12 Best Laptops For Photo Editing & Photography in 2017
12 Best Laptops For Photo Editing & Photography in 2017 www.sleeklens.com
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.
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
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- MacBook Pro 2016 with Touch Bar
- Powerful build
- Price: See Here
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- Acer Aspire E5 – 573 G
- Low end graphics
- Price: See Here
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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 graphic-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 mostly 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 2017 market, followed by a list of key points for any PC/Laptop intended for photo-editing use.
Best Laptops For Photography and Editing in 2017
Apple is innovation at its best. The truth is that it was a much-expected update after leaks that showed the announcement of a newly-introduced TouchBar. However, the price has increased as well for those models that feature such improvement.
- 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
Lighter and thinner than the previous generation, the MacBook Pro weighs 1.37kg for the 13” model and 1.83kg for the 15” one, with an up to 17% thickness reduction.
Another change from its previous model is the removal of the traditional USB ports and the MagSafe charging port, replacing them with USB-C and Thunderbolt ports. But don’t worry, the 3.5mm headphone jack is still available!
The new feature, Touch Bar, is 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.
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.
16 GB of RAM is much appreciated and certainly what users would expect from a high-end Apple laptop. With a 2.9 GHz Intel Core i5 for the 13" model and 2.6 GHz Intel Core i7 for the 15”, it's a performance improvement for photographers; yet even more so, if we consider how smoothly Adobe apps tend to run with MacOSX.
One thing that is clearly disappointing is the graphics specs. I mean, seriously Apple? Why pair such a fantastic laptop with an ATI Radeon graphics card? For most creative artists, Nvidia is the way to go, given boost performance by CUDA technologies. Despite minor software compatibility issues that still occur to date, the Graphics Card choice is the only thing that can keep me from getting this beauty.
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)
A pc whose features, except for the processor, reminds me of my Samsung. Laptops like this one have the advantage of being all-terrain – with an estimated 2 or more hours on average battery life (depends on the settings of brightness, the energy plan selected and apps being used), gives us both autonomy and a good level of performance for a reasonable price. The value for every dollar you spend is so high which is why this is our number 1 pick for the price concerned customer.
- Strong Processor (I7 intel Core)
- 1 TB harddrive
- Affordable Price
- Low-end Graphics card
- Heating issues if not maintained
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My current laptop, with almost identical features, is 5 years old and the only problem experienced was just overheating, leading to a replacement of thermal paste. It is recommended that if you intend to work for long hours in Adobe Photoshop, and especially in times of heat, to acquire a dissipating base as a way of helping the performance of the system build. Of course it is a computer that can do jobs such as rendering videos in Adobe Premiere for long hours, but it will probably suffer from overheating since it was not intended for such use.
If you are used to having Windows laptops then you know they can go both ways in terms of what they have to offer. You often seek a consistent performer when looking for an amazing laptop. We think The Acer Aspire E5 – 573G is more than capable of fulfilling your needs with amazing reliability. The core strengths of this laptop are centred on 1TB hard drive, Intel Core i5, the NVidia GeForce 940M and the price. We will delve deeper into all these offerings in detail and discuss some small downsides and issues we found when we were doing our due diligence.
The major positive is definitely the storage capacity. This device is basically a mid-range laptop with gaming or media laptop like storage capability. The 1TB hard drive is more than enough to comfortably support your OS and still give you at least 700GB of room for all your other programs and data. You are probably checking out this laptop with a keen interest in photography well let me tell you, this laptop is ideal to store all your photos and videos quite comfortably. If you have an enormous amount of stuff to store you can always take advantage of google drive or even Microsoft’s one drive.
The device comes with Windows 10 HOME installed and in some cases you can upgrade to a premium version by paying a little extra. The memory capacity is a healthy 8GB DDR3. You can even upgrade the 800 MHZ ram to 1600 MHZ to get higher performance. It’ll probably cost you an additional $30 but in the long run it could be a smart move. This might not give you lightning fast speeds while gaming but it is more than enough to achieve a respectable frame rate. This laptop can comfortably run anything like FIFA 16 or even graphics intensive games like Crysis 3.
