Help me pick a laptop spec?

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noneoftheabove Forum Member • Posts: 85
Help me pick a laptop spec?

Hi.  I have a MS Surface Pro 2 i5 4gb that i'm finding is no longer suitable for what I need.  In particular, its struggling with 24gb raw files from my Canon m50.

I think I have narrowed my preferences down to the Dell Inspiron 14 5000-series 2-in-1 for the best balance of price and features (its has lots of sockets and the insides are accessible).  However, I'm unsure what specs would be best for photo processing in terms of processor (i5 vs i7) compared to the benefit of an Nvidia graphics card instead of Intel HD built in.  Other specs would probably be 8gb (it can be expanded later to 16gb.  I would love a fancy top-spec machine, but I have a budget of ~£6-700.

Can anyone suggest what the best balance of specs may be most suitable for photo processing?

Thanks in advance.

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CAcreeks
CAcreeks Forum Pro • Posts: 13,526
Re: Help me pick a laptop spec?

What software? Some applications make use of the CPU primarily, others put the GPU to good use. For me, 14" is too small for photo editing, unless you use an external monitor, so I don't follow those models, though other PC Talk participants do. A used laptop might be best. I surmise your Surface 2 is unsuitable due to insufficient memory. I never had any problems editing still photos with Intel HD 620, but it could not play videos without dropping frames.

noneoftheabove wrote:

Hi. I have a MS Surface Pro 2 i5 4gb that i'm finding is no longer suitable for what I need. In particular, its struggling with 24gb raw files from my Canon m50.

I think I have narrowed my preferences down to the Dell Inspiron 14 5000-series 2-in-1 for the best balance of price and features (its has lots of sockets and the insides are accessible). However, I'm unsure what specs would be best for photo processing in terms of processor (i5 vs i7) compared to the benefit of an Nvidia graphics card instead of Intel HD built in. Other specs would probably be 8gb (it can be expanded later to 16gb. I would love a fancy top-spec machine, but I have a budget of ~£6-700.

Can anyone suggest what the best balance of specs may be most suitable for photo processing? Thanks in advance.

OP noneoftheabove Forum Member • Posts: 85
Re: Help me pick a laptop spec?

CAcreeks wrote:

What software? Some applications make use of the CPU primarily, others put the GPU to good use. For me, 14" is too small for photo editing, unless you use an external monitor, so I don't follow those models, though other PC Talk participants do. A used laptop might be best. I surmise your Surface 2 is unsuitable due to insufficient memory. I never had any problems editing still photos with Intel HD 620, but it could not play videos without dropping frames.

noneoftheabove wrote:

Hi. I have a MS Surface Pro 2 i5 4gb that i'm finding is no longer suitable for what I need. In particular, its struggling with 24gb raw files from my Canon m50.

I think I have narrowed my preferences down to the Dell Inspiron 14 5000-series 2-in-1 for the best balance of price and features (its has lots of sockets and the insides are accessible). However, I'm unsure what specs would be best for photo processing in terms of processor (i5 vs i7) compared to the benefit of an Nvidia graphics card instead of Intel HD built in. Other specs would probably be 8gb (it can be expanded later to 16gb. I would love a fancy top-spec machine, but I have a budget of ~£6-700.

Can anyone suggest what the best balance of specs may be most suitable for photo processing? Thanks in advance.

Windows 10 running Canon DP Pro.  The choice of size is another tradeoff between price, portability and other casual uses, although I am used to usingsmaller screens.

 noneoftheabove's gear list:noneoftheabove's gear list
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CBR1100XX Contributing Member • Posts: 949
Re: Help me pick a laptop spec?
1

noneoftheabove wrote:

Hi. I have a MS Surface Pro 2 i5 4gb that i'm finding is no longer suitable for what I need. In particular, its struggling with 24gb raw files from my Canon m50.

I think I have narrowed my preferences down to the Dell Inspiron 14 5000-series 2-in-1 for the best balance of price and features (its has lots of sockets and the insides are accessible). However, I'm unsure what specs would be best for photo processing in terms of processor (i5 vs i7) compared to the benefit of an Nvidia graphics card instead of Intel HD built in. Other specs would probably be 8gb (it can be expanded later to 16gb. I would love a fancy top-spec machine, but I have a budget of ~£6-700.

Can anyone suggest what the best balance of specs may be most suitable for photo processing?

Thanks in advance.

I'm only finding the NVIDIA card in the regular 14" not the 2 in 1 Dell 14 5000 series laptops.

Is it the MX150 for the NVIDIA card?  If so it's about twice as fast as the integrated graphics and has 2GB of on board DDR5 which could help some things but it's not fast enough to make a huge difference.

