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Photography Question 
Angela E. Wright
BetterPhoto Member Since: 10/24/2003

Help in buying a new PC for the photo biz.

I am not very computer savy when it comes to the details about my computer but I am in the market to buy a new one and was just curious if anyone can give me some specs as to what I need to handle my work flow with the digital photography business. I have several programs and of course tons of photo files. As of right now, I have an external hard drive and another internal that are extras. Any help would be great! I am looking into either Dell or Gateway. I have never had any problems with Gateway.

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9/26/2007 5:43:11 PM


Also runs Windows. At the same time. If you must.

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9/26/2007 7:12:22 PM

Angela E. Wright
BetterPhoto Member Since: 10/24/2003
  Ahh...Mac. I guess that is the great unknown for me. I have always had a PC -can you tell me what the benefits are and / or the differences are going from one to the other with photography being my main use? I appreciate your time.

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9/26/2007 7:16:55 PM

Carlton Ward
BetterPhoto Member Since: 12/13/2005
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  Hello Angela,
I just bought a 24" IMac (last week) and am just estatic how well it performs. I have always been a Windows user and was hesitant about making the switch as I already have CS2 and lots of plugins and other Windows programs. I just got fed up with the everyday download/update for Defender and other XP crap and the slow response when using PS and other demanding programs. My current Windows PC has 2.8 Ghz processor and 2G of RAM and it is still slow. The Imac has a 2.4Ghz processor and I only have 1Gig Ram right now and it blows my PC away.
The IMac is just incredible. It looks lean and clean and it really performs.
I downloaded a 30 Day trial version of CS3 and this is another pleasant surprise. CS3 on my new IMac works so well, it is really like they were made for each other. The new Bridge is also way better than the CS2 version. I will belly up the $600 for CS3 in a couple of weeks. Adobe does also allow you to switch your Photoshop License from PC to Mac though I am not sure how much it costs.
I am still in the process of learning my way around the Mac but I am getting a little more comfortable every day. I am surprised that when I plug in an external hard drive or other peripheral, the Mac immediately recognizes it and I usually dont even need to load an operating disk, although I still do with some stuff (like my Canon printer).
I debated making this switch for a couple of years and now wish I had done so long ago. The kicker for me was looking at some new PCs, that have to have minimum 1gig RAM just to run Vista and then the thought of all the virus software and constant updates, I just had done that enough.
Good luck making your decision but I am so happy with the one I just made.

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9/26/2007 8:21:36 PM

Pete H
BetterPhoto Member Since: 8/9/2005
  Hello Angela,

Whatever you decide on, there are some basic requirements you will want to adhere to for good performance.

There are many arguements concerning a MAC or MS operating PC. I'd prefer to steer clear of that arguement as they are as numerous as the Canon Vs Nikon debates. LOL

Both will provide great performance if you understand the limitations and strengths of each.
There is nothing wrong with the MS op system, be it XP or Vista...The users that put it down simply don't know how to configure their systems. That fact is why some choose the MAC since the MAC is ready to roll right out of the box w/o tweaks. Once tweaked, the PC will keep up with any MAC..and they cost less.

1) Get as much memory as you can. Good photo editors have always been memory hogs.

2) Get at least a 19" screen of good quality. Screen real estate is a real advantage when doing serious editing. Some of us use two screens..One for the tools and one for the image.

3) Hard Drives: This is a difficult question for many. How much capacity?
Large built in hard drives are fine on a computer..BUT..Do you really want to keep your work on the onboard hard drive for any length of time? I sure don't; and to do so is foolish. So; a giant on board HD is a waste of money. Get an outboard HD to compliment the onboard HD..AND, burn your photos as soon as possible to a DVD!
Computers don't last forever and are prone to a eventual crash.
If you have the resources, get a REID drive. They are super fast and act like a mirror to your images so you will have backup if one side fails.

Most of todays processors are "Dual Core"..essentially they run two processors, so look for one..It won't mean a lot to you if it is AMD or INTEL.
Average processor speeds are running around 3 GHZ these days; so shoot for something close to that.
When questioning the sales people, ask what the "FSB" is. (Front Side Bus)
Yuor computer is only as fast as it's abilit to get information in and out of it..a fast FSB is greatly desired in math intensive programs such as Adobe Photoshop.

Lastly; don't be cheap! LOL There are a number of what I call "Brand X" computers out there that suffer heavily from quality control problems..I'll name one. (E-Machines) They are built to a price point and not only perform poorly, but even their circuit boards are of low quality.

Hope this helps a little,

all the best,


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9/26/2007 9:13:46 PM

What the other guys said, Angela.
Plus: 9 out of 10 pro photogs use Macs, instead of the other way around as with normal consumers.

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9/27/2007 6:14:05 AM

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