What computer to easily process D800 files?

Started Jul 30, 2013 | Discussions
hajagosb
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What computer to easily process D800 files?
Jul 30, 2013

At the moment, I'm using an almost two years old Dell XPS laptop with SSD drive, 16GB RAM and i7 processor running Windows 8. It should be fast.

I'm doing heavy retouching often, 2-4 GB layered Photoshop files and sometimes for events processing a lot of files in Lightroom. And my computer feels kind of slow for both.

What do you have, where it's really fast in response? What should i focus on choosing a new computer, more memory, or faster processor? I'm going for a desktop now.

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mistermejia
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Re: What computer to easily process D800 files?
In reply to hajagosb, Jul 31, 2013

hajagosb wrote:

At the moment, I'm using an almost two years old Dell XPS laptop with SSD drive, 16GB RAM and i7 processor running Windows 8. It should be fast.

I'm doing heavy retouching often, 2-4 GB layered Photoshop files and sometimes for events processing a lot of files in Lightroom. And my computer feels kind of slow for both.

What do you have, where it's really fast in response? What should i focus on choosing a new computer, more memory, or faster processor? I'm going for a desktop now.

I don't think there is an easy answer for this.  Your computer might be slow simply because of your anti virus software (if you have one), or because you have too much junk in it.  Is hard to say.

i certainly don't think you need a faster processor than an i7.  I am NOT a computer geek, but a computer geek did explaining to me that depending on what application you are running, that particular program will run faster with an i3 CPU than if you had an i7.  That is just the way they are design, again, different CPUs are made for different purposes, and if you are not using SPECIFIC heavy duty programs that require to run multiple CPU'S, then an i7 will not be as efficient as an i3 processor.

Most of time there is no reason in buying the latest and more expensive CPU, and most people don't know that and don't understand that either.  You should look into that for a better understanding.  Certainly don't go to Best Buy looking for an answer like this, they are going to just try to sell you the latest machine.  Ask people that deal with CPU and motherboards, not sales people.

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Manny82
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Re: What computer to easily process D800 files?
In reply to hajagosb, Jul 31, 2013

The biggest problem with laptops is dealing with heat. It doesn't matter how fast the processor is, it'll always get hot and so what happens is the fan will speed up and then when that won't cool the CPU down enough, the CPU throttles its speed - this is why laptops are poor for photo editing or gaming.

Build yourself a half-decent PC and trust me you will never look back.

My PC is made up of the following:

BitFenix Prodigy Case
Asus P8Z77-I Deluxe Motherboard
Intel i5-3570k CPU overclocked to roughly 4.5k
Enermax ETS-T40 CPU Cooler
8GB Kingston RAM (1600MHz)
Samsung 830 Series 256GB SSD (OS & apps)
x2 Samsung 3.5" 512GB Hard Drive for storage
Corsair 80-plus PSU

I am running Windows 7 (64-bit) and Lightoom 4.x. I only have a D700 and editing those files in RAW does not even come close to slowing my rig down. I have even tried setting off multiple batches of actions in Lightroom at the same time (all on raw files) but again the CPU, RAM and SSD have no problem munching away at those files. I have played around with some D800 files and again my rig did not work up a sweat so i'm certain you'll be more than fine with a rig similar to mine - just get the basics right - decent CPU, RAM, SSD.

As for the whole i5 vs i7 debate, it basically boils down to whether you need HyperThreading or not. Some people will say you do, other will say you don't. As far as i am aware, Lightroom does not support HT - although this is not to say future versions won't. Photoshop i believe does make use of HT - but very little. If you do a search online, you'll see many sites that say the same thing. So it's just down to you whether you can justify spending approx 50% on an i7 over an i5 for something you won't be using at the moment.

I would suggest you get at least 16GB RAM.

By the way, from memory, the total cost of my build was probably around £750 - but it was money well spent.

