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Nevia Cashwell
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Ultrabook for Photo Work


Hello. I am in the market for an laptop that is light enough to be considered portable and powerful and fast enough to run Photoshop. Any suggestions or experiences with any? Been in the Windows world a long time but will not rule out converting to Mac.

1. What is smallest screen size recommended for photo editing with Elements 11?

2. Do I really need an Intel I7 vs I5 processor and if so, what GHz is needed?

3. How much RAM is recommended?

4. How large a hard drive is recommended?

would appreciate any advice or hands on experience. There is a lot of info on the Internet but it all gets so confusing.

Cost is always a factor but in this case, getting something that will last me a while and perform well is far more important than cost.

Thanks in advance.
Nevia


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1/26/2013 10:35:49 AM

 
Nancy Marie Ricketts
BetterPhoto Member Since: 10/27/2010
  Nevia, I've had windows based computers and Macs both. Each of these lasted as long as the memory required. However, software always requires larger HDs as time goes by and software sucks up the memory. I finally converted to MAC because of greater memory and much less problem I.e. no problems with freezing or viruses. The current photoshop software will tell you how much memory and hard drive power you will need to run it. This will depend on whether or not you are using Ps elements, or CS6, or one of the other creative suites, and any added plug ins. My first Mac lasted a little over 2 and a 1/2 years, but after that time , I began having memory problems-memory sucking software, and also had website problems. If you can afford it, it is well-worth the money to get the most memory and power you can afford on any type of computer. I have the largest and most memory for my most current laptop that this kind has with the largest screen, and it is well worth the extra money to not go through the problems I had with the other one. If money is an issue, get an older version of Ps at a much reduced price. Laptops are lighter and thinner these days, and easier to carry. The screen size does matter only to your personal preference. I got the largest for my laptop just because of my vision problems. Most stores selling you a computer will be willing to consult with you on your specific needs without any obligation to buy from them. Good luck to you, and let us know what happens.


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1/29/2013 6:26:47 AM

 
Christopher Budny
BetterPhoto Member Since: 10/3/2005
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  I'll second Nancy - I switched to Mac (their MacBook Pro laptop) a few years ago, and have been very, very happy with it. I do all my photo editing on this laptop, exclusively; no other computer at home, nor any external monitor. It is a few years (3+) old now, with 250gb hard drive, 8gb RAM (had 4 when I purchased, I added 4 more later) and I run PSCS4; I got the 15" monitor version of the laptop. They've since come out with their "RetinaDisplay" option on some of their laptops, so I could now get a smaller 13" laptop, and the screen would actually have greater pixel resolution than my existing 15" screen! Ah, technology!

I believe the latest MacBook Pro's have also eliminated CD Drives - making them even thinner and lighter... (Apple makes an external optional CD drive if that is critical to you.) That was probably my only complaint for my MacBook Pro - the 15" version gets to feeling heavy after awhile, if you are traveling frequently with it. (I used to commute DC-NYC every week with it, and sometimes wished I had the 13" version for more compact size and lower weight back then.) That may no longer be a concern on the latest, lighter models.

Any new mid-range-or-better laptop you consider today, will undoubtedly be more than beefy enough for working in Elements or even PhotoShop itself. Try to get a healthy amount of RAM (I'd say 8gb minimum; get more if not too expensive.) If you shoot RAW files, those get quite large, so hard drive space may become more important. Most laptops have a min. 250gb drive, with options for 500gb, 1TB, or more. There are solid-state drives available too (they have no spinning disc inside like a traditional drive) and they are lightning-fast as a result (but also more expensive.) And above all, be sure to include an external backup of some kind, if you're not already doing that...!


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1/30/2013 6:10:10 AM

 
Nevia Cashwell
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  ok. so now I am heavily leaning towards a 15 inch Macbook Pro. Should I get the relatively new Retina Display model? I have googled and found some people unhappy with the retina display models. complaints revolve around screen burn in and delay in repainting images.


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2/1/2013 10:42:37 AM

 
Christopher Budny
BetterPhoto Member Since: 10/3/2005
chrisbudny.com
  Couldn't give an opinion myself, as I've not yet used or handled the Apple Retina Displays. Do you have Apple stores nearby (or other retails carrying MacBook Pro line) that you could go examine one for yourself and ask about those concerns?


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2/1/2013 10:52:10 AM

 
Nancy Marie Ricketts
BetterPhoto Member Since: 10/27/2010
  I do have the retina display on my 15" laptop, but I here it better displays on the desktop stand alone. You should really go to an Apple store or, if there is not one near you, they have an online store. There is a recommended screen resolution for the retina displays that you should use. I can honestly say that my photos have never looked better displayed than on the retina screen, and I only have the 15" screen. My best advice is to talk to Apple with all your concerns. Their techs are very knowledgeable.


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2/1/2013 12:21:23 PM

 
Nevia Cashwell
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  thanks to all for the info. There is an Apple store nearby so I will visit the store before making a purchase.


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2/1/2013 12:24:01 PM

 
Nevia Cashwell
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  I took the MacBook plunge and my 15 inch with retina display has arrived. Photos do look so much better but I want to make sure I have the most true to life color display possible. Does anyone have any recommended settings or is what comes out of the box the best settings for photos? Thanks in advance for all info. Nevia


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2/14/2013 5:13:48 AM

 
Christopher Budny
BetterPhoto Member Since: 10/3/2005
chrisbudny.com
  I haven't used a calibration device on my laptop screen, but I did go through the "Advanced" calibration wizard that comes with the Mac (under Displays.) Takes about 5-10 minutes to run through the various "tests" - at the end, based on your answers to those tests, it updates a calibration profile. Made a nice difference!
(PS---you should consider doing that wizard in the physical location, and typical lighting, of the room/desk/space where you will do most of your editing.)


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2/14/2013 5:24:26 AM

 
Nancy Marie Ricketts
BetterPhoto Member Since: 10/27/2010
  X-Rite makes a color calibration system that is top notch, although it is quite expensive. Your new Apple retina will have one built in. It can be found in "settings." It does not, however, calibrate your printer or any other devices as the X-Rite and other systems do. You may want to do some research on "Color Calibration Systems" before you decide. I purchased a Color-Munki from X-Rite about 6 years ago for $400.00, and it was worth every penny, but then I was printing my own photos which I no longer do. Now, I just use it to calibrate my monitor, so it's color will match what I upload to the web and send off for printing.


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2/14/2013 5:42:50 AM

 
Nevia Cashwell
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  Thanks, Nancy. I don't print my own photos so I'll just try the built in calibration.


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2/14/2013 5:48:34 AM

 
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