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Author Topic: Bamboozled by processors, RAM "v" SSD & i7, i5 etc. Please HELP!  (Read 4607 times)
Gilgamesh
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« on: April 03, 2013, 11:06:40 AM »
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Hi.
Looking to buy a lap top to process images, typically 35mb+ RAW files.
LR and Photoshop mostly. Cost? Not that fussed TBH.

Here's the rub: I am told the processor and RAM is unimportant if it's a Solid State machine such as a Mac, and some new Samsung or Sonys machines (with SSD hard drives) and these are fast, beyond mere Intel chips. True?

It's been a while since I shopped around and I was taken with these Samsung and Sony models, all seemingly Ultra Books and thus 13.5 inch screens. TBH, my age means a 15 inch would be better as it will be used independent of a monitor (yes, I am approaching that time when spec's will be required) plus any adjustments menu requires the image to be less than 100%.

What's the score regarding SD cards and the like, as in off loading images into LR as DNG files, doing the PP either from a camera, a back or a SD / CF card?

One of the Sony ranges has a built in SD card slot, most convenient. Or is it?

Meaning I need a card reader for the others, including the Mac. Is there an advantage in any one system over the other as I don't want to have a fast machine but everything be slowed by off-board hard drives or 3rd party card readers, or do I have no real choices?

Thanks.
Tim
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k bennett
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« Reply #1 on: April 03, 2013, 01:57:43 PM »
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Processor and RAM are still important even with an SSD storage drive. An SSD does dramatically improve the speed of some operations -- launching applications, opening and closing large files, etc. But the processor speed affects things like processing files in Lightroom and Photoshop, and it's not trivial. Depending on which laptop you want, the fastest available processor may be worth the extra cost.

I use a mix of SD and CF cards, so I always have an external card reader. The Lexar USB-3 reader is very fast and seems rock solid so far on a newish Macbook Air.

I ended up with the latest MBA 11.6 inch as my primary machine. Don't laugh -- it's 25% faster in processing raw files than my 2-year-old 17-inch Macbook Pro, and it drops unnoticed into my camera bag. I never use the screen for real processing, as I have a calibrated NEC Multisync in the office, but the tiny screen is plenty large enough for the usual web/email/Photo Mechanic work even at my advanced age. The fastest processor was a $150 upgrade, well worth the cost, and the 8GB of RAM is the bare minimum I would want for photo work.
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Equipment: a camera and some lenses.
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