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boxerfan88
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Re: What computer to easily process D800 files?
In reply to Manny82, Jul 31, 2013

I realize for photo processing cpu is key. Begin selecting cpu from the highest performing single core benchmark, then choose 4/6/8 core depending on budget.
Round it out with appropriate amount of RAM & HDD.

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reginalddwight
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Re: What computer to easily process D800 files?
In reply to hajagosb, Jul 31, 2013

My setup is fast enough for PP D800 files with CS5 and LR4:

Core i7 (3rd gen)

16 GB RAM

512 GB SSD

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M35G35
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Re: What computer to easily process D800 files?
In reply to hajagosb, Jul 31, 2013

My suggestion is to find software that turn RAM into a HDD Drive. Of course you will probably need more memory. I have 24GB and dedicated 4GBs to 8GB as a RAM disk drive. Files that took a few minutes are now processed in less than 20 seconds. And, later copy the files off the RAM drive to your SSD or HDD later. Did that and Photoshop/Lightroom processing is incredibly fast!

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Derouyag
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Re: What computer to easily process D800 files?
In reply to hajagosb, Jul 31, 2013

This rig might do the job... but the price might be too much!

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moogle73
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Re: What computer to easily process D800 files?
In reply to hajagosb, Jul 31, 2013

hajagosb wrote:

At the moment, I'm using an almost two years old Dell XPS laptop with SSD drive, 16GB RAM and i7 processor running Windows 8. It should be fast.

I'm doing heavy retouching often, 2-4 GB layered Photoshop files and sometimes for events processing a lot of files in Lightroom. And my computer feels kind of slow for both.

What do you have, where it's really fast in response? What should i focus on choosing a new computer, more memory, or faster processor? I'm going for a desktop now.

Well I am fairly knowledgeable in IT, for starters I would defiantly ditch the laptop and go for a desktop on your next build. Generally laptop processors are not as "fast" as desktop processors, laptop processors are built to be mobile being paramount not pure processing. So they have build in power saving features, also usually run a slower clock speeds to generate less heat as heat is a major problem with laptops... all in all its not apples to apples, an I7 desktop processor will always outperform an i7 laptop processes. So imo desktop build is a must if your looking for the best possible performance. Also while on the topic of processors, most high end photo editing programs such as Photoshop are written to take advantage of multicore with most of its calculations (not everything). So having more cores with the same clock speed will be better than having less core at the same clock speed. Its not going to be a liner improvement, hence if an i3 has 4 core an an i7 has 12 cores, the i7 wont be 3 times as fast, it will probably be more like 50% faster, but never the less, it will still perform better. It all just comes down to what your willing to pay for. But I would say get the latest processor (its usually the smallest size) that has the highest clock speed, and highest amount of cores you can afford or feel comfortable purchasing.

secondly you will want to load your rig with fast ddr3 ram. Ram is "dirt cheap" now (relitive to what it was 5-10 years ago) Im currently running 32gb of ram on my desktop, and there is no such thing as "not enough ram" if you have the money, and the slots on your motherboard to support it, put it in. Likewise if running an x64 windows, and a current version of Photoshop, Photoshop is written to use ALL available ram, its not capped at say 2gb or 4gb like some programs, if you have 32gb of ram, Photoshop will utilize all 32gb if it has to.

third, hdd, Solid states will access data faster, but large solid states don't come cheap. again if money isnt that huge of a concern (within reason obviously) I would say get a large like 512gb ssd as your primary hard drive, install and run all programs off of it, as well as process all photos from this drive. Then get secondary and third slave "data" drives, of 3-4tb drives, store all your photos and data on these drives when not directly editing them, for long term storage.

fourth, do get a video card, and a "decent one" at that, again some photo editing software including Photoshop are written to take advantage of GPU's as well as CPU's. I have always been an nvidia guy my self, but ati makes solid products as well. I would look for one with 1-2gb of ram, more if you can afford it, but its not critical.

