12 Best Laptops For Photo Editing & Photography in 2018
12 Best Laptops For Photo Editing & Photography in 2018
Over the years, I have come to consider myself as a little bit of a technology nerd. Perhaps it’s because I tend to spend in front of my PC, which allows me to keep track on the topic which is constantly evolving. If you’re not aware of the latest trends within just a few months, you could feel as if they had happened 10 or 15 years before even acknowledging how many things you missed. In this article, I am going to take you through a series of reviews covering the very best laptops for editing and retouching.
When it comes to laptops, finding the best choice for yourself is not as simple as weighing the price vs. configuration and picking the most powerful notebook. The fact that you’re looking for the best laptop for photography helps a little, because you know certain features and criteria that suite your needs, but there’s still a lot more to it. You’ll find many similarly priced laptops that vary in quality. Not to mention the fact that even a certain specific model can greatly vary in specifications. When you’re on a budget, which most of us are anyway, it’s all about detailed research so you can find something that satisfies all your needs without asking you to make (too much) sacrifices. This is possible, but not easy. Usually, if a laptop has a powerful processor and graphics, chances are it’s got weak battery life, or a bad screen, or it is too bulky, or something else that is sub-par and might turn out troublesome in the long run. But the truth is, if you look hard enough, you’ll find that every now and then a company will release a jewel, a laptop that manages to balance its pros and cons incredibly well. Our job is to sort through hundreds of potential candidates and present you with a select list for your choosing. You job is to act when you recognize one among these that is perfect for you.
I must admit that due to the nature of my work, I am not really known for being a fan of ergonomic laptop computers – given a chance, I think that I would choose a Dell Alienware 18″ or an Asus ROG G752VT over a more practically sized and portable option such as a Macbook Air 13″ or an Asus Zenbook NX500. Working with RAM-eating software such as Photoshop or Illustrator for my photography/design jobs (not to mention my love-hate relationship with 3ds Max for ArchViz works) requires having a system build that can survive the “beatings” of 10-12 hours of work in addition to good performance.
- Asus ROG G752VT
- Up to 64GB of RAM
- Amazing graphics
- Powerful processor
- Price: See Here
- MacBook Pro 2017 with TouchBar
- Powerful build
- Price: See Here
- Acer Aspire E5 – 573 G
- Low end graphics
- Price: See Here
Many times friends and colleagues have asked for my advice on what would be a proper laptop for “design apps” or “the best laptop for photo editing.” Well, my first question is: “what is the ultimate goal of your work?”
As many of you know, there is a tendency to encompass a wide variety of software under what is known as “design apps“; and such assertion is wrong since despite being related, the demand of each one is actually very different. It is not the same to compare a photo editing software such as Adobe Photoshop, Adobe Lightroom, Corel Photo Paint, and several others with software like Adobe Premiere, which is dedicated to video editing. Each software within this “category” has different hardware requirements according to task we want to fulfil – for example: Adobe Photoshop recommends that our system build needs to have a video card which optimizes the display; however, unless we use Photoshop 3D editing tools, we can work perfectly with integrated graphics (the set of instructions applied to a CPU that make virtual RAM available under short spans for compelling graphics-demanding tasks), with the slight risk of receiving a warning or noticing that the user interface does not behave with fluency that it may give if we had a video card in our PC rig.
This can be confusing for many people out there, as it is necessary to define which are the minimum requirements to support a program of this caliber. In my opinion, it’s easier to explain this is through the “price vs. performance” point of view. The greater the budget invested in the PC you want to have, the higher the quality of the parts we buy, and most will keep us from experiencing the “bottleneck” situation we would have if we are “on budget” – It is also important to note that buying high-end parts does not necessarily guarantee powerful performance, unless the user actually takes full advantage of them. Considering all the factors above, I have put together a list of the best 12 laptops for photographers on the 2018 market, followed by a list of key points for any PC/Laptop intended for photo-editing use.
Best Laptops For Photography and Editing in 2018
The second version of this flagship notebook from Apple. The 2017 version of the MacBook Pro with Touchbar doesn’t seem to be an entire update from its 2016, however, there are some worth mentioning changes to consider.
- Mac OSX System
- Excellent Battery life
- Clear Retina Display
- Fast and Reliable
- Beautiful Design
- Touch Bar
- Unlock with Touch ID
- Touch Bar interacts with most software available to date
- ATI Radeon Graphics
Click to read the full Review
Design and Features
Keeping the same sleek attributes from the 2016 model, the MacBook Pro 2017 with TouchBar sits at the same weight and size we’ve seen, but there are some upgrades to mention in what to what’s inside in hardware. It weighs 1.37kg for the 13” model and 1.83kg for the 15” one, with an up to 17% thickness reduction.
Retaining the upgrade from its previous generation, the removal of the traditional USB ports and the MagSafe charging port, replacing them with USB-C and Thunderbolt ports is going to set the new trend for Apple laptops. Fortunately, for music lovers, the 3.5mm headphone jack is still available!
Once again the stellar item of this laptop is the Touch Bar. Sitting as a long and slender touchscreen that is placed above the keyboard, replacing the function keys. Depending on the app running, a wide range of functions and control become available. Fast and extremely responsive, it's a fantastic feature to improve performance with design apps as well as common apps; and saves the user the time to switch between apps with ease. At its right end, Apple added a TouchID sensor for logging to the laptop itself and use other services such as Apple Pay or the iTunes Store.
Rumours say Apple is prone to place the Touch Bar as part of the screen in a close-by future, perhaps after seeing the huge success of the iPhone X models, only time will tell.
The fingerprint login is very convenient when you use your laptop with several accounts, as the system will recognize the user's prints and automatically log into its linked account.
The trackpad size has considerably increased in size, making at least twice the size of the previous generation trackpads. This is not something that amazes me much given my hate-hate relationship with trackpads, but some users may appreciate it. The other notorious improvement is the implementation of Force Touch technology to it, although it's not surprising if we consider that Apple has added it to its entire range of products released last year. For the trackpad, it helps to the feeling of an actual mouse, meaning that when the user taps the trackpad, it won't move, but instead, react like a real click; whereas applying some force will move the cursor around. Depending on the force applied and the movement made, the MacBook Pro will detect a right-click.
The keys of this new model’s keyboard are lower to the surface than its previous release, making a shallower typing experience to the user. Touch Bar helps to improve speed thanks to its QuickType text prediction and auto-corrections that arrived with MacOS Sierra, and have seen considerable revisions with the latest release of MacOS High Sierra.
The upgrade for this 2017 MacBook Pro has been, fundamentally, internal. Paired with the latest-gen Kaby Lake Intel processors, it was a much-awaited revision from the 2016 model in terms of performance. The Core i5 processor of the 13” model is an i5-7267U, dual core, with 4MB cache and up to 3.5GHz or a Core i7 up to 4.0GHz with Turbo Boost technology, putting it on top of the industry in terms of speed. For the 15” version, the i7 processor is the option to go, with two versions of these Kaby Lake gen processors, in 2.9GHz up to 3.9GHz or a 3.1GHz up to 4.1GHz thanks to Turbo Boost.