The main plus point for us was the price. You get so many amazing features and close to top end processing power for just $573. If you exclusively use the laptop to work, store and edit photographs and occasionally game then this laptop is ideal for you. The design is quite slick with a matte black exterior that leaves a bit to be desired. The mouse pad in the device is a bit more to the left when comparing with other mid-range and even gaming laptops. This might take a bit of getting used to but the track pad is very responsive and easy to use.
The display is excellent for viewing photographs and videos. A small issue might be that when viewing the screen from a more acute angle the image and colours are not quite as sharp. This is a downside if you have a large number of people watching a movie at a sleep over then it could get a little uncomfortable. We feel that the design and he finish of the laptop could have been a bit better but the NVidia GeForce 940M coupled with a price less than half of the nearest Mac helps us forget about the exterior rather quickly. The Adobe Suite in particular ran very smoothly and quickly which made the editing process very simple.
A small downside we noticed is that you need to make sure you upgrade your drivers using ACER’s given specifications. We found that this device can be prone to a blue screen or two if you end up installing a lot of third party drivers or drivers that do not fit the actual components. If you are thinking, this is why Windows laptops are annoying well then one suggestion we can make is that you just leave the laptop untouched from when you purchase it. Enable critical windows updates but other than that do not change management engine drivers, BIOS etc. This way your laptop will run really reliably and you can confidently put the laptop into sleep mode even if you forgot to save some work.
The weight of the laptop was a positive too! Even though this device is packing a 15.6 inch screen it is quite light, weighing at just under 5.3 pounds. The dimensions are close to the standard you see for a laptop in this category which is 15.02 x 1 x 10.08 inches. If you are the type to upgrade components very often then the motherboard casing might be hard to access with parts positioned in unusual places. Like the ram for instances can be a pain to access and change.
The processing power you get is a healthy 2.2 GHz it’s not spectacular but it is more than enough as long as you are not an extreme gamer. The screen resolution is a healthy 1920 x 1080, perfect for 1080P movies. You have a few USB slots and a HDMI output which are conveniently placed so that you can connect to a TV with ease. The battery life is quite decent, worthy of an 8/10. The battery life usually ranged between the 3 and 6 hour mark depending upon your usage. You can even stretch this out to 7 hours if you are not intensely multitasking. 9-cell battery (optional, factory includes 6-cell), can stretch the autonomy of the equipment to a total of 3 hours in medium work; so it can easily become the best computer for photo editing.
Overall, we think that this is a great purchase especially if you are looking for value for money. For the $573 there are not many products out there that are essentially a bridge between the mid-range and the high end laptops. The USB 3.0 ports will help you transfer photos, videos and other files to an external hard drive should you have one, quite quickly. A major downside for some people is the lack of the DVD drive but nowadays a blu ray drive could be quite handy. We think for a few extra bucks if they had included a Blu Ray drive it wouldn’t have hurt and only bettered the product. Also if you love using Windows 7 still this laptop will allow you to do that with ease. The hardware should definitely be stable enough to work in an older version of Windows 7.
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
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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
Considered as an update of their ZenBook line, Asus crafted their most close competitor to an Apple MacBook without featuring OSX and the Apple logo. A fast and versatile ultrabook that is no doubt a worthy investment.
- Strong speakers
- Excelent battery/performance relation
- Fingerprint reader
- One of the thinnest laptops in market
- Great cooling performance
- Just features a USB-C port
- Fans always on
- Slippery touchpad
- No dedicated Graphics Card
Click to read the full Review
Design and features
Asus ZenBook 3 is available in two colors: its traditional silver and a blue with golden accents schemes. Its aluminum body feels as sturdy as most conventional laptops, giving us the confidence to work with this computer wherever we are.
