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Photography Question 
Sheila Pittman
BetterPhoto Member Since: 1/27/2007


I don't know if this is the right place to ask questions about Computers or not...I am looking to buy me a new Computer in the next couple of day....any suggestions....I have an Old Hp that I am using is abt 8 or 9 years old...I need to update....any ideals

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1/16/2011 1:50:45 PM

Christopher Budny
BetterPhoto Member Since: 10/3/2005
  Hi Sheila... you'll likely get as many answers to that question as there are manufacturers of computers. There are just so many variables in that question (and the answers)! I assume however, you're asking from the perspective of "best choice for handling photography needs"---aside from any other work you may choose to do on it.
The basics stay the same: identify your budget, determine Mac vs Windows, identify whether you need laptop portability (perhaps with external monitor at home) or a traditional desktop model, get a healthy amount of RAM, and a large hard drive (consider a solid-state hard drive, if budget allows... and often overlooked, consider a large backup drive!) and above all (for photo editing) a great monitor---that part alone could open up a whole discussion thread here...

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1/17/2011 4:54:55 PM

doug Nelson   As a long time PC user, I would consider a MAC, but when the time comes to switch, I look at converting my PS-CS2 to Mac and wondering whether my film scanners will work on the latest MAC operating system, and I buy another Windows machine.

My HP has served me well for four years; I would consider another HP. However, HP's customer service is offshore and I have not been impressed with them. Dell was no better in this regard.

Get as much RAM as you can, and a big hard drive so that you can set aside part of it as scratch disc for Photoshop operations. Some people install a second hard drive in the same case for this purpose.

Also, invest in a back-up hard drive to store photos and that draft of the great American novel. Hard drives crash unpredictably in the best of PC's and MACs.

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1/20/2011 8:21:50 AM

Sheila Pittman
BetterPhoto Member Since: 1/27/2007
  Thanks so much Christopher and Doug for the info...

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1/20/2011 10:30:08 AM

Carlton Ward
BetterPhoto Member Since: 12/13/2005
Contact Carlton
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Hello Sheila,
This is an older post I made here on BP...
7/6/2008 9:20:18 PM
My HP was having trouble running Photoshop & bridge at the same time and it was time to get a replacement so I went down to Best Buy and looked at all the new Windows machines with Vista. I had not heard any good things about Vista and asked for one with XP installed instead. The Best Buy sales people argued and it just hit me that I didn't want to get another Windows machine and have to deal with constant updates & virus protection and got a 24" IMAC instead. It took a bit to get used to the MAC and I did end up buying CS3 (I had a CS2 Windows license and was going to convert) but I downloaded a trial version of CS3 and thought the improvements were worth buying CS3 for MAC. I have not regretted any of these decisions. MACs are faster because they dont have all the background processes running that Windows do. I can run CS3, Corel Painter X (with a Wacom tablet) and several other programs at the same time with no problem. I had trouble running Bridge & CS2 at the same time with my XP machine. It would crash and I would lose my work in the process which is why I went to get a new one in the 1st place. I dont have crash problems with my MAC. I will be adding a Mac Pro laptop in the near future.
I dont care about the whole MAC vs Windows thing (kinda like Canon vs Nikon to me) but after my experience using the IMAC, I will continue buying Apple machines in the future. The 24" screen is a real joy to work with as well.

I have since upgraded to CS5 and increased my RAM to 4GB and also have added a MacBook Pro.
I would love to get the Quad-Core 27" IMAC but mine is working fine so I will wait a bit longer before trading up :)
Hope this Helps,

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1/21/2011 9:34:29 AM

Kevin Kopchynski   Hi,

Just a comment here about whether hardware will work if you switch to Mac: you can have just as much if not more trouble by switching from Windows XP to Windows 7. You may not find drivers for your printer, scanner, etc in Windows 7, especially if you get the 64 bit version. If you get a Windows computer, you should get the 64 bit version. You will be able to use more RAM that way. And it will run better.

You will either need or want to upgrade your software from the 8-9 year old versions whether you go with Windows 7 or Mac. But there may be software you like that is not available on Mac.

I use and support both platforms. Carlton made the best move by avoiding Vista and going for the Mac. If you can afford it, that is a good way to go. Windows 7 is much improved, though, especially on a 64 bit system. There are still the viruses, however. I build my own Windows desktops, then spend the money I saved on Mac laptops.

Good luck,

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2/16/2011 3:52:40 PM

Alice A. Meronek
BetterPhoto Member Since: 7/9/2009
  I had the same question last spring when my Dell blue screened on me. I chose to have the IT guy at work build me a desktop machine (his weekend sideline job) and asked him to pick out the parts and gave him details of how I use it. He gave me some choices dollar wise and it works great! I have not bottomed out the speed or anything yet and I like to use extras in Photoshop like Nik software and Topaz. He picked out a fast new motherboard that he preferred, and Intel 7 with 8 gig of memory and 2 Terabyte hard drives (of a well known brand) and a fast video card that is listed on the CS5 list of preferred/tested video cards. Get one that runs dual monitors, you’ll love it. Windows 7 64 bit so I can whiz thru filters without any restrictions on memory. Do get a new keyboard. My old one caused problems so I had to replace (I tried to cut corners using the old one—watch that you get a USB2 connection on it, not the old PS2). And do get the newest monitor connections DVI or HDMI, so you can connect a couple of monitors and get the best colors. And get several USB2 connection slots. You will probably use all of them if you connect scanners, printers, backup external hard drives, and your camera. The IT guy and my daughter’s boyfriend both concur that it is pretty soupped up, but it was $1500. plus a new monitor and keyboard, but I run two or three programs plus CS5 at the same time and I’m having fun. (which is the whole point of photography!!)

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3/11/2011 11:26:49 AM

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