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Old 11th May 2019
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Computer advice.

As Window7 support is going to end next Jan and also my old PC is starting to creak I just wanted some idea of what people thought would be best in terms of RAM, processor etc.
At the moment I am running an i3 with 4gig with RAM. It's OK but does get slow when dealing with big files or stitching.
Would 8 gig of RAM and either an i5 or i7(or anything else)be and improvement or would I need more RAM.

I'm not going to go the Mac route due to some of the software I have.

Any info appreciated

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Old 11th May 2019
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Re: Computer advise.

I'm running an i7 @ 2.4 with 8Gb of ram + Gforce 660m. This is running W7 and it works OK for streaming files etc. I upgraded to Windows 10 and it worked OK, upto a point. My biggest grumble being the re-installed crap-ware etc., after every monthlu update session.

I found W10 a real PITA, with all the crap being constantly shoved down my throat so to speak. Even removing most of the unwanted dross didn't help as it appeared to be put back after each and every update session. I'm no tecchie by any stretch of even my imagination. which is probably why I removed W10 and re-installed W7.

The easiest option tp spped things up would be to upgrade the HD to an SSD version if you haven't already done so. My W7 shows it at 7.9 = the max reading.

W7 being made redundant was the reason I raised a question on putting Android onto a netbook PC crawling along on W10. I'm still toying with the idea and still going through the various options. There are stumbling blocks, processors being one of the main ones.

I mention this as it might be a viable alternative rather then spending dosh on upgrades as the two systems can be made to work side by side. One option is to boot Android from a bootable SD card, to test if it works with the current installed Windows OS.

If you have a spare HD, try it out. My biggest netbook problem is the existing HD removal required a complete strip-down including the MB comiing out.
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Old 11th May 2019
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Re: Computer advise.

Thanks.

Could some kind mod edit my bad spelling in the title
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Old 11th May 2019
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Re: Computer advise.

Agree with Wally, get an SSD in whatever you end up doing. Lots of ram, it’ll get cheaper then more expensive over time.
Processor wise go for the best you can afford but i5 as a starting point. All this assumes you are a heavy user and not just browsing the web!
You can run Windows in a couple of ways on a Mac, either using the Apple Bootcamp feature, or my preferred way is as a virtual machine using something like VirtualBox (free) or Parallels / Fusion. My moan about the latter two is you often need to pay to upgrade when a new MacOS version comes out. Hence I think I’ve paid more to VMWare than I’ve ever paid Microsoft!
My main machine is a 2010 i7 MacBook Pro which I’ve upgraded to a 2TB SSD and 16GB (I think!) of ram. Still running fine although it seems slow compared to a more recent MacBook Air.
If you’re looking just to upgrade then bear in mind that depending on the age of the original motherboard you might struggle to find a supported CPU and ram might be expensive.
If you’re looking to replace then consider an Apple machine, it’s nothing like as bad as some people like to make out. Speaking as someone who has built many dozens of PCs over more years than I care to remember.
You’re going to have to get used to Windows 10 I’m afraid as support for Windows 7 goes and you’ll be running a risk to keep at it. I’ve found W10 to improve greatly over the time it’s been out. I’ve got it running on a couple of physical machines plus a couple of VMs and only really fire it up to check for updates etc.
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Old 11th May 2019
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Re: Computer advise.

Agreed re Win10, it's much better now than when it first launched. I use an i5 based machine with a 2TB hard drive; I forget how much RAM it has, 4Gb I think, but it's fast enough for me as I have no deadlines to worry about! Exporting a full size TIFF from DxO Optics Pro with PRIME noise reduction takes around 20 seconds or so. Much quicker with standard noise reduction.
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Old 11th May 2019
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Re: Computer advise.

I think that the advice about more RAM is good, so the whole image can be held in RAM and the computer doesn't need to use virtual/swap memory. I'd be thinking in terms of 16Gig.

Jim
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Old 11th May 2019
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Re: Computer advise.

I woulds also say 16GB memory as well. I'm not really a heavyweight user but my W8.1 machine does like to sit at aound 10GB in use so I'm just confortably outside the swapping zone if I start any heavy processing. I would also suggest 2 disks. Have a 256 or 512 GB SSD (for speed) for the operating system and applications and a second disk for all your data (images and videos). This could be as low as 1 or 2TB (either conventional or SSD depending on budget) or 4TB or more (I've just seen 12TB disks!) if you have many thousands of pictures. The reason for two disks - it makes it so much easier to image backup the system disk if that image does not contain gigabytes of photos. It is also easier to check the second disk for unbacked up stuff as the only things that change will be new (or edited) photos. If you have to replace or upgrade either disk in the future then you are only dealing with either the system or the data disk and not copying thousands of files unnecessarily and in the worst case scenario you can re-intsall the OS without having to restore the photos from a backup.
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Old 11th May 2019
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Re: Computer advise.

If you are looking at replacing your existing PC (or components if youíre comfortable doing that):
  • The latest quad core i5s should be fine.
  • As others have written, SSD (256 GB minimum)
  • 8 GB memory would always be better than 4.

External storage: I have a 256GB Thunderbolt SSD for recent photos/photos Iím working on. Archiving is done on spinning disks.
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Old 11th May 2019
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Re: Computer advise.

I you want a machine mainly for processing photo then the monitor is possibly the most important factor.



Also, remember that you only need to worry about internet security if you use the internet on that machine. I have a Windows 7 desktop for photo-processing and still use the integral Windows XP 'virtual machine' to interface to various peripherals (including my Canon 9900 scanner) that W7 won't talk to. I looked at W10 and found that so much of my hardware wouldn't work with it that I decided I preferred to live without it. I use a separate Android device for internet connections.
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Old 11th May 2019
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Re: Computer advise.