16 GB of RAM is still the option to go, as disappointing as it would sound. Don’t get me wrong, it’s more than enough for the average user, and certainly useful for video editing when needed. Adobe has explained their choice by mentioning that a 32 GB RAM config would require them to completely revisit the layout of the motherboard, probably needing to ditch the LPDDR3 RAM in favour of DDR4 RAM sticks, which, in turn, will also affect the overall battery life.
We may still complain over the ATI graphics, though the 15” version has seen a revision of that graphics card, upgrading it to a high-end discrete AMD Radeon Pro 555/560, up to 4GB of VRAM.
Battery life is expected to last up to 10 hours with WiFi – but the use of heavy design apps can reduce that time span to 4-5 hours. Yet the battery life isn’t really bad and certainly is an eye-catcher.
It's a lovely laptop no doubt – I certainly loved the Touch Bar so much that I wish this feature would be available to other laptop manufacturers. The 16 GB RAM max spec is still a nuisance – at least they should go up to 32 GB RAM as some video making apps like Premiere would feel the benefits of the additional RAM. Still, Apple has a long way to go to rival conventional Windows-based laptops but is slowly getting there.
(Images courtesy of Apple.com)
There’s something to be said about a laptop that doesn’t try to be more than it needs to. Dell XPS 15 is a premium notebook, but it doesn’t have a touchscreen and it’s not a 2-in-1 convertible. And that’s why we like it. The XPS 15 has the same design as previous generations, which is fine by us. It has an edge-to-edge 4K screen, a stylish silver metal (aluminum) finish and a great keyboard. Measuring at 357x235x11-17mm (14.06x9.27x0.45”) and weighing at 2.04kg (4.50lbs) it has a slim, light body. Note that the screen resolution will depend on which version of Dell XPS you choose. For example, the base model has a Full HD 1080p display.
- 4K edge-to-edge display
- 188% sRGB coverage
- Beautiful premium design
- Kensingston lock slot
- Very good performance
Click to read the full Review
The thin body doesn’t allow for too much connectivity ports, but you get all the essentials. There are two USB 3.0 ports, HDMI output, a Thunderbolt 3 port and a 3.5mm microphone/headphone jacks. There’s also a Kensingston lock slot and an SD card reader. A nice touch are the five LED lamps on the right side of the laptop, along with a small button that when pressed indicates how much battery life is left. You can use this even when the lid is closed.
The keyboard is back-lit and feels natural when typing. It is rather narrow so there are no numpad keys. The plate surrounding the keyboard has a soft finish and it provides a comfortable rest for hands when typing.
We’ve already said the XPS 15 has a 4K screen, but we know a screen is much more than the sum of its pixels. Luckily, the Dell continues to impress with other properties as well. It has just enough contrast and saturation to make a very pleasant, vibrant display to look at. It’s perfect for media consumption, but there’s more. Photographers will be happy to know this screen covers 188% of the sRGB color gamut, which makes it the most color-accurate 15-inch laptop on the market.
As far as performance goes, it will heavily depend on which model you buy. The basic variant includes an Intel i3-7100H, 8GB RAM and integrated Intel HD graphics, 500GB Hard Drive plus a 32GB SSD. The top model comes with an i7-7700HQ, 16 GB RAM, 512GB SSD and a powerful nVidia GTX 1050 GPU.
Dell XPS 15 is premium build notebook with cutting-edge display technology. It comes with many different configurations to choose from, with different price tags. This is great as you can control how much money you want to spend but still get a premium build laptop. For photographers, the display is most important, especially the color accuracy, and the XPS 15 shows brilliant results in that department. The market is already saturated with high-end premium laptops which are also tablets with touch-screens. That’s great for people who need these features, but not all do, especially when those raise the price tag into oblivion. To conclude, the Dell XPS 15 has a simple formula that works really well in our opinion: A slim, powerful (if you want it to be) 15-inch laptop that’s just that – a laptop. It will do great for any type of use, be it photo-editing, gaming, multimedia viewing or office work.
Think of a laptop that wears a mid-range price tag, but looks and performs like a premium notebook. Sounds too good to be true? Not if you as Lenovo. The IdeaPad 720S strikes the gold spot for photographers who need a good screen that handles colors with accuracy, and is not too big or too small. That’s 14-inch 1080p screen for you. Released in 2017, a successor to award-winning IdeaPad 720S, it comes with Intel’s 7th-generation CPU and a dedicated nVidia graphics card. That’s performance for you.
- Excellent value for the money
- Aluminum metal materials
- Good color reproduction
- 1080p screen
- 7th-generation Intel CPU
- Dedicated Graphics
- Can be loud under high performance
Click to read the full Review
Why do we say it looks like a premium laptop? It has an all-metal (aluminum), thin body, and an edge-to-edge screen with very small bezels. The keyboard is Lenovo’s standard keyboard for this class of laptops which we’ve had the pleasure of using on more than one occasion. Its back-lit, with short-travel keys which are very responsive. If you’re photographer who runs a blog, you’ll be delighted to use this keyboard.
Though it does look premium, not everything feels that way. After all, this laptop is considerably cheaper than any flagship laptop from Lenovo (or other companies). Namely, it’s a bit thicker and heavier compared to the premiums – measuring 320 x 223 x 15.9mm and weighing 1.55kg.
All of the connectivity necessities are completely covered here – 2x USB 3.0 ports, HDMI, Thunderbolt and an SD Card reader. As a bonus, there is also a fingerprint reader below the keyboard.
The 14-inch Full HD LCD IPS is not quite on par with the best-in-class laptops, but it is nonetheless very good, especially for photographers. Obviously, you don’t get Ultra HD resolution here, which in this context is excellent news. See, they have to cut some corners somewhere, and we’d rather have them cut the resolution down to 1080p (which provides perfectly decent pixel density for a 14-inch screen) than color performance or viewing angles. The screen on the IdeaPad 720S covers 88% of sRGB color gamut which is very impressive for this price range and has excellent viewing angles. We only regret the screen having a glossy finish which might prove troublesome when using the laptop direct sunlight.
We’ve mentioned the 720S comes with 7th-gen Intel processors. Specifically, you get to choose between an i5-7200U and an i7-7500U. The i7 in this case bumps the price tag considerably while the performance change is not that significant. We consider the i5 version to provide better value for the money.
The model we’ve reviewing comes with a dedicated graphics card too – an nVidia GT 940MX. This is not exactly a high-performance gaming card, but it is several times more powerful compared to the integrated GPUs. In case you’d like to do occasional casual gaming, this is a good thing. Otherwise, the dedicated GPU only adds an unnecessary price bump. Luckily, there are models of this laptop with integrated graphics, so keep that in mind as an option as well.