fifth, get a good case! you dont need watercooling, but you will need good air flow. So you will want a large case, with multiple large 120mm or bigger fans. My current rig has 7x 120mm fans (2 of which are high airflow) and I can overclock my rig with no heating issues if I want (although I never need to) but just having so much airflow keeps your pc components happy and cool.

sixth, dont skimp on power supply unit either (assuming your building your own and not buying a pre-built one) reason being psu's are usually the ugly step child forgotten in a pc build because its not "fancy" and you cant "brag about it". But the simple fact of the matter is the psu is the 1 major weak point in the whole rig. If you get a cheap $30 psu, and it goes south and sends a surge into your pc, guess what, you just fried every component in your computer probably costing you $1,000+ dollars plus loss of data (if you don't have external or off site backups of your data) all because someone was cheap on the psu and wanted to spend $30 instead of $120 on it. Now like everything the $120 one may fail too, but they are built much better and to a higher standard, hence the major failures occur much less. I have seen psu's fail and fry components in a pc many times.

and lastly for the love of god make sure your OS is 64bit, I know its nearly impossible to buy 32bit OS's anymore, but still, it needs to be said lol. (plus you cant get anymore than 4gb of on a 32bit system anyway so I doubt its something someone would do but needs to be said)

Now my rig is about a year or so old, so mines not the newest kid on the block either but it goes as follow (and was built by me)

CPU- i7-3770 3.40ghz
Ram -32gb ddr3 (dont remember the exact speed would need to look up)
GPU- Nvidia GTX 550ti 2gb ddr5
HD - multiple drives (4 to be exact)
OS - Windows 7pro x64
PSU - OCZ 600w

hope that helps lol

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MTWewerka
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Re: What computer to easily process D800 files?
In reply to moogle73, Jul 31, 2013

I guess I'll be the obligatory Mac guy, but I'm using a Mid-2012 15-inch MacBook Pro with a quad-core i7 and 16GB of RAM. HDD means jack unless you fall under 50GB of free space. In which case you should have already backed up your photos (and or files) and made more room. I run with a 750GB HDD and an external.

I have had zero issues with MacBook Pro's working with big files. Aside from photography, I'm a graphic designer, so I'm used to deal with massive files (some well over a gig) and my MBP handles them with ease. It's a combination of processor and RAM. If you have an i7 now with 16GB of RAM, then something tells me you have other issues on that machine. I'd wipe it and do a fresh install of Windows 7, screw Windows 8, it's a pile of crap, wait until 8.1 for all the fixes.

Just my two cents.

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moogle73
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Re: What computer to easily process D800 files?
In reply to MTWewerka, Jul 31, 2013

MTWewerka wrote:

If you have an i7 now with 16GB of RAM, then something tells me you have other issues on that machine. I'd wipe it and do a fresh install of Windows 7, screw Windows 8, it's a pile of crap, wait until 8.1 for all the fixes.

Just my two cents.

I was thinking the same thing for both points, I just didn't fit them in my massive post lol.  But if your having performance issues with the current rig chances are their is another issues at play not not strictly hardware.
and yes windows 8 is TERRIBLE, its vista all over again 5-6 years latter lol.  Wait go with window 7 or wait til a "fix" of windows 8.1 or what ever they will call it is released.

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hajagosb
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Re: What computer to easily process D800 files?
In reply to moogle73, Jul 31, 2013

Thanks guys, this is the info I needed. The plan is to build it myself. It's a great idea to pay attention on the cooling and the power supply. Do you have any suggestion what capacity to get? I was looking at models with 500-600 W.

I want to buy two SSD, one for the system, and one as a cache to use it with Intel Smart Response technology.

I had Windows 7 on my laptop before, and i can tell you, that Windows 8 is far better. Start up time is about 3 times faster, as  well as shutdown. It has no stability issues, and i had problem with my USB ports before, but not with 8. I know, start menu sucks, but other than that it's better.

