Best desktop computer for photography work.

Started Mar 31, 2013 | Questions
theJuke2
New MemberPosts: 15
Like?
Re: any old ....
In reply to tom graham, Apr 1, 2013

tom graham wrote:

.... monitor will work.  Seems, no one has mentioned monitor.   So just get the cheapest TN type monitor you can find.

Monitors are only important if you want to work with photos.  Then they become THE most important part.  More important than CPU, RAM, HDD, OS, all hardware stuff put together.

Tom

If you read my initial question, you will see that I am a photographer. The monitor and color calibration is a serious concern I have. If people can convince me that the Mac monitors with the retina display are the best, then that would make sense. However, if I can calibrate my PC monitor equally well with a Spyder (and it would cost less) then that would make sense to me, since I currently already use PC.

Reply   Reply with quote   Complain
Glen Barrington
Forum ProPosts: 13,469
Like?
This is not a website known for reasoned responses. . .
In reply to theJuke2, Apr 1, 2013

theJuke2 wrote:

tom graham wrote:

.... monitor will work.  Seems, no one has mentioned monitor.   So just get the cheapest TN type monitor you can find.

Monitors are only important if you want to work with photos.  Then they become THE most important part.  More important than CPU, RAM, HDD, OS, all hardware stuff put together.

Tom

If you read my initial question, you will see that I am a photographer. The monitor and color calibration is a serious concern I have. If people can convince me that the Mac monitors with the retina display are the best, then that would make sense. However, if I can calibrate my PC monitor equally well with a Spyder (and it would cost less) then that would make sense to me, since I currently already use PC.

This explains why you feel frustrated with these responses.  What you are getting are people's beliefs and prejudices.  What you are not getting is why they hold those beliefs and prejudices.  Which is why I say it doesn't matter all that much.  You aren't going to get any sort of cost or benefit analysis here.

Your safest bet is to do a little basic research, apply some personal analysis, and come up with conclusions of your own.  You may find yourself surprised at your conclusions!

-- hide signature --

I still like soup. . .
Now that you've judged the quality of my typing, take a look at my photos. . .
http://www.jpgmag.com/people/glenbarrington/photos

Reply   Reply with quote   Complain
Sonyshine
Senior MemberPosts: 5,691Gear list
Like?
Re: any old ....
In reply to theJuke2, Apr 1, 2013

You need to get out and try some Mac's and PC's. Make your own mind up. Both are good but bear in mind there is no "standard' Windows PC. That is really the main difference.

Apple make everything, hardware and software. It all works brilliantly. And carries on working brilliantly. They regularly issue software updates too. Once you have become a MAC user you will be unlikely ever to go back to Windows.

PC's have hardware made by one factory and then they run someone else's software - therein lies their weakness - or strength depending on your point of view.

 Sonyshine's gear list:Sonyshine's gear list
Nikon AF-S DX Micro Nikkor 40mm F2.8 Sony Cyber-shot DSC-QX10 Nikon 1 V2 Tamron SP 70-300mm F/4-5.6 Di VC USD Nikon 1 Nikkor VR 30-110mm f/3.8-5.6 +6 more
Reply   Reply with quote   Complain
theJuke2
New MemberPosts: 15
Like?
Re: any old ....
In reply to Sonyshine, Apr 1, 2013

Sonyshine wrote:

Apple make everything, hardware and software. It all works brilliantly. And carries on working brilliantly. They regularly issue software updates too. Once you have become a MAC user you will be unlikely ever to go back to Windows.

Thank you for the response. I'm getting really frustrated with people saying that Apple makes their own hardware, though. That used to be true, it isn't any more. Intel processors are not made by Apple. NVIDIA graphics cards are not made by Apple. Both are in the new iMacs.

Reply   Reply with quote   Complain
glasswave
Veteran MemberPosts: 6,168Gear list
Like?
Re: It's pretty easy to sort the wheat from the chaff. . .
In reply to Glen Barrington, Apr 2, 2013

Glen Barrington wrote:

theJuke2 wrote:

tom graham wrote:

.... monitor will work.  Seems, no one has mentioned monitor.   So just get the cheapest TN type monitor you can find.