More important than the GPU however is the presence of the 256GB PCI SSD in there. While not among the fastest SSDs in the market, it is still considerably faster than your average SATA SSD we usually see in budget and mid-range notebooks. The SSD (Solid State Drive) will make your computer generally much snappier, both during boot and general use, and especially when opening and writing files.
So far our review shows no serious flaws with this laptop, and to add icing to the cake, we’re happy to say the battery life does not disappoint either. The 7200U/7500U Intel CPU’s are great power conservers, and it shows. During casual usage, surfing the web and watching video, at medium-high brightness, we’ve been able to pull up to 7-8 hours of consistent use. Furthermore, when tried our standard video-loop test at the same brightness level, the Lenovo 720S ran for 9 and a half hours before shutting down. This is truly impressive battery performance for a laptop in this class. Of course, this is again great news for photographers who work on-the-go. Capturing, editing and publishing photos while traveling won’t be a problem for you.
The Lenovo 720S tries to do everything right – and succeeds. There aren’t any real flaws with this laptop. It provides a solid balance of good build quality, performance and durability. With its features, it sits somewhere between your mid-range consumer laptop and a premium high-end laptop. With a 1080p IPS display with 88% sRGB color gamut and a glossy finish, it’s not quite on par with the best screens on market, but its certainly the best you’re going to get in this price range. The same goes for build, including general build quality, keyboard, touchpad and screen hinge. It’s not as light and sleek as the flagship premium laptops, but it does have an all-metal body which feels really great and is undoubtedly very durable. For a photographer, the 7th generation Intel i5 CPU will do a fine job at Photoshop, Lightroom and similar programs. Its true that you could buy a considerably more powerful laptop when it comes to sheer horsepower, for this money, but we can guarantee you won’t get an aluminum body and a screen with this good color reproduction.
Another laptop that proves interesting to photographers is the Acer Aspire R15. This is a 2-in-1 convertible with an attractive price. It has a beautiful 15-inch touch screen with a 360-degree hinge. It features a fantastic design that is usually reserved for premium-priced class of notebooks. The same goes for build quality, as it is really hard to find a convertible (a laptop that is also a tablet) without sacrificing either display or build quality. The R 15 is here to break that trend.
- Affordable 2-in-1 laptop
- Premium build
- Excellent display and keyboard quality
- 109% sRGB coverage
- Back-lit keyboard
- No SSD in less expensive versions
Click to read the full Review
The body is made in combination of high quality aluminum with a brushed metal finish, diamond-cut edges around the case and inside the touchpad. It breathes class and quality all over the body.
It measures 370x256.5x20.3mm (14.6x10.1x0.8 inches) which is decently compact and slim for a 15-inch laptop, though it can be a bit too much when used as a tablet. The same goes for weight, it’s not too heavy at 2.15kg (4.74 pounds) but it can get uncomfortable to hold in hands for prolonged periods of time.
The hinge is designed to allow the lid to be set in three different positions. There’s the standard laptop mode, tent mode (both screen and keyboard facing outwards) and tablet mode when the screen is flipped by full 360-degrees.
R 15’s display is one of it’s strong points, despite not having one of those Ultra HD displays we see on high-end laptops. It is a 1080p Full HD IPS touch screen that is beautiful to look at thanks to it’s extremely vibrant colors. Color reproduction is good not only in sense that the colors are well saturated, but it actually covers 109% of the sRGB color range. The 15-inch display also has good viewing angles, and is very bright at 310 nits which is well above the average.
We only have good words for the keyboard as well. Keys feel great when typing as they don’t require too much effort to press but still provide nice tactile feedback. The keyboard in the Acer Aspire R 15 is back-lit with blue LED light. This light is not very bright but it still looks nice and can be useful in dark environments.
The Aspire R 15 won’t disappoint with connectivity options either. There are three USB ports, among them one is USB Type-C for high speed connections and two USB 3.0 ports. There’s also a HDMI port, Kensington lock port and SD card slot. Wi-Fi connectivity this time around comes with industry-standard 802.11ac, unlike the older and slower 2.4Ghz Wi-Fi which came with it’s predecessor.
We’ve been doing office work, multimedia consumption, image and video processing and general heavy-load web browsing with this laptop and we’ve found it performs almost flawlessly across the workload spectrum. However, performance will vary depending on which configuration you opt for. All models have the same screen but vary in all other specs. So, we have:
• i5-7200U, 8GB DDR4 RAM, Integrated graphics and 1TB HDD
• i7-7500U, 12GB DDR4 RAM, nVidia GeForce 940MX 2GB, 12GB DDR RAM and 1TB HDD
• i7-7500U, GeForce 940MX, 12GB DDR4 RAM and 256GB SSD
• i5-7200U, 8GB DDR4 RAM, GeForce 940MX and 256GB SSD
• i5-7200U, 8GB DDR4 RAM, GeForce 940MX and 1TB HDD + 128GB SSD
For photographers and photo-editing, we would recommend either of the latter two models. Simply because the i5-7200U and 8GB is a powerful enough combination to handle programs such as Photoshop and Lightroom with some power to spare. Just weigh on whether or not you need a lot of disk space, i.e. would 256GB SSD be enough or maybe you’d like to combine the 128GB SSD with the 1TB HDD.
We see Acer Aspire R 15 as a well-rounded 2-in-1 laptop with great value. You’ll get a beautiful premium-build body with an excellent 15-inch 1080p display, full range of connectivity options including HDMI, USB Type-C and SD card reader, as well as solid performance. You can certainly get a more powerful laptop in this price range, when it comes to pure specifications, but this build and display quality is truly a rarity in this class of laptops, especially when you add in the touch screen/tablet mode.
We just love when a company designs a laptop that, in a way, does more for the same money. Or, at least gives a feeling of extra worth. You could say companies do this all the time and it’s called marketing. And yes, we see manufacturers flashing all kinds of special features or high-end specs with a low-price tag all the time. More of than not, there’s a trade-off in some form. But occasionally, you’ll find a laptop that really does deliver more. Samsung Notebook 7 Spin is one such laptop, at least in our opinion.
- Excellent performance for the price
- Very good overall value
- 1080p HDR screen
Click to read the full Review
We could say, Samsung’s Spin on the Notebook 7 is that they try to deliver the same feel and style of laptops which are way more expensive, at a very reasonable price.
So, what exactly is the Samsung Notebook 7 Spin? It is a powerful 2-in-1 notebook with a 15.6-inch (there’s also a 13-inch version), 1080p, HDR display and a body made of metal (mostly).
Both the lid and the chassis around the keyboard is brushed aluminum, that feels cool and premium both to look and feel. The bottom plate, however, is made of plastic. This is one example of how they keep the price down, and still deliver (somewhat of) a premium design, and we love it.