With a 12.5” Full HD display, weighing almost 900g it’s the ideal solution for carrying it at our portfolios or backpacks; and foremost it fits the tables at airplanes seats. Even if some people may complain at not having a 4K resolution at a 2016’s laptop, it doesn’t have much to envy as it isn’t intended for heavy gaming or performing tasks that demand high-end graphics, but more an on-the-go solution for professionals.
Its backlit keyboard works with a white toned LED lighting, delicate considering that keys are a bit wider than their current height, giving us the feeling of a fluid typical laptop interaction.
Fan noise may become a nuisance, but nothing to take too seriously given its tight packing and performs the task for which is meant more than proficiently. The touchpad, on the other hand, feels way too slippery – Perhaps you can get used to it over time, but requires practice. With a fingerprint reader on its top right corner, we can log quickly without much hassle.
Only featuring a USB-C port at its right side, there’s nothing to praise in what connectivity regards. It also lacks the Thunderbolt 3 port, mostly seen on several laptops these days, and immensely helpful for transferring RAW files or 4K videos without losing much time. Taking this matters in consideration, Asus features as well a mini dock with a USB 3.1 port and HDMI entry.
Its 512 GB SSD is cool for a laptop meant to be used for traveling, and with 16 GB of RAM surprised me, as you don’t usually expect such a vast amount of RAM for an ultrabook.
Featuring an i7-7500U processor, with Intel HD 620 graphics integrated, we can experience a smoothly performance for streaming YouTube videos and doing light editing work; however, we will suffer the struggle of the lack of dedicated graphics – mostly with Photoshop – so various 3d tools offered by Photoshop won’t be available on this laptop.
Its battery performance is astonishing! Up to 12 hours with video streaming included: going way far from recent MacBook Pro models.
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.
This laptop was meant for high performance and you will not find problems in the form of overheating when using this for prolonged periods of editing.
It is equipped with one of the best video cards on the market: GTX 970 and it has 3 GB GDDR5, which is one of the best cards you can find in a laptop. However, such power of performance can also be a double-edged sword, since the battery life does not meet the desired amount of time expected by most users.
- NVIDIA Geforce GTX960M
- Fast & Big Harddrive(1024GB)
- Intel i7 6th generation Processor
- Great monitor
- No overheating
- Color scheme on keyboard
- expensive and time consuming repairs
Click to read the full Review
Now let’s take an in-depth look at the MSI Apache pro. This is one of our favourites on the list because you get an amazing value for money deal on these products. MSI is first and foremost an amazing gaming brand. Hence all their laptops are primed for maximum performance and reliability also. This could be an amazing buy for those who do not like to buy laptops very frequently and are looking for one that will run a lot of apps very well for a number of years before actually even becoming out of date. We live in a very use & throw orientated era which gives rise to a lot of products with shorter lifespans but MSI have made a habit of bucking that trend. Let’s delve into what we have got here:
Speed: This laptop easily satisfies the trinity we mentioned earlier that is required to form a truly fast laptop i.e. RAM size & speed, a solid state drive and a fast processor. The apache pro boats a solid Intel i7 – 6700 HQ Quad Core Processor which clocks anywhere between 2.6 and 3.5 GHZ. The RAM is an extremely impressive 16 GB which is more than enough for handling multitasking capability. The speed of the memory is a staggering 2133 MHz. So what does this mean in normal terms? Well this laptop will be able to load apps and process large data instantly much quicker than any of the other laptops in the list so far. The storage is taken care through a hybrid Solid state drive + hard drive system.
Display: A beautiful 17.3 inch screen which can flawlessly display images, videos and gaming effects. It is a fantastic anti reflective monitor too, which is more than capable of supplementing the NVidia GeForce GTX970M. The output resolution is a respectable 1920x1080 enough in our eyes to rate is a 9/10. We have stopped short of giving it a 10 as MSI might need to evolve to a 4K display soon to match the trend.