Monitors are only important if you want to work with photos.  Then they become THE most important part.  More important than CPU, RAM, HDD, OS, all hardware stuff put together.

Tom

If you read my initial question, you will see that I am a photographer. The monitor and color calibration is a serious concern I have. If people can convince me that the Mac monitors with the retina display are the best, then that would make sense. However, if I can calibrate my PC monitor equally well with a Spyder (and it would cost less) then that would make sense to me, since I currently already use PC.

This explains why you feel frustrated with these responses.  What you are getting are people's beliefs and prejudices.  What you are not getting is why they hold those beliefs and prejudices.  Which is why I say it doesn't matter all that much.  You aren't going to get any sort of cost or benefit analysis here.

Your safest bet is to do a little basic research, apply some personal analysis, and come up with conclusions of your own.  You may find yourself surprised at your conclusions!

-- hide signature --

I still like soup. . .
Now that you've judged the quality of my typing, take a look at my photos. . .
http://www.jpgmag.com/people/glenbarrington/photos

You'll get biased information anywhere you ask this question. That said, It's pretty easy to sort the wheat from the chaff around here. Give more weight to the responses that mention strengths or weaknesses of both platforms.

The zealots usually tip their hand and if pressured end up not being able to conceed a sdingle point about why the other platform may have some benefits.

-- hide signature --

There is simply too much beauty in the world to photograph it all, but I'm trying.

Reply   Reply with quote   Complain
glasswave
Veteran MemberPosts: 6,168Gear list
Like?
Re: any old ....
In reply to Sonyshine, Apr 2, 2013

Sonyshine wrote:

You need to get out and try some Mac's and PC's. Make your own mind up. Both are good [snip]

that's good advice.

Apple make everything, hardware and software. It all works brilliantly. And carries on working brilliantly.

So do most all Windows workstations. Most computer breakdowns are caused by operator error by neophytes or nincompoops.

They regularly issue software updates too.

Windows updates are probably more frequent than Mac. As are drivers for Windows devices.

Once you have become a MAC user you will be unlikely ever to go back to Windows.

I have been working in digital content creation for 25 years. I have always switched back & forth with little concern over platform. Same with most of my coworkers. There are a few that are Mac only types, but these folks usually are not very technical and seem to consider the computer to be some kind of big mystery. OTH, we all have a preference. I like the windows interface, our lead web designer prefers Mac, our lead animator prefers windows. That said, none of us have much time for worrying about  OS nuances, we work on whatever is available with little complaint. We are probably the most technical in our group.

I run a Windows desktop at home because it's cheaper ($1400) and will blow the doors off a $3000 Mac Pro. I run a Mac book pro for my work laptop because I like the way they are designed. My work desktop is Windows because when it comes to 3d rendering or HD video encoding, I need the horsepower of a good Windows machine.

PC's have hardware made by one factory and then they run someone else's software - therein lies their weakness - or strength depending on your point of view.

The hardware for both platforms comes from a multitude of vendors. The Mac OSX supports a limited amount of hardware that is vended by Apple, thus they maintain stricter control over driver development. This makes a big difference.

Furthermore, Apple does not base a great deal of their market share upon the need to maintain backwards comparability. This need to maintain backwards compatibility hurts windows.
OSX does not depend  on dll's and the registry, this is perhaps its greatest advantage.

These are all my opinions, others see things differently. I am trying not to be biased.

-- hide signature --

There is simply too much beauty in the world to photograph it all, but I'm trying.