Part of the reason we like this design is because it has a full-layout keyboard, with a numpad, parallel with the width of the display. Keys are plastic with a comfortable, soft touch. Beneath lies a large, glass touchpad which is nicely responsive both to single and multi-touch gestures.
The Notebook 7 Spin has a 1080p LED display, with a glossy, but not too-reflective finish. Overall, the display is extremely sharp and vibrant with good color accuracy. It also has an optional HDR mode, though we’ve found it doesn’t as much difference as you would expect.
Being a 2-in-1 convertible, the display is also touch-sensitive and rotatable up to 360-degrees. Once you fold it, you can use it in standard tablet form, although between a 15-inch screen and 2.26kg (5 pounds) it will likely be an uncomfortable endeavor. It can also be used in a tent mode for watching videos, which is more practical in this case.
Connectivity-wise, the Spin will not leave you wanting, with two USB 2.0 ports, one USB 3.0 port and one USB Type-C port, that’s four USB ports in total. There are also HDMI and Ethernet ports, as well as an SD card slot. As for wireless, you’ll get Bluetooth 4.1 and 802.11ac Wi-Fi standard.
The most affordable 15.6-inch version of this laptop comes with the following specifications:
• Core i7-6500U
• 12GB DDR3L RAM
• 1TB 5600RPM HDD
• nVidia GeForce 940MX GPU
More powerful version will land you an SSD and more RAM, but that will of course add to the price. If you would be satisfied with a 13.3-inch screen, a 6th get i5 CPU and don’t need the dedicated graphics for gaming, you can get the otherwise same laptop for less money.
If you are looking for style and performance in a 2-in-1 laptop below the $800 mark, the Samsung Notebook 7 Spin wins this contest hands-down. It has a minimalist design with chassis partly built with premium materials. It is blazingly fast for work such as photo editing and graphics design, and will even do good for some light gaming. It’s not all perfect though, as the version with SSD is way above the basic model price tag, and you could get considerably stronger battery life from similarly priced laptops.
For those who aren’t familiar with Razer, it’s a US-based brand that was founded back in 1998, targeting their market to gamers. And this new Razer Blade Pro takes the experience of the high-end 17” laptop to a much sleek design outcome.
The compact build is the core element of this mode, featuring prime quality elements from the mechanical keyboard to high-resolution 4K display, but there are several elements we need to analyze in depth to reach a conclusion on this laptop.
- A truly powerhouse
- Compact design
- 4K display
- Mechanical backlit keyboard
- Just 512 GB included
- Adding extra HDD space is pricey
- Tends to overheat
- Noisy fans
Click to read the full Review
Design and Features
You can’t deny that it looks like the most elegant laptop you have ever seen. A black aluminum chassis that barely weighs over 3.5kg, which despite not being labeled as a ultra-portable laptop, it’s lighter than most of the high-end models in the market these days.
With a maximum space usage, the display looks breathtaking. 4K resolution with Adobe RGB color support and IGZO technology for a more vivid display experience; we just need to add the G-Sync technology by Nvidia, meant to reduce screen tearing, and we end up with the perfect quality/portability relation that market has seen so far.
A mechanical keyboard helps users to broaden their experience with laptop interaction, as anti-ghosting features act to avoid keystroke issues during gameplay and provide a fast, satisfying receptive experience. Each key is individually illuminated via LED outputs so that you can customize it to your needs with a large scale of tones and effects thanks to Razer’s software Chroma.
What we might find odd – in particular, I didn’t enjoy it myself – is the touchpad location. Okay, maybe because I’m old-school myself and tend to see touchpads as nothing more than a decorative item (try to draft blueprints in Autocad with a touchpad and you’ll meet the definition of nightmare as detail scale keeps increasing), but the thing behind Razer’s innovation relies to a gamer-induced mindset: having a mouse right next to your keys, so your gaming experience get smoother. Photographers can find this as an improvement after of course getting used to this new keyboard layout, as we can add parameters and keep moving the cursor with minimum hand movements – much appreciated for speeding up Adobe Lightroom performance.
The touchpad itself feels soft, resistant and receptive, with an also adjustable LED frame via Chroma. Right above the touchpad, there is a scroll located (cool, right?), where you can quickly adjust the volume but also mute it by pressing the scroll.
Its dual speakers produce a high and clear audio output, which doesn’t suffer any distortion at max volume setting. Two modest stripes at each side of the keyboard are the location of the speakers for this model; and even if I highly appreciate this unlike the MSI GE72 config, I still find it odd that they aren’t placed right on top of the keyboard.
Data storage is an issue to consider, as prices tend to scale up amazingly by replacing the 512 GB unit to 1 or 2TB offers. Yes, it’s an SSD drive with all that means, but still not worth the investment.
We can count on with 3 USB 3.0 ports at the left side, right next to an Ethernet port and the headphone jack. On the right side, another USB 3.0 port, an HDMI entrance, SD card reader and USB-C port for Thunderbolt 3. This laptop also features Bluetooth 4.1 and KillerDoubleShot Pro technology for improving Ethernet performance and wireless with 802.11 ac protocol.
Here is where we can label the Razer Blade Pro as a high-end machine. An Intel i7-6700HQ processor with 2.6GHz speed, graphics by Nvidia with the Pascal GTX 1080 8GB GDDR5 beast and 32 GB of RAM. Apt to compete with the Asus G752 or the MSI newly released models no doubt; however, the sleek design proves to be a downside when heating becomes an issue.
Since there’s no space for creating the proper ventilation to this machine, it tends to overheat. And overheat only means two things: unexpected shutdowns and internal damage. Its vents are noisy and not able to deliver refrigeration in time, so instead of being advisable, getting a Fan Base is a requirement if you desire to get the most of this laptop.
Its battery life lasted for almost 4 hours, impressive no doubt, and shows as a major upgrade since the previous model.
This laptop features some amazing elements while paired with an elegant design. However, the heating issues are surely a killer. I don’t want to be carrying around a Fan Base around wherever I go to avoid fuss with my laptop, and for a desktop replacement solution is just too pricey for what it offers. There’s room for improvement, and I’m confident that Razer will surprise us pretty soon.
The HP’s Notebook 15-ay011nr is 15.6-inch Full HD laptop that is situated at the lower end of the mid-range class of notebooks. It is a very affordable, well-rounded laptop that will allow you to do a lot for very little money.
The Notebook 15 series comes in many different variants. They all share similar screen and design, but vary a lot in specifications. We’ve choses this particular version (Notebook 15-ay011nr) because we think it features a well-balanced set of components.
