Laptop for PS and LR

Registered: Jul 15, 2008
Total Posts: 337
Country: Canada

I am looking at upgrading my current laptop and was wondering if anyone has has any comments on Sager notebooks?

They get some good reviews over at and they are very modular from a component standpoint.

I am looking at getting the following:
15.6" Full HD LED-Backlit Display features 95% NTSC Color Gamut in Matte (1920 x 1080)
16GB RAM (up to 32GB)
Nvidia 970M graphics
750GB SATA HDD in lieu of DVD drive
mSATA slot available too

I like the fact that they are super customizable. Any thoughts on this brand or suggestions of others ones to look at? My budget is around $2000 and I hope it will do me for four years or so. It will be my primary PP machine.

Thanks in advance.

Registered: Feb 02, 2009
Total Posts: 17892
Country: United States

Spec sounds very good for laptop. Similar to Lenovo W520 Workstation, or Dell Precision Workstation or HP Dreamcolor (wider gamut) Workstation.

No help on Sager though.

Registered: Jul 15, 2008
Total Posts: 337
Country: Canada

I saw an earlier post from you but can't find it now that talked about Lenovo W530's and T520's. I investigated those and they are pricy and I can't get quite the same specs either. I have been using ThinkPad's for over a decade though - they are fantastic laptops. My current one is a low powered T400 that belongs to my employer and it is running WinXP, therefore no LR4 or CS6.

Registered: Apr 18, 2004
Total Posts: 4020
Country: United States

I like to watch Techbargains to get a feel for best price/feature set mix at each level.

There are a new series of laptops coming out now in preperation for the holiday season and Windows 8. Of course there is also Black Friday, et al coming up.

If you have positive experience with the Thinkbook you might want to look closely at what they offer.

It depends how much price driven and how much quality driven you are.

I would also ask about whether you could use a desktop + a lower end laptop. That is what I did.

I built a great desktop for video editing and then bought a decent $500 laptop (i5, 8GB to 16GB) for day to day use and casual editing.. It works out incredibly well.

Laptops are so hard to update that they have about 1/2 the lifecycle and cost 2x as much as a good desktop.

My desktop is 3 years old, but it is an:

* i7 920 (would be a 3770K now), with

* 27 GB of RAM, (32 GB $160)

* 2x 120 GD SSD in RAID 0 for the OS drive (C ($50 each after renate)

* 2x 2TB Seagate Barracuda in RAID 0 for the Media drive, ($100-$100 each)

* 1x 120 GB SSD for additional Scratch drive ($50)

* GTX 560 graphics card with 2 GB DDRM 5 ram ($160)

Total investment for that right now to build on a Dell base platform ($570 for base i7 box) is about $1,150. I started with a Dell XPS 415 base box 3 years ago.

I also have dual 24" monitors, plus an 8 TB RAID 5 ($400) backup for the internal drives via Ethernet (NAS).

I just tested, benchmarked, and tuned everything into that configuration for best performance with CS6 Production Premium - Premiere Pro, Photoshop, Bridge, After Effects, Speed Grade, Media Encoder and Illustrator.

Benchmarking tests suites here:

Graphics card benchmark tests are here:

Good luck!


Registered: Jul 15, 2008
Total Posts: 337
Country: Canada

Food for thought indeed. SO you think waiting until Win8 is released will bring a refresh of systems and better prices?

I have grappled with getting a desktop rather than a laptop. I have a laptop for work which I currently use with LR3 and CS5 but it runs XP 32bit and there are no immediate plans to update it as there is legacy software running on it.

If I got a desktop I would likely not get a laptop anytime soon more from a logistical standpoint. I have only had one personal system for over fifteen years so it difficult to divorce myself from the benefits of a workflow that involves only one machine.

A buddy at work just put together a nice editing desktop for around $1200 - I think it would be $1600 if he bought a similar graphics card to the one I am looking at.

BTW, you have not had any issues running un-protected RAID0 stripe sets? They are fast but increase the possibility of a drive failing by a factor of two.

Thanks for your insight!

Registered: Oct 19, 2011
Total Posts: 247
Country: United States

A desktop is certainly cheaper, faster, and more upgradable than a laptop. However it obviously lacks portability. I just built a new desktop machine last week myself. I use to edit on a laptop, but decided I never edited pictures when I traveled with it. I always edited pictures back at home. So I decided a desktop would suit me better for editing and I can still take my older laptop or tablet on trips to check email, surf the web etc which is all I need when traveling.

