bigger difference than if you bought anything else.
09/04/2009 08:22:42 PM · #12
Great. Thanks everyone for the info. I think I am going to try the extra RAM before trying a new computer.
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