- Well-rounded laptop
- Good price
- 1080p display
- Full connectivity options
- Solid performance
Click to read the full Review
• Intel Core i5-6200U 2.3-2.8Ghz
• 8GB DDR3 1600Mhz RAM
• 1TB 5400RPM HDD
• 15.6” 1080p backlit LED display
• Windows 10
• Optical Drive (CD/DVD-RW)
Although it has an average quality plastic build, as expected in this price range, we have to say at least it looks nice. This in part in thanks to the brushed metal-like finish of the lid and the top deck. It measures 254mm x 383mm x 22mm (10” x 15.1” x 0.9”) and weighs 2.14kg (4.73 pounds). As you can see, it’s a little chubby for modern standards, but nothing you can’t fit and carry in laptop backpack.
The Notebook 15-ay011nr has a solid quality 15.6-inch Full HD display, about as good as you could expect in this class. With 63% of sRGB gamut range the colors won’t be particularly strong or accurate, but we’ve seen many pricier laptops that have even lower percentage of color coverage. An average user is unlikely to even notice this, as the screen looks sharp at 1080p and has solid viewing angles. It could only be an issue if you’re color-grading photos for print, in which case you’ll be in for some trial and error until you hit the right color balance.
The keyboard quality is better than expected, with a nice tactile feedback and short travel time in keys. It’s useful that it also has a full Numeric pad. You can even get an optional back-lighting for the keyboard for a little extra money.
On the right side you’ll find a USB 2.0 port, SD card reader and an Optical drive. Moving to the other side there is another USB 2.0 port, a USB 3.0 port, HDMI and Ethernet ports. There’s also the standard microphone/headphone 3.5mm jack.
Performance in day-to-day use is very solid, as you would expect from the specs on paper. The 6th generation Intel i5 6200U CPU along with 8GB of DDR3 RAM can handle a lot of multitasking. This means you can have multiple tabs open in browser, along with music playing in Youtube and even doing some Photoshop work at the same time. Pretty impressive, isn’t it? Of course, at this point you’ll be hitting the laptops limit so don’t expect instant-speed, but the experience is certainly satisfactory. It only slows down when you’re relying heavily on the Hard Drive, which is pretty slow at 5600RPM. So, expect some waiting time when transferring and reading large files. On the positive side, the HDD does come with 1TB of space, so you won’t have to worry about filling it up anytime soon. Intel HD 520 graphics scores well for an integrated card, but don’t expect anything but don’t expect anything more than casual gaming.
The HP 15-ay011nr has everything you would expect or need from an average, mid-range laptop. While the screen is not spectacular, we’re happy to see a sharp 1080p panel here. You get a full range of connectivity options with three USB 3.0 drives, HDMI and Ethernet ports and even an Optical Drive, if you need one these days. Considering the price tag, we are very happy with the performance.
When looking for a good laptop, you can’t miss the opportunity of having all the power of a dedicated desktop rig on a desktop replacement laptop!
Yes, the size of its screen and weight, it’s a big set off for ultrabook lovers, however, this is greatly compensated by featuring such power: with the combo of a hybrid drive + good amount of DDR4 RAM, you will feel like a true lord when operating this build.
- Fast Processor
- Top Graphics Card
- No issues with overheating
- Made for intensive editing/gaming
- Big & Fast Harddrive
- Wifi Disconnect Issue
Click to read the full Review
Moving on to our 2nd dedicated gaming laptop in the list. The alienware brand has been around for a while and possesses some very admirable qualities. The laptop is available in two variants. The primary variation being the quality of the display. It’s time to run through some of the pros and cons of owning an Alienware AW17R3.
Performance: This laptop is primed for a single purpose and that is to deliver the best gaming experience with maximum possible graphics at the maximum possible speed.
Speed: The core i7 6700 is utilized here much like every laptop in this list. The performance takes off thanks to a super-fast 16GB of DDR 4 RAM coupled with a significant SSD. The quad core processor is a 6th generation product and is tailor made for multitasking. If you are in a situation where you are performing an intensive editing operation using a powerful program and you feel like relaxing and gaming for an hour or two. You can simply minimize the editing software and start the game rather than having to close one to maximize performance.
Graphics: The presence of the NVidia GTX 980M takes the gaming quality experience to a whole new level. A top of the line card delivering high end performance will make you feel like you own an entire gaming rig. This card is much faster than two NVidia 8 series cards used together in an SLI setting. So viewing and editing photos videos are a synch. You can comfortably work with a VR and 3D environments also. You can definitely test the limits with this device. You will feel like a god when using this laptop and can channel your inner beast thanks to how amazing it appears and performs.
Display: The 17.3 inch display is standard on both variants but the nature of the screen is not. One offers an output for 1920 x 1080 screen resolution whereas the other is a 4K model with a whopping 3840 x 2160 pixels. The price difference here is a massive $500. (Approximately) So if you are the type that definitely needs pixel perfect videos and imaging tech then go for the higher end display. If you not we strongly recommend the normal display cause the amount you save can quite substantial.
Physical Characteristics: The attributes we spoke about so far are some of the major positives. The physical characteristics on the other hand are a bit of a mixed back. The silver chassis and the clunky appearance are sort of an alienware signature design. Whilst this laptop looks amazing and cool it can be pretty heavy to move around. The laptop weights at 8.3 pounds making it the heaviest device on the list by far. So if you are looking to travel around a lot then forget about taking this laptop with you. The 17.3 inch screen coupled with the 1.4 inch thickness makes it very hard to fit it into most backpacks and can be a pain to carry around even for short distances. The Alienware symbol engrained on the case is something that is quite spectacular and the brand offers you a sense of pride as a gamer.
Connectivity: You get 4 USB 3.0 slots which is quite sufficient to handle multiple devices. This is key because we think this unit is going to be spending more time on your desk than in a backpack. In an era where everyone is evolving to sleeker and smaller devices this solution is a great choice for those who think differently. The laptop does not have a DVD or blu ray drive. This doesn’t come as a surprise as the performance features do take up plenty of space within the casing. The Wi-Fi connectivity is also quite good and there might not be a need more an Ethernet options even if you are gaming constantly. There have been Wi-Fi connectivity issues we have noticed. A number of other users have also mentioned this in the reviews but it can be fixed by keeping your card constantly updated using the drivers offered by the company. A card reader is also present. The Bluetooth is ties to the wireless card. If you are making use of a Bluetooth mouse of headset then this should be perfect for you.
Storage: This laptop utilized a hybrid design for storage. You get an amazing 256 GB solid state drive which is a sizeable amount that is perfect to install multiple programs and your operating system too. You can achieve read speeds of about 1400 MB/s and write speeds of 280+ MB/s which is quite mind blowing. The 1 TB is of course similar to other devices out there and offers similar benefits to what we have mentioned before.
Battery: The battery life is quite decent you can easily get a few hours when you are not busy gaming. You can always choose to use the power save mode in windows 10 to eke out some more time if needed.