I just built a dual boot OSX Mountain Lion and Windows 7 machine. i7-3770k Ivy Bridge processor, Gigabyte GA-Z77X-UP5 TH motherboard, 16gb ram, 2 120gb SSD drives (one for each OS), CPU Cooler, Corsair 650w power supply, and a nice Corsair 500r case for $1100. I was a little lucky that I have hard drives that I could put into the machine already and a valid copy of Windows 7. So my cost might have been a little lower than normal.

I'm using the Ivy Bridge's HD-4000 internal graphics processor since I am only trying to drive one 22" widescreen. It has plenty of horse power since I'm not trying to game on this machine. All the OSX benchmarks come out to about 24 frames per second on tests with it, which is plenty for my needs.

Registered: Apr 18, 2004
Total Posts: 4020
Country: United States

cheem wrote:
BTW, you have not had any issues running un-protected RAID0 stripe sets? They are fast but increase the possibility of a drive failing by a factor of two

That's why I included the details of the external 8TB RAID.

I have it set to automatically back up nightly. It is a small "calculated risk" for speed. But I have not had a hard drive fail in 10+ years, so ...

I edited on my laptop all summer because we were travelling so much. I just moved everything over to my desktop over Labor Day weekend.

It is such a delight to edit there again with a fast, responsive machine and two large monitors!

If you are just doing Photoshop and Lightroom, I wouldn't go overboard on the monitor. There is definitely a point of diminishing returns. Although PS and hopefully LR will continue to speed up some functions using GPU acceleration.

My personal price point on the graphics card was around 200 to 220. That was just based on what I would get incrementally at each point,, up to about a GTX 470 or 570 max (or a Ti, those are somehwat updated versions, like the 560 Ti.)

But you can also get a really good card for $100 to $130. Just tru to get teh wider bandwidth (256 instead of 192, etc.) and DDR5 RAM.

That studio1 link has some thoughts on the margibnal return of larger cards for video, which is usually much more demanding than stills.

If you don't get a laptop, you might get an iPhone or similar and a desktop instead (if you don't have that already.) It is nice to have just a little portability at least, to have the web or email while watching TV, etc. Although it is a huge time waster!!

The only reason that I mentioned that is the favorite part of having a laptop for me is wireless roaming when I am watching TV, etc. TV just doesn't demand my full attention, and I get ppretty bored if I'm not dooing something else at the same time.

Thanls sic0048 for sharing your build! It looks like a graet machine.

I am envious of that CPU. I have been tempted to buy a new box, but really no raeson at all to upgrade after updating my box. That has **never** been true of a 3 year old laptop!

A;so, fwiw on the graphics card - I notice that sic has the 650 watt power supply. I also put in a 750 watt gold supply = it is required for higher end graphics cards! That might help determine the largest card you want to go to if it would require a new PSU.

Good luck! Let us know what you decide!


Registered: Nov 12, 2004
Total Posts: 3574
Country: United States

If you can afford it, the Dell Precision M6700 mobile workstation with 17.3" (1920x1080) Premier Color IPS RGB looks pretty tempting. Or the Dell Precision M4700 mobile workstation with a 15" screen at a better price.

Registered: Mar 20, 2003
Total Posts: 490
Country: United States

I purchased a Malibal Satori about 3 months ago with the upgrade matte screen, SSD, and Ivy Bridge CPU. I have never been happier. It chews up LR4 & PS6 files and spits them out in a heart beat. Good luck on your quest.

Registered: Nov 02, 2009
Total Posts: 958
Country: United States

I purchased a Malibal Satori

Hadn't heard of this computer maker before now -- they look intriguing. Spec'd out a high-end machine for about $500 less than a comparable MacBook Pro. Not ready to buy just now, but I'm keeping them in mind for the future.

Thanks for the heads up...


Registered: Apr 29, 2009
Total Posts: 4427
Country: Germany

best laptop for photoshop is workstation on both places you will with your laptop visit

Registered: Jul 15, 2008
Total Posts: 337
Country: Canada

Malibal and Sager are based on Clevo systems out of Taiwan - they have quite a following in the gamer community. I still have not decided on whether I am going with a laptop or a desktop.

Registered: Nov 07, 2005
Total Posts: 10471
Country: Australia

If you want the best screen you can afford for photo work then a laptop rarely fits the bill. Too often the viewing angle - both vertical and horizontal - for accurate colours and tones is minimal despite the specification. E.g. My macbook pro screen is reasonably good in terms of left and right viewing angle but very poor in terms of vertical viewing angle. An external monitor can solve that problem just as well as a desktop computer can, so if you are going to rule out a laptop then it should probably be for other reasons. There are plenty of pros and cons.