Benjamin A. Leonido
Videocard for Laptops
I'm looking at buying a laptop for on-the-go photo editing, and I was wondering if a really good graphics card is necessary for photo editing or is it only necessary for 3d graphics editing?
Hi Benjamin. It depends on exactly what you define as a "really good graphics card." As a minimum, you need 24 bit colour (48 bit if you like handling maximum quality TIFF files) with the highest resolution you can afford.
That said, I manage just fine with my old Dell Inspiron 8100 at 1600x1200 32 bit, although at only 1.2GHz, it is a little slow handling big TIFFs.
Most of the high-end laptops available today will do the job OK.
Watch your screen calibration, TFT/LCD displays are much harder to calibrate accurately than regular CRTs. For serious work you may want to get one of the calibration pucks that do the job automatically.
If money isn't a big factor, get an Apple iBook or Powerbook. The LCD displays are calibrated for photo/image work. The new systems come with FireWire and USB2.0 ports. There is a video port for connecting to an external CRT or LCD display for detailed work.
If you get the 14" iBook or the Powerbooks, you will also get DVD burning capability.
With Apple, you also get access to iPhoto, which is a pretty good photo organization tool.
Regardless, you will want to get a Spyder color meter to calibrate your display.
Generally, bit depth is the key thing. 2d acceleration helps you since applications take advantage of it to display information more efficiently and thus more quickly.
Your biggest concern, after the display, should be the amount of memory you have. Go with 512MB or more. I would recommend 1GB. You will appreciate the difference in responsiveness when working with large images or alot of images.
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