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PhotoKaz
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Re: What computer to easily process D800 files?
In reply to hajagosb, Jul 31, 2013

hajagosb wrote:

At the moment, I'm using an almost two years old Dell XPS laptop with SSD drive, 16GB RAM and i7 processor running Windows 8. It should be fast.

I'm doing heavy retouching often, 2-4 GB layered Photoshop files and sometimes for events processing a lot of files in Lightroom. And my computer feels kind of slow for both.

What do you have, where it's really fast in response? What should i focus on choosing a new computer, more memory, or faster processor? I'm going for a desktop now.

What type of numbers are you getting on the Windows Experience Index?

Don't skimp on the video card.  I upgraded my computer for D800 files too but left the graphics card to the end.  I was still not happy with performance despite the following setup:

i7 2600K over clocked to 4.5GHz (on air)

32GB RAM

5-drive RAID-5 array for data, fast and has redundancy.

Samsung SSD for OS and my LR catalog

Intel SSD (older) for swap file, temp files, and scratch disk

I noticed that NIK plugins had the biggest slow down, and I like Silver Efex Pro.  I upgraded my video card to an Nvidia GeForce GTX 650 Ti Boost and it made a lot of difference.  Not an expensive card, but it has a fast GPU and 2GB of RAM on-board.  Now I'm finally satisfied with the performance.

Still running Win7 64-bit and won't switch to Win8 until 8.1 is out.

Hope that helps.

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pengch
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Re: What computer to easily process D800 files?
In reply to hajagosb, Jul 31, 2013

hajagosb wrote:

At the moment, I'm using an almost two years old Dell XPS laptop with SSD drive, 16GB RAM and i7 processor running Windows 8. It should be fast.

I'm doing heavy retouching often, 2-4 GB layered Photoshop files and sometimes for events processing a lot of files in Lightroom. And my computer feels kind of slow for both.

What do you have, where it's really fast in response? What should i focus on choosing a new computer, more memory, or faster processor? I'm going for a desktop now.

My photo/video editing computer does not go to internet.

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Truman Prevatt
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Re: What computer to easily process D800 files?
In reply to mistermejia, Jul 31, 2013

mistermejia wrote:

i certainly don't think you need a faster processor than an i7. I am NOT a computer geek, but a computer geek did explaining to me that depending on what application you are running, that particular program will run faster with an i3 CPU than if you had an i7. That is just the way they are design, again, different CPUs are made for different purposes, and if you are not using SPECIFIC heavy duty programs that require to run multiple CPU'S, then an i7 will not be as efficient as an i3 processor.

That depends on how the application is written.  An i7 has more cores and a slower clock rate.  However, applications like Photoshop does not tread across cores hence it is running in just one core.  That means an i3 with a faster clock rate will run faster.  The other issue with Photoshop is its architecture. It is a memory hog.  Once you chew up the available memory it has to use virtual memory (which is disk). Virtual memory is slow compared to physical memory.  Even with 16 GB having multiple layers of a D800 shot will chew up memory fast which is what OP is experiencing.

Where four cores come in handy is when you have more than one process up.  With two cores you have the underlying OS overhead in one core and the application in another.  If you do anything else you are sharing a core.  With more cores you can have more applications active.

A lap top is fine if you have it in a stand where it gets a lot of air flow on both sides.  In using photoshop with any application taking care to not keep a lot of extraneous layers around will prove very helpful - especially with a large pixel count camera like the D800.

That is one of many reasons a Adobe photo editing product has not been on my system since about 1997.

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Truman
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moogle73
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Re: What computer to easily process D800 files?
In reply to Truman Prevatt, Jul 31, 2013

Truman Prevatt wrote:

That depends on how the application is written. An i7 has more cores and a slower clock rate. However, applications like Photoshop does not tread across cores hence it is running in just one core. That means an i3 with a faster clock rate will run faster. The other issue with Photoshop is its architecture. It is a memory hog. Once you chew up the available memory it has to use virtual memory (which is disk). Virtual memory is slow compared to physical memory. Even with 16 GB having multiple layers of a D800 shot will chew up memory fast which is what OP is experiencing.