Storage: A big bonus with a majority of the MSI’s these days is the hybrid storage they utilize. It is an interesting idea especially since the price of solid state drives (SSDs) haven’t come down drastically yet. You have a small 128 GB SSD where you can comfortably install windows and some core apps like Microsoft office, your antivirus software and even your Adobe creative suite. It took a mere 3 seconds for windows 10 to boot during our trial run. All the rest can go onto your 1 TB hard drive. Make sure when you install programs or save files you select the hard drive option because this SSD can get full very quickly otherwise. If you follow this simple step you will have no problems maximizing the speed of this laptop.
Cooling: This device is well designed with a fan that keeps the laptop quite cool even when running a high end game. So you can be confident of not burning your leg when you are working on a project with the device on your lap. Manual fan control aids this process. You can just manually max out the fan when you enter a higher temperature environment so that the casing and the processors remain extremely cool.
Battery: The major downside with this laptop is the duration of the battery you get a mere 2-3 hours when it is not plugged in which is nowhere near any of the other laptops we have seen. The backlit keyboard and the cutting edge performance does come at the expensive of battery life. As a result of this you might probably wind up using the laptop like a desktop at home. Not ideal for a traveller’s lifestyle.
Physical Attributes: The travelling lifestyle point brings us to the actual weight of the laptop. It is slightly on the heavier side, weighing at 6 pounds. It isn’t the heaviest MSI but nowhere near the lightest too. It’s just over an inch in thickness. The backlit keyboard can sometimes not be configured well so you need to make sure your steel series engine is updated. The design could have been a bit better also as it appears to look very heavy at first glance.
Additional Maintenance cost: This is a similarity with the Apple products in a way. If you maintain the laptop well you might not have any issues with the laptop. However if you need to get it fixed for any reason or are looking to buy MSI specific replacements if can cost you a fair bit. Instead of chucking a new heading, we thought we would also mention that MSI could have placed a Blu Ray drive instead of a DVD drive in this model.
Taking into consideration all these factors and the price. We think the MSI would still be a very good buy if you are looking for a device for your home or work place. The price is excellent for the features you receive. It’s not often you get such performance for a mere $1200- $1500. From that point of view it is quite stunning. If you are confident that you need something highly portable then you might consider looking elsewhere. This laptop could serve as a good base, especially if you have the luxury of a second monitor that handles 3D or 4K imaging. The GTX970 can handle all these functions and more without even trying too hard. Reliability is quite rock solid too.
You can handle the device like a Macbook and not shut it down for days and your work will still be there. It is extremely unlikely you will encounter blue screens especially if you keep your drivers up to date or even all the same after installation. MSI’s warranty service is quite good so that helps your peace of mind. They usually collect your laptop fix it and bring it back too. Warranties even last 2 years so you can definitely ensure that you stay covered.
An Asus gamer laptop; the feels great overall, with great specs, this laptop feels much lighter than it should be.
The laptop comes with an Intel processor of the previous generation, but despite being 1 year old, meets its objectives by having 2.6 Ghz frequency.
- Great Screen
- Good Graphics Card
- No Cooling Issues
Click to read the full Review
Another one of our favourites in this list is the ASUS ROG. It is quite stacked in the Pros department and has a very few cons. It generally comes in two variants and is designed primarily for the gaming niche. The advantage if you are a photographer is that these laptops which are designed for gamers are also perfect for you. With stacked display performance the pictures are displayed with amazing accuracy. The 1st variant has a slightly more expensive hardware setup with a 4 GB V-RAM instead of 2GB on the 2nd variant. Another slight change is that the 1st variant has a 128 GB solid state drive which is a similar setup to most micro star international laptops.
The laptop weighs in at just over 5 and a half pounds. Its dimensions are 10.1 x 15.1 x 1.3 inches making it not very thick and it offers a very solid and durable feel. The metallic finish is good for a gaming laptop. We’ve given this an 8.9/10. If you are wondering what justifies that, well, the device has performed flawlessly in testing achieving high frame rates for most games and the video quality is quite superb.
You would typically expect a gaming variant to be 17 inches but this laptop has a 15.6 inch screen which makes it portable also. It can fit in pretty much any backpack out there quite comfortably. It also features the latest USB type C design that is tipped to become the industry standard in the coming days.