Reply   Reply with quote   Complain
glasswave
Veteran MemberPosts: 6,168Gear list
Like?
Re: Best desktop computer for photography work.
In reply to glasswave, Apr 2, 2013

glasswave wrote:

Mark K wrote:

theJuke2 wrote:

I'm trying to look for a new desktop which will be dedicated just to my photography work and I won't be using it for anything else. I am a PC person by nature, but I am not opposed to Mac. What are the pros and cons? Everyone I talk to seems to prefer Mac. I'm trying to find some PC users (or past PC users) to get their input and see how they feel about the Mac/PC comparison for photography work. If you are a past PC user, why did you switch? I'm looking for the pros and cons for each. (Please don't give me the "Macs don't get viruses" reason, and please don't tell me that Macs are made with all Mac hardware and processors - that isn't true any more.) I'm looking purely for functionality. Thank you!

I am PC man as well. Years ago I understood Mac was made for graphics and that was the only solution.

That is completely wrong.

pc's were the only  ($50K unix workstaions excepted) solution for 24bit color image editing until the early 90's. Macs soon developed a lead in color management, but were slower and outrageously more expensive than pc's until the mid 90's. The power pc conversion gave Macs an slight performance edge for a  brief while, but intel processors soon caught up to their RISC counterparts. Windows NT/2000 was a better os than os7-8. OSx and the switch to intel again leveled the playing field, but by then Apple was well on its way to becoming a consumer electronics firm and computers were taking a back seat to ipods/itunes and then iPhones. Windows color management has slowly caught up and here we are today.

Bottom line -- boths macs and pc's have been viable color content editing/creation systems since the early 90's.

However, recent development of Adobe showed the other way round. Current PC with good enough hardware can run Adobe or other photo editing software smoothly. There is no comparable hardware in Mac world, unless you go for Mac Pro.

Also, wrong.

iMacs are fine photo editing solutions. Yeah, they aren't as upgradable, but their OS is arguably built upon a more stable platform and their displays are top notch.

For that department, any upgrade is painfully expensive. If you don't mind spending tons of money, Mac Pro is a better choice.... because Mac Pro can utilize multiple CPUs .

Multi CPU pc's are also an option, but you simply aren't going need multiple cpu's for photo editing.

The Juke wrote:

If you are going to say that a person's response is wrong, please explain why. I'm looking for information on all sides of this issue right now. Thanks.

Glasswave responds:

How's that? Also, see my other posts.

-- hide signature --

There is simply too much beauty in the world to photograph it all, but I'm trying.

Reply   Reply with quote   Complain
afterswish1
Contributing MemberPosts: 694
Like?
Re: Best desktop computer for photography work.
In reply to theJuke2, Apr 2, 2013

glasswave wrote:

theJuke2 wrote:

I'm trying to look for a new desktop which will be dedicated just to my photography work and I won't be using it for anything else. I am a PC person by nature, but I am not opposed to Mac. What are the pros and cons? Everyone I talk to seems to prefer Mac. I'm trying to find some PC users (or past PC users) to get their input and see how they feel about the Mac/PC comparison for photography work. If you are a past PC user, why did you switch? I'm looking for the pros and cons for each. (Please don't give me the "Macs don't get viruses" reason, and please don't tell me that Macs are made with all Mac hardware and processors - that isn't true any more.) I'm looking purely for functionality. Thank you!

I have been a content creation specialist for 25 years using both macs and pc's.

Macs are more expensive (nearly double for the same performance), but the OS is built upon a stronger core (UNIX).

Building your own pc is probably the most economical route to a good editing station, if not get something from a custom builder like AVA direct,  ibuypower, or puget systems. Dells and hp's and macs are preloaded with crap sw and spyware.

Macs tend to have less virus/malware problems if you are not a very savvy web user.

There are more/better  freeware tools for the pc. PC's are more upgradable.

For me, the windows interface is more efficient, mnt lion is a big improvement on the mac side.

either is a good choice.

-- hide signature --

There is simply too much beauty in the world to photograph it all, but I'm trying.

I mainly wanted to +1 this post. I've used macs and PCs professionally and now use PCs at home. I tend to think of mac as the 'pretty boxed, double cost PC'. Perhaps a pretty box is important to you?!