Where four cores come in handy is when you have more than one process up. With two cores you have the underlying OS overhead in one core and the application in another. If you do anything else you are sharing a core. With more cores you can have more applications active.

A lap top is fine if you have it in a stand where it gets a lot of air flow on both sides. In using photoshop with any application taking care to not keep a lot of extraneous layers around will prove very helpful - especially with a large pixel count camera like the D800.

That is one of many reasons a Adobe photo editing product has not been on my system since about 1997.

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Truman
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almost all of this is false information lol,

First of all, i7's DO NOT HAVE SLOWER CLOCK SPEEDS, if anything they have faster, some of the top of the line i7 cpu's on the market now base clock speed is 3.5-4ghz or higher depnding on "turbo mode usage", there is NO i3 on the market even close to that clock speed (highest is 3.3ghz i believe). Not to mention the higher end i7's have much more l2 and l3 cache (like 5 times more lol), meaning more programs in the "staging area" to be send to the processors to be processed, meaning faster potential throughputs as its less back and forth to the ram. And current intel cpu's all now are basically based off the same 32mn architecture so thats a mute point now too (as in between new chip upgrades the architecture plays a role in speed and heat as well)

and...

YES - adobe photoshop supports multicore cpu's, and has done so since photoshop 3.0 (forever ago) and with each new photoshop release it gets better and better in supporting multicores / thread. So having more cores WILL increase your photoshop performance, its not all about clock speed (even though clock speed is important) but like I said earlier, you take a 4 core cpu at same clock speed as an 8-10core cpu the 8-10 wil out perform the 4 in photoshop every time... simple as that. But with that being said, there are some 3rd party applications, and or filters, and or add ins that people use in photoshop that are not written to take full advantage of multicore support (because its expensive and time consuming to re-write their software to do so) so with those specific add ins (if you have any, and if they don't support multi cores because some do, just some do not also) then with those specific ones, you wont see an improvement with having more cores... but with everything else in photoshop or lightroom etc you will.

Secondly there is a misconception about multicores and how they work, people seem to think 1 core does the operating system, 1 core does your music in the background you have going, 1 core does your firefox you left open and minimized, and the last few cores work on your current work and that is just not how CPU's works and completely false. Computer cpu's process "1 thing" at a time always have, and always will until we get into quantum computing (which is coming and why its such a big deal and you always hear people talking about it but I am getting off track lol). Now current processors are doing billions of cycles / calculations per second (ghz) so it seems like its doing "multiple things at 1 time" but really its doing them 1 by 1 in sequential order so fast it seems like multiple things at a time.

Now what is dependant on the cores being used is the software being used to run what your doing. So for instance you click on firefox icon, it goes to your bus and system cache which then reads how to run the program, if the program is written to support multi cores it will then delegate what core will process what specific process needed to complete the task at hand, once done it moves onto the next task (such as back ground music) etc etc billions of times per second. Same goes for photoshop, and all other applications on the computer including the OS. The cores are dependant on how the software is written, if its written to support multi cores then multi cores will be used, if not, then only 1 core will be used process the information. Either way, all information is processed in a linear fashion and not "all at once" . So you could have 10 cores, but if your running 5 applications at once that only support 1 core at a time, they will all need to be processed liner 1 at a time through just 1 core (and your performance will suffer) and you will see no benefit from all those additional cores (and all 5 will NOT be processed at 1 time across the 10 cores). Now thankfully, most major programs and software write and or have already been written to support multi cores especially with how long they have been in the market place. And the longer and longer we go on the more and more they will be written for and supported.

and lastly, photoshop also supports GPU's so having a powerful graphics card in your system with a few gb of ddr5 ram will help your photoshop performance (also something very hard to get in a laptop)

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MTWewerka
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Re: What computer to easily process D800 files?
In reply to pengch, Jul 31, 2013

Or simply wait for Apple to release their new Mac Pro later this year (http://www.apple.com/mac-pro/).