For the processor it's not so clear cut...

The i7 is about 10% faster than the i5 but they can run the chips at different power levels so that comes into play.

Also there's the thermal limits which have some i5 machines of that class running faster than i7's that quickly thermal throttle.

So I'd assume at most it's a small bump in terms of CPU though if you plan to run large imports or exports I'd look into how these computers do under sustained load.

And I'd definitely go up to 16 GB ASAP the only other advice is to get a SSD not one of the HD/Optane combos.

CAcreeks
CAcreeks Forum Pro • Posts: 13,526
Re: Help me pick a laptop spec?
1

noneoftheabove wrote:

Windows 10 running Canon DP Pro. The choice of size is another tradeoff between price, portability and other casual uses, although I am used to usingsmaller screens.

Canon suggests a discrete GPU, with CUDA support, for DPP. Forums seem to indicate that this improves display speed but not so much Raw conversion speed.

Unfortunately a discrete GPU raises the price by at least £100.

My suggestion is to run Task Manager when you are editing a photo and see if 4GB is all used. Forums indicate that 8GB is needed, and probably more important than GPU.

woodyggg Contributing Member • Posts: 884
Links
1

noneoftheabove wrote:

Hi. I have a MS Surface Pro 2 i5 4gb that i'm finding is no longer suitable for what I need. In particular, its struggling with 24gb raw files from my Canon m50.

I think I have narrowed my preferences down to the Dell Inspiron 14 5000-series 2-in-1 for the best balance of price and features (its has lots of sockets and the insides are accessible). However, I'm unsure what specs would be best for photo processing in terms of processor (i5 vs i7) compared to the benefit of an Nvidia graphics card instead of Intel HD built in. Other specs would probably be 8gb (it can be expanded later to 16gb. I would love a fancy top-spec machine, but I have a budget of ~£6-700.

Can anyone suggest what the best balance of specs may be most suitable for photo processing?

Thanks in advance.

Read this as well...

https://www.pugetsystems.com/recommended/Recommended-Systems-for-Adobe-Photoshop-CC-139/Hardware-Recommendations

Also, read this

https://www.notebookcheck.net/Dell-Inspiron-14-5000-5482-2-in-1-i7-8565U-Convertible-Review.374211.0.html

I'd be concerned about the srgb coverage.

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jwaif Regular Member • Posts: 477
Re: Help me pick a laptop spec?
1

I picked up an Inspiron 14 2-1 5000 (5482) in late March with the 32GB Intel Octane and 1TB HD. A few days later the May 2019 Windows 10 update version 1903 was announced with the minimum storage requirement of 32GB. Wait to read reports of how Windows 10 systems with the Intel Octane perform after the 1903 update being released May 21.

My use of the laptop is mainly word processing, email, web browsing and entertainment, but Lightroom will be used occasionally.

John

CAcreeks
CAcreeks Forum Pro • Posts: 13,526
Re: Help me pick a laptop spec?

jwaif wrote:

Wait to read reports of how Windows 10 systems with the Intel Octane perform after the 1903 update being released May 21.

You mean "wait" in the imperative form?

On Linux you could run Optane + HDD with Intel gen7 CPU and kernel 4.15 or later. Read performance is excellent but write performance is worse than regular SSD.

https://www.phoronix.com/scan.php?page=article&item=intel-optane-16gb&num=2

Tom_N Forum Pro • Posts: 15,566
Re: Help me pick a laptop spec?

CBR1100XX wrote:

For the processor it's not so clear cut...

The i7 is about 10% faster than the i5 but they can run the chips at different power levels so that comes into play.

The i5-8265U and i7-8565U are both mobile, 4-core, 15W TDP CPUs with support for hyperthreading.

Intel – Comparison Tool – Core i5-8265U and Core i7-8565U

Tom_N Forum Pro • Posts: 15,566
Re: Help me pick a laptop spec?

noneoftheabove wrote:

Hi. I have a MS Surface Pro 2 i5 4gb that i'm finding is no longer suitable for what I need. In particular, its struggling with 24gb raw files from my Canon m50.

This seems way off.  Did you mean 24 MB?

If the files really are 24 GB each, no wonder a machine with 4 GB of RAM struggles with them …

CAcreeks
CAcreeks Forum Pro • Posts: 13,526
Re: Help me pick a laptop spec?

Tom_N wrote:

noneoftheabove wrote:

Hi. I have a MS Surface Pro 2 i5 4gb that i'm finding is no longer suitable for what I need. In particular, its struggling with 24gb raw files from my Canon m50.

This seems way off. Did you mean 24 MB?