I would suggest either building a PC or buying a bare bones model and installing the additional components you really want or need. If you dual boot with Linux you can try that route for free, without being forced to change your workflow if you don't get on well with it. Darktable may be worth a look on that platform.

If you find Gimp/Darktable doesn't suit you, I'd still keep the Linux partition for recreation and surfing the web (and possible recovery options should something go wrong!), and the windows one for serious work only. That give you more flexibility in my view than going the mac route. If you have plenty of money to burn though I doubt even the most rabid windows fan would say a well-specced mac would exactly be a bad choice.

-- hide signature --

Gravity will make you crazy until you get the hang of it.

Reply   Reply with quote   Complain
malch
Forum ProPosts: 10,805
Like?
Re: Best desktop computer for photography work.
In reply to theJuke2, Apr 2, 2013

theJuke2 wrote:

I'm trying to look for a new desktop which will be dedicated just to my photography work and I won't be using it for anything else. I am a PC person by nature, but I am not opposed to Mac.

Honestly, the differences are relatively minor. You can spec out a very fine PC or Mac and they'll both do the job and very well. It mainly boils down to your own preferences -- do you like the Apple ecosystem, or the PC.

One thing that might tip the balance is specific applications software that you want to use:

* Aperture and iPhoto are Mac only and generally considered excellent apps.

* RPP is arguably the best (purist) RAW converter and it's Mac only too.

But as you know, there's a ton of great photo software available for Windows too.

The display is going to be critical. Apple have some great offerings but there's lots of choices for Windows. Heck, just get an EIZO if the budget will stand it I get by on a $300 U2412M but it is calibrated with a Spyder4.

If you're a PC person by nature, I'd be inclined to stick with that unless you discover some quite compelling reason to switch.

Reply   Reply with quote   Complain
exdeejjjaaaa
Veteran MemberPosts: 6,846Gear list
Like?
Re: Best desktop computer for photography work.
In reply to malch, Apr 4, 2013

malch wrote:


* RPP is arguably the best (purist) RAW converter and it's Mac only too.

OSX != Mac

 exdeejjjaaaa's gear list:exdeejjjaaaa's gear list
Olympus E-M1 Sony Alpha 7 Panasonic Lumix G 20mm F1.7 ASPH Panasonic Leica DG Macro-Elmarit 45mm F2.8 ASPH OIS Panasonic Lumix G 14mm F2.5 ASPH +23 more
Reply   Reply with quote   Complain
Dionis
Forum MemberPosts: 80Gear list
Like?
Bought Pre-built Computer to Upgrade
In reply to theJuke2, Apr 4, 2013

I was undertaking the same task a few months ago. The main difference for me was that I was looking to build a system to be optimal for both processing video as well as stills. In my case I needed the ability to process 1080p 60fps @50mbps video.

I ended up buying a pre built HP with a i7 quad core 3.5ghz in order to swap out most of the main components. I added a San Disk 240 gb SSD to be the boot drive. I had Win 8 removed and Win 7 Pro installed. This insured no bloatware whatsoever. I installed a NVidia Quadro 2000, 32 gb of Corsair RAM and an LG Blu Ray Writer. Doing it this way cost much less than customizing at HP or especially a place like Puget. I got the Dell 2713H Monitor which I think is excellent (Pre Calibrated).

I run Lightroom 4, Premiere Pro CS6 and this system works very well for these applications.

For typical photo processing the above components with half the RAM and a lesser GPU would do well.

DNY

 Dionis's gear list:Dionis's gear list
Panasonic Lumix DMC-GH3 Panasonic Lumix DMC-GH4 Panasonic Lumix G Vario 7-14mm F4 ASPH Panasonic Leica DG Macro-Elmarit 45mm F2.8 ASPH OIS Panasonic Lumix G Vario 100-300mm F4-5.6 OIS +2 more
Reply   Reply with quote   Complain
PhD4
Senior MemberPosts: 3,616
Like?
Re: Best desktop computer for photography work.
In reply to theJuke2, Apr 4, 2013

PC here because I use a lot software that isn't available on Mac (music recording & gaming mostly).