We think this is a fantastic unit for any gaming enthusiast. It is a must have in our opinion especially if you frequently buy the latest games that come out every week on steam. The options are a plenty and we would have given this laptop an even higher score than the 85 if the casing was a bit smaller. Then again it is also a signature Alienware look. The overheating issues are non-existent with these units. They are crafted with precision and the drivers and hardware combinations are extremely stable. To get the best intensive gaming or editing experience of your life. We recommend you not play around with the settings too much. This device can handle whatever games or intensive processing software you throw at it and perform admirably. Compared to some of the other laptops we have seen earlier with a similar ~1500 price range, we think this would be your best option. This would be a great device for you to get your 1st experience of high end computing.
Stunning design and unique features at a great price. One of those surprises on the market because of it's Intel generation core i7, 960 M (medium-range) range GTX video card and a decent amount of RAM. The only downside is the touchscreen display.
- High End Graphics Card
- Fast Processor
- Good Price
- Small SSD Drive
- Battery Life
Click to read the full Review
The Dell Inspiron i7559 is a high end dell laptop which amazing processing power. Its versatility is something that really caught our eye. Unlike other dell laptops of the past this particular model has a lot to offer especially if you are unclear about what you intend to use your laptop for. In the following article we are going to delve into the specifics of why we have given this laptop an 8.5/10 rating. So let’s get to it.
First and foremost, we have to mention the processing power. This particular Inspiron is packing a healthy i7, capable of 2.6 GHZ of processing power. This is ideal especially if you are accustomed to multitasking and using high end editing and designing software. The Quad core i7 is tailored made for multitasking at a very high level. You can quite comfortably run Adobe Photoshop, Adobe Illustrator with multiple tabs and the laptop wouldn’t slow down much at all. Processing power is backed up by the amazing NVidia GeForce GTX 960M, a medium - high end graphics card that even avid gamers would endorse. The graphics ram itself is a whopping 4GBs. These elements coupled with the price is a major bonus.
Moving on to another positive, the battery life. The battery life according to the manufacturer is on average 10 hours. Significant developments in lithium ion technology is key. However when using this laptop we found that it is more in the 8-9 hour range when not utilizing too many graphic intensive tasks. When the NVidia takes over and you open up a high end game, the battery tends to drain much quicker. Playing the latest games is quite easy as long as you provide an additional level of cooling to extend the life of the laptop. If you live in a hot country it might be better to purchase an additional cooling device.
We mentioned versatility earlier and this laptop has quite a few features that embody that. Firstly, the hard drive is a strange one. The storage capacity is an amazing 1 TB but it is a hybrid hard drive which has a small 8 GB embedded flash cache. You can think of the flash cache as a tiny SSD that speeds up the performance of existing programs once it is called up. So if the terminology confuses you, just think of it as a tiny SSD that complements the 1 TB hard drive. It is quite a nice idea but we think that programs are getting so much bigger the 8 GB is too much of an in between solution. We feel the better solution might have been to include a small SSD of 64 GB even though the cost goes up slightly the performance benefits increase to even rival some major gaming laptops.
Second, the presence of a touch screen/ normal screen option. You get this laptop in 2 models essentially with the non-touch full HD screen priced at $869 and the UHD touch screen proceed at $1256. The price is extremely affordable considering the specs on offer. You typically find NVidia 960Ms housed in $2000 plus gaming laptops. So from that point of view it is a freaking steal. If you are looking for something really different and are very comfortable with using the touch screen for majority of functions then the UHD might be the way to go. These offerings are not something you typically see in laptops or even gaming laptops for that matter. It is probably more of a sign that dell intends to explore the Ultrabook space in the near future. . If you are at any point uncertain about the touch screen, we would recommend choosing the normal option. The laptop touch screen is not as smooth as a tablet or phone. Even the positioning can be a bit annoying to use.
The trackpad similar to Acer models is not very centred, which could be a pain to get used to. The exterior is not something that is very special also with a standard finish to the design. The product dimensions are pretty standard but it is extremely light for the features it is packing. This device weighs a mere 4.6 pounds. The exterior is a matte black finish features elements of red. The device comes with Windows 10 pre-installed and much like all windows laptops the specs can vary a lot in regional models. The presence of USB slots, Media card readers and Bluetooth capability are standard additions which are present. A proper backlit keyboard might have added to the experience even more.
Other issues are something that is probably standard for any dell user, heating for instance. Even though the laptop does possess adequate air vents it is better to clean and maintain the laptop on a fairly regular basis in order to extend its life. If you are an avid gamer, it might be better to buy a cooling pad or a suction cooling device to remove all the hot air from within the casing. Overheating issues must not be ignored and should be addressed as soon as they arise if you want to keep you laptop functioning in a healthy fashion for a very long time.
Despite these small issues, the laptop does perform admirably and we have given it healthy 8.5+ all across the board. Especially if you love photography and editing this laptop from dell is ideally suited for those tasks.
If you have been reading through and are still a bit uncertain, then all you have to do is figure out exactly what you will be using the laptop for. If it’s primarily for work and photo editing then this laptop is a very affordable high end option. If you are uncertain and you have the habit of lending it to your kids to play games or watch movies occasionally then this laptop is the perfect fit. The versatility takes over thanks to its immense processing power and your kids can experience high end gaming on the go
Lenovo’s Powerhouse! With this laptop, Lenovo stomps on the competition, putting it right up there with the most powerful rigs from ASUS with its GTX 860M; although it is not an equivalent to the all-powerful GTX 980M, the monetary factor is something to consider if compared with any Asus models previously cited in this guide. This Laptop can usually be found for less that 1150$
- Fast Laptop
- Great Graphics Card
- Anti-Glare Screen
- Light compared to it's specs and size
- No overheating issues
- Screen is not as big as it could be
- SSD Storage is too small
Click to read the full Review
The second Lenovo on our list has received a great number of positive reviews from users all around the globe. We take a look at why. This gaming hybrid is priced at $1489 approximately. A competitive price for a 17.3 inch laptop. This device is also a touch screen, full HD anti-glare display. It ships with windows 8.1 with a full free upgrade to windows 10 on offer as well. The laptop is marginally heavy weighing at 7 pounds.
The design of the laptop is quite good with the sleek black finish and smart edges. The laptop is just about an inch thick which makes it a very slim design and gets our nod with a 9/10 rating in this department. The overall dimensions are 16.5 x 11.4 x 1 inches. The design is thicker towards the back and tapers to the front unlike other rigs that are pretty flat throughout. We feel this adds to the comfort level a lot.
I had the advantage of testing this laptop for a long enough time to have form clear opinions regarding its performance, and on first instance, the main flaw I found was the lack of storage capacity. In my personal experience, the laptop which I used carried only a 512 GB SSD, agile and powerful enough to boot an operating system. However, for my work I have a minimum requirement of 1 TB disk to install all programs of the operating system and partition while maintaining enough space to contain my entire library of graphic resources, as my aim is to avoid being constantly connected to an external drive. Yes, some may say that a NAS is a more efficient solution to such a situation, however a NAS is not always a cost-benefit solution, mainly by the fact that you need to constantly dependent on the internet for data transfer connection.