If the files really are 24 GB each, no wonder a machine with 4 GB of RAM struggles with them …

Good catch!

I saw 24 and assumed it was Mp (megapixels) because I know the M50 is a 24Mp camera.

The M50 Raw images here on Dpreview range from 25MB to 35MB. I guess Canon's CR2 or CR3 has variable size based on compression success.

OP noneoftheabove Forum Member • Posts: 85
Re: Help me pick a laptop spec?

Tom_N wrote:

noneoftheabove wrote:

Hi. I have a MS Surface Pro 2 i5 4gb that i'm finding is no longer suitable for what I need. In particular, its struggling with 24gb raw files from my Canon m50.

This seems way off. Did you mean 24 MB?

If the files really are 24 GB each, no wonder a machine with 4 GB of RAM struggles with them …

Ah, crikey, yes; MB not GB!

I changed up from a camera taking 10-12MB raw images, which were slow to handle and fairly slow to batch process, but 24MB raw are barely manageable

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skyglider Veteran Member • Posts: 5,048
Re: Help me pick a laptop spec?
1

noneoftheabove wrote:

Can anyone suggest what the best balance of specs may be most suitable for photo processing?

After buying my Acer Spin3 laptop, one thing that I wish was different is that the headphone jack was on the left side instead of in the middle of the right side, to make it easier to use a mouse.  (I'm right handed)

The earbuds that I use while traveling has a right-angle plug and so the cable is sort of out of the way, but I still wish the headphone jack was on the left side of the laptop.

The external power jack on the Spin-3 laptop is on the right side but it is way back close to the screen so is of no consequence.

When I look for my next laptop, I'll try to buy one with the headphone jack on the left side, everything else being about the same between the laptops I'm interested in. Also that there are sufficient USB3 jacks on the left side so flash drives won't be in the way of using a mouse for right handed folks.

So my suggestion is to pay attention to the jack locations if that might be a concern to you.

Sky

OP noneoftheabove Forum Member • Posts: 85
Re: Help me pick a laptop spec?

skyglider wrote:

So my suggestion is to pay attention to the jack locations if that might be a concern to you.

Sky

Thanks for this - I am trying to think beyond specs a bit, since 'modern' technology is generally astonishing and there are few subjectively 'bad' machines, so assuming I can afford the right balance of processor/memory/etc, I'm finding this type of usability issue is a potentially really important factor in choosing something I enjoy using.

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Austinian
Austinian Veteran Member • Posts: 8,282
Re: Help me pick a laptop spec?

noneoftheabove wrote:

skyglider wrote:

So my suggestion is to pay attention to the jack locations if that might be a concern to you.

Sky

Thanks for this - I am trying to think beyond specs a bit, since 'modern' technology is generally astonishing and there are few subjectively 'bad' machines, so assuming I can afford the right balance of processor/memory/etc, I'm finding this type of usability issue is a potentially really important factor in choosing something I enjoy using.

I agree. 'User interface' can matter a great deal when it comes to long-term satisfaction with a device.

Sometimes it seems like we have a situation of "overchoice" when we look at the huge number of different laptops offered, many with similar performance.

But when an experienced user looks at details like keyboard and touchpad quality, port arrangement, display quality, etc. the number of really good PC candidates falls rapidly.

At least, that's what I've found when laptop shopping.

Good thing we have so many models to choose from!

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PHXAZCRAIG
PHXAZCRAIG Forum Pro • Posts: 15,451
Re: Help me pick a laptop spec?

I don't know all the tradeoffs with todays technology, but I can tell you what I got for about $800 at Fry's Electronics in January.

Dell 5570, with two drives and 12GB RAM.  15 inch 2K IPS display.  DVD burner.

There is a 128GB SSD boot drive.  A bit small, but it's working fine.  I would not get another PC without an SSD boot drive.   256GB would be better.

There is a 1TB HDD d: drive.   I've redirected at least some of the windows default folders there.

12GB RAM is used for video as well as programs.  It seems perfectly adequate.  I've never felt short on RAM.

I put Lightroom Classic on it and calibrated the display with Spyder5 and DisplayCAL software.   I use it to post-process Nikon D850 images while traveling.

I really like a 2k monitor.  I really like a SSD boot drive.   8GB of RAM is probably fine.  ( Make sure you can add to it later).

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Phoenix Arizona Craig
www.cjcphoto.net

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johnnyandedgar Forum Member • Posts: 53
Re: Help me pick a laptop spec?

I use a gaming notebook at our cabin with a quad core i7, 16 gigs ram, ssd, and a 4 gig gtx 950 gpu.

johnnyandedgar

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