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The lounge Relax, take a break from photo and camera talk - have a chat about something else for a change. Just keep it clean and polite!

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  #1  
Old 13th November 2009
jonesy jonesy is offline
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Computer specs

I currently use a laptop for all my home computing stuff as I cant be bothered to sit at a desk at night as well as all day.
When the computer was bought it was a high spec laptop as I used it for learning 3D parametric modelling, and I intended using it for work (CAD) if I managed to find some private jobs. Now back then the hard drives for laptops werent very big (this one is almost 80GB) but I have 2GB RAM and a reasonable (Centrino Duo) Processor, and I have always managed to get drawings/models and renders done with very little problems. Yesterday after Elements went wrong I was being dealt with by the IT helpdesk over at OU and was shocked to hear that a computer that I use for rendering complex images was too low a spec (really) for photo editing...
So after that mammoth explanation my question...
What would you consider an appropriate spec laptop for photo editing? Is my computer woefully inadequate?
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Old 13th November 2009
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Re: Computer specs

I woudn't say woefully inadequate but photo editing is very memory hungry so the more you have the better. I'm not sure what the minimum spec for Elements 6 is (I'm sure someone on here will) but even if you have that you'd still be better off with extra memory - that might have contributed to Elements crashing the other day if you were doing something really complicated (though it shouldn't have caused the serious error it did subsequently. Depending on how old your laptop is you could probably add another 2Gb for 20 - 40. A local computer shop will be able to advise.
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Old 13th November 2009
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Re: Computer specs

It sounds a bit OTT if they declare your laptop woefully inadequate.

When I have asked this kind of thing before some bright spark would reply that I need to start again with an overclocked 8 core Intel megadeath 4GHz processor and at least 8gigs of ram, and who buys anything less than a 500G disk these days (etc etc)

I am sorry to report that every computer I have owned was eventually brought to its knees by software. My previous Dell (2.4GHz single core and 768M of ram) was a quick machine for its time and worked Elements fairly well until I got all enthusiastic about raw files and panoramas. This kind of treatment could bring it grinding to a halt.

So... one painful "reload all your software" session later: I have a 3GHz dual core with 1G of ram and two largish disks and guess what: If I try hard I can bring this one to its knees as well.

So, the cynical answer to "what computer do I need" is probably "a better one than the one you just bought"

Pete

PS.. Yes. More memory is always a good idea
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Old 13th November 2009
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Re: Computer specs

my laptop gets by (inspiron 9400) but the processing (Centrino Duo) and memory handling overall don't get close to a similar cost/time period desktop unit I have.

storage is a completely different thing - I use Tb external drives
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Old 13th November 2009
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Re: Computer specs

Thanks all.... I'll get my son to open the laptop and look at the memory. I know it has already been upgraded to run the rendering and modelling programs, and I have a feeling that the memory slots (is that the right term) have been used... but we'll see. 40 sounds so much better than 400

My hard drive I dont care about, as long as theres enough space to install the programs thats all that matters. My photos get downloaded to the hard drive, then when they've been checked they go on my external and the families backup drive.
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Old 13th November 2009
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Re: Computer specs

'Centrino' is simply an Intel brand and doesn't actually say very much about the power of your system. But the fact that you have a dual core CPU is very positive. If you can find out the CPU model details and clock speed, that would help. I assume you are running Windows XP? 2GB for XP is more than adequate for running Photoshop CS4, let alone Elements 6. So quite clearly the advice that you were given was about as useful as a chocolate tea pot!

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Old 13th November 2009
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Re: Computer specs

Quote:
Originally Posted by snaarman View Post
It sounds a bit OTT if they declare your laptop woefully inadequate.

When I have asked this kind of thing before some bright spark would reply that I need to start again with an overclocked 8 core Intel megadeath 4GHz processor and at least 8gigs of ram, and who buys anything less than a 500G disk these days (etc etc)

I am sorry to report that every computer I have owned was eventually brought to its knees by software. My previous Dell (2.4GHz single core and 768M of ram) was a quick machine for its time and worked Elements fairly well until I got all enthusiastic about raw files and panoramas. This kind of treatment could bring it grinding to a halt.

So... one painful "reload all your software" session later: I have a 3GHz dual core with 1G of ram and two largish disks and guess what: If I try hard I can bring this one to its knees as well.

So, the cynical answer to "what computer do I need" is probably "a better one than the one you just bought"

Pete

PS.. Yes. More memory is always a good idea
I think your system would definitely benefit from more memory, Pete - if you are running XP, 2GB would be enough. If Vista or Windows 7, then go for 3GB.