If that baby can render Pixar movies, a few D800 files should be a cake walk. Not to mention it freaking looks bada$$.

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wireless
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Re: What computer to easily process D800 files?
In reply to hajagosb, Jul 31, 2013

I have a nice laptop with I7.  When I upgraded my monitor to a 27" and 2560x1440, LR and PS editing slowed to a crawl.  The built-in nVidia card could do the resolution but it was unusable really.  I looked into everything to fix it.  I needed a larger HD so I upgraded that and reinstalled the OS and LR.  Same problem.

I bought a newer Dell desktop xps8500 with an upgraded video card.  Took care of the problem nicely.  Editing is very fast now.  The new desktop was about $700.  Well worth the it even though it feels kind of dated to buy a desktop/tower these days.  Works though.

-David

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moogle73
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Re: What computer to easily process D800 files?
In reply to MTWewerka, Jul 31, 2013

MTWewerka wrote:

Or simply wait for Apple to release their new Mac Pro later this year (http://www.apple.com/mac-pro/).

If that baby can render Pixar movies, a few D800 files should be a cake walk. Not to mention it freaking looks bada$$.

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until you look at the prices apples likes to charge lol, current mac pros go for 4-12k depending on hardware and add ons... whats the new one going to cost? lol, they area already saying just the physical parts/hardware for the new one will be 3-5k not counting apples markup. So I see it being just as expensive if not more expensive than the model its replacing, and most people don't want to drop 6-7k on a desktop machine.  Especially when its not an "faster" than top of the line "PC's"... just different.

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hajagosb
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Re: What computer to easily process D800 files?
In reply to PhotoKaz, Jul 31, 2013

Thanks, this is something i was looking into. I was thinking to save on the video card, as I'm not planning to run games on it. But I hope an entry level Ati or Nvidia with 2 gigs should do it.

My experience index is 6.7, because of the gfx. All the other numbers are around 7.5

PhotoKaz wrote:

hajagosb wrote:

At the moment, I'm using an almost two years old Dell XPS laptop with SSD drive, 16GB RAM and i7 processor running Windows 8. It should be fast.

I'm doing heavy retouching often, 2-4 GB layered Photoshop files and sometimes for events processing a lot of files in Lightroom. And my computer feels kind of slow for both.

What do you have, where it's really fast in response? What should i focus on choosing a new computer, more memory, or faster processor? I'm going for a desktop now.

What type of numbers are you getting on the Windows Experience Index?

Don't skimp on the video card. I upgraded my computer for D800 files too but left the graphics card to the end. I was still not happy with performance despite the following setup:

i7 2600K over clocked to 4.5GHz (on air)

32GB RAM

5-drive RAID-5 array for data, fast and has redundancy.

Samsung SSD for OS and my LR catalog

Intel SSD (older) for swap file, temp files, and scratch disk

I noticed that NIK plugins had the biggest slow down, and I like Silver Efex Pro. I upgraded my video card to an Nvidia GeForce GTX 650 Ti Boost and it made a lot of difference. Not an expensive card, but it has a fast GPU and 2GB of RAM on-board. Now I'm finally satisfied with the performance.

Still running Win7 64-bit and won't switch to Win8 until 8.1 is out.

Hope that helps.

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hajagosb
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Re: What computer to easily process D800 files?
In reply to pengch, Jul 31, 2013

My photo/video editing computer does not go to internet.

Feels a bit off topic, but I'm happy for you.

 hajagosb's gear list:hajagosb's gear list
Nikon D800E Nikon AF-S Nikkor 14-24mm f/2.8G ED Nikon AF Nikkor 50mm f/1.8D Nikon AF Micro-Nikkor 60mm f/2.8D Nikon AF-S Nikkor 85mm f/1.8G +2 more
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