My pc is Win 10, Intel i5 with 16gb of ram and monitor is a Dell Ultrasharp.

Lightroom works very well on it and agree that Win 10 is much better now.
Still not keen on the automatic updates although I suppose it makes sense for security purposes
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Old 11th May 2019
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Re: Computer advise.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Tram View Post
My pc is Win 10, Intel i5 with 16gb of ram and monitor is a Dell Ultrasharp.

Lightroom works very well on it and agree that Win 10 is much better now.
Still not keen on the automatic updates although I suppose it makes sense for security purposes
Yup, same setup as me.

Iím told if you go for Win10 Pro you can at least control when and exactly what it upgrades, so it doesnít start it when youíre just about to process 50 images for a couple of hours deadline...
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Old 11th May 2019
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Re: Computer advise.

Quote:
Originally Posted by drmarkf View Post
...Iím told if you go for Win10 Pro you can at least control when and exactly what it upgrades, so it doesnít start it when youíre just about to process 50 images for a couple of hours deadline...
Yes, big businesss wanted to be able to manage the rollout of any updates because of the potential impact on machine resource availability and complete loss in the case of a glitch. But even they can not indefinitely postpose the update process!
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Old 11th May 2019
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Re: Computer advise.

if you don't mind I'll drop into techhie in the hope that some detail helps

The best thing to do is get the best you determine is your budget and check that is a balanced machine. One with a lot of memory, but a poor processor or little disk is not as good as a balanced one

I would play with some of the configuration tools on various websites to see what you get for your budget, and don't forget that some things are easy to move from your current PC if they are still compatible e.g. SATA disks (I took 2TB from my last PC into this one)

I would suggest get the best processor you can afford 1st i7 is obviously the best as it's the hardest thing to upgrade afterwards, but if budget does not allow then the i5 is a good alternative. when you drop to an I3 you are (IMO) losing a lot

Tale a look at THIS which compares my early i7 (which is still very good) to the latest I5 and I7s, and THIS which compares two I5 processors so you can see that it's not just the range name, but the actual processor model that you need to be aware of. By the way there are i9's out now - look good, but eyewateringly expensive.


Also it's not just intel processors of course - it can be hard to compare an AMD to an Intel, they both make claims which is why I use sites like the one above (there are others, just google processor comparison) before making choices

As already mentioned make sure you have at least 1 SSD. if it's going to be the only SSD and that is where programs and Operating system will be then I would suggest at least 240/256 Gb. I run 2 SSD's one for OS and programs, one for cache and pagefiles, and things I am working on right now, especially video - net result 2-3 second windows load time even on my old processor and I don't see IO wait as a significant issue.

Then it's disk for picture storage, Bulk storage of pictures you are not actively working on - you still get the best cost per Gb with traditional HD's (I run 3 with a total size of 5Tb) - adding disks is easy as long as you have spare ports - Old PC's used IDE, new ones tend to be all SATA. My thing with all of this is that I have used 5 SATA ports with disks and therefore have 1 left because I bought a motherboard with 6 ports, but some only come with 4 as standard which is a consideration if you are moving disks from your old machine.

Memory is often as easy to upgrade as adding disks. I agree 16Gb is good, but look at how they they do it e.g if there are 2 slots of 8 and only 2 slots on the motherboard then it means you are throwing memory away to upgrade - if it's 4 slots on the board you can easily move to 32 if you determine a need (you can do the maths with 4Gb making up 8s etc.)

in order to play and see what you get for you money there are various manufacturer websites. I have bought from Mesh a few times for me and for family because I have been able to easily spec exactly what I want - there are others of course, but I generally find that by looking at the specifics of components I can get better than the big brand names looking at sites like this

I hope some of that helps and is not too much technical drivel

regards
Andy
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Old 11th May 2019
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Re: Computer advise.

Hi Andy, I don't know how old your machine is but you can often update older CPU's quite cheaply by buying a used i5 or i7 of the correct generation on eBay or second-hand stores such as CEX. CPU's are not difficult to change.

For what its worth IMV there is not that much to be gained by choosing an i7 over and i5. You might also need a bigger power supply and better cooling so look at an i5 first. (The older i7's did get very hot.)

If you can find a specification for your machine it will be easy to find compatible CPU's.

Adding memory is a good way to improve performance. 8GB is a sensible minimum but 12 or 16 GB is better for photo processing.

However, even with an i3 you would gain enormously from fitting a SSD in place of your spinning hard drive. Virtual memory will read and write faster too so memory is less critical.

Finally, don't be afraid of W10. I put off installing it but it is much, much faster than W7, very stable an not difficult to use, although there are still some compatibility issues. I found my Epson document scanner was unsupported by Epson.uk but then found a perfectly good driver on the Epson USA website.

Edit: I should add that the W10 screensavers include some stunning landscapes from around the world if you are looking for inspiration. These seem to change once or twice a day and are rarely repeated.
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Old 12th May 2019
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Re: Computer advise.

You can prevent W10 Home from suddenly deciding to launch an update while you're busy. Tell it to update "outside active hours" and the choose inactive period to be overnight.

Settings > Update & Security > Windows Update > Change Active Hours
Settings > Update & Security > Windows Update > Advanced Options > Update Notifications > On

I have mine set to active between 8am and 9pm. If an update is ready to install you'll get a notification that it's ready to install, you can then opt to restart immediately or during inactive hours.
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