A major positive for us is always the performance. That’s what we look for first and foremost in these laptops because for a gamer, videographer, photographer quality is something that cannot be compromised. There is no point having a laptop that cannot display your images and videos accurately but the battery life might be 10 hours. This just is not feasible for most folks out there
The laptop boats an Intel quad i7 similar to most laptops in this list. The memory is a great 16 Gb and the memory speed is clocked at an extremely quick 2133 MHZ that coupled with the SSD will give you amazing performance on general apps and processing. The dark disk clocks a very respectable 7200 RPM. The size is 1 TB which should be more than enough for regular use and storage of movies, games photography etc. There are a lot of USB ports too in case you decide you need an extension. The NVidia GTX 960M with the 4GB V-RAM produces great quality graphics. We recommend you go for the 4GB VRAM variant as the video output handling capability is much higher. If you are working on VR projects you will definitely need this kind of processing ability. The cost difference is a mere $120.
Speaking of price the higher end variant is priced at $1070 and the lower end variant at $950. This pricing gets you amazing value for money. Unlike some of the laptops in the list this one is very much a nailed on gaming laptop and doesn’t belong in the mid-range category.
The battery life again is a bit of an issue for us as you get about 4 hours in power save mode. So during normal usage you are looking at about 2.5 to 3 hours. Which is quite low. This is where this laptop got away from a near perfect score for us. The keyboard and keystroke optimization is quite good especially if you like to type quickly while you game. The trackpad on the other hand is a bit average and is placed more to the left. We like many other general users prefer it to be slightly more centred.
There have been some Wi-Fi connectivity issues reported on forums and reviews but the fix has been found and all you have to do is update to the latest Intel driver and you are all set. This device has the power to completely replace your desktop in a way with its price and features. It is also a pound lighter than other 14 inch laptops like the Alien ware etc. For a gaming rig it’s not at all bulky.
Asus devices are traditionally good with cooling and this one is no different. Performing quite admirably. The variant without the SSD can be significantly slower. Especially with the speed with which windows 10 operates. The load times can be quite different as the SSDs are significantly faster. Due to the small size of the SSD we recommend you make sure you store all your programs on the hard disk instead. Often times you find during automated install options that everything is set to install on the drive that windows is on. This could be a bad thing for your Asus. Make sure you click on the customize option and ensure than everything other than the bare essential programs are on the D drive.
A 256 GB SSD could have been a much better alternative especially with app data for programs like STEAM and Photoshop getting stored on the main Solid state unit. Still a very good machine to have around. It could also be a good alternative to a great clucky desktop. If you are the type to evolve to tablet based devices and would still like another device at home. This Asus offers you more value for money than most of the other products in the market. The battery life becomes a non-issue.
Another versatile feature is that this laptop has a free slot for another SSD so if you do decide to go for the cheaper variant and then decide to include an SSD you can do so. Unlike a Mac or an MSI the cost of achieving these changes will be much lower. With windows 10 also continuing to develop you are receiving a formidable line-up for features that can step up to meet any challenge that the current set of apps or future set of apps can throw at it.
Another interesting laptop with a 17.3 screen. It has a sleek metal finish and has almost no plastic parts. The main problem of this laptop is its size, since the weight and screen makes it hard to transport and carry. Compared to the previous model, it has a significant increase in battery life (almost one hour) and double amount of RAM from the previous model.
- RAM amount
- Processor Intel Core i7 5th
- Battery life
- Low-end video card
- Screen Size
Click to read the full Review
Lenovo have gone for a very conservative spec with this laptop. The physical attributes mixed with the internal mix make for a pretty quirky but high functioning laptop. The sheer power might not be up to the mark of the other laptops in the list. If you aren’t hell bent on playing the latest games and focus purely on generic apps and editing software then this should serve you very well. Lenovo we think designed this laptop to give you a taste of what a gaming laptop can potentially be like. Their choices of hardware are quite a mixed bag but serve videographers and photographers quite well.