I build my own anymore, and I would suggest to you that it's not hard to do... and you get the best bang for your buck that way.

You will find cheaper pre-built computers.... but they won't have the quality components you have in your own build.

And don't forget... if you have paid good money for your Windows Software, you may not be able to just move it to a Mac. Plus paying for a Mac in the first place... the higher price isn't for higher quality hardware.... it's for the name.

Reply   Reply with quote   Complain
CharmingDragon
New MemberPosts: 3Gear list
Like?
Re: In truth, I don't think it matters any more. . .
In reply to Glen Barrington, Dec 26, 2013

Glen Barrington wrote:

Buy the one that gives you the best deal. Personally, I'm exploring the practicality of transitioning away from both towards Linux. I don't think either are truly 'in the game' when it comes to serious photography. They are relying on past efforts and sort of coasting on the fact that most graphics software is as mature as they are going to get.

Linux seems a far more dynamic environment for graphic software that will only get better.

-- hide signature --

I still like soup. . .
Now that you've judged the quality of my typing, take a look at my photos. . .
http://www.jpgmag.com/people/glenbarrington/photos

I'm a professional IT guy in a top corporation as well as a professional photog, and have been for 30+ years. I currently have only Linux on all my desktops and laptops. I am continually flummoxed but the lack of support from camera manufacturers (Canon I'm talking to you!!!), and software companies (Adobe I'm talking to you!!!).

Vines is not an option anymore either for WIN on Linux anymore. Support and development on it seem to have stopped or slowed down. Sad to say because I really like Linux for ALL my other computing, but for photography I'm afraid I'm going back to Mircrosquish. My 2 cents. YMMV.

Reply   Reply with quote   Complain
anisah
Regular MemberPosts: 249Gear list
Like?
Re: Best desktop computer for photography work.
In reply to theJuke2, Dec 26, 2013

Like many others my suggestion would be to build one for yourself.

To even buy one to upgrade brings with many potential pitfalls. You probably won't get the most up to date moterbaord or graphics car, even if you get the latter. Additionally you may not have the range of expansion slots either internally and externally that you would really want.

In the end it is best to look for a motherboard that meet all your needs, ie good quality chipset, able to use a good quality fast CPU, room for plenty of RAM, enough internal ports for HDDs/DVD re-writers, sufficient and compatible (for any legacy peripherals) internal and external USB and maybe Firewire ports for all the peripherals you need to attach, sufficient internal/external expansion slots for any new cards you might want to use (eg a video or graphics card is a must, and you might also want a sound card), sufficient compatible expansion slots for any legacy peripherals you might want to use, etc. You might also want to look a bit forward and think what you might want to attach in the future in terms of new peripherals, and the extent to which the motherboard manufacturer has a good record of support once the item has been puurchased (BIOS and driver updates easily available).

You will then need a sufficiently powerful PSU to power the CPU and all the other components, and a decent quality case to put them all in. Sensible buying initally will ensure that the new PC is likely to fulfil its role for a decently long time.

Unfortunately, whether you buy a ready made one, or build it yourself, the second you finish it will be out of date - but that doesn't matter as the real question is "Does it do the job I wanted it to do?" You've got more chance of answering that question with a "Yes!" if you build it yourself.

 anisah's gear list:anisah's gear list
Canon PowerShot G9 Canon EOS 40D Canon EOS 7D Canon EOS 5D Mark III Canon EF 50mm f/1.8 II +7 more
Reply   Reply with quote   Complain
stiger
Contributing MemberPosts: 612Gear list
Like?
stealthmachines
In reply to anisah, Dec 26, 2013

https://www.stealthmachines.com/

We put together a top notch liquid cooled system.  I would stick with windows 7

 stiger's gear list:stiger's gear list
Olympus E-1 Olympus E-3 Olympus E-30 Olympus E-5 Olympus E-M1 +1 more
Reply   Reply with quote   Complain
Keyboard shortcuts:
FForum MMy threads