Moving onto the processing specifications. This laptop was designed keeping in mind that the average user might want to take a step up and perform more powerful editing operations. Hence Lenovo have gone for a more conservative 4-th generation Intel i7 - 4720HQ processor. With each core clocking about 2.6 GHZ. The RAM is an ideal 16GB. It’s not the fastest of machines but it’s no slouch either enough for us to give it an 8/10.
We particularly liked the battery life on this laptop as it is one of the very few 17.3 inch laptops than can boast a life of over 5 hours on average. Lenovo have gone for a less power hungry NVidia 860M card instead of the 960 or 980 seen on other models in this list. This helps the portability aspect significantly. You can download most games on steam in 2016 and run them with ease. You might not get the desired 60 FPS on all graphic intensive games but you can definitely run the more cutting edge ones on a slightly lower setting. Although don’t expect the battery to last very long when you do play. You need to make sure you are next to a power supply. If you have a call of duty for instance and what to play it on ultra-settings you most definitely can but you need to stay plugged in otherwise the battery will drain in a matter of minutes.
The display resolution caters to 1080P output for videos and games. You can run an illustrator, Photoshop and a light room application at the same time without the laptop slowing down. The touch screen is also quite good and very responsive unlike other laptops in the market. Lenovo have really made an effort to make sure you have a great touch screen experience rather than the tech present just to fill up the feature column. It was quite refreshing to see this in action. There is also a HDMI display port present in case you want to shift your work to the big screen.
The screen with the help of the NVidia 860 is able to display dark and light colours very well and the richness is stunning. Ideal for any editor or developer. A good gaming experience often requires a sound set of speakers that are capable of immersing you into the action. Whilst it’s very common to use headphones you will still need a laptop capable of delivering a surround sound experience and this does just that with ease. The JBL stereo speakers are definitely very good for the price you pay for the model. To top this off, a Dolby sub-woofer is also present to complement the sound. You can comfortably watch
The best part about the machine is that it looks so very smart and professional. You can easily take this laptop into a board meeting and it will fit right in with any sleek looking Mac or Asus. There are sufficient connectivity solutions like card readers and 3 USB ports to ensure you can switch data and displays easily.
The backlit keyword is a treat especially if you are working at night whilst sitting on a beach. The cooling systems are quite good with plenty of air vents present under and on the side of the machine. The black metallic and red finish gives this laptop a very elegant look. To keep the battery life stable in this kind of laptop make sure you drain it completely before charging instead of plugging the laptop in when it’s at 40 or 60% charge. This tends to degrade the battery quicker as it was designed to be drained completely and then charged.
Even though the device is set to be a 17.3 inch display. We feel like it could be a bit bigger. Meaning the edges around the actual screen are quite large. The design could have been better if these borders were better made. Other than this there are not a lot of cons for this laptop. It is a laptop aimed at a very specific low-end gamer market and delivers excellent performance for that target. The 860M also has 4GB of RAM and rarely has to break a sweat to run most games that are online today. If you are looking for a sweet deal and want to buy something that is not too over the top with over clocked processors and graphics then the Y70 is an ideal machine for you.
Agile, efficient, and very silent, you won’t regret acquiring this “on-budget” option.
Innovative design and sleek comfort for a gaming-rated beast laptop. Is there anything else to add for a laptop that can certainly help us to build both a photographer and videographer career these days?
- Powerful processor
- Good RAM capacity
- Nvidia GTX 1080 graphics card
- Excellent IPS display
- Backlit keyboard
- Great quality speakers
- Quiet cooling
- Absurd battery life
- Keyboard can feel odd or tiring due its lack of palm resting area
- No SD card slot
Click to read the full Review
Design and Features
The Asus Zephyrus GX501 doesn’t just have a fancy name to define it, it’s, in fact, a huge revolution for the industry that creates a hybrid between a powerful Behemoth of considerable size in the size and portability of a common laptop, without chopping its performance.
Though it may rival some Ultrabook, it’s not as thin as those for obvious reasons. The design is absolutely unbeatable, pairing up a Nvidia GTX 1080 in a 1.79cm-thick laptop, being it slimmer than the Dell XPS 15 reviewed in this guide. Though you may be worried about the cooling efficiency of this laptop, Asus covered their backs by redesigning the airflow with a bottom drop panel shaped like a ramp, which creates a 6mm gap that works with the help of that height difference in moving the considerable heat from the graphics chipset to the outer part of this laptop. On top of that, the ramp is absolutely stylish, paired with red LEDs to reinforce the industrial look of this model.
The back cover has a brush aluminium finish in a diagonal two-direction cut. With the Asus ROG logo in bold red with a noticeable bevel, this laptop is certainly fashionable for those who consider themselves tech-enthusiasts.
Like some other competitors as the MSI GT83VR Titan or the Razer Blade Pro, the cooling system has been moved to the rear and the inputs to the front. The keyboard may seem a little tight at first glance but it’s actually roomy, with keys being close enough to give the user freedom for rapid typing or to ace keyboard shortcuts in their preferred software while increasing the efficiency. This layout comes with the downside of not having a palm rest area, which Asus provides an extra rubber wrist accessory whose appearance might be somewhat disappointing (too prone to catch dirt).
You may wonder where is the calc placed on a large sized laptop that it is. Well, the touchpad area shows the calc in a bold red LED display whenever it’s needed. At the same time, this touchpad, small worth to be mentioned, is quite capable of holding up many multi-touch gestures to help users to avoid the mouse usage at all. In my opinion, let me stick with my loyal mouse, as Photography editing requires precision above all things.
Like we mentioned before, it’s a powerful laptop. That’s no joke. Paired with a 2.2GHz Intel Core i7-8750H, it can reach clock speed up to 4.1GHz – not as powerful as what we have seen with the MacBook Pro but yet impressive. The 24GB Max RAM is definitely a plus for this laptop, featuring DDR4 2666GHz sticks.
Its highest efficiency point is the Nvidia GTX 1080 with 8GB GDDR5X VRAM, while at the same time featuring Intel HD Graphics 630 for the modest-performance mode. The advantage of this laptop against its competitors is the Nvidia Max-Q technology, meant for running this graphics card at lower wattage and clock speed. Why is that? Well, simply to avoid heavy battery consumption, though you cannot expect this laptop to be long-autonomy one.
The speakers are absolutely breath-taking in both quality and size. You will even feel sorry to plug your headphones when it’s such a pleasure to listen to music with them.
Considerable expensive, we would have hoped for some bit more than just 2-hours of battery life, which will obviously vary depending on the apps you use. Despite turning off the fancy LEDs in the keyboard or killing apps in the background, the battery life won’t improve, so for tasks as video-rendering or such, don’t be that much trustworthy in this model battery life and actually plug it just to be on the safe side.
