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Archive 2013 · Computer specs
  
 
StarNut
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p.1 #1 · Computer specs


Hi,

My laptop just died unexpectedly. The bad news is that I don't like spending money, and I dislike the PITA involved in setting up a new computer. The good news is that I was fully backed up, and I get to acquire a new toy.

My laptop had a good quad-core processor, and 8GB of RAM. It really wasn't adequate to the task of image processing (of either my DSLR images or my astronomy images). It would essentially grind to a halt each time I looked at a 5D3 RAW image in LR4, and it took forever to do the magic the software does with the multiple images one works with in astronomical image processing.

So I'm thinking that I need more processing power, and more RAM. But that's expensive.

Am I correct that, say, 32GB of RAM, along with an up-to-date processor likely would make a very big difference in the ability of my machine to do what I ask of it?

Thanks.

Mark



Jan 04, 2013 at 01:55 AM
k7xd
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p.1 #2 · Computer specs


32gb of RAM is probably overkill.




Jan 04, 2013 at 02:41 AM
StarNut
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p.1 #3 · Computer specs


I guess a better way of asking the question is:

Given a fairly cutting-edge processor, what level of RAM will enable a computer to process things like a 10-frame mosaic (from a Canon 5D3), without bogging down a great deal. I don't mind it taking some time, but I'm tired of the whole machine being frozen for minutes at a time (such a task always used all the RAM in the old machine, but I have no feel for whether 8 more gb of RAM would fully solve that).

Thanks.

Mark



Jan 04, 2013 at 03:34 AM
Peter Le
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p.1 #4 · Computer specs


RAM is cheap now and makes the most difference in photoshop speed. 32GB of RAM is not overkill....get it you will love it.


Jan 04, 2013 at 04:07 AM
msalvetti
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p.1 #5 · Computer specs


Don't overlook a good dedicated graphics card, especially since it's virtually impossible to upgrade the card in a laptop. I think these days with CS5 or CS6, a good graphics card with at least 1GB will make a big difference.

Mark



Jan 04, 2013 at 04:17 AM
Christian S
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p.1 #6 · Computer specs


Solid State Drive will make a huge diffrence.


Jan 04, 2013 at 05:30 AM
WAYCOOL
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p.1 #7 · Computer specs


msalvetti wrote:
Don't overlook a good dedicated graphics card, especially since it's virtually impossible to upgrade the card in a laptop. I think these days with CS5 or CS6, a good graphics card with at least 1GB will make a big difference.

Mark


I'm looking for proof of this, please show me test results. We are talking photoshop.




Jan 04, 2013 at 05:42 AM
morganb4
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p.1 #8 · Computer specs


msalvetti wrote:
Don't overlook a good dedicated graphics card, especially since it's virtually impossible to upgrade the card in a laptop. I think these days with CS5 or CS6, a good graphics card with at least 1GB will make a big difference.

Mark


Not true at all. CUDA might help a little with PS only but thats all. Pretty much any modern card will handle PS and LR.

Christian S wrote:
Solid State Drive will make a huge diffrence.


With what specifically?

32GB and SSD will not give you the incredible speed boost you want on a 5D3 file. LR4 is the bottleneck here, depending on what specifically you are doing - i.e. if you are doing extensive noise corrections.

LR is hugely CPU dependent once in develop mode. Hugely.



Jan 04, 2013 at 10:01 AM
msalvetti
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p.1 #9 · Computer specs


WAYCOOL wrote:
I'm looking for proof of this, please show me test results. We are talking photoshop.



It depends on the tool you are using. These links are primarily related to CS6, but CS5 also uses graphics card acceleration. I think in some cases the integrated graphics in the newer Ivy Bridge processors is enough, especially the Intel HD 4000 that comes with the newer CPUs.

Note also that Adobe has optimized some features to work best with NVIDIA cards.

I got a new laptop myself a couple of months ago, and tried to weigh all these factors. I did find it pretty confusing, but I ended up with an HP dv6t i7 Quad Core with an NVIDIA 650M graphics card with 1GB of memory. It may be overkill, but the dedicated card really didn't add that much to the price.

Adobe CS6 graphics card FAQ: http://forums.adobe.com/message/4289204#4289204

Some test results:
http://www.pugetsystems.com/labs/articles/Adobe-Photoshop-CS6-GPU-Acceleration-161
http://www.barefeats.com/pscs6.html

Starnut, do you also use Registax to stack video frames? A good graphics card may be important for that purpose as well, but I'm not sure.

Mark



Jan 04, 2013 at 01:41 PM
15Bit
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p.1 #10 · Computer specs


Is it possible to get a laptop with 32Gb RAM?

I've yet to fill the 16Gb on my Desktop PC, even stitching Panos, but i'm only running a 12MP 5Dc.

As Morganb4 pointed out, LR4 is completely CPU bound and has very computationally demanding rendering pipeline. It will take all the speed and cores you can throw at it and still feel slow.



Jan 04, 2013 at 04:11 PM
 

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StarNut
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p.1 #11 · Computer specs


Thanks, guys.

Yes, you can get laptops with 32gb of RAM, but they're pricey. I'm inclined to get a desktop, which costs about half as much for the same computing power.