Ian
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Old 13th November 2009
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Re: Computer specs

Quote:
Originally Posted by meach View Post
I woudn't say woefully inadequate but photo editing is very memory hungry so the more you have the better. I'm not sure what the minimum spec for Elements 6 is (I'm sure someone on here will) but even if you have that you'd still be better off with extra memory - that might have contributed to Elements crashing the other day if you were doing something really complicated (though it shouldn't have caused the serious error it did subsequently. Depending on how old your laptop is you could probably add another 2Gb for 20 - 40. A local computer shop will be able to advise.
I'd say 2GB for a Windows XP laptop is fine, but for Vista or Windows 7, 3GB would be ideal. If there are two 1GB SODIMMs in the laptop, replace one with the appropriate 2GB SODIMM.

Ian
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Old 13th November 2009
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Re: Computer specs

Quote:
Originally Posted by Ian View Post
'Centrino' is simply an Intel brand and doesn't actually say very much about the power of your system. But the fact that you have a dual core CPU is very positive. If you can find out the CPU model details and clock speed, that would help. I assume you are running Windows XP? 2GB for XP is more than adequate for running Photoshop CS4, let alone Elements 6. So quite clearly the advice that you were given was about as useful as a chocolate tea pot!

Ian
Ian its a
Intel Core2 CPU
T5500 @1.66GHz
980MHz, 1.99GB RAM

As I say, I use this to produce fairly complex renders / models and only when I do a render on "presentation" does it struggle And thats because the program recomends 4GB ram
I am running XP, I never wanted a Vista computer. (old dog - new tricks I think) But recently the fan seems to be on all the time, and I get more crashes. I'm just hoping that this lovely work-horse isnt dying on me
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Old 13th November 2009
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Re: Computer specs

Crucial memory www.crucial.com/uk have a very useful tool for assessing what memory you have, how many slots are free, and then gives you all the options for upgrading. As has been said many times, memory is the real practical key to easy photo editing.
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Old 13th November 2009
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Re: Computer specs

Quote:
Originally Posted by Ian View Post
I'd say 2GB for a Windows XP laptop is fine, but for Vista or Windows 7, 3GB would be ideal. If there are two 1GB SODIMMs in the laptop, replace one with the appropriate 2GB SODIMM.

Ian
Now I was always led to believe you shouldn't mix them like that i.e. you should have 2 1GB chips or 2 2Gb chips etc. but not one of each - though things may have changed now, as you see laptops on sale with 3Gb and they don't have 2 1.5Gb chips! Then again I remember when RAM cost 30 per Mb (no, that's not a typo) and my first PC only had 512K!
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Old 13th November 2009
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Re: Computer specs

I dont know if you can change the scratch disk in elements, but you can in photoshop and this can make a huge difference to stability and performance.

Have a look in the options if you can and if you have a 2nd hard drive point this as the scratch disk, if you only have one drive then partition it into 2.

Hope this helps
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Old 13th November 2009
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Re: Computer specs

Hi Tracey
Quote:
Originally Posted by Ian View Post
So quite clearly the advice that you were given was about as useful as a chocolate tea pot!

Ian
Ian got it in a nutshell you've been told a load of rubbish.
I'm running Photoshop with an AMD Athlon 2800 single core processor and 1MB RAM granted its slow at times and could do with double the RAM, but with what you have you should not have any trouble, after all you were rendering 3D images before.
It must be a problem with either hardware or software not the spec.

Regards

Gavin
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Old 13th November 2009
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Re: Computer specs

Quote:
Originally Posted by meach View Post
Now I was always led to believe you shouldn't mix them like that i.e. you should have 2 1GB chips or 2 2Gb chips etc. but not one of each - though things may have changed now, as you see laptops on sale with 3Gb and they don't have 2 1.5Gb chips! Then again I remember when RAM cost 30 per Mb (no, that's not a typo) and my first PC only had 512K!
Matched pairs of SIMMs for some desktop motherboards do give a benefit, but this doesn't seem to be so important for laptops.

Ian
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Old 13th November 2009
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Re: Computer specs

Quote:
Originally Posted by jonesy View Post
Ian its a
Intel Core2 CPU
T5500 @1.66GHz
980MHz, 1.99GB RAM

As I say, I use this to produce fairly complex renders / models and only when I do a render on "presentation" does it struggle And thats because the program recomends 4GB ram
I am running XP, I never wanted a Vista computer. (old dog - new tricks I think) But recently the fan seems to be on all the time, and I get more crashes. I'm just hoping that this lovely work-horse isnt dying on me
It may simply be that you need to reinstall Windows in order to clear out the cobwebs. It's a pain, but this usually makes a big difference.

Ian
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