which laptop should I buy?

Bob StoryBob Story Beginner grinnerRegistered Users Posts: 9 Beginner grinner
edited February 19, 2013 in Digital Darkroom
My used computer guy has two laptops, both Dells
Intel Core i7 Q720 - Quad - 4 Cores Total @ 1.60GHz – Turbo Boost to 2.8ghz
4GB Memory
128 GB SSD Hard Drive
15.6" LCD Screen (1600 x 900) – Slightly Lower Resolution than the other.
NVIDIA NVS 3100M 512 Meg
Intel 82577LM Gigabit Network Connection
Intel Centrino Advanced-N 6200 AGN
Dell Wireless 375 Bluetooth Module
Bluetooth Hands-free Audio
High Definition Audio Device
NVIDIA High Definition Audio
Intel Display Audio
Integrated Webcam


Intel Core i7 2 Core 4 Threads 2.67Ghz Processor 2 Cores is just that, dual core – 4 threads is pseudo quad core, basically meaning the processor’s 2 cores can handle 4 threads of processing simultaneously. Not a true Quad Core, those mobile quad cores are “truly” expensive still.
128GB Solid State Hard Drive (this drive retailed for $129 by itself)
NVIDIA NVS 3100M 512MB Dedicated Graphics, Maximum Resolution 1920x1080

Integrated Webcam
Backlit keyboard
SD Card Reader
Windows 7 Professional 64-bit Installed

Any ideas? both are $700


  • ziggy53ziggy53 Still learnin'still lovin Super Moderators Posts: 22,330 moderator
    edited February 18, 2013
    You shouldn't buy either until you decide how you will use the machine. (Or maybe you have decided how you'll use the machine but just haven't shared that information with us.)

    Please be as explicit as possible as to use, cameras that you wish to use and software you intend to use, quantity of images and length of video, transitions and effects that you'll use often, ... that sort of thing.
    Moderator of the Cameras and Accessories forums
  • Bob StoryBob Story Beginner grinner Registered Users Posts: 9 Beginner grinner
    edited February 19, 2013
    I shoot with Nikon D300s. I shoot events where I have to rename and resize JPGs quickly, I also shoot weddings and portraits raw. For programs I use, Express digital, Lightroom, Photoshop, Pro showProducer, Faststone, and do albums in FotoFusion. I only do stills. I use a external monitor at home but print with dyesubs at some events so I would like a good screen. I back up to two different hard drives so I keep under 40 gigs on the computer HD. I shoot about 1T a year. I am a little concerned about the small HD but was hoping to hook up a USB3 portable through the expresss port.
    I hope this is the info you need.
  • ziggy53ziggy53 Still learnin'still lovin Super Moderators Posts: 22,330 moderator
    edited February 19, 2013
    The Nikon D300/D300s cameras produce reasonable file sizes. Thank goodness you don't use a pair of D800 bodies. mwink.gif

    I have never used Express Digital so I can't comment on system resources or system speeds using that software. My primary concern would be Lightroom 4, if that's what you have. We have several users who commented that Lightroom 4 requires a lot more processing than LR 3 required to get the same throughput.


    I suspect that either machine would be fine for a JPG only processing, but RAW files processing may seem sluggish on both machines, especially in large quantity of files.

    As a rule, RAM is more valuable than processor speed, and more hard drive space is almost always a benefit. It's still important to have "enough" processor speed, and whether either of these computers is fast enough for when you're shooting against a tight deadline (like customers waiting) is a tough call. I would rather suggest a third-generation, quad-core i7, with at least 2.3GHz and 12-16GB of RAM.

    For your work I would be afraid to work on a single SSD and single computer. If you have a contractual commitment to produce then I highly recommend redundancy. In this case I strongly suggest a backup computer and a couple of external hard drives to hold copies of the original files (unless you retain all of the original files on cards until you have verified backups elsewhere.)

    15" display is the absolute minimum, but a 17" display is so much nicer if you can.

    Finally, don't forget about the video display section. With many software supporting GPU acceleration, adding a compatible video card with lots of processing cores can give the overall throughput a major boost. The bigger cards can really suck down the batteries, so it's often a balance between speed and power utilization.

    If you decide that 8GB RAM is sufficient, then for $60 more you could look at a:

    Dell Inspiron 17R Special Edition laptop
    • Microsoft Windows 8 64-bit pre-installed
    • 6-cell lithium-ion battery
    • Intel Core i7-3630QM 2.4 GHz 3rd generation quad-core processor with Hyper-Threading Technology
    • 6 MB Intel Smart cache, 5 GT/s DMI speed
    • Intel HM77 Chipset
    • 8 GB DDR3 SDRAM (maximum)
    • 32 GB mSATA SSD
    • 1 TB hard drive
    • DVD±RW drive
    • NVIDIA GeForce GT 650M (2 GB)
    • IDT High Definition Audio CODEC
    • 2 stereo speakers and 1 subwoofer; Waves MaxxAudio 3
    • Integrated 10/100 Ethernet LAN
    • Integrated Intel Centrino Wireless-N 2230 802.11b/g/n + Bluetooth 4.0
    • Built-in multi-in-1 card reader
    Moderator of the Cameras and Accessories forums
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