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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 6th May 2013
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Laptop query

I am just looking at replacing my 5 year old laptop. I have no desire to have a Mac and within my low budget range and with an i5 processor I appear to be offered an "either/or" choice between a 32GB SSD or a separate, non-integrated video card (Nvidia).

My use is general home computing (no games), light surfing, family-sized spreadsheets etc. On the photo side I currently run GIMP, ICE, Master and Photomatix and may look to consolidate these a bit with Lightroom. I don't do much pp, just some tweaks/crops/sharpening/exposure comp/WB changing etc. I would like to run an external monitor in addition to the built in one.

Does anybody have a suggestion about which to choose? My instinct tells me that a 32GB SSD is too small to be useful but that the photo programmes would use the video card but I am fairly out of touch with computing these days and can't decide.

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Nick
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Old 7th May 2013
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Re: Laptop query

If the 32Gb SDD is in addition to another disk, that's fine. However, if it's the sole disk then it's too small unless you host everything on "the cloud". For your use, dare I suggest you drop to an i3 processor and go for a larger disk and as much memory as you can fit in.
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Old 7th May 2013
Jim Ford Jim Ford is offline
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Re: Laptop query

I bought a 'Zoostorm' laptop from ebuyer a couple of months ago and am very pleased with it and wouldn't hesitate to make the same choice again.

It cost around 260 and with 8 Gig of RAM is pretty fast in spite of the entry level processor. It comes without an OS and I put Xubuntu 12.10 on it.

Jim
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Old 7th May 2013
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Re: Laptop query

Massive RAM for photos/photo editing is my priority I prefer to back up to two external Toshiba Drives - thus 3 copies of all the best stuff and one for downloading pictures to for first past "deletions"

Ian here, recently acquired a VERY high spec Dell which he is everso pleased with Maybe Dell is the way to go ?
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Old 7th May 2013
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Re: Laptop query

Its surprising how much difference a video card card makes over integrated on board video. I would always choose this route where possible. We have a 4 year old laptop that still knocks the socks of later purchases and I'm sure its all down to the video even though it has a cheap processor. Perhaps an external 1TB drive would solve any storage problems but do remember to backup everything.
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Old 7th May 2013
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Re: Laptop query

Can you tell us what your budget it, and then we may be able to help a little more direct you to the right place? It sounds like the photo work is the only thing that is going to tax your system, so a good video card with dedicated memory, lots of system memory and a fast hard drive (SSD is ideal if you can afford it after the other two) are what you need.
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Old 7th May 2013
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Re: Laptop query

My PC, not Laptop, has a 60Gb SSD, which is nearly full despite the 1Tb HDD. I find that too many pieces of software do not give the option of where to install or, if they do, still install a fair number of files on the C: drive.
Jim
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Old 7th May 2013
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Re: Laptop query

A 32gb SSD will only give minimal space for software, not saying its impossible but you would soon run out.

Remember you lose a few gigabyte of space once the drive is formatted and then you have to leave at least 10% free as SSDs half their speed once there is minimal capacity left. You also need space for swap and temporary files. So you actual usable space for OS and software is small.

I recently built a new of for my mum who has minimum requirements. Word, excel, email, surfing and some sewing software and I could only just squeeze it onto a 64gb SSD.

Also SSD coming in varying speeds. The early generations only achieved circa. 150mb/s (about 3 times speed of a normal hard drive). The latest SSDs are closer to 500mb/s. So need to consider what type is included.

Unless you have a dire need for a computer to start up quickly, I would prioritise dedicated graphics card, CPU, memory (this can easily be updated later and cheaply on most laptops), hard drive (again most can be updated relatively easily). The CPU and graphics can't be upgraded normally so these are the components that need to last.

Simon
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Old 7th May 2013
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Re: Laptop query

As suggested, not knowing your budget allowance makes things a wee bit hit and miss. However, I would suggest looking on Amazon for the Lenovo make. They do have some very good offers. They used to be IBM but were bought over by the Chinese some years back. Having just acquired one, I'm impressed with the overall quality. I visualised - looked but didn't buy - round some IT stores and price-wise to specs offered, Amazon prices were very much better. You can also look at the feedback from others to gather further insight into their various models.
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