Mark



Jan 04, 2013 at 04:44 PM
WAYCOOL
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p.1 #12 · Computer specs


msalvetti wrote:
It depends on the tool you are using. These links are primarily related to CS6, but CS5 also uses graphics card acceleration. I think in some cases the integrated graphics in the newer Ivy Bridge processors is enough, especially the Intel HD 4000 that comes with the newer CPUs.

Note also that Adobe has optimized some features to work best with NVIDIA cards.

I got a new laptop myself a couple of months ago, and tried to weigh all these factors. I did find it pretty confusing, but I ended up with an HP dv6t i7 Quad Core with an NVIDIA 650M
...Show more

Thank you very much I've been seeking such results. Seems the Nvidia 650 is the way to go but the speed increase seems limited to a small group of filters that are seldom used by most users. Time to retire this old 9800GT



Jan 04, 2013 at 05:36 PM
15Bit
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p.1 #13 · Computer specs


StarNut wrote:
Yes, you can get laptops with 32gb of RAM, but they're pricey. I'm inclined to get a desktop, which costs about half as much for the same computing power.


Seems wise to me. I've always felt that trying to do everything with a laptop involves too much compromise - you lose a lot of horsepower and have to live with a smaller (and crapper) screen for Desktop applications, and you give up a lot of portability with respect to a decent lightweight laptop.



Jan 04, 2013 at 05:48 PM
Hammy
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p.1 #14 · Computer specs


Agreed - laptops make sacrifices in several areas:
- expandability
- some components
- price

And depending on the software, data and application, efficiencies on the 4 main core components would make a difference on where to spend the money.

First - does it need to be a laptop? Portable with built in UPS?
If so, then I would look at one with the best processor, but plan on upgrading the memory yourself - possibly even the hard drive. Most companies jack upgrades considerably, when the same or better components (more memory, larger/faster HDD/SSD) can be had cheaper and 15 minutes with a screwdriver.

If not, then the world opens up to a desktop where the components can be hand picked. Again depending on the workflow:
HDD/SSD will help with loading/saving and possibly swap/scratch space. Working with lots of large files could be advantageous here.
CPU does the bulk of the work. More cores and more Mhz are usually players - again, depending on the apps.
Memory allows you to work with the files as fast as possible - or with more programs open. Can it be overkill - depends on your wallet vs stopwatch.
Video is a new and upcoming player, with gains for many video and conversion apps, some app/filters/visuals in CS6, but limited (currently) in LR4.




Jan 04, 2013 at 07:14 PM
morganb4
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p.1 #15 · Computer specs


re memory. The higher the chip density, the *HIGHER* its latency. For highly ram dependant applications that benefit from good access times, high density ram is less useful.

16GB is really fine. I ran with 8 a while ago and couldn't tell the difference. If your using an SSD the swap/scratch space is less of an issue.

get a 3930K based on a gigabyte board if you want to make a fast hack. There are other options but GB make the most 'hackable' boards. Do your research. Neither platform will make much of a difference to the way LR or PS run. Some people have reported better LR performance with Win8.

However, if you want to save a few bucks get an ivy bridge setup instead. It wont make much difference to LR.
B

Edited on Jan 06, 2013 at 08:06 AM · View previous versions



Jan 04, 2013 at 09:26 PM
StarNut
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p.1 #16 · Computer specs


Thanks all for your input.

I've ordered a desktop system:

i7-3770 processor
2TB 7200 RPM SATA Hard Drive + Intel® SRT 32GB SSD Cache
32GB Dual Channel DDR3 1600MHz – 4 DIMMS
AMD Radeon HD 7870 video card

I won't get it for a couple of weeks. I'll report back on any differences I notice after I've used it for a bit.

Mark



Jan 05, 2013 at 12:08 AM
15Bit
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p.1 #17 · Computer specs


You did order the K series CPU, didn't you?


Jan 05, 2013 at 07:04 AM
StarNut
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p.1 #18 · Computer specs


My computer arrived on Monday. so I've had a few days to load it up with my backed-up data from the old box, and use it a bit.

Short answer: I like it very much.

Longer version: Early indications are that it is far more capable of doing the processor-intensive tasks image processing demands than my laptop had been.

For astronomy images, it rather effortlessly loads and works on as many as 25 40mb images at a time, something the old laptop was very slow at. All in all (with not a lot of experience), it seems much, much faster.

For "normal" images, I've done much less with it (it's been foggy every day this week, except Wednesday, when I was skiing all day). But it also seems better. Lightroom still is not instant, but it is much, much faster than it was with the old machine. And PS will stitch much more willingly.

It's nice to see it working with 6 or 7gb of my RAM, and the machine is still very happy to do other things. The old machine was brought to its knees in those circumstances. For instance, I'm now performing the first full-system backup, which would mean that I couldn't do anything else with the old machine. I don't even notice that it's doing the backup as I am doing this (but it is, quite fast).

It's really too soon to tell, but preliminary indications are that some combination the extra RAM, the SSD hard drive, the great processor, and the good video card makes this machine much more user-friendly for what I need it to do.

I'm pleased.

Mark



Jan 19, 2013 at 12:38 AM
a123
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p.1 #19 · Computer specs


15Bit wrote:
You did order the K series CPU, didn't you?


Is the K series much better than the 3770?



Jan 19, 2013 at 03:52 AM
WAYCOOL
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p.1 #20 · Computer specs


The K series can be overclocked fairly easily by 25%. If you don't overclock than it is no better.


Jan 19, 2013 at 04:18 AM
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