Well then, what are the key points that define this list? What do we have to look at when searching for the best laptops for photographers?
Must-Have Accessories For Your Photo Editing Laptop
If you want to take your editing capabilities even further with software tools and laptop models presented here, do not miss the chance to add these accessories to your arsenal!
The difference between an amateur editing process and professional work may be determined by fantastic accessories like this one.
- Ergonomic solution for long editing sessions
- Includes wireless accessory kit
- Several nibs to test and try like real brushes
- 8 buttons to store most frequently used commands
- Three Sizes
Click to read the full Review
As a Wacom user, let me assure you that while the investment is large, it is worthwhile. Rather than tiring our hands with so many hours of using a mouse, performing sometimes simple enhancements of details, Wacom offers a convenient solution which works similar to drawing on a piece of paper.
The tablet format emulates a full-monitor display, which, unless you decide to invest a good amount and buy a Wacom Cintiq (which shows what happens on the monitor in real time), you will have to get used to drawing on the surface while you look the monitor to see what happens.
Software like Lightroom 5 are not able to take maximum advantage of this hardware, since they are not compatible with pressure controls, but with Lightroom 6/CC, such problems were corrected.
With 8 buttons, you can quickly store shortcuts of what you use most often, by software commands. And as if that weren't enough, try different types of stylus' or nibs - the Airbrush stylus deserves its own post to explain all the benefits of working with it, but that's for another time perhaps.
Add a Wacom tablet to your workflow and reduce your editing times in Lightroom and Photoshop by more than half!
The brain of your computer, the processor. And perhaps the piece that tends to suffer the most damage without us even noticing (hello overheating!). To explain this in a few words, processors are classified under two main parameters: number of cores (physical or virtual) and their frequency in GHz.
Speaking of cores, we refer to them as the first parameter for measuring its calculus-power and capacity to perform tasks simultaneously or “multitasking.” Physical cores are those who actually determine the working capacity of the processor and allow us to quickly classify them regarding a number of cores they have. These classifications are cataloged in:
- Two Cores
- Intel Celeron
- Intel Pentium Dual Core
- Intel Core2Duo
- Intel i3 series
- AMD Athlon II
- AMD Sempron
- AMD Phenom II
- AMD Phenom II X3
- AMD Phenom II X4
- AMD A4 series
- AMD A6 series
- Two Cores with Four Virtual Cores
- Intel Core2Quad
- Intel i5 series
- AMD Phenom II X4 Black
- AMD Phenom II X6
- AMD A8 series
- AMD A10 series
- AMD FX 6000-8000 series
- Four Cores with Eight Virtual Cores
- Intel i7 series
- Intel i7 Extreme series
- AMD FX 9000 series
- Six Cores
- Intel i7 series
- Intel i7 Extreme series
- Intel Xeon series
- Eight Cores
Note that for most laptops, the top performance you may come across is a system-built with a 4-core Intel i7 Extreme series, as systems built for more performance are meant only for desktop pcs, being Intel Xeon series used for server builds, mostly on clusters for advanced calculus.
As we see, Intel has the distinct advantage in the processor market, and one of the main differences I’ve noticed between both brands (when working with them), is that AMD processors tend to operate under higher temperatures, as well as leading to higher energy consumption. Independently of the absence of processors that can compete with the range Intel i7, AMD produces cheaper processors than Intel; however, most of the updates featured for design software are meant to optimize the performance of codes of instructions for Intel processors.
Since the old times of the SIMM memories have been gone quite a few years; at the present moment, we can say that, as very old, we can find on the market PCs equipped with DDR3 memory, since new trends are forced toward the recently built DDR4.
The RAM memory is in charge of storing the entire set of instructions given by a user to the operating system. For example, it is very common to say that our PC works slowly if it has a low RAM, as this will limit its ability to perform several tasks simultaneously. If a PC has no free RAM available, a crash with memory dump might happen (also known as BSOD, which can also occur by energy problems or hardware conflicts). In minor cases, low RAM can cause the programs that consume more working memory to close unexpectedly. Another scenario that can occur when the system has no RAM available, is system freeze that will require a manual restart. RAM memories are sorted by frequency (in GHz) and by latency.
As a starting point, any current PC dedicated to designing applications must have a minimum of 8 GB of RAM for optimal performance.
Another of the important aspects to consider are video cards. In general, when speaking of them, we tend to think that they are responsible for making everything work when in reality its function is to allow the visualization of detailed graphics or facilitate movement in the work interface (under the mode of viewports). As previously mentioned, in specific programs like Adobe Premiere it is a must to have video cards; However Photoshop or Lightroom does not demand it except for advanced tasks, although the performance of these two programs is clearly benefited by adding a video card to the team.
This also showcases the war Intel vs. AMD, where Intel also takes the lead as CUDA-powered video card processors enable an optimized use of system resources.
Regarding this, we can say the better the quality of the card into processing graphics (higher clock frequency, memory bandwidth and a number of cores), the better their performance will be. In the case of Nvidia cards, we have two clear ranges: conventional users and enthusiasts.
Old line GT cards are practically obsolete for high-demanding task or processing multiple images at the same time; and in the line of the GTX, from series “X60” onwards are considered video cards for enthusiasts (or gamers), with the highest rate of benefits but higher price, while previous models are used for conventional users.
Example: a GTX 950 is a card for a conventional user, while a GTX 980 a card is high end.
The difference lies in the software architecture of both cards, being the series exceeding 60 designed for PCs with high demand for labor.
There are also cards designed for Workstations, labeled as Nvidia Quadro or ATI FirePro respectively. Although they are designed for professional work, we can certainly see a great benefit in CAD applications or Computer Graphics visualization; There is a discernible difference in the case of photo editing. So, going to a comparative cost-benefit, it is better to acquire a video gamer card since Workstation video cards have a base price stipulated in $200 when its performance is the same as a card for $60 if we don’t use those applications mentioned above.
Considering all these factors, you can now have an easier understanding of what to look for when deciding to get your next laptop. By favoring some factors over others (for example the amount of RAM, as most laptops offer us the possibility of expanding it later on or the quality of the graphics card), we can save some money while getting a powerful system build. The same rules apply for desktop system, although when it comes to a static computer, you also need to consider the power consumption (for getting the proper power supply unit), to project its future lifespan (then again, PSU capacity), and also its cooling system (if you can, please do yourself a favor and get a liquid cooling system).
We hope that this guide has been to your liking, and see you next time!
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Pia Lopez is a self-taught photographer, architecture student and ArchViz artist. As Editor in Chief of Sleeklens.com, technology and art are two of her passions, which take active part in her professional training. Being an authentic Montevidean, travelling is daily routine; enjoying both the green meadows and urban surroundings as well as the beautiful beaches that are so characteristic in Uruguay's landscape.