Physical Characteristics: The 1st thing that was a positive for us was the way the laptop looked. The black finish is quite stunning and with a sharp finish this laptop is probably one of the best looking on the list. Other characteristics like weight were not ideal though. It weighs about 6.6 pounds and the dimensions are 16.5 x 1 x 11.1 inches. It’s quite a thin device which really appealed to us. The laptop does tend to get pretty hot occasionally but it’s not something that is a major concern. You can even buy yourself a cooling pad if needed.
Connectivity is quite standard with about 4 USB ports so that you can connect your GoPro, hard disk, phone all at the same time without having to juggle between one another.
Speed: The Lenovo is probably not as quick as the MacBook or the MSI if you are a person for numbers. However if you can ignore the stat sheet you will see that this laptop performs as well as the others. The performance is driven by a medium end Intel core i7 which functions at 2.2 GHZ. A respectable 16 GB of RAM makes it very comfortable for all our software to run simultaneously. Lenovo have gone for the i7 5500U instead of the 6700 seen on most laptops. Essentially this is tailor made for people who are serious about what they are doing and gaming is more of a side hobby rather than a priority.
Graphics & Display: The NVidia card is the older GT840 with a couple of gigs of video ram. This generation of graphics card is still quite good to run games up to early 2016. The frame rates you achieve are very subjective to the gaming engine itself. Games like counterstrike can lag slightly in full graphics mode but other such as FIFA run seamlessly at maximum graphic settings. The screen is a massive 17.3 inches and it will feel like you own a desktop at home with this around. We feel like the massive screen isn’t being utilized to its fullest potential because of the low-end nature of the graphics card. An NVidia 9 series card would have done wonders for this device and not cost Lenovo much in capital either. The 860 GTX is also another viable solution that they could have considered to boost graphic capability. The image quality is quite sharp, which is a very good thing.
Storage: A hybrid drive is adopted in the higher end variant of the Z70 but the SSD you are offered is a meagre 8 GB. This just speeds up some processing elements but does not offer the same benefits you see on a 128GB / 1TB hybrid which has been a common theme so far. Multitasking power is good but may not suit your if you tend to run multiple intensive applications at the same time. The 1TB on the hand is quite good for storing all your images and photos. The read speed is a bit lower on this particular hard drive when compared to others out there. We feel like Lenovo could have definitely opted for a 7200 RPM hard drive instead of a 5400. You will probably notice a difference when you are transferring files from your camera to your drive. It could take slightly longer than other laptops.
Battery Life: The battery life on average is 4 hours. It’s not great but it is slightly higher than the MSI and others we have seen before. 4 hours is quite respectable especially if you do not like to travel with your device at all times. The lithium ion tech is evolving at a rapid pace and we would have very much liked to see a higher battery life. Given the processing power is slightly lower than other units offering a similar length in terms of life.
Price: The major plus is that the price is very good. It’s quite rare to see an i7 unit with a price tag lower than a $1000 but you can make this Lenovo your own for a mere $824. Value for money is essential and this unit sort of defines what a mid-range laptop should be like. It will serve as an ideal replacement for a desktop should you opt in favour of a more portable solution.
The choice of operating systems also helps. You can always choose between the windows 10 and windows 8.1 versions. You can take advantage of Microsoft’s free upgrade solution to scale up if needed. We think the windows 10 option is a more stable solution. Especially with the speed of execution. The annoying start screen is not present in the windows 10 and the functioning and reliability surpass even the very successful windows 7.
Overall, this device is a great choice for a photographer or a videographer who also has a gaming hobby. If you are looking to game constantly and play the latest cutting edge games then this laptop is not the best solution. You have a basic DVD writer drive in case you are into the habit of recording and storing videos and pictures physically instead of the cloud. If you are looking for something really basic and are just starting out on your digital adventure then the lower end it might be an even better solution and you get to save a couple $100 bucks along the way too.
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.
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.
Please note that any of the models listed here have dedicated video cards, not with integrated graphics since we seek the highest possible system performance.
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 consumes 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 